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51
votes
6answers
28k views

What is the history of why bytes are eight bits?

What where the historical forces at work, the tradeoffs to make, in deciding to use groups of eight bits as the fundamental unit ? There were machines, once upon a time, using other word sizes, ...
41
votes
12answers
4k views

Is there an alternative to bits?

Is there an alternative to bits as the smallest unit of data? Something that won't be only 0 or 1, but actually hold many possible states in between? Wouldn't it be more natural to store floats like ...
24
votes
11answers
5k views

Why do we still use floats? [duplicate]

I understand why floats served a purpose in the past. And I think I can see why they're useful in some simulation examples today. But I think those example are more exceptional than common. So I ...
12
votes
4answers
2k views

Is there any danger in writing raw bytes to a file? [closed]

I'm working through a problem in Programming Pearls -- specifically, the implementation of a program which sorts a file containing, at most, 10,000,000 integers (Column 1, Problem 3). Since the book ...
7
votes
5answers
10k views

How do you compress ASCII strings into fewer bytes?

I'm working with an embedded device with a unique protocol that sends messages to other devices and I'm making an application that parses the sent packets. Each packet carries 8 bytes. The protocol is ...
3
votes
4answers
4k views

How to get from 1 byte to 2 bytes

We have 1 byte, which is 8 bits, which is 2^8. Now 2 bytes should be 2 * 1 byte, which is 2 * 2^8 = 2^9, but actually 2 bytes is 2^16. What am I missing here? It seems like 2 bytes isn't 2 * 1 byte, ...
3
votes
5answers
14k views

How many bits' address is required for a computer with n bytes of memory?

How many bits of address is required (for the program counter for example) in a byte-addressed computer with 512 Mbyte RAM? What does the formula look like? How is this connected with the fact that ...
3
votes
3answers
946 views

8 bit and 1 byte, is this a valid question to be asked?

I saw these question in our school's past paper, and I'm wondering if this is a valid question. How big is bool in C and C++? A) 1 bit B) 4 bit C) 8 bit D) 1 byte What is ...
3
votes
1answer
3k views

Java default Integer value is int

My code looks like this import java.util.Scanner; public class StudentGrades { public static void main(String[] argv) { Scanner keyboard = new Scanner(System.in); byte q1 = keyboard....
3
votes
3answers
385 views

Is a 'least significant bit' used anywhere practically today?

I'm working on a library that supports file reading, and right now I've always assumed that all the bytes are written in most significant bit first format. Is the least significant bit first format ...
3
votes
1answer
2k views

Benefits of Java ByteArrayInputStream vs byte array?

I have a scenario where my Java process will be receiving a stream of binary data: public class DataHandler { public void handleData(DATA data) { // TODO: Do something with data } } ...
2
votes
5answers
441 views

Why isn't byte | bit the only built in data type?

All languages I have seen so far have multiple builtin data types (int, double, float, char, long...). But if we look closely, they are just arbitrary arrays of bits, the only difference between them ...
2
votes
1answer
230 views

Endianness at bit level

I am learning the union and struct and I wrote the code below. What I do not understand is why the output is different when I change from a little endian to a big endian machine. My understanding is ...
1
vote
1answer
5k views

Whats the difference between byte and Byte? [duplicate]

Alright so of course, I know the differences. byte is a primitive and Byte is an object. Byte offers more functions but there is one thing I dont understand. Why would anyone create a variable using ...
1
vote
1answer
199 views

C# Structs, 16 byte rec. - Are getters and setters included in that?

I was reading into the nitty-gritty of structs in C# here: "C Fundamentals, The differences between struct and class." and at the very bottom it mentions keeping a struct below 16 bytes. I looked ...
0
votes
3answers
364 views

How do I tell a user that bps means bits per second or bytes per second?

I'm writing an application that deals with the network and the hard drive. For the network portion, the application measures in bits per second, while the disk portion measures in bytes per second. ...
0
votes
2answers
92 views

Byte addressable vs bit addressable

Why are most computers byte addressable instead of bit addressable? By B/b addressable I mean that processor can operate on level of single B/b. Bit addressable advantages: Booleans have size of ...
0
votes
2answers
160 views

read file bytewise and find information

i am a hobby php-dev and have the following problem: i have a rar-file, whose header is damaged, therefor extracting is not fully possible. the contents are non-compressed, and can be read with eg. a ...
0
votes
2answers
117 views

Does ASCII have a header or footer or anything similar?

I'm working through a problem in Programming Pearls -- specifically, the implementation of a program which sorts a file containing, at most, 10,000,000 integers, each of which is 7 digits long (Column ...
-1
votes
1answer
252 views

What is the difference between size and length? [closed]

It seems that the terms size and length are used interchangeably to describe how many bits, bytes or octets some data occupies, i.e. a length field in a data header is said to indicate the size of the ...