Posts Tagged ‘nondigital’

Whats with people calling all non-digital things analog?

Tuesday, September 18th, 2012

Question by Trevor: Whats with people calling all non-digital things analog?
Real photos are now analog photos as opposed to digital photos. Wired magazine is calling a model railroad “an analog sims”.

Best answer:

Answer by Mike
“Digital” means that something – a voice, a picture, for example, has been digitised, ie, turned into numbers. Usually quite a lot of numbers. It can then be transmitted and saved with minimal loss of quality. It also allows the use clever arithmetic to make the thing smaller, regenerate it, find patterns in it, and so on.

“Analogue” means that something (a light level, a sound pressure) is represented by something else (a density of silver in a photograph, a voltage leaving a microphone). There are no numbers, just a smooth, continuous variation of one thing as it follows another. But this “following” won’t be exact – there will always be errors, noise, limits to the working range (saturation) and so on.

So nearly all real-world things, when they are to be transmitted or stored, start life as analogue signals. If they never get digitised, one could call them “analogue”. A model can be an analogue of a real-life (“prototype”) railway or aircraft: the “analogue” conversion then is from one length to another, often smaller length. The model can simulate the real thing, to a different scale. So that usage is justified, if a bit unusual.

In summary, if something is “digital”, it simply means that it has been digitised somewhere in the chain. It usualy gets converted back to analogue before being viewed, heard, or felt.

What do you think? Answer below!

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