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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ssokolow
Member since:
2010-01-21

"due to concerns that the old "everybody knows kilo- means 1024 in the context of computers" attitude was proving problematic as computers became a more and more generally-used tool.


This is total bull$hit. There is almost no situation where knowing the number of bytes in a MB/GB is required in order to successfully use a computer.
"

I already said they were focusing on business, research, and standards. Situations where a confusion in terminology could be expensive. (eg. If you pay for a supercomputer or space probe to be built and get less memory/storage/bandwidth than you intended or you're forced to go over budget because they specced more than you intended.)

Standards bodies, I think, overstepped their bounds. While they are responsible for setting standards, they should have sought the opinion of the major stakeholders before making the change they did. And if it transpired they could not at least get a majority YES vote, then it should not have happened.


Computer scientists overstepped their bounds in arbitrarily re-defining the meanings of the SI prefixes. This is just fixing the problem.

Reply Parent Score: 4

Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

ssokolo,

This came up not long ago...
http://www.osnews.com/thread?546775

You are absolutely right, CS guys hijacking the SI units was a bad move and was rather shortsighted. We need to continue emphasizing the correct use of units. The industry is largely using the correct units now so I think we're headed in the right direction. Hopefully someday our descendents won't need to second guess what a unit means.

Edited 2013-01-30 18:21 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3

Delgarde Member since:
2008-08-19

Computer scientists overstepped their bounds in arbitrarily re-defining the meanings of the SI prefixes. This is just fixing the problem.


It's not really a fix, though, because while 1kb = 1024b might be wrong, it was consistently applied. 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. You've replaced "wrong" with "mostly wrong and completely confusing".

Reply Parent Score: 2

Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

Delgarde,

"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.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Floppy_disk#Sizes.2C_performance_and_c...

"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

Reply Parent Score: 3