Encoding on the Internet

1: Computers Process Numbers

Numerical Data

All data in computers are ultimately stored as numbers (actually binary numbers). However, operating systems and programs convert these numbers to a forms which can be interpreted by humans. For instance:

  • Graphics – colors are assigned numbers
  • Audio – frequencies and volume factors are assigned numbers
  • Text – characters are assigned numbers

Software converts numbers to a form understandable by humans

Text Encoding

The convention which assigns characters (letters, numbers, punctuation, blank space) a number. One of the first encoding schemes was ASCII.

  • Keyboard and low-level system software converts the numbers to
  • Fonts match the numbers to the characters displayed on the screen and in print
  • Two Computers must have access to the same encoding and font settings
    in order to exchange files


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