We Don’t Live Here, But We’re Taking Over

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I recently saw this link on Digg. This is one of those “About time” things for anyone who’s ever owned more than one hard drive. About two decades ago Hard Drive manufacturers switched to counting their Mega”bytes” and Giga”bytes” in base 10 — An obvious ploy to trick people into believing they were getting more than they really were. Although you can never really be happy with a class action suit, with the lawyers walking away with the bulk of the settlement and the rest of the people getting only a nominal gift.

Nothing about that is really very remarkable. Hard Drive makers made an estimation of how much money they could make from lying and how much a settlement would likely cost them. I’m sure they’re unhappy with losing, but they knew it would happen. No, what I find amazing is found in the comments on Digg. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised — I guess I just continue to overestimate people. Most of the comments are okay, but there’s a contingent of people who are pushing an alternate theory — “It wasn’t the Hard Drive manufacturers that were wrong, it was the Operating System’s reporting of the Hard Drive’s size!”

Which is just absurd. But what really gets my goat about it is being told that I should adopt a whole new set of acronyms. Apparently Kilobyte (KB) and Megabyte (MB) and so on have alternative forms, Kibibyte (KiB) and Mebibyte (MiB) meant to indicate binary. I find this absolutely maddening. Whoever thought that we needed a new notation for the accepted usage obviously knew nothing about computers. What exactly is the use of counting contiguous chunks of bytes in base 10? There’s a very straightforward and practical reason why base 2 is used, and I really resent being told by some that I’ve been doing it wrong just because some people can’t be bothered to accept convention.

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