How computers work, ha. There are little elves that jam the printers! It’s like the Matrix, 1s and 0s all lined up, and they squiggle around all green-like! The internet, a series of tubes, right? That’s what the man said! I got this stuff DOWN.
Sometimes I feel horribly ignorant (but NO I don’t believe any of the above, now stop it!) and when I do, I feel the need to ingest far too much information at one time, so much so that I am almost guaranteed to forget every little snippet. It still feels pretty academic in the moment, though.
My latest wave of inadequacy is over computers. Born in 1985, I kinda missed the early bits (heh, bits) of computery goodness, and it’s sort of like a little hole in my soul. The history intrigues me. Also, one of my excuses for not driving a car is that that I feel like I would have to learn about how they work at least a little so I could do things like change the oil, switch out a flat tire, etc. How then, do I justify knowing exactly diddly-squat about the inner workings of computers? (Don’t ask me to justify my cell phone, my DS, the metro, my shoes, please. I realize it’s a silly roundabout way of getting to the point, but I thirst for knowledge!)
Luckily, this handy book comes along in it’s shiny 8th Edition: How Computers Work. Very ingenious title, I must say, but it gets the point across. Published this past November, the new edition is “Fully updated with coverage of multi-core processors from Intel and AMD; the North Bridge and South Bridge chip sets; digital cameras and photo editing; the iPod; TiVo; spyware and anti-spyware; PCI Express; SLI dual video cards; overclocking and overcooling; plasma displays; Internet security, spam, and chat rooms; plus a complete, new section on PC gaming.” In other words, it covers a LOT of stuff, and that’s only the recent additions.
Unfortunately, this bugger is in hot demand at the library, so I’ve got to take it back before finishing the entire thing. I will put it back on hold, myself, though, because I actually am enjoying it enough to finish it. Plus, I haven’t gotten to the good parts (“Games and Multimedia” and “How the Internet Works”) yet! Each part of the book starts with a timeline of relevant history (which often overlaps between sections) and then launches into a myriad of explanations ranging from “How PCI-Express Breaks the Bus Barrier” to “How eBay Sells Everything,” all with colorful and thorough visual aids. Note that this really only covers the Windows PC, but the author does recommend How the Mac Works for the Apple crowd. Oftentimes I still felt like things were going over my head (i.e. “How Memory Cards and Smart Cards Work,”) but hey, at least I know what a bit is now.
For the already techie folks of the world, this may not be the most useful book on the market, but for the curious mind craving an introduction to a broad range of PC technology, it’s certainly recommended.