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Full text of "A History of the Personal Computer"

Chapter 18 Magazines and Newsletters 

18.1... The Beginning 

Publication of personal computing articles was 
initially in electronic magazines such as Popular 
Electronics , QST and Radio-Electronics . Then came the 
magazines and newsletters devoted to personal computing 
and microcomputers. Most of these initial publications 
were not specific to a particular microprocessor or type 
of microcomputer. The following are some of the more 
significant publications . 

The first publication devoted to personal 
computing was the Amateur Computer Society ACS 
Newsletter. The editor was Stephen B. Gray who was also 
the founder of ACS. The first issue was published in 
August 1966 and the last in December 1976. It was a bi- 
monthly directed at anyone interested in building and 
operating a personal computer. The newsletter was a 
significant source of information on the design and 
construction of a computer during the time period it was 
published. 

The PCC Newsletter was published by Robert L. 
Albrecht of the People's Computer Company in California. 
The first issue was published in October 1972. The first 
issue cover stated it "is a newspaper... about having 
fun with computers, learning how to use computers, how 
to buy a minicomputer for yourself your school and books 
films and tools of the future." The newspaper name 
changed to the People' s Conputers with a magazine type 
of format in May- June 1911. 

Hal Singer started the Mlcro-8 Newsletter in 
September 1974. This was a newsletter published by the 
Micro-8 Computer Users Group, originally the Mark-8 
Group for Mark-8 computer users. Another publication 
started in 1974, was The Computer Hobbyist newsletter. 
This newsletter had an emphasis on computer circuits and 
assembly language programs. 

The first publication of Creative Computing was 
the November/December 1974 issue. The magazine had an 



18/1 



18/2 PartV Bits and Bytes 

initial emphasis on education and recreational 
computing. The editor and publisher was David H. Ahl who 
had previously worked for Digital Eguipment Corporation 
and AT&T in education marketing. Due to financial 
problems the magazine was subseguently purchased by 
Ziff-Davis Publishing Company who terminated publishing 
the magazine in 1985. 

The Homebrew Computer Club printed the first issue 
of its Newsletter in March/April 1975. Fred Moore was 
the first editor. 

MITS, Inc., published the first issue of Conputer 
Notes, A Publication of the Altalr Users Group in June 
1975. The editor was David Bunnell who was also the 
advertising and marketing manager of MITS, Inc. 

Wayne Green published the first issue of BYTE -- 
the small systems journal in September 1975. "Computers 
--the World's Greatest Toy!" headlined the cover of the 
first issue. The first editor was Carl T. Helmers, who 
had previously published the ECS Magazine . Subseguently 
Green lost publishing control of BYTE, then his former 
wife sold the magazine to McGraw-Hill, Inc. in 1979. The 
publication is oriented as a technical magazine for 
personal computer technology, hardware and software. 
Byte magazine has made a significant contribution to the 
personal computer industry. Unfortunately, the editor 
advised in July 1998 that "This is the last issue of 
Byte you'll be receiving for a few months." It was also 
advised that CMP Media Inc. had acguired the magazine 
and would re-launch it at a later date. 

The Southern California Computer Society (SCCS) 
started a newsletter that became the SCCS Interface . The 
Society published the first issue in December 1975. 
Subseguently the editor left SCCS and founded the 
Interface Age magazine. 

Jim Warren was the first editor of Dr. Dobb's 
Journal of Computer Calisthenics and Orthodontia 
(Running Light Without Overbyte) . The first issue was 
January/February 197 6. The focus of the magazine was on 
the dissemination of free or inexpensive software for 
microcomputers. The first issue had an article 
describing "Tiny BASIC" for the MITS Altair 8800 
microcomputer. The magazine name was subseguently 



Magazines and Newsletters 18/3 

shortened to Dr. Dobb's Journal and the content focus on 
software and programming. 

David Bunnell founded the Personal Coirputing 
magazine and the first issue was January/February 1977. 
Bunnell had previously worked at MITS, Inc., as editor 
of Coirputer Notes. Nelson Winkless was the first editor. 
The magazine is now published by Hayden Publishing. The 
focus of the magazine is on beginners and intermediate 
users who want to use the microcomputer as a 
productivity tool. 

Wayne Green published the first issue of kilobaud 
--The Conputer Hobbyist Magazine in January 1977. The 
name of the magazine was changed later to 
Microcoirputing. The last issue was published in November 
1984. 

Other Early Magazines and Newsletters 

Hal Chamberlain and some associates started the 
Coraputer Hobbyist newsletter in November 1974. The 
initial issue had articles on the Intel 8008 
microprocessor . 

Carl T. Helmers started the Experimenters' 
Conputer System (ECS) magazine and published the first 
issue in January 1975. Only five issues were printed 
then Helmers became the editor of BYTE magazine. 

Erik Sandberg-Diment started ROM --Conputer 
Applications for Living magazine in 1977. However only 
nine issues were printed then it was merged into 
Creative Coirputing. 

Roger Robitaille started a magazine called 
SoftSide about software that began with the October 1978 
issue. Mark Pelczarski was an early editor for the 
magazine. Robitaille published several variations of the 
magazine. However, he was not successful and the 
magazines ceased publication in 1984. 

Other publications were: Microprocessors and 
Microsystems first published in September 1976, 
MicroTeck --but only two issues were published in 1977 
then it ceased publication, ASCII is a Japanese magazine 
started by Akio Gun j i and Kazuhiko (Kay) Nishi in 1977. 
Popular Computing is another early magazine published 
for people who like to compute. 



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As microprocessors and microcomputers were 
released during the mid 1970' s, magazines and 
newsletters devoted specifically to those devices were 
released. The following are some of those early 
publications . 

Dr. Robert Tripp published a magazine called Micro 
that began with the October/November 1977 issue. The 
articles were usually technical and included many 
machine language programs. It was devoted to 6502 
microprocessor based personal computers. The magazine 
ceased publication in 1985. 

With the introduction of the Tandy Radio Shack 
TRS-80 in 1977, Wayne Green started a magazine called 80 
Microcoirputing. 

18.2 ... Apple Publications 

Apple II 

An Apple II user group in Seattle, Washington 
called the Apple Pugetsound Program Library Exchange 

(A.P.P.L.E.) started the newsletter Call-A. P. P. L . E . in 
February 1978. The first editor was Val J. Golding. The 
publication became a full magazine by 198 0. The name of 
the sponsoring group changed to A.P.P.L.E. Co-op in 
September 1984 and to TechAlliance in late 1988. With 
declining sales of the Apple II computer the magazine 
changed to a guarterly part way through 198 9. However 
with the ninth issue of that year, the magazine ceased 
publication. 

Mike Harvey started the Nibble magazine for Apple 
II computer users in January 198 0. The magazine was 
published by Software Publishing and Research Co. 

(S.P.A.R.C.) . The articles had an orientation to 
software and programming for beginners and advance 
readers. Harvey published a Nibble Mac edition in 1985. 
However with declining sales the magazines ceased 
publication in July 1992 . 

Softalk is a monthly magazine that was started by 
Softalk Publishing, Inc., in September 1980. Two 
principals in the founding of the magazine were Al and 



Magazines and Newsletters 18/5 

Margot Tommervik. So f talk was an informative magazine 
with a varied content and became a popular publication. 
It had a unigue offer of a six month free subscription 
to new purchasers of Apple II computers. However, a 
significant reduction in advertising revenue in 1984, 
resulted in the termination of the magazine after the 
August issue. 

A+ is a monthly magazine published by Ziff-Davis 
Publishing Company that started in 1983. It was an Apple 
II magazine for home and business users. The magazine 
merged with In Cider in 1989. 

InClder was a monthly magazine founded by Wayne 
Green that started in January 1983. In 1989 A+ magazine 
merged with InClder and became InClder /A+ . The last 
issue of the consolidated magazine was July 1993. 

Other Apple II Publications 

Apple Assembly Line is a newsletter produced by 
Bob Sander-Cederlof between 1980 and 1988. 

Peelings II is a magazine started in 1980, that 
was devoted to software reviews. 

8/16 is a monthly magazine featuring tips and 
technigues for programmers that was published by Ariel 
Publishing beginning December 1980. It subseguently 
became 8/1 6-Central in the form of a monthly disk. 
However, Ariel terminated publishing the magazine in 
October 1991. 

Open-Apple is a newsletter founded by Tom Weishaar 
in 1985. Weishaar had a column in the Softalk magazine 
and developed software for Beagle Bros. The name of the 
magazine was changed to A2-Central in December 1988. 

Softdlsk is a disk-based magazine that was founded 
by Jim Mangham and Al Tommervik in September 1981 as 
part of the Softalk Publishing company. With the 
termination of Softalk magazine in 1984, Softdlsk Inc., 
evolved. Other magazines created were Dlskworld for the 
Macintosh, Loadstar , On Disk Monthly and Softdlsk GS. 

AppleWorks Forum is a monthly newsletter published 
by the National AppleWorks Users Group (NAUG) for 
AppleWorks users . 

Cider Press is a newsletter published by the San 
Francisco Apple users group. 



18/6 PartV Bits and Bytes 

The Apple II Review magazine began in the fall of 
1985, then after five issues the name changed to Apple 
IIGS Buyer's Guide. This magazine ceased publication in 
the fall of 1990. 

IT Computing magazine was published from 
October/November 1985 until February/March 1987. 

GS+ is a bimonthly magazine founded by Steven 
Disbrow and published by EGO Systems for Apple IIGS 
users in September 1989. It ceased publication in 
November 1995. 

Macintosh 

A number of magazines exist for the Macintosh 
computer. Some of these are MacWeek, Macintosh Today, 
MacBusiness Journal, and MACazine that stopped 

publication in 1988. However two of the more popular are 
MacUser and Macworld. 

Macworld is a popular magazine for Macintosh users 
which was started by David Bunnell. The first issue was 
coordinated with the introduction of the Macintosh 
computer in January 1984. 

MacUser is a monthly magazine for Macintosh users 
which is published by Ziff-Davis Publishing Company. 

18.3 ... PC Publications 

PC Magazine was conceived by David Bunnell and 
financed by Tony Gold, a founder of Lifeboat Associates. 
The first editor was David Bunnell and the first issue 
was published as a bi-monthly publication in March 1982. 
The magazine was an instant success. However financial 
considerations resulted in the magazine being sold by 
Tony Gold to Ziff-Davis Publishing Company in 1982. The 
magazine became a monthly publication in 1983 and then 
to twenty-two issues per year in 1984. The sale to Ziff- 
Davis created differences, that resulted in Bunnell and 
a group of the staff leaving to start a new magazine 
called PC World. PC Magazine now has one of the largest 
distributions . 



Magazines and Newsletters 18/7 

PC World is a monthly magazine started by David 
Bunnell. The first issue was published in January 1983. 
It is now published by PC World Communications Inc. 

PCjr was a magazine published by Ziff-Davis 
Publishing Company for users of the IBM PCjr computer. 
The magazine was available for the introduction of the 
computer in November 1983. 

PC Week is a weekly publication started in 1984 by 
Ziff-Davis Publishing Company for the PC computer 
industry. 

PC Computing is a monthly computer magazine 
published by Ziff-Davis Publishing Company. 

Big Blue Disk is a disk-based magazine introduced 
by Softdisk Inc., in 1986. The magazine name was 
subsequently changed to On Disk Monthly. The company 
also published a disk magazine named Gamer's Edge. 

18.4 ... Other Publications 

Datamation started in 1955 and published twice a 
month by Cahners Publishing. It is a business magazine 
covering the computer industry. 

ConputerWorld started in 1967, it is the oldest 
computer weekly newspaper with coverage of both 
mainframes and microcomputers. The publisher is CW 
Communications . 

The Annals of the History of Computing quarterly 
periodical that was initially published by the American 
Federation of Information Processing Societies (AFIPS) 
Inc. The publications focus is on the history of 
computing including the people and companies . The first 
issue was in July 1979. It was changed to the IEEE - 
Annals of the History of Computing in 1984. 

Glenn E. Patch started Computer Shopper in 
November 1979 as a trading paper for used computers and 
peripherals. It evolved into a tabloid magazine by 1983, 
devoted to direct sale of computers, related equipment 
and software. Stanley Veit became editor-in -chief in 
1983. 



18/8 PartV Bits and Bytes 

InfoWorld is a weekly publication started in 
February 1980 and published by CW Communications. It 
provides news on the microcomputer industry. 

Coraputist is a magazine that began publication in 
1981 with the name Hardcore Cowputing. The magazine was 
initially dedicated to Apple II computer users with some 
emphasis on breaking copy-protected programs. Then in 

1983 the name changed to Hardcore Coirputist and 
subsequently to just Conputist . The periodical now 
covers IBM and Macintosh computers . 

Microsoft published the first issue of the 
Microsoft Quarterly around April 1982. The Microsoft 
System Journal is another publication published by 
Microsoft . 

Popular Electronics , an electronic experimenters 
magazine, pioneered personal computing with the January 
1975 issue describing the Altair 8800 microcomputer. The 
editor was Arthur P. Salsberg and the technical editor 
was Leslie Solomon. In November 1982, the magazine name 
was changed to Conputers & Electronics . However, the 
transition from an electronics to a computer oriented 
magazine was not successful. Declining revenues during 

1984 resulted in the termination of the magazine, with 
the last issue in April 1985. 

Springer-Verlag published the first issue of 
Abacus in 1983 and the last in 1987. It had numerous 
articles on the history of computers . 

Loadstar is a disk-based magazine published by 
Softdisk Inc., for Commodore 64 computer users that 
started in June 1984. 

Conpute is a monthly magazine published by Compute 
Publications and targeted at beginning users of personal 
computers . 

Pico is a magazine on portable computing started 
by Wayne Green. 

Scientific American is a magazine that has 
published a number of articles and special issues on 
computing. An article by Eric A. Weiss entitled 
"Scientific American's Snapshot of Software" in Abacus 
Volume 2, Number 2 (Winter , 1985) has a sampling of 
computer articles from Scientific American on page 47. 
The September 1977 issue on "Microelectronics," the 



Magazines and Newsletters 18/9 

December 1982 issue on "Personal Computers," the 
September 198 4 issue on "Computer Software" and the 
January 1998 issue on "The Solid-state Century" are 
examples of special issues devoted to computer 
technology. 

rime magazine has also had special issues and 
covers related to the personal computer industry. A 
special cover and section describing a "miracle chip" 
and the concerns of a computer society was featured in 
the February 20, 1978 issue. Since 1927, Time magazine 
featured real individuals for its Man of the Year issue 
and cover. On the 3rd of January 1983, Time magazine 
featured the microcomputer on the cover. It was 
headlined "Machine of the Year: The Computer Moves In." 
This change by Time magazine symbolized the 
technological impact that the personal computer had 
created. Another article featured Andrew Grove in the 
Dec. 97/Jan. 98 issue. Recent issues in 1997 with 
special front covers and articles are Bill Gates on Jan. 
13th., Steve Jobs on Aug. 18th., and Steve Case on Sep. 
22nd. 

Wired magazine was co-founded by Nicholas 
Negroponte in 1992 . 

18.5 ... Reference 

The publication of periodicals and newsletters 
relating to microcomputers is extensive. A source for 
additional details is a publication entitled 
"Microcomputing Periodicals : An Annotated 
Directory" [12 6] . The 1985 directory listed over one 
thousand titles. 

For additional information on the Creative 
Confuting magazine and publisher David Ahl , reference 
article by John J. Anderson entitled "Dave Tells Ahl: 
The History of Creative Computing" [447, pages 66-77] . 

An overview of some early magazines is contained 
in "Computer Magazine Madness" by Stanley Veit in 
DIGITAL DELI [190, pages 66-69] . 



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