Today we will be discussing the way your computer processes information. Let’s look at this capital letter A for starters:

A

Look at that A. Really look at it…..how does it make you feel?

No I’m just kidding. The reason I’m showing you a capital letter A is to convey how much it takes for your computer to store that amount of information. A capital letter A is expressed as01000001 in binary code (computer speak).

Okay let’s back up. The smallest amount of information your computer processes is called a bit (just a wee bit!) and it is either expressed as a 1 or a 0.

Bit stands for “Binary Unit” or “Binary Digit.”

Your computer doesn’t actually see the letter ‘A’ it sees a series of 1s and 0s. You would think that the letter A would be only a bit but it’s actually more than that! The letter ‘A’ takes 8 bits to store (01000001) and we would refer to this as a “Byte.” Think of it in terms of measurement, a liter is 1000 milliliters, just like a byte is 8 bits.

Now what happens when you get a BUNCH of Bytes together?

1 Kilobyte = 1,024 Bytes

1 Megabyte = 1,048,576 Bytes

1 Gigabyte = 1,073,741,824 Bytes

That’s a lot of capital letter A’s!

Okay so why should you care about all of this?

Have you ever had an email not send? Outlook refused the message? Most likely your attachments were too large to send over email. A good rule of thumb for sending email is no more than 10 Megabytes. The person who you are trying to email the files to might not be able to receive anything more than that. Gmail allows its users to send up to 25 Megabytes! So next time you’re sending an email, add up the amount of Megabytes you are trying to send and make sure they are less than 10. If everything you are sending is measured in kilobytes, you’re probably fine! Go ahead and send that puppy.

If you have files to send that are larger than 10 MB, try using file sharing, a cloud system or something like “yousendit” —and then there’s always the trusty CD or thumb-drive method.

Now go forth in excellence!