September 12, 2020 is the Day of the Programmer, which sounds like a horror movie but isn’t. It’s actually the 256th day of the year (or September 13 in non-leap years). Why this particular day? Because 256 is a very significant number in programming.
Computer signals are binary, which means they can only understand two states. These states are represented by a 1 or a 0, which can be thought of as on or off, or true or false. A bit—the smallest piece of computer data—is either a 1 or a 0. A collection of eight bits is known as a byte, which has become the standard size for a single unit of information, such as a letter or number. A byte has 2^8 possible values, and two to the eighth power equals 256.
Basically, every single computer function and program boils down to a staggeringly massive collection of bits, which switch from on to off, back and forth, as it runs. Impressive, isn’t it?
If you enjoy doing things on the computer, you should thank your IT staff, website designer, or geek friend. Programmer mugs make great gifts!
Given that any program is just one huge set of “if/else” logic chains, it’s easy to see how making one change can break things further down the line.
2. Take a Breath
No need to throw things or beat on your laptop. You’ll get it working.
Anyone that’s spent time on the internet has clicked on a dead link and seen the 404 error because the page was missing.
Programming languages are standardized ways to quickly assemble bytes into useful things.
When the average program has millions of lines of code, changes can be made, but it will probably take a while.
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