Re: Meg vs. MB vs. M

Subject: Re: Meg vs. MB vs. M
From: Scott Turner <quills -at- airmail -dot- net>
To: sarahv -at- edt -dot- com, "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 27 Jan 2004 20:08:08 -0600

At 3:44 PM -0700 1/27/04, sarahv -at- edt -dot- com wrote:

I've recently butted heads with the marketing person at my very small
company over the use of the term "meg." On our product list, she uses the
term meg, as in "blah-blah board with 1 Meg Memory." I checked with the
software engineers and they said meg always means megabyte. But then the
hardware engineers said no, when she says 1 Meg Memory, she means 1
million 32-bit words (equal to four megabytes); however, in digital
cameras, it's really 1,024,000 32-bit words. I said OK like I understood
what they were talking about . . .

So now I'm left without knowing quite what to do with these abbreviations.
I stand by first instinct of not using "meg" unless referring to Meg Ryan.
If the incredibly bright engineers in our company don't even know what it
means, how could our audience be expected to understand? In documentation,
I'm thinking of going with 1M x 36-bit words, or spelling everything out,
but our product list has severe space limitations. Anyone else run into
this particular abbreviation hell? And before anyone states the obvious,
we can't just say 4 MB, because it makes a difference somehow that it's
broken down.

I did check the archives, and I didn't see anything relating to
"million"-ish. The Microsoft Style Guide only says not to use meg for
megabyte, and the Sun Style Guide doesn't mention it at all . . .


Go authoratative on them. The National Institute of Standards and Technology is a U.S. federal technology agency that develops and promotes measurement, standards and technology. They have the abreviations that you should us if you are in the U.S.

You can always point to NIST and ask if they want your company to appear ignorant and technologically incompetent. Or words to that effect.

Scott Turner

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