The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

21 September 2003

And how big is yours?

40 gigabytes, which, according to the drive manufacturer (Seagate), is forty billion bytes.

Computer manufacturers have duly copied claims like this into their advertising, complete with an explanation in tiny type, and now four chaps from L.A. have filed suit against the big brand names, charging that the practice is deceptive, that a gigabyte is not in fact one billion bytes but 1,073,741,824 (two to the thirtieth power). A "40-gigabyte drive" like mine in practice will store only 37.25 gb.

Just wait until they see how much is left after installing Windows XP.

Posted at 5:16 PM to PEBKAC

No matter how much ya got, it ain't never enough (just like it is with money).

Posted by: Steve at 6:50 PM on 21 September 2003

Boy, I wish that I had enough free time to figure out things like this and bring frivolous lawsuits.


Posted by: David at 10:46 PM on 21 September 2003

Let's file a class action suit on behalf of the People against these clowns for intentional waste of time and money.

Posted by: June at 7:11 AM on 22 September 2003

I'm wondering why no one complained during the bad old days of FAT16, when if you had a fairly large drive you were condemned to 32k clusters if your file ran one byte more than 32k, you had to use another 32k to store that last byte.

Posted by: CGHill at 7:51 AM on 22 September 2003

Some of the drive space, of course, is lost to formatting. Which is why an allegedly 1.44-megabyte floppy shows up in Windows Explorer as having only 1.38 megs of available space. If there's no formatting on it, of course, it won't show up in Windows Explorer at all...

Posted by: McGehee at 10:21 AM on 22 September 2003

Yeah, but they seldom quote unformatted capacity for hard drives anymore. I remember an old Seagate ST-225 which claimed 25.5 mb unformatted, 21.6 mb formatted. Of course, we referred to it as a "20-meg" drive, and in practice it was. We also kept a rubber mallet handy in case it stopped turning, but that's another story.

Posted by: CGHill at 11:19 AM on 22 September 2003

Considering that the first hard drive I ever owned (bought semi-obsolete in 1993) was ~40 megabytes, that's old.

Posted by: McGehee at 2:00 PM on 22 September 2003

By "semi-obsolete," I mean slightly more obsolete than when it was brand-new.

Posted by: McGehee at 2:02 PM on 22 September 2003

I had a souped-up XT (with an NEC chip instead of Intel inside) with a startling 1.6 mb of RAM (a lot of little chips) and two hard drives: the aforementioned 20-megger and a Seagate ST-251 which held a nominal 40 mb which, owing to limitations in DOS, was partitioned into two smaller logical drives. This was 1991. I still use my keyboard from that period: it's IBM, clattery as hell, and damned near indestructible.

Posted by: CGHill at 3:12 PM on 22 September 2003

My first was an IBM PS/2 running at 8MHz. The drive was 20Mb and RAM was a full 1Meg. I ran my BBS on it, complete with files to share. I used to keep the 1.44 floppy drive loaded to increase my space by 7%.

As for the keyboard, I prefer the AT style with the larger space bar and no windows keys. Nothing sucks more than trying to frag a guy in Quake death match and being sucked into windows because you hit the fucking "Start" key by mistake.

Posted by: Ravenwood at 8:10 PM on 22 September 2003

Actually, my first was a Timex with audio tape drive the plugged into the TV, but I don't count that.

Posted by: Ravenwood at 8:12 PM on 22 September 2003

Windows keys are an abomination unto the Lord. Toshi, the Road Warrior, my mostly-trusty notebook, might have them, but I've never actually pressed one, so far as I know. (Typically of notebooks, you have to press some weird combination of keys weirder than Ctrl-Alt-Del, anyway to get the more arcane functions to operate.)

Posted by: CGHill at 8:15 PM on 22 September 2003

(If anyone cares, I started with a Commodore 64. And ran a BBS on it, too.)

Posted by: CGHill at 8:16 PM on 22 September 2003

The first computer I bought was a (used) Amiga 500 with 1MB of RAM, and no HD. I bought an Amiga 2000 with a 40MB HD that locked up (Seagate's early SCSI drives were notorious), and spent over $400 for a 105MB Quantum Drive. (It also had an astonishing 7MB of RAM, which was a lot in 1991.)My current laptop computer has almost as much RAM as my first three desktop computers had in HD space. (The third was an Amiga 4000.)

Posted by: timekeeper at 7:50 AM on 23 September 2003