Consumer Freedom

Class Action Lawyers Get Creative

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The good thing about class action lawsuits is that they allow enterprising lawyers to consolidate many small claims, any one  of which would not be worth pursuing on its own, and win settlements for consumers who may not even realize they've been injured. The bad thing about class action lawsuits is that they allow enterprising lawyers to consolidate many small claims, any one  of which would not be worth pursuing on its own, and win settlements for consumers who may not even realize they've been injured. Which category does Vibhu Talwar and Patrick Finkelstein v. Creative Labs fall into?

According to the settlement agreement, the lead plaintiffs, who filed their federal lawsuit in California, alleged that Creative had misled consumers by exaggerating the capacity of its MP3 players. The fraud allegation hinged mainly on two different definitions of gigabyte. According to the decimal definition (the only one I knew until today), a gigabyte is 1 billion (109) bytes. According to the binary definition, a gigabyte is 1,073,741,824 (230) bytes. While Creative used the decimal definition in its advertising, the settlement says, "certain computer operating systems report hard drive capacity using a binary definition." On those systems, a 20GB Creative Zen player would register as only 18.6GB or so, about 7 percent less than advertised.

I see the potential for confusion (I'm confused just trying to explain the grounds for the suit), but I'm not sure this amounts to fraud, or that consumers have suffered an injury, or if they have that the injury amounts to anything in practical terms. I've got 8,346 tracks on my 40GB Creative Zen Nomad Jukebox (which for some reason registers on my computer as 38.1 GB, 2 5 percent less than advertised), and I still have 18.4GB to spare. I suspect the machine will die before I fill it up.

Still, according to the email notice I received today, I'm eligible for "a 50% discount off the price of a new 1 GB MP3 player" (which I have no interest in purchasing) or "a discount certificate good for 20% off the price of any single item purchased at www.us.creative.com" (which I might actually use). I guess the measliness of the settlement, which few "class members" will bother to collect, matches the imperceptibility of the injury pretty well. As usual in this sort of class action, the real beneficiaries are the lawyers, Brian Strange and Barry Fisher of Los Angeles, who will collect $900,000 for their trouble.

At least Strange and Fisher have done a public service by encouraging companies to be more honest. Or maybe not. As of 2003, Creative has included in its packaging a notice informing consumers that "1GB = 1,000,000,000 bytes," that "available capacity will be less" than total capacity (because of the operating software), and that "reported capacity will vary." But Creative offered that clarification two years before Strange and Fisher sued the company. I wonder where they got the idea for the lawsuit. 

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  1. This falls into the “bad” category.

    It has opened the door for inumerable similar lawsuits against every manufacturer and distributor of any type of digital storage system, including packagers like HP, IBM, Compaq, et al. I’m still running a 10-year old Micron laptop that I bought with a “5GB hard drive”, which turned out to be a “4.7GB hard drive”. Disappointed? Sure. Lawsuit-worthy? Not in the least.

    It’s a bit like the “contents may settle during shipment” and “sold by weight, not volume” disclaimers on cereal boxes, and just as important.

  2. This has been going on with hard drive manufacturers forever. Most geeks know about it and occasionally grumble about it, but only serious rule geeks care very much about it.

    And lawyers, of course, when there is blood in the water, er, money involved.

  3. In my opinion this is indeed a worthy lawsuit. Think of in terms of content capacities. Lets say for arguments sakes, each of your songs/videos was 1 gigabyte in size. So by that logic you stand to reason you could fit 20 of these songs/videos on there. Obviously you could only fit 18, this to me is indeed false advertising. The case is even more pronounced when you start buying harddrives, I bought a 500GB harddrive for my PC, but its actual size was something like 480 gigs.

  4. maybe I am a geek, then, because I thought everybody knew about this.

    I’m hard-pressed to see this as necessarily bad, though, because it does encourage companies to communicate technological capabilities more clearly to the less tech-savvy consumer.

    I suspect the machine will die before I fill it up.

    Oh Jacob, your age is showing. I have friends who have filled 500GB and 1TB externals (mainly because of movies and pr0n).

  5. val … are you measuring the size of your songs in binary or decimal units? As long as you are using the same measurement, you’re fine. And … you ARE using the same (binary) measurement if you are figuring out the size of the song file by looking at it using your computer.

    So there is little chance for the issue you raise unless your head is otherwise engaged investigating a colon, somewhere.

  6. “certain computer operating systems report hard drive capacity using a binary definition.”

    Also this is about as stooopid of a stament as it gets. Certain operating systems eh?? That would be ALL operating systems. Unless Creative created a decimal based OS and computer I wasnt looking ALL operating systems are binary.

  7. This has to do with formatting and sector size. No drive using a standard file system (that uses sectors etc.) will ever actually have the technical binary capacity because of waste in sector allocation.

    This is a total bullshit settlement.

  8. val … are you measuring the size of your songs in binary or decimal units

    BINARY, infact I can almost guarantee that if you look at the size of the song on that Creative player the size will be reported using the ‘binary’, aka correct method. You know why? Because that Creative player is using binary everywhere except in its advertisements, where they fuckin lied.

    See that why this is a class action lawsuit, when you add up all those insignificant 1.4 gigs, you suddenly have millions of gigabytes and thus dollars that Creative saved at the expense of the cosumer through false advertising.

  9. Bad bad bad.

    All class action should be “opt-in”. It’s unspeakably infuriating that lawyers suing “on my behalf” crippling businesses I patronize with ten million dollar settlements. They buy a house in the Bahamas with their fee, I get a half off your next purchase coupon.

    GAWDDAMNEDFUCK’N LAWYERS *spits*

  10. This has to do with formatting and sector size. No drive using a standard file system (that uses sectors etc.) will ever actually have the technical binary capacity because of waste in sector allocation.

    No it doesnt dude. This has to do with advertisers calling 18.6G player a 20G player. Or a 487G harddrive a 500G harddrive. Because they suddenly decided that a GIG is 10^9> bytes, where it has always been 2^30 bytes.

    Even so, on a self contained piece with no removable harddrive or changable operating system like the Creative player, the point about sector size is completely moot.

  11. I sez:

    If the class members get an award that is a coupon, that’s the way the shysters should get paid, too!

    Kevin

  12. Shortchanging people is BS, and this, arguably, is what Creative is/was doing here. It’s not much different than setting the gasoline pumps to give you 93/100ths of a gallon whenever it said it was giving you a full gallon. Of course, most geeks know the confusion between the different sizes of gigabytes, and it appears Creative had enough disclaimers to cover their ass, so I suspect that they settled merely because it was cheaper than fighting the lawsuit, not that the lawsuit had merit. Heck, Creative might actually make money here if enough people use the coupons on items off their website, assuming they have more than a 20% markup.

    There was a recent case where 3M was found (by a state of Department of Measurement and Standardsoffice in Fresno, of all places) to be selling tape that was labeled an inch wide, but was really only .94″ of an inch wide. They had to pay a fine of $693,000. (I suspect what happened here was that 3M’s equipment worked in metric units, and they made it slightly smaller than an inch as opposed to slightly larger.)

    http://www.sacbee.com/101/story/818056.html

  13. Hey guess what the capacity of a single layer DVD is???

    Its 4.7 GB, and has always been like that.

    You know how many bytes that is? 5046586573.

    Yet no one says DVDs are 5 gigs? Why is that?

  14. I thought everyone knew this.

    I’ve got 8,346 tracks on my 40GB Creative Zen Nomad Jukebox (which for some reason registers on my computer as 38.1 GB, 2 percent less than advertised)

    2.9 / 40 = 2% ?

    Oh my.

  15. Class Action Lawyers Get Creative

    Get? GET? These shakedown artists are masters at finding silly stuff to make money for themselves and hurt the people they supposedly represent. We, the customers, get to pay higher prices to cover their legal robbery.

    Val, get something real to be pedantic about. Yes, there is a difference between 1000 and 1024. In this context, who cares? If a customer has a problem with it, let them return the box. My bet is you will get 0 takers.

    Are you planning on suing the manufactures of Ethernet cables/switches/etc who advertise 100 megabits/sec? In reality the max throughput is roughly only 25-50% of that.

  16. In my opinion this is indeed a worthy lawsuit.

    By your own definition, it is not a worthy lawsuit. It would have been a worthy lawsuit if all new Creative players advertised on the outside of the box: 9.67 Gigabyte Capacity!!!

    But Creative still sells the same players, with the same (offset) capacities (just like every damned hard drive manufacturer on the planet) with the same warning they had in the box before the lawsuit ever took place. Therefore, the lawsuit was useless.

  17. Man it looks like Im the only one on the lawyers side here, but oh well.

    You all seem to be pointing out how the amount creative shorted them is insignificant.

    Taken on a case by case basis maybe. But remeber Creative did just sell you and your grandma an MP3 player. They sold millions of units. Combine that all up and it is indeed a huge amount of disc space that creative didnt have to pay for in manufacturing or material costs, but that consumers did pay for.

    If the amount of space was as insgnificant as you guys imply then creative could have just as well payed the extra dollars in R&D and manufcaturing and marketed a player that is truly 20gigs as a 20GB player. They didnt, probably because it was too cost prohibitive for them.

    So what exactly is sufficient to get you guys riled up here. How about if they advertised those players as 21 Gigs while everyone else left them at 20? This would give Creative a significant competitive advantage. But the amount they short changed you would still be insignificant. Would that be ok? Would that warrant a lawsuit? How about if they advertised their 18 gig player as 25Gig? 30? …?

  18. This lawsuit may have made sense a couple decades ago, when harddrive manufacturers were deliberately sowing confusion by using decimal notation. But the damage has been done, and despite a subsequent IEC standard confusion still reigns.

  19. They lied about about how big the hard drive was. They made money off the lie. Thats fraud. Next case.

    stating that 1gb=100000000, is also a lie. So I hope they get their sued again.

  20. Shortchanging people is BS, and this, arguably, is what Creative is/was doing here.

    Fine then sue em, but the lawyer can only claim to represent people that actually sign a piece of paper saying he represents them.

  21. when harddrive manufacturers were deliberately sowing confusion by using decimal notation

    it was fraud then, it is fraud now

  22. From Merriam Webster online.

    Main Entry: giga-
    Pronunciation: \?ji-g?, ?gi-\
    Function: combining form
    Etymology: International Scientific Vocabulary, from Greek gigas giant
    : billion (109)

    Doesn’t seem like anyone was lying to me.

    Pet peeve – Note that the preferred pronunciation is with a j, not the hard g. Use it please.

  23. The NOOBS won, and Creative got pwned.

    cul8tr

    (just for fun, go measure the viewable screen on that “27” inch TV in your basement)

  24. I forgot that cut and paste doesn’t work with exponential notation here.
    : billion (109)
    should read

    : billion (10^9)

  25. This would never have become a problem if geeks had been geeks, way back when, and insisted on using binary prefixes to describe 2^n rather than misappropriating SI decimal prefixes. It’s too bad “kibibit” sounds like a dog food brand and “gibibyte” sounds like “gibbering” in more ways than one.

    Still, you’d think we could have held the line at “I’m going to use power-of-1000 prefixes to refer to powers of 1024…” without letting it continue to “… and I’m going to sue you unless you do the same.”

  26. Somehow these base 10 scales made it into a standards body and they tried to make base 2 “gibi” and “mibi”. Some stupid linux utils actually go along with this non sense and you’ll see MiB and GiB.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gibibyte

    Most people don’t know this, but individual ram chips are defined in powers of 10 for the # of bits they hold. RAM _modules_ (that have multiple chips) are sold in powers of 2 (they use multiples of 4 chips). Hard drive spec sheets sometimes did the same, listing the # of bits (which is always a multiple of 512, the industry standard default sector size). Then the sales scum realized they could pass off a drive as having a little higher capacity by redefining megabyte and gigabyte, which have ALWAYS been powers of 2.

    THEN, there’s the filesystem. Different fs’es (ntfs, fat32, hfs, ext2, reiserfs, xfs, etc) all have different ammounts of metadata overhead. So, capacity varies based on what OS you use. Capacity can even vary during use, since some fs’es allocate metadata structures dynamically instead of just once at fs creation time.

  27. I meant “based on what FS” not OS, but OSes support different filesystems.

  28. Val, stop being a %*^&.

    If there are two possible definitions of a gigabyte, it should be legal and non-actionable to use either definition in your advertising.

    I see at Dictionary.com that multiple independent sources list both numbers as valid.

    http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/gigabyte

    Words have meanings. Employing advertising that uses those meanings correctly should be an absolute defense against accusations of fraud.

  29. I’ve got 8,346 tracks on my 40GB Creative Zen Nomad Jukebox (which for some reason registers on my computer as 38.1 GB, 2 percent less than advertised)

    2.9 / 40 = 2% ?

    joe’s law works on math snark too.

    40 – 38.1 = 1.9

    The original math is still wrong, but basic subtraction is easier than division.

  30. F’ binary! Get your own G_D D’rned SI units!

  31. Val,

    You missing the point. There is no common or legal standard for the number of bytes in a gigabyte. Depending on context, a gigabyte is either (decimal) 1000x1000x1000 bytes or it is (binary) 1024x1024x1024 bytes.

    The decimal definition is used to describe hard drives and bandwidth and the binary in file size and memory. You have to know the context to calculate the actual number of bytes.

    Creative can’t alter the evolved language. You might as well sue every operating system vendor for using a nonsense term like gigabyte to describe memory.

  32. I’m well aware of decimal vs binary differences as is anybody digitally literate. The only people who are unaware of the differences would assume that giga = 1 billion. Just like gigawatt, gigahertz, giga anything but bytes. So nobody got screwed and a couple of lawyers just skimmed 900 kilobucks* off the economy.

    *That is the SI kilobucks, not the digital kilobucks. I don’t want to get sued.

  33. Gas isn’t $3.35 it’s $3.35.9, a 2 x 4 is 1 1/2 x 3 1/2, a quarter pounder is the pre-cooked weight, a 24 ounce Coke is half ice, a $100 million lottery winner will get about 1/3 of that, my 1 GB flash drive only shows a capacity of 973 MB, I don’t really get a direct vote for the president and my unbreakable comb broke.

    I need a lawyer.

  34. Scape wins!

  35. You might as well sue every operating system vendor for using a nonsense term like gigabyte to describe memory.

    Given the precedent this sets, you won’t have to.

    I’m not going to get all choked up over the fact that a company was using technological ignorance to play numbers games and dance on the fraud line.

  36. Skipping the concept that a 20 gig drive will never give you 20 x 1,073,741,824 bytes. Humans know decimal, most are not very good with any base other than 10. Forget about advertising drive space in exponents. A drive listed as 20 x 2^30 would confuse the average consumer. I could see some poor sap scratching his head wondering which drive has more space, the 900 x 2^20 drive, or the 30 x 2^30 drive?

    It always made more sense to say one kilobyte than 1024 bytes. It makes a lot more sense to say one Gigabyte than 1,073,741,824 bytes, or 2^30. 1024 bytes is rounded down to a 1000 bytes for simplicity.

    Just goes to show, there are only 10 types of people that understand binary. Those who do, and those who don’t.

  37. Creative is a sleazy POS company that makes bad products that don’t work and then doesn’t offer any meaningful support. I’d love to see those motherfuckers go out of business.I won’t buy anything from those assholes ever again

    That said I’ve never heard of a class action suit that did anything other than pay lawyers. They seem like a total extortion scam.

  38. I guess we need another product warning label.

    20 gigabytes is gross storage. The actual storage will be less depending on file allocation table, utility programs, and necessary operational data.

  39. Just goes to show, there are only 10 types of people that understand binary. Those who do, and those who don’t.

    That was awesome!

  40. Clearly “val” is not an engineer…

    Because they suddenly decided that a GIG is 10^9> bytes, where it has always been 2^30 bytes.

    Us engineers are the only ones that are going to ever plug 2^30 into our calculators (I pity the poor fools that have to plug 10^9 in), and a “loss” of 12% to a difference in formatting is a stupid claim. Besides, all companies say 30 gig or 40 gig but it always comes out to be a little less. Plus, storage capacity changes with formatting and each individual product’s own minute defects.

    If any of these companies should be sued, it should be all of them, but none of them should ACTUALLY be sued.

  41. I’m with J sub D. If is see an unspecified size displayed in add copy, I’ve been assuming it’s the decimal version, since it’s the traditional meaning of the giga prefix and it’s been used that way for nominal drive sizes by every manufacter I’ve ran into for well over a decade. Anybody aware of the difference in the meanings is going to known that the ad copy always uses the decimal definition because it’s slightly bigger and drives never show up as their full capacity because of file system overhead. What does annoy me is that they don’t give the estimated post-format size for the common FSes in a little table on the back – that’d actually be useful.

  42. Just goes to show, there are only 10 types of people that understand binary. Those who do, and those who don’t.

    And on TOP of those 10 types of people, there are also 10 types of people that have a sense of humor… So that makes 100 people types total!

    /bows

  43. scape:
    Gas isn’t $3.35 it’s $3.35.9, a 2 x 4 is 1 1/2 x 3 1/2, a quarter pounder is the pre-cooked weight, a 24 ounce Coke is half ice, a $100 million lottery winner will get about 1/3 of that, my 1 GB flash drive only shows a capacity of 973 MB, I don’t really get a direct vote for the president and my unbreakable comb broke.

    I need a lawyer.

    Jake Boone:
    Scape wins!

    Seconded!!

  44. Pet peeve – Note that the preferred pronunciation is with a j, not the hard g. Use it please.

    Sorry, but no. The OED lists the preferred pronunciation as “jaiga,” with a long I. That’s not happening either.

  45. First, in regard to geek jokes, I gave my students a 10 question quiz. Those who missed 1 question got a big fat F at the top of the paper.

    Am I a tough grader or an easy grader?

    Second, in regard to megabytes and gigabytes and definitions, let’s say that somebody bought a software package and under the “system requirements” it says that it runs best on a system with 256 megabytes of RAM. If somebody thought that it meant 256*1000*1000 instead of 256*1024*1024, could he sue?

  46. This reminds me of car mileage quotes in ads. “X” model gets 34 MPG (under wildly ideal conditions). If I buy one and get lower mileage do I get to sue?

    Trial lawyers are a pox on the earth. My memory seems to be a total blank this evening, but there was a female judge who blew class action suits re mesothelioma outta the ball park because there was considerable dishonesty involved among docs who read x-rays.

    Re cited situation, I’m trying to figure out why anyone would need molto Gigs to save stuff. Does anyone move on from day to day looking for interesting new material? Apparently not. Could it be that electronic savvy savants have no interest in anything new, but only seek to immerse themselves in the past?

    Sigh. I don’t have a cell phone and am barely able to figure out our digital camera. I am utterly baffled by people talking to someone and saying, “The subway is going under Dupont Circle, I’ll be back at Farragut Square and plan to eat at the deli on L Street.” Who cares? Do they believe they’ll cease to exist if they’re not in contact with another breathing human. Whatever happened to sitting in a quiet room by oneself?

    I’m tempted to buy a gun and threaten anyone whose cell phone deedle, deedles with instant death unless they turn it off.

    I’d much rather sit in the smoking section of a restaurant (are they’re any left) than in a venue with cell addicted or child ridden patrons.

    Anne

  47. Pet peeve – Note that the preferred pronunciation is with a j, not the hard g. Use it please.

    Note that standard usage is what is important, not what was the standard usage before the word or prefix entered the common lexicon. Say it the way that the rest of the world will understand you.

    Some of our pet peeves conflict, eh?

  48. I find most of my 2 x 4’s measure 1 5/8″ x 3 5/8″. I’m going outside to check now…

  49. Seagate, the largest hard disk manufacturer, lost a similar lawsuit sometime last year.

    I blame the technical ignorance of judges.

  50. Trial lawyers are a pox on the earth.

    Everyone says that until they need one, eh?

    As for the rest of your post, anne, I don’t know why you thought we’d be interested in your cantankerous “get offa my lawn!” attitude.

  51. Took a while to measure those 2 x 4s. ‘can never find a tape measure – I know I have at least eight of them somewhere. They measured almost exactly 1 1/2″ x 3 1/2″. But, instead of suing for fraud, I’m suing danny for busting my balls. They hurt really really bad. And this result WAS a reasonably foreseeable consequence to his post. Being a big man, I’ll settle for an apology.

  52. joe’s law works on math snark too.

    Touche.

  53. Sorry, but no. The OED lists the preferred pronunciation as “jaiga,” with a long I. That’s not happening either.

    The OED is for limeys. They can’t even spell color and honor correctly. Your point is thus rendered irrelevant.

    Note that standard usage is what is important, not what was the standard usage before the word or prefix entered the common lexicon.

    Well I’ve been using giga with the soft g for ove three goddam (hard g) decades and I have seniority over all of you folks who are new to the prefix. Also in my favor, giga is derived from the greek gigas, like giant or gigantic both of which use the soft g.

    If you like sounding like a rube, (or a limey) continue your backward ways. As a conscientious libertarian, I’ll make no attempt to force the more betterer properest pronunciation on you.

  54. Memory has always been described in base 2 and hard drives have always been described in base 10 (at least as long as I have been an engineer — since 1985).

    To call established standard practice over two decades fraud is total bullshit.

    val can go fuck himself or herself as appropriate.

  55. The fraud allegation hinged mainly on two different definitions of gigabyte. According to the decimal definition (the only one I knew until today), a gigabyte is 1 billion (109) bytes. According to the binary definition, a gigabyte is 1,073,741,824 (230) bytes. While Creative used the decimal definition in its advertising, the settlement says, “certain computer operating systems report hard drive capacity using a binary definition.”

    Please note. The hard drive manufacturer sells you a disk with is size listed in base 10. MS Windows then reports the size in base 2. The hard drive manufacturer is not committing fraud, MS Windows is lying because MS won’t make the effort to report RAM in base 2 and disk space in base 10.

  56. bullshit = stupid_user + lawyer;

  57. bigbigslacker,

    “But, instead of suing for fraud, I’m suing danny for busting my balls. They hurt really really bad. And this result WAS a reasonably foreseeable consequence to his post. Being a big man, I’ll settle for an apology.”

    Wait… What did I do? I have a strict policy not to touch any balls but my own, but that’s only for washing and scratching.

    J sub D,

    “As a conscientious libertarian, I’ll make no attempt to force the more betterer properest pronunciation on you.”

    … good idea. 😛

    kinnath,

    “To call established standard practice over two decades fraud is total bullshit.

    val can go fuck himself or herself as appropriate.”

    I agree on both counts, and I want a full-disclosure from “val”–what the hell is he/she hiding? How can he/she defend this bullshit?

  58. me,

    “Wait… What did I do? I have a strict policy not to touch any balls but my own, but that’s only for washing and scratching.”

    … That came out wrong…

  59. As long as it is not Seth Finkelstein I guess it is okay. Well, maybe not, but not so bad.

  60. “””First, in regard to geek jokes, I gave my students a 10 question quiz. Those who missed 1 question got a big fat F at the top of the paper.

    Am I a tough grader or an easy grader?”””

    Assuming you’re using the same 10, you would not be a tough grader. Missing 50% of the questions would be an F.

  61. To call established standard practice over two decades fraud is total bullshit

    Thats complete and utter bullshit. There is absolutely no two decades of established practice regarding this. Hard drives were originally listed and marketed as your normal base 2 capacities. Then they decided to switch it for marketing. Because it allowed them to list a higher capacity for the same price.

    However long before that there was a long and established practice of listing storage capacity of removable media in base 2. Hence DVDs were 4.7GB for single layer, 8.5GB for dual, cds were 640MB or 720MB, floppies were 1.44MB and 720KB for the big floppy floppies. And all those measurements were in base 2.

    Where do you get you your songs? ITunes? What base do you think that size is listed in?

    I couldnt find my SanDisk mp3 player, but I can almost guarantee that if I were to look the properties of a song, it would also be listed is base2. So internally on the mp3 players software the size is listed in base2 and externally on a the box the capacity is listed in base10? Thats really not a problem?

    So Seagate lost this exact lawsuit, Creative decided to settle. Yes, yes, its all about the lawyers, those evil bastards…

    PS: Mac and Unix also report HD sizes in base 2.

    To summarize, HD manufacturers used to report sizes in base2, as was the standard for all computer related numbers. They then switched to reporting these in base10 because it allowed to list a higher capacity without any additional cost. To this day no other numbers are reported in base10, RAM SIZE, RAM Speed, CPU SPEED, BUS Freq etc… all Base2.

  62. That’s hilarious. It’s like buying a 2.54cm part and suing the manufacturer because it isn’t an inch long.

    Both symbols refer to the same amount of storage space. Like FF and 255. 01101 and 13. And so on.

    This is the way every storage device works, and it’s a shame the defendant paid out a lawsuit born of the plaintiff’s ignorance.

    For the record, Creative is correct, and the operating systems are not. Giga- is an SI prefix, and refers to 10^9, not 2^30.

  63. I can almost guarantee that if I were to look the properties of a song, it would also be listed is base2

    If it’s shown to you in kilobytes, and you’re on such an OS, then yes. If you’re seeing it in raw bytes, then no. You’ll be seeing a whole base 10 number of base 2 words that comprise the file.

    It’s a human representation, Val; a computer doesn’t know squat about a 1 or a 0.

  64. I’ll guar-en-fuck-en-tee you that “BUS freq” has *never* been in base 2.

    So I still question if you know what the heck you’re talking about, although the rest does seem right.

  65. To this day no other numbers are reported in base10, RAM SIZE, RAM Speed, CPU SPEED, BUS Freq etc… all Base2.

    val, buddy, hate to rain on your parade, but of your four examples, three of them are wrong. Speed/frequency is always base 10, always has been. 1 MHz = 1,000,000 Hz

    And you remember those 1.44 MB floppy disks? Yeah, on those 1 MB = 1,024,000 bytes. Those fraudulent bastards managed to mix both decimal and binary into their definition of “mega”.

  66. Thats complete and utter bullshit. There is absolutely no two decades of established practice regarding this. Hard drives were originally listed and marketed as your normal base 2 capacities. Then they decided to switch it for marketing. Because it allowed them to list a higher capacity for the same price.

    Since you don’t seem to know what you are talking about, either provide a link to a reputable reference or shut up.

  67. I’m filing a class action law suit because my “tubafore” lumber isn’t really 2″ x 4″.

    Now where’s John Edwards?

  68. XKCD already covered this. Gotta love that guy.

    http://www.xkcd.com/394/

  69. Well, since lawyers seem to object to the correct use of SI prefixes when they relate to certain units (in this case, “a byte” [Which is really only 8 bits! Shit! I smell another lawsuit!]) it would seem that the easiest way for manufacturers to avoid future lawsuits would be to list the raw size of the drive, in bytes.

    “New from Creative Labs, the Zen 20. The Zen 20 features 20,000,000,000 bytes of storage, shuffle mode, a pong simulator, and lots of really nifty blinkenlights. $120 MSRP at all your favorite electronics retailers.”


  70. buddy, hate to rain on your parade, but of your four examples, three of them are wrong. Speed/frequency is always base 10, always has been. 1 MHz = 1,000,000 Hz

    Absolutely correct, I messed up in my fit of rage, clock speeds are indeed in base 10.

    Since you don’t seem to know what you are talking about, either provide a link to a reputable reference or shut up.,

    kinnath, from where I sit you dont know of what the fuck it is you speak. I brought up examples of removable media, ram, (and yes I made mistake on clockspeeds). You have Seagate loosing a similar lawsuit. Creative settles this one. And yet all you can come up with is “20 years of established practice”. So fuck you, that goes both ways, show me a link to this established practice? Maybe a standards document? Something with ISO perhaps.

  71. The bad thing about class action lawsuits is that they allow enterprising lawyers to consolidate many small claims, any one of which would not be worth pursuing on its own, and win settlements for consumers who may have not even realize they’ve been injured.

    Could someone explain to me exactly what injury/damages anyone has suffered because of this?

    They lied about about how big the hard drive was. They made money off the lie. Thats fraud.

    Not so fast, Perry Mason. They only made money off the lie if someone bought the damn thing who wouldn’t have if they had been told the binary capacity. I defy you to produce a single purchaser who would say that.

    In legalese, false statements that are immaterial do not support a finding of fraud. The difference between binary and decimal is immaterial in this context.

  72. Why dont we take Apple’s IPod and ITunes for an example.

    Apple markets the IPods capacity in base 10, to give them those nice high round numbers, 4 gig, 8 gig, etc…

    ITunes ships with all IPods, and it is arguably a piece of software that is specificaly written for Apple’s devices.

    ITunes allows you to view the music library stored on your computer, you can then copy that music to you IPod. ITunes music store allows you to expand your music collection by purchasing more songs.

    Why dont you take a look at the sizes of your songs as they are listed in ITunes and in the ITunes music store. Guess what…they are base2.

    That is a piece of software specifically written by Apple for its IPod devices, and the online music store again specificaly created by Apple all use base2 to represent the size of the files. But for some reason the devices that these files are meant to be stored on overrepresent their capacity because they are advertised in base10.

    You know it would have taken two lines of code for Apple to list those sizes in base10, but they chose not to. So instead everywhere in Apples world a Gb and Mb all have the base2 meaning, but on Apple’s packging Gb suddenly aquires a base10 meaning? I wonder why that is.

  73. Dear val,

    I started writing code professionally 23 years ago. What are your credentials?

    The first computer system I worked on used a proprietary real-time operating system that reported all memory and file sizes in octal. Later we upgraded to a different manufacturer and their OS reported everything in hexadecimal.

    It was DOS on PCs that introduced the bizare habit of reporting base 2 memory and file sizes in decimal format leading to the confusion where 1.0 KB is really 1024 bytes.

    The disk manufacturers are not the villians here. Microsoft is the villian.

    As far as I know, Microsoft does whatever Microsoft pleases. Their practices frequently, but not always, become defacto standards. There is no other industry standard that states how the OS manufacturer must report memory or file sizes to the user.

    As of 2003, Creative has included in its packaging a notice informing consumers that “1GB = 1,000,000,000 bytes,” that “available capacity will be less” than total capacity (because of the operating software), and that “reported capacity will vary.” But Creative offered that clarification two years before Strange and Fisher sued the company.

    Note that creative was telling users on the box what 1 GB meant. This occurred prior to the lawsuit. Suing them because MS Windows or Linux reports a different file size is bullshit. The problem is ignorant users, not consumer fraud.

  74. So fuck you, that goes both ways, show me a link to this established practice? Maybe a standards document? Something with ISO perhaps.

    I refer you to the SI system. Established as a standard for hundreds of years now, it uses the prefix Giga- to denote 10^9.

    Why dont you take a look at the sizes of your songs as they are listed in ITunes and in the ITunes music store. Guess what…they are base2.

    NO. You need a better understanding of number systems. A base2 number is something like 101001110101011101. A base10 number is something like 1234567890.

    When you see a number that’s 2.56GB, you’re looking at a base10 number no matter what. At issue is the conversion for 1GB. Is it 2^30 bytes (a base10 number), or 10^9 bytes (also a base10 number)?

    In 1998, following the IEC recommendation, the IEEE standards board recommended adhering to the SI definition, only allowing for case-by-case exceptions. To any engineer or scientist therefore, it is the OS that is the exceptional case, and the hard drive that embraces the correct usage of “gigabyte”.

  75. To summarize, HD manufacturers used to report sizes in base2, as was the standard for all computer related numbers. They then switched to reporting these in base10 because it allowed to list a higher capacity without any additional cost.

    Here you make the bodacious unsupported accusation that HD manufactors willfully committed consumer fraud by changing their reporting standards for the sole purpose of achieving a fincial gain. If not true, this is libel.

    As I said before, provide a link to a reputable resource or shut the fuck up.

  76. It was DOS on PCs that introduced the bizare habit of reporting base 2 memory and file sizes in decimal format leading to the confusion where 1.0 KB is really 1024 bytes.

    You may be interested to know that the primary reason is addressing. As pins are added (think Moore’s Law), the number of available addresses increases by powers of 2. That doesn’t mesh well into the powers-of-10 prefixes of the SI, so OS types hijacked it.

    I believe the problem is that people tend to think the abstraction of numbers exists in the deepest recesses of a CPU’s pathways, as though the individual transistors gate zeroes and ones rather than bursts of electrons.

  77. Could someone explain to me exactly what injury/damages anyone has suffered because of this?

    You dont need to know that. You can just feel that you have been wronged. Then you go to a lawyer, who will advise you wether your complaint has any merrit and wether you have a legal recourse.

    kinnath,

    Your Microsoft antipathy aside, you havent told which manufacturers started representing their HD sizes in base10. I maintain that they started in base2, whether they started because MS strongarmed them or because they hired away some MS developers is completely irrelevant. The fact is there was an established practice of reporting storage capacity of removable media in base2, do you agree? And the HD manufacturer’s initially followed this standard. (This is where we disagree). The fact that you and I(and the plaintiff) disagree could be construed as enough of a reason for a lawsuit, thats not for you to decide, but for a judge/jurry.

    Again the Creative player is a self contained device, you dont usualy go and swap out the HD or install a new OS on it. So all this talk about different OSs having different sector sizes is again irrelevant. How does the Creative OS on that player report the file size? I dont own a Creative player, so I dont know it capabilities, but if the OS allows you to view the size of a file natively through the OS, with out hooking it up to Windows, the question is how does it report it. If the Creative OS reports the size in base2, but externally on the box they state the capacity in base10, then they are willfully misleading the consumer by overstating the capacity. If they do report the file size in base10 then there is some vagueness regarding this, but considering that Creative decided to settle and that Seagate lost a similar lawsuit I have a hunch that just like Apple, all size are base2 untill they get to the packaging box, where they for some weird? reason turn to base10.

  78. You may be interested to know that the primary reason is addressing. As pins are added (think Moore’s Law), the number of available addresses increases by powers of 2. That doesn’t mesh well into the powers-of-10 prefixes of the SI, so OS types hijacked it.

    I haven’t written code for the DOS/Windows environment, only real-time computers and embedded processors. The users of these systems are expected to understand the issues you raise here so addressing is frequently in base 8 or base 16 to shorten the base 2 address to something practical.

    The only systems I know that use a decimal representation of memory sizes are those systems intended for general users.

    So you have code written by people that think in base 2/8/16 reporting data to people that think in base 10. The problem is the hybrid representation of a base 2 “kilobyte” in a base 10 format.

  79. NO. You need a better understanding of number systems. A base2 number is something like 101001110101011101. A base10 number is something like 1234567890.

    Geebus, I already know the difference between base2 and base10. I used that as a short form to represent the two ways used to describe size. Im pretty sure everyone here understood this.

    Yes, I’m also aware, that a listed capacity of 500GB, even in base2, is actually a bastard measure. Where the 500 is indeed in base 10, but the GB is actually in base2.

    If you look at my posts in this thread, I never once delved into the technical representaion, hexacdecimal addressing, or sector sizes. I simply described the difference in how these are presented to the consumer.

  80. The fact is there was an established practice of reporting storage capacity of removable media in base2, do you agree?

    No, as I said before, in my professional experience hard drives were always measured in base 10 for raw, physical disk space. You never know the “usuable” disk space until it is installed in system and the operational software tells you what it thinks it can see on the drive.

    The same physical device installed in three different systems (mp3 player, dvr, or desktop computer) will show three different sizes for usuable disk space.

  81. Then you go to a lawyer, who will advise you wether your complaint has any merrit and wether you have a legal recourse.

    This is typically where the problem begins. A lawyer has a strong motivation (in this case, 900,000 strong motivations) to write whatever he can to contrive harm, whether it existed or not. Merit is not relevant.

    If the Creative OS reports the size in base2, but externally on the box they state the capacity in base10, then they are willfully misleading the consumer by overstating the capacity.

    The question isn’t what base the number is, it’s whether the OS uses the KB/MB/GB suffixes and whether they are powers of 2 or 10. The number you’re seeing is always base 10, and it always refers to the same amount of storage space. There is no difference at all between the number 300 GB on the outside of a HDD box and the number 280 GB being reported by the OS. These are the exact same quantities. Just stop and come to terms with that. 300GB (HDD) == 280 GB (Windows). Not greater. Not lesser. Not different in any way. EQUAL.

    And as I pointed out, the standard interpretation of Giga- is contrary to the way in which Windows et al have chosen to represent it. They did this most likely out of laziness, to save on computation time when the OS counts up the blocks it allocated for the file.

    If there is a harm in this case, it was on the part of Windows. The shysters probably went after Creative for the same reason Clinton went to NY: not for merit, but that it was the one they could win.

  82. Note that it is common to have a substantial “loss” of usable disk space when it is installed in a system.

    Nearly all operating systems (or embbeded applications) allocate disk space based upon the smallest “usable” base 2 block size for that application. So they will only format the disk in some large multiple of that block size.

  83. Where the 500 is indeed in base 10, but the GB is actually in base2

    No! GB is a pair of letters that comprise a multiplication expression. It stands for one of two numbers: 10^9, or 2^30.

    So what you’re looking at on the box is 300 x 10^9. What you’re looking at in the OS is 280 x 2^30. These are the SAME numbers.

  84. but if the OS allows you to view the size of a file natively through the OS, with out hooking it up to Windows, the question is how does it report it.

    Here is a problem for the manufacter. If the size of the “tune” can be read directly from the player as well as from the computer when it is attached, then the manufacturer must report the same size as the OS on the computer. Otherwise, someone will sue the manufacturer because the device gives a different answer than the computer.

  85. val,
    You appear to be wrong here:

    Hey guess what the capacity of a single layer DVD is???

    Found in a couple places, but from wikipedia:
    Note: Like with hard disk drives in the DVD realm gigabyte and the symbol GB are usually used in the SI sense, i.e. 10^9 (or 1,000,000,000) bytes. For distinction, gibibyte with symbol GiB is used, i.e. 2^30 (or 1,073,741,824) bytes. Most computer operating systems display file sizes in gibibytes, mebibytes and kibibytes labeled as gigabyte, megabyte and kilobyte respectively.

    It also claims that the 4.7 number == 4.37GiB

    CD-ROM on the other hand is usually given in MiB (although only approximated).

  86. http://www.aresluna.org/attached/computerhistory/ads/international/radioshack/pics/percon8201
    –here is a radio shack computer add with 16K memory.

    http://www.aresluna.org/attached/computerhistory/ads/international/seagate/pics/st4096-byte8901
    –here is a 80MB Seagate HD add, thats formats to 80MB just like advertised wow.

    http://www.aresluna.org/attached/computerhistory/ads/international/seagate/pics/st251-byte8902
    –here is more Seagate adds that advertise actual formated capacity
    http://www.seagate.com/support/disc/specs/mfm/st251.html
    –here is the link to spec on those harddrives

    Im sure you can imagine that I dont have a catalogue of old adds at my disposal, so I can just show you how the HD used to be advertised at their actual capacities. But the fact that they have to put the 1GB=1000000000 bytes in there should be telling, if this was established practice, then why did they start putting in that disclaimer.

  87. Val said: I maintain that they started in base2, whether they started because MS strongarmed them or because they hired away some MS developers is completely irrelevant. The fact is there was an established practice of reporting storage capacity of removable media in base2, do you agree? And the HD manufacturer’s initially followed this standard.

    Yes, they might well have. And if they did so, then they were doing so in error. And that they did so initially is utterly irrelevant. It wasn’t HD manufacturers that decided that a GB == 10^9 bytes, it was the ISO.

    The ISO has stated that the “giga” prefix always means 10^9, even if you’re talking about bytes, and if you want to talk in powers of 2 (i.e.: 2^30), you have to use a different prefix: “gibi”. Which is an IEC standard.

    Val then said: I’m sure you can imagine that I don’t have a catalogue of old adds at my disposal, so I can just show you how the HD used to be advertised at their actual capacities. But the fact that they have to put the 1GB=1000000000 bytes in there should be telling, if this was established practice, then why did they start putting in that disclaimer.

    The HD manufacturers are even kind enough to inform the consumers of the correct definition of “GB” right on the box. It’s not a “disclaimer”. It’s a bloody definition, that most consumers are apparently uninformed of.

    “But they did it wrong in a way I liked for a long time” is an invalid reason for them to continue doing it wrong.

  88. Umm, can I get an “Amen” for the proposition that this is the geekiest thread ever?

  89. Val, great work. You’ve shown that some people did at some point advertise the formatted capacity of the hard drive. So you’re halfway home is avoiding that libel suit.

    Now all you have to do is that the change in advertising had nothing to do with the advent of 32-bit processors, which allow 32-bit operating systems, which support 32-bit addressing in the file system.

    You need to show that it had nothing to do with the fact that a consumer can buy a hard drive and put it into a windows system then:

    1) partition the disk and format the partiions into FAT16 file systems (wasteful) for backward compatibility

    2) or mix and match FAT16 and FAT32 file systems across the partitions

    3) or format the entire disk as a single partition with at FAT32 file system

    4) or format the entire disk as a single partition with an NFS file system

    5) or put the disk into a RAID tower and let the RAID controller do the heavy listing

    6) etc, etc, etc

    You also need to show that it had nothing to do with the IEEE saying “thou shalt use base 10 execpt when . . . ”

    So you may prove that you didn’t libel anyone with your previous statements. But you haven’t proven that your point of view is correct.

  90. Amen, brother, amen

    At least it kept joe away.

  91. Seagate ST4096 advertisement from Byte 1/89

    I followed your link val. The text talks about a drive that formats to 80 GB instead of those other guys that format down to 72 GB.

    So you proved both that sometimes people advertise the formatted size and sometimes they advertise the raw size. So you proved my point that it was actually standard practice to advertise raw disk size in the past.

    Way to go dude.

  92. Yo val, the implication of the ad was that seagate was all alone in the industry by advertising formatted capacity.

    So the ad proves that not only did it happen, but listing raw disk size was the most common form of advertising as far back as 1989.

  93. I believe the problem is that people tend to think the abstraction of numbers exists in the deepest recesses of a CPU’s pathways, as though the individual transistors gate zeroes and ones rather than bursts of electrons.

    Well, that is the very essence of the digital logic abstraction, so it’s pretty much true.

  94. So the ad proves that not only did it happen, but listing raw disk size was the most common form of advertising as far back as 1989.

    grrrr, you guys are driving me nuts, I dont know why I keep comming back to this thread.

    Over and over, Iam not talking about raw capacity vs formated capacity, we are talking about represting the said capacity in terms of base10 or in terms of base2.

    And I maintain that the adds I linked to the specified 80MB is in base2. I found alot of adds especially older ones that talked about tiny amounts of memeory like 16K, 120K etc… Those were all listed in base2. The reason I only linked the three adds is that they give hints about which base they are listed in.

    All the other adds just list the capacity like 16K or 32K or whatever of ROM, Im fairly certain those numbers are still in base2, however there is nothing on the add itself to indicated one way or the other. And I havent found a single early add that had the 1GB=100000000 disclaimer, or anthing of the sort.

    BTW: Western Digital also lost a similar lawsuit.

    Again this sector size and file systems are completly irrelevant when we speak of self contained cosumer devices such as mp3 players.

    When Apple advertises their IPod as 8gig, and then I look at my 8gig music library in my Apple supplied ITunes software, which I purchased from Apple’s online music store, its fairly safe for me to assume that my Apple music library which Apple says is 8 gigs would fit onto my Apple IPod which Apple says has an 8gig capacity. See what Im getting at?

    It would have taken Apple almost no effort to express sizes of their files in base10. Or at the very least add another attribute called ‘Size on Ipod’ or something. They did not do that, because first expressing file size in base10 is not exactly the going standard and second it would have highlighted the fact their actual capacity might be less than advertised. So intead they turned to a practice, that atleast I see, as sneaky, where the only time they use a base10 meaning for MB or GB is on the packaging box, everywhere else it retains the base2 meaning.

  95. http://www.physics.nist.gov/cuu/Units/prefixes.html

    Because the SI prefixes strictly represent powers of 10, they should not be used to represent powers of 2. Thus, one kilobit, or 1 kbit, is 1000 bit and not 2^10 bit = 1024 bit. To alleviate this ambiguity, prefixes for binary multiples have been adopted by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) for use in information technology.

    I understand what you’re saying. You’re simply wrong.

    The big problem here is that your OS is reporting the size of your files incorrectly. That’s not the fault of your hard drive manufacturer.

  96. And I maintain that the adds I linked to the specified 80MB is in base2. I found alot of adds especially older ones that talked about tiny amounts of memeory like 16K, 120K etc… Those were all listed in base2. The reason I only linked the three adds is that they give hints about which base they are listed in.

    Except that none of the ads you linked say anything about quoting sizes in KiB or MiB. In fact, the Trash-80 ad you reference specifically does NOT use KiB, calling 16,000 bytes “16KB” instead of 15.6KiB

  97. Over and over, I am not talking about raw capacity vs formated capacity, we are talking about represting the said capacity in terms of base10 or in terms of base2.

    No, that is not the question. From your much earlier post . . .

    In my opinion this is indeed a worthy lawsuit. Think of in terms of content capacities. Lets say for arguments sakes, each of your songs/videos was 1 gigabyte in size. So by that logic you stand to reason you could fit 20 of these songs/videos on there. Obviously you could only fit 18, this to me is indeed false advertising. The case is even more pronounced when you start buying harddrives, I bought a 500GB harddrive for my PC, but its actual size was something like 480 gigs.

    You bought a 500 GB hard drive and got a 500 GB hard drive. It’s actual size is 500 GB.

    Your computer reports a different size for a variety of reasons, all of which have been explained to you in great detail.

    The problem is that most consumer devices take great liberties with what they report, because general users either don’t care or don’t understand the details.

    When MS Windows reports that a file is 1,500 KB. The file is 1,500 times 1024 bytes long. This is not 1.5 times 10^6 which would be standard SI nomenclature. It’s not 1.5 times 1024 times 1024 (so it’s not even 1.5 megabytes).

    Is this confusing? Absolutely.

    Would an industry standard help? Damn Straight.

    Worthy of a lawsuit? Fuck No.

  98. You bought a 500 GB hard drive and got a 500 GB hard drive. It’s actual size is 500 GB.

    Your computer reports a different size for a variety of reasons, all of which have been explained to you in great detail.

    kinnath, you continue to pick out what is conventient out of my arguments.

    You dont need to explain to me why 500GB capacity was 480GB. It was because I assumed that GB meant 1024MB, as it does with all other computer components. The smaller differences you get because of sector sizes and file allocations were all known to me long before I bought this ~500GB harddrive.

    You keep talking about Miscrosoft for some reason. Is this the only OS known to you. Unix/Linux also report size in base2. Apple makes an operating system as well, it also report file sizes in base2. It also makes the ITune software which also reports the file size in base2, Apple also runs an online music store which also reports the file size in base2. So you can live in an Apple only world, use Leopard, ITunes and an IPod. And still the even though all of those are from the same company IPod’s packaging will not follow Apple’s own standard.

    So does Apple deserve to face a lawsuit? Fuck Ya. And the precedents would seem to agree with me.

  99. Except that none of the ads you linked say anything about quoting sizes in KiB or MiB

    If you were to format that 80MB harddrive in say Windows, Windows would report that as an 80MB harddrive. Since Windows reports sizes in base2, you logicaly conclude that the 80MB in the add was the same 80MB in base2 Windows reports.

  100. val, you are un-fucking-teachable.

  101. kinnath,you are trying to teach me something I already knew, something I didnt ask you teach me in the first place and something that has absolutely nothing to do with this lawsuit,

    But hey if it makes you feel better. I NOW KNOW THAT THE ACTUAL STORAGE CAPACITY WILL VARY DEPENDING ON THE OS AND FORMATTING AND AND SECTOR SIZE AND SO ON. See not unteachable, the thing is I knew all that before.

    And the problem is that capacity will vary regardless of wether the packaging states the capacity in base2 or in base10. So you are obfuscating the issue by continuosly focusing on a seconday non-related issue that has to do with OS and formating specific sizes.

  102. the Trash-80 ad you reference specifically does NOT use KiB

    In fairness, that notation did not exist when the ad was created. However, in the same way the disclaimer is appropriate now to make it clear what a GB is to a present day disk manufacturer, computer manufacturers should have been clear about their “creative math” in the past. They probably didn’t because nobody is upset when their 256K ends up being 262144 bytes instead of 256000 bytes.

  103. val –

    The SI, IEC, and IEEE all adhere to “Giga” meaning 10^9, not 2^30.

    Using “Giga” to refer to 2^30 is non-standard. It is done for expediency, because it’s the computer that counts the blocks in a file, and it’s easier for computer to count in powers of 2, especially given the way in which computers access information from a HDD nowadays.

    Get this through your head: the HDD companies specify their sizes correctly.

    The operating systems do not.

    Making the storage industry liable for the software industry’s error is the sort of 2 + 2 = 5 mentality that’s dragging this society down.

    At any rate, 300 x 10^9 == 279.4 x 2^30. The conflicting representations do not result in any difference in storage capacity.

  104. Val said: Unix/Linux also report size in base2.

    Nope.

    [root@sandworm ~]# fdisk -l /dev/sdc

    Disk /dev/sdc: 750.1 GB, 750156374016 bytes
    255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 91201 cylinders
    Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes

    [root@sandworm ~]# df –help
    Usage: df [OPTION]… [FILE]…
    Show information about the file system on which each FILE resides,
    or all file systems by default.

    Mandatory arguments to long options are mandatory for short options too.
    -a, –all include dummy file systems
    -B, –block-size=SIZE use SIZE-byte blocks
    -h, –human-readable print sizes in human readable format (e.g., 1K 234M 2G)
    -H, –si likewise, but use powers of 1000 not 1024
    -i, –inodes list inode information instead of block usage
    -k like –block-size=1K
    -l, –local limit listing to local file systems
    –no-sync do not invoke sync before getting usage info (default)
    -P, –portability use the POSIX output format
    –sync invoke sync before getting usage info
    -t, –type=TYPE limit listing to file systems of type TYPE
    -T, –print-type print file system type
    -x, –exclude-type=TYPE limit listing to file systems not of type TYPE
    -v (ignored)
    –help display this help and exit
    –version output version information and exit

    SIZE may be (or may be an integer optionally followed by) one of following:
    kB 1000, K 1024, MB 1000*1000, M 1024*1024, and so on for G, T, P, E, Z, Y.

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  106. Just for fun: http://xkcd.com/386/ is probably appropriate, too…

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