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What is a KB? (Not a KGB)

It can be confusing when referring to how much data a device can hold.  Bytes are’t something that you can “physically” see or measure,

Russian KGB

http://www.flickr.com/photos/neilmoralee/7043147127/

unlike a cup, an inch, a yard or a pound.  Technology also changes quickly and what was good now a year later is not so good.  Here’s a rough run down of what these different measures mean.

  • KB–Kilobyte = 1,000 bytes of information
  • MB–Megabyte = 1,000,000 bytes of information (1 MB = 1000 KB)
  • GB–Gigabyte = 1,000,000,000 bytes of information (1 GB = 1000 MB)
  • TB- Tetrabyte= 1,000,000,000,000 bytes or information (TB= 1000 GB)

iPod Touches are commonly used to listen to music.  When you purchase an iPod touch, you have the option between 8GB or 32GB.  8GB holds approximately 200 songs OR 8 hours or video (minus the space for apps)  32 GB would hold around 8000 songs OR 32 hours of video (this does not include space for apps).

A typical Word document that is a few pages long with only text may take up approximately 50 KB of space.  A picture in the jpeg format downloaded from iClipart on the high resolution setting is 1,888kb.  37 times larger than that word document!  PowerPoints by their mere nature, are bigger in file size, well over 2MB  and the size of your PowerPoint can quickly spiral out of control by adding pictures and images.  As a general rule of thumb, add images in the smallest file size possible, without causing the image to become distorted or pixelated.

iPads are another example where file size can come into play. My iPad(1) is a 32GB and every time I download an app, I am using up valuable memory.  Media apps, such as iBooks, Kindle, Keynote, etc. take up more memory space.

Technology changes quickly, as recently as 1966, Hewlett-Packard released a real-time computer with 8K of memory- which today wouldn’t even hold a Word document.  A few years ago those 256MB flash drives were running around $20-$30.  Now, the smallest flash drive that you can buy is 4GB and sell for as little as  $3.99. External hard drives that hold 1TB of data sell for as little as $100.00!  I recently purchased a portable external hard drive (500GB) for under $100.  Pictures that I haven’t uploaded to an external website are stored on this external device, as well as other important files.  

We’ve come a long way in the amount of data devices can hold and understanding the measures of data can help you better manage your files and understand different devices and what you can do with those that amount of memory.

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