"What do flashlights, the British invasion, black cats, and seesaws have to do with computers? In CODE, they show us the ingenious ways we manipulate language and invent new ways to communicate with each other. And through CODE, we see how this ingenuity - and our very human compulsion to communicate - have driven the technological innovations of the past two centuries." "Using everyday objects and familiar language systems such as Braille and Morse code, author Charles Petzold weaves an illuminating narrative for anyone who's ever wondered about the secret inner life of computers and other smart machines."--Jacket.
The book has held up remarkably well over the years. I feel like 95% of the content is still relevant. This is all of the fundamentals of how the hardware and software work. Only a little bit of the detail of how computers are used, (and, of course, what 'typical' sizes and speeds are) has become dated.
When I first read it, eight years ago, I was disappointed by chapter 17, Automation, because he glossed over the CPU control signals. This time around I discovered that he has a "technical addendum" on his website that goes into more detail on the control signals. Also, this time, I see that perhaps it's not such a great leap to think that, based on what has come before, readers can fill in the blanks for themselves.
It starts with the basics to which a 10-year-old can relate, and then takes a very clear, full, and consistent path to fill in all the blanks you may have on the 'but how exactly do 1s and 0s do this?' subject.
I'd say it's an excellent book for anyone, and the sooner you read it, the better. I wish my grandma could read it and never be embarrassed because of a computer again.
An excellent explanation of so many basic ideas behind the code that lies at the heart of modern day computing.
Written in 1999, but still extraordinarily relevant to today's computer science students, whether at A Level or higher.
A must read for those enthusiastic about computers who are seeking an in-depth introduction to how modern computing architecture functions.
This is a book I will be re-reading in the future as the information contained here is densely packed and I am hoping to take in more of the finer details the next time I read it.