(I posted an earlier version of this in December 2004 on my old technical blog. A discussion at work last week about 36-bit computers at the Living Computers Museum prompted me to write an updated post with improved explanations and much better typography.)
I've been programming in C since 1985 and C++ since 1991, but I've never found a use for octal representation until , aside from the permissions argument for chmod. Octal has always seemed as vestigial as a human appendix, a leftover from the early days of computers, when word sizes were often a multiple of three: 6-, 12-, 24-, or 36-bits wide. All modern computers use word …continue.