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Technology Tip Number 110
Mega Byte This

When you work with computers you see KB (or KiloBytes) and MB (or MegaBytes) all the time but what does it stand for? Basically its a measurement of memory on a computer. To help you understand exactly what in means there is an example below.

So Whats a Byte anyway?
When you get right down to it computers only know two things off and on.  Thats it just OFF and ON. And a computer expresses OFF as a 0 and ON as a 1. Everything you see on the screen right now is just a specifically ordered combination of 1s and 0s to the computer that tell it exactly how to display this webpage. Now heres the confusing part. Each individual 1 or 0 is called a BIT and 8 BITS together is called a BYTE. When you type a 0 the computer actually recognizes that zero as the series of 8 BITS or 00000000

Here are some examples of what some other numbers and letters look like to the computer:

0 = 00000000 a = 01100001 L = 01001100
1 = 00000001 v = 01110110 p = 01110000
2 = 00000010 $ = 00100100 z = 01111010

Heres a link to even more if youre curious: http://www.micron.com/k12/lessonplans/zerosones/asciibinary.html

So, in really super simplified terms, when I type the letter L the computer translates that to be the BYTE 01001100."  If I typed the letter L 50 times that would be 50 BYTES of information. If I typed the letter L 1000 times that would be 1000 BYTES or 1 KiloByte or 1KB.  Actually Bytes are measured in powers of 2 so 1KB isn't exactly 1000 bytes, but it is close enough.  Below is a chart of common abbreviations and their actual values in bytes:

Name Abbreviation Actual Size in Bytes
KiloBytes KB 1024
MegaBytes MB 1,048,576
GigaBytes GB 1,073,741,824


To learn more about these bytes and their abbreviations try this site:
http://computer.howstuffworks.com/bytes1.htm

And here's some even more specific information about how bytes and mega bytes are measured:  http://www.t1shopper.com/tools/calculate/

 

PRACTICE ACTIVITY The next time you look in one of your folders on the computer take note of the size of the files.

TO KEEP ON LEARNING:  To learn more about computer memory try searching the internet for:

Bytes and Bits
How computer memory is measured
computer memory

Have a nice day!

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