## QUICK! What's 2^12? No Cheating!

If you guessed 1024, you're wrong. I was just asked this question not 20 minutes ago, and I choked, when the answer was in my hands, quite literally.

2... 4... 8... 16... 32... 64... 128... 256... 512... 1024... 2048... 4096!

Yes, the correct answer is 4096, not 1024, and you did it with just your fingers. So, if you're ever asked "What's 2^x", where x is some relatively small number that you can get to quickly, you know now to use your fingers. I'll show you an easy way to tackle it if 'x' is relatively large, again, without a calculator, but I'll save that for another post.

Make sure you keep this in mind, however. You never know when you'll be asked.

UPDATE: Some people have had trouble understanding my post, regarding counting binary on your fingers, so let me explain how to do so. First, we need to look at the mathematics of exponentials. Let's start at 2^0. It is defined as 1. What's 2^1? 2. 2^2 = 4, 2^3 = 8, 2^4 = 16, etc. See a pattern. The result of the expression is doubling for every exponent increase by 1.

Easy.

1. using on | May 18, 2007 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

You had me confused there for a minute. I spend too long trying to understand you :-p. I though you had in mind something like you can do when you multiply by nine.

I do like counting in binary. Just the other day, somebody said that they could "count the [few] number of times" someone had done something on one hand. I had to point on 31 isn't quite as small as 5. (-:

2. goalieca using on | May 18, 2007 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

the way i remember is 2^10 = 1KB = 1024

2^20 = 1MB = 1024KB
2^30 = 1GB = 1024MB etc.

so the easy way is to do

2^10 * 2^2 = 4-something which i know from memory as 4096

3. using on | May 18, 2007 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

I am really sorry. But there are a whole lot of people using Ubuntu and catching up with the planet who have not done a programming course.

I would love to understand the counting method. Maybe a little more detail about the way you use your fingers and how you derive the number from them would help people understand.

P.S. Thanks for all of your other insightful blog posts. I really enjoy them.

Mike From Australia.
-A non-IT Ubuntu User

4. Jon using on | May 21, 2007 at 5:03 am | Permalink

you are such a genius! please tell me you are still in highschool.

5. using on | May 21, 2007 at 6:22 am | Permalink

Jon- That's a pretty intelligent comment. Really adds to the conversation at hand. Thanks for stopping by.

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