About the Author
RON WHITE is the former executive editor of PC Computing magazine, where he developed the popular How It Works illustration to explain the new technologies that were emerging in computing at a prodigious rate. He is also the author of the best-selling How Digital Photography Works, and books on software, MP3, and digital cameras. His writing and photography have appeared in some of the leading magazines in the nation. He can be reached at email@example.com.
About the Illustrator
TIMOTHY EDWARD DOWNS is the national award-winning illustrator of How Computers Work and How Digital Photography Works. Tim has been involved in all facets of graphic design in his illustrious career. From illustrator to creative director, Tim has led teams of artists and designers in advertising agencies, marketing communications firms, and consumer magazines to better tell their stories through illustration, photography, typography, and design. “Our job doesn’t start when the writer hits Save. In order to effectively communicate the tone or the concept of the piece, we need to know and understand the story from the original brainstorm all the way through final execution,” reminds Tim. Examples of Tim’s design, illustration, and photographic work can be seen at http://www.timothyedwarddowns.com.
"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."
Arthur C. Clarke
SORCERERS have their magic wandspowerful, potentially dangerous tools with lives of their own. Witches have their familiarscreatures disguised as household beasts that could, if they choose, wreak the witches' havoc. Mystics have their golemsbeings built of wood and tin brought to life to do their masters' bidding.
We have our personal computers.
PCs, too, are powerful creations that often seem to have a life of their own. Usually, they respond to a wave of a mouse or a spoken incantation by performing tasks we couldn't imagine doing ourselves without some sort of preternatural help. But even as computers successfully carry out our commands, it's often difficult to quell the feeling that there's some wizardry at work here.
And then there are the times when our PCs, like malevolent spirits, rebel and open the gates of chaos onto our neatly ordered columns of numbers, our carefully wrought sentences, and our beautifully crafted graphics. When that happens, we're often convinced that we are, indeed, playing with power not entirely under our control. We become sorcerers' apprentices, whose every attempt to right things leads to deeper trouble.
Whether our personal computers are faithful servants or imps, most of us soon realize there's much more going on inside those silent boxes than we really understand. PCs are secretive. Open their tightly sealed cases and you're confronted with poker-faced components. Few give any clues as to what they're about. Most of them consist of sphinx-like microchips that offer no more information about themselves than some obscure code printed on their impenetrable surfaces. The maze of circuit tracings etched on the boards is fascinating, but meaningless, hieroglyphics. Some crucial parts, such as the hard drive and power supply, are sealed with printed omens about the dangers of peeking insideomens that put to shame the warnings on a pharaoh's tomb.
This book is based on two ideas. One is that the magic we understand is safer and more powerful than the magic we don't. This is not a hands-on how-to book. Don't look for any instructions for taking a screwdriver to this part or the other. But perhaps your knowing more about what's going on inside all those stoic components makes them a little less formidable when something does go awry. The second idea behind this book is that knowledge, in itself, is a worthwhile and enjoyable goal. This book is written to respond to your random musings about the goings-on inside that box you sit in front of several hours a day. If this book puts your questions to restor raises new onesit will have done its job.
At the same time, however, I'm trusting that knowing the secrets behind the magician's legerdemain won't spoil the show. This is a real danger. Mystery is often as compelling as knowledge. I'd hate to think that anything you read in this book takes away that sense of wonder you have when you manage to make your PC do some grand, new trick. I hope that, instead, this book makes you a more confident sorcerer.
I highly recommend this book to both children and adults who have an interest in learning about the workings of computers.
Rather than add to endless "This sucks!" "No it doesn't!" arguments, my review is simple - if you need an understanding of how computers work, give this book a try.
This book is well thought out, well organized, and presents difficult technical concepts in way that's easy to understand.
Very good. Lots of pictures. Explains some computer features not covered in any other textbook.Published 1 month ago by Dale Hanks
Everything I expected it to be. Very helpful especially for beginners or people who just liked to know more about computers.Published 2 months ago by sarai
Great intro book for those interested in how computers work. I'd recommend to anyone interested in computer forensics. Great basic guide to how it works.Published 3 months ago by James P.
You can learn a lot from the material in this book. The book came in okay condition. It was not new, but it was not old. It was still in good shape to read and use.Published 3 months ago by Niceperson
I got this for my teenage grandson as a way of helping him learn about computers before we start his build-your-own-computer project. Read morePublished 5 months ago by saltwaterdave
I bought this book because I was curious about what was going on inside my computer. I now understand what happens when I turn it on and how simple it really is.Published 6 months ago by Harold W. Wheeler
The author takes the reader on a detailed exploration of the guts of IT hardware, It is thorough and written at a level which makes the subject matter easy to understand for the... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Matt
This book will help you to understand how and why a computer works and will give you a better understanding on one of the treasures of the day.Published 7 months ago by Pat Evans