Friday, September 11, 2009

Approaching Three Oh

For some time, I thought of 30 as a scary age. An age beyond which I would be old and unrecognizable. Given how far along I already am in the feeling-old department, and how little my appearance has changed (I've been fat, bearded, and bald since college at least), I'm less concerned about that. The number 30 still had a bit of psychological weight, though, so I decided I had to look at things differently.

In a week or two, "30" will be the layman's way of describing my age. The finger-counter's perspective. But to me and any other system software engineer, I'll be 0x1e. I'll be 00011110, and that's according to the first computer I ever hacked on. By today's standards, I'll be 0000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000011110. Just look at all those insignificant digits. How could anybody who knows anything call me "old"? :^)

Point is, I won't need an extra binary digit until I'm 32 in decimal. 0x20 hex. And the extra-bit logic works just fine for me. Time flies when you're young, so you get extra bits pretty frequently. At 2, at 4, at 8... but the next bit you need is at 16, which in my case is still holding out just fine. If I use this reasoning and set my scary "old" age at 32, then I won't have to bother with a midlife crisis until I'm 64! Then I can pop my meds, buy a hotrod hovercar and blast that Beatles song loud enough to drown out the tinnitus.

After that, I can measure life as a countdown to 128. Anything beyond that's an awfully big bonus, at least by modern reckoning. Even with leaps and bounds in medicine and cheese-healthification, I don't see having any chance of overflowing even the trusty ol' Apple II's native integer. And, if by saying that, I'm jinxing my own life upon turning 256, well, so be it.

But thirty? Hardly seems worth mentioning. Multiples of ten are for chumps. In fact, forget I even said anything. ...Thirty. Pff.