- Paperback: 471 pages
- Publisher: Newnes (March 15, 1995)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1878707221
- ISBN-13: 978-1878707222
- Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 8.8 x 10 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.7 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 16 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,408,660 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Bebop to the Boolean Boogie
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"makes a topic that is often considered dry and possibly boring accessible to everyone...with supplemental written and hands-on exercises..."
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The first section, almost 150 pages, is "logic lite." It starts with transistors, both MOS and bipolar. From there it works its way up to simple latches and such, and scratches the surface of state machines, with side trips to boolean arithmetic and such. The breezy, informal style will work for people put off by more academic treatments, but the logic design content stops way short of what any other basic logic text would present.
The second, longer section covers material sorely missing from all other logic texts I know. It starts with the simpler parts of silicon fab process, then goes through all kinds of printed circuits and hybrid packages giving a fair tour of the basic printed curcuit (PC) processes that were current when the book was written (1995). It even goes into gutsy stuff like the copper patterns in PC processes that have to do with heat flow during soldering. All those real-world facts earned this book an extra star. The "far out technology" chapter at the end is an interesting read, too, with its discussions of nano, optical, and molecular computing.
The book's weaknesses are significant, though. It would work well with any of several companion texts that would cover what this misses. That includes more advanced logic techniques, like alternatives to gate-level implementation and all the fussy bits of state machines. A standard logic text (e.g. Katz) would fill in those blanks. Going in a different direction, it does only a little towards talking about how PC layout interacts with logic design. More about ground planes, guard rings, power decoupling, RF emissions, etc. would fit well with the detail presented here, espcially when you see how much time and effort it already spends on "vias" vs. "holes." The little bit of analog discussion from the front would help here - why inductive effects matter at high frequencies, why distributed capacitance is different from lumped, why you'd have a high-value and low-value capacitor in parallel, and why that ceramic cap near the power input has a saw cut in the edge. A third possible direction would be the way Wirth's book on circuit design for CS students went: into the higher levels of design, letting tools attend to the lower levels. The biggest flaw is in treating FPGAs as exotic, out-there technology - by 1995, they were well into the main stream, and have very nearly killed off discrete logic and ASICs in many areas.
If you just want a light-weight intro to logic design and to the physical circuits that carry it, this is OK. It could have been better in all directions and, at this 2005 writing, you should check it's sell-by date. I gave it the fourth star for addressing PCs and mounting at all, not for addressing them well.
Only issue I had was that the publisher didn't assemble the book correctly: one of the sections (in the printing/binding context) was duplicated, while another section was missing.
This book not only did a GREAT job of clarifying the finer points of boolean logic, but somehow managed make it interesting. I would recommend this book to anyone trying to understand the nuts-and-bolts behind what makes your computer tick.