## Saturday, July 21, 2012

### Dorky Dads are the Best Dads

Not even my nerdiest friends could tell me what Two's Complement notation was, but when I called home last night and asked Dad he actually remembered what the hell it is. (Thus proving that he is in fact the clearing house for all kinds of arcane knowledge.)

Then he made me laugh about floating point calculations and we talked about Byzantine history--specifically how Guy Gavriel Kay's Sarantium is Constantinople--complete with "Sarantine fire," a version of the Arian heresy and an empress who started out as an actress.

Now if only I could teach him to text.

Daniel Martin said...

You have insufficiently nerdy local friends. :)

But seriously, this is the kind of thing wikipedia is awesome for. Other such topics include superhero origins, rock albums of the 80s, and the history of the production of illegal drugs.

Daniel Martin said...

Also: your local friends probably had the same problem with the term "two's complement notation" that a child born in the past decade would have with term "touch tone phone". That's just "phone", right? Of course the buttons make tones; how else could it be?

Once upon a time, there were multiple competing possible ways to store integers which might be negative in binary. In such a world, you might need to specify whether your system used "two's complement" or "one's complement" or "sign and magnitude". Now while methods other than two's complement still exist in the same way that rotary phones do still exist, they exist as historical curiosities only. Two's complement won so thoroughly that it's just nowadays how (signed) integers are represented in binary. It ends up having no name because that's just the way things are, and people who have never seen anything else may not be aware that there's even the possibility that things could be different.

Cantabridgienne said...

It's not that they are insufficiently nerdy--it's that they are differently nerdy.

The are sufficiently nerdy to discuss LOTR, but they're all verbals like me. Math is kryptonite.

And you just gave a much better explanation of Two's Complement than my System Architecture Professor..