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M=K=Thousand

M is a Roman for thousand. Where does K come from then? Which language does the word kilo come of?

Sathyaish Chakravarthy
Sunday, May 09, 2004

http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=kilo

[French, from Greek khlioi, thousand. See gheslo- in Indo-European Roots.]

Adam V.
Sunday, May 09, 2004

Except when it comes to computing..... where M refers to 1024

anal I know, but I am sick of hard drive selers short changing folk!

Tapiwa
Sunday, May 09, 2004

when k = 1000, doesn't M = Mega = 1,000,000?

Chris Crawshaw
Sunday, May 09, 2004

you are right.

kilobytes is 1024 bytes

megabytes should be 1024 kilobytes which is 1024*1024 bytes!

Tapiwa
Sunday, May 09, 2004

Wrong:

kB = kilobyte =  1_000 bytes
MB = megabyte = 1_000_000 bytes.

This is the official standard. Also:

kibibyte = 1024 bytes
mebibyte = 1024 x 1024 bytes

Karel Thönissen (www.hello.nl)
Sunday, May 09, 2004

guess the jury is still out on this one...

http://www.webopedia.com/TERM/K/kilobyte.html

http://www.quinion.com/words/turnsofphrase/tp-kib1.htm

have to admit that this is the first time I have heard of this term, which was supposedly introduced circa '98 (and I have been tinkering with bytes since the mid 80's!). Does not seem to have been accepted too widely.

I am sure I would get wierd stares if I order a 250 Gibibyte HDD instead of a 250 Gigabyte one.

(where a
  Giga =10^9 or 1,000,000,000
vs
  Gibi = 20^30 or 1,073,741,824
)

7.3% difference.

Tapiwa
Sunday, May 09, 2004

Neither is of the sources you mention is the jury. The prefixes kilo, etc., are international standards now maintained by ISO, and they have exactly one meaning. Period.

Funny that you mention jury. As if juries are to decide on matters like these. Makes me think of one of the states in the USA where congres was about to decide that pi equals exactly 3.

Karel Thönissen (www.hello.nl)
Monday, May 10, 2004

not wishing to be derailed, the term "the jury is still out"  is a phrase that means ....
http://www.goenglish.com/TheJuryIsOut.asp
(*hint. Nothing to do with real juries)

While the ISO might maintain standards on the kilo, and the IEC on the kiki, a standard is no good unless there is acceptance.

6 yrs later and I am only just hearing about it. Don't think too many other folk have heard of it too if the posts in the other thread are anything to go by.

Maybe next time the ISO sits to discuss standards, they will just throw in the towel and have kilo(etc) suffixed with bytes as the exception. Maybe the IEC will prevail. Maybe indeed someone will petition their congressman and get the law to changed to allow you to do a #6 on anyone who uses the terms incorrectly.

Not sure how it will pan out, 6 yrs later. Hence the term "the jury is still out on this one"

Tapiwa
Monday, May 10, 2004

I very well know what 'the jury is still out' means. That is not the point.

The point is that the word kilo, has an exact meaning. That is not open to negotiation. Not by a jury, not by committee.

Karel Thönissen (www.hello.nl)
Monday, May 10, 2004

Just because the international body with the status and authority to decide on a change in terminology does so, it doesn't necessarily follow that anyone will take any notice of them.  English is a language that works on custom and practice and trying to persuade us otherwise is a bit of a thankless task.

a cynic writes...
Monday, May 10, 2004

That is the difference between the Anglosaxons and the rest of the world.

Karel Thönissen (www.hello.nl)
Monday, May 10, 2004

Last time I checked, I was neither Anglo, nor Saxon :-) I do however agree with the cynic.

Since we are heading in that direction, that a "bunch of middle aged men" should sit around a table and decide that something is so does not necessarily make it so. It is reminiscent of the good old days where both religion and science were passed down from the church. To question anything was heretic.

Kilobytes have existed for years, and in most tech circles, ****-byte is assumed to refer to 2^x instead of 10^x.

As you rightly pointed out, more middle aged white men decided to call them kibis instead of kilos. That still does not make it so. What I am arguing is that where the word kilo- (and family) is used as a prefix to byte, it might be an idea to stick smallprint that says that you ascribe to the ISO definition of the prefix instead of the colloquial.

Just because the ISO defines a standard does not necessarily mean that I ascribe to the said standard.

Tapiwa
Monday, May 10, 2004

Forgot the obigatory pithy quotation ...

The nice thing about standards is that there are so many of them to choose from.
  --  Andrew S. Tanenbaum

(also attributed to Ken Olsen, founder of Digital Equipment Corporation)

Tapiwa
Monday, May 10, 2004

The only place 10^9 is used instead of 2^30 is by hard drive manufacturers. Everything else uses the binary version (for example, if you have 2 gigabytes of RAM, you have 2,097,152, not 2,000,000). And, in fact, all the displays inside all the OSes that I'm aware of use the 2^30 notation as well, even for hard drives.

As far as I'm concerned, it's the disk manufacturers making all the confusion.

Brad Wilson (dotnetguy.techieswithcats.com)
Monday, May 10, 2004

We make the difference between binary numbers and prefixes and decimal numbers and prefixes, and it helps us to find bugs in our code and specifications. That should be a sufficient argument I think.

Karel Thönissen (www.hello.nl)
Monday, May 10, 2004

It's the first time I've ever heard of the kibibyte. If you hadn't told me what it was I would have presumed it was some kind of chocolate biscuit.

A standard that is almost completely ignored is not a standard. The problem seems to lie with telecommunication engineers, who also use the decimal version. Otherwise the ISO could just make  2^10 the standard. The other way round would mean all computer OS's would be wrong: -- a nightmare.

Of course there is more confusion. It seems that for a megabyte, floppy manufactures chose 1,024*1,000 which manages to be wrong by both standards, but does explain why your floppies always seem to lose three or four KB. And it seems that some USB flash manufacturers have taken over the standard as my 256MB  SAN flash disk shows up with only just over 250MB.

Stephen Jones
Monday, May 10, 2004

> Otherwise the ISO could just make  2^10 the standard.

For example, 1 kilometre = 1024 yards.

Christopher Wells
Monday, May 10, 2004

Do I detect a note of sarcasm there?

It is pretty stupid to insist on a decimal standard for binary. So to make kilo  = 2^10 and mega 2^20 when dealing with binary numbers would be reasonable.

Stephen Jones
Monday, May 10, 2004

> Do I detect a note of sarcasm there?

I think you may.

> So to make kilo  = 2^10 and mega 2^20 when dealing with binary numbers would be reasonable.

It would be reasonable, to people whose languages support overloaded operators. But how can I tell when a number (e.g. the number of bytes on a hard drive) is binary instead of decimal?

Christopher Wells
Monday, May 10, 2004

As it stands at present you don't know. In fact, as I pointed out in the thread above, there is the possiblity it is following the floppy standard of IMB  = 1024*1000 bytes.

If you're stuck just look at the number of bytes. But iit is stupid to adopt a standard only used by salesmen trying to persuade you you are getting more than you are, particularly when that number isn't divisable by anyithing. Rather like deciding that our unit of currency should be a guinea, but that the guinea should be exactly 253 old pence.

Stephen Jones
Monday, May 10, 2004

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