The mission of Hex Headquarters is to promote creative thought about one of our most basic paradigms: the way we represent numbers. Hexadecimal is a system that has applications in many technical fields and should be a part of basic education in the Information Age. Furthermore, to simplify current usage in the technical arena, Hex Headquarters propose intuitive names and pronunciations for the hex digits. Lastly, Hex Headquarters hopes to open a dialogue on future uses of hexadecimal.
Introduction to Numerical Bases
Whenever you dial a phone number or pay a bill online, you probably don't realize you're using something called base 10. That's our common method of representing numbers. Here's how it works and how other bases (such as 2, 8, or 16) may also be used to represent numbers.
Why We Should Switch to Hexadecimal
Base 10 is a holdover from the Dark Ages. Hexadecimal is better suited to life in the Information Age. Learn how the elegant simplicity of base sixteen would benefit you.
How Do I Pronounce Hexadecimal Numbers?
How do you say FF or 7CD or 2E,3BF? Until now, no one has agreed on a way to say these numbers out loud, but we propose a standard system of pronunciation.
You know hexadecimal. Now you need to learn to think in hexadecimal. Use our addition and multiplication tables and interactive quiz applet to get up to speed.
A hexadecimal time system that breaks the outmoded paradigms of our standard twelve-hour clock.
We seldom give thought to the number, yet it forms an underlying cadence to our daily lives, in every activity from dialing a number on the phone to balancing a checkbook. Every time we write a number we express its digits in terms of ones, tens, hundreds (10 × 10), thousands (10 × 10 × 10), and so forth.
The human mind likes to work with easy numbers: when we buy something for $19.95, we say we got it for 20 bucks; we talk about our social and cultural trends in terms of decades; we express history in terms of centuries; a 43 year-old man is in his forties; a 43 year-old woman is in her thirties; etc. Any number divisible by 10, 100, 1000, and so on is easy.
Why is it easy? Because we don't have to think about the zeros at the end. The metric system takes this concept even farther by basing measurement units on multiples of ten, with the idea of avoiding messy conversion factors (as long as we're just shifting zeros, we're okay). That is the magic of ten.
But that is the only magic of ten. And the question arises: why is ten a two-digit number? Why can't it be represented by a single digit? Or, for that matter, why can't nine or eight or anything else be a two-digit number?
There is, of course, an answer to this grand mystery: it's arbitrary. Obviously, somebody had to decide where single-digit numbers stop and two-digit numbers begin. We probably base our numeration on ten because we have ten fingers (the first rudimentary calculator). There are other numbers, however, which are better suited for the job. In the face of changing paradigms as we enter the digital information age, it is worth examining one of our most antiquated paradigms of all: our base-ten number system.