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Code: The Hidden Language of Computer Hardware and Software Paperback – October 21, 2000
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Charles Petzold's latest book, Code: The Hidden Language of Computer Hardware and Software, crosses over into general-interest nonfiction from his usual programming genre. It's a carefully written, carefully researched gem that will appeal to anyone who wants to understand computer technology at its essence. Readers learn about number systems (decimal, octal, binary, and all that) through Petzold's patient (and frequently entertaining) prose and 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 stories of people trying to communicate with (and by means of) mechanical and electrical devices. It's a fascinating progression of technologies, and Petzold presents a clear statement of how they fit together.
The real value of Code is in its explanation of technologies that have been obscured for years behind fancy user interfaces and programming environments, which, 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 Motorola 6800 processors. He walks the reader through the process of performing various operations with each chip, explaining which opcodes poke which values into which registers along the way. Petzold knows that the hidden language of computers exhibits real beauty. In Code, he helps 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. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
Charles Petzold has been writing about Windows programming for 25 years. A Windows Pioneer Award winner, Petzold is author of the classic Programming Windows, the widely acclaimed Code: The Hidden Language of Computer Hardware and Software, Programming Windows Phone 7, and more than a dozen other books.
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There are multiple versions of this book, and they are all seemingly identical, so get whichever one is on sale I guess.
Personally I thought the last 2 chapters were not really needed or just went blazing fast thru the recent 25 years, but I understand the authors intent of providing context to how fast things have changed since the original computers.
I wish everyone read this book and learned a little more about how architectures work. I learned this same stuff in school in digital design and computer architecture, but this book is such a great refresher on it all. While I was never sure if this was a well received book (seems so by the ratings) -- Kudos to the author and Kindle for having this still available for people!
Why did I buy it? I liked the title...so really had no idea what to expect.
The author takes you on amazing journey, starting with the most basic forms of communication (morse code, telegraph) and math (logic and 1's and 0's) until before you know it, he's outlining how a motherboard works and the basic components of processing, RAM, CPU, etc....
It is really fun because he uses the same analogies throughout which help maintain a thread of familiarity as you delve into more sophisticated information.
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