Re: [stella] What's magic about a byte?

Subject: Re: [stella] What's magic about a byte?
From: Ruffin Bailey <rufwork@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Thu, 14 Apr 2005 00:30:17 -0400
On Apr 13, 2005, at 11:57 PM, Chris Wilkson wrote:

> On Wed, 13 Apr 2005, Ruffin Bailey wrote:
>> Why would the number of bits in a byte have to have anything to do 
>> with
>> powers of 2?  The max number, whether 7 bit, 13 bit, or 8 bit would
>> still be a binary number.  ??
> Because decoders and encoders using bits as control lines will always
> address 2^n locations.  Either you implement them, or you don't.  But
> if you need 5 states, you need 3 bits to represent that.  Then you have
> created 3 bogus states.  You need to define them or else "Bad Things"
> can happen.  You can define them by hardwiring, but you might as well
> make them useful if you can.
> In the case of decimals digits, you need 4 bits to encode each 
> character
> with.  If your system is already 6 bits, just to encode the text 
> characters,
> you're wasting 2 bits when doing BCD.  You might as well make your word
> 8 bits wide so you can encode 2 digits without waste.

... thus earning the behind his email nick. ;^)

Ruffin Bailey

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