Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 30th Jan 2013 00:38 UTC
Hardware, Embedded Systems Marco Arment: "Everyone should play by the same rules. A proposal: storage capacities referenced or implied in the names or advertisements for personal computers, tablets, and smartphones should not exceed the amount of space available for end-user installation of third-party applications and data, after enough software has been installed to enable all commonly advertised functionality. With today's OSes, iPads could advertise capacities no larger than 12, 28, 60, and 124 GB and the Surface Pros could be named 23 and 83 GB." Wholly agreed. When I buy a box of 100 staples, I expect it to contain ~100 staples - not 50 because the other 50 are holding the box together.
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"It's not really a fix, though, because while 1kb = 1024b might be wrong, it was consistently applied."

That's not really true. For storage, while the sector size is a power of 2, the number of sectors doesn't need to be whether we're talking floppy/hd/flash/etc.

"For example, 1.44 MB 3 1⁄2-inch HD disks have the 'M' prefix peculiar to their context, coming from their capacity of 2,880 512-byte sectors (1,440 KiB), inconsistent with either a decimal megabyte nor a binary mebibyte (MiB). Hence, these disks hold 1.47 MB or 1.41 MiB."

Historically, we've never been consistent. 1k may mean 1024 or 1000, ethernet speeds were always speced using correct SI units. Hard disks might go both ways. RAM capacity is usually speced in binary units because it's one of the few cases where powers of 2 were technically advantageous/intrinsic.

"Once you start applying the fix, we have the situation where 1kb might be 1000b or it might be 1024b, and you have no way of knowing which one it is."

For one thing, "kb" implies kilobits, "kB" is for kilobytes, which is a different ambiguity all together.

The correct use of XiB units do nothing but remove ambiguity, it's illogical to argue otherwise. The more people who use them correctly, the better. It corrects the original mistake of having two meanings for one nomenclature. Ambiguity will continue to the extent that people refuse to adopt the XiB units, but honestly you can't say the XiB units caused this ambiguity.

Edited 2013-01-31 14:57 UTC

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