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Standard Abbreviation for Bits and Bytes

 
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Dennis Marks
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Since: Apr 18, 2005
Posts: 259



PostPosted: Thu Sep 29, 2005 10:49 pm    Post subject: Standard Abbreviation for Bits and Bytes
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Since there are 8 bits to a byte there can be a major misunderstanding with
abbreviations. Are there standard abbreviations for bits and bytes? I always
assumed bits was small b and bytes was capital B. Is this true? 100 MB -
mega bytes. 100 mb - mega bits.

Is a 56k modem 56k bytes or bits per second?

Can I assume everything is bytes unless bits is specifically stated?

--
Dennis
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galennews
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Since: Jan 31, 2005
Posts: 3771



PostPosted: Fri Sep 30, 2005 2:26 am    Post subject: Re: Standard Abbreviation for Bits and Bytes [Login to view extended thread Info.]
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In news:u5rHNFWxFHA.3772@TK2MSFTNGP11.phx.gbl,
Dennis Marks had this to say:

My reply is at the bottom of your sent message:

> Since there are 8 bits to a byte there can be a major
> misunderstanding with abbreviations. Are there standard abbreviations
> for bits and bytes? I always assumed bits was small b and bytes was
> capital B. Is this true? 100 MB - mega bytes. 100 mb - mega bits.
>
> Is a 56k modem 56k bytes or bits per second?
>
> Can I assume everything is bytes unless bits is specifically stated?

It's really a 56k modem is in this the format of Kb (byte) modem meaning
that it's near 5.4(ish) - IIRC - KB/sec at full rated capacity. A 10/100
NIC, for instance, is 100 Mb (not MB) in actuality for instance. Sometimes
you will see, in the instance of a NIC (quite often with Wi-Fi) ** Mb/sec
capacity. They use the big "M" because it looks better and markets better.
You'd be amazed how many people think they'll get 54 MB per second with such
cards. Ah well... It's bits and not bytes I'm afraid.

Galen
--

"You know that a conjurer gets no credit when once he has explained his
trick; and if I show you too much of my method of working, you will
come to the conclusion that I am a very ordinary individual after all."

Sherlock Holmes
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void
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Since: Dec 14, 2004
Posts: 3927



PostPosted: Fri Sep 30, 2005 3:15 am    Post subject: Re: Standard Abbreviation for Bits and Bytes [Login to view extended thread Info.]
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user4352
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Since: Jan 08, 2005
Posts: 4495



PostPosted: Fri Sep 30, 2005 3:15 am    Post subject: Re: Standard Abbreviation for Bits and Bytes [Login to view extended thread Info.]
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Modem speed (in BAUD) include control bits so 1 byte takes more than 8 bits to send.

10^0 = 1
2 ^ 0 = 1
10 ^ 3 = k (1 000)
2 ^ 10 = ki (1024) (technically - windows uses k and M for historical reasons as there was no ki when windows was first written)
10 ^ 6 = M (1 000 000)
2 ^ 20 = Mi (1 048 576)
same for G/Gi

1 byte is 8 bits. There are indirect ways of refering to data sizes that do change from processor to processor but bits/bytes isn't one of them.

Here are the official australian rules. They don't specifically cover bytes or bits. From Chapt 11 at http://www.agimo.gov.au/information/publishing/style_manual

I'd say
kb
MB
for bytes. I'd spell out bits (and in practise I tend to spell bytes in full to be sure) or use baud if appropiate.
Expression of metric units

LOWER CASE

11.11 Names of units and prefixes, when spelt out in full, are expressed in lower-case letters

(except at the beginning of a sentence). The only exception is the capital 'C' in degree Celsius

(C).

11.12 Unit symbols are expressed in lower-case letters except the symbol for 'litre', the

symbols for units named after people and the symbols for units containing one of the first five

prefixes in table 11.4 (exa, peta, tera, giga and mega). Thus:

litre L millilitre mL pascal Pa newton N

hertz Hz megajoule MJ gigawatt GW ampere A

11.13 The use of the capital 'L' as the symbol for 'litre' is a change from earlier practice, which

was to use the lower-case 'l' or script ' '.

PLURALS

11.14 Unit names take a plural 's' only when associated with numbers greater than unity. For

example:

0.5 metre 1.5 metres 1 kilogram 25 kilograms

11.15 The hertz, the lux and the siemens, however, are not changed in the plural:

10 kilohertz 3 lux 1.5 siemens

11.16 When a measurement is used in an adjectival sense, unit names remain in the singular:

a 50-hectare block of land

a 2-tonne truck

CONSISTENCY

11.17 Unit names and symbols should not be mixed in the same context. If a symbol is used

for one unit, symbols should be used for all units. For example:

km / h not km / hour

PER

11.18 The term 'per' should be used only with words, whereas the solidus denoting 'per'

should be used only with symbols:

kilometres per hour or km / h

not kilometres per h or km / hour

SYMBOLS

11.19 Since symbols are internationally recognised representations of units-not abbreviations

of the unit names-they do not take full stops nor do they change when associated with

numbers greater than unity. For example:

km not km. 2 kg not 2 kgs

11.20 Symbols of units should be set in roman type (that is, upright type as distinct from italic)

irrespective of the type used in the rest of the text. The only exceptions are the symbol for 'ohm',

represented by the upper-case Greek letter omega (W), and the prefix 'micro', represented by

the lower-case Greek letter mu (m).

Is measured 2.8 m overall

But note that symbols of quantities are printed in italics:

In this case, the value of H would be 0.56 m

So due to the velocity of 0.5c, the mass m of the object will increase by

15 per cent.

PREFIXES

11.21 All prefixes except those representing a million or more-that is, exa (E), peta (P), tera

(T), giga (G) and mega (M)-have lower-case symbols.

LESS THAN UNITY

11.22 In the case of measurements less than unity, a nought is placed before the decimal point.

For example:

0.25 metre or 0.25 m not 25 metre or .25 m

USE OF SPACE

11.23 Unit names and symbols should be separated from any associated numerical value by a

thin space:

27 m not 27m 27 metres not 27metres

11.24 Exceptions to this rule are the symbols for degree (), minute ('), second (") and degree

Celsius (C). For example:

180 125' 15" 27C

CHOICE OF UNITS

11.25 Only one unit name (or symbol) should be included in a statement of measurement:

1.234 m or 1234 mm

not 1 m 234 mm or 1 m 2 dm 3 cm 4 mm

11.26 The unit should be so chosen that the numerical value of the statement of measurement

lies between 0.1 and 1000. For example:

47.32 m not 0.047 32 km

500 kPa or 0.5 Mpa not 500 000 Pa


--
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
http://webdiary.smh.com.au/archives/_comment/001075.html
=================================================
"Leythos" wrote in message
> In article ,
> says...
>> Since there are 8 bits to a byte there can be a major misunderstanding with
>> abbreviations. Are there standard abbreviations for bits and bytes? I always
>> assumed bits was small b and bytes was capital B. Is this true? 100 MB -
>> mega bytes. 100 mb - mega bits.
>>
>> Is a 56k modem 56k bytes or bits per second?
>>
>> Can I assume everything is bytes unless bits is specifically stated?
>
> Generally speaking, B = Bytes, b = bits. Modems are rated in bits/sec.
>
> And so you know, a Byte can be 8, 16, 32 bits depending on the platform.
> A bit is always a single element.
>
> You also have K/k which can mean 1024 like normal computer terms, or
> 1000 if you talk about hard drives.
>
> Then you have tape drives rated for 24GB, which is actually a 12GB
> drive/capacity, but long ago the marketing types decided to consider 2:1
> compression as the norm and they started doubling the size of their tape
> drives.
>
> Then you've got the NAT device vendors that now call their routers
> "Firewalls" when they are nothing of the sort, but no-one's take them to
> task for it.
>
> --
>
> spam999free@rrohio.com
> remove 999 in order to email me
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Doug Miller
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Since: Sep 29, 2005
Posts: 4



PostPosted: Fri Sep 30, 2005 1:15 pm    Post subject: Re: Standard Abbreviation for Bits and Bytes [Login to view extended thread Info.]
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In article , Leythos wrote:

>And so you know, a Byte can be 8, 16, 32 bits depending on the platform.

No. A byte is 8 bits, period. A *word* can be 8, 16, 32, 36, 64, or whatever,
bits, depending on the platform.

--
Regards,
Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)

It's time to throw all their damned tea in the harbor again.
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user3633
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Since: Dec 26, 2004
Posts: 112



PostPosted: Fri Sep 30, 2005 1:15 pm    Post subject: Re: Standard Abbreviation for Bits and Bytes [Login to view extended thread Info.]
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Doug Miller wrote:
> In article , Leythos wrote:
>
>
>>And so you know, a Byte can be 8, 16, 32 bits depending on the platform.
>
>
> No. A byte is 8 bits, period. A *word* can be 8, 16, 32, 36, 64, or whatever,
> bits, depending on the platform.

"A byte is 8 bits". Wrong, wrong, wrong. A byte is the amount of
storage required to hold one character. I personally have encountered
character sets with 6, 7, 8, 9, and 16-bit bytes.

An 8-bit unit of storage is an 'octet'.
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user4352
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Since: Jan 08, 2005
Posts: 4495



PostPosted: Fri Sep 30, 2005 2:15 pm    Post subject: Re: Standard Abbreviation for Bits and Bytes [Login to view extended thread Info.]
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No it's not. Your text you are looking at now is 16 bit and takes two bytes.

--
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
http://webdiary.smh.com.au/archives/_comment/001075.html
=================================================
"C A Upsdell" wrote in message
> Doug Miller wrote:
>> In article , Leythos wrote:
>>
>>
>>>And so you know, a Byte can be 8, 16, 32 bits depending on the platform.
>>
>>
>> No. A byte is 8 bits, period. A *word* can be 8, 16, 32, 36, 64, or whatever,
>> bits, depending on the platform.
>
> "A byte is 8 bits". Wrong, wrong, wrong. A byte is the amount of
> storage required to hold one character. I personally have encountered
> character sets with 6, 7, 8, 9, and 16-bit bytes.
>
> An 8-bit unit of storage is an 'octet'.
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void
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 30, 2005 3:15 pm    Post subject: Re: Standard Abbreviation for Bits and Bytes [Login to view extended thread Info.]
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void
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 30, 2005 3:15 pm    Post subject: Re: Standard Abbreviation for Bits and Bytes [Login to view extended thread Info.]
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user4352
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Since: Jan 08, 2005
Posts: 4495



PostPosted: Fri Sep 30, 2005 4:15 pm    Post subject: Re: Standard Abbreviation for Bits and Bytes [Login to view extended thread Info.]
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4, a nibble is 1/2 a byte.

--
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
http://webdiary.smh.com.au/archives/_comment/001075.html
=================================================
"Leythos" wrote in message
> In article , C A Upsdell
> says...
>> Doug Miller wrote:
>> > In article , Leythos wrote:
>> >
>> >
>> >>And so you know, a Byte can be 8, 16, 32 bits depending on the platform.
>> >
>> >
>> > No. A byte is 8 bits, period. A *word* can be 8, 16, 32, 36, 64, or whatever,
>> > bits, depending on the platform.
>>
>> "A byte is 8 bits". Wrong, wrong, wrong. A byte is the amount of
>> storage required to hold one character. I personally have encountered
>> character sets with 6, 7, 8, 9, and 16-bit bytes.
>>
>> An 8-bit unit of storage is an 'octet'.
>
> Yea, but does anyone know how many bits in a Nibble - harking back to
> the older days Smile
>
> --
>
> spam999free@rrohio.com
> remove 999 in order to email me
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user3633
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Since: Dec 26, 2004
Posts: 112



PostPosted: Fri Sep 30, 2005 5:38 pm    Post subject: Re: Standard Abbreviation for Bits and Bytes [Login to view extended thread Info.]
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David Candy wrote:
> No it's not. Your text you are looking at now is 16 bit and takes two bytes.

You are utterly wrong. A byte is the amount of storage required to
store one character; this amount is NOT fixed at 1 octet.
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void
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 30, 2005 8:15 pm    Post subject: Re: Standard Abbreviation for Bits and Bytes [Login to view extended thread Info.]
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user3633
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Since: Dec 26, 2004
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 30, 2005 8:37 pm    Post subject: Re: Standard Abbreviation for Bits and Bytes [Login to view extended thread Info.]
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Leythos wrote:
> In article , C A Upsdell
> says...
>
>>David Candy wrote:
>>
>>>No it's not. Your text you are looking at now is 16 bit and takes two bytes.
>>
>>You are utterly wrong. A byte is the amount of storage required to
>>store one character; this amount is NOT fixed at 1 octet.
>
>
> Not only that, but my news reader client only shows 7bit ASCII code.

For more on this issue, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Byte
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