Binary: The Foundation of All Computing

Learn how technology works at the foundation. You'll be able to read and write binary and see how it all fits together.
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  • Lectures 12
  • Length 3 hours
  • Skill Level All Levels
  • Languages English
  • Includes Lifetime access
    30 day money back guarantee!
    Available on iOS and Android
    Certificate of Completion
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About This Course

Published 3/2014 English

Course Description

You should take this course if you want to have mastery over the foundations of digital technology... if you want to look at an HD movie and think "I know how that's working on the root level. Awesome!"

This course is all about binary, hexadecimal, and the core concepts that make all of our modern information technology possible. There are videos, quizzes, and a couple of App Cat episodes in presentation format.

You should watch the videos in order. Some of them build on the content from the last video. There are 3 chalkboard session videos that show the how-to steps for reading and writing binary and hexadecimal. You should watch those with paper and a pencil. You'll want to follow along.

What are the requirements?

  • Pencil and paper
  • No programming skills needed
  • Basic math skills (addition and subtraction)
  • Standard calculator skills (multiplication, exponents)
  • An open mind to understand new ways of using numbers
  • Excitement about knowing how all digital technology works

What am I going to get from this course?

  • Read and write binary
  • Read and write hexadecimal
  • Understand why binary is made of 1s and 0s
  • Understand ASCII and Unicode
  • Know what a real gigabyte is
  • Understand different counting systems (such as Base16 and Base64)

Who is the target audience?

  • Professional technologists
  • Technology enthusiasts
  • Perpetual learners

What you get with this course?

Not for you? No problem.
30 day money back guarantee.

Forever yours.
Lifetime access.

Learn on the go.
Desktop, iOS and Android.

Get rewarded.
Certificate of completion.


Section 1: Getting Started

Why do we have to use binary for digital technology? Why do we use zeroes and ones? This video covers the basics and introduces you to the binary concept.


What's a "word"? This video covers the initial terminology you need to know.

5 questions

This quiz covers terminology and some basic concepts

8 pages

This presentation introduces you to App Cat. He's my buddy and I hope you like him, too. You'll be seeing App Cat every once in a while. He helps me illustrate some concepts, but he usually does it in a way that keeps me laughing.

All of the App Cat presentations in this course are for you to read and enjoy at your own pace. Just flip through the presentation like a comic book.

Section 2: Knowing Binary Inside and Out

How many bytes are in a gigabyte? What's the difference between "GB" and "GiB"? In this video, we learn a lot of details about kilobytes, megabytes, and gigabytes.

20 pages

In this episode, App Cat has a tough time buying a new hard drive at the electronics store. I think he understands the concepts, but he doesn't have a very good memory sometimes.


This video is a chalkboard session. Just FYI... I don't start writing until after the first minute or so. If you just see a black screen but you can hear me, then it's working properly.

This is the longest video of the class, so get your favorite drink and snack and get ready to learn how the read binary! You'll want to follow along with your own paper and pencil. The technique for reading binary is very simple, but it may take a few practice exercises before you feel comfortable with it.


This is the chalkboard session for writing binary. It's the immediate follow-up to the prior lecture. Keep your pencil and paper handy. There are more do-it-yourself steps in this video.

5 questions

This quiz challenges your binary literacy. Be prepared to do your own decimal to binary conversions.


In this video we learn how binary becomes text... and how all of the world's languages are fit into a standardized layout.

20 pages

In this episode, App Cat wants to hang out with some cool techie cats. One of them gives him a hard time about a technology issue. I swear I've known people like that cat with the hat.

Section 3: Getting Comfortable with Hexadecimal

This video may be a bit challenging at first. Watch it a couple of times if you need, and ask questions there is something I have not explained clearly. Get ready to go beyond what you learned about numbers and counting. You'll never look at the number "ten" the same again!


This is the chalkboard session for reading and writing hexadecimal. It's a longer video. Get ready to follow along on your own!


What does 0x3366FF look like? This video explores RGB color codes and their composition.

5 questions

This quiz tests your ability to read and write hexadecimal. Feel free to use binary as a stepping stone between decimal and hex.

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Instructor Biography

Kilton Hopkins, Unstoppable Technologist

I have been programming since I was 8 years old. That was 1986 and computers were very different. All of the effort I spent trying to make things work properly back then has turned out to be very helpful, though. I have been pushing the boundaries of what can be done with technology ever since.

I've co-founded several technology startups, managed software products with over $100 million in annual revenue, and received my MBA from The University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

I continually learn about new technologies (or old stuff that I didn't understand before) and I love to help others understand technology in a deep, meaningful way.

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