What about octet?

Discussion in 'Feedback and Suggestions' started by Unregistered, Sep 28, 2007.

  1. Unregistered

    Thread Starter Guest

    In the table of bit groupings, it would seem that a term defined by the International Electrotechnical Commission would be official.

    octet - 8 bits.
     
  2. Dave

    Retired Moderator

    Nov 17, 2003
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    Whilst accurate, how wide spread is the use of the term octet as opposed to bytes? (Which is how 8-bits is referred to in the text).

    IIRC, octet is more commonly used in French speaking countries.

    Dave
     
  3. Papabravo

    Expert

    Feb 24, 2006
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    You mean it's not! Sacre Bleu!
     
  4. beenthere

    Retired Moderator

    Apr 20, 2004
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    It will probably stay byte for some time - I will continue to enjoy Mr. Schumann's Octet, however. The term, octet, may be evocative, but utterly lacks geekiness.

    Move to ignore the change.
     
  5. Eduard Munteanu

    Active Member

    Sep 1, 2007
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    Technically, using 'byte' to mean strictly a group of 8 bits is wrong. Remember the 7-bit byte negotiated by some telephone line modems?

    In my opinion, such standards should be observed more carefully. There is enough confusion arising from not using kibibytes to mean 2^{10} bytes for example. It's a shame that computer science still does not comply with the long-established scientific rules and common practice.

    And then we wonder why 'engineering' isn't an accepted qualifier for 'software'... :(
     
  6. Papabravo

    Expert

    Feb 24, 2006
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    Actually in the venerable PDP-6, a byte could be any size from 1 to 36 bits. There were hardware instructions that would pack and unpack them as well. Standards -shmandards
     
  7. Dave

    Retired Moderator

    Nov 17, 2003
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    Does anyone have access to the IEC standards for bit-grouping terminology?

    Dave
     
  8. m4yh3m

    Senior Member

    Apr 28, 2004
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    Most text books state that 1 byte = 8 bits.
    1 bit = 0 or 1
    1 nybble = 4 bits
    1 byte = 8 bits
    1 kilobyte = 1024 bytes
    etc. etc.

    As metric is common outside of the US and the imperial system is common inside, a byte will always mean an 8-bit byte here. Unless you're using proprietary hardware with an uncommon bit/byte ratio, the defacto will always be 8 bits = 1 byte. Most people don't know what an octothorpe is, why would they know what an octet is when the industries and commercials ingrain 1 byte = 8 bits. And without trying to be insulting, trying to sling around the word octet for a "cool factor" will probably result in looks of "what an idiot".

    Speaking of commercials and coolness... some people hate hearing finger nails on a chalk board... I hate hearing the commercials for mobile phones with text messaging where the whole family says "IDK, I'm talking to my BFF Satan. OMGWTFBBQPORKCHOPSANDWICHES!" It makes me want to buy a musket so I can clean it then load it with black powder and a bullet and then shoot the television.
     
  9. Dave

    Retired Moderator

    Nov 17, 2003
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    To obtain the proverbial can-of-worms and open it with two hands, but 1024 bytes is now referred to as a kilibyte (2^10) in the binary prefix notation. A kilobyte is is exactly 1000 (10^3) bytes under the SI prefix notation. However many still confuse the two terms - myself included, and some refuse to conform to the terminology creating confusion. Ever wondered why your 400GB external HD losses 28GBs on connection...

    Dave
     
  10. recca02

    Senior Member

    Apr 2, 2007
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    it sure wud be a pain however to get accustomed to these terminologies.
    as for me i always get a good picture of things when figures are projected in bytes.
     
  11. Dave

    Retired Moderator

    Nov 17, 2003
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    Well bytes are still bytes, i.e. 8-bits. The terminology change is in the prefix, reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Template:Quantities_of_bytes

    The SI notation is the one that most people are familiar with, however the base-2 notation of the binary-prefixes are the more accurate ones for digital computing systems. My example of the external HDs showing less than advertised is a classic example of where the confusion of this terminology creeps in.

    Dave
     
  12. beenthere

    Retired Moderator

    Apr 20, 2004
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    A good part of the confusion with the decimal/binary prefixes comes from their similarity - there are too many homonyms - killibyte and kilobyte as an example. Rather than make such a standard from on high, it might be more acceptable (and less confusing) to elicit input to see if less confusing terms may be come up with.

    Considering that we're 48,576 bytes short when we say megabyte, it's not a bad idea. Then again, anyone using base 2 numbers knows the prefixes are not accurate. It's not quite at the level of the kilometers/miles mixup that lost a Mars probe.

    No sense in gritching about the old Imperial units - the standard of a 1/4 - 20 screw socket in every camera for a tripod mount insures that inches will be with us forever!
     
  13. Dave

    Retired Moderator

    Nov 17, 2003
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    Absolutely, the abreviated acronyms are not much better kilibyte = KiB and kilobyte = KB.

    The other problem is that it is easy to say 1KiB = 1024 bytes \approx 1KB = 1000 bytes. Now this is not too bad on the KiB/KB scale when we get in the gigibyte and gigabyte scale, several gigs can go missing quite easily.

    I'd agree, but its now become standard notation.

    The aviation industry will ensure imperial will be with us for a long time yet - it is far too risky to move away from an established system in such a standardised and critical industry.

    Dave
     
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