Chapter 14

Working with Binary Data


Check Contrasting binary and textual data

Check Analyzing binary data

Check Understanding the uses for binary data

Check Performing binary-related data tasks

The term binary data is an oxymoron because as far as the computer is concerned, only binary data exists. Binary data is the data that people associate with a nonhuman-readable form; the data is a series of seemingly unrelated 0s and 1s that somehow form patterns the computer sees as data, despite the human inability to do so in many cases — at least, not without analysis. Consequently, when this chapter contrasts textual data to binary data, it does so from the human perspective, which means that data must be readable and understandable by humans to be meaningful. Of course, with computer assistance, binary data is also quite meaningful, but in a different way from text. This chapter begins by helping you understand the need and uses for binary data.

The days of worrying about data usage at the bit level are long gone, but binary data, in which individual bits do matter, still appears as part of data ...

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