# # Book Reviews-Processor and Coprocessor
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© January 1997 Tony Lawrence

Programmer's Technical Reference: The Processor and Coprocessor

  • Robert L. Hummel
  • Ziff Davis
  • ISBN: 1-56276-016-5

After "How to Program the Z80" (Radio Shack/Sybex, Rodney Zaks, 0-89588-82-2), this is the most sad looking, most thumbed through, and most extensively used book I ever owned.

I don't program in Assembly Language.

Oh, I used to, at least a little bit, but most of that was way back in the days of the TRS-80, and even then it was just for the odd little thing here and there. As a friend once observed, "Assembly Language programmers have very different personalities then the rest of us, and I'm not sure they started out that way: I think heavy machine language use changes you".

I don't completely disagree with that, though I might not share the same negativity my friend had. I suspect that your mental processes do have to change if you are going to habitually control machines at this level. Whether that makes you a more or less desirable guest at this season's round of social events is another question entirely, and not my purpose here.

So why are two books about the inner machinations of microprocessors so pawed through? Because knowledge of what's underneath helps me understand higher level things better. Virtual memory and demand paging became so much clearer to me from this book. Panic dumps sometimes tell me things I wouldn't have otherwise known without this background information.

I never could be an Assembly Language Programmer. I lack the patience most of all, and while I can twiddle a few bits in my head, I just don't have the easy familiarity that this level of programming requires. But that isn't going to stop me from learning and understanding everything I can.

graphic of book cover Order (or just read more about) The Processor and Coprocessor  from Amazon.com

Tony Lawrence 1997/01/04 Rating: 4.5

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"As a friend once observed, 'Assembly Language programmers have very different personalities then the rest of us, and I'm not sure they started out that way: I think heavy machine language use changes you'."

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