What is an 8-Bit Computer?

Come to that, what is a 1-Bit computer?

It was not my aim to produce a text reference on computing but it is impossible to truly enjoy these beasties without some technical knowledge of their innards. Don't panic though, this is aimed to be something easy to read.

A bit? Computers, despite everything that is said about them, are incredibly thick. We can handle massive numbers, for example, there are 60 million plus people live in the UK. We can discriminate between hundreds of different colours and shades (even me, and I am colour blind). We can work on volumes, lengths, areas and even something as simple as there is more beer in my glass than in yours.

Computers, on the other hand, are definitely numerically challenged. They can understand a one (1) and a zero (0). In electronic terms, it is not even that. It is all to do with the voltage on a piece of wire. Anything below 1.3 volts is considered to be a zero. Everything above 3.7 volts is definitely a one. Anything much north of 5 volts results in a very dead chip (and here I mean the little black plastic ones rather than those best served with salt). Between 1.3 volts and 3.7 volts is interesting as the chip will make a guess. This might be great for a chaos computer (imagine adding 2 and 2 continually and getting random answers - might make Maths fun) but is useless if you are trying to calculate the month's payroll.

Now, a computer able to add up to one would not have made a place in history so we need bigger numbers, and to understand that we need BINARY.