Truck Month Textbook Trade In Amazon Fashion Learn more nav_sap_plcc_ascpsc $5 Albums Fire TV with 4k Ultra HD Subscribe & Save Mother's Day Gifts Amazon Gift Card Offer ctstrph2 ctstrph2 ctstrph2  Amazon Echo  Echo Dot  Amazon Tap  Echo Dot  Amazon Tap  Amazon Echo Fire, Only $39.99 Kindle Paperwhite AutoRip in CDs & Vinyl Spring Arrivals in Outdoor Clothing Learn more
Customer Review

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining and Fun intro to Computers, February 27, 2006
This review is from: The Definitive Guide to How Computers Do Math : Featuring the Virtual DIY Calculator (Paperback)
The book is aimed at people starting out in computers; we experts know this stuff cold. But an interested 15 year old could get truly in-depth insight into the mysteries of computing from this volume.

It's a very readable book laid out with easy-on-the-eyes formatting and a plethora of clear illustrations. The illustration of a LIFO stack just booms clarity. Chapters start with relevant and often amusing quotes; one of my favorites is Lewis Carroll's "The four branches of arithmetic: ambition, distraction, uglification, and derision."

Quickly page through the book and you'll be puzzled by its organization. The first 55 pages (out of 450) comprise its ostensible meat. The rest are labs for each chapter, a series of problems the authors pose to illustrate important concepts. They nudge you through the solutions - there are no proofs left to the confused student.

The labs are very well-written accessible activities in which the authors take the reader along hand-in-hand. They're a bit insidious: work through them and the reader will become a reasonably competent assembly-language programmer, without realizing he's learning one of the more difficult aspects of programming. There's a perverse genius in covertly slipping assembly language into one's head without pain.

The authors' sure hands guide one along each lab, with descriptions and demonstrations till the code that's required is almost anticlimactic: "of *course* it must be like this!"

But how is one to do a lab? You need a computer, right? Well, sure, but the authors provide a DIY Calculator on CD, an interactive and sophisticated bit of code that runs on a PC. It sports the usual display and math functions, plus its own low-level programming language. And, it's extensible. The companion website ([...] ) contains plenty of downloadable extension code, plus the calculator itself. Like open source advocates they hope the community will contribute to the set of routines.

The web site also has a fabulous background to the field of computing ([...] ) that, if you're a computer history buff, will suck you in and surely doom the schedule of whatever product you're working on now.

Where too many computer books have a dreary chapter about number systems, "How Computers Do Math" cover the subject in an entertaining and very complete fashion. From basic binary math they go on to show how one constructs an adder out of gates. Signed, unsigned, multiplication, rounding (9 different approaches!), BCD - it's all there, and it's all extremely comprehensible.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

Be the first person to comment on this review.

[Add comment]
Post a comment
To insert a product link use the format: [[ASIN:ASIN product-title]] (What's this?)
Amazon will display this name with all your submissions, including reviews and discussion posts. (Learn more)
Name:
Badge:
This badge will be assigned to you and will appear along with your name.
There was an error. Please try again.
Please see the full guidelines here.

Official Comment

As a representative of this product you can post one Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
The following name and badge will be shown with this comment:
 (edit name)
After clicking the Post button you will be asked to create your public name, which will be shown with all your contributions.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.  Learn more
Otherwise, you can still post a regular comment on this review.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
 
System timed out

We were unable to verify whether you represent the product. Please try again later, or retry now. Otherwise you can post a regular comment.

Since you previously posted an Official Comment, this comment will appear in the comment section below. You also have the option to edit your Official Comment.   Learn more
The maximum number of Official Comments have been posted. This comment will appear in the comment section below.   Learn more
Prompts for sign-in
  [Cancel]


Review Details

Item

Reviewer


Location: Baltimore, MD United States

Top Reviewer Ranking: 34,470,863