Magic of Bits and Bytes
If you have used a computer for more than five minutes, then you have heard the words bits and bytes. Both RAM and hard disk capacities are measured in bytes, as are file sizes when you examine them in a file viewer.
You might hear an advertisement that says, “This computer has a 32-bit Pentium processor with 64 megabytes of RAM and 2.1 gigabytes of hard disk space.”
Computers happen to operate using the base-2 number system, also known as the binary number system (just like the base-10 number system is known as the decimal number system).
Bits are rarely seen alone in computers. They are almost always bundled together into 8-bit collections, and these collections are called bytes.
Bytes are frequently used to hold individual characters in a text document. In the ASCII character set, each binary value between 0 and 127 is given a specific character.