Creative settles MP3 player capacity clash
When is a gigabyte not a gigabyte?
Creative has been successfully brought to book over the way it previously calculated hard drive-based MP3 player storage capacities.
The company was accused of misrepresenting the storage capacity of its players by two punters, Vibhu Talwar and Patrick Finkelstein, who fomalised their complaint at the US District Court of Western California way back in May 2005. Two years later, the case was granted Class Action status.
It was said by the plaintiffs that Creative's definition of a gigabyte was incorrect, leading to false claims about the capacities of its players. Creative worked on the basis that 1GB was exactly one billion bytes 1,000,000,000B. In fact, a gigabyte, is 1,073,741,824B.
Byte multiples should be calculated on the basis of binary, not decimal maths. Essentially, that means 1KB is not 1000 bytes, but 1024 bytes. Megabytes, gigabytes, terabytes and so forth are multiples of 1024 not 1000.
So Creative gigabytes, the plaintiffs said, were seven per cent smaller than real gigabytes.
For its part, Creative has always claimed it was not attempting to mislead consumers, and denied that anyone has ever suffered as a result of the way it states drive capacities. It continues to stand by that claim.
Late last month, the parties reached a settlement now filed with the court and made public. Anyone in the US who bought a Creative MP3 player before 1 January 2004 can file a claim against Creative. At that point, all Creative players contained a warning that explained the company's definition of a gigabyte and that "available capacity will be less... reported capacity will vary".
That's a caveat widely used by companies supplying products that contain storage, from media players to PCs.
Claimants can choose between a new 1GB Zen Stone music player at half price - it usually costs $35 - or opt for a 20 per cent discount applied to a single item bought from Creative's online store.
The deadline to file a claim is 7 August 2008. A month later, the settlement is due to be formally approved by the court. If it's approved, Creative will then - and only then - begin processing the claims.
Creative Zen Stone MP3 player
"Intel stuck to their standard frequency ratings until they too fell to the marketing sirens and found it easier to market a T5500, Q6600 and god knows what rather than PIV 3.06Ghz HT."
Uhm, not quite. Intel was VERY happy to keep selling CPUs based on clock speed while their architectures required VERY high clock speeds to do ANYTHING (aka: P4s of all strips).
Once they FINALLY realized they were getting there butts kicked by AMD and it's impact on server sells (it only took management 3 freaking years to realize that!), they designed a new architecture that was MUCH more efficient, but it also ran at MUCH slower clock speeds.
After shoving 3.6Ghz this and 3.6Ghz that down our throat for years, they didn't feel like spending the money to explain that while a P4 at 3.6Ghz was FAST!!!! (insert marketing hype here), the new chip at 2.0Ghz was actually much FASTER!!!!. It was just much easier to adapt AMDs idea and drop the clock speed entirely.
Of course, if you have looked at Intel's CPU line up lately, things are definitely NOT any clearer now than they where.
And as for the topic at hand, the whole MB = 1000 kB was all done so a specific drive manufacture could over state their capacity by a few percent and gain an advantage over competitors. The other manufactures quickly jumped on the bandwagon because the first lier wasn't quickly took out and hung.
It's all like the way air compressors where rated in power in the US: initially, everyone was using the actual continuous HP rating of the motor to rate the air compressors power. Then one manufacture (Sears if my memory is correct) decided they could make THEIR air compressors look better if they used a "different" hp rating... So they came up with the whole "peak hp" rating thing that is about 80% high than the motor can actually put out (hell, it's generally rates them higher than breaker the compressor is plugged into can actually supply!)
People eventually got wind of it and got tired of it. Now, you are starting to see most all compressors rated on an ISO specific test (back to the more rating for all intents and purposes!) and the "peak hp" small print is disappearing across the board.
Oh, and as for consistency, I agree FULLY!!! In a base 10 system, we should be using base ten powers. But in a base 2 system (your computer), we should be using base 2 because your computer CAN'T use a base 10 system!
IBM used to sell 1 000 000 bytes Mbytes... and they never got sued for that
Oddly enough IBM used to sell 1e6 byte Mbytes for years and years (their dictionary's definition of Kb and Mb for storage is metric (power of 10, not power of 2)) and AFAIK no-one ever sued them for that.
Datacom's K and M are metric by definition that is a DS0's 64kbps, are 64000 bps and not 65536bps.
I think I nailed this back in 2000 when I wrote a comment on the subject in my country's main computing newsgroup.
We have to be _consistent_ about the use of kilo, mega, giga, etc.
kilo means 1000 (one thousand), whether we're talking bytes, hertz, grams, bits, metres, or Pascals(pressure).
Otherwise, we wind up in lala-land, where you don't know if someone means 1024 or 1000 when they say kilo-[some unit].
If you want to specify 1024 and powers thereof, use the kibi-prefix and relatives.
Let's say your internet connection speed is 1 megabit/s.
Is that 1000000 bits/s, or 1048576 bits/s?