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Understanding Digital Computers by Forrest…

Understanding Digital Computers

by Forrest M. Mims, III

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This is a self-learning programmed text for teaching the basics about digital computers. It is bound with a plastic ring-binder that allows the book to open flat like a flip chart on your desk.

My Favorite Chapter. Chapter 8 tells about the PIP-1, a computer designed by Mims for a series of lectures at UCLA. He never got around to building the PIP-1 until he started working on this book for Radio Shack. The PIP-1 (Programmable Instruction Processor) is an extremely simple 4-bit computer with only 8 instructions in its instruction set -- a real computer, nevertheless. It is programmed in machine language.

About the Author, Forest M. Mims III

A graduate of Texas A&M with a major in government and minors in English and history, Mims has followed a successful career as a science author, researcher, lecturer, and syndicated columnist.

Mims wrote a column for Popular Electronics that lasted from 1975 until the last issue in 1985.

Mims wrote a popular series of Engineer's Notebooks for Radio Shack.

Mims edits The Citizen Scientist, the journal of the Society for Amateur Scientists.

Mims is a Christian and a creationist. He is an advocate for Intelligent Design. He is also a skeptic of global warming.

In 2008, Discover Magazine named Mims one of the "50 Best Brains in Science."

Trivia. Forrest Mims is the most widely read electronics author in the world -- 60 books, 7.5 million copies sold.

More Trivia. Mims' "Engineer’s Notebook" series for Radio Shack are hand-lettered and hand-illustrated to match the look of Forrest’s own laboratory notebooks. All that's missing is the smell of resin-core solder.

Still More Trivia. Forrest holds the honor of writing the very first book about personal computers, The Altair 8800 Operator's Manual (1975).

And Yet More Trivia. While Mims was writing the Altair manual, Bill Gates and Paul Allen were writing their version of the BASIC programming language for the Altair. That was the start of Microsoft. ( )
  MrJack | Nov 12, 2008 |
This book was written by one of the founding members of MITS, a pioneer in the personal computer industry. MITS created the Altair 8800 featured on the cover of the January 1975 issue of Popular Electronics. Mims wrote the manual for it. Mims eventually donated his Altair to the Smithsonian Institution.

One of the most interesting features in this book is found in Chapter Eight where Mims describes the PIP-1, a computer he designed and built from scratch.

This is a self-learning book with lots of checkpoints to assess your progress. Each chapter ends with a reading list.

If you are interested in the early history of personal computing, this book is a must-read. ( )
  MrJack | Oct 3, 2008 |
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