Saturday, August 27, 2005

Last But Not Least .info Magazine

I can't forget one of the last magazine that I wrote for, .info magazine that started with the C64 as INFO=64 and then later concentrated on the Amiga. When Jim Oldfield stopped publishing his Midnite Software Gazette, .info magazine fulfilled the subscriptions and I did some writing for them as well. There were only a few product review type articles that they published, but I was pretty close with their publisher and editor.

Mark Brown, one of the original editors of .info magazine now has a website at www.atomicairship.com with lots of their magazine history, links to various Commodore resources and more. Pretty interesting stuff if you want to check it out.

From late 1987 through 1988 there were a total of 6 of my product review articles that were published in .info magazine:

  • Review: Microtroll (Sep/Oct-87, p.47)
  • Review: CCSZ Clock/Calendar (Nov/Dec-87, p.46)
  • Review: Assembler & Shell (Mar/Apr-88, p.76)
  • Reviews: Promenade C1 & Capture (May/Jun-88, p.59)
  • Review: Micro Detective (Jul/Aug-88, p.54)
  • Review: C128 Developers Kit (Sep/Oct-88, p.56)

Friday, August 26, 2005

In Between There Were Other Articles Too

Between all the writing for some of the major magazines of the time there were a few other minor articles published in a few other publications that I should mention:

  • VIC-20 Operating System Bugs (Torpet, Sep-82, p.10)
  • Award Winning Program (73 Magazine, Nov-82, p.94)
  • New Product Information (Money Machine, Issue 3.2.2, p.7)
  • New Product Information (Money Machine, Issue 4.2.3, p.4)

Plus there were trade shows like the World of Commodore in Toronto, the Consumer Electronics Show in Chicago and others. I also participated in a few discussion groups and made a few presentations from time to time as well. Then the online world really started taking off and I wound up getting more and more involved with QuantumLink, PC-Link, America Online, Delphi and others.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Remember the Midnite Software Gazette ?

After the writing with Kilobaud Microcomputing and RUN wound down, and I was getting involved with the Commodore magazines plus QuantumLink, my good friend Jim Oldfield asked me to help him with some articles for his Midnite Software Gazette. This was a monthly newsletter that covered everything Commodore related. We had known each other for years so I was more than glad to help. He actually listed me as an associate editor on his newsletter from October 1985 to June 1986. There were 24 of my articles published, including a bunch of new utilities and technical notes/hints, plus a number of reviews Jim asked me to cover for him.

It was really fun writing for Jim since there were no real constraints and I got to write a few very interesting programs. The BASIC Variable cross reference utility actually turned out to be a very handy tool! So was the BASIC program line number crossreference utility. Plus we redid my BASIC program compactor and uncompactor tools for the C128 system. And there were a lot of notes and programming information on the floppy disk drives, plus machine language programming.

If you pay attention, you'll notice that we published a number of QuantumLink Hints in the Midnite Software Gazette before the Inside QuantumLink column started in Commodore Magazine. This is sorta where that column idea was born!

I do have to give Jim Oldfield a special word of thanks for his support and encouragement throughout the years. I had met Jim at one of the early trade shows after talking on the phone numerous times. Once we met in person, we instantly became really good friends and managed to get together several times a year somehow. We wound up participating at a number of shows over the years and we've stayed in touch throughout the years. Thanks for everything Jim!

Here's a list of my articles that were published in the Midnite Software Gazette:
  • Hexadecimal File Dump Utility (Oct-85, p.17)
  • BASIC Variable Cross Reference (Oct-85, p.19)
  • C128 Notes (Nov/Dec-85, p.33)
  • C128/1571 Hints (Nov/Dec-85, p.34)
  • 1571 Notes (Nov/Dec-85, p.35)
  • 1571 Double Sided Format (Nov/Dec-85, p.36)
  • Program Load Address Fix (Jan-Feb-86, p.29)
  • QuantumLink Hints (Mar-86, p.44)
  • 8023P Printer Device Number Selection (Apr-86, p.28)
  • BASIC Program Line Number Crossreference (Apr-86, p.29)
  • Review: 35 Amazing Games for C128 (#33, p.06)
  • CBM MPS1000 Printer Review (#33, p.12)
  • QuantumLink Hints (#33, p.25)
  • Sequential Data File Spliter (#33, p.33)
  • Simple Copy (#33, p.35)
  • Compactor 128 (#34, p.30)
  • Uncompactor 128 (#34, p.32)
  • Getting Started in Machine Language Programming (#36, p.26)
  • Review: Drag Race Eliminator (#38, p.18)
  • Review: Time DOS (#38, p.20)
  • Review: Super Disk Librarian (#38, p.20)
  • Review: Disk Librarian v2.2 (#38, p.22)
  • Review: 1541/1571 Drive Alignment (#38, p.23)
  • Comments on 1541 Directory Expansions (#38, p.38)

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Commodore Magazine & Inside QuantumLink

While writing for Kilobaud Microcomputing and RUN, Commodore had asked me to write a few articles and reviews for their magazines - Power/Play and later Commodore Magazine. While writing sparadically for Commodore I was also writing for Midnite Gazette as well. Then in 1987 Commodore asked me to write a monthly column called Inside QuantumLink that covered everything and anything relating to the QuantumLink online service. At the time, I was heavily involved with QuantumLink and managing my online news service, so needless to say it was a busy time.

The Inside QuantumLink column ran from January 1987 to October 1989 with 34 columns published. Before the column there were 5 articles published in each of Commodore's magazines.

Here's a list of my articles that were published in Commodore Power/Play magazine:

  • Solitaire for the C64 and PET/CBM (Vol II #3, Fall-83, p.106)
  • Review: Pharoah's Curse (Mar-85, p.32)
  • Review: Puzzle Mania (Mar-85, p.36)
  • Review: Gyruss (Sep-85, p.24)
  • Disk Master'86 (aug/sep-86, p.130)
And here's a list of my individual articles that were published in Commodore Magazine besides the Inside QuantumLink columns:

  • House Inventory for the C64 (Vol 4 #4 Issue 25, p.113)
  • House Inventory Printer (Vol #5 Issue 28, p.94)
  • The CHRGET Routine (Apr-85, p.120)
  • BASIC 7.0 Tokens (Apr-86, p.60)
  • Inside the 1571 Disk Drive (May/Jun-86, p.156)

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Associate Editor For RUN Magazine Too

As Kilobaud Microcomputing magazine started to wind down I started writing for RUN magazine from the same publisher. RUN was more VIC-20 and C64 oriented and many in that market hadn't seen some of my earlier work. So the magazine wound up republishing a few of my earlier articles along with a number of new articles and reviews (mostly on assignment). In particlar, the popular BASIC program compactor and uncompactor utilities were redone for the C64 and republished in Nov 1984.

I was listed on the magazine masthead as an associated editor from January 1984 through February 1986. During that time there were a total of 14 articles published.

Here's a list of my articles that were published in RUN magazine:
  • C-64 Word processing Demystified (Jan-84, p.58)
  • Machine Language for Beginners (Jan-84, p.142) - book review
  • Be a VIC Memory Miser (Feb-84, p.84)
  • Disk Master Revisited (Feb-84, p.100)
  • Review: C-64 Link (Mar-84, p.145)
  • Review: Tricks for VICs (Mar-84, p.142)
  • FORTRAN Overview (Oct-84, p.66)
  • Review: Zaxxon (Oct-84, p.25)
  • Line Squeezer - Compactor II (Nov-84, p.54)
  • Line Expander - Uncompactor II (Nov-84, p.62)
  • Money Manager (Mar-85, p.26)
  • Review: Simon's BASIC (Apr-85, p.94)
  • Anatomy of the 1541 Disk Drive (Apr-85, p.135) - book review
  • Review: Mach 5 (Oct-85, p.20)

Monday, August 22, 2005

Next Was Compute Magazine

While writing the PETpourri column for Kilobaud I wound up meeting Robert Locke, the publisher of Compute! magazine, and he asked me to write a few articles for his magazine. He was after programs, reviews and technical articles for the Commodore systems. He had acquired a number of Commodore-related newsletters and combined them into a bimonthly glossy magazine. Well I wound up writing 17 articles for Compute! and Compute! PC/PCjr magazines that were published between 1980 and 1984. Plus a few of those articles were reprinted in five books that were published by Compute! Publications between 1981 and 1985.

With the Compute! articles I got to write a lot of utilities, including the highly popular BASIC program compactor and uncompactor utilities for the Commodore systems. And when some of my Commodore contacts went over to Atari I wound up writing a few articles about the Atari 400 and 800 home computer systems also.

While writing for Compute! Publications I even got invited down to their offices in North Carolina and met with the publisher, Robert Locke and some of his co-workers. He actually offered me a full time job with their book division but my wife wasn't up to relocating or having me commuting to NC, so we passed on the opportunity. I sometimes wonder what would have happened if I had taken him up on the offer!

Here's a list of my articles that were published in Compute! magazine:
  • An Easier Method of Saving Data Plus Home Accounting (Jan/Feb-80, p.23)
  • D&R Cassette System (May/Jun-80, p.86) - review
  • Word Pro Converter (Sep/Oct-80, p.89)
  • Compactor (Sep/Oct-80, p.104)
  • Disk Lister (Nov/Dec-80, p.110)
  • The Atari 825 Printer (Feb-81, p.24) - review
  • Atari Memory Dump & Disassembler (Mar-81, p.80)
  • Atari Super Breakout & Others (Apr-81, p.105)
  • Stud Poker (May-81, p.89) - review
  • Un-compactor (May-81, p.124)
  • PET/CBM Disk Formats (Jun-81, p.106)
  • Atari Data (Jul-81, p.128)
  • Atari Disk File Dump (Oct-81, p.110)
  • Insurance Inventory (Feb-82, p.28)
  • Word Hunt (Mar-82, p.68)
  • Disk Explorer for Commodore (Dec-83, p.298)

There was also one of my articles that appeared in Compute's PC & PCjr magazine:

  • Word Hunt (Mar-84, p.82)

And here's a list of the Compute! books with some of my articles:

  • Compute!'s First Book of PET/CBM (1981) - Home Budget (p.166), Disk Lister (p.183) and Compactor (p.190)
  • Compute!'s First Book of Atari Games (1983) - Word Hunt (p.109)
  • Compute!'s Easy BASIC Programs for the IBM PC & PCjr (1984) - Word Hunt (p.33)
  • Easy BASIC Programs for the Apple (1985) - Word Hunt (p.39)
  • Compute!'s First Book of IBM (1985) - Word Hung (p.169)

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Kilobaud Microcomputing & the PETpourri Column

Wayne Green eventually got out of Byte magazine and started another microcomputing magazine called Kilobaud Microcomputing. For a while I was writing for both computer magazines and then concentrated primarily on Kilobaud, all the while still writing for the 73 amateur radio magazine. I wound up writing a monthly column in Kilobaud called the PETpourri that focused on the Commodore line of computer systems. The column was actually started by another author who only wrote one or two columns before it disappeared. I talked to the magazine and they let me take over the column starting in January of 1980. Each month I covered new products, programming tips, ticks and techniques, plus anything else related to Commodore systems. That column lasted for about four and a half years (54 months) before Kilobaud faded and RUN magazine was started. My last column appeared in the June 1984 issue.

Besides the monthly column, I also wrote a number of articles for Kilobuad over the years including a few major utility programs. The one I remember the most was a utility program called Diskmaster that was an automatic disk cataloging program that would read the directory blocks on floppy disks and build a database listing all your programs and what disk they were on. I also wrote a 6502 assembler, disassembler and simulator package for developers that was written entirely in BASIC. There were a total of 12 of my articles that appeared in Kilobaud Microcomputing besides the 54 regular columns. Plus my name was on the masthead as an associated editor of Kilobaud Microcomputing from September 1980 to May 1984.

Here's a list of my individual articles that were published in Kilobaud Microcomputing besides the PETpourri columns:
  • Writing Diagnostic Routines (May-78, p.42)
  • PET's Keyboard Grows Up (Oct-79, p.82)
  • New Additions to the Commodore Line (Jul-80, p.36)
  • Write Self-Modifying PET Programs (Sep-80, p.30)
  • Real-Time Spectrum Analyzer (Jan-81, p.48)
  • Find That Program (May-81, p.200)
  • Atari's Assembler Editor (Jul-81, p.74)
  • A BASIC Assembler for the PET (Nov-81, p.114)
  • Disk Master (Jun-82, p.56)
  • Black Friday (Sep-82, p.88)
  • Commodore Launches A Winner (Mar-83, p.98)
  • Atari Sound & Graphics (May-83, p.124) - book review

Friday, August 19, 2005

Writing for Byte Magazine

I was writing for 73 Magazine when the publisher, Wayne Green, decided to start Byte. He selected Carl Helmers as the editor and Carl and I met at my home while I was living in New England to discuss the magazine content, layout and the first issue. I was going to write some articles for the magazine to help get things started. Since I was working for Digital Equipment at the time, I wrote an article on their new LSI-11 microcomputer system that was supposed to be in the first issue of Byte. Unfortunately the legal department at DEC couldn't get that article approved until after the publishing deadline for the first issue passed. So my major article appeared in the SECOND issue of Byte instead of the premier issue, but I did manage to get a smaller article and a word puzzle in the premier issue!

My name was actually included in the magazine masthead from June 1976 to May 1977, being listed as an associated editor. I wound up writing a number of articles for the magazine, many on assignment covering topics related to the theme in certain issues. I wrote a number of articles covering new microprocessors, new technology and more. Plus I generated a number of word puzzles for the magazine as well. Over the course of two and a half years I had a total of 23 articles publishing in Byte magazine before moving on to other publications.

Here's a list of my articles that were published in Byte:
  • Powerless IC Test Clip (Dec-75, p.26)
  • Word Hunt (Dec-75, p.18) - word puzzle
  • New Mini-Microcomputer System (Jan-76, p.12) - DEC LSI-11 article!
  • An 8080 Microprocessor OP Code Table (Feb-76, p.84)
  • Numbers (Feb-76, p.69) - word puzzle
  • Microprocessor Update: CP1600 (Mar-76, p.46)
  • Space Ace (Mar-76, p.77) - word puzzle
  • Microprocessor Update: TI TMS9900 (Apr-76, p.64)
  • Space Ace Revisited (Apr-76, p.12) - word puzzle
  • Puzzle Time (May-76, p.84) - word puzzle
  • Components & Parts (Jun-76, p.64)
  • Put the "Do Everything" Chip In Your Next Design (Jul-76, p.40)
  • Tool Box (Jul-76, p.39) - word puzzle
  • Microprocessor Update: SC/MP Fills A Gap (Sep-76, p.76)
  • Keep Pace With The Times (Oct-76, p.82)
  • Don't Waste Memory Space (Dec-76, p.58)
  • Product Description: OSI (Jan-77, p.94)
  • Black Friday (Jan-77, p.56)
  • Microprocessor Update: F8 System (Feb-77, p.88)
  • Baker Street Irregular (Feb-77, p.86) - word puzzle
  • Microprocessor Update: 8008 (Apr-77, p.110)
  • BASICally BASIC (Jul-77, p.96)
  • KIMER: A KIM-I Timer (Jul-78, p.12)

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Before RBakerPC

Before the online username RBakerPC was ever created I was very active in amateur radio. After graduating college with a BSEE degree from Drexel and getting married, we moved to Massachusetts where I worked for Digital Equipment Corp. for three years. While there I met Wayne Green who published an amateur radio magazine called 73. I was very active in ham radio contests and during one of our conversations I asked him why he didn't have a contest calendar column like the other amateur radio magazines. His response was that no one had ever volunteered to do it and would I be interested. To make a long story short, I took on the task and the column ran for 10 years.

During the time I was writing for 73, Wayne started up BYTE magazine for the early computer hobbyists. Somehow I managed to be involved in the early issues and even had my name on the masthead of the magazine for some time. I was writing various articles on and off for BYTE and then Kilobaud Microcomputing, Midnite Gazette, Compute and eventually Commodore Magazine among others. There were even a few regular columns like the PETpourri column for the Commodore PET, VIC-20, C64 and Amiga computers, plus an Inside Quantumlink column in Commodore's magazine. All told, there were over 200 published articles and columns, plus a few books, spanning over 20 years. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

With all my writing in the Commodore computing world, QuantumLink approached me to run a section on their new online service QuantumLink just before it went live to the public. I started with a technical Question and Answer section that quickly evolved into an industry news section. When they started up PC-Link to cover the RadioShack and IBM PC markets, I was asked to expand my news section to cover PCs on that service. Then when AOL was born, I was right there with an expanded version of my news service on that system too. And that's where the RBakerPC name was born! You see, in the early days on AOL, any username with the 'PC' suffix was a reserved system account with special meaning and privileges. For whatever reason, I've stuck with that username on every system since and it's followed me to this day.

Robert Baker