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Author Topic: Stupid Lawsuit Of The Day
GMx

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Icon 8 posted September 19, 2003 08:28      Profile for GMx     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Someone has actually brought a class action lawsuit against computer manufacturers because they say that when a hard drive space is listed as say, 40 gigs, it's really only 37.5. The Mac Observer has an article about it. As it says, these people are either stupid newbies or opportunistic money grubbers.
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DoctorWho

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Icon 1 posted September 19, 2003 09:05      Profile for DoctorWho     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
While I agree that it is ridiculous, they could very well win. They do have precedent with monitor sizes, which is why you see the viewable size printed next to actual size on most boxes. Speaking from the benefit of hindsight, it would have been prudent to have the 40GB marked as the unformatted capacity, along with a statement to the effect that usable capacity will vary based on the choice of formatting and partioning.

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Lex
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Icon 1 posted September 19, 2003 17:30      Profile for Lex   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Well, thing is that one uninitiated with computers would with good reason expect a "gigabyte" to be x10^9 or a "megabyte" to be x10^6 bytes. In reality, we have 1 kilobyte = 2^10 bytes, 1 megabyte = 2^20 bytes, and one gigabyte = 2^30 bytes. And you can never really guess whether they really mean "mega" (10^6) or "mebi" (2^20), etc. Recently I wanted to fill up an external drive with an encrypted file system, so I took the amount of free space listed by the OS (something like 114.45 GB), converted to bytes and then to megabytes and put that number (rounded down to the nearest meg) into Disk Copy, not really expecting it to work. Luckily, I was only off by 3.8 MB, so the whole thing fit. Someone who doesn't know how this works would have just multiplied 114.45 by 1000 and either have to try it again when the imager ran out of space or deal with it not filling the drive nicely (I forget which in this case).

For those of you running Linux I believe there is a kernel patch that standardizes everything to mebibytes, kibibytes, gibibytes, etc. (sic?) Even changes the labeling.

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GMx

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Icon 1 posted September 19, 2003 20:58      Profile for GMx     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The thing I want to know is-Why did they wait so long? It's been that way for a long time, and it applies not only to hard drives but zip discs, pocket flash drives etc.
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mongoose
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Icon 1 posted September 19, 2003 21:45      Profile for mongoose     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Well, now i have to ask the question, "So who here has been sued by the RIAA?". I figured thats what the page would be about. Oh, well, I think that it will end up with the consumer winning getting the hd mfg. to change it from Gigabytes etc. to Gibibytes, or something like X Gigabyte HD (X Gibibyte HD)

-Mongoose

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dragonman97

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Icon 1 posted September 20, 2003 10:15      Profile for dragonman97   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
*grumble*
This the 2nd time I have written a really long post to this thread and had it destroyed. Yesterday, it was due to UBB-hell (and I closed the window as I saw the error message, losing the ability to go back), and today, it was due to MozFirebird locking up. I tried to get a screenshot of it via tty0 (export DISPLAY=:0; import window -root test.png), but the display buffer must have been junk due to Moz's flaked state, and I didn't get my post).

Suffice it to say that my comment to Lex is that the uninitiated will get better results with correctly labelled drives (power of 2 byte sizes), as poor math should nearly always underestimate free space (if I have a real 40 GB drive, and I'm using 37.5 GB (~free space=2560 MB/2500 stupid people MB), I have 2000 MB of files, I will be pretty sure that I have enough room, whereas if my drive was labelled in power of 10, I really have no space left. Grr, I laid these arguments out better before, and can't quite recapture them now :-/.

Oh, and I think it's nonsensical to use the SI units - having 2 different units is sheer lunacy, and a recipe for disaster. There is a significant precedent to say that 1 byte, kilobyte, megabyte, gigabyte, and terabyte are 2^3 (bits), 2^10, 2^20, 2^30, and 2^40 bytes respectively.

GMx, with the the exception of HDs, the examples you give are nearly all under 1 GB, and have been (mostly) correctly labelled as far as I know. I don't believe the manufacturers have as fscked up a sense of what a MB is, but when GB-sized drives came out, they figured they could abuse people's cluelessness in the matter.

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There are three things you can be sure of in life: Death, taxes, and reading about fake illnesses online...

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GMx

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Icon 1 posted September 20, 2003 11:25      Profile for GMx     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
If you buy a zip disc preformatted it will say it has 90 something or other mgs of space. Nitpicking I guess. I think those guys probably won't get any money out of the suit, just a changing of the labeling.
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uilleann
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Icon 1 posted September 21, 2003 16:58            Edit/Delete Post 
About 97 Mb. Which makes one wonder - when I went to segment a file in order to put it on two Zip discs using DropStuff, and I select a volume size of "Zip (100 Mb)", they do mean 97 Mb, right? But are FAT and HFS Zip discs both 97 Mb free? (if I put in the wrong one, will StuffIt's size fail? (not even considering desktop database bloat))

Fun fun...

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greycat

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Icon 1 posted September 22, 2003 06:51      Profile for greycat   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Iomega Zip disks hold 96 MB of actual data, which is 96*1048576 = 100663296 bytes. Thus they label it "100 MB" even though it's really 96 MB.

100 Mb is 100*1048576 bits. 100 Mbps (100 megabits per second) is a typical speed for 100baseT ethernet networks, but storage is usually measured in bytes, not bits.

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iCoach
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Icon 1 posted September 22, 2003 13:28      Profile for iCoach     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The reason it probably hasn't come up before is that the discrepency wasn't that big.

When you look at a 2/3 gig drive and only 1.9/2.9 Gigs are available, .1 Gig isn't much at all. Now you are seeing a discrepency of 2.5 gigabytes. That is A LOT of space. Maybe not compared to the other 37.5 GB on the drive, but it is still a large chunk of space that they aren't getting.

I noticed it a long time ago (3 years ago when Maxtor first started doin it) and just noted it and moved on. As an informed customer I could avoid/expect the pitfalls.

Now as geeks we understand that no user is going to miss 2.5 GB out of 40, but when a user has his brand new HDD installed at Best Buy and sees that he is only getting 85% of what he paid for, well thats robbery! Salesmen won't mention it because it doesn't make a difference in the big scheme of things, and two things happen. Your going to scare the customer and you'll have to explain how to count in binary....

-Coach

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