Another Word-Number System: Biometric Bytes
Here is an oldie-but-goodie, courtesy of Juola and Zimmerman circa 1995, to compare and contrast against the many variations of the Major Memory system I have blogged about here frequently. The biometric word-number system uses two lists of 256 words, purportedly easy to remember and to distinguish phonetically, to aid users in the spoken transmission of base-256 numbers, essentially 8-bit bytes, in even and odd positions of longer strings. A brilliant idea, brilliantly executed. However, I am skeptical about the “ease of remembering.” There is great value in having something in a base that is a power of two rather than a power of ten, like my beloved Major system. But the Major system is a systematic construction of the words by mapping digits to consonant sounds, as opposed to the biometric system, which was constructed by genetic search for minimal confusability. Two different merit functions: memorizability for the Major system; distinctness for the biometric system. I will investigate!