Today felt like a great day to share this fun story from Todd H ...

I work with an engineer at my office that never fails to amuse. He's a young guy (about twenty years younger than me) and is convinced that he's twenty times smarter that us older guys because, and he's very fast to point this, he went to Purdue. And not only did he go to Purdue, but he has two (yes, two!) degrees: Mechanical Engineering and Computer Science.

The other day, he and I were discussing a problem with some analog signaling equipment we were building. He was convinced that his end of the system (sensors) was working fine and that it was my software that was buggy and incorrect. I knew the sensors were junk and spec'ed wrong, so piped the output to display raw data returned directly from the equipment to show that my communication code was not the problem. The raw data is a long hexadecimal string, and looks something like this:


After taking one quick look at the data stream, the young expert engineer/scientest laughed: Well, duh! There's your problem! You have letters all mixed in with the numbers!.

Now that's a good joke in and of itself, but it didn't stop there Oh no, we kept going on ...

Todd: Yes, there's letters in there ... it's in hex.
Expert: Hex? What's hex?
Todd: Hexidecimal. Base 16 numbering.
Expert: Bullshit!
Todd: What do you mean? You've never seen hexidecmal before?
Expert: No. You're just making stuff up now.
Todd: Uh, no I'm not. Hexidecimal is the most common way to display byte-oriented data. It's been around since the dawn of computing.

At this point I was past amazed. He was beginning to realize that maybe ... just maybe ... he wasn't completely up to speed on this small piece of computer science. Our young expert decided to save face and end the conversation with a zinger ...

Expert: Ok, then. But don't explain it to me. I've gotta finish this up, and don't want to spend an hour learning something that'll be of no use to me.

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