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A Simple Guide to Building a Working Computer from Scavenged Parts
by James MacLaren
A computer doesn’t have to be expensive – in fact, it can be absolutely free! James MacLaren has written the perfect guide for beginners who want to plunge into the weird and wonderful world of scrounging, assembling and really understanding computers. He captures the joys of discovery and experimentation in this entertaining, freestyle guide to finding the parts (and used computers and parts are everywhere) and then figuring out what to do with them. MacLaren demystifies the confusing tangle of computer innards – motherboards, CPUs, jumpers, cards and cables – as well as formatting, operating systems and all that other stuff you were afraid to ask about. And since all the components are free, you’ll have no fear of ruining expensive stuff as you learn how it all fits together (and, OK, sometimes doesn’t).
This enlightened approach is designed to give you enough guidance to allow you to find out a thing or two by yourself, without having to take somebody else’s word for it. If you’ve ever wished for a plain-English explanation of why computers do what they do, wanted to jump into computers but didn’t know where to start or seen a computer on the curb on trash day and wondered if it was worth a look, this is the perfect nothing-to-lose, what does this thing do? Wow! Eureka! Guide to getting the pieces, putting them together and getting them to act like a real computer. 5 1/2 x 8 1/2, softcover, photos, 176 pp.
James MacLaren bought his first computer back in 1990 and has never bought a computer since (although he’s purchased a peripheral or two over that span of years). Working with free machines for his entire computing career has given him a very different perspective on computer operations, maintenance and repair and has taught him all sorts of real-world arcana at an accelerated rate. Jim cobbles machines together from giveaway parts just for laughs and then gives them away to people who need them.