Convert measurement units with Bing

By | August 13, 2009

Convert quickly some measurement units in some other units using Bing. Need to convert units from metric sistem to English customary units (for instance from meters to yards or from kilograms to pounds)? Here’s how:

Just type the following conversion command into Bing’s search box:

[number] [unit] in [unit]
It looks like this:
11 pounds in kilograms
11 miles in kilometres
convert measurement units with bing

3 thoughts on “Convert measurement units with Bing

  1. Daryl Hunter

    I typed in bytes in kilobyte and received the following response: “1 kilobyte = 1024 bytes”.

    Similarly I received “1 megabyte = 1 048 576 bytes” for bytes in megabyte. Likewise I receved erroneous results for the gigabyte. I assume the remaining SI prefixes are equally in error.

    Clearly the unit converter is incorrectly applying a binary multiple conversion to an SI unit prefix.

    In the SI units page at BIPM (http://www.bipm.org/en/si/si_brochure/chapter3/prefixes.html), the organization clearly indicates that these are decimal base prefixes and are not to be used to indicate powers of 2.

    IEC has created a new set of binary prefixes to help with the problem of well meaning but otherwise ignorant people applying a binary multiple interpretation to SI unit prefixes.

    BIPM and NIST both endorse the use of these new binary prefixes with where applicable with non-SI quantities and where a binary multiple is appropriate: http://physics.nist.gov/cuu/Units/binary.html

    Even JEDEC, the lone and last standards organization with any reference to use of the SI prefixes as binary mutiples has now indicated that use of these binary definitions is depricated. The following entry is from the JEDEC online dictionary.

    “mega (M) (as a prefix to units of semiconductor storage capacity)
    A multiplier equal to 1 048 576 (220 or K2, where K = 1024).
    NOTE 1 Contrast with the SI prefix mega (M) equal to 106, as in a 1 Mb/s data transfer rate, which is equal to 1 000 000 bits per second.
    NOTE 2 The definitions of kilo, giga, and mega based on powers of two are included only to reflect common usage. IEEE/ASTM SI 10 1997 states “This practice frequently leads to confusion and is deprecated.” Further confusion results from the popular use of a “megabyte” consisting of 1 024 000 bytes to define the capacity of the familiar “1.44 MB” diskette. An alternative system is found in Amendment 2 to IEC 60027 2: Letter symbols to be used in electrical technology – Part 2:
    Prefixes for binary multipliers
    ____________________________________________________________________
    Factor Name Symbol Origin Derivation
    210 kibi Ki kilo + binary: (210)1 = 1 024 kilo: (103)1
    220 mebi Mi mega + binary: (210)2 = 1 048 576 mega: (103)2
    230 gibi Gi giga + binary: (210)3 = 1 073 741 824 giga: (103)3
    240 tebi Ti tera + binary: (210)4 = 1 099 511 627 776 tera: (103)4
    IEC suggests that, in English, the first syllable of the name of the binary-multiplier prefix should be pronounced in the same way as the first syllable of the name of the corresponding SI prefix and that the second syllable should be pronounced as “bee”.
    References:
    JESD21-C#, 1/97
    JESD100-B, 12/99

    Please update your converter to properly implement the SI and IEC unit prefixes.

    If you have any difficulties finding the proper references back to the standards organizations that manage these prefixes please let me know.

    As a reminder, Wikipedia, and any dictionary for that matter, are not proper traceable references to an original standards body. Dictionaries describe popular or common usage, they do not prescribe or define correct or proper usage.

    Regards,

    Daryl Hunter
    daryl@hunterfamily.name

  2. Harmony Jones

    Please DO NOT alter Bing to work with SI units for MB, etc. Anyone actually working in engineering who needs to deal with these units, needs the REAL values, not the useless metric approximations. KB, MB, etc. all predate the SI versions by decades and have practical value. The appearance of SI versions was driven by marketing departments who realized they could push lower volume hard drives under the same label by switching to metric approximations. Many of us found this extremely irritating at the time and a “cheat” and we continue to be irritated by some bizarre movement driven by people who don’t actually work with these units, to make them into rough approximations that do not reflect what is actually being dealt with.

    The entire point of the SI prefixes is that they work with base 10. Binary is not a base 10 system, it is a base 2 system. Trying to work with metric approximations just leads to ridiculous decimal lengths rather than just 1MB, 2MB, etc.

    Anyone working with these units needs the real versions created by engineers, for engineers. The only people who want metric versions are marketing people and people who don’t actually need to work with them but just think it’s simpler and consistent and don’t realize it actually makes things much, much more complicated because they don’t actually use these units, they just refer to them.

  3. Doug

    Was looking at bing “tips and tricks” page about conversion and thought that was really cool. However, the page is from August 2009 (however the overall page does have bing’ new look / logo) and I’m wondering if this feature is still in place because every time I try it – I don’t get a result as shown in the screen shot (which has bing’s old look / logo).

    So – Microsoft – anyone – are these features still around within Bing?

    Thanks.
    Doug

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