Saturday, March 9, 2013

The Year of Our Lord 7DD

It was Goethe who said, “He who is ignorant of foreign languages knows not his own.” In a way that applies also to numbers, but perhaps with less of a bite. He who only knows decimal notation will miss out on some fun. Those for whom the accessibility to computers became possible thanks to the original Apple—and who were drawn into that puzzle—will have learned at least binary and then hex notation as well. Those who went deeper also ultimately mastered octal—which was in use (maybe still is) in some Hewlett-Packard midsized computers.

The Year of Our Lord above is rendered here in hex, a 16-digit system. The annotation runs from 0 to 9 in numbers; 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, and 15 are rendered by A, B, C, D, E, and F. F is the highest digit in hexadecimal notation—much as 9 is in the decimal. Sixteen is rendered in hex as $10. That dollar signs is used to indicate hexadecimal notation.

Here is that year in three different notations:

Value of Column
In Hex
1000
100
10
1
Value in decimal
4096
256
16
1
The year in hex
7
D
D
The digits in decimal
7
13
13
Translated into decimal (e.g., 7 x 256, etc.)
1792
208
13
The columns added
2013
In Octal
1000
100
10
1
Value in decimal
512
64
8
1
The year in octal
3
7
3
5
Translated into decimal (3 x 512 etc.)
1536
448
24
5
The columns added
2013
In Decimal
1000
100
10
1
The year in decimal
2
0
1
3
Actual values
2000
0
10
3
The columns added
2013

Note that the progression from column to column is the same in each language: 1, 10, 100, 1000. But they have different values as we switch mathematical tongues. Fun for the nerdy. Not that I recommend anyone dating a check today March 9, 7DD—or March 11, 3735 (that 11 is really a 9 in octal). But if you’re a natural trouble-maker, you might wish to do so—and then have a very spirited argument about the legitimacy of using other than decimal systems—with spicy comments about the decay of our educational system—as the sales clerk, if she notices it at all, rolls her eyes.

2 comments:

  1. It is said: "Ask and you shall receive..." This works for me every time. It helps, however, if there is at least one nerd in the family.
    Excuse me, I will now go and let loose my inner trouble-maker and write a check to Comcast, dated 3-9 7DD.








    dd

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    Replies
    1. You seemed to have signed yourself as DD, darling. That's 221. Are you trying to hint that you are twice 21 years of age?

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