Jump to content
Keatah

Computer books that excited you!

Recommended Posts

We all have a certain nostalgia for our fav vintage hardware, and software too. But what about documentation? Yes documentation. Literature is just as important as the software. It sets the tone, it builds the world around your activities. It teaches you. It entertains you. Literature in almost all forms is the forgotten piece that makes your setup complete.

 

Having said that and not wanting to ramble, what's your favorite books and manuals? Which ones do you most fondly remember? Which ones were standout examples of excellence?

 

I learned tons of computer concepts and practical ways of doing things from these 4 books, they were included with my Apple II back in the day. An 800 page treasure trove of information. To a kid it felt like a college course, but I was determined to read them all cover-to-cover. Gotta love the "Atari-style" art on "The Applesoft Tutorial"! Bought them to school, and church, and every restaurant we ever went to.

kfyuguilglhiu_1.jpg.e849f860e3c60e6d1d7d6dfaf3ee3d8a.jpg742875254_mbhmbmbjk_1.jpg.a587f8123802e8fb141bff7d768dd8f3.jpghkyuhfgvukygf_1.jpg.d88617aec1c56af89b15dd6e611ad67a.jpgfyktyuglkugik_1_1.jpg.f7e7aa82a706b5d29c83373a3957fe65.jpg

 

I learned a ton of BASIC from this one. It was as kid-friendly a book as I could find in my limited area.

New-2.jpg.992d8f621bee9bee7b26a17899687da7.jpg

 

Spent many an hour in my blanket fortress typing in programs from here.

New-3.jpg.3a82d5cced869db8dffbb794000baecb.jpg

 

And I polished my BASIC skills with this.

hkgfgyuikunhl.jpg.6bfd49d47680dcdef737b24234cb6511.jpg

 

Early on I was overly ADD-like obsessed with circuit boards and the pretty patterns, this book was like medication with all the pics of single-board S-100 systems. We always discussed how "smart" any one given computer was - determined by the amount of chips and their sizes. It had photos of rigs we could only dream of. Borderline Sci-Fi to us kids.

s-l1600_1.jpg.4bc035d5058549863bc5b2d4caef89d4.jpg

 

I also liked reading "compilation" and introductory books. It was like seeing all my wants condensed into one manual.

New-1.jpg.36f4145343b7f9eb35a06323a67c96f5.jpg

 

As my knowledge and tastes "matured" I got into telecommunications.  Learned everything I knew about modems by calling BBSes and such. These two items got me going and seemed like endless fun to read. I never knew there could be so many options to one program!

jbjhbjhbkjbkj.jpg.6c465455fc748d911b31b4666f73bff6.jpgNew-5.jpg.df9c8402f45f246ccc9a07d24aed2547.jpg

 

Toward the mid and late eighties a new terminal program came out called PROTERM. It had MouseText support and Zmodem support, along with a mini word processor. Started my personal journal and writing with that. And still continue it till today.

ulyhguihkjhkj_1.jpg.54e709f1159a6d4fd39976ed153c37d7.jpghgghghtytyyt.jpg.d901990477d65babd45a478029d58d83.jpg

 

Finally it was this book, "Celestial Basic" the helped me make the connection between computers and astronomy and such. It really fired off my imagination about spaceflight and wonders of the Cosmos. I always thought if I typed in the programs and worked hard I would learn to build an interstellar space-a-ship. Never mind the subject matter didn't match. It was inspiring!

New-4.jpg.43ea51e67f993e33ce555faa1238cad7.jpg

 

There's more but it's getting quite late.

 

 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I got a good education from BYTE magazine, but you're asking about books, so I'll say Best of BYTE, Vol. 1. While I was building my collection of back issues, it substituted for those earliest issues I was missing.

 

Favorite manual? Atari 400/800 Hardware Manual. I befriended the salesman at the local dealer and he let me photocopy their early edition, which was full of typos and hand drawings and blurry schematics. Learned a ton about Atari's wonderful custom chips and about computer design in general.

 

Also Lance Leventhal's 6502 Programming uncovered the mysteries of machine / assembly coding.

 

Osborne's Introduction to Microcomputers Vol. 2. A friend gave me his thick loose-leaf copy when he got the final bound version. A collection of technical details of many early microprocessors, it was updated several times while in loose leaf form. I still look at this often.

 

Apple II Red Book. I worked on Apples at PDI and they gave me this manual, an early compendium of the best of Woz. He signed it in 2011.

Edited by ClausB
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

After I got my original ZX80 and started programming it, I bought a copy of "The 8080a Bugbook" by Peter R. Rony.  A lot of mysteries about microcomputer design and programming were revealed to me...   Excellent, comprehensive book.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In fourth grade I was starting to learn electronics by way of an Radio Shack solar electronics lab kit, and a 200-in-one electronics lab.  As my curiosity of the innards of my TI-99/4A was well known, a friend of the family gave me a book of Intel chips and specifications.  From it I learned about several Intel CPUs and MPUs, as well as RAM, ROM, and TTL-electronics like LS-series chips.  I am pretty certain I still have that around here somewhere.  It was a great reference for me for a long time.

 

Starting in seventh grade, the MiniMemory manual for my TI-99/4A was the absolute dog's nuts for me.  I started learning TMS-9900 with that, and a girl who had a crush on me loaned me her dad's Editor/Assembler book and I spent a week copying important pages by hand.

 

Around the same time I was doing some programming work for one of my teachers.  I got hold of an Apple programming book.  Cannot recall the title, but I have seen it again -- had a green cover with the Apple logo on it.  Somebody stole it from me in 11th grade.

 

In eighth grade I was making my switch from TI to Commodore and at a Florida Pottery store I found a Commodore 64 Programmer's Reference Guide with a real spine, not one of the spiral-bound ones.  Asked my grandmother to get it for me and she said, "I don't know... that's $20. Are you really going to use this book?"  I promised I would and I can tell you that book wound up being even more worn out than the MiniMemory manual.  I still have it.

 

Later on, neither documentation nor manual, but I was very much enthralled with Soul of a New Machine and Hackers.   I learned to dislike Kevin Mitnick; the book's subtitle is "Heroes of the Computer Revolution," but I found him to be nothing like a hero.  In fact, I found him to be everything I never wanted to be.  But that is a whole other chapter of my life.

 

From about 1983 to 1987, my magazine of choice was COMPUTE! Magazine and I waited with bated breath every month for it to land in my mailbox.  It started as a one-year subscription as a birthday gift (I think it was bought out of one of those magazine subscription drives you do for school,) then afterward I picked it up out of my allowance and earnings from odd-jobs.  1990-ish I had moved on to COMPUTE!'s Gazzette and that was my simple pleasure until around 1994, for which I submitted a program for the user submissions column and got it published.

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think I also had (and still do) that Solar Lab kit, it had a bright yellow sun as the main theme and it had 2 solar cells at the top. Loved it! Modified the cat circuit to extend the sound to over 20 seconds and made it screw up toward the end, like a horror movie. Those RS kits taught me everything I knew about electronics.

 

I also have all my data books starting with a TTL Logic one from TI in the late 80's. I've since then gone up and down the date scale acquiring a few more. And MANY MANY more via PDF for reference.

 

One of my so-called buddies did steal my Assembler/Editor cartridge for Atari 800. And he eventually returned it after I called him out. I bet he thought I was like stupid enough to not notice it was missing, because I was so into Apple programming at the time. If he didn't return it I would have likely kicked the shit out of him. We never hung around afterwards. I consulted with a witch and had a spell placed. Whether anything happened I didn't bother finding out.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would say Basic computer games. It was my first introduction to programming. 
 

526759-DE-BDF5-492-D-8-EA0-ED66572-F75-B

Edited by Jim Pez
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

I no longer remember the title, but it was the first third-party book that I ever saw for the Coco.

 

I purchased a Coco in about June 1983, and I promptly set out to learn BASIC from the surprisingly good included manuals. I very quickly exhausted the small handful of simple game program listings in the manuals, and my skills were not up to creating my own. (The local public library had perhaps a half-shelf of books with BASIC listings, but all were very generic.) 

 

For my birthday that year (in November) my Parents bought me a book. It was full of game listings (and maybe programming techniques; I do not remember).  This qualifies as the very first Coco-related item that I ever saw outside of the local Radio Shack. I was not previously aware that there was a larger "ecosystem". (A month or two later I discovered Hot Coco magazine and my world suddenly became very much larger.)

  

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not exactly documentation or programming, but I was in 7th grade when I first read the now out-ot-print book titled The Adolescence of P-1 a book about a sentient computer program looking for it's creator when it's survival is at stake.  As a kid I loved it so much I read it in one sitting, and then a second time the next day.

 

Cover.JPG.941c5fee3c34f0f3d02789ebb4179145.JPG

 

** EDIT **

Oh yeah, take notice of that computer script on the cover of the book, you'll see that it inspired me to create my own version of it for the TI-99/4A back in the day.

 

SCREEN SHOT.jpg

 

 

 

 

The Adolesence of P-1.pdf

Edited by --- Ω ---
Added a piece of relevant nostalgia
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...