More Ramblings from a Los Angeles Programmer

September 18, 2007

New Turing Omnibus Mentioned!

Filed under: books, coding, technology — Josh DeWald @ 1:08 pm

For the longest time I seemed to be the only person who loved this gem of a book (I even emailed the author recently and got a nice reply).

Jeff Atwood at Coding Horror just mentioned how great The New Turing Omnibus is (and even points how that he had never really heard of it). He points to an Everything2 article that has a the complete Table of Contents (there’s only 66 chapters)… which I actually put up there in 2002!

It would not be a stretch at all to say that this book is what started me on Computer Science. I was already starting to code in BASIC when I began it (somewhere around Junior High I think), but it opened up a whole new world using very accessible chapters. This was the first time I heard about the Mandelbrot Set, Neural Networks, Cellular Automata (Game of Life!),  and 63 other core Computer Science topics.

Anyhow, Jeff’s article is really where you should head to read about it. Then you should then head to Amazon (or wherever) to buy it.


  1. Hey– if you emailed the author, can you forward his email info to me? I’d like to contact him as well!

    Comment by Jeff Atwood — September 19, 2007 @ 7:17 am

  2. That books looks pretty interesting, I’ll keep an eye out for it. I was thinking about the general computer education topic yesterday, and how it seems that most of us have given up trying to understand how they work, subscribing instead to the ‘magic box’ theory that they just will. It would be great to get the basics back in grade school rather than Jr. High MS Office training.

    Comment by Stuart — September 19, 2007 @ 8:45 pm

  3. Stuart –

    On that note, I also recently read ‘Code’ by Charles Petzold. It’s an amazing book which starts basically from basic symbols to explaining morse code and then onto relays then boolean logic and on until assembly language and the like. It’s all done through a logical progression where every step makes complete sense.

    It’s was a total pleasure to read, and I learned a lot even though I’m supposedly an “expert” on this stuff. The section on assembly/machine language was actually clear enough that I was able to fix a bug in a processor emulator that I was writing.

    Comment by Josh DeWald — September 19, 2007 @ 8:51 pm

  4. Josh, I read Code a while back and was also quite impressed. He has a real talent for breaking that stuff down, but also keeping things interesting. One of these days I’m gonna build the telegraph computer, I swear it. On a similar note, did you happen to see this?

    Comment by Stuart — September 20, 2007 @ 6:42 am

  5. That’s quite cool! I think I had seen a link but didn’t actually watch before.

    I think ‘Code’ would have a great explanation, as it looks like it basically uses the fact that I think XOR is a key operation that occurs in binary arithmetic.

    Comment by Josh DeWald — September 20, 2007 @ 7:28 am

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