- Paperback: 464 pages
- Publisher: QUE; 9 edition (14 November 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0789736136
- ISBN-13: 978-0789736130
- Product Dimensions: 20.1 x 2.3 x 25.1 cm
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #4,94,087 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
How Computers Work Paperback – 14 Nov 2007
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From the Back Cover
Having sold more than 2 million copies over its lifetime, How Computers Work is the definitive illustrated guide to the world of PCs and technology. In this new edition, you’ll find detailed information not just about every last component of hardware found inside your PC, but also in-depth explanations about home networking, the Internet, PC security, and even how cell phone networks operate. Whether you’re interested in how the latest graphics cards power today’s most demanding games or how a digital camera turns light into data, you’ll find your answers right here.
Ron White is a former executive editor and columnist for PC Computing, where he developed the visual concept behind How Computers Work. Founder of one of the
earliest PC user groups, he has been writing about computers for 25 years and is known for building wildly extreme computers.
Timothy Edward Downs is an award-winning magazine designer, illustrator, and photographer. He has directed and designed several national consumer, business, technology, and
lifestyle magazines, always infusing a sense of “how it works” into every project.
A full-color, illustrated adventure into the wonders of TECHNOLOOGY
This full-color, fully illustrated guide to the world of technology assumes nothing and explains everything. Only the accomplished Ron White and award-winning Tim Downs have the unique ability to meld descriptive text with one-of-a-kind visuals to fully explain how the electronic gear we depend on every day is made possible. In addition to all the content you’ve come to expect from prior editions, this newly revised edition includes all-new coverage of topics such as:
• How tablet PCs put the power of a PC quite literally in your hands
• How Windows Vista makes your Windows desktop translucent and makes your PC more secure
• How advances in optical disc technology such as dual-layer DVD, HD-DVD, and Blu-Ray discs continue to push the envelope
• How Apple’s new iPhone is revolutionizing what cell phones can do
• How BitTorrent technology enables anyone to share information with everyone
For a decade, How Computers Work has helped newbies understand new technology, while at the same time hackers and IT pros have treasured it for the depth of knowledge it contains. This is the perfect book about computing to capture your imagination, delight your eyes, and expand your mind, no matter what your technical level!
Category: General Computing
User Level: Beginning–Intermediate
About the Author
About the Author
is the former executive editor of PC Computing magazine, where he developed the popular How It Works illustration to explain the new technologies that were emerging in computing at a prodigious rate. He is also the author of the best-selling How Digital Photography Works, and books on software, MP3, and digital cameras. His writing and photography have appeared in some of the leading magazines in the nation. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Illustrator
TIMOTHY EDWARD DOWNS is the national award-winning illustrator of How Computers Work and How Digital Photography Works. Tim has been involved in all facets of graphic design in his illustrious career. From illustrator to creative director, Tim has led teams of artists and designers in advertising agencies, marketing communications firms, and consumer magazines to better tell their stories through illustration, photography, typography, and design. “Our job doesn’t start when the writer hits Save. In order to effectively communicate the tone or the concept of the piece, we need to know and understand the story from the original brainstorm all the way through final execution,” reminds Tim. Examples of Tim’s design, illustration, and photographic work can be seen at http://www.timothyedwarddowns.com.
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
While I applaud the effort and book overall, having owned several editions in the past, there are fundamental errors early in this first printing that could erode reader confidence, since the mistakes are so basic. I imagine this edition was rushed to press prior to the holiday season, and frankly, it shows.
Now I must explain to my grandson the mistakes, and apologize.
Here's just a sample of what I've found so far in Part 1:
1. A table is not a computer, but a tablet such as an iPad is: Page 5, last paragraph: "--mainframe, desktop, table, digital music player, ... " ???
2. P. 13, image 3, 4th sentence is not a sentence and doesn't help the explanation: "Resistance is how the material which the electricity is flowing." ???
3. P. 15, image 5. The image of the rheostat is confusing and makes the opposite point it should. The way it is drawn, it contradicts the text. In fact, as the knob is turned clockwise, the amount of resistance should increase, not decrease as depicted in the image. When the knob in the diagram, as drawn, is turned clockwise, there is MORE resistive wire to travel through. The current out would therefore decrease. And that's just backwards to how knobs on radios and stereos normally work. Turning clockwise will increase the current out, not decrease it. Duh? See: https://www.google.com/search?q=how+does+a+rheostat+work&espv=2&biw=731&bih=387&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=SzKtVI3mOoOnyQTDz4KoBg&ved=0CDAQsAQ&dpr=1.75
4. P. 17, image of Mona Lisa is wrong, contradicts text to the left in section 6: The Mona Lisa appears in COLOR. This is NOT a half-tone image, consisting of only black and white dots. The whole example could be improved by showing a contrast between a half-tone (1-bit color) and, say, a 256-bit color image of Mona Lisa. E.g., see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halftone .
5. P. 36, first paragraph. Pages XXX-xxx are referred to. Where are these pages?
6. I bought the digital edition also, wondering if the same mistakes are there. Yes, they are. Furthermore, the navigation when scrolling was not working correctly in the latest version of Firefox (34.05) for the Mac (OS X 10.10.1). When I use the left navigation menu, click on Chapter 1, How Waves take the Universe on a Joy Ride, then start scrolling down, the page jumps to the beginning of the book! I can't even read it, unless I start scrolling from the beginning of the book. Come on now, this is totally unacceptable.
So I tried Chrome (Version 39.0.2171.95 (64-bit)). While the navigation works, the first Interaction just came up with an empty black box with a yellow border. It just does NOT work at all (but surprisingly it does in Firefox, and I can add ducks to the waves, if I FIRST scroll from the beginning of the book to get there).
7. The interactive animation on Writing Data to RAM (and reading it) is confusing. When getting to Reading data from RAM (in the same interaction), the illustration is simply confusing. How can a capacitor send a current through a transistor that is CLOSED. The circuit is broken between the capacitor and the data line. How can current travel from the capacitor to the data line, if the switch is off? This is not logical. It must be wrong, or I'm missing something here.
Overall, this is NOT a good start to the book, and makes me a doubter of the accuracy of some of the content in this first printing/web edition. I'm afraid I cannot recommend this book to others at this time with errors I've discovered in the first few dozen pages.
I am not a computer novice, having started with programming in FORTRAN on mainframe computers with punched cards. I taught college students how to use computers over 4 decades. More recently, I've written interactive Web simulations, tutorials and tests that are widely used.
My advice: Wait for a later printing when some of these rather basic and embarrassing errors are fixed in the 10th edition.
If anything, this book may be considered a nice reference book, for those looking for a quick and easy refresh on concept they learned (more thoroughly) elsewhere.
God forbid you give this as a gift to a tech-inspired child.
Here's how the author probably messed up the calculation. He may have run the equation as N bits to the 2nd power, instead of 2 bits to the Nth power. This would explain why he got 256 combinations with 16 bits, instead of 65536. Perhaps this was just one mistake by the author, but given this book is called, "How Computers Work", this was a pretty big mistake. The illustrations are nice, but I don't like the writing style as much, and the errors I have found make me not like the book.
P.S.: if you need convincing that his math was wrong, I have attached a GIF that will show you. Each square represents 1 bit, because they each can only be two colors.