Jeff Duntemann's Contrapositive Diary Rotating Header Image

Who Am I?

Me? I’m a guy who does the following: I write; I edit my own material and that of others; I work in, with, and on technology (with my own hands) of several kinds; and I think about almost everything from as many different perspectives as possible. My contrarianism is conscious and deliberate. Why? If you don’t regularly require yourself to think beyond your own habits and suppositions, you end up in a very deep mental rut. I do not always take every contrarian position, but I consider each one I encounter. I may support things, but for the most part I don’t join them.


I was born and grew up in the northwest corner of Chicago, in a neighborhood called Edison Park. I grew up a Catholic, and attended Immaculate Conception parochial school on Talcott Road. The teaching there, both intellectual and moral, was rigorous.

I graduated from Lane Technical High School in Chicago in 1970. At that time, Lane had many shops and labs (fewer now) where I had plenty of opportunity to learn by doing—which, as I have found, is the only way to learn anything well. I learned basic electricity, woodworking, metal machining, and computer programming (FORTRAN IV) while there. The college prep curriculum was primary, and included biology, chemistry, physics, Spanish, and four years of mathematics. I graduated 30th in a class of 1,337.

In the fall of 1970, I attended Illinois Institute of Technology for one semester, and found that engineering was not my calling. Intending to pursue a teaching career, I entered De Paul University in Chicago in the spring of 1971, and graduated with a B.A. in English, summa cum laude, in 1974.

Since graduating from De Paul, I have taken numerous continuing education courses in many things, primarily technology topics, including electronics, database design and programming in several languages, but also including book and magazine editing and management.

Employment Experience

I will answer pertinent questions about my work history on request; however, I generally do not do so for publication.

  • 2008-Present: Independent contractor
  • 2002-2008: Editor at Large, Paraglyph Press, Scottsdale, Arizona
  • 1989-2002: Vice President/Editorial Director, The Coriolis Group, Scottsdale, Arizona
  • 1988-1989: Independent Contractor, technical writing
  • 1987-1988: Editor in Chief, Turbo Technix Magazine, Borland International, Scotts Valley, California
  • 1985-1987: Senior Technical Editor, PC Tech Journal, Ziff-Davis Publishing, Baltimore, Maryland
  • 1979-1985: Programmer/Analyst, Xerox Corporation, Rochester, New York
  • 1976-1979: Branch Data Analyst, Xerox Corporation, Chicago, Illinois
  • 1974-1976: Technical Representative, Xerox Corporation, Chicago, Illinois

Short Nonfiction Publications and Magazine Work

My books will be listed separately below, under Bibliography. Listing each short item I’ve published separately would take too much space, so I will summarize:

I have been a published writer since I was an undergraduate at DePaul. Both my first piece of fiction and my first piece of nonfiction appeared in commercial publications in 1974. In following years, I wrote technical articles for Byte, PC Magazine, Creative Computing, Kilobaud, Computer Graphic, PC Week, 73, and smaller newsletters and specialty anthologies.

I wrote frequently for PC Tech Journal between 1983 and joining the staff in 1985. While on staff I wrote regular reviews and short technical items, and the “Product of the Month” column.

In 1987 I was hired by Borland International to create and edit a magazine for their programming language customers. The magazine was Turbo Technix, and it ran bimonthly for six issues. I wrote both editorials and technical items in almost every issue. The magazine was sent free of charge to all registered language customers (in excess of 200,000) so it was an expensive effort. Borland shuttered the magazine during a corporate downsizing in 1988.

After leaving Borland’s staff I wrote material for Borland on contract, including a great deal of the OOP Guide included with the object-oriented release 5.5 of Turbo Pascal, in 1989. (These efforts were not bylined.)

In early 1989 I began writing the “Structured Programming” column in Dr. Dobb’s Journal, which appeared under my byline for 43 months, until the pressures of my other work prevented me from continuing. The column emphasized the “non-C” structured languages of the time, primarily Pascal and Modula 2, but touching on others here and there.

In 1989, fellow writer Keith Weiskamp and I created The Coriolis Group in Scottsdale, Arizona, for the purposes of publishing a magazine for programmers in the spirit of the popular Turbo Technix. The first issue of PC Techniques appeared in March, 1990. As with Turbo Technix, I contributed both editorials and technical pieces throughout the publication’s ten-year run. In 1994 I wrote an idea piece, “The All-Volunteer Virtual Encyclopedia of Absolutely Everything,” that anticipated today’s Wikipedia. (I was wrong about its distributed nature—hard disk storage was much more expensive back in 1994.)

In 1996, we redesigned PC Techniques and renamed it Visual Developer Magazine, reflecting the industry’s shift to programming tools like Visual Basic and Delphi. PCT/VDM ran for ten years, until we were forced to shutter it for financial reasons in 2000. A longer, less formal description of my experiences in magazine publishing (along with some of my editorials and idea pieces) can be found here.

Nearly all of my short-item writing since the folding of Visual Developer in 2000 has been for the Web.

Book Publishing and Bibliography

The Coriolis Group was founded to publish a technical magazine, but in the early 1990s we decided to create a parallel effort to publish technical books. Our first book appeared in January 1994. Technical book publishing was strong in the 1990s, and by 1997 Coriolis Group Books (as that part of the business was called) had become the largest book publisher in Arizona, employing 107 people at its peak and publishing over 130 titles per year.

The bursting of the Internet bubble took much of the profitability out of technical publishing by late 2000, and shortly afterward spun publishing in general into a recession that worsened post 9-11. Even after reorganization and several rounds of layoffs, The Coriolis Group could not regain its footing, and closed in March of 2002.

In the summer of 2002, Keith Weiskamp, Steve Sayre, Cynthia Caldwell, and myself (all former Coriolis staffers) created Paraglyph Press, again in Scottsdale, Arizona. The corporation was designed from its outset to be fully virtual: There was to be no central office, and we conducted our business via the Internet and phone. This allowed me to move to Colorado in 2003 and still continue my work with Paraglyph. We were too small for any of us to be specialists, and my role there was what circumstances demanded at any given time: I acquired books, developed concepts for books, promoted our titles with the media, researched publishing technology, and actually wrote a few of our books  when time allowed. As hard as we tried, Paraglyph Press really didn’t catch fire, and Keith and I quietly shuttered the company and reverted all rights to authors in 2007.

My first book, however, was published long before Coriolis was founded, and I published books regularly with several large NY houses between 1985 and 1995.

Books Published as Sole Author

  • Complete Turbo Pascal: Scott, Foresman, 1985
  • Complete Turbo Pascal, 2E: Scott, Foresman, 1986
  • Turbo Pascal Solutions: Scott, Foresman, 1987
  • Complete Turbo Pascal, 3E: Scott, Foresman,1989
  • Assembly Language from Square One: Scott, Foresman, 1989
  • Assembly Language Step By Step: John Wiley & Sons, 1992
  • Borland Pascal from Square One: Bantam,1993
  • Assembly Language Step By Step, 2E: John Wiley & Sons, 2000
  • Jeff Duntemann’s Drive-By Wi-Fi Guide: Paraglyph Press, 2002
  • Jeff Duntemann’s Wi-Fi Guide, 2E: Paraglyph Press, 2003
  • Degunking Your Email, Spam, and Viruses: Paraglyph Press, 2004
  • Assembly Language Step By Step, 3E: John Wiley & Sons, 2009
  • Assembly Language Step By Step, 4E: John Wiley & Sons, 2023

Books Published With Other Authors

  • Windows Programming Power with Custom Controls (with Paul Cilwa): Coriolis, 1994
  • Inside the PowerPC Revolution (with Ron Pronk): Coriolis, 1994
  • Mosaic & Web Explorer (with Urban Lejeune): Coriolis, 1994
  • Mosaic Explorer Pocket Companion (with Ron Pronk and Pat Vincent): Coriolis, 1994
  • Web Explorer Pocket Companion (with Ron Pronk and Pat Vincent): Coriolis, 1995
  • Netscape & HTML Explorer (with Urban Lejeune): Coriolis, 1995
  • Delphi Programming Explorer (with Jim Mischel and Don Taylor): Coriolis, 1995
  • Delphi 2 Programming Explorer (with Jim Mischel and Don Taylor): Coriolis, 1996
  • C++Builder Programming Explorer (with Jim Mischel): Coriolis, 1997
  • Degunking Windows (with Joli Ballew): Paraglyph, 2004
  • Degunking Your PC (with Joli Ballew): Paraglyph, 2005
  • Learning Computer Architecture with Raspberry Pi, John Wiley & Sons, 2016

My books have appeared in translation in many languages, including German, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, Italian, Croatian, Polish, Japanese, Korean, and Chinese.

ContraPositive Diary

I have been a blogger since long before that awful word came into being. In June of 1998 I began posting daily or near-daily observations on the Coriolis Web site, at the encouragement of my ad sales rep for Visual Developer. As she put it, the advertisers liked my writing, and given our limited page count, it was an opportunity to work in a lot more product mentions. I’m not sure it ever sold us any ads, but VDM Diary gathered a following, and morphed into ContraPositive Diary after Visual Developer folded in the spring of 2000.

ContraPositive is not themed as many blogs are. It’s not “about” computing, or Wi-Fi, or religion, or politics. It’s a record of my life as an emergent process, done in the hope that others can use or at least enjoy some of the things I’ve learned and seen and done. It’s something like a public “day book,” as writers call it: The place to keep those strange ideas and vivid impressions that occur to one on a walk in the mountains, so that they can be put to use in later writing. It’s also good writing discipline. ContraPositive is now almost 3,000 items long, with many photos and individual entries as long as 1000 words.

I’m sure that ContraPositive is neither the oldest nor the longest-running blog on the Web, but it’s right up there, and I claim (with Lisa Marie Hafeli, God love her) independent invention of the concept.

Computer Programming

I have programmed in quite a few computer languages, beginning with FORTRAN on an IBM 360 mainframe in high school. My primary experience, however, has been with APL, COBOL, BASIC, Pascal, Modula 2, and x86 assembly. (I wrote code for a few in-house programming languages at Xerox that are best left forgotten. No, they were not Mesa or Cedar, alas.) That said, most of what I have done has been in Turbo Pascal and its visual descendant, Delphi. Post-Xerox, the bulk of my programming has been to support writing and hobby projects, but I fielded a little mortgage calculator program with SofSource, a “$6.99” discount software publisher, in 1992. The program, albeit for DOS in text mode, was hugely popular with real estate agents and sold over 35,000 copies until the company ceased operations in 1996.

I still program in Pascal and occasionally x86 assembly, mostly to support other research and stay current. More recently, I’ve been using the free and open source Lazarus visual development environment for FreePascal, and enthusiastically recommend it, especially to students and hobby programmers.

Professional Affiliations and Awards

I received the Award of Distinguished Technical Communication and Best of Show for my book Assembly Language Step By Step, presented by the Phoenix Chapter of the Society for Technical Communication in 1993.

The Coriolis Group and several of our books (some of which I co-authored) won or placed in the Glyph Awards, conducted by the Arizona Book Publishing Association.

While living in Arizona, I was a member of the Arizona Book Publishing Association between 1992 and 2003. I served as President of the association for two years, 1999-2000.

Science Fiction

I was a published SF writer before (if by only a few months) a published technical writer. Shortly after attending the Clarion East SF writing workshop at Michigan State University in 1973, I sold a short SF story to Harry Harrison’s hardcover anthology Nova 4. The book appeared in mid-1974. Since then I have had thirteen or fourteen professional publications in the SF world, depending on what you consider “professional.” I did well in the 1970s, and in 1981 I placed two short stories on the final ballot of SF’s Hugo Award. After I began writing for the computer technical press, my SF output fell off sharply. I gave up SF almost completely from 1985 to 1997, simply for lack of energy to produce both tech books and SF at the same time. Tech books made me (lots) more money, so I went where the money was.

My first SF novel The Cunning Blood was published in hardcover by ISFiC Press outside of Chicago in November 2005. I self-published it on the Kindle store in 2015 and paperback in 2018. In 2011 my friend Jim Strickland and I published two short novels in a single volume about my Drumlins universe, and published a paperback edition in tête-bêche format, in tribute to the Ace Double novels on which I cut my SF teeth in the 1960s. 2016 saw me self-publish my second full-size novel, this time a humorous contemporary fantasy, Ten Gentle Opportunities. Staying with a humorous slant, I published Firejammer in 2019, as a conscious tribute to the humorous adventures of Keith Laumer. In 2020 I published another fantasy novel, Dreamhealer. I have two self-published collections of short fiction: Souls in Silicon, containing all my short SF about strong AI, and Cold Hands and Other Stories, containing all the rest.

In 2021 I self-published a short novel, Complete Sentences, which is a nostalgic junior-high kind-of-a-romance, taking place in Wisconsin in 1966. It’s the only sizeable work of fiction I’ve ever published with no fantastic elements at all.

My Life and Other Passions

As I’ve told many people, I’m interested in almost everything except sports and opera. However, most of my spare-time energy has gone into technology projects of one kind or another. I built a simple but large reflecting telescope when I was 14, which is still in use today, though like the Dutchman’s Hammer there’s not much left of the original but the primary mirror. When I was 15 I ground and figured a 10″ Newtonian telescope mirror at Chicago’s Adler Planetarium for an even larger telescope, which is also still in use. I observe with both telescopes regularly. For details of these and other “junkbox” telescopes I’ve built, see my Junkbox Telescope Gallery.

I have been interested in electronics since I was 10, and throughout my teen years I was constantly assembling radios and other gadgets from parts pulled out of broken TVs and radios that I picked up off the curb on Chicago’s Garbage Day. I won my 8th grade science fair with a simple robot the size of a cigar box that could follow a white line on the floor, or home in on a flashlight beam. I took a correspondence course in electronics while I was in college (hedging my bets against finding an acceptable teaching position) and while I was at it, obtained an Amateur Radio license in 1973. I have been a licensed amateur ever since then, and currently hold callsign K7JPD. My very first transmitter was homemade (again using tubes and parts yanked out of junk TVs) and I have always had a radio project or two on the bench somewhere since then.

My enthusiasm for electronics led me to wire-wrap a primitive home computer in 1976, from an article published in Popular Electronics. I was never without a computer (or five or six) after that time. I built two separate computers into an elaborate radio-controlled robot named Cosmo Klein in 1978, and appeared with Cosmo on a very early Chicago cable TV show that I doubt anyone saw. For several years Cosmo and I appeared at malls and computer shows, and had a fair amount of press exposure that culminated in a co-appearance (with several other homemade robots) in a 1980 issue of the late Look Magazine.

I have been building and flying homemade kites since I was eight or nine, and still build them on occasion, and used to fly frequently at kite gatherings in Chicago’s Grant park. I have a popular Web article (originally published in Kite Lines) on the seminal Hi-Flier Kite Company, which manufactured the paper kites that I and my friends flew in the early-mid 1960s.

My wife Carol Ostruska Duntemann and I met when we were juniors in high school, and she only two weeks past her sixteenth birthday. Without quite realizing what we were doing, we transformed one another in subsequent years: She drew me out of my eccentricity, and I drew her out of her shyness. We married in 1976, and I will stand beside her as long as I can stand at all.

We have kept bichon frise dogs most of our adult lives. The most famous of them, the regal Mr. Byte, appeared in all of my magazines and figured in most of my early tech books. After seven years off, we adopted one again in mid-2005, the hyperdynamic QBit (for “quantum bit”). In 2007 we adopted Aero, and in 2009 Jack and Dash. QBit left us for the Rainbow Bridge in 2019, Jack in 2021, and Aero in 2023. We currently have only one, Dash, a retired AKC dog show grand champion. We are now living in Scottsdale, Arizona (again) after spending 13 years in Colorado Springs.

Well, that’s what I’ve done, and most people feel that what you are is (mostly) what you do. If pressed to describe what I am, I simply claim to be an optimist. I used to say “contrarian optimist” until I realized that optimism itself is contrarian in these cynical times. (I don’t speak of “free gifts” either.) Call it gonzo optimism, then. It stems from an insight I didn’t have until my forties: Life is neither comic nor tragic, because there is no “life”—there are only lives, each of which is subject to forces and freedoms that none share precisely nor truly understand. No one knows how—or even if—it ends, so how in all honesty can anyone prescribe a path other than one of radical hope?


  1. raymond youmans says:

    What can be done with compactron and other tubes? I’d hate to just throw out the 200-300 tubes I still have. I don’t know if I’d be interested trying to make amps (for example) with these…to sell. I’d love to know there was someone (or a few someone’s) who would like to buy these, or some of these, for a small price-( just to make something on the deal.) Looking over your history…you look like you have been VERY busy. Just thought I’d ask someone who might have answers. Enjoyed your sites I have visited! Thanks for your time.

    1. Ted Long, MD says:

      Hi Raymond,
      God..havn’t thought about Compactrons for ages…but they’re really interesting tubes. As a kid I built a “FM Home Broadcaster” from a Tom Kneitel article, that used 3 Compactrons…a 6D10 as oscillator, buffer, and first multiplier, a 6AG11 as First audio, phase modulator, limiter and clipper,and a 6AL11 as driver and PA. By reducing a few resistor values, I was able to get almost 12 watts out of it.\
      Only took 2 months til I got a letter from the FCC in Norfolk 🙂

      1. I have a lot of PEs and EIs from that era, so if you can recall the issue (or even the year) I might be able to hunt it down and add it to the list of Compactron articles.

  2. Earl Green says:

    Hi Jeff, I found your site by accident looking for some info on obsolete Miller inductors. Didn’t find the info but started reading your blog. I too have been a tinker all my life and really enjoyed what I have read so far. I retired after 22+ years at McDonald Observatory just down the road from where we now live and was struck by your reference to Jean Texereau and know of his legacy at the observatory. Prior to that job I served 20 years in the USAF retiring as a Major. I had a BSEE when I entered the AF and they sent me back for a MS. I mostly worked in research labs, application engineer for comm equipment, and program manager while in the AF. Saw and built some really neat stuff plus worked in some strange places. My first computer was a KIM, then I got a PET and went through all the Commodore line before finally getting a PC and now am pretty much locked into the PC world. I’ve been experimenting with some of the really cheap TI “430” boards and recently purchased two of the Raspberry-Pi “B” units so am now learning Linux plus program development for them. I’m also interested in 1-wire and have built some hardware over the years and now planning to move that to the R-Pi. During the time I have worked at the observatory, we built our current home in a fashion similar to “Earth ships.” You can see most of the construction details at my salukiman site. When my wife and I met in college she had been a saluki owner since she was around 5 so we have had a long sequence of salukis. We used to show them and lure course a while back. I designed and built some of the early electronic equipment used to control the speed of the lure and even published two articles in a national saluki magazine.
    It has been great finding you on the web. I’ll be back to finish all your articles. Thanks, Earl

  3. Richard Consales says:

    Your information on carbon microphones was priceless for me. I’ve been looking for a source for microphone carbon for a high school science lab project. I plan on having students construct microphones and create a telephone system in the classroom. I have an old book called “Electrical Things Boys like to Make” from the 40’s that describes how but over time the material availability factor fades. Can’t go down to the local hardware for what they spec. I’ll scan the pages and send them if you wish to see it. Do you know of any other sources for effective carbon granules to use other than the antracite coal method? I’m not too familiar with how to bake it down and would do better with a source of carbon already done. Any info you can provide would be appreciated. Thanks, Rich Consales Tech Teacher Morris Hills High School Rockaway NJ

  4. jones says:

    Hiii Man,..You’re one of My Idol,…Great Jobs,..That You’ve Done So Far…:Salute::

  5. Craig Anderson says:

    I just stumbled across this site and I’m enjoying it immensely. I’m a 60 year old geezer software developer living in Pueblo. I head up to Colorado Springs for things like the Raspberry Pi Mix and 3d Printer meetups. I also read a lot of fiction, so I’ll take a look at what you have written. Anyway, I’m finding your
    online diary a hoot.

    1. I’m not entirely sure being 60 qualifies one for the Geezer Cluster–I’m there right now. Granted, I’m sure I did when I was thirty. But the targets keep moving. I hadn’t heard about the Raspberry Pi Mix but will look it up, and it’s possible that I’ll see you there. It’s a big part of my current research.

  6. Len G says:

    I remember Top Flite and Hi-Flier kites from my childhood, mostly Top-Flite because that was what was readily available. If I couldn’t find a box kite I tried for a Jolly Roger, they sold out pretty quick, but I remember the Biplane, 30, and Littleboy, too. I truly miss the paper kites.

    I preferred the box kites and didn’t find them all that fragile, BUT … I learned how to reinforce them with parts from defunct kites, usually ones my younger brothers had crashed.

    I’ve built quite a few from spruce strips and silkspan bought at a hobby store after the paper ones became hard to find. A couple of them were 6 foot high.

    A four footer ripped the passenger mirror off my car (I had tied it there after getting three full spools of lie out) and the weight of the mirror was enough to create drag and the kite kept going up until it was out of sight.

    One of the 6 footers had over half a mile of line out before a gust of wind broke it free. Lost it, of course.

    I purchased a nylon box kite for my granddaughter, just to get her started, and get her away from those awful plastic delta kites. I’ve begun building diamond kites with wrapping paper and 30 inch marshmallow skewers, and have a box kite in the planning stage.

    Thanks for the trip down memory lane.

  7. russ costanza says:

    Jeff, i remember those man on the moon kites so vividly,also the Dragon kite was one of my favorites, It was yellow back round with a green dragon, those were the two kites i bought the most, Great memories.

  8. Steve Moulding says:

    You may already know about this, but if not, a very interesting archive.

  9. Like others, I stumbled on this by accident while trying to find out why a client’s Windows Update isn’t working. I am so happy to see that one of my heroes from the 1990s has made it into 2014. I had to get out of programming because there’s no money in the USA in a field that has been shipped to India because of the cheap labor there, but I will never forget my days writing my harness race simulator in Turbo Pascal. I still linger on as a network consultant, but programming was lots more fun. There are two great Jeff’s in the computer field, Jeff Duntemann and Jeff Middleton, each always with a special place in my heart.

  10. Jim Boardman says:

    Hi Jeff – I’m a long time follower, starting in your Borland days, and have bought several of your books. You’re a talented author and I have a hard time understanding how you find time to be so prolific when you’ve got so many other interests! I imagine your fingers flying over the keyboard in a blur…

    Like you, I’m a Delphi programmer, a ham (KJ1MBO, studying for my Extra Class license right now) and an electronics tinkerer. I built my first Heathkit, an AR3, in 5th grade and many others after that including an SB-301 and SB-401.

    I’m writing in response to your Jan 21, 2014 “The March of Computer Time” piece. My first job after university was in radar research at a college in Rapid City. As principal software developer on a “maxed out” PDP-8 system, I wrote everything in “PAL” (Program Assembly Language). Our beloved “mini-computer” had three 8 foot, 19 inch racks filled with most of the goodies that a PDP-8 was able to interface with including expanded memory (8K core as I remember) and dual DECTapes!

    That was 1967 to 1971. I still have, in a protected tape tray, a set of paper tapes used to boot the PDP-8 and also run small programs. We had an ASR-35 teletype. I would be more than happy to send some of these tapes – just let me know an address! I’ve got several DEC tapes too if you have an interest.
    73 – Jim

  11. J.D. Hildebrand says:

    Hi Jeff.

    Your name came up unexpectedly in a conversation I was having with a new friend, and your face appeared vividly in my memory. I’m living in Serbia now, of all places, supporting myself with freelance writing and editing while finally raising a family. My first child, little Maja, turns 2 in a couple weeks.

    I stopped by to take this opportunity to embarrass you once more with a flat declaration of admiration and affection. We ran the good race, you and I, and every time I thought I was ahead, I looked up and there you were, slipping past me yet again.

    Be well, and my best to everyone.


  12. Stephen Walters G7VFY says:

    Hi there,

    I really liked your Compactron page. I accidentally bought some to experiment with. Big problem… decent sized high voltage mains transformers are hard to find, and expensive.

    However, I found some useful links that you might want to have a look at:-


    Stephen Walters G7VFY

  13. Jason says:

    Your book on assembly is a priceless addition to my library of programming books. As a beginner with assembly even I with a programming background (C/C++) found it was impossible to learn anything useful from other assembly texts. They displayed the information, completely ignoring that they had skipped on teaching or even referring to the prerequisite concepts to be understood, truly as if they were on their “high horse” and were too good to bother explaining the minor details to the laymen. I could not begin to express how other texts had failed where you succeeded, in expressing all of the prerequisite information and concepts to understand and connecting them with their applications in real examples. I personally feel as if you have a civic duty to continue releasing new editions (Hopefully soon, to go over 64 bit architecture).

  14. chenhao says:

    我非常感谢您写汇编语言基于LINUX环境 这本书与众不同 阅读中非常开心 感激之下我一定要表达我的感激之情~!谢谢您 Jeff Duntemann
    I thank you very much for writing assembly language environment based on LINUX distinctive reading this book under appreciated very happy I must express my gratitude ~! Thanks Jeff Duntemann
    I am Chinese, I use the Google translator if there is something wrong places also like him to bear

  15. chenhao says:


    I found online a few photos of your set wallpaper ~! Haha handsome ~! You really handsome ~!

  16. chenhao says:

    I’ll stick your name on the wall in my home ~!
    Jeff Duntemann
    I will always remember you

    I like you

  17. Hi, Jeff! It’s been years since we’ve communicated, but I still think of you as a good friend. (Chalk that up to being extremely introverted. I can live a rich, full social life without leaving my home.) Lots to catch up on; perhaps the biggest thing for me is that I quit my job in March with no job to go to and finished writing a book on forgiveness. Now I am trying to figure out how to make an EPUB from the InDesign files. (I’ve got it laid out for print right now, and it looks gorgeous.) Send me an email if you like; I’d like to get back into regular communication with you.



  18. R0B R0D says:

    I have been studying your book on Asm for Linux. Thanks a lot for your effort. I am having issues getting Insight compiled and dont feel like getting into the debugging honestly. Can you suggest anything else? Thanks a lot. Nice website too!

  19. Stickmaker says:

    Recently found a cache of my old Polaroid instant photos. These three are from the 1979 NASFiC. You’re in at least two and I think that’s Carol in one. There should be more but so far this is it:

  20. Josh Bensadon says:

    Just wanted to say Thank you. I learned about you through Lee Hart. He loves your work and I admire his work… so that puts me down low on the food chain. PS. I’m also an ELF builder as of 1979.
    Cheers, Josh Bensadon

  21. Hugh McCurdy says:

    I wanted to say that I am also enjoying the Assembly Language book. It is refereshingly well written.

    One comment so far. Windows 95 was not the first O/S to provide preemptive multitasking on the PC (Chapter 3). Xenix (Microsoft’s Unix) provided preemptive multitasking well before 1995.

  22. I appreciate the mention of my site, but you spelled my last name wrong in the mention!

    If I had a nickel… 🙂

    1. Apologies; all fixed. I used to collect spellings of my last name on labels and envelopes sent by PR flaks in the pre-email era who took the name over the phone and didn’t ask me to spell it. “Jeff Stuntman” was probably my favorite.

  23. Scott Schad says:


    I’ve been tracking some jokers on Amazon that quickly put out books with identical titles to popular tech books. I noticed that there is a fake for your “Assembly Language Step-by-Step: Programming with Linux” book. Go out to this ISBN on Amazon: (1516954572). You’ll find a book with your title but the contents have been stolen from a book by Chris Rose called “Assembly Language Succintly.” You can find the full text online in a number of places.

    I only became aware of these jokers because a fake turned up with the title of my fairly obscure published master’s thesis: “Hydrocarbon Potential of the Caney Shale in Southeastern Oklahoma.” There can’t be more than one of those! The cover and description for the fake were generic, and the contents had been lifted intact from a public domain book on “Hydrocarbons” by J. Clifford Jones.

    Here’s a test: pick any long tech title on Amazon and search for it. I bet that you find a number of clones with stolen contents that sort of kind of resemble the subject matter if you don’t look too closely. I chose a book at random: “Node.js the Right Way: Practical, Server-Side JavaScript That Scales” by Jim R. Wilson. The identical title showed up by three more authors, and the contents of the three fakes were all word-for-word copies of the book “Node.js Programming By Example” by Agus Kurniawan, which can be found online on his blog in full.

    This is a problem. I bet that I have only seen the tip of the iceberg.


  24. Scott Schad says:

    I noticed that a second fake book popped up on Labor Day with your same title: “Assembly Language Step-by-Step: Programming with Linux.” This new book (1516851714) shows the author as Niamh B. Taylor. The contents are the same pirated assembly language book by Chris Rose, that this same author is also selling under the title of Jim R. Wilson’s book, “Node.js the Right Way: Practical Server-Side JavaScript that Scales.” Niamh is a busy little devil! There are 17 books listed by this author on Amazon; none of the ones that I’ve checked have turned out to be genuine.

  25. Scott Schad says:

    Jeff– I put a summary of Amazon’s fake books problem on my website. You can find it on under the “Pirated books on Amazon” link. -Scott

  26. Douglas Drummond says:

    I’m glad to find your blog. I think Bill Higgins introduced us at Book Expo many years ago about 2000 AD. At the time I mentioned that your article on Borland Turbovision had saved my job. The C++ version had exactly the same bugs as the Pascal version that you discussed in your article series.

    I noticed the stuff on teaching assembly and comments about old computers. My first computer at college was a Bendix G-15D, which was based very closely on Turing’s ACE. The designer had worked with Turing in the late 1940s. I wrote a simulator for another old machine, the “Royal Typewriter” LGP-21 and am working on one for the G-15, which has the most Gosh-Awful machine language. I am working on some tutorials based on the LGP-21 to teach machine language concepts.

  27. Adam says:

    Jeff, with Amazon Kindle’s “loan” via Kindle Unlimited program, do authors receive royalties? I would rather buy your book for 2.99 than see you get ripped off. Very excited to have found your site as well.

    1. Yes, they do. And quite a bit of it, too. About 40% of the revenue I received from my novel The Cunning Blood in 2015 was from Kindle Unlimited. In fact, because the book is so long (144,000 words) if someone reads the whole novel on KU I actually get more money than if they buy it outright for $2.99. It’s an odd system but it worked very well for me.

  28. Hello. I have read two of your book and you came to mind when I fixed the audio track for the Atlas robot video. You would have dropped off of my RADAR if I had not noticed all of the Borland books.

  29. Allen Tomas says:

    I’ve been looking for a plastic 2 sticker kite,Almost positive it’s Hi-Flier it was neon Red,Green,yellow, with a flying horse in black on the front. Hi glow -flier please contact me .Pictures /for sale. I know that they were real because they were in trees in my local park as a child.

    1. These kites exist and are fairly common (I’ve seen several, and used to have one myself) and they come up regularly on eBay. Watch eBay for “flying horse kite” or “pegasus kite.” Beyond that I don’t know what to tell you. Most of the kites in my collection came from eBay.

  30. Kevin M. Thomas says:

    Hi Jeff HUGE fan of your 3rd edition of ASM step-by-step, do you have a time frame for your 4th edition and will it contain x64 material? Thank you.

    1. It’s not up to me. The publisher keeps track of sales, and when they feel a new edition would justify the expense of creating one, they give me a call. One difficulty is that they want to keep the printed book at a certain length and no more. That length is 600 pages, and we’re already there. I’m going to ask for another 100 pages to cover 64-bit topics, but it’s entirely possible that I will have to work within that 600-page limitation. This means I’ll have to cut material to add new material, and it’s far from clear what I can cut without losing the progressive nature of the tutorial.

      Historically, editions have lived for 8-9 years. (The book has been around since 1988.) The latest issue was published in 2009, so we may have a couple of years yet. It’s too soon to begin either expecting it or worrying about it. Of course, they could call me and ask for a new edition tomorrow. It’s always come as a bit of a surprise. So stay tuned; I will announce the signing of a new edition on Contra here as soon as I sign it.

      Good luck and thanks for writing!

  31. Michael Byrne says:

    Hi Jeff,
    The technology changes over the past 40 years have been amazing. I remember buying PCT and VDM many years ago, as well as a number of Pascal/Delphi related Coriolis books. Then Borland seemed to lose the plot… Anyway, we now have Lazarus/Free Pascal which I am becoming acquainted with and hardware like the Raspberry Pi is making computing fun again (sort of like the BeBox promised but then disappeared). Recently, I came across a project that has some exciting possibilities. It uses the Lazarus/FPC as a development platform for bare metal programming on the Raspberry Pi. It is called Ultibo (short for Ultimate Box) and the website is After years of boring office computing, this project is putting some of the excitement back into computing. It’s still early stages but some tremendous work has been done on it by the developer (Garry Wood). It is so good to see a project that uses a (IMHO) decent programming language rather than the (again, IMHO) “ugly” C variants. 🙂

  32. John McGing says:

    Going through an old box and find the May 1972 edition of Shantih, the DePaul literary magazine where you wrote a 5 page essay called “The Wider “What If?”. The last sentence is “So, with all due apologies to Shakespeare, Milton, Twain, and Bellow, I am forced to assert that literature consists of science fiction plus debris. (I was a 76 grad out of the English Dept there.)

    1. Yup. I remember that, though I lost my copy somewhere over the last 45 years. I used to make Dr. Ewers a little nuts sometimes, but she remains probably the best teacher I’ve ever had. To this day I can’t shake the suspicion that literature has fallen into its own navel and just disappeared, and she and I had a couple of honest, sensible talks about that. She suggested I go to law school, which might have been a gentle way of suggesting that I had no future in the liberal arts, heh.

  33. Steve Hall says:

    Hi Jeff,

    Wasn’t sure where else to put this…

    On the matter of a socket for Ryobi 1 batteries, I looked around a bit, and I suspect an off-the-shelf solution isn’t likely.

    That being said, I found this bit, it may point you in a good direction:

    Hope it’s useful, good luck!

    BTW, I thoroughly enjoy your web stuff, always a good read, and whether I may agree or not on certain points, I love a good well-thought rant!


  34. naveen arora says:

    Respected Sir,
    Any update regarding 4th edition of “Assembly language step by step” ?

    waiting for your reply
    naveen arora

    1. Nothing yet. The book has been in print now for 29 years, and new editions happen every 8-9 years. So we’re about due. However, the book is about as large as the publisher will allow it to be, and what a new edition really needs to cover are 64-bit issues. I can’t do that in five pages. So it’s unclear what I’ll have to delete in order to cover 64-bit.

      I think about this a lot. No good answers yet.

      1. naveen arora says:

        Respected Sir,
        Thanks for your reply. Many many students including me want you to revise your book. if publisher is not allowing you required pages, you can release ebook for those extra pages.
        Its not easy to teach assembly as a first programming language. but you did very good job.
        thanks again for very very good book
        naveen arora

  35. Beau McMurray says:

    Hi Jeff,
    It might be worth adding the following to your Assembly Language Step by Step page (it’s still possible in 2018 to install Insight after all).

    Great book by the way!

  36. Laura Rieger says:

    I enjoyed your article about Hi-Flyer kites very much. I have many happy memories of flying them with my dad and sisters in California in the 1960s. That article let me to your “Who I Am” statement — always interesting to read how someone sums up their life. Perhaps I will seek out some of your short fiction next. Can’t imagine what I’d do with your extensive technical and programming writing. I leave that to my husband! Cheers.

  37. Larry Reagan says:

    Hello Jeff,

    Longtime fan. Keep the contrapositive diary updates coming.
    I need to know about things like Poore Brothers potato chips, Pizza Terra (Pete Cetera?) winding coils on toothpaste tubes, etc.
    Here’s a link to video clarifying lyrics to a song on its fiftieth anniversary.

    Larry Reagan

  38. Hi Jeff! Just saying hi! I loved my subscription to PC Techniques and the little column you put at the end.

    As crazy as it may seem, when I first got into Linux administration, since pascal was my primary language, I actually wrote daemons using the Free pascal compiler (part of Lazarus today) for synchronizing servers and stuff.

    I was a fan of your Coriolis Group books as well.

    I’ve never read your scifi, but I probably should!

    Anyway, just leaving you some well-wishes and encouragement. You and your wife are great!


    1. Thanks! Sorry to take so long to reply; it’s been a messy summer.

      PCT/VDM was perhaps the finest single thing I’ve ever created, and it was an absolute riot to do. And in truth, if I could still make money in magazines, I’d still be in magazines making money. Those days are over, and the day of the technical specialty Web site is with us, though it’s tough to monetize Web sites. Nearly all my programming these days is in FPC/Lazarus, though I do go back to D7 every now and then. I can’t write books about Delphi anymore because I write intro books, and for that I need either cheap or free software to teach with, and Delphi is gonzo expensive. Lazarus is fine for teaching the fundamentals of GUI builders and event-driven programming. I’ve got a title in outline stages that re-uses a little of my portions of the Delphi Explorer. Not sure when that’ll get done, but writing tech books is exponents easier than writing fiction.

      Definitely try some of my SFF. I have six books now available on Kindle as ebooks, and there are paperback versions of most of them. Two are short story collections, and the rest are novels, including my peculiar tribute to the fabled Ace Doubles, which consists of two short novels back-to-back, each one with its own cover. Try *Firejammer* first; it’s a quick read and has reviewed well. After that, try *Ten Gentle Opportunities,* a “suburban fantasy” which contains a lot of programmer humor.

      Thanks again for stopping by and do keep in touch!

  39. bob trujillo says:

    Hi, I was wondering if you knew about the article on how to test compacterons on a regular tube tester that was published in “Radio-Electronics” May 1964? Since testing compactrons are nearly impossible without special adapters, this might interest those of us that are into compactrons. BTW, my career in electronics started in 1971 with a degree.
    I’ve worked at many hi-tech companies and just retired from 20 yrs at Intel

    1. No! I don’t have that issue of RE (I just cruised the stacks to be sure) but for me it’s a non-issue. I bought a late-era tube tester back in the mid-80s that included both Noval and Compactron sockets. That’s one reason I started fooling with Compactrons: I was able to test the greasy ones I had in a box from my high-school days of grabbing dead TVs from the curbs of Chicago on garbage day and taking them apart in the garage.

  40. Paul D. Paradis says:

    Hi Jeff,

    I looked you up because I started teaching myself x86_64 assembly on my CentOS 7 machine, and I happened to acquire a copy of your book on assembly language programming for Linux. Thank you very much for taking the time to write it. The first few chapters have really edified my understanding of how the cpu operates, how rame works, and the relationship between the two. I am currently solidifying my hex to decimal (and vice versa) conversions and getting ready to install the needed development environments and dig in. Thanks again for breathing life into that book. It’s a wonderful read, clear in exposition and highly engaging. Cheers!

  41. Emanuele says:

    Hello mr Duntemann, I was wondering: any chances you’ll be updating your “Assembly Language Step by Step” book?

    I have a copy of the third edition and it’s really an awesome book, it’s a real pity it’s getting outdated by not referencing 64-bit x86 cpus.

    So… Any chances?

    If I may add an idea, the update might come as an addendum to the old book, to detail just the changes, along with examples and discussions about the core ideas of the new ISA.

    1. Yes, this is a problem. Three things keep me from addressing it:

      • I don’t get to do a new edition any time I want. The publisher asks for one when their spreadsheeters thinks one could make money. We’re ten years into the third edition, and although I think it’s time, they’re not ready yet.
      • The publisher has a hard limit of 600 pages for the book. The book is now that long. Pages cost money, and affect the profitability of a book. If I wanted to do more than a high-level and mostly useless overview of 64-bit issues, I’d have to eliminate a fair amount of material from earlier in the book. I’m not sure what this would be.
      • I have a noncompete clause in the contract, and can’t self-publish an assembly book unless they approve it. This is a fairly common thing.

      That’s why the book doesn’t already have 64-bit coverage. If the publisher puts the book out of print, I would probably split it into two volumes and republish it myself, with the beginner stuff concentrated in the first and most of the actual programming (including 64-bit programming) in the second. However, the book’s been in print now for literally thirty years, and the publisher makes a fair amount of money on it. So I don’t think that’s going to happen any time soon.

      When they want a new edition, I’ll write one. That’s about the best I can promise. Good luck and thanks for writing!

  42. Bob says:

    it looks like Sarah Hoyt has a similar problem with altitude as you do. I grew up in Tucson then moved to Phoenix. I noticed that I felt better in Phoenix than in Tucson and that may be due to the approximately 1500 feet difference in altitude. difficulty with the altitude seems pretty common but it’s almost never discussed. here is Sarah’s story

  43. Joe Terranova says:

    Spotted you in this Keynote NDC Sydney 2016 video and thought it was funny. Not sure if you’ve seen it but he used your headshot as a random placeholder at about the 5 minute mark:

  44. Robert Herman MD says:

    I am having trouble downloading the listing archives for x64 Assembly Language 4th Edition. Where to I go. The URL you state is in the introduction is not there.

    1. I’m having trouble with my ordinary servers so I put the book’s page right up here on WordPress, alongside my blog. Here’s the URL:

      That’s where you’ll find the correct link to the listings archive, TOC, and sample chapter. Also errata.

      Thanks for writing!

  45. Will Senn says:

    I’ve recently acquired your x64 Assembly Language book and it’s amazing. Thanks for writing it. It is quite well written and provides an astounding amount of relevant background material (supposedly for the novice, but quite interesting to the initiated, as well). You have a way of simplifying things that is refreshing. Thank you for writing it in a way that the examples can be built and run easily, without requiring exotic setup or lots of scaffolding. Along these same lines, I appreciate that the code is relatively simple and doesn’t use a bunch of macros and custom libraries. All that is really required for the text, is a text editor, nasm, and a linker like ld. SASM works and is fine too – thanks for going into detail about the needed changes to get stuff working there. No magic! Totally helpful.

  46. Lee Hart says:

    I’m not sure where this goes, but in case you read it… I just found out from a New York Times article that Nickalus Wirth died on New Year’s Day in 2024. We lost a real pioneer! Among other things, I hadn’t realized that he had worked at Xerox PARC on the Alto.

    1. I thought he died on 1/4. Not sure where I read that. Still, he was a significant hero of mine, and I wrote him up in my January 4, 2024 entry:

      He made it to 89. I’m happy with that. He certainly did not waste the years he had!

      1. Lee Hart says:

        Wikipedia says Jan 1, 2024 — but that may not be an authoritative reference.

        Nonetheless, I remember looking at Algol, and then Pascal, and thinking “At last; here’s programming language for humans, not computer geeks.” I didn’t have anything at the time that could run Pascal/MT, but by the time Turbo Pascal came out, I did. I ran it on my Heath H89, and its speed and ease of use just blew me away!

        It’s always seemed a shame that C became the preeminent language, and Pascal got relegated to history.

  47. Will Senn says:

    300 pages in to the 4th edition of x86 Assembly Language Programming and it’s a page turner, for sure. Either, I’ve hit critical mass on understanding this stuff or it’s the best book ever written on the subject :). I’ve been using it with gdb – what a pain compared to sasm. Still, it’s worth the extra effort. gdb, while being pretty unfriendly to beginners, is incredibly powerful and with some handwritten cheats scribbled on the back pages, it has worked for every example in the book so far.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *