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on 12 February 2018
There are parts of this book that are interesting, and the author writes in a relatively engaging tone, however overall it seems oddly pitched; familairity with how a computer operates is not only beneficial but also, in my mind, expected from the sort of person who would pick up this book. However as each topic is covered in relatively shallow depth the majority will already be known by such readers.
The result is a book which is too complex for the unfamiliar and too simple for the knowledgeable.
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on 17 April 2014
In spite of having a few years of programming experience under my belt, I often felt frustrated at my lack of lower layer knowledge of computer function. This feeling was reinforced by my relative absence of mathematical or engineering knowledge so I felt a little apprehensive about tackling a book purported to explain the inner workings of computer.

However, thanks to the clear, ground-up approach of this book I didn't feel out of my depth or lost for a second, it assumes next to no prior knowledge of any of the concepts (though it definitely sped things along) and I cannot recommend it enough to anyone with an interest in how computers actually work.
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on 10 January 2016
Excellent! I've worked in software development my whole career, but I am actually trained as a chemical engineer. So, I have always felt a bit guilty that I didn't fundamentally understand how computers work. And now I feel I do!
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.
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on 16 August 2014
Fantastic book, I'm a software developer and I find a lot of this quite basic but still very interesting. The way the topics are presented are very well. It's something I can read and then use concepts and ideas to help someone understand something quite small or simple about computers that they may be asking questions about.

The UK is going through a lot of changes for 16 and under education in terms of computing and computer science. Any teacher who's now teaching computer science or building lessons for it should read this. Whether you have a comp sci degree or years of industry experience. It'll give you loads of ways of explaining things in very simple terms but still covering complexities.

Really enjoyable read, even if it is basic stuff!
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on 19 May 2013
This is the introductory text I would have wanted to read about computers. It takes a clear, practical, approach, building from first principles.

I really got a sense of how to build a computer from the technology of the telegraph, until the sheer number of parts became apparent. It is easy to see how crucial transistors and IC's are to making a practical computer.

I also enjoyed the sections on software - a great way to bring both hardware and software together. Would be a good read for someone learning the theory behind an Arduino, for example.
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on 7 April 2012
I bought this as a book to enhance my understanding of computing before applying to study Computer Science at University, and I find that it really did make me understand it. The book starts out at absolute first principles - lightbulbs and switches - making only very gradual advancements until before you realise it, the author has just described most of how an Altair 8080 works. If you already understand the ideas of binary numbers and other basic, non-computational stuff then you can skip a few chapters out of the beginning, while the majority of the last chapter focuses on things common to us today - e.g. graphics, sound etc - so again, most of the last chapter can be safely skimmed. On the other hand, the book does give you a real appreciation of just how much we have advanced in the years since the book's creation. No complicated terms are used in the book without prior explanation, all the time simply building on the understanding created throughout the book.

I would definitely recommend this to anyone interested in the mechanics of computing, or even to people who might not think of themselves as being particularly mathematical.
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on 9 August 2015
I haven't read all of this book yet but I wholeheartedly agree with the majority of reviews here that this is nothing short of superb. A fascinating look at the history of coding from systems as diverse as Morse code and Braille and how this lead to the way we approach modern computer languages and programming (coding). Very deep in places but not unnecessarily so and it's well worth the effort to try and understand those particular sections. Well written with a sense of humour thrown in. Highly recommended.
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on 30 September 2015
In this day and age, we live in, if you are interest in computers and coding you need this book, why ? you are taken though all the minefields, as we know, computer are not logical, it does not matter your age it's easy to read but a would recommend that you also buy the kindle version. also with the kindle you can pick up the page you are listing to, cross reference to your book.
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on 11 February 2018
Good so far
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on 17 February 2017
Great until it gets complicated
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