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Computer Makers Sued Over Hard Drive Size

CowboyNeal posted more than 10 years ago | from the yep-size-still-matters dept.

The Courts 1090

FPCat writes "Finally, some one is doing something about one of my pet peeves. It seems a group of people are suing Apple, Dell, Gateway, HP, and others for misleading consumers about hard disk sizes. About time someone spoke up and said '1000 MB != 1 GB'" It's not much of a mystery to anyone who's up on industry practices, but it's similar to the way graphic displays are sized, cereal boxes are filled, and so on. Andy Rooney could have a field day with this one.

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fr0stiness (-1)

News For Turds (580751) | more than 10 years ago | (#6999375)

pr0stiness.

happy haloween bitches.

have a nice GO FUCK YOURSELF!

Re:fr0stiness (0, Offtopic)

HerbertLipschitz (656857) | more than 10 years ago | (#6999397)

Seagate employee?!?

Aah! My hard drive! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6999378)

I'm not supposed to get jigs in it!

It's not the size of your disk (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6999384)

It's how you use it. (Look, someone had to make the joke.)

Re:It's not the size of your disk (2, Interesting)

TWX (665546) | more than 10 years ago | (#6999465)

What if it's both? I have a multivolume disk array. What happens if I end up replacing one of my drives with a disk that looks like it should be big enough by the specs only to find out that its four or five megabytes too small? They're probably not going to buy my logic for why I'm returning it...

Re:It's not the size of your disk (5, Funny)

KikassAssassin (318149) | more than 10 years ago | (#6999522)

[dark helmet]
So, I see that your hard drive is as BIG AS MINE! Now... let's see how well you handle it.
[/dark helmet]

That's what they want you to think (5, Funny)

Compact Dick (518888) | more than 10 years ago | (#6999525)

But the truth is most women find bigger is better.

Yes I would know.

About TIME! (2)

nitrocloud (706140) | more than 10 years ago | (#6999385)

It's about time that false advertising get's thrashed.

Re:About TIME! (5, Funny)

michaeltoe (651785) | more than 10 years ago | (#6999563)

Explaining the binary system to a nation which can't even handle metric notation is unlikely to happen, even if the movement is backed by an angry mob...

Somebody help me (-1, Offtopic)

ILuvUAmiga (578974) | more than 10 years ago | (#6999387)

I'm at that point guys, the lowest of the low, been working on my project for three years, no money and I'm just beat, I'm mentally tired.

I own 60% of this: http://www.convea.com

Does anyone out there want to invest and help us grow? Does anyone want to my buy share a get controlling interest of a nice little dot.com with tons of potential?

email me, please, do something, anything. alan.carter@convea.com

I know, I know, it's spam, it ruins your reading pleasure but for God's sake, for once will anybody listen? You know I've personally really tried, *really* tried, I have given it everything but it just feels that nobody wants to give anyone a break these days unless you're connected or have the right family/education. What does it take to get a voice in this so called global village (POP: BILLIONS)?! Why, please, why is it so hard to talk to people with money? I *know* I could do anything with the net, and it's not just me, my partner who I wrote this with has sacrificed as much as I have, we went through hell getting this done, months and months spent sleeping on the floor waking up and hitting the computers and that was just the last stint and this has gone on for years and years. His marriage was a wreck, he never saw his kids, our families fell apart all because of this passion to see something work for once. We looked at the competition and thought yeah surely this time someone will see what we've done, just us two from the little none-existant north-east english village. Did they heck, nobody looks, nobody bats an eyelid at how we could trouce all of the big boys together and they CALL THEMSELVES VISIONARIES!!! What a bunch of jokers.

And no, you know what I'm going to lay it on the line here, we're all adults, we're all professionals, maybe one of you could even just give some good old fashioned advice. I cant know it all, I cant do *everything*, what happened to people helping each other out? I feel you know, I feel the same as other people, when people have a pop at my work I feel it personally- so what it requires IE to run, I mean, that's not that bad is it really? It's just a browser. Given time we would support every browser- I dont have a team of developers, technical authors, artists, UI specialists, marketing gurus or anything else just me. You see that website at Convea? I did that, the boards? I put those up. Convea itself? Yep, me and my friend wrote that, just the two of us. The documentation, .. yeah that was me! Can you see a trend? I try my damndest because I want to succeed and people just ignore us, we cant get a story on slashdot, journalists are busy, marketing people want $$$ before they even talk. I look at my mother who's worked all her life for pennies, who works 9-5 AND THEN spends more hours there after changing into her cleaning clothes and cleans the office. :o/ I sit here, I just want in my heart to once say yeah mam, yeah its working this time things will be good! But years tick by, she was 50 yesterday and I had a whopping 6 to really lavish on her. What happens when they are gone and I'm still here, how far do you take these things and if you stop, what happens to the wasted years? Want to know another funny thing? I appied for a job putting stuffing on pizza's last week and got rejected. Isn't that just one for the books!

How does it all work guys? I just dont know anymore, they say keep on trying and one day you'll succeed but I can safely say that in 17 years I have not even had the faintest glimmer that anything I do will work. Even was I a "games programmer", just as I got my break Commodore went under and so did sales of Amiga games. Oh how I laughed.

But lets get to the meat of this: money, the almighty dollar. Why is it that some companies get funding easy as pie, hey! Just ask! But us, heheh, us! We get zip, a big no thanks, no buster, not today come back when you have already made it into the bigtime THEN we'll back you. Well, well that's just a big help thankyouverymuch!! What about now? What about anything! What about just taking five minutes to really give it some thought?

I know I'm wearing my heart on my sleave and this probably isn't the place to be crying about how nasty the world is, but sometimes, just the unfairness of it all is too much. Today I read about the Phantom games console, which, come on guys- its a scam plain and simple. There is absolutely no details at all on the website its utterly vague but look how much attention he gets. I don't spam, in fact, I've really tried to be ethical and play the game but its not working- well, that's not 100% true, it's working just slowly, I know how big Convea should be, it DESERVES A CHANCE! Just read the comments we get from the people who have seen it, 99% say wow this is nice...it doesn't need a braniac to project those outwards.

Somebody out there must see it! Back us, buy it, its a product built on passion. Man what we could have done with a million dollars...its such a waste that people will spend that much on fancy office rental. I always say, just imagine Convea with CRM..but not some nasty CRM, a real integrated solution that sits right there in Convea and is as simple as easy to operate as outlook. Look at how well Convea could be sold into all the vertical markets with so little effort. Six months from now it could be a true web-platform, its modular approach lends it real flexibility- it could be used as a bulletin board or as a full business platform, intranet or in any vertical application. And you know I could talk about the infrastructure behind this vision, what's there now represents around 10% of what it could be. *sigh*

I'll hold off on the sales pitch :o) Come on guys, just talk to me one on one, pick up the phone and see that I'm 100% genuine, I'm not spamming, not selling a bum-deal I just want my fair chance at doing what I love doing and if someone would just give me a break I can and would give 100% onward. That's all I'm asking for really, my chance, my shot at the dream, and not just for me, for my partners in this who cant let go of it either, and for our families who have the same hopes as us but dont understand the frustrations but hold on to that dream.

Well I don't know what else to say, beg, help!! If you've read this far, thanks. If you run a VC, buy us, I won't sleep till we make this happen. If you have any advice, insults, work, send 'em this way, anything is better than apethy.

Thanks, Al. alan.carter@convea.com

Unnecessary confusion (5, Informative)

tarquin_fim_bim (649994) | more than 10 years ago | (#6999388)

In SI units [ex.ac.uk] (which most civilised counties use) M means mega which is defined as 10^6, i.e. 1000000 , it is only the computer industry that deems K (1000) to equal 1024 which it does not, then extrapolates this to give 1M = 1024 x 1024. This is absolute rubbish, a different system of quantification should be used when referring to binary powers, as the borrowing of those from SI is clearly misleading.

Re:Unnecessary confusion (4, Informative)

Stavr0 (35032) | more than 10 years ago | (#6999437)

Which is why they invented KiB, MiB, GiB [pcguide.com] which are 2^10 2^20 and 2^30.

Gibibyte -- still getting used to that one ...

Re:Unnecessary confusion (4, Interesting)

Captain Rotundo (165816) | more than 10 years ago | (#6999550)

I would support a government mandate that tech companies have to use binary SI prefixes on labels.
Mandating the current use of gigabyte but that it means 10^9 is too trouble some, but saying gibibytes is simple, people that don't care will either read it as "giga" not realizing, or be told by sales-people that its "the same thing". and they won't be surprised when the drive is the wrong size.

We have mandates on product labeling for many other products I think its time we force the industry to be upfront. Don't think this is an accident, the drive manufacturers knew EXACTLY what they were doing when they started using standard SI meanings for the prefixes, rather than the industry accepted practice.

Re:Unnecessary confusion (1)

Aadain2001 (684036) | more than 10 years ago | (#6999474)

Actually, using the SI units makes perfect sense. The only problem is that everyone is use to them being applied to base 10 math, while everything in the computer world is base 2. So:

10^3 meters = 1 kilometer

2^3 bytes = 1 kilobyte = 1024 bytes

This isn't like saying "1 kilobyte = 1234 bytes" or 4723 bytes or some other arbitrary number. There is real mathematical sense behind it. It's also what the industry has been using for a LONG time. It wasn't until marketing types got involved that this whole issue came up. If you want to market a 100GB drive, make damn sure that when the user plugs it all in, it say 100GB!. And no, just having MS change their definition won't help matters. At the hard of the problem is marketing wanting to get some "free" space by switching from the industry standard of measurement to something else. I support this lawsuite 100%!

Re:Unnecessary confusion (4, Funny)

PurpleBob (63566) | more than 10 years ago | (#6999497)

Helpful hint:
2^3 = 8
2^10 = 1024

Re:Unnecessary confusion (2, Insightful)

soft_guy (534437) | more than 10 years ago | (#6999542)

>2^3 bytes = 1 kilobyte = 1024 bytes

The last time I checked, two to the third power (2^3) is eight.

To get 1024, you would bit shift the binary value 1 up 10 places. (110)

Re:Unnecessary confusion (5, Informative)

jpallas (119914) | more than 10 years ago | (#6999480)

This units issue has been covered before. [slashdot.org] There's even an actual standard [nist.gov] .

Re:Unnecessary confusion (3, Informative)

Aglassis (10161) | more than 10 years ago | (#6999502)

You said: This is absolute rubbish, a different system of quantification should be used when referring to binary powers, as the borrowing of those from SI is clearly misleading.

There is a system that isn't used by many people. For example, it uses kibibyte [wolfram.com] for 2^10 bytes and mebibyte [wolfram.com] for 2^20 bytes (and so on).

Nonsense (1)

freeweed (309734) | more than 10 years ago | (#6999527)

There's no rule stopping the computing world from "borrowing" the term mega, to describe 2^20.

In fact, there's a lot of precedence. Look up any word beginning with 'mega' that ISN'T a *metric* unit of measurement, there are hundreds. Megalopolis, anyone? I'm pretty sure it doesn't refer to one million cities, the context makes that clear. Just as seeing 'byte' next to something has always indicated to everyone (with the exception of hard drive manufacturers) base 2, not 10.

It makes no sense to measure anything in a computer system in powers of 10, other than the make products look a few percent bigger, and confuse the public. The world got along just fine using MB, KB, etc until people started abusing it.

Re:Unnecessary confusion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6999537)

You should check your own reference. Lowercase "k" means 1000. A capital "K" means 1024. And capital "M" does mean 10^6.

Of course, I might be remembering this wrong, hence Anonymous Coward.

Re:Unnecessary confusion (4, Insightful)

H1r0Pr0tag0n1st (449433) | more than 10 years ago | (#6999557)

This is absolute rubbish, a different system of quantification should be used when referring to binary powers, as the borrowing of those from SI is clearly misleading.

This is of course why 19 inch monitors are now labeld with thier viewable size in addition to the tube size. Because of a lawsuit just like this...

GNAA HAS TEH BIGGEST HARDRIVES (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6999393)

OH yes,. its true.,

Step in the right direction (2, Insightful)

Dancin_Santa (265275) | more than 10 years ago | (#6999394)

I'd totally be on board with these people except that instead of 1000Mb == 1 Gb, 1024Mb == 1Gb.

They are getting MORE than they think!

Re:Step in the right direction (1)

Sayten241 (592677) | more than 10 years ago | (#6999421)

Or missing more than they think, depending on how you wanna look at it

Re:Step in the right direction (2)

InfiniteWisdom (530090) | more than 10 years ago | (#6999438)

No they're not... when you pay for a 4.3 GB disk you should be getting about 4.6 billion bytes, not 4.3

Re:Step in the right direction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6999534)

No. When you buy a 4.3GB disk drive, you should get 4.3 gigabytes. That is, by proper SI definition, 4.3 billion bytes. If you're looking for 4.6 billion bytes, buy a 4.6 GB bytes.

The fact that the computer industry improperly defined kilo- as 2^10, mega- as 2^20, and giga- as 2^30 for describing memory sizes doesn't change the proper meaning of the terms.

In fact, a standard set of SI units has been invented which fixes this discrepancy: 1 KiB (kibibyte) = 1024B, 1 MiB (mebibyte) = 1024KiB, and 1 GiB (gibibyte) = 1024MiB.

SI definitions (3, Informative)

Chmarr (18662) | more than 10 years ago | (#6999399)

Actually, 1000MB == 1GB...

you're probably thinking 1024MiB = 1GiB

If someone is suing Apple, etc, over the definition of 'mega', then they're going to lose.

Re:SI definitions (5, Insightful)

Jucius Maximus (229128) | more than 10 years ago | (#6999460)

I expect that this is really confusing for the typical customer. These are the observations I generally accept as true:

1. For hard drives, the industry defines 1000 MB = 1 GB
2. For RAM, the industry defines 1024 MB = 1 GB
3. For mp3 players, it depends
4. For CD-R, DVD-R/w, the industry defines 1024 MB = 1 GB
5. For USB flash drives, the industry defines 1000 MB = 1 GB.

Unless you are very used to dealing with these markets, they can be hellishly difficult to understand.

Re:SI definitions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6999471)

Hard drive and computer manufacturers use the term "gigabyte" to refer
to one billion bytes, as they once touted a million bytes as a
"megabyte" back when big hard drives were still small enough to be
reasonably measured in such small units.

Well, now that I think about it, not all of them did back then. My
first hard drive-yes, kids, the stories you've heard from your parents
are true; hard drives used to be optional in computers-was labled as 40
megabytes, and MS-DOS 3.3 agreed with that figure. (MS-DOS? That was
what we used for Windows back before there was Windows...but I
digress.) You see, to your operating system a kilobyte isn't 1,000
bytes-it's 1,024. A megabyte is 1,024 times that figure, and a gigabyte
1,024 times that again.

So the figure Windows XP reported for your Dell's hard drive-as a quick
check with a calculator will verify-is just about right on. The Asus
drive, though, should have come out to about 37 gigabytes. I imagine
that if we're talking about a pre-installed OEM version of Win XP that
the manufacturer supplied, it could have a big hidden partition to
handle things like suspend-to-disk hibernation, especially if the
machine has a lot of RAM installed. Two gigabytes doesn't seem
unreasonable under those circumstances.

Are the manufacturers engaging in deceptive advertising? Well, probably
not exactly. At least these days many of them have added an additional
disclaimer to the standard "GB = 1 billion bytes" in their fine print.
Now they're explaining that the actual capacity of the hard drive
depends on the operating system installed on it. However, since you can
usually count the number of non-Windows users in a room filled with a
hundred computer owners without using up all your fingers, they might as
well go ahead and tell you what Windows will report the size of the
drive as-especially if it's in a computer that already has Windows
installed on it. Since the Windows capacity is the only one most buyers
of such machines will ever actually see (if they even bother to look) ,
it's beyond me why sellers aren't up front about i

Re:SI definitions (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6999491)

Pedant.

fuck y'all (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6999402)

klaimed

Ewww! (3, Funny)

HeroicAutobot (171588) | more than 10 years ago | (#6999404)

From the article (emphasis mine):

The lawsuit asks for an injunction against the purportedly unfair marketing practices, an order requiring the defendants to disclose their practices to the public, restitution, disgorgement of ill-gotten profits and attorneys' fees.

I'm not sure what disgorgement means, but it sounds really gross.

Re:Ewww! (5, Funny)

civad (569109) | more than 10 years ago | (#6999470)

disgorge
v. disgorged, disgorging, disgorges
v. tr.

1. To bring up and expel from the throat or stomach; vomit.
2. To discharge violently; spew.
3. To surrender (stolen goods or money, for example) unwillingly.

I would love it if the statement "The lawsuit asks......" uses disgorgement to describe the first meaning. I doubt Apple, etc. would do as meaning (2) suggests. Meaning (3) seems appropriate in this context.

Unfortunately 1 GB = 1000 MB (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6999409)

Due to the confusion between base 10 and base 2, the base 2 version of MB is now MiB and the base 2 version of GB is now GiB. Confusing but thats how it is.

Slashdotted - Ob Repost (-1)

Michael's a Jerk! (668185) | more than 10 years ago | (#6999411)

Computer Makers Sued Over Hard-Drive Size Claims


Thu Sep 18, 5:00 PM ET
Add Technology - Reuters to My Yahoo!

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A group of computer owners has filed a lawsuit against some of the world's biggest makers of personal computers, claiming that their advertising deceptively overstates the true capacity of their hard drives.

delayed 20 mins - disclaimer
Quote Data provided by Reuters

Missed Tech Tuesday?
Get wireless Internet to go - here's how. Plus, the scoop on service plans, security and more.

The lawsuit, which seeks class action status, was filed earlier this week in Los Angeles Superior Court against Apple Computer Inc.

The lawsuit brought by Los Angeles residents Lanchau Dan, Adam Selkowitz, Tim Swan and John Zahabian centers around the way that computer hard drives are described by manufacturers.

Representatives of the eight defendants were not immediately available to comment.

According to the lawsuit, computer hard drive capacities are described in promotional material in decimal notation, but the computer reads and writes data to the drives in a binary system.

The result is that a hard drive described as being 20 gigabytes would actually have only 20.3 gigabytes of readable capacity, the lawsuit said.

The plaintiffs said this difference in convention is deceptive and leaves buyers with less storage than they thought they were getting when they purchased their computers.

For example, when a consumer buys what he thinks is a 150 gigabyte hard drive, the plaintiffs said, he actually gets only 140 gigabytes of storage space. That missing 10 gigabytes, they claim, could store an extra 2,000 digitized songs or 20,000 pictures.

The lawsuit asks for an injunction against the purportedly unfair marketing practices, an order requiring the defendants to disclose their practices to the public, restitution, disgorgement of ill-gotten profits and attorneys' fees.

Mail to Friend Email Story
Message Boards Post/Read

New G5 ad.... (1)

unclethursday (664807) | more than 10 years ago | (#6999416)

says 512 GB worth of storage can be supported. And they mention that that's half a terrabyte (think of all the pr0n!). 1024 GB = 1 TB.

That doesn't sound like any false advertising to me. But I haven't looked at other ads for hard drives in a while.

Thursdae

Re:New G5 ad.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6999451)

that just goes to show how completly worthless apple are. 512GB in 2003? How much RAM can it handle? 32MB?

Re:New G5 ad.... (1)

Daniel_Staal (609844) | more than 10 years ago | (#6999516)

512GB was the RAM.

Ummm... (1)

winkydink (650484) | more than 10 years ago | (#6999479)

Unless they changed the metric system, 1000 GB = 1 TB

Whats next? 56k!=56k/s? (2, Interesting)

FileNotFound (85933) | more than 10 years ago | (#6999417)

Thats just stupid. I think the lawsuit is innapropriate.

HD manufacturers always measuered their disks like that.

What next? Will people sue that their 56k modems are not 56kilobytes/second? Or that their DSL line is 1.5Mbits and not bytes?

This is just silly. They might as well complain that they lose size in formating.

Re:Whats next? 56k!=56k/s? (1)

clifgriffin (676199) | more than 10 years ago | (#6999484)

56k is 56k.

They overclock the modem, to give it an extra boost to make sure it at least reaches the FCC established limits.

Clif

Re:Whats next? 56k!=56k/s? (1)

FileNotFound (85933) | more than 10 years ago | (#6999514)

Yes but it's 56kilobits. Maybe I am a retard and was confused and thought it was kilobytes.

Why not sue for that? This is stupid.

not to mention (1)

Trepidity (597) | more than 10 years ago | (#6999543)

In this context, kilobits means 1000 bits, not 1024. So a 56 kbps modem corresponds (ideally) to around 6.84 kilobytes (of the 1024-bit variety) per second.

Re:Whats next? 56k!=56k/s? (1)

MikeD83 (529104) | more than 10 years ago | (#6999519)

On a modem, 56k does not stand for kilobytes. It stands for kilobits.

Granted you'll never use your 56K modem to it's capabilities because the high power burns out the phone company's system- but that's another story.

Re:Whats next? 56k!=56k/s? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6999533)

Actually, I think that for modems, 56K = = 5.6K/S (of course, ignoring the limitations imposed by phone lines). I believe that when a byte of information is sent over a modem, a stop bit and a start bit are used, so 10 bits used per byte, so 56kilobits actually sends 5.6kilobytes of usable data.

Re:Whats next? 56k!=56k/s? (5, Interesting)

badasscat (563442) | more than 10 years ago | (#6999536)

Thats just stupid. I think the lawsuit is innapropriate.

HD manufacturers always measuered their disks like that.


No, they did not. You young'uns probably don't remember it, but the first hard drive I ever owned was 10MB - 10240KB, on the dot (give or take a few bytes).

The binary switchover happened as a marketing scheme sometime between 100MB and 1GB - it was at one of those two milestones, as one of the major manufacturers wanted bragging rights getting there first, as I recall. Since then, all sorts of revisionist history has been written claiming that 1GB was really 1,000MB all along when it plain and simply is not true.

Look, whatever the dictionary tells you "giga" means, this is a technical term that means something else in the computer world, and has always meant something else in the computer world. The same way that words like "token ring" don't mean the same thing in PC land as they do in real life. If you bought a "token ring adapter" from Cisco and opened the box to find a device that allowed you to slip a Cracker Jack box toy ring over your finger, would you not feel a bit deceived?

Andy Rooney (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6999419)

Andy Rooney could have a field day with this one.

Yeah, and while he's at it he can rile up the feminists by making a comment about how females shouldn't use computers. :)

Yes it is. (1, Interesting)

MasterOfDisaster (248401) | more than 10 years ago | (#6999420)

A gigabyte IS 1000 megabytes. A megabyte is, however, NOT 1024 kilobytes or 104576 bytes. That's MiB and GiB you're thinking of. Giga and Mega are SI prefexes. Not binary compatible.

Re:Yes it is. (1)

InfiniteWisdom (530090) | more than 10 years ago | (#6999454)

Surely you mean 10487578

Re:Yes it is. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6999466)

Boy, there is no shortage of pedants that need to grind this axe.

Do you realize that a food labeling calorie is really a kilocalorie? That's right, a snickers bar is actuall 220,000 calories.

Who fucking cares.

kilo/mega/giga are powers of 10, not 2 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6999423)

bah, 1000 Mb is 1 GB...these people just don't know what a GiB is :)

This is really a shame. (2, Insightful)

Ophidian P. Jones (466787) | more than 10 years ago | (#6999424)

On Slashdot, we normally complain about frivolous lawsuits. Doesn't this fall under that category? I'm POSITIVE that every hard drive I've bought in the past several years has come with an explanation of what each individual manufacturer considers one KB, MB, or GB to be equal to.

I hope this gets dismissed quickly.

apple says (5, Informative)

photoblur (552862) | more than 10 years ago | (#6999425)

According to Apple's website [apple.com]
1GB = 1 billion bytes; actual formatted capacity less.
it's in the fine print at the bottom of the above linked page

Like, no way, like oh my gosh, like wow, like wow! (-1)

NakedChick (699757) | more than 10 years ago | (#6999427)

They're still going to get it wrong. Here's the marketing conversion:

150.3239 = ( ( ( ( 140 * 1024 * 1024 * 1024 ) / 1000 ) / 1000 ) / 1000

Here's what will be interpreted by worrisome vendors who are trying to avoid a class action like this one.

130.3852 = ( ( ( ( 140 * 1000 * 1000 * 1000 ) / 1024 ) / 1024 ) / 1024

Is this a bad thing? Well, in about 5 years we'll have another class action that says that everyone knows that 130 really means 140, but this 130 is only 130, so where's my extra storage? By then, it'll be terabytes, so just add another multiplication/division iteration. But what would I know? I'm just a naked chick.

MOD PARENT UP, SHE'S NAKED C'MON! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6999507)

MOD PARENT UP, SHE'S NAKED C'MON!

Reason: Don't use so many caps. It's like YELLING.

Also quite annoying. (1, Troll)

rkz (667993) | more than 10 years ago | (#6999429)

You always find that after the filesystem is on a drive that it is even smaller.

It would be better for Hard Drive manufacturers to quote the size after formatting and installing a filesystem to avoid confusion.

Seriously how much is an extra gig or 2 going to cost them?

Re:Also quite annoying. (1)

InfiniteWisdom (530090) | more than 10 years ago | (#6999488)

It would be better for Hard Drive manufacturers to quote the size after formatting and installing a filesystem to avoid confusion.

I don't know if you're trolling or trying to be funny or what.... but quote the size after formatting and installing WHICH filesystem? FAT16? FAT32? NTFS? EXT2? EXT3? Is it a single partition?

Maybe they should also account for the fact they there is slack at the end of each file, so you can't actually use all the space unless you have all files as multiples of 2.

Re:Also quite annoying. (1)

clickster (669168) | more than 10 years ago | (#6999517)

Doesn't the amount you lose to formatting depend on what filesystem you use? And possibly cluster size? There's a very good chance that I am completely wrong on this so would someone who knows for sure please respond?

Re:Also quite annoying. (1)

wo1verin3 (473094) | more than 10 years ago | (#6999562)

I just replaced a hdd in my boxen with a 60GB maxtor drive, here is the text from the box:

'A gigabyte means 1 billion bytes. Total accessible capacity varies depending on operating environment.'

That said, do Dell, Gateway, and HP even manufacturer their own drives? I would assume no, IBM did manufacturer some until Hitachi took over everything. Shouldn't you be going after the hard disk manufacturers if anyone at all?

"after formatting" (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6999518)

:It would be better for Hard Drive manufacturers to quote the size after formatting and installing a filesystem to avoid confusion.

This would depend on the file system installed, and the settings of this file system. (journal, etc)

They may be able to give quotes on the simple FAT filesystem, but anything more than that would be impossible, even the mainstream NTFS filesystem.

Re:Also quite annoying. (1)

Cska Sofia (705257) | more than 10 years ago | (#6999521)

That rather depends on what sort of filesystem you use, surely. All the manufacturer needs to state is how many physical bytes their drive can hold. What done with that capacity afterwards is none of their concern, nor should it be.

Re:Also quite annoying. (1)

canadianjoe (692195) | more than 10 years ago | (#6999551)

But which filesystem? FAT32 !=NTFS != Ext3 != ReiserFS

Re:Also quite annoying. (0, Redundant)

ComputerSlicer23 (516509) | more than 10 years ago | (#6999554)

Uhhh, hate to point out the obvious, but I'm going to anyways....

Would that be after you formatted the drive with NTFS, FAT32?

Would that be with ext2 or ext3?

When formatted with ext2 or ext3, what's the block size? How many inodes? How many duplicate super blocks? In the case of ext3, how large is the journal?

How many files will be stored on it? What will the average file size be? In the case of reiserfs do you use tail packing?

How did you partition the drive? Which style of partitioning did you use?

Is it part of a RAID array? Is it part of an LVM volume group?

There are a lot of factors that affect the size available space on a harddrive. The only thing they can control is the size of the raw filesystem.

Kirby

Sue Sue Sue (1)

Natchswing (588534) | more than 10 years ago | (#6999430)

I don't think there's anything in the world that isn't atleast partly misleading. Some more important than others.

I had this argument with a kid in eighth grade.

But the important point, can't these people with money to hire lawyers go after something worth fighting for? You pick one:
RIAA
Patriot Act
SCO
Definition of GB

RIAA chuckles in background (4, Funny)

Lord_Dweomer (648696) | more than 10 years ago | (#6999432)

"That missing 10 gigabytes, they claim, could store an extra 2,000 digitized songs"

Oh the horror!!!!!!!!

Re:RIAA chuckles in background (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6999531)

Please quote correctly. It is "The horror, the horror" or "Oh, the humanity"

Just trying to keep as frivolous as the topic.

In Other News: (3, Funny)

wo1verin3 (473094) | more than 10 years ago | (#6999434)

From the Article:
>>For example, when a consumer buys what he
>>thinks is a 150 gigabyte hard drive, the
>>plaintiffs said, he actually gets only 140
>>gigabytes of storage space. That missing 10
>>gigabytes, they claim, could store an extra
>>2,000 digitized songs or 20,000 pictures.

In other news, the RIAA is going the way of minority report and has started a new pre-download offensive.

The RIAA is now hunting children down and suing parents over the potential songs that could be stored in the extra 10GB missing on 150GB hard disks.

i don't get it (2, Interesting)

inkedmn (462994) | more than 10 years ago | (#6999441)

did somebody buy a 100gb drive with the intent of using EVERY LAST BYTE of it when they realized it actually works out to a touch less? if i tell somebody it's 100 degrees outside and it's actually 97, it's HOT.

people need to get a life, seriously...

Re:i don't get it (1)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 10 years ago | (#6999504)

Look, I have a 20gig iPod. Actual capacity? 18,5 gig.

That's not right.

What if you went to buy a liter of milk and only got 900 mililiters. 10 times in a row and you lost one whole liter!

Re:i don't get it (2, Insightful)

King_TJ (85913) | more than 10 years ago | (#6999526)

What's not to get? It's like most computer industry lawsuits.... Nit-picking over small details in an attempt to earn notoriety and profit.

that really depends on your units, now doesn't it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6999528)

Are you using Fahrenheight or Celsius? a 12 degree difference != a 3 degree difference.

yea i realize you're talking Fahrenheight, but the whole point of the suit is to get them to be exact

Fine Print (2, Funny)

someguy456 (607900) | more than 10 years ago | (#6999447)

So now we're going to see fine print saying "Warning: actual byte conversions may vary" !

Re:Fine Print (2, Informative)

OverlordQ (264228) | more than 10 years ago | (#6999482)

It's already there on every hard drive box, it says something along the lines of "The Manufacturer considers 1GB to equal 1000MB"

Another reason why we need tort reform (4, Insightful)

winkydink (650484) | more than 10 years ago | (#6999455)

The lawsuit asks for an injunction against the purportedly unfair marketing practices, an order requiring the defendants to disclose their practices to the public, restitution, disgorgement of ill-gotten profits and attorneys' fees

So, a bunch of lawyers get obscenely rich and 2 years from now we all get a $5.00 coupon toward the purchase of a new disk.

Re:Another reason why we need tort reform (5, Funny)

GordoSlasher (243738) | more than 10 years ago | (#6999524)

So, a bunch of lawyers get obscenely rich and 2 years from now we all get a $5.00 coupon toward the purchase of a new disk.

I was expecting $5.12

Re:Another reason why we need tort reform (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6999569)

Considering the longer term reliability problems that the current crop of drives seems to have we'll all need to buy new HDs from them anyways, so every little bit helps, $5.00, $10.00, $1.83, whatever.

Songs or porn? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6999456)

I somehow doubt that :-

That missing 10 gigabytes, they claim, could store an extra 2,000 digitized songs

is going to leave a favorable impression on the judges, they should just stick to their porn claim

. . .or 20,000 pictures.

to get on their good side

Re:Songs or porn? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6999523)

And pretty good resolution porn at that, song sample is pretty damn decent as well, I would have thought they could have made better claims with a lower bit rate sample.

misleading summary (1)

j1mmy (43634) | more than 10 years ago | (#6999462)

the article says nothing about the MB to GB. I think what these idiots are complaining about is the lost disk space due to filesystem metadata. either way, they're bound to lose.

Re:misleading summary (1)

hawkeyeMI (412577) | more than 10 years ago | (#6999544)

I think this is more the case. One loses only a small amount of space between GB and GiB, but vast amounts of space due to filesystem overhead (comparatively). In that case their lawsuit will probably go over like a lead balloon. Nothing like nontechies getting in over their heads.

Definition of GB or Formatting? (1)

thedillybar (677116) | more than 10 years ago | (#6999463)

Are they complaining about what a GB is or the fact that you only end up with 95% of the drive when you get done formatting?

...monitors should be next! (5, Funny)

DevNull (6840) | more than 10 years ago | (#6999464)

17" monitors, with 15.7" viewable?
Ya, I have an 11 inch... but you can only see 6.

This is lawsuit material? (2, Insightful)

weston (16146) | more than 10 years ago | (#6999468)

Anyone who can understand that there's a difference between deciding a KB is 1000 bytes vs 1024 bytes should also know better than to make this into a lawsuit. I'll bet the motivation isn't even so much to screw consumers as to avoid confusing them. Once your average american on the street groks the metric system, explaining that we're working with multiples of 2^10 instead of 10^3 isn't going play well.

If you're really in a tizzy about this, just invent the distinction "binary GB|MB|KB" and "decimal GB|MB|KB" and stick with that.

Re:This is lawsuit material? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6999486)

If you're really in a tizzy about this, just invent the distinction "binary GB|MB|KB" and "decimal GB|MB|KB" and stick with that.

That's been done. The result is the somewhat clumsy-sounding GiB (gibibyte), MiB (mebibyte), and KiB (kibibite).

Here's how it will play out (1)

jonblaze (140753) | more than 10 years ago | (#6999473)

I'm not familiar with California civil procedure, but if it's similar to federal civil procedure, the next--and most important--step is to certify the "class." If the court certifies the class, it's Settlement City with millions to go to the attorneys and coupons (or some other pittance) to go to the class. If not, game over for the plaintiffs who will then have to pay some serious attorney's fees.

Isn't it about time for some class action reform?

Very simple.. (2, Funny)

Sir Pallas (696783) | more than 10 years ago | (#6999492)

Just read the box. All the HDs I've bought come in boxes that say "A megabyte is 1,000,000 bytes." Given, they are older hard drives. If anyone is worried, they can just cat /dev/hda | wc to be sure.

They won't win (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6999494)

Every hard drive (even on web sites that sell systems) has a disclaimer that it isn't the "actual" byte size.

Standardise measurements (2, Interesting)

Master Of Ninja (521917) | more than 10 years ago | (#6999496)

I really think that people should standardise the meaning of kilo-, and giga- to their SI meanings. The is a google cache link [216.239.53.104] to a web page about the proposed changes where they would change to SI definitions, and new prefixes (kibi, gibi) would come into to define the warped computer terminology defintions of kilo- and giga-. It would be less fuss for most people, and everyone could then get on without all this trivial garbage.

What about... (4, Insightful)

ADRA (37398) | more than 10 years ago | (#6999508)

those hard drives that are sold as 80gb drives, but have 20GB partitions allocated for the OS 'backup'. That's my pet peave. Luckally I don't buy systems with that 'feature'

If PDA manufacturers can get sued for it, why not their desktop counterparts?

Great (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6999510)

This gives my computer-illiterate family and friends to bitch to me about at get togethers.

"My hard drive is a few mega-whatever's short. Is there a program I can download? Can you fix it?"

GB Drives are for pirates! (1)

meckardt (113120) | more than 10 years ago | (#6999529)

"For example, when a consumer buys what he thinks is a 150 gigabyte hard drive, the plaintiffs said, he actually gets only 140 gigabytes of storage space. That missing 10 gigabytes, they claim, could store an extra 2,000 digitized songs or 20,000 pictures. "

Digitized songs? Hasn't the RIAA made a determination that these must be pirated material? This means that only music pirates and similar scum have an interest in measuring hard disk in Gigabytes rather than 1000 Megabytes.

Sweet (1)

TLouden (677335) | more than 10 years ago | (#6999532)

Me and my 20-30 gigs of missing space (yeah, i gotta lot of computers) want in on this one.

Apple says... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6999539)

As quoted from here [apple.com] , "1GB = 1 billion bytes; actual formatted capacity less".

From NIST... (5, Informative)

wirelessbuzzers (552513) | more than 10 years ago | (#6999548)

From NIST [nist.gov]
Unit Prefix Abbreviation
2^10 kibi Ki
2^20 mebi Mi
2^30 gibi Gi
2^40 tebi Ti
2^50 pebi Pi
2^60 exbi Ei

Examples and comparisons with SI prefixes

1 Kibit = 2^10 bit = 1024 bit
1 kbit = 10^3 bit = 1000 bit
1 MiB = 2^20 B = 1 048 576 B
1 MB = 10^6 B = 1 000 000 B
1 GiB = 2^30 B = 1 073 741 824 B
1 GB = 10^9 B = 1 000 000 000 B
In particular, 20 GB = 18.6 GiB. So, they're telling the truth, albeit in a not-so-honest way; it's really the disk info page that's lying.

It's also worth noting that EXT2 and some other UNIX-based filesystems reserve a certain percent of the space; this makes their available capacity smaller for non-root users.

Yeah, and same for... (1)

Polo (30659) | more than 10 years ago | (#6999552)

...and same for salaries.

I mean, if you make $10k/year, the decimal notation cheats you out of $240. $100k/year and you are making $2400 less.

This has always irritated me. (5, Insightful)

Cyberllama (113628) | more than 10 years ago | (#6999560)

I mean, who decided you could do this? My 120 gig drive is really only 112 gigs. If I sold gasoline for 1.29 a gallon, then put a little footnoot on my sign that said "*Gallon is used to mean 32 oz" you better believe I'd be sued. You can't just redefine things like that -- its deceptive. How many people buy 120 gig hard drivers not realizing they're really only getting 112 gigabytes?

Also, as a side note if anyone else is looking to sue someone, ice cream manufacturers recently reduced the amount of ice cream in their half-gallon containers rather than raise the cost. Despite the fact that thye no longer actually contain a half gallon, they are still clearly labelled "half gallon" on the containers (Though the ounces are properly listed, and anyone who knows how many ounces there are in a gallon knows they're being shortchanged).

Deceptive marketting practices make baby jesus cry. . .

Tactics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6999565)

I'm going to use my class action cupon to pay my SCO liscence.

Sue the auto manufacturers as well? (5, Interesting)

EmpNorton (124581) | more than 10 years ago | (#6999566)

Car, truck, and motorcycle represent their motors rounded usually to the nearest 100. My 1100cc motorcycle is actually onlt 1085cc. Isnt this sort of behavior rampany? Are 50mg pills always 50mg? Certainly 2x4 lumber is not actually 2x4. I would think making everything absolutely accurate would simple confuse the average consumer.

This just seems silly.

Compact Flash (1)

jolyonr (560227) | more than 10 years ago | (#6999567)

I have two Compact Flash cards from Sandisk, one is labelled 30Mb and was bought in 1999, the other was bought last year and is labelled 32Mb - guess what, they are both the same capacity.

So sometime between then and now, they've decided to change from an honest reporting of size to a dishonest one. It wasn't a matter of "it's always the way its been", someone there made a conscious decision to mislead.

(oh yeah, and I'm angry because that 2Mb could store half a digitized song!)

doesn't really make sense (1)

Trepidity (597) | more than 10 years ago | (#6999570)

It's one of the two generally used systems when dealing with computer data: one based on the SI units (base 10), and one based on base 2. Arguably the latter were ill-chosen without much foresight: 1024 bits was "close enough" to 1000 to call it a kilobyte, but as you go up, it gets worse, so 2^10, 2^20, 2^30, etc. should have had their own names, not recycled the SI prefixes. Of course, that's what's happened now (kibibyte, Mebibyte, etc.), but nobody uses those.

In any case, the lawsuit doesn't make much sense to me. It's fairly common practice to measure things this way, even with computers. Your 56k modem actually transfers 56000 bits per second; your 128kbps mp3 is 128000 bits per second (not 128 x 1024), and so on.
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