By Harry McCracken | Wednesday, April 1, 2009 at 1:11 am
Has it really been forty-five years this week since Technologizer’s debut? Why, it seems like just a few months. But it’s true–we’ve been covering technology since April, 1964, when CPU speed was measured in picohertz and “satellite radio” was something the CIA used to spy on Castro.
From our humble beginnings to our present-day state–which is arguably even more humble–it’s been a wonderful ride. After the jump, a few mementos and memories.
Not everybody remembers that Technologizer began as an online service. When we launched in April of 1964, there were only three IBM mainframes in the world powerful enough to receive us, we charged an hourly access fee of $15,000, and our network ran at 300-bpw (bits per week).
In 1968, we decided that then-current fad for print “magazines” might last, and added a “paper edition.” The innovative business model was supported both by advertising and by micropayments (seventy-five cents per issue, with generous discounts for monthly “subscriptions”). Our debut issue celebrated the emergence of the first notebook computers. Mobility would never be the same again.
Part of the fun of perusing vintage issues of Technologizer is enjoying the wonderfully nostalgic old ads., such as this one for Apple’s surprisingly obscure II-Phone, from the January 1979 issue.
In 1985, Technologizer relaunched with a new focus on Radio Shack’s TRS-80 microcomputers–which was an odd decision even then, considering how embarrassingly obsolete they already were. We stuck with the format for the next fifteen years, through a parade of ever-more-desperate cover stories.
Technologizer was early to hop on the Web bandwagon, with a site that debuted in mid-1992, before there were any browsers to access it. Like most early Web destinations, it was simple but useful, and the format turned out to be a durable one–we revamped it only in June of last year, when we unveiled our current design.
In recent years, long-time readers of computer magazines have complained that they’ve gotten noticeably smaller than they once were. In our case, it may gave had something to do with the handy new format we introduced in 2006 as a response to crippling increases in the cost of printing and postage. This intrepid response to the stark realities of today’s publishing world has helped keep Technologizer alive as one of the few remaining computer magazines; since 2007, it’s been distributed exclusively through General Mills cereals, including Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Rice Chex, and Frankenberry.
We wouldn’t change a thing about Technologizer’s first forty-five years. Well, okay, one thing. The order we placed in 2000 for 1.25 million customized CueCats emblazoned with our logo, if you must know. But that’s it. And we wouldn’t trade loyal readers like you for anything. Happy anniversary, everybody!