And what of petabytes? Will they simply be "pets"?
May 17, 2009 12:32 AM   Subscribe

In the distant past the megabyte and gigabyte were honorable quantities of storage and we referred to them by their full names; now they are too familiar, and we call them "meg" and "gig." Has a common spoken abbreviation already emerged for the terabyte? Or must we wait until TBs are readily available in larger multiples before the linguistic hivemind of digital humanity collectively determines the spoken shorthand? Sysadmins and data center pros--you know best. What do you call 10,000,000,000,000 bytes?
posted by lucius to Technology (24 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
10 tera.
posted by ryanrs at 12:36 AM on May 17, 2009


Usually tb (tee bee), or fully enunciated "terabyte."

Considering that we run about 200 TB of storage (raw) on arrays alone, and probably have close to a petabyte if you added up everything...

I don't think we ever abbreviated 'megabytes' either in spoken conversation.
posted by SpecialK at 12:49 AM on May 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


In the circles I run the only one that ever gets shortened is GB to "gigs". Megabyte, kilobyte are both said properly. I imagine it will be the same with terrabytes, especially since there's no short version that sounds good (just like a "20s", "80s", "90s", etc.-alike for the 00s.)
posted by floam at 1:05 AM on May 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


In the circles I run the only one that ever gets shortened is GB to "gigs". Megabyte, kilobyte are both said properly. I imagine it will be the same with terrabytes, especially since there's no short version that sounds good (just like a "20s", "80s", "90s", etc.-alike for the 00s.)

Really?

In my circle, megabytes are "megs". Kilobytes are "K" (pronounced "kay"). Gigabytes are "gigs". And terabytes are "terabytes", 'cause I don't know anybody with any occasion to say it when they aren't trying to impress upon the listener the sheer enormity of the data or storage in question.
posted by Netzapper at 1:17 AM on May 17, 2009 [10 favorites]


I usually will say "Terabyte", but the word only comes up when talking about hard drives, not files. And people talk about files far more often then they do drives. Once people start dealing with terabyte+ files, we might see a shorter form gain currency. I would would expect it to be "TB" or maybe just "T" like how kilobytes are are "K".
posted by delmoi at 1:55 AM on May 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


Really?
Nope! It wasn't until you mentioned "K" that I realized that's all I ever say and ever hear. Very strange. I think I was trying to think too hard.
posted by floam at 1:57 AM on May 17, 2009


I say "teeb", but that's mostly just me.
posted by saysthis at 3:31 AM on May 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


terabytes. probably teebee if a shorthand was needed.
posted by beerbajay at 4:38 AM on May 17, 2009


I use K (kay), meg, gig and tera (said like terror) in the office to refer to KB, MB and TB. Kilobit, Megabit and Gigabit get their full name to distinguish. I've yet to need Terabit.
posted by ArkhanJG at 5:26 AM on May 17, 2009


I deal with large numbers of terabytes of storage (neuroimaging data), and we just say 'tee'.
posted by dmd at 6:07 AM on May 17, 2009


I use "terabytes" and "tera" approximately equally - and I have lamented the lack of a good abbreviation before. I kind of like just T, though I've never heard M for meg and I'm not sure why we don't use it.
posted by DoubleMark at 6:23 AM on May 17, 2009


I ran an old BBS years ago so we talked about things in terms of kilobytes and megabytes more than most people. I've always said "meg" for megabytes. Kilobytes were just "k", as in "one hundred k". I'd put my money on "tee bees", as was mentioned above.
posted by monkeymadness at 6:52 AM on May 17, 2009


I like teeb as well.
Megs just creeps me out. Before PCs, I always heard everyone use the plural of meg as meg. (Back when a mainframe could impressively have 32meg). But gigs sounds OK to me. Weird.
posted by MtDewd at 7:01 AM on May 17, 2009


Datapoint: I concur completely with Netzapper.

I suspect that when terabytes becomes more mainstream, it will get reduced to "terra" as will petabytes to "peta".

Further pronunciation tidbits.

DOS: It's "dawss". Pronounced just like "boss".

Cache: It's "cash" like money. Nobody has a "cash-ay" of weapons and ammo, do they?

Internet: Technically, it is not "the internet". Internet is a proper name- it is the network called Internet. (However, if anyone ever tries to use it this way, they can immediately be dismissed as a crank. A situation where the correct usage is wrong.)
posted by gjc at 8:17 AM on May 17, 2009


I have a 1 TB drive in my computer, with the volume name Tib, if my own personal usage counts towards anything.
posted by borkencode at 8:59 AM on May 17, 2009


I hear "tera/teras" commonly among people who buy and sell quantities of them for a living. So much that I thought it was already a widely accepted abbreviation.
posted by tyrantkitty at 8:59 AM on May 17, 2009


I work for a data center that deals with petabytes of data, and I've never heard anyone here use an abbreviation for terabytes. As Netzapper says, it goes bytes->k->megs->gigs->terabytes->petabytes.
posted by Who_Am_I at 9:33 AM on May 17, 2009


I call it 10 trillion bytes. Shouldn't you be asking what we should call 10 x 1,099,511,627,776 bytes? :)
posted by santaliqueur at 6:05 PM on May 17


No, he's asking about terabytes not tebibytes.
posted by vacapinta at 11:12 AM on May 17, 2009


I call the ones I use for video video editing "one terabyte" drives or "big-ass hard drives."
posted by drjimmy11 at 11:13 AM on May 17, 2009


[A few comments removed. Let's not wander completely off the path here, folks, it's not a generic "how do you pronounce computer stuff" chat session.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:18 AM on May 17, 2009


I've heard "tigs". Not sure I approve.
posted by Luddite at 2:20 PM on May 17, 2009


...although, reading the above, he might actually have been saying "tibs."
posted by Luddite at 2:21 PM on May 17, 2009


Guy I work with calls them 'tebs'. I like it.
posted by I_pity_the_fool at 2:31 PM on May 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


FWIW, a sample of about a dozen people - in our circle (music and film production people), folks call them "teras".

Example: "Is that external a two tera? It's RAIDed so it's really one tera, but I'd like to put in a couple of the new Western Digital two tera drives, so when I RAID them, I can really get two tera".
posted by VikingSword at 3:02 PM on May 17, 2009


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