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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb
I write software but I never knew the history behind Computer Science, the players and how it all fits together. I do now. I'd say this book is a MUST READ to everyone in the industry - and a pleasant read to anyone who's not.
Published on 9 Jun 2012 by Peter

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3.0 out of 5 stars A history of computer developments
Using the stories of the persons connected with the subject you are describing can work well, because it makes it more personal and we all find it easier to read that than a technical description. May be Turing's life story has been used enough by now. This book is more a history book of computing than a treatise on the science of computing. Don't expect to learn much...
Published 10 months ago by Nish Pfister


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb, 9 Jun 2012
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I write software but I never knew the history behind Computer Science, the players and how it all fits together. I do now. I'd say this book is a MUST READ to everyone in the industry - and a pleasant read to anyone who's not.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Digital Information History, 20 July 2012
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DIGITIZED by Peter J. Bentley is a must-read for anybody who wants to understand how the world became digitized and how it may evolve.
Don't be confused by the subtitle about science and computers, because the book is well written, to the point and easy to read. The author brings in a variety of examples and anecdotes which make the book an amusing read.
The only digital aspect of the book itself, however, is the binary numbering of chapters (000, 001, 010, etc.).
Besides Nicholas Negropontes "Being Digital" from 1995, DIGITIZED is highly reccommended by The Digital Mission of Norway.
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3.0 out of 5 stars A history of computer developments, 28 Feb 2014
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Nish Pfister "nhpfister" (Chulmleigh, Devon, U K) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Digitized: The science of computers and how it shapes our world (Paperback)
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Using the stories of the persons connected with the subject you are describing can work well, because it makes it more personal and we all find it easier to read that than a technical description. May be Turing's life story has been used enough by now. This book is more a history book of computing than a treatise on the science of computing. Don't expect to learn much about how the stuff works, this is about the people who were instrumental in the development of computers and their uses.
It is possibly the only way to write a popular book about the subject. A book about the science of computers would get very specific and involve lots of maths, electronics, information theory and so on, that would cut down your audience.
So, the bit of the title: "the science of computers….' is not quite right, this is a book about computers, their uses and the people who were instrumental in this development.
It's still an interesting book, I read it cover to cover, but it's light entertainment rather than science.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating introduction to the science of computing, 8 Jan 2014
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L. White (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Digitized: The science of computers and how it shapes our world (Paperback)
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This book started predictably with a description of how computers can affect our lives, with an example of ordering a pizza online, but then dives behind the scenes to show the computers you aren't aware of but which are still involved in the process.
It then proceeds through the history of computing and the people behind it, and explains what problems are faced by computer scientists and how computers can help us understand the world.
In an education system where we have suddenly been overcome by a need to learn to program, this book is a refreshing change, and should be required reading for all computing students and their teachers, providing a well-rounded introduction to computer science, detailed and technical, but not too technical to follow and a fascinating read.
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4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent general overview of the history of computing, 31 Dec 2013
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Anne (Sheffield, Yorkshire) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Digitized: The science of computers and how it shapes our world (Paperback)
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If you have a general interest in the history of computing or if your first experience with this technology was with punch cards then you will probably enjoy this book. It is an easy to read overview of the advance in computing over the past 60 years or so, together with some good information about the pioneers of the new technology. This book doesn't require a huge knowledge of computer technology to understand it and it doesn't delve too deep into the technicalities.

One for the slightly informed but interested general reader.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beginners insight into computer science, 20 Dec 2013
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NeilC (Windsor, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Digitized: The science of computers and how it shapes our world (Paperback)
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In a similar way to the many 'pop science' books that give a layman's overview of economics, pyschology, maths etc.. this short book (240 pages) gives a good overview into the history and development of computer science and some of the technologies that we rely so much on today. As a technophile, but without a computer science background, I found the book engaging and a great overview. It starts with the theoretical work with the likes of Alan Turing and John Von Neumann that lay down the rules and then follows through with the development of networking technologies, computer graphics, personal computers etc. Each section gets into a good amount of detail and gives some of the history, back story and biography of those involved making it an engaging read.

However, while I did find the book a good overview and the best book that I've come across of this kind, I was left frustrated in a number of places. Firstly it really all starts in the early 20th century without any real mention of Charles Babbage and Ada Lovelace. Their early mechanical and theoretical calculating machines and how you program them are a topic that I would love to have had more insight. Similarly, the book ends rather abruptly and misses and opportunity to really talk about how leading companies like Google will continue to change our lives and the fact that much of the academic research is now done in collaboration with and lead by these types of leading companies. In this regard I feel the authors own academic bias has narrowed his view point somewhat.

My other frustration is that in points in the book, the author goes into lots of detail (explaining P = NP, introducing small code snippets) but he fails to really explain what he's trying to get across with these examples or to ensure that he's brought the reader with him. Then later in the book when he could have gotten deeper into some of the theory or provided simplified examples (e.g. Latham's computerised art) it was just a descriptive overview.

Overall, though it was an enjoyable read. Recommended.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Five star book, 18 Dec 2013
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Ms. C. R. Stillman-lowe "Cathy SL" (Reading Berks) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Digitized: The science of computers and how it shapes our world (Paperback)
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PB's book portays the history of computing from its 19c beginings and interweaves anecdotal biographies of the extraordinary people involved. The book starts with an illumination description of what is involved in ordering a pizza on line. The subsequent text makes demands on the reader but these are richly rewarded.

Rating 5 out of 5
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good account of basics about computers, 10 Dec 2013
By 
Alan Michael Forrester "I exist." (Northampton) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Digitized: The science of computers and how it shapes our world (Paperback)
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"Digitized" is a good account of very basic computer science. It explains some basic ideas, computers, the internet and information theory and gives anecdotes about many of the people involved, such as Turing, von Neumann, Shannon and so on. If you know anything about computer science then you are unlikely to learn anything new but you might like the anecdotes. And by know anything about computer science I mean that if you know what Fortran is then you are advanced by the standards of this book. If you know nothing, you might learn enough to whet your appetite.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book for us geeks!, 8 Dec 2013
By 
khisanth "khisanth75" (Hampshire, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Digitized: The science of computers and how it shapes our world (Paperback)
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This book covers the thinking and people behind computers, how it all came into being from the origins to the current day. If you like computing history this is well worth a read. It gets into some theory but is not too heavy and easy to get into.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great introduction to the history and potential of computing, 30 Nov 2013
By 
V. Nicholl (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Digitized: The science of computers and how it shapes our world (Paperback)
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Bentley draws you in from the first line, and smoothly negotiates his way through almost a century of the history, moral questions, current thinking and aspirations of the computing arena. One of my favourite aspects of the book is that he doesn't simply refer you to historical pioneers; he gives you a proper introduction. You understand why they were so enchanted with the ideas they were trying and often succeeding in making reality, and I certainly marvelled at how much they achieved. You also feel for them as people, so beware the section on Turing - to say Britain recently had barbaric views on and reactions to homosexuality is possibly an understatement.

Refreshingly, Bentley does not give only his opinion, but has drawn in a host of modern day computer scientists from around the globe to give their perspective of historical and current issues. Again, all of these people are doing incredible work, so you get a great overview of the current aspirations of the field, and the complexity of the problems they are attempting to solve.

Bentley is excellent at explaining the problems (such as how to establish whether a conscious computer has actually been created) so that even a lay audience can understand the concepts, though perhaps, like me, in some cases they might have to stop and think them over for a while, and perhaps read the explanation a few times.

Hugely enjoyable and informative, this is accessible history and current commentary. Well worth the money!
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Digitized: The science of computers and how it shapes our world
Digitized: The science of computers and how it shapes our world by Peter J. Bentley (Paperback - 12 Sep 2013)
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