Re: K vs k

Subject: Re: K vs k
From: aer -at- PCSI -dot- CIRRUS -dot- COM
Date: Wed, 31 Jan 1996 17:37:00 PST

Uh-oh, here we go again...
Long before we had kilobits and kilobytes and the rest,
we had the metric system and its eventual formalization
into SI. As noted,
>The SI symbol for kilo is lowercase k

My corporate Tech Pubs Style Guide [and this is
supported by usage in the computer & telecom industry
pubs worldwide, by and large] tells us:
kilo meaning 10^3 [numerical] is lower case k, e.g. kilogram
kilo meaning 2^10 [computer] is upper case K, e.g. K(ilo)byte

Further complicated by such things as kilobits/second,
which is 1,000 bps, NOT 1024 [that's a computer memory
calculation based on raising 2 to the power of...]. Hence,
rates [speeds expressing quantity per time] are usually
numerical, whereas computer capacity, memory & such are
the "trickier" form, i.e. a megabyte is not just a million but
actually 1,048,576 (10 to the 16th). Easy to get confused, as
when you mention speeds, like Mbps [megabits per second,
that's 1,000 bps] and capacity/memory, like Megabytes [as above].

Still, we see "preferences" for an upper case K where it
should logically be lower case, and vice versa, hic et ubique.

Al Rubottom /\ tel: 619.535.9505, x1737
aer -at- pcsi -dot- cirrus -dot- com /\ fax: 619.541.2260

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