Follow me on TWITTER HERE
Join me on FACEBOOK HERE
for the cool Bytespotter drive! Here is a video on the word BYTE!
Hello my dear students, I was looking at this new drive called the ByteSpotter that allows you to see the drive accessing and writing the data…
… which is pretty cool.. it looks like a record player.. only faster and jumping around!
Anyway.. that got me to thinking.. what exactly is a BYTE? They use the term quite a bit when referring to computers. Megabytes, Gigabytes, etc. And why is it called a byte in the first place?
HotForWords must feed the punch card into my computer to investigate this!
What? I got my hands on this mainframe computer for super cheap at a garage sale! It’s only the size of my living room and takes punch cards for input. I mean, who needs keyboards? I’m a purist like that! OK.. now.. hold on.. must punch in an A.. that would be here and here.. ok.. now let me feed this card into the computer to find out where byte comes from!
OK.. I got the results back and it looks like… studies the punch card more.. Umm.. it looks like a lot of dots on a piece of paper! How the heck am I supposed to read this? Cut the camera! Camera goes to static, then off.
Oh, hi! I got rid of that stupid computer, it was too complicated!
Anyway.. a byte is the computer term for 8 bits. A bit is short for binary digit and is the smallest unit of data on a computer. There are 2 options, it’s either on or off.. a ZERO or a ONE.
If computers only did calculations with numbers we wouldn’t need anything larger than a bit.. but we also use computers to type on, which means we need to represent letters in the alphabet somehow. And this brings us back to that crazy mainframe computer that I just bought and got rid of.
Back in the early days of computers, information was put into a computer with punch cards. The punch cards showed columns of 0 through 9. Punch the column once and you would get a number, like 0 or 3 or 4, punch the same column twice and you could get a letter, punch it 3 times and you could get punctuation and so on.
Dr. Werner Buchholz at IBM in 1956 decided to call these groups of bits, BYTES and a new word was formed. He chose BYTE from the word Bite like you are biting off a bunch of bits to form each character.
Bytes, at the time could be 6 bits of information, or 7 bits of information, but because the computer Dr. Buchholz was working on at the time handled 8 bits of information to describe each character, a BYTE came to mean a group of 8 bits that it still does today.
There you go, another mystery solved by your trusty HotForWords. Now.. back to that ByteSpotter drive I talked about.. I wonder if you can see the little Bytes hopping around on the disk!
ByteSpotter sponsored this video and they are having an awesome launch for the drive. Click the link in the description to find out more about the drive! Look.. I can even have my own customized HotForWords ByteSpotter Drive!
For your homework, what does this spell out on a punch card?