[...] Chips like the 8052 are dead and replaced with PIC(s?) and mini-controlers. New stuff is out like electronic compasses and GPS.
The 8052 is more or less a forerunner of the controllers used today. You'll enjoy the new controllers with "everything" aboard and all the sensors and actuators available today makes for interesting times, compared to back then.
Question is where can I get a book that brings me up to date with where the hobby is in 2010? I need descriptions on this new serial standard, what PICs are, practical circuits for using GPS, compasses, etc.
I don't think that any single book will bridge the two decades in all areas of the subject, so you gotta take a slice at a time.
New serial standard? Do you mean SPI? (IIC, which is used as well, is ancient)
PIC is the microcontroller family from MicroChip (formerly Arizona MicroChip) and is an acronym for Peripheral/Programmable/Protocol Interface Controller, which it started out as. Today it's a very powerfull microcontroller in its own right.
The PIC family is vast and new members are appearing quite often. It covers from a 6 pin SOT-23 to extremely large chips with numerous I/O (which explains the general lack of parallel chips like 8255, as you just use a controller with enough I/O).
Atmel makes the AVRs which most people here use, myself not
included, as I prefer the PICs. Those 2 families are the ones with the largest followings, but there are several other cores from other vendors.
I'd recommend you to get one of the project books by John Iovine
to follow and then you'll automatically get a lot more about peripherals and such along the way. Hanging out here should help too.
Here is a free download of one of Johns books I just tripped over, it's actually one of the better ones for starting up:John Iovine - Pic robotics - A beginner's guide to robotics projects using the Pic Micro - 2004.pdf (31,603 KB)
You can get similar books on the AVR and other cores, so remember that I'm biased toward the PICs
If you're not in for the challenge, perhaps stick to AVRs, which are closer to what you have done back in time, as they have evolved from the same stem as 8052 - PICs are a bit different (you can get some free samples of PICs from MicroChip to see if they'll work for you. Just choose wisely - or ask here for recommendations).