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
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
18/2 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
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
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
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
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.
18/4 PartV Bits and Bytes
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
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
18.2 ... Apple Publications
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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] .
18/10 PartV Bits and Bytes