Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Bits and bobs and bits and bytes

Bits and bytes do not mean the same thing although many of us seem to think they do; which is not surprising because many an Internet provider tries to make their broadband look faster than it really is by using bits rather than bytes.

Question: So what is the difference?

Answer: I'm afraid that's not easy to say! It depends on whether you are talking about the storage of data, e.g. on a hard disk, or a USB stick or the transfer of data, e.g. uploading or downlaoding files via the Internet.

If you are really interested in knowing exactly what the difference is check out: Byte and bits ,but at the end of the day, all you really need to know is that 8 bits = 1 byte, so one Megabyte is eight times more/faster than a Megabit.

Be careful if you are looking for a new Internet provider! The symbol for byte is an upper-case 'B' and the symbol for bit is a lower-case 'b', so Kb = kilobit and KB = kilobyte.

How much is a bob, John?

That's another very good question, Tom! A bob used to be 12d or twelve pence and there were 20 bob in a quid and twenty-one bob in a guinea.

Can anyone still remember how many ounces there were in a peck - as is Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers?

Actually, it might be best if you spared us from the answer there, even if you know it.

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