My quick review of “Code”, writen by Charles Petzold.

Code: The Hidden Language of Computer Hardware and Software — Charles Petzold Code: The Hidden Language of Computer Hardware and Software — Charles Petzold

When I was still a young kid, my parents bought me a book about the life of Louis Braille, who invented Braille, a tactile writing system used by people who are visually impaired.
In “Code”, you will read about Morse and Braille, how they are binary codes… And how ASCII, which has been used for years with computers (and still is) and is also a binary code, could relate to those.
Believe it or not, it took me a while before figuring out the cover of this book – yes, in hindsight, it is obvious, but, well…

You will then learn about telegraph and relays, about our ten digits and alternative representations of numbers (like octal and hexadecimal and binary), before switching to logic and switches and gates – I read and learnt a lot more about those in this book than I ever did before, including at school.

You’ll then see how to build a binary adding machine and think about substractions. After a few chapters, you’ll meet the classic microprocessor1 and jump on the bus, read about the operating system and floatting point, before concluding with the graphical revolution.

55 I didn’t learn much in this book per se, but I enjoyed reading it and I liked the trip down memory lane. It is nicely writen and easy to read, and the content is interesting. If you are a developer or a user who would like to know why and how computers came to what they are today, this book should answer your questions.

See on Amazon FRSee on Amazon US


  1. I realized the brand new Intel 8086 processor I had in my first Amstrad PC1512 was not that new at all: it was created more than 10 years before! [return]