How did you learn all of this stuff?
I get that a lot. <g> Seriously though, the best short answer I have is: "By studying the subject matter intensely
, and for a long time
." How long?
I began studying personal computers before the (IBM) PC even existed. Before PCs, I used the Apple ][
as well as several CP/M based computers
, and Molecular
systems.Facts or lies?
Definitely facts. <g> When doing research, my philosophy has always been to identify the primary source or originator of the information and start there. For computer components and technology that often takes me to manufacturer provided datasheets, design guides, "white papers" and other technical documents. Whenever that technology is based on officially published standards and specifications, then I go to the official documents directly. For example, when I write about the ATA (AT Attachment, aka "IDE") interface, I get my information from the official ATA standards documents
published by INCITS Technical Committee T13
, the organization responsible for the standard.
What types of official documentation did you read to understand things like microprocessor architecture?
The x86 microprocessor architecture was created by Intel, so for detailed information I started with documents like the official Intel 64 and IA-32 Architectures Software Developer's Manuals
, as well as the datasheets for specific processors like the Intel Core i7
. For AMD x86 processors I would also go to AMD and consult the datasheets for processors like the AMD Phenom II
For additional examples, check out the following *small sample* of some of the official standards and specifications covering other PC components and technology that I have recently used for research:
While many of the official documents and information covering current technology can be found online, a huge amount of original and historical material cannot, and some of what was originally online is no longer available. On account of that, one of my best assets is my extensive library. I've been researching and collecting computer technology information for nearly 30 years. Over that time I have amassed both an extensive physical (pre-internet) library of books, magazines, documents, datasheets and specifications consuming over 300 linear feet of shelving, as well as an extensive digital research library currently consisting of over 57,000 files consuming more than 120GB.
Anybody who has read my technical writing knows that I take my research seriously, no matter what the subject. My role in writing computer books is to do the research, distill the facts, then reorganize the information and present it in an understandable and concise manner, all the while keeping the information as technically in-depth and accurate as possible. I do try to indicate the original sources of information where I can, and have always encouraged people to check out that information directly.
I hope this addresses your concerns. Thanks for your comments and your interest. Scott.