Code: The Hidden Language (DV-MPS General) Hardcover – 1 Oct 1999
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Crossing over into general-interest non-fiction from his popular programming manuals, Charles Petzold has written Code: The Hidden Language of Computer Hardware and Software. It's a carefully written, carefully researched gem that will appeal to anyone who wants to understand computer technology at its most essential levels. Readers learn about number systems(decimal, octal, binary and all that) through Petzold's patient (and frequently entertaining) prose, then discover the logical systems that are used to process them. There's loads of historical information, too. From Louis Braille's development of his eponymous raised-dot code to Intel Corporation's release of its early microprocessors, Petzold presents the stories of people trying to find ways to communicate with (and by means of) mechanical and electrical devices. It's a fascinating progression of technologies and the author presents a clear statement of how they fit together.
The real value of Code is in its explanations of technologies that have been obscured for years behind fancy user interfaces and programming environments that, in the name of rapid application development, insulate the programmer from the machine. In a section on machine language, Petzold dissects the instruction sets of the genre-defining Intel 8080 and Motorola6800 processors. He walks the reader through the process of performing various operations with each chip, explaining which op codes poke which values into which registers along the way. Petzold knows that the hidden language of computers exhibits real beauty. In Code, he helps his readers appreciate it. --David Wall
Topics covered: Mechanical and electrical representations of words and numbers, number systems, logic gates, performing mathematical operations with logic gates, microprocessors, machine code, memory and programming languages.
About the Author
Charles Petzold wrote the classic Programming Windows®, which is currently in its fifth edition and one of the best-known and widely used programming books of all time. He was honored in 1994 with the Windows Pioneer Award, presented by Microsoft® founder Bill Gates and Windows Magazine. He has been programming with Windows since first obtaining a beta Windows 1.0 SDK in the spring of 1985, and he wrote the very first magazine article on Windows programming in 1986. Charles is an MVP for Client Application Development and the author of several other books including Code: The Hidden Language of Computer Hardware and Software.
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Top Customer Reviews
What are the constituent elements of a computer? How is a CPU put together? How do transistors work? How do you build a logic gate? What is electricity? What is Assembly Language and how does it compare to Machine Code?
Although you don't need to know the answers to these questions to be a good programmer - it is a bit like being a good car driver, but not really understanding how the internal combustion engine works - or how an automatic gearbox works... I think it is useful to understand the basics of the beast you are using - it at least makes you understand some of the potential foibles!
I thoroughly recommend this book to all IT professionals.
It starts with very very simple ideas - how to pass messages when you have only got an On/Off switch.
This then builds up through telephone relays, Morse Code, electricity to build simple logic gates... all the way to building a PC
Well written, with each topic explained elegantly and simply, this is a wonderful book that explains the fundamentals of computing. I started in IT (back in the 1970's) writing Assembler code for numeric controlled machines - so some of this was nostalgic history.
It is not quite up to date (still talking about floppy discs) - but for a comprehensive overview of the design and development of computers - this is excellent.
On the negative side, the machine design is a little dated, and a register transfer architecture might have worked better.
The sections on operating systems are simply not up to the standard of the rest of the book, but the book is work it for the rest anyway.
The book itself is captivating to anybody who wants to know how things work. The book builds an imaginary computer from scratch and never patronises the reader yet there isn't much "jargon" and mathematics is kept simple and easy to understand. I know I will buy this book for any children in my family who show an interest in computing and until computers are anything but digital this book will be relevant for decades to come.
An absolute joy to read.
The only one small bad point is that it is a small bit dated. However don't let this put you off as there are very few parts where you will notice this.
The first third of the book is fairly easy going, and could probably by read by most people to get a flavour of how things work, starting from electrical relays. After that it gets more involved, with a lot of logic circuits, but most technical people should be able to understand it.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I haven't found another book that teaches how information can be represented in a computable form alongside how electronics can be used to create a device to do the computing. Read morePublished 3 months ago by J. Wyper
I've read this book in my final year of Electronic Engineering degree, so I was already familiarized with all the concepts but the perspective that this book gives to the subject... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Birbal
fantastic information.............excellent price good fast deliveryPublished 5 months ago by Marshall Peach
There is only one single word that describes this book: Brilliant. The basic components of computing are explained so simply and step by step that Its exceptionally easy to access. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Charles Harrop
I bought this book and deeply regret it. It may be well written but it's 15 years old. It shouldn't be so highly ranked on Amazon. Waste of money.Published 8 months ago by Rodentstyle
Fantastic book! I am a computer science student and so much of this book explains and ties in with topics I am studying. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Ronan Connolly
One of the most interesting books I have read in a long time. It starts by explaining morse code and braille, number systems, bits, barcodes, electric circuits, relays, logic gates... Read morePublished 9 months ago by Anon
In this day and age, we live in, if you are interest in computers and coding you need this book, why ? Read morePublished 9 months ago by Mr. A. Burke
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