The Shape of Everything
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September 9, 2022

Charles Petzold:

Whenever a 2nd edition of a book is published, people ask “I already have the 1st edition. Do I need to get the 2nd?” It’s a legitimate question and I’ve asked it myself. Reading a 2nd edition after the 1st is not trivial: It’s a commitment of both additional money and additional time.

Sometimes a 2nd edition has mostly small changes: correcting a few mistakes, adding some more up-to-date information. But other times a 2nd edition involves some major upheavals. Perhaps the author had become dissatisfied with certain aspects of the 1st edition and wanted to fix them.

The 2nd edition of Code: The Hidden Language of Computer Hardware and Software falls into that second category.

"Code" is one of my favorite programming books ever (even though it doesn't really go into programming much). I've read it multiple times, and when I first started reading it, I'd make it only part way through before I had to stop and start over from the beginning. There's just so much good information in that that really builds on itself.

I'm super excited about the second edition, and I've had it ordered for months now, but I think I'm having to wait on a second printing or something. I'm guessing I'm not the only one.

I wished dearly that the Mac and Windows came with built-in BASIC environments. If that were the case, the language I would have discussed in this chapter would have been BASIC.

But I didn’t have that freedom. My hands were tied. There was only one real choice. My free will meant nothing, and I was forced into JavaScript.

So it goes. The only consolation is that I’m not the only person in the world forced into using JavaScript. There are literally millions.

This made me laugh.