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Take a byte out of cryme.
Understanding bits and bytes

You're a bright, curious, even intelligent sort who doesn't want to get taken by Internet con artists, or any other thief for that matter. 

Especially in the world of technology, you need to educate yourself so you don't get taken by the guy who would sell you a 450 megabyte hard drive and tell you it's a 4 gigabyte drive. Let me explain.

Let's say you're familiar with hard drive sizes, say, in the gigabyte range. Well, at least you've heard of them, right? Your computer may have come with a 20 gigabyte hard drive. What's it all mean?

It means you can store 20 billion bytes worth of data. What's a byte? It's 8 bits worth of data. And what's a bit? It's the smallest piece of data known to computer science. At least is was when I went to school!

Nerds shame one another by referencing their cranial space with the term "bit head."

None of this really matters until you start to run out of storage space. Or until you begin to wonder how much room you have left on the hard disk. Hard drive, hard disk, hard disk drive. Whatever. It's all the same thing.

Now, maybe you're curious about how fast that new modem is really flinging data across the wires and cables that criss-cross the orb we gravitate to. What does a "56K" modem do? It sends and receives data, that's what. And it can do it (theoretically) by sucking in 56 thousands bits of info every minute and delivering it to your hard drive.

Just in case you were wondering, here's a breakdown of the numbers for you:

Name Size
Bit 1 bit (A zero or a one)
Byte 8 bits
Kilobyte One thousand bytes
Megabyte One million bytes
Gigabyte One billion bytes
Terabyte One trillion bytes

So now you know. Be careful, and don't let your knowledge get you into trouble. You really will need more than a computer nerd to help you out then!

Oh, what about the cryme? We think it's a downright sin to buy computer stuff if you don't have a grasp of what you're talking about. Trust the sales dude if you want. But go armed with knowledge. That's the best way!

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Copyright 2001 Roglan International LLC All Rights Reserved
All guest articles their respective authors