Charles Petzold on writing books, reading books, and exercising the internal UTM

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Inspired by “Code”

May 12, 2011
New York, N.Y.

I recently received two entirely unrelated emails from people who had posted videos on YouTube that were, in part, inspired by my book Code: The Hidden Language of Computer Hardware and Software (which is one of those rare computer books that doesn't become absurdly obsolete with the passage of time, and which, incidently, has recently become available in a Kindle edition).

Barrett Cunningham has posted two videos on YouTube that decode digital technologies:

It'll be interesting to see where else this series goes.

Although Morgen Fleisig's video is very short, it shows quite a beautiful installation of what appear to be hand-crafted relays wired up into logic gates and a binary adder:

Very intriguing!


Although I had to take numerous in-depth computer science courses while in college, Code was by far the best course material I have ever had to read. It was easy to follow, a joy to read and covered a lot of information (in my opinion) in very few pages. I actually follow your blog because I was such a fan of your book. Thanks for all your work!

Richard H, Thu, 12 May 2011 14:26:57 -0400

One of my colleague at work got this!!!

Pradeep, Thu, 12 May 2011 15:07:10 -0400

Great tattoo! Much better than mine! — Charles

I'm ashamed to say that while I have owned a copy of Code for several years, I never actually finished reading it. I really must read it again, and finish it this time.

Steve Crane, Fri, 13 May 2011 03:30:12 -0400

Probably my favorite book in my collection of petzold works. ;)

paintball barrels, Sat, 14 May 2011 13:54:21 -0400

Code is the best book on my shelf.

Rob Barlow, Thu, 19 May 2011 19:02:38 -0400

This book is incredible! A must read for every young avid computer enthusiastic person! For sure it will continue to inspire! It is certainly in my CS TOP 5 list and it will remain there! Thank you for such great work!

Rafael Garrido, Thu, 9 Jun 2011 23:26:57 -0400


Absolutely loved that book. I had purchased your Programming Windows in C book years ago and saw this technical, yet, non technical book and thought, hmm, this might be different and interesting.

This is by far the easiest way to explain the internals of how a computer works for those who are not technically inclined. I enjoyed it merely because of the way you told a story about something that is otherwise usually explained in such a technical manner that, to those who are not in the profession, they would not bother to read or learn about.

It just goes to show what a great teacher you are. Thanks for such an enjoyable read.

Craig S, Wed, 26 Oct 2011 20:31:16 -0400

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