Conversion – Routines – Algorithms – Charts…And Other Thoughts

Okay… I’m sorry… One more ancient thought to the Statistics posting from Yesterday…

SpeedometerRoutines… are simply routine. There are generally nothing, if not routine. As long as you know where you are and where you are wanting to go, then routines are pathways one follows to get to the destination.

Of course, you need to have some background to understand the the process of the routine, and some challenges are presented that may tax your ability to follow the routine, especially if you have no mathematical, or procedural, background.

So, in order to convert something from one text to another we often have formulas, tables, charts and even complex algorithms – all tools to accomplish the conversion. Just a routine.

So, what is a Conversion Routine?

A flexible, self-contained, and generalized program used for data conversion, which only requires specifications about very few facts in order to be used by a programmer. (McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.)

Of course, this works great for the computer scientist, or programmer. Still, the definition applies to many different industries.

Take the Speedometer. When first introduced in a form that we could understand on early cars of the prior century, there were some challenges to overcome to take the ability produced by the engine, the movement of the tires (based on size) over the ground, and with mechanical means convert all these known parameters into a process whereby we can determine the number of miles covered in a specific time period…

Of course, that was assuming we knew what the length of a mile happened to be, and how many minutes/seconds were contained in an hour.

Thus, we converted known parameters into a solution via a conversion routine.

Hex - EBCIDIC - ASCII Conversion ChartRemembering back to my mainframe days, back before the HP calculators were easily affordable by all, we had conversion charts and tables to convert binary or hexadecimal (base 16) dumps into decimal and alphabetic (base 10) solutions. EBCIDIC to ASCII to HEX. It takes 8 bits of binary data to equal 1 byte of alphanumeric characters easily understood. All normal as long as the computer did not use a different number system, say, Octal (base 8) that was common by some manufactures. .

So. Charts. Tables. Routines. Algorithms. It’s easy. Right?

I was thinking about all of this the other day when a Canadian Friend shared that it was warming up. The temperature had made it to 30 degrees Celsius. When re-telling the temperature to an American friend, we laughed about trying to determine how to convert that into Fahrenheit – which is what we know temperatures by. The only thing I could remember was that “0” degrees Celsius equaled “32” degrees Fahrenheit – both numbers represent freezing. Erroneously I assumed that it would be a simple math formula based upon .32.

Not exactly the answer that would work, but it does come into play…!

So, ignoring the apps I have to do the conversion routine for me, I researched to find the Conversion Routine and see if it could easily be memorized. With the speedometer in front of me I do not have to remember any conversion routines to transfer from Miles to Kilometers – the automakers have put it right in front of my eyes. Go ahead, look at the speedometer picture again – the big outer ring numbers are Mileage numbers, and the smaller inside ring numbers are Kilometers.

Here’s a conversion routine for answering the question:

What is the Fahrenheit equivalent of 30 Degrees Celsius?

  • Conversion formula: F = [9/5 C] +32  OR  nine fifths of the Celsius temperature + 32.
  • 30 x 9 = 270 and 270/5 = 54, and 54+32 = 86

So easy… Remember that the conversion formula is simply 9/5’s of the Celsius temperature, plus 32!

Of course, that is one simple formula and we have written untold lines of code to make this a conversion routine used by various languages and programs. And there are untold thousands of conversion that we may need to remember in order to live…

  • Convert tablespoons to a full cup measurement if you have no measuring cup.
  • Convert US Gallons to Imperial Gallons (British).
  • Convert US Gallons to Liters to Imperial Gallons.
  • Convert US Currency to any other currency you wish.
  • etc…

All routines. Conversion Routines. Complex at times. Simple at others. Converting from one known to another known.

I remember Junior High Math when we were told that we needed to know the Metric system because we would be totally converted to said system by the time the century was over. Of course, back in the late 60’s no one was taking into account the resistance by the American public. Most conversions never occurred successfully. Except maybe for the 32 or 64 ounce soft drink bottles that easily became the 1 liter and 2 liter size. Pounds (lb), Ounces (oz), Gallons, Speeds, Measurements, etc. all remained the same.

One exception is that we now measure more and more auto measurements by the Metric system. You know, the engine is now known by a Liters size instead of Cubic Inch. Liters is metric, and Cubic Inch is called, essentially, the Imperial or Legacy number system. Many wrenches and other tools are needed in both systems because most auto’s still use both systems.

Consider one last thing about this subject.

For every answer, there are many variables at play. It is difficult to determine how to address the variables. You can convert the Gregorian calendar to a Julian Calendar, but you have to remember the variable is Leap Year. Every 4th year you must add 1 number to account for Leap Day on 02/29…

We often take past successful events and try to formalize them into a routine that will produce repetitive successful results.

Example: “Give the kid a toy in the store and he/she will behave every time.” Or… Promise them a toy when they go to the doctor, barber, etc…if and only if they behave!

Of course, we know this does not always work. There are too many variables and we do not know how to take them into account. Essentially, there are variables to the variables, multiplied by all the possibilities that could exist at any given time. How do we normalize them into a final solution? The kid is hungry, tired, sleepy, grumpy, already has the toy you want to buy, the toy the kid wants is not in the store, or the color is wrong…

And we cannot easily guess what is the correct variable to make the routine work.

Routines. Charts. Tables. Formulas. Algorithms.

Think about your own life and what routines you have in place that will produce successful results every time… Can you name them?

Think about your spiritual life. What routines do you have in place and do they produce successful results? What are they? I have one main one that keeps the main thing the main thing.

But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. (Matthew 6:33 NKJV)

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