Computer Makers Sued Over Hard-Drive Capacity Claims

MarkHastings

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Should it read 1 billion bytes - base 10? Would that help the average consumer?

I think not. A buyer would say, What the f**k is a base 10? So they call Dell up and ask. Who here would be willing to explain to that person why they can advertise a base 10 figure when computers only work on base 2. Base 2? What's a base 2?
The company doesn't even need to put any base 10 specs on the box, all they need to do is tell us how large the capacity is - plain and simple.

There's no need to make things (seemingly) easier by rounding off 1 GB to 1 billion bytes. If a consumer is too dumb to figure out exactly how many bytes in a gigabyte then that's their own fault. Dumbing down computer equations for your average consumer is what the main beef of this law suit is.

I'm sick of these companies changing the equations (that I've been accustomed to for YEARS) to accomodate the simple minds of every J6P that is entering the computer market. Leave the technology equations where they are and let J6P try to figure out exactly how many bytes in a Gigabyte. - Changing the equation, to make it easier for him to understand it, just makes things harder for those of us who understood the original equation and now have to deal with 2 completely different equations.

It's bad enough trying to explain computers to someone, but then to have 2 different counting systems
It's completely asinine.

And if the hard drive manufacturers are allowed to make up equations, why not sell a 2GB Hard Drive and put 4,000,000,000 bytes on the box, then add an equation at the bottom that says 1GB = 2,000,000,000 bytes.
 

John_Berger

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I have a great idea! I'm going to open up my own gas station with a huge sign that very CLEARLY states that 1 GALLON EQUALS 3.75 QUARTS. Hey - the hard drive manufacturers are getting away with the same thing. No reason why I shouldn't.
 

MarkHastings

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It isn't enough for them that the expectations of others are being met (hence there is no real fraud)
????

Are you saying that it isn't considered fraud if people don't care?


The other thing to remember is: What computer equates 1GB = 1,000,000,000 bytes? None do, so why should a box be able to make that claim? The only place where 1GB = 1,000,000,000 bytes is ON THE BOX!!! I don't know about you, but I tend to use my Hard Drive space IN MY COMPUTER where 1GB doesn't equal 1,000,000,000 bytes.
 

Mike Poindexter

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RobertR, this is not about me being unhappy about how drive manufacturers measure things. It is about them changing the measuring convention for the explicit purpose of putting a bigger number on the box.

Yes, a lawyer will take a cut of the settlement. Does that make their job any less? People don't work for free. Just because people are being paid to do something doesn't mean that they don't have a valid belief in their cause.

The problem here is that the claim does not meet the expectation!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That is why they are being sued! Just because you don't have expectations doesn't mean that nobody else does. My first experience of this was a laptop with a 6GB drive that didn't have 6GB of storage.

Fraud is fraud. It does not require that you meet expectations, but that you deliver what you promise. Just because you do not expect that the product does what it says or that it has what it claims doens't mean that others have no cause to complain.
 

Wayne Bundrick

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Once upon a time, Macintosh used 1K = 1000 bytes for displaying floppy disk capacity.

I don't believe the public should have to do math in the same way that computers do, just so that the computer geeks won't get their panties in a bunch about inaccuracies and so-called deceptions. Computers are supposed to do the calculating to make our jobs easier, not the other way around.

Your heads will probably explode, but I have to point out that the hard disk manufacturers are not the only part of the computer industry that measures things in easy to understand decimal-based numbers. Most if not all measurements of transmission speed in telecommunications and networking use decimal notation. 1 Mbps is 1 million bits per second, not 1048576 bits per second.
 

MarkHastings

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I didn't say "don't care", I said "met expectations".
Kinda OT, but the majority of peoples DVD expectations are fulfilled with Fullframe video. Does that mean the OAR folks should stop the bitching because most peoples expectations are being made? What if the DVD manufacturers started marking thier pan and scan titles as "Widescreen" DVD's and then put a little note at the bottom that says "Widescreen = 1.33:1" since 1.33 is WIDER than 1. Since a lot of people buy Fullframe videos, you could argue that it is ok for the DVD manufacturers to say 1.33:1 is widescreen since most people would be satisfied with what they got.

Be that as it may, the bigger issue is, you're saying it's ok because peoples expectations are being fulfilled, and what we are saying is, the manufacturers are taking advantage of the common consumer by tricking them into being ok with the fact that 1GB = 1,000,000,000.

Being tricked into believing something to the point that your expectations are being fulfilled even though you are being lied to is EXACTLY what fraud is all about.

Fraud has nothing to do with not being satisfied. Fraud is about being lied to, and most people have no idea that they are being lied to (this is the perfect example), so we need people (like lawyers) to set up law suits so that the manufacturers aren't allowed to lie.

I can make up LOADS of lies that people would be happy about, but does that make it ok? Does that mean it's no longer a lie???? That's silly.
 

RobertR

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The fact that people are assuming that 1 giga byte means 1 billion bytes
In other words, you admitted that people commonly define a gigabyte as 1 billion bytes. So that is the de facto meaning of the term. It's no more a "lie" to use one billion bytes than it is to call Excedrin "aspirin", even though the name "aspirin" used to be a trademarked term used by Bayer. Both terms are commonly used and accepted. Therefore, there is no lie involved.

What we have here is some people trying to legally enforce THEIR usage of the term "gigabyte" on others (John Berger even admitted that he doesn't care if any harm is being done by using one billion bytes. He just wants the "idiot" masses to be legally forced to adhere to the "correct" usage.), which is silly, and enriching some lawyers in the process, which is offensive.
 

Mike Poindexter

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I looked it up on dictionary.com:

1. A unit of computer memory or data storage capacity equal to 1,024 megabytes (2^30 bytes).
2. One billion bytes.

When referring to computer data storage, it is 2^30 bytes.

I already made mention to the fact that telecom has been using decimal notation in transfer rates for years before computer networking started using the term, so it is understandable that we use decimal notation there.

As for the common expectation of hard drive space, I disagree with your thinking, RobertR. I believe that most people who buy a 40GB hard drive expect to pop it into their computer and get 40GB. They do not get 40GB. The expectation is for 40 computer GB. If they do not understand the difference, then do not ask if they expect to get 40 billion bytes of storage. Ask if they pop it into their computer, how much space should they get. You will find they answer 40GB. Most people do not know they are getting less than that. They are therefore being deceived by marketing speak.

The only reason people refer to a GB being a billion is that is is approximately a billion and rounds to a billion, but is actually 1024^3 or 2^30. People refer to 1K of memory as 1024 bytes. Most people familiar with computers know this.

RobertR, how would you define the computer definition of a GB as 2^30 bytes? Please get us a term that isn't 35 syllables long. The long standing term the computer industry has been using for 20+ years apparently isn't acceptable anymore because some people think that since defnition #2 is the common expectation of novices rather than professions in the industry, the industry should change their terms.

While we are at it, should we change other professional industry terms because people outside the industry have a different definition of them and therefore represent a majority? Most people think a Schizoid and a Schizophrentic are the same thing, so Psychologists need to come up with a new term for Schizoid, as it now means Schizophrentic. Shall we continue with more terms?
 

MarkHastings

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He just wants the "idiot" masses to be legally forced to adhere to the "correct" usage.
And why is that bad? Why are you so against the mass public using the "Correct" terminology? I just don't understand your point. This law suit makes perfect sense because manufacturers should be telling you exactly what you are getting without being allowed to make up thier own definitions of a computer term.

The only reason why the mass public believes that 1GB = 1,000,000,000 bytes is because they either figured that giga meant 1 billion (and thus incorrectly came to the conclusion of 1 billion bytes) or somebody told them the incorrect information (i.e. The manufacturers).
 

RobertR

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While we are at it, should we change other professional industry terms because people outside the industry have a different definition of them and therefore represent a majority?
What I'm against is legally enforcing what terms people should use in common everyday usage. Television is the "correct" technical term. But if people are instead sold a "TV", then I'd rather not have people screaming that there ought to be a law saying people can only be sold "televisions".
 

RobertR

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The only reason why the mass public believes that 1GB = 1,000,000,000 bytes is because they either figured that giga meant 1 billion
A reasonable assumption. The prefix "giga" DOES mean a billion. If people hear about a gigawatt of electricity being produced, they quite naturally assume it means a billion watts, NOT 2^30 watts.
 

Glenn Overholt

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AARGH! So many big numbers! Just to clarify, I wanted to make this a little easier on everybody reading this and drop it down to 1K.

1K = 1000 1KB = 1024 bytes
4K = 4000 4KB = 4096
5K = 5000 5KB = 5120

This is what has been done. A drive may have 4KB in it, but when you look at the number 4096, it is so close to 5K that you just call it a 5K disk. Who wouldn't? Who would want to buy a 4096KB drive?

Weren't the first hard drives ever made (by IBM?) also rounded off? Shouldn't they be the ones that should get sued for starting this?

Not long after that, IBM's rejects hit the market. I am sure that the other companies selling them would follow the drive specs from IBM. If the ball did get rolling that way, why not start at the beginning? Let IBM get sued.

There are so many examples all over this thread, so I won't go into any of them, but if a company comes out with a new item they can call it whatever they want to and spec it out the same way.

Ok, I am pointing the finger at the other guy, but if you were selling hard drives, would you use the specs currently in use or use what is really on there? How far/long would that last?

Glenn

Glenn
 

Ken Chan

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but when you look at the number 4096, it is so close to 5K that you just call it a 5K disk.
You must have a different idea of what "close" means. It is so not close; much closer to 4 than 5.

What really astounds me is that someone would resurrect this better-when-dead thread
(Yes Mike, I see you did it by accident. I, for one, forgive you.)

//Ken
 

Mike Poindexter

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The common useage for one KB was 1024 bytes. One MB was 1024 KB and one GB was 1024 MB.

The hard drive manufacturers started advertising using decimal notation. The first day they did that, it was wrong.

RobertR, if you don't care about this, then don't care. I do care, however. It is amazing to me that you claim not to care, but then take part in the debate. It is important to me and apparently unimportant to you either way it goes with the hard drive makers using 2^30 or 10^9.

Yes, giga means billion, but long before hard drive makers were making GB drives, GB meant 2^30 in computer useage. It was they who DECIDED to alter the term for their own purpose - one to inflate their numbers. To allow them to get away with it isn't right. To say that it has been going on for a long time, so let it be isn't right.

You may not care and think it is a frivilous suit, but you must also realize that with the Excedrin/Aspirin example, suing for trademark infringement is a big deal in the business world. To you, calling MegaBloks as Lego is OK. To the owner of the Lego company, it is not. Advertising Lego on sale and showing MegaBloks will bring about the legal wrath of the Kristiansen family (owners of Lego). Pill makers will sue over making a pill that looks like their pill. Notice that every pill looks different. To you, it may seem silly of frivilous. To others, it is serious business. And the government agrees with them. That is why we have silly and frivilous wasteful agencies like Weights and Measures, Food and Drug Administration, The U.S. Patent Office and the Federal Trade Commission. Take a look through your history book to find out what things were like before they were around.
 

RobertR

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you must also realize that with the Excedrin/Aspirin example, suing for trademark infringement is a big deal in the business world.
WHAT "trademark infringement"? I used that to illustrate how the common usage of words changes over time. Is Bayer going to sue millions of people for buying Excedrin when they went to the store to get "aspirin"? No. Neither do most computer users feel "cheated" when they look at the properties of their 100 gig hard drives in Windows and it says 100,000,000,000 bytes.
 

Patrick Sun

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And at least the labelling on the hard drive boxes do denote what "GB" means in terms of their labelling. It's up to the consumer to do the math and detemine if the state capacity is what they need for their uses. But that would require the consumer to actually engage their brains when making a purchasing decision.
 

Mike Poindexter

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But there was no such disclaimer on the computers sold by Dell, Compaq and others. Hence the lawsuit.

RobertR, you are missing the point. I will make it simple:

It is not illegal for me to say to my wife "Hand me a kleenex" when I really just want a tissue.

It is illegal for Puffs to advertise as "Kleenex Tissues".

Likewise, it should not be legal to advertise a 40GB computer hard drive when it does not have 40 computer GB of storage. You might try to skirt the issue with some fine print, but that fine print must be there all down the chain. It was not when resellers made computers with them and passed them off as computers with 40GB hard drives, because they are not. They are computers with 37.2GB hard drives.
 

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