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Hardware book?

After 7 years of producing increasingly useful software that runs on PCs, the fact that I don't have a clue about the parts, functions, circuitry, etc of these machines is becoming a liability for me. My mother knows as much about this stuff as I do.

But I can read. Looking at Amazon, an O'Reilly book, _PC Hardware in a Nutshell_ seems like a good start.  Any other suggestions?  I do not want to become an expert, just gain a little vocabulary and hardware common sense.

What books fit my situation?

Wrong end of the screwdriver
Saturday, May 17, 2003

It might sound like overkill, but Scott Mueller's "Upgrading and Repairing PCs" is in a league of its own. The amazon linik is

It's the only book that sets out to explain the "why", and I actually use it for bedtime reading. Also they give all the earlier editions on CD. When the guy starts explaining how you burn the EPROM chip in order to make your Camaro go faster then you have to pay attention!

The 14th edition has just come out. Go to the books web site There are video previws and plenty of other stuff to convince you.

Now an interesting little piece of trivia comes in here. The first thirteen editions of the book were called "Upgrading and Repairing PC's" note the apostrophe. However for the 14th Edition it appears Pearson has updated its style book (mistakenly in my opinion) and the title now is "Upgrading and Repairing PCs" without the apostrophe. The result is that if you type "Pc's" in the Amazon search the latest edition you get is the 13th edition, and you will quite possibly find it is out of print. And type in "Scott Mueller + PC" in the singular in the Amazon search box and you don't get any entries at all.

I suspect that Pearson and Scott Mueller will lose sales because of this, and it is a very clear example of how even the smallest detail can have a disproportionate effect.

Stephen Jones
Sunday, May 18, 2003

Mistakenly, as in you believe we should be writing CD's?

Sunday, May 18, 2003

Correct. PC's, CD's, and the roaring 20's.

Unfortunately the tide has gone out on this one and left me somewhat stranded.

Stephen Jones
Sunday, May 18, 2003

Actually I've just checked my copy of the book and it appears that Pearson and Que always used the form PCs without the apostrophe.

So the apostrophe must have slipped in to the Amazon site unobtrusively!

Time to go with the flow and ditch the apostrophe, I suppose.

"Farewell black spot, thou had'st served me well!"

Stephen Jones
Sunday, May 18, 2003

Interesting. Are you sure about that use of the apostrophe? Usually when you pluralise something you simply add an 's'. no apostrophe. I've often wondered if I am correct as a lot of people seem to do as you suggest.

Sunday, May 18, 2003

(Regarding the apostrophe usage, not the original topic...)
From - The Columbia Guide to Standard American English (1993)
PLURALS OF LETTERS AND NUMBERS [and abbreviations and acronyms]:
usually add -s: [for example] two Xs, Ph.D.s, MIAs, 1990s, the ’20s. Use an apostrophe only when you need it to prevent confusion: [for example] Mississippi has four i’s. He got A’s in both courses.

A writer
Sunday, May 18, 2003

I'm old fashioned.

To quote "A University Grammar of English" by Quirk and Greenbaum  Section 4.36 b)

" Nouns of unusual form sometimes pluralize in 's:
        letter names: 'dot your i's'
        numerals: ' in the 1890's (or, increasingly, 1890s)
        abbreviations: two MP's (or, increasingly, MP's)

The rub lies in that "increasingly" because the grammar was written in 1973, and "increasingly" seems to have become "almost universally".

I suppose with the problems that can happen with internet searches if I use the minority form, I will have to change over.

It does show that Amazon search is defective however, because, although there might be few people like me left that spell it the old way, there are a load of young people who  use the apostrophe out of ignorance instead of conservatism.

Stephen Jones
Sunday, May 18, 2003

Mueller is good but not "in a league of his own".

"The Complete PC Upgrade and Maintenance Guide: (With CD-ROM)" by Mark Minasi is as good.

Anonymous Coward
Sunday, May 18, 2003

I've got Minasi's book on Windows 2000 Professional. Yes it's good; very good. So I suspect the hardware book will be too.

Stephen Jones
Sunday, May 18, 2003

2nd vote for Mueller. You might also keep your eyes open for magazine articles about upgrading. These can be quite good as they focus on specific areas (Eg upgrade your soudcard) without overwhelming you with detail).

Also look out for the "Build your own PC" articles. Either of these 2 types or article can be found in monthly PC or games magazines.

Neither of these approaches will help if you want to understand *how* some of the core internal components work, but I think the're probably better for someone with very limited experience, as they explain what the parts do and how they're connected [note correct use of apostrophe :) ].

Have a look at
On the left hand menu, select "channels", then "hardware". At the bottom right of the next page (part of the frameset) is a link "build your own pc".

Monday, May 19, 2003

Your mother can't read? ;)

Monday, May 19, 2003

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