Code - The Hidden Language of Computer Hardware and Software - Charles Petzold


Yet another classics on computer theory. Charles Petzold is famous for ‘Programming Windows’ series. In this one he set out to explain how code is central to transmitting and processing information. ‘Code’ is pun-intended here.

This is not a common textbook that explains how electrical digital computers work, even though the author achieved it. The book is organized from a scenarios-driven way; aims at deriving how computers evolve instead of showing the computer architecture as of today. How is code invented the way it currently is? How does computer came to know and use it? And how do human use code to communicate between each other and other information processor?

Code in Life

Beyond computers, code is generalized into abstract vehicles that carry information under contexts. The author has shown how civilization has derived more than natural language: drawings, Morse codes, Braille, binary codes, and lengthy modern software. At certain points in history, these inventions serve a purpose of recording, conveying and processing info between various entities. And to the latest and most theoretical, bits as the building blocks of currently comprehended information. Computers are no longer only about numbers and arithmetic, they are abstracted to a much higher level of autonomous entities in the worlds of bits.

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