Here's a FB conversation between me and a friend who was trying to explain binary to me in beer terminology, Enjoy!
EA: Here's binary in beer terms...
Think of each digit in binary as a bucket with a certain number of beers.
The last digit is 1 beer, the second to last digit is 2 beers, the third to last digit is 4 beers, the fourth to last is 8 beers, and so on, doubling the number of beers with each new digit. The buckets can only be either full or empty, there is no half or partial filling of buckets.
To show you have a full bucket, you put a beer in it. Or in binary, a "1". To show an empty bucket, you put no beers, or in binary a "0".
To get the grand total number of beers you have, you add up all the contents of the full buckets, and that's binary.
In the example, you have 9 beers, which is 1001 in binary. 8+0+0+1=9 which also equals drunk.
SS: that kinda makes my head spin...like i'm drunk. nice visuals though. thanks for taking the time to explain it so well.
EA: That crazy thing is that is works with ANY number you can think of. It kind of seems like it shouldn't, but it does.
EA: Also you can think of the binary digit (the bits, which itself is a shortened compound word of BInary digIT...) as either 'yes' or 'no'. If your 8-beer bucket is full, than 'yes' or a 1. If you 4-beer bucket is empty, than 'no' or 0...
SS: oh, ok. i see. but why not just say you have 8 beers?
EA: Because there is an extra one down in the single beer bucket!
EA: And things that understand binary can only do things that can be described by a question that can be answered by a yes or a no. "Do I have any beers in the 8 beer bucket?" Yes. "Do I have any beers in the 4 beer bucket?" No. So in that respect, computers are like 2 year olds.
EA: One more thing: Human's numbering system is based on the number 10, because we have ten fingers. So we can count to 10 on our fingers, starting at zero with no fingers, to 10 with all fingers: 0,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13, etc.
When we get to the number 10, we have to add another digit, and start the second digit from zero again.
If we only had 6 fingers, like cartoon characters, we would base our number system on 6. So it would go 0,1,2,3,4,5,10,11,12,13,14,15,20, etc.
Computers have only 1 virtual finger, so they can only count up to 1 before they have to add another digit: 0,1,10,11,100,101,110,111, etc.
These numbering systems are called Base10, Base6 and Base2 (aka Binary), and they are all different ways of counting numbers. And if we were to adopt binary counting on our fingers, we would be able to count up to 1024 on them, not just 10... How sweet would that be!?!
So think of computers as really piss-poor guitar players, which is partially why they were so awkward in high school.
SS: i've got a "virtual finger" for you...heh.