Tuesday, February 03, 2009

3000MB does not equal 3GB

Matt MullenwegI find it so annoying when companies and individuals, who are in the technology business or are technically inclined, incorrectly calculate storage space. For example Wordpress founding member Matt Mullenweg, in his "Free Space to Three Gigabytes" post states that the free space on Wordpress.com will be increased to 3,000 MB, yet the title states that it will be increased to 3 GB. If the later was true, then a simple calculation will should that he space should actually be 3,072 MB. What 's worse is that Kristen Nicole from Mashable, a technology oriented website, simply restated the announcement instead of correcting it.

Below you will find a simple storage space numerical explanation.
Bits & Bytes
1,024 bits = 1 kilobit (kb)
8 kb = 1 kilobyte (KB)
128 KB = 1 megabit (mb)
8 mb = 1 megabyte (MB)
1,024 KB = 1 megabyte (MB)
128 MB = 1 gigabit (gb)
8 gb = 1 gigabyte (GB)
1,024 MB = 1 gigabyte (GB)

The easiest way to go about calculating how many gigabytes  a number of megabytes or kilobytes would be is to divide by 1,024 your megabytes number, or divide twice by 1,024 your kilobytes number. Or start multiplying by 1,024 if you need to get down to specifics. I recently had to do this when I was configuring Postfix message and attachment acceptable size. I wanted the acceptable message size to be 15 MB, but the number I needed to set in Postfix was in bytes. So I multiplied 15 MB by 1,024 to get the number into kilobytes, then I multiplied it again by 1,024 to get it into bytes.

What irks me the most is when web hosting companies do this to customers. Their price plan gives the space in gigabytes, but the admins set the actual account space to that number with few zeros tagged behind it, instead of calculating it.

Techie readers, are you also annoyed by such misleading statements? Let me know by leaving me a comment below.