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There are only 10 types of people in the world…

…those that know binary and those that don’t.


Wait, what? Why aren’t you laughing?

Don’t you get it?

(incredulous)You don’t get it?!



This is embarrassing.

It is universally acknowledged that a joke that has to be explained is automatically Not Funny, but I can’t let this one go. So rather than slink off in embarrassment, I’m gonna do some ‘splaining.

And then you’ll laugh. Or chuckle. Or at the very least crack a smile. You’ll see. TRUST ME.

First, let’s talk a little bit about binary.

The binary number system uses only two digits – 0 and 1.

We’re accustomed to the decimal system, which has ten digits – 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9.

We can count up from 0 to 9, but then what? We add a column. So now we can count some more – 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19.

But we want to go higher! So we start counting up with the new column – 20’s, 30’s, 40’s, etc.

What do we do in binary? We do the same thing as decimal and add a column – 10, 11.

But when we want to go higher, we have to keep adding columns – 100, 101, 110, 111.

So we get this:

Bits and Bytes and Megabytes, Oh My!

Each of the 0’s and 1’s in the table above are called bits. We went as high as the number 15, which required four binary bits (15=1111).

When you use eight binary bits, you have a byte. With a byte (8 bits), you can count from 0 to 255 (11111111=255).

Bytes start adding up fast, so instead of talking about bytes we usually talk about kilobytes, megabytes, and gigabytes.

A kilobyte is a shorthand way of saying “1024 bytes”.

A megabyte is a shorthand way of saying “1024 kilobytes”.

A gigabyte is a shorthand way of saying “1024 megabytes”.

The binary number system is an important concept to understand when talking about computers because all information stored on a computer hard drive, DVD, USB flash drive, etc., is stored as binary (0’s and 1’s). That’s why we talk about the size of hard drives, DVD’s, etc., as megabytes and gigabytes.

Now back to the joke.

There are only 10 types of people in the world: those that know binary, and those that don’t.

Get it?



You cracked a smile. I know you did.

2 thoughts on “There are only 10 types of people in the world…”

  1. Pingback: 64-bit and a (Better) Joke — Leslie Maddox

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