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Old 09-23-12, 05:17 PM   #1
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Default can someone suggest books on how computers work please?

As the title states, I'm looking for some suggestion for books on how computers work. Right down to the 1's and 0's. I want to know everything! I know, not an easy task. But I thought with the help of the forum, I'd get a good start. I don't want to know what is better than what when it comes to hardware. I want to know the "why" it is.

Thank you for any help you can give me.
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Old 09-23-12, 05:24 PM   #2
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I don't know any specific books in particular but just about any introductory computer engineering text should teach you about these concepts.
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Old 09-23-12, 06:22 PM   #3
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Most people who enter the tech field study the CompTIA books. A good one to start with is the "A+" certification. This will help you understand the basics, then you can move on to other things. And as an added plus, if you pass the test, you will be CompTIA certified!
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Old 09-23-12, 06:26 PM   #4
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That is the book name

PCs-For-Dummies

http://www.dummies.com/store/product/PCs-For-Dummies-11th-Edition.productCd-0470137282.html



http://books.google.com.au/books/about/PCs_For_Dummies.html?id=zwdiK3qwcOcC&redir_esc=y

Last edited by robbo0000; 09-23-12 at 06:28 PM.
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Old 09-23-12, 06:27 PM   #5
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Wow. Not knowing where you are in understanding, tough one. But I would start with the dummies series of books.

http://www.dummies.com/how-to/computers-software.html
http://www.dummies.com/how-to/computers-software/pcs-laptops/hardware.html
Knowing what your current level of understanding is might help you get better answers. Hope those 2 help. Nobody really goes for everything. Its usually best to pick a field like programming or software.

You can find most of the dummies series in pdf format. So no purchase is required and a tree is saved.

Last edited by dormin; 09-23-12 at 07:37 PM.
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Old 09-23-12, 06:37 PM   #6
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Why buy a book? Save the trees! There is so much information on the internet to get any answer you want. Try by typing a basic search on how computers work. Here, I will start it for you:

https://www.google.com/search?q=how+computers+work&rlz=1C1CHFX_enUS457US457&sugexp=chrome,mod=19&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8
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Old 09-23-12, 08:00 PM   #7
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How computers work could be concerning PC construction, networking, OO or non OO programming, cryptography, electronic engineering (ICs PCBs etc), distributed/Cloud Computing, Operating System education, CLI/Shell Understanding, database/active directory understanding...

or concerning a host of other 'complete from axiomatic starting point' subjects!

You have to be more specific on which area of computing you want to start.

Anyway, Youtube can be quite a resource.

I would also suggest the Khan Academy

Here is an example of their teaching style going over 1s and 0s for you!

http://www.khanacademy.org/science/computer-science/v/binary-numbers
Here are some areas for you to have a look in.

http://www.khanacademy.org/

http://www.khanacademy.org/cs

http://www.khanacademy.org/cs/browse/cryptography
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Old 09-23-12, 09:26 PM   #8
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Yeah let me just stack up a degree in electrical engineering then update you on the advances of the past 10 years.

If you find yourself counting capacitors on a gaming motherboard, you've gone the wrong direction. Those idiots who think more is better ... it makes no ****in difference
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Old 09-23-12, 09:30 PM   #9
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Thank you guys for getting me on the right track. By the way, when ya search google for how computers work, you end up with a video showing you how to plug it in and turn on the screen!!!

Let's see, where to start with my level of experience. Zero, nadda, zilch, below negative, somewhere around there. No, really, 2 years ago, that was me. Now, just from being on this site, and with the help of so many great members, I've surpassed all the people I work with, and now have no one to talk to about them. Now I'm the go-to person for any tech question, LOL!

Lets see, I understand HD's, and SSD's, processor specs (to a degree), graphics cards specs (also to a degree), RAID setups (not how to do it, but what they are), tweeking my old laptop with a i3 to run CS5 at top speed, and other things like that, other than that, not much.

Thanks again everyone!
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Old 09-23-12, 10:32 PM   #10
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Quote: Originally Posted by cdahl4 View Post
Thank you guys for getting me on the right track. By the way, when ya search google for how computers work, you end up with a video showing you how to plug it in and turn on the screen!!!

Let's see, where to start with my level of experience. Zero, nadda, zilch, below negative, somewhere around there. No, really, 2 years ago, that was me. Now, just from being on this site, and with the help of so many great members, I've surpassed all the people I work with, and now have no one to talk to about them. Now I'm the go-to person for any tech question, LOL!

Lets see, I understand HD's, and SSD's, processor specs (to a degree), graphics cards specs (also to a degree), RAID setups (not how to do it, but what they are), tweeking my old laptop with a i3 to run CS5 at top speed, and other things like that, other than that, not much.

Thanks again everyone!
How did you find the video on binary?

How is your maths and physics knowledge (maths is especially important for a lot of deeper understanding of computing)?

Is that the sort of thing you want to learn?

A good start if you still can only be so vague would be for you to tell us what are the questions you want to answer? That way we can best suggest what area(s) of computing you should start with... and maybe answer a couple of the basic ones for a start!

Try to be specific about the level and area you want to know about.

For an example relating to hard drives...

Quote: Originally Posted by Not very useful at all!!!!
I want to know about hard drives...
Quote: Originally Posted by Ooooh I Like these guys!!!
I want to know how hard drives store and read on/from their physical components...

I want to know the way that my computer processes and commits me saving data to my pc, from when I press save to when the data is safely stored...

I want to know the main causes of data being lost and the methods of prevention of data loss in the various areas...

I want to know about the different types of file systems that hard drives use, what operating systems use them by default and why one might be used over the other...

I want to know how to keep important data on my hard drive(s) inaccessible/obfuscated/encrypted from people on the net and anyone accessing my computer...

I want to know the main reason why data corrupts/becomes inaccessible and when and how I can recover the data...
Some of the above cross over into each others subject domain but given some other questions a good idea of which area to start could be suggested!!!

It doesn't have to be every question you want answered but given a few I am sure people could suggest a better subject area to start with!

Saying I want to know about hard drives will probably get you someone telling you to read up on an A+ textbook and this may or may not be the kind of information you want to learn. There are tons of subjects that intrigue me that would be totally killed off (in terms of my love for them!) by textbooks aimed at getting me a job. However, I won't ever be finding a job in most of those subjects :D
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Old 09-24-12, 09:06 AM   #11
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OK, for starters, I'd like to know how 1's and 0's make a yellow pixel on the screen. Then I would like to know why solid state drives only have a finite number of read/write cycles before they die. And why do they die. What actually happens to them? On a physical level. That's, I guess what I really want to try and learn about. What are the physical making of a computer, and how they work. How they work together. How they die. Things like that so maybe, some day, I'll be able to "see" inside, and know what's wrong. If that makes sense?
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Old 09-24-12, 10:33 AM   #12
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For the 'How computers are made' and troubleshooting them I would echo other peoples suggestions to check out books and other material on the A+ certification. You will also find information on how SSD's function and the shortness of their lifetime.

However you can find loads of articles and videos PC construction and how SSDs function on the net.


For how "1's and 0's make a yellow pixel on the screen". In all conventional consumer monitors they do not.

See the beginning of the below video for some interesting facts about yellow!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R3unPcJDbCc
To build up the knowledge base so you can deduce or have as coincidental knowledge, how binary (1s and 0s) are used to create a pixel on your screen is going to take you weeks (more like a year) if you want to learn it properly.

The fact is that binary and VGA are linked in may ways but are very different subjects and have many intermediary subjects to be learnt for you to understand their relationship.

You can however google the subject and get an abstracted account of how they relate such as those below.

http://www.ehow.com/how-does_4759517_binary-code-work.html

http://computer.howstuffworks.com/graphics-card.htm
Or you can ignore the 1s and 0s bit and just ask how monitors work.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jiejNAUwcQ8
I think that this would be a better way for you to start your exploration of computing.

The fact is that text books are teaching you to learn everything and this is often done in a cumulative manner. Not only can this bore the hell out of you and force you to read about subjects you don't really like; it also means that you can't dip in for the juicy bits and get only the necessary supporting bits (you will have to find them in the 4 previous mind numbing chapters).

I would suggest for your enjoyment that you leave reading any books for the moment and focus on looking for good sources to answer your questions (rather than subjects). I would second my own opinion because you don't seem to know what you specifically want to know and most likely do not have the abstracted computing knowledge to get the real joy of connecting what would seem unrelated complete complex subjects that are the basis of proper knowledge with the ones you want to know about.

Maybe some people can think of some books that highlight interesting things about computers but I would suggest youtube and google for your learning. Add some wandering on related/linked results on both as well as the questioning and I am sure you will learn a lot to start with.

PS. Did you understand/enjoy the vid on binary?

Another fun question for you... How does a projector project black??? :D

Last edited by cazmajor; 09-24-12 at 10:35 AM.
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Old 09-24-12, 01:27 PM   #13
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Thank you cazmajor for the video links. To answer you questions;
I understood the binary video just fine. In fact, the guy went a bit slow, and really beat a dead horse at times.
As far as a projector projecting black, if you're talking about an "old school" real to real projector, isn't it a perception of contrasts that your eyes interpret as black?
I liked the vid on graphics cards. Explained a little more in depth of what I already knew. Like why Intels integrated 3000 graphics used to make my old laptop heat up high enough to fry an egg on. The fan really gets going on my new laptop, (it has a graphics card) and it does heat up, but the temp doesn't get high enough to worry about. Nothing above 250-275F LOL J/K

I think I'll scour the net for a while until my brain hurts. Expect many, many messages from me when I get stuck. If you have the time to help, that is. I appreciate the time you've taken out for me already.

Last question to answer, I went through Trig in High School. I'm convinced it wrecked my brain. But I did it.
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Old 09-24-12, 04:35 PM   #14
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Holler at me if you have any Qs and I'll do my best to give you some advice!

Glad you got to grips with the basic binary, believe me that is the way binary needs to be taught if you want to learn to use it properly as a first lesson foundation. The fact is that if you want to truly understand computer science you need some very complex maths and physics and you will be thankful that time is taken later on the basics. As I surmised this is probably not the approach for your needs at the moment.

On projecting black, yup that's how all projectors that project onto white project black. The below is a well known example of how it's done that you may well have seen before in some form or another!

http://www.michaelbach.de/ot/lum_adelsonCheckShadow/index.html
...Didn't get how your last paragraph was a question!?!
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