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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.
Charles Petzold wrote the classic Programming Windows®, which is currently in its fifth edition and one of the best-known and widely used programming books of all time. He was honored in 1994 with the Windows Pioneer Award, presented by Microsoft® founder Bill Gates and Windows Magazine. He has been programming with Windows since first obtaining a beta Windows 1.0 SDK in the spring of 1985, and he wrote the very first magazine article on Windows programming in 1986. Charles is an MVP for Client Application Development and the author of several other books including Code: The Hidden Language of Computer Hardware and Software.
I wish I had known about this book 15 years ago when it was first published. It would have increased my understanding of all the other computer books I've read. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Brennan
Code clearly and simply explains the fundamental operations of digital electronics and microprocessors in such a way that a layperson could understand, and yet it is thorough... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Mike
Engaging and accessible while simultaneously being technically challenging. I have never encountered a book that so readily made such advanced and fundamental engineering concepts... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Daniel
Though a bit long-winded and you may need to read carefully, this book explains digital logic and computers a lot better than my professor and my textbook did.Published 11 months ago by Choong Jin Ng
There really isn't too much to say about this book other than it's easy to read and it contains good information.Published 19 months ago by Steph
For someone who knew pieces of the picture, but not the history nor the foundation, this was a great read. Read morePublished on Sept. 24 2013 by MARK STEVEN DEVRIES
This book is very good and a great read for anyone who wants to learn about the inner workings of their computers. Read morePublished on March 28 2011 by Stranger_In_The_Night
The books starts off great, but later drowns in tedious details about the construction of complex circuits. Read morePublished on Jan. 25 2004