Book: PC Hardware in a Nutshell, 2nd Edition
Carefully researched and written, PC Hardware in a Nutshell, 2nd Edition is packed with useful and unbiased information, including how-to advice for specific components, ample reference material, and a comprehensive case study on building a PC. To the point yet complete, this book provides an enormous amount of timeless information intended for anyone who buys, builds, upgrades, or repairs PCs in a corporate, small business, or home setting.
PC Hardware in a Nutshell. An oxymoron, as it turns out. When Robert began work on the first edition of this book in late 1998, he planned to write a 300-page book in five months. Barbara joined the project early, at first as the researcher and later as the full co-author. After more than 18 months of working seven days a week, including last-minute rewrites to make everything as current as possible, we finally completed the first edition.
Robert decided to write the first edition because he couldn’t find a good answer to what seemed to be a simple question. Robert, who has extensive PC experience, wanted to buy his first CD burner but didn’t know much about them. He needed information about how to choose, install, configure, and use a CD burner. It would have been easy to check articles about CD burners in hardware-oriented magazines and enthusiast web sites, but Robert didn’t trust them to provide accurate and unbiased information.
He next checked the shelf of PC hardware books he owns. What he found in those books was lots of interesting information, but a surprising dearth of useful information. For example, one very popular title devoted fewer than five of its 1500+ pages to CD-R and CD-RW, and most of those few pages described the history and low-level functioning of these devices. Advice on how to choose a CD burner? Advice on how to install it, configure it, use it, or troubleshoot it? Next to none. That same book devoted nearly 70 pages to a list of vendors—information easily accessible on the Web—so the shortage of information couldn’t have been a result of page count constraints.
We were determined to write a book filled with useful information. You won’t find tables of drive parameters for hundreds of obsolete disk drives, instructions on how to change the interleave by low-level formatting an XT hard drive, charts of keyboard scan codes, and so on. As interesting as those things might be, they fail the useful test. Pruning stuff that was merely interesting was painful, because we like to read interesting stuff as much as the next person. But we quickly found out why there’s so much interesting information and so relatively little useful information in most PC hardware books. Interesting is quick and easy to write. Useful is slow and hard, because you actually have to do all the stuff.
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