Topic outline

  • General

    There are only 10 sorts of people - those who understand binary and those who don't

    - Arnold Mapstone

  • Topic 1


    The story of binary numbers is the story of data. How it is collected, encoded and transmitted around the world in milli seconds.

    How the news gathering services, weather, stock market reports, social media all influence and affect our lives. The mobile phone now means many of us wake up to this data transfer and go to sleep having just put down our device.

    discuss social issues

    dr who movies (tennant)

    • Topic 2

      The need for data

      Tsun-tsu was a Chinese general who live from 544 to 496 BC. He wrote a manual called the art of war which you can still buy in any good bookstore today. 

      In it, Tsun-tsu devotes an entire chapter to the use of spies. That is, gaining data and information on an enemy with a view of forming a strategy to defeat them.

      Ch 13 : the use of spies

      The data cycle, familiar to any technologist

      • data collection
      • data entry
      • data storage
      • information retrieval
      • information analysis

      There are spies everywhere, be it military, industrial or just the person sitting next to you. These days, the most common form of spying is Facebook.

      The problems faced by spies are as old as the trade itself.

      How do you get information and the send it back, without being caught? And if the spy are caught, or the message is intercepted, how do you hde it's true meaning?

      • Topic 3

        Early forms of data communication


        message sticks

        strolling minstrels



        signal fires




        • Topic 4

          Enter the electronics

          invention of the stock market

          morse code







          • Topic 5

            Modern day date transmission



            Mobile phones

            Internet of things

            • Topic 6


              Spies are everywhere. A spy is someone or something that seeks to obtain information without being detected. 

              Spies have been used as long as one person wishes to know something about another. A famous ancient  Chinese general, Tsun Tsu laid it out in his book "The Art of War". A book still in print and studied 2,500 years later.

              Spies have the same Data Cycle 

              • data collection
              • data entry
              • data storage
              • information retrieval
              • information analysis

              Most people think of espionage when thinking of spies. Paid operatives finding out about foreign governments or military. 

              These days, much of this work is done by monitoring social media, or by using satellites. 

              For the population, a surveillance device might be as simple as CCTV in any context, a traffic camera or facial recognition in the CBD.

              Most surveillance is covert and might be as simple as someone checking out your Facebook page or your Internet history.


              secret codes

              code breakers

              enigma machines

              bletchley park

              Tsun Tsu Ch 13 "The use of spies"

              • Topic 7

                The wild west train tickets : encoding data

                In the 1880's railway companies collected data on their travellers by encoding data into a ticket using a punch.

                The pictures on the top of people was to get data on their customers in case they were train robbers!

                In the USA coming up to the 1890 census, administrators realised that the collection and analysis of data would not be finished in time for the next census, using traditional manual techniques. They ran a competition to encode and analysis the data 

                Herman Hollerith (February 29, 1860 – November 17, 1929) was an American inventor who won the competition inventing an electromechanical punched card tabulator to assist in summarizing information and, later, accounting. 

                His genius in business was to give the machines away for free, but charge $0.01 for each punch card. He was soon raking in the profits. His company, the Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company, was renamed IBM in 1924, and went o to be one of the largest computing companies in the world.

                Hollerith is regarded as one of the seminal figures in the development of data processing.

              • Topic 8

                Morse code

                make a morse code transmitter/reciever
                • Topic 9

                  Enter silicon valey




                  mother boards 


                  • Topic 10

                    Serial and parallel transmission

                    • Topic 11

                      The binary system

                      A Bit is a binary digit with two possible values, zero or one
                      A Byte is a sequence of 8 bits and has 256 possible values from 00000000 through 11111111
                      A kilobyte (kB) is 1,024 bytes or 2^10 bytes
                      A Megabyte (MB) is 1,048, 576 bytes or 2^20 bytes
                      A Gigabyte (GB) is 1,073,741,824 bytes or 2^30 bytes
                      A Terabyte (TB) is 1,099,511,627,776 bytes or 2^40 bytes

                      makecode binary lessons
                      • Topic 12

                        ASCII and it's applications

                        ASCII, abbreviated from American Standard Code for Information Interchange, is a character encoding standard for electronic communication. ASCII codes represent text in computers, telecommunications equipment, and other devices.

                        Basically, all the keys on the keyboard are coded into an agreed sequence, with agreed ASCII values. Thes can be coded into eight on/off signals called bits packaged into a byte. It can then be transmitted on a wire as data that can be read and translated into a message.

                        Modern communications package huge amounts of data that is sent around the world at nearyl the speed of light.

                        The first 32 characters (000 000 - 0001 1111) are the control characters. These are characters you cant see normally like TAB, RETURN and chr(7) rings a bell.

                        Next 32 (0010 0000 - 0011 1111) are the numbers and symbols on the top row of a keyboard.

                        The characters next (01000 - 0101 1111) are the lowercase letters.

                        Finally (0110 0000 - 0111 1111) are the uppercase set.

                        There are another 192 letters called the extended ASCII set. 

                        • Topic 13

                          Simple recursion

                          • Topic 14

                            • Topic 15


                              Numerators and denominators

                              Fractions are easy when you know the vocabulary.

                              The word fraction comes from the late 14c., originally in the mathematical sense, from Anglo-French fraccioun (Old French fraccion, "a breaking,"). It means to break apart.

                              The denominator ... Old French denominacion "nominating, naming," from Latin denominationem "to name". So if you break something up into parts, the denominator names the number of parts.

                               In Latinnumerator means "counter or numberer." The numerator counts the number of parts in a denomination. 

                              Latin is an ancient language spoken by the Romans 2000 years ago. During the time known as Paxus Romanus (Roman times), most of Europe was was occupied by the Roman army. People who wished to get on with the Romans had to learn Latin.

                              Over 60 percent of all English words have Greek or Latin roots. In the vocabulary of the sciences and technology, the figure rises to over 90 percent. About 10 percent of the Latin vocabulary has found its way directly into English without an intermediary (usually French).

                              Latin is a dead language, meaning not many people speak it today. Hence, the meaning does not change (consider the word wicked or sick whose meaning completely changed by modern use). It makes it idea for making laws. 

                              Fractions have been around for as long as people could count. 

                              Consider the following. A man has ten goats. This is his denomination of goats. Of his ten goats, he separates three for market. He has fractured of broken his goat into two pieces. 

                              Three out of the ten, and

                              seven out of the ten.

                              How best is it to represent this as a mathematical short hand?

                              3/10 and 7/10

                              The count (numerator) of gots of to market i 3

                              Those staying is 7

                              Total number of goats to be considered (denominator) is 10

                              History of fractions

                              The word "dominus" means the leader or master. Hence the dominus or captain of an AFL side when playing is 1 of 22. The denomination is all 22 (18 + 4 interchange). 

                              Denomination has many applications for the same word.

                              • A church group or faith
                              • A system of money

                              Another way to look at this is to consider a character in Star Trek : Voyager.

                              Seven was once part of a collective (denomination) of evil baddies called the Borg. She was the seventh member assimilated into the collective, (count one out of nine (numerator).

                              She was one out of seven or 1/7 of the collective.

                              Next we investigate div and mod

                              • Topic 16

                                Div and mod

                                In computing, the modulo operation finds the remainder after division of one number by another (called the modulus of the operation).   It comes from Latin, where it has the meaning "manner; kind; measured amount.

                                Given two positive numbers, a and n, a modulo n (abbreviated as a mod n) is the remainder of the Euclidean division of a by n, where a is the dividend and n is the divisor.

                                Makecode has a built in function to find the modulos of a division


                                This will evaluate to 4

                                There is no div function so we have to make one. 

                                20/8 = 2.5

                                Div = 2.5 -.5 = 2

                                This will evaluate to 2

                                • Topic 17

                                  Convert binary to decimal

                                  • Topic 18

                                    Recursion : putting the first six Fibonacci numbers in a list.

                                    Fibonacci c.?1170 – c.?1240–50)[6] was an Italian mathematician from the Republic of Pisa, considered to be "the most talented Western mathematician of the Middle Ages".[7]

                                    The name he is commonly called, Fibonacci, was made up in 1838 by the Franco-Italian historian Guillaume Libri[8] and is short for filius Bonacci ("son of Bonacci").[9][b] He is also known as Leonardo Bonacci, Leonardo of Pisa, or Leonardo Bigollo Pisano ("Leonardo the Traveller from Pisa")

                                    He invented his number sequence after breeding rabbits.

                                    • Topic 19

                                      Calculating powers of 2

                                    • Topic 20

                                      Binary boards

                                      How to make a binary board

                                      The objective here is to make a prototype so we can program eight LEDs in binary


                                      • Microbit
                                      • breadboard
                                      • 8 x m-f dupont connectors
                                      • breakout board
                                      • 8 x 3mm LEDS
                                      • 8 x 270 Ohmn LEDs
                                      • crocodile leads
                                      • copper tape

                                      Step 1

                                      Trim one leg of each resistor to fit in the breadboard, leave the other long

                                      Insert resistors with the long leg away from where the LEDs will be. 

                                      Run a long strip of copper tape across the long legs of the resistors leaving a small flap at the end.

                                      Trim the LEDs to suit, and insert, with shorter leg connecting to the resistor.

                                      Connect the flap to the ground using crocodile lead. Using a du Pont connector connected to gnd, test each LED and resistor to see that they work.

                                      Now a tricky part. The pins do not allow output 1 - 10. Instead we will connect leds 1 -> 8 to pins 0, 1, 2, 12 -> 16

                                      • Topic 21

                                        Makecode : making a pin blink

                                        on start

                                        driver routine


                                        sets pin 0 to 0


                                        sets num which in turn, turns led on or off

                                        function pin_0 controls output to pin

                                        • Topic 22


                                          • Topic 23


                                            • Topic 24


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                                              • Topic 25