An interesting tale about a girl who wanders into Userland and while reading about her quest to return to her home, the reader picks up concepts in CoAn interesting tale about a girl who wanders into Userland and while reading about her quest to return to her home, the reader picks up concepts in Computer Science and Programming without ever encountering a computer (which is just a concrete application of Computer Science).
Starting with meeting Jargon-like creatures that nearly overwhelm her, she meets up with the Travelling Salesman who directs her to a person who creates ideas which starts her on a journey delivering telescopes to various locations.
Along the way, she picks up a Xor chameleon, meets Achilles and the Tortoise, encounters a recursive turning, learns the insecurity of passwords (including hacking one with a timing attack) and learns to program and solve problems for various people. She eventually finds her way back home after a journey through a binary tree.
And if most of what I've said does not make sense to you, then it's probably time to pick up the book and learn about them and discover how to get some of the concepts of Computer Science and programming via this tale that does not feature any computer that we are familiar with....more
A fascinating and informative book about Alan Turing. Starting the story with his parents, the books then tells the story of his childhood until his dA fascinating and informative book about Alan Turing. Starting the story with his parents, the books then tells the story of his childhood until his death from poison which was officially deemed a suicide.
The amount of detail on Turing's life covered in the book is enormous. During his childhood in public school, the book shows Turing to be an unusual boy, with a thirst for knowledge in both science and mathematics; and also developing an unusual relationship with Christopher Morcom. But it was to end in tragedy with the early death of Morcom.
Deciding between science and maths he decides to major in mathematics in Kings College. It is there that he writes his famous paper that was to feature the Turing Machine and its use in the 'Entscheidungsproblem', showing that it was not possible for a machine to determine whether a problem was solvable or not in a less than infinite time. It was not recognised at the time for the groundbreaking paper that it was in computers.
The book then covers his time at Princeton before his return to Britain at the start of World War II. It was here that his work in mathematics is recognised as important for helping to break the various encryption methods being used by the Germans, primarily the Enigma in its various forms. Turing concentrates mainly on the naval Enigma, and the book here gives an overall view of the efforts of many people at Bletchley Park to break the German's encryption, with the help of machines (like the Bombe) that Turing helps to create.
After the war, the book looks at Turing's efforts to create a computer based on the ideas he had developed earlier for the Turing machine. He designs the ACE, with ideas that many computer engineers would be familiar with nowadays, but would be considered ground-breaking at the time. But bureaucracy and Turing' lack of 'people skills' would see the project delayed and ultimately trimmed back from his initial vision.
In the 1950s, the book looks as his ideas and opinions about computer intelligence and how computers would be used in the future. And it is here that trouble develops. The book mentions his various homosexual relationships throughout the 1930 and 1940s but it would a relationship with a man whom he suspects to have robbed him that would cause the police to investigate him and then charge him for the crime of homosexuality. The tale then ends with his death, officially a suicide.
Written in the 1980s, the book thoroughly covers Turing's life, with plenty of footnotes and references. Some knowledge of computer science, computer engineering and mathematics is also needed to grasp and appreciate just how advanced Turing's ideas were at the time when computers as we know it were just being created and were still huge machines limited to research and large companies....more
A great graphic novel, covering the life of Alan Turing from his childhood until his death.
It shows Turing as he is: a lifelong mathematician who wasA great graphic novel, covering the life of Alan Turing from his childhood until his death.
It shows Turing as he is: a lifelong mathematician who was into running, who had a hard time interacting with people around him, the role he played at Bletchley Park in decrypting Nazi Germany's wartime code and what happened at the end when the British Government of the day decided to prosecute him.
Told from multiple viewpoints, it tells his story from his point of view as well in semi-interview format as seen by his mother and his colleagues. What is interesting is that Turing homosexuality is treated as matter-of-fact by the people around him; yet they treated him as an eccentric person, not as a monster.
Whether you know or don't know much about Alan Turing, this is a book to read....more
Jimmy Maher's book tells a fascinating story about how interactive fiction (IF) came to be from its early days as "Hunt the Wumpus" and "Adventure"; tJimmy Maher's book tells a fascinating story about how interactive fiction (IF) came to be from its early days as "Hunt the Wumpus" and "Adventure"; the release of the early commercial text-adventure games; the rise (and fall) of Infocom and other commercial IF companies; and the current day status of IF.
Various IF games are evaluated based on gameplay fairness, complexity, playability, etc. and how they helped to advance the field of interactive games. The story ends at around 2004, with a look at some modern-day IF games as well as IF creation systems, which can be found at the IF Archives.
As a person who used to enjoy playing Zork I (and completing most of it), I find it good to know that even today, the field of IF isn't dead and I look forward to getting acquainted with IF again in the near future.
The book can be read on-line on the site (with images) or in mobi or epub form. However, the epub form does not contain the images....more
A good read, collecting and presenting a lot of useful information on the care and usage of pointers in C. After reading this book, you should be ableA good read, collecting and presenting a lot of useful information on the care and usage of pointers in C. After reading this book, you should be able to understand what C pointers are, how to declare and use them and how to make sure you don't abuse pointers and introduce security issues into your code.
Starting with basic pointer declaration and usage, the book moves on to intermediate usage of pointers like dynamic allocation of memory, pointers to functions and arrays and usage of pointers in structures. Finally, the book covers advanced usage of pointers to create linked lists and how to do introduce object-oriented like-features into your code.
Most of the early material in the book is already familiar to me, but it was refreshing to see that how I used pointers was mostly already correct, with a few gotchas and tips to be filed away for future reference.
A worth-while read for those new to pointers in C and for those who are already familiar with pointer usage but would like to verify that their pointer usage techniques are correct as well as to learn more advanced pointer usage.
Note that the book assumes you are already familiar with C....more
A beautifully illustrated book that would be enjoyed by those that lived through the 1980s and have used or heard about any of the computers (and occaA beautifully illustrated book that would be enjoyed by those that lived through the 1980s and have used or heard about any of the computers (and occasional game consoles) featured in this book.
It was a time when the future of the home computer was up for grabs and competition for customers was fierce before the dust settled and the few common types of computers we see (mainly the IBM PC and Apple Macintosh) dominate the marketplace.
The book covers many computers, starting from 1975 with the MITS Altair 8800 and ending in 1988 with the NeXT Cube. Photographs of each computer (or a model variation) are presented from various angles with text explaining the background of the computer and the companies and people who created it.
The photographs are original to the book and required finding the computers involved from various museums and collectors. The text was written with accuracy in mind, which required the original creators to be interviewed whenever possible.
If you are looking for a overview of computers on the market in the USA and the UK in the 1980s, this is the book to read.