Thursday, March 31, 2011

Hexadecimal

I recently took a class about IPv6, and while I was busy converting numbers from decimal to binary and hexadecimal, it occurred to me that saying hexadecimal numbers aloud is very awkward.

For example, most engineers I know will pronounce "18, 19, 1A, 1B, 1C" as "eighteen, nineteen, one-A, one-B, one-C".

Why not incorporate the hexadecimal digits A, B, C, D, E, F into the same number pronunciation scheme as 0 through 9?

Here's how it would work.  Let's write out the hex digits as follows:

Aay
Bbee
Ccee
Ddee
Eee
Feff

Now we can combine them with existing number parts, like -teen or twenty-.

18eighteen    28twenty-eight
19nineteen    29twenty-nine
1Aayteen    2Atwenty-ay
1Bbeeteen    2Btwenty-bee
1Cceeteen    2Ctwenty-cee
1Ddeeteen    2Dtwenty-dee
1Eeeteen    2Etwenty-ee
1Feffteen    2Ftwenty-eff
20twenty    30thirty

Also, B5 is "beety-five", DA is "deety-ay", FF is "effty-eff", E7C is "ee hundred seventy-cee", etc.

One drawback is that "ay" sounds a lot like "eight". So 80 (eighty) and A0 (ayty) are a problem. But we already have some close sound-alikes, such as "seventy" and "seventeen".

Now I just have to remember to use this in meetings. I'm sure to get some funny looks!

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