Rant of a Geek

So I destroyed the forum at Jer’s Software Hut. By pure blind luck—the purest and blindest variety of this luck: Extra Virgin Pure Blind Luck, I made a backup two minutes before destroying the forums. I have yet to restore the forums from the backup for reasons I’m not sure of, but the data is there, and I know I will be able to pull it off eventually.

So I have this file that should restore the database to its previous condition. Groovy. Only problem is, it doesn’t work. I’ll figure it out. But that’s not my beef here. My beef is about units. The maximum size for an uploaded restore file is 102 kKiB.

How big again?

There’s been a movement afoot to try to separate the binary “thousand” from the decimal thousand. Thus a thousand meters is a kilometer (km), and a 1026 bytes is no longer a kilobyte (kB), but a kibibyte (KiB). I’m down with that. It’s a distinction I already made in my head, and now it’s codified.

But then there’s 102 kKiB. No. No, no, no. You’re at three decimal point precision here, there’s really not any reason whatsoever to be mixing your numbering systems. (I’m cc’ing this message to the people at myPhPAdmin.) Why not just say 99 MiB? Every mainstream operating system reports file size in MiB (though they call it MB), so suddenly there’s no deciphering involved.

Maybe it’s just the residual physics geek in me, but units, properly used, make things simpler. I got out of a second semester of class by unit-analyzing my way through a test. I had no idea what the question was asking, but I knew what I had and I knew what units the answer had to be in, and most of the time that and a little calculus is enough.

But that has nothing to do with my current rant. My rant is this: 102 kKiB is really effing retarded.

I feel better now.

Edited to add: Apparently, the “MB” numbers on hard drives are the absolutely retarded 1000 x 1024 Bytes, or 1000 KiB, or 1 kKiB. Even though it’s stupid, I will swallow and not be annoyed when the unit is used in direct reference to a hard drive, for truth in advertising. In the case of a file upload, there is still no excuse.

One thought on “Rant of a Geek

  1. Two things: I have now sipped from the bottle mentioned in he previous episode. It’s… a little sweet for my taste. Just a shade too much ethylene glycol.

    Second, another anecdote about the Physics test mentioned in this episode: On the same test, I was asked to state the second law of thermodynamics. I answered, “You can’t win.”

    That answer was wrong, of course. That’s the first law of thermodynamics. The second (and most important to me from a philosophical point of view) law is, “you can’t break even.” The third law is “you can’t get out of the game.” Thus from a thermodynamic point of view, the universe is a giant casino with odds in favor of the house, and participation is mandatory.

    Were it not for those laws, we would not have to eat. Crazy stuff, that thermodynamics.

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