Book recommendation: Code: The Hidden Language of Computer Hardware and Software by by Charles Petzold.
Here’s a summary from the wiki:
Petzold begins with discussions of the inventions of Morse code and Braille, adds electricity, number systems, Boolean logic, and the resulting epiphanies required to put them all together economically. With these building blocks he builds circuits, relays, gates, switches, discusses the inventions of the vacuum tube, transistors, and finally the integrated circuit.
The book is from 1999/2000 but that doesn’t really matter. The point of the book is to walk you through a history of how computers came to be what we know today, starting basic with Morse Code, working through logic gates, and building up circuits to make an adding machine and then talking about automation to make a basic computer.
I’d heard much of the information here and there over the years and thought it was neat to see it all presented in a somewhat chronological fashion. I’d say I now have a better understanding and appreciation for electronics and computers after reading this book. It’s truly remarkable how complex computers are and it’s very easy to take them for granted and forget how far back much of the building blocks go and how many people worked so hard to put everything together.
My newfound interest in hardware has found me Googling for opcodes used by the chip that powers the Arduino, just to satisfy a curiosity about how it works at such a lower level. Not that I ever plan to do anything with it, but I find it important to have a basic understanding of the foundation of things to better understand our current situation.