Benjamin Barrett gogaku at IX.NETCOM.COM
Wed Jan 3 23:05:16 UTC 2001

> Behalf Of Drew Danielson
> Sent: Tuesday, January 02, 2001 1:15 PM

> I would guess there was discussion about this around this time last
> year, but I don't much care for the use of 2K to mean 2000.  As a
> number, K is most often used to signify quantities of bits or bytes.
> Since these critters live in a binary universe, K is a rough decimal
> translation: 2^10 = 1024, not 1000.  So, Y2K would be the year 2048.
> The only other example that I can think of the number K being used with
> an elliptic unit is in foot racing - 5K or 10K races, where K = 1000
> (meters).
> While both uses of K are current, the former is by far much more
> common.  Since "Y2K" was most often used in reference to the potential
> date-related computer problems, I feel this adds more weight to the
> argument that in this case K should properly be used to refer to 1024,
> not 1000 (and that Y2K is a misapplication of the number K).

K is common as an abbreviation for kilo (=1000) in the metric system. It is
widely used in km and kg among others.

While many online glossaries dedicated to computer jargon such as


agree that a KB is 1024 bytes or that it is generally rounded off to 1000,
others do not:


The last in this list explicitly draws a line between data storage Ks
(usually 1024) and data transfer rate Ks (1000).

In any case, it would seem that the usage of K for 1000 (metric system) far
outdates using it for 1024, which is a 20th century development to make
things simple.

Benjamin Barrett
gogaku at ix.netcom.com

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