Sunday, May 24, 2015

Hexadecimal Digits AND Ligatures!

A few years ago, I posted a set of hexadecimal digits that I invented that could serve as an alternative to the customary 0-9 and A-F.  My idea was to make a set of digits that could be represented in the standard numeric LCD display where the digit somehow represented a binary version of the number it represents. See here.  Now someone has done one better.  In the blog post "We think about yotabytes, but can't handle just one byte", Valdis Vītoliņš describes a hexadecimal of his own invention based on the same idea which adds one innovation; he combines pairs of digits into ligatures, thereby creating a system of 256 symbols that can represent numbers 0 though 255.  That's one symbol for each possible byte value, and the numeric value for each symbol can be read out of its shape with a simple algorithm.  If you're a programmer <ahem>, software engineer, like me, who looks at hex dumps often, this is an intriguing idea.  I might actually try use this.

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