Skyring's Reviews > Code: The Hidden Language of Computer Hardware and Software

Code by Charles Petzold
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Apr 17, 12

Read in April, 2012

I wasn't quite sure what to expect in this book. Codes, I suppose, and though we start off with Morse and Braille, they are only used as illuminated stepping stones into the meat of the book, which is a look at how computers work, based on their innards.

I wish I'd had this book twenty years ago. Or thirty, for that matter, when I first began playing around with CP/M and TRS-DOS and things. The Altair wasn't ancient history then and the computer magazines advertised wire-wrapping tools. A fun way to spend an afternoon was to go into a computer shop, write a simple program to POKE a random byte into a random memory address and GOTO 10. Strange magicks would happen!

This book explains machine language and assembler, the switches on the Altair, the workings of memory. Nothing is left out and everything is diagrammed to make it crystal clear.

Apple was on the way out when this was written, but the tide has turned in many ways. As it has so often in the computer world. But, under the hood, they all pretty much work the same.

Highly recommended to anyone who likes finding out how stuff works, and how to count to a thousand or so on your fingers.
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