Monday, March 28, 2011

Bits, Bytes, Kilobytes oh my!


Anyone who has ever used a computer has heard the terms, megabyte and gigabyte. And approximately 95% of people do not know what those terms means. And approximately 100% of the statistics used in this blog are fictitious.

To understand gigas, megas and all the other 'as' you need to have an understanding of the smallest unit of information, the bit.

Bit is a contraction of binary digit. Bits are represented by 1s and 0s (or on and off). Without getting into binary just remember the following: there are 8 bits in a byte. I will explain the reasoning behind this in a future blog on binary! 

Now, bytes are the smallest unit of measurement that the operating system (Windows, Mac OS, etc) can acknowledge as a unit of storage. A byte can be a single letter, number or character. If you were to create a text document (using notepad) put only the letter 'a' in it, save it and then check the properties of the document you would see that the document you made is only 1 byte in size.

Next we talk about the kilobyte (KB) which is a little harder concept to grasp. If someone says to you, "Kilobyte means there are 1000 bytes in a kilobyte." Karate chop them in the throat, they're wrong. Remember computers are based on a binary system. Binary is based off of powers of 2, therefore 2 ^ 10 = 1024. Have you ever noticed when you go to the store to buy RAM (Random Access Memory) you can only buy sticks in 256, 512, 1024 Megabyes? It's the same reason, although now people are usually getting  1GB 2GB or 4GB sticks. 

The rest is quite simple, a megabyte (MB) is 1024 kilobytes. A gigabyte (GB) is 1024 megabytes and a terabyte (TB) is 1024 gigabytes.

Fun fact: A terabyte can hold 1,099,511,627,776 characters.

26 comments:

  1. good info, i knew some of it already so it was a good review, keep up the good work sir.

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  2. Technology is so interesting. I can't believe a terabyte is affordable now.

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  3. this is a good idea for a blog i think. you have a lot of data to draw from but i think you would be better off explaining the abstract basics if your really looking to get a point across. my experience is generally that the "layman" doesn't understand the frame of reference for the workings of a computer. the various details tend to have low value when there is no frame. imagine that you are painting a picture of a mountain-scape. would you start with the trees and flowers adorning them or would you frame the basic shapes and horizon first? imagine the progress of both methods and decide which one would be more immediately recognizable sooner to the casual observer.

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  4. It makes me sad how many people don't know that.

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  5. Its interesting if you continue this idea. It has lots of information and you seem to be very informed. Good luck, I will follow

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  6. Would be nice if more people knew this.. Hard to help sometimes if they don't know the difference..

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  7. interesting. i always knew people 1000 bytes was an approximation of the real amount of a kilobyte but i wasn't sure about the rest. like the comedy you put into your posts too.

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  8. It's easy once you unsterstood it ;) I always sucked at math though, I'm usually not good with numbers....

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  9. Took IT classes in HS. Learned alot of this there, makes the brain hurt D:

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  10. Well this is really useful stuff, stuff I already know, but I'm goign to follow because I have a feeling you'll post some more useful stuff in the future. :D

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  11. Fun fact... I have several terabytes too many :D

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  12. A lot of us grew up with the progression from Bytes to KB to MB to GB to TB - Funny how those born in this day will hardly be able to appreciate this number!

    Thanks for the post - Following!

    Cheers, and good luck

    Mike.

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  13. Thanks for the info...I always used to get confused about that sort of thing :)

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  14. Sort of knew the basics of all this but not this in depth, thanks.

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  15. Wow i had no idea how any of this worked. Thanks man

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  16. I'll be sure to link my mom to this instead of explaining everytime why her 30mb attachment won't send via email. Lol.

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  17. From a computer science major: True story

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  18. is this the same for GPU's?

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  19. man if everyone wants to learn about this as much as me you´re gonna have a whole bunch of followers

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  20. 95% don't? Wow that is a ridiculous nu-wait, fictitious? I see what you did there. It's partly true though, a lot of people I know do not understand the concept of them.

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  21. haha remember back in the day when a 1gb memory stick was just a figment of our imagination.
    or when you could buy one, except it cost $100

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  22. Useful information, looking for more. Followed!

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  23. Whenever I hear about crumbs and nibbles (though hardly anyone even needs to mention them anymore but still), it just makes me giggle. Who comes up with these terms? Bits, crumbs, nibbles, bytes... it's hilarious XD

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