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Code: The Hidden Language of Computer Hardware and Software by Charles Petzold

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Chapter 24. Languages High and Low

Programming in machine code is like eating with a toothpick. The bites are so small and the process so laborious that dinner takes forever. Likewise, the bytes of machine code perform the tiniest and simplest of imaginable computing tasks—loading a number from memory into the processor, adding it to another, storing the result back to memory—so that it's difficult to imagine how they contribute to an entire meal.

We have at least progressed from that primitive era at the beginning of Chapter 22, in which we were using switches on a control panel to enter binary data into memory. In that chapter, we discovered how we could write simple programs that let us use the keyboard and the video display to enter and examine ...

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