Orin Safier v. Western Digital Corporation

After reading the complaint that was filed, I feel that the plaintiff is a serious prick, and because of that I will have my own little rebuttal.

Yes, the ICE does now want us to use MiB and GiB instead of MB and GB when referring to the base two system (binary). The plaintiff fails to acknowledge that the current system, using SI prefixes, is actually incorrect as it does not follow the SI rules of a strictly base ten system. Therefore, when hard drive manufactures claim that a hard drive holds 200 GB they mean, in accordance to the SI rules, that it equals 200×10^9 bytes, not 200×2^30 bytes which is 200 GiB. Yes the standards should be enforced, but don’t sue hard drive manufactures for adhering to the SI standard instead of the incorrect usage.

In reality, it is every one else’s fault for not changing binary ratings to the MiB/GiB terminology, this includes CDs, RAM and other solid state memories, CPU caches, Video memory, Windows, and just about every other piece of software. The plaintiff incorrectly assumes that the common use of MB and GB are the correct use. This is not true, why do you think DVD media is measured in MB/GB based on the SI standards of a base 10 system? I say that everyone else needs to get their butts in gear, on either adding that all important separating ‘i’ or face lawsuits from idiotic consumers.

Today I wish that I hadn’t thrown away the paper insert to the plastic packaging to my 200 GB (I’m referring to the proper SI use (200×10^9 bytes)) hard drive, which clearly stated on the package that 1 GB = 1,000,000,000 bytes on the packaging. This is clearly telling the consumer that they are using the SI standard, not the common and incorrect usage.

Part 56 of the complaint is invalid. Especially since this person is claiming that this problem is only for retail units, not OEM, which carry no such warning since it isn’t printed on the label on the drive cover itself. As for part 57, this is true to an extent since the manufactures to use some slight rounding so that we aren’t buying 200.047001600 GB (base 10) hard drives, which is the case for my drive, and is actually in my favor. And, that invalidates part 58 of the claim, since in my case they understated the size of the drive. I have also invalidated part 60-65, I really could have saved WD’s butt on this one, if only I could find that all-important slip of paper-stock.

My last major point is that it is a hard drive industry standard that they use the SI base 10 units instead of the incorrect binary usage. As-long-as I remember the hard drive industry has always used the correct SI usage for MB/GB, this goes back to 10MB hard drives; so that was way back in the early 90’s, late 80’s. If a consumer doesn’t know this because of their own ignorance, that is their own fault. Also, if they don’t understand this they shouldn’t be purchasing computer storage products anyways. Instead, they should pay someone, who actually possess half a brain, to do it for them. To further rub this in, I have had numerous clients that know the exact same thing as I do about the rated capacities and factor that in. Though, it really doesn’t matter since every manufacturer uses the same rating system, unlike Intel and AMD, so you can compare apples with apples, the exact opposite of what the plaintiff claims.

It looks like WD agrees with me, but it looks like they are settling out of court to get the person to shut up. Though they are admitting to not advertising that they use the proper use of GB and MB on their packaging, which I know they had done when I purchased my drive.

Here is the link: Western Digital’s brief ISO preliminary approval (HTML, Secure Connection)

Here is the link: Plaintiff’s Compalaint (PDF, Secure Connection)

-John Havlik

[end of transmission, stay tuned]

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10 thoughts on “Orin Safier v. Western Digital Corporation

  1. I’m in total agreement with you. ORIN SAFIER and his friends (which are lawyers) are making over $500K for this lawsuit alone. They are doing the same thing with Seagate. They are collecting a bunch of money, basically blackmailing the organizations, whereas the actual individuals are getting software that can be considered of no value to end users. What a joke.

    Hope they’re proud of cashing in as they did.

  2. I agree everything you have to say except for one part. Binary is the correct usage…well technically and mathematically speaking. Computers on a whole are binary based and for only one component (the hard drive) and well maybe cds/dvds (I don’t know how they do their mesurement), to do things differently is simply stupid!
    But like you said, the mesurement being used by the various companies, is clearly stated on the packaging.

  3. I never said that using binary isn’t correct. I did tell that 200GB == 200×10^9 bytes, and 200GB != 200×2^30 bytes, which is binary. 200GiB == 200×2^30 bytes, the correct binary representation, follows the si standards. Using GB instead of GiB when referring to binary units is what causes confusion, and many companies are to blame for this, but not the DVD, HD-DVD, BluRay, or Hard Drive producers as they all use the correct, bace ten usages of GB when referring to size, and if they were displaying a binary unit I bet they would use GiB. Saying that GB is a binary unit is incorrect, because GiB is the binary unit and GB is a bace ten unit.

    -John Havlik

  4. I agree with the plaintiff. His critics assume a greater knowledge of an arcane subject than the average computer user has. The user can’t be businessman, scientist, poet, etc. etc. and computer nerd all in one. The nerd often can do only the computer tool and not the marvelous science or whatever which the computer tool enables, but yet the nerd wants the scientist to be just like him and wind up dropping science for nerdland, which the scientist does when he notices that his management is too weak to know the difference. My own feeling for a long time is that stores like Best Buy are selling high-tech stuff to consumers with little or no responsibility that they know how to use it. Sell Ma and Pa Kettle a Cadillac, and they will hitch it to their team of mules. Equilibrium between country and city has long been established in the U. S., but we are as yet far from equilibrium regarding high technology and the public which pays for it.

    • There is nothing arcane about M = 10^6 and G = 10^9. It has been this way for over 100 years. These are S.I. standard prefixes, and any engineer or scientist would know this, as well as anyone outside of the US (where they use the “metric” system).

      If anyone should be sued it is Microsoft for using the incorrect definition of k, M, and G. Honestly, if someone does not understand something they must learn before they can judge, sue, or complain with any bit of intellectual honesty. Ignorance of the law is not a valid defense, ignorance of the topic is not a valid offense. The hard disk manufactures did not knowingly deceive consumers. The consumer deceived himself.

      Cases like this one is exactly the reason why the US needs tort reform. The plaintiffs (I am not one of them, did not authorize or claim, if they used my name it would be forgery) are trolls who are abusing the system.

      -John Havlik

      • I totally agree with the previous comment. The mistake here is Microsoft’s one. A X GB drive contains X times 10^9 bytes. Period. And no matter where you live. And as far as I know, it’s not Microsoft (nor other companies) who define scientific units. So THEY are to blame, for using incorrect units (GB, MB, KB) instead of the correct ones (GiB, MiB, KiB) for this kind of information.

        So, suing someone for this is totally valid, to me, but it’s completely wrong to target the drive makers, who are everything but liars, in this precise case.

  5. John,

    While I understand your argument it is flawed. In 1986 IEEE (the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) defined kilo as (1) 1000, (2) in reference to computer storage 2^10 or 1024. This standard was not rescinded and replaced in 2008.

    IEEE is the largest professional organisation dedicated to the advancement of technology. The standards they set are industry standards that are followed in almost every other way. The most common is IEEE 802.1 and 802.11 a,b,g,n.

    The problem is that people use different standards in the case of RAM (Random Access Memory) industries use the standard GB = 1024^3 and Magnetic disk manufactures use GB = 10^9. In optical disks one CD are formatted MB= 1024^2 and DVD are formatted GB = 1000^3. So this mans frustration is completely warranted.

    • The original argument is over 5 years old. It could use some reformatting (plus some grammar, spelling, and style corrections), but it still stands.

      I am well aware of the IEEE, and I can’t say I always agree with them. Regardless of how they decide to redefine these modifiers, I don’t believe they have the authority to speak on this manner. The SI “owns” the terms kilo, Mega, Giga, etc, as part of the SI (metric or mks depending on who you ask) system. The IEEE definition in this case is not compatible with the SI definition, is confusing, and IIRC was rejected by the SI.

      Everyone should use the SI standard, it would eliminate all confusion (those using base 2 definitions of k, G, and M should convert to ki, Gi, and Mi). Unfortunately, we don’t live in a world where this would ever happen. It is always safest to assume the correct, base 10, definition, at worst you underestimate by 2.3% (if you are consistent you shouldn’t run into issues).

      -John Havlik

    • The SI (which are the most valid units I know) define ..bi- units since 1996 (http://www.chester.iucr.org/iucr-top/cexec/rep96/idcns.htm), so since Windows 1998 First edition, and Mac OS 8 (more exactly, Mac OS 7.5.5 and above), ALL OS should use SI units such as KibiByte abbreviated KiB, MebiByte abbreviated MiB, etc.

      So you can sue Memory makers for NOT using SI units, it would be more valid – by far – than suing drive makers, who use the correct units. Nevertheless, I doubt that you could win such a case, since the error they do is at their disadvantage : you actually get more memory than what you would have if they really have sold GB and MB multiple-sized memory chips.

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