How Software Works: The Magic Behind Encryption, CGI, Search Engines, and Other Everyday Technologies by V. Anton Spraul
$19.72 at Amazon
Have you ever wondered how Amazon keeps your credit card information safe from hackers, or how the minions were actually created? And how DOES Google usually manage to find what you’re looking for over the entire web?
This book isn’t about software in general, despite the title – it’s about nine specific pieces of technology. It can be difficult for people like myself who have a technical background to judge how readable a book is to non-technical people, but I believe How Software Works delivers. The author assumes an intelligent reader, but one without a technical background, and gets into enough detail in each section to provide an accurate idea of how the technology works without getting bogged down. I found it to be very readable, and I thought the author did a good job of explaining sometimes complex concepts.
I have in the past taken graduate courses on some of the topics this book covers, such as cryptography and computer graphics, and I found those sections to be accurate to the best of my recollection. I think this would make an excellent text for a freshman topics course on computer science.
Disclosure: I received a free review copy of this book.