Brown Dogs and Barbers – A computer science book for everyone

I'm very excited about my latest project. I've written a book explaining the fundamentals of computer science that requires no IT expertise at all to understand. My main motivation is to provide an easy to read work of popular science for an everyday reader who's interested in computer science, although I'm confident that experienced computing folk will find it interesting too.

I'm going to self-publish it and for that I need several things to make it a professional piece of work. These all need paying for, so I've launched a crowdfunding project at Indiegogo to cover the costs. Time for the hard sell...

What's this all about?

Computers are a huge part of our lives. They are everywhere powering so much of what we do.

And yet, how well do we understand them or how they became so ubiquitous? We take computers for granted but many of us don't appreciate the fascinating ideas behind them. If you look closely, there is a rich trail of puzzles that had to be solved to make them what they are now.

I've written a book, Brown Dogs and Barbers, which explains how the ideas of computer science developed throughout history.

When you read this book, you will join me on a journey through the story of computing, discovering the basic principles of what makes the machines tick and learning why computers work they way they do.

Who is the book for?

I would like to make computer science accessible to all. Brown Dogs and Barbers is a work of popular science aimed at both beginner and experienced alike, no expertise required with as little in the way of formulas and code as possible.

If you are a beginner you will get an introduction to the fascinating world of computer science. If you are experienced you can enjoy reading about your field from a different perspective and perhaps learn a new thing or two. It would also make a great gift for an IT worker's friends and family who haven't got a clue what it is they do all day.

In any case, you will develop an understanding of the puzzles and theories behind computers, and meet some of the characters who have steered computing over the centuries.

Why me?

I'm a big fan of reading about science. Whenever I go into a bookshop, I'm dismayed to see that the popular science section hardly ever seems to carry titles explaining my subject - computer science - to the masses.

I'm trying to fill this gap with my book. Brown Dogs and Barbers examines some of the foundational concepts of computing. I can still remember the stumbling blocks I encountered when I first learned about these fascinating ideas, so my book strives to light the path so you may avoid them. I'm also a PhD-level computer scientist, an experienced teacher and a published writer on IT and computing topics.

What's the current status?

All text is written and a collection of placeholder diagrams and illustrations are in place. It now needs some polish, formatting and professionally designed images to make it a kick-ass publication.

The book has 38 chapters. That might sound like a lot, but each chapter deals primarily with one idea and in the final product I estimate chapters will be around 5-6 pages long on average. That's about 220-230 pages.

What do I need funds for?

To polish the book, I need three things:

    • A professional proof reader to fix any mistakes, inconsistencies and grammatical errors.
    • An illustrator who can produce an awesome-looking front cover, and also take my placeholder diagrams and illustrations and make them look beautiful.
    • A copy editor to give the book a professional finish.

I already have estimates for each of these services.

Want to read a sample?

Go here.

You might also be interested to know I've contributed several articles in the past to Linux User and Developer magazine. Some of them are available online (e.g. "Wikimedia: Wikipedia's Game Changer" and "Kolab: David and Goliath" ).

Other ways you can help

Don't forget, you can contribute in ways other than donating funds. Tell your friends, share this page and tweet about it to the world. Help me get the word out!

Please visit the project's Indiegogo page to find out more and, more importantly, to contribute!




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