Matt Coneybeare

MC

Today Is My 2^5 Birthday

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Like any good geek, I would be remiss if I did not point out that today is my 2^5 birthday. For all non-geeks out there, let me explain…

Everything about computer software boils down to a 1 or a 0. This is because every program, every image, every document and every funny cat gif is really written on your hard-drive as millions (nay, billions (nay, trillions)) of 1s and 0s. There are many different levels of code that read these 1s and 0s and are able to display them to you in a human-readable form, or execute them as special logic that tells the computer how to run a program.

This representation of data on your disk (1s and 0s) is called binary code, and generally looks a bit like this:

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01001100 01101111 01110010 01100101 01101101 00100000 01101001 01110000
01110011 01110101 01101101 00100000 01100100 01101111 01101100 01101111
01110010 00100000 01110011 01101001 01110100 00100000 01100001 01101101
01100101 01110100 00101100 00100000 01100011 01101111 01101110 01110011
01100101 01100011 01110100 01100101 01110100 01110101 01110010 00100000
01100001 01100100 01101001 01110000 01101001 01110011 01101001 01100011
01101001 01101110 01100111 00100000 01100101 01101100 01101001 01110100
00101100 00100000 01110011 01100101 01100100 00100000 01100100 01101111
00100000 01100101 01101001 01110101 01110011 01101101 01101111 01100100
00100000 01110100 01100101 01101101 01110000 01101111 01110010 00100000
01101001 01101110 01100011 01101001 01100100 01101001 01100100 01110101
01101110 01110100 00100000 01110101 01110100 00100000 01101100 01100001
01100010 01101111 01110010 01100101 00100000 01100101 01110100 00100000
01100100 01101111 01101100 01101111 01110010 01100101 00100000 01101101
01100001 01100111 01101110 01100001 00100000 01100001 01101100 01101001
01110001 01110101 01100001 00101110

This long block of binary code, when interpreted as ASCII text, reads:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.

Each section of 8 numbers corresponds to a single letter or punctuation mark.

So how does all of this binary code business relate to my 32nd birthday? Well, each 1 or 0 in a binary code sequence is 1 bit. 8 bits make a byte, and 4 bytes make up a 32-bit sequence. Most computers understand code, numbers and information in 32-bit sequences (many modern computers use 64-bit, but we will ignore that for now). Thus, 32 is a nice round number when talking about computers. To computer geeks, 32 has the same “round-number” feel that 100 has to non-geeks. It is the number that makes things whole, the number that allows anything to be possible.

It is also a perfect power of 2, that is, 2 raised to the fifth, or 2^5 = 32. This is significant as well when talking about binary code. The same code above could be interpreted as binary numbers instead of ASCII text. Lets look at the first byte.

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01001100

In an 8-bit world, this number is interpreted as 76

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0*2^7 + 1*2^6 + 0*2^5 + 0*2^4 + 1*2^3 + 1*2^2 + 0*2^1 + 0*2^0 = 76

You wouldn’t necessarily call it a clean number, as the visual representation of it has a ton of variance. What would be considered a clean number are nicer looking, like 11111111 (255), 00000000 (0) and 10000000 (128). 32 is one of these nice looking numbers.

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32 = 00100000 = 0*2^7 + 0*2^6 + 1*2^5 + 0*2^4 + 0*2^3 + 0*2^2 + 0*2^1 + 0*2^0 = 2^5

Along with 1, 2, 4, 16, 64, 128 and 256, 32 is a perfect power of 2 (2^5), which also makes it a special number in geek speak — but more broadly, math speak.

So, as a geek, today is a special day as it is the day my age turns 00100000, 2^5 or simply “32”.

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My name is Matt Coneybeare, I design and develop for iOS (iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch), Mac OS X and the Web out of New York. In 2008 I started a software company called Urban Apps that has made some pretty popular apps such as Ambiance and Hourly News. My current Stack Overflow reputation is about 27k.

I was a Rockstar a decade ago, but then went back to school and collected a Bachelor's Degree in Computer Science from U.C. Berkeley. Now I am settled down with my beautiful wife Di and our two doggies Hamachi and Foxy. While coding, I walk several miles/day on my Treadmill Desk. When not at my desk, I love exploring New York City as a Yelp Elite, or training for marathons.

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