Megabyte vs Mebibyte (was Re: Language and English)

From: Ethan Dicks <>
Date: Fri Jan 4 12:39:08 2002

--- "Fred Cisin (XenoSoft)" <> wrote:
> My personal beef is with the use of 1024000 for a Megabyte. I prefer
> 1048576, will accept 1000000, but can't stand the use of 1024000.
> (A PC HD floppy is 80 tracks * 2 sides * 18 sectors per track * 512 bytes
> per sector -- how can you get "1.44 M" from THAT?)

Besides the 1000 x 1024 method, the moniker "1.44Mb" has an additional
marketing advantage - it's a simple multiple of 720K (which is really
a 1Mb raw floppy, formatted to 737,280 bytes under DOS, or 1024 x 720).
It's easier to conceptualize that a "1.44Mb" floppy holds twice as much
as a "720K" floppy. If you called it a "1.47Mb" floppy, I think there
would be even more confused newbies than there are now.

Think of your modem (presuming you have one - not everyone does these
days)... 28.8kbps goes to "56K" - ignoring the fact that the FCC limits
the ISP end's power so that you can't achive the theoretical maximum
speed, it's 57,600bps; but, calling it a "57.6K" modem or even a "fifty-
seven, six" modem isn't as catchy as "fifty-six kay".

Marketing and Mathematics - not much overlap. It was one of the reasons
that NIST is proposing "Mebibyte" as a term for a "binary" megabyte -
i.e., 1024 ^ 2 as opposed to 1000 ^ 2. People abuse the terms long
enough that they lose precision, and maybe you have to go out and
invent new, non-ambigious terms. Personally, I would rather not add
jargon for the sake of jargon, but we'll see how far this goes. I don't
think it reduces the confusion much.


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Received on Fri Jan 04 2002 - 12:39:08 GMT

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