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title: "Outside Your Comfort Zone"
Recently, I had a class which required conversion between a few numeric systems such as binary (base2), decimal (the "normal" one we use, base10), and base16.
(It was actually a couple more, but for this blogpost only those three are relevant.)
A classmate of mine asked the professor if it was alright for him, in a conversion between binary and base16, to convert to decimal as a middle step.
This initially seems as a good practice. Since decimal is a system that we've all used since we learned to count, it makes sense to want to use it as a middleground between two unknown systems.
In a situation where time and success are critical, it's natural to want to stick to what you already know.
## The Problem with this Approach
As a principle, I don't necessarily advise people to stray from their comfort zone when performing a critical task. However, in class, it's **experimentation time**.
Numerical systems that share a common base (base16 is, technically, base2^4),
conversion is actually **simpler** than it would be using a different system with an incongruous base as a middleground.