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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read
For someone who knew pieces of the picture, but not the history nor the foundation, this was a great read. The author had a thorough way of illustrating and building on each concept. It really was a pleasure to read.

I'd recommend this book to anyone curious about how computers came to be designed the way they are.
Published 10 months ago by MARK STEVEN DEVRIES

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3.0 out of 5 stars A laudable effort. But the book is an enigma.
A commendable effort. But I couldn't tell if Petzold set out to teach an introductory computing course to the non-technical reader or if he meant to include everbody. In either case, he will probably disappoint both camps. He is best when he introduces a topic with fascinating insights. But then he cannot resist giving computing lectures that are best left to a text...
Published on Nov. 7 1999 by L. W. Noronha


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4.0 out of 5 stars It's a good book, April 29 2014
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There really isn't too much to say about this book other than it's easy to read and it contains good information.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read, Sept. 24 2013
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This review is from: CODE: The Hidden Language of Computer Hardware and Software (Paperback)
For someone who knew pieces of the picture, but not the history nor the foundation, this was a great read. The author had a thorough way of illustrating and building on each concept. It really was a pleasure to read.

I'd recommend this book to anyone curious about how computers came to be designed the way they are.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Book of this Type, Dec 12 2003
By 
M. R. (United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: CODE: The Hidden Language of Computer Hardware and Software (Paperback)
As a hobbyist programmer, I had wondered for years how a computer worked at its most internal level. I had even had a couple of unsuccessful encounters with other "How Computers Work"-type books that left me mainly with the dissatisfied impression that the machine was an impenetrable black box.
Petzold's book was not like this. While other books started with flashy graphics of internal designs all flowcharts with little in the way of explanation, Code starts off simply, with two flashlights and the goal of communicating at night. This problem, of course, would be easy solved by anyone who knows of Morse code. Yet, from Petzold's pen it becomes an illuminating and amusing journey with attempts to deal with similar scenarios of every increasing complexity until I realized two-thirds of the way through that given a sufficient time and space, I could, at least in theory, build a computer. This is the greatest success of Code, in my opinion. Rather than attempting to peel away the mysteries of the system a layer at a time like an onion, it delves directly to the core and builds upon its ideas in a fashion like that of the original computer designers, until everything forms into a cohesive whole. Petzold does an excellent job of capturing his excitement for the material, making the progressive developments a joy to read about.
With my uneven background knowledge, there were a few sections that I felt that I could skim through, but also many a passage that I had to carefully scrutinize. Overall, I'd recommend this book for anyone interested in computers, from beginner to expert: Petzold provides enough explanation for a determined newcomer to understand all of the concepts, but enough breadth to still entertain and educate those with more experience in the area.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great read!, March 28 2011
This review is from: CODE: The Hidden Language of Computer Hardware and Software (Paperback)
This book is very good and a great read for anyone who wants to learn about the inner workings of their computers. I am studying to be a software engineer and I am often disappointed by my shortcomings when it comes to the low level aspects of engineering. This book is a very good place for me to start catching up.

It is very well written and extremely enjoyable.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Intro to EE, Aug. 11 2010
By 
Marc (Montreal, QC) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: CODE: The Hidden Language of Computer Hardware and Software (Paperback)
That is what the title should have been. I feel like I've taken a course in Electrical Engineering. Not exactly what I was expecting but really fun and educational. He literally builds a computer from the ground up. He starts with a switch and a light bulb and by the end you have a computer. It is really that simple (but phenomenally complex!!!).

The author is just wonderful. He does seem to repeat himself a bit, and I did find myself skimming a couple pages after I understood something enough for my tastes, but that could be just me. His use of illustrations is just the best. Most authors get lazy and try to put everything in writing. This author tries to convey as much information in the diagrams as possible, but while still keeping them so clear. Extremely useful! Sometimes you can just look at the diagram and understand without even needing to read the text! An illiterate could almost come out knowing how a computer works.

The book is long and thorough. Be prepared to learn it all. But if you're the type that wants that understanding, you will get it. Everything is built on first principles so you will have a solid understanding. Every computer programmer should know this stuff.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Want to know exactly what a computer does?, Nov. 2 2003
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This review is from: CODE: The Hidden Language of Computer Hardware and Software (Paperback)
It's not often I willingly give money to Microsoft, but I bought this book in hardcover. I don't care if Petzold is a hardcore Windows guy or not; this book is as deserving of immortality as the Lions book or "Godel, Escher, Bach".
Why? Because it lays it all out. Though it goes a bit light on the actual electronics, preferring to focus on the telegraph relay as its main way of understanding what's going on, this book takes the reader from square one -- sending messages to a friend with a flashlight -- to the structure of a modern microprocessor. It's an incredibly detailed yet easily accessible look at the internals of a computer system.
Flaws? A couple -- no index, and as I said it gives short shrift to what may be the single biggest invention of the 20th century, the transistor. But by and large Petzold has written the ultimate book to explain the mysteries of the computer to the layperson. This book is a must-buy.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, Sept. 18 2003
By 
J. Perez (Houston, TX) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: CODE: The Hidden Language of Computer Hardware and Software (Paperback)
As a merchant marine officer for many years I always enjoyed using a sextant and calculating some formulas to determine my position on the face of the earth to within a half mile. It just seemed like magic until one day I sat down and really thought about what was happening when I used a sextant and calculated these formulas, and finally it all made sense. I could see how there was a logical method to what initially seemed like magic. This book will reveal a similar enlightenment to the reader who feels that computers are magic (as I did). My only beef is that the book did not have a comprehensive index. That would have certainly been a big plus because I can see myself referring to this book in the future. Also, I kept waiting for an explanation of how a million transistors can fit onto a single silicon chip and it never came. Guess I'll have to find another book to explain that bit of "magic". But I recommend the book for anyone, neophyte or professional.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excelent, Aug. 6 2003
By 
Sameer Alzouby (Paterson, NJ United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Code (Hardcover)
The book is super new and the delivery was too fast
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5.0 out of 5 stars CODE: Simply the greatest book on the face of the earth!, Aug. 4 2003
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This review is from: CODE: The Hidden Language of Computer Hardware and Software (Paperback)
Yes, that's right! CODE is the greatest book on the face of the earth!
Why? Here's my story, and go judge for yourself.
I'm using computers for around four years. My question was always "How is this thing doing it's stuff?". Although I have no idea how other electronic stuff work, the computer did bothered me more then anything else because the computer seems to do some kind of THINKING, that's why it triggered my THINKING. This question kept on staying in my head until two weeks ago. It really bothered me. All along this four years I was looking for an answer to my question. I bought books, went to the library a thousand times, but nothing helped me. I learned a few programming languages along my journey, but it did not clarify how it really works. So I decided to learn Assembly Language because I taught that that's where I'm going to find the answer to my question. I must admit that it did helped me out quite a bit, but not to the extent I expected. I used a great book called "Assembly Language Step-by-Step" by Jeff Duntemann, which is a great book, but since the subject of the book is not to teach you how computers work, it didn't helped me enough to satisfy my desire for the answer to my question. I contacted Jeff Duntemann, the author of the book and I told him my problem. He referred me to this book CODE. So I rushed and bought this book. The rest of the story is self-understood, the book made my day and my life. And that's why I'm restating "This is the greatest book on the face of the earth".
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great for filling in knowledge gaps, Feb. 4 2003
By 
AK (Sauk Rapids, MN) - See all my reviews
This review is from: CODE: The Hidden Language of Computer Hardware and Software (Paperback)
This is a great read for anyone who, like myself, is involved with computers, but never took computer science classes.
Parts of the book were very detailed, and I ended up skimming over them (a few parts from chapter 17 on). This is no fault of the author, but the nature of the subject is very complex. This didn't impair my overall comprehension of the concepts in the book...I'll re-read the difficult parts in time.
Overall, I highly recommend this book. My goal was to fill in the gaps in my computer science knowledge, and the book met that goal to my satisfaction.
I debated whether to give this 4 or 5 stars...I'd probably have gone with 4.5 if that option was available. The book gets off to a bit of a slow start, and I thought it could have used some more information on networking and modern computing. But for the price of the book and the clarity of the information, I'll give it 5 stars. Outstanding value.
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CODE: The Hidden Language of Computer Hardware and Software
CODE: The Hidden Language of Computer Hardware and Software by Charles Petzold (Paperback - Oct. 21 2000)
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