The End of Computer Magazines in America

With Maximum PC and MacLife’s abandonment of print, the dead-tree era of computer journalism is officially over. It lasted almost half a century—and was quite a run.

Maximum PC and MacLife

The April issues of Maximum PC and MacLife are currently on sale at a newsstand near you—assuming there is a newsstand near you. They’re the last print issues of these two venerable computer magazines, both of which date to 1996 (and were originally known, respectively, as Boot and MacAddict). Starting with their next editions, both publications will be available in digital form only.

But I’m not writing this article because the dead-tree versions of Maximum PC and MacLife are no more. I’m writing it because they were the last two extant U.S. computer magazines that had managed to cling to life until now. With their abandonment of print, the computer magazine era has officially ended.

The first issue of Byte, the first magazine about personal computers—and many people’s candidate for the best such publication, period..

It is possible to quibble with this assertion. 2600: The Hacker Quarterly has been around since 1984 and can accurately be described as a computer magazine, but the digest-sized publication has the production values of a fanzine and the content bears little resemblance to the slick, consumery computer mags of the past. Linux Magazine (originally the U.S. edition of a German publication) and its more technical sibling publication Admin also survive. Then again, if you want to quibble, Maximum PC and MacLife may barely have counted as U.S. magazines at the end; their editorial operations migrated from the Bay Area to the UK at some point in recent years when I wasn’t paying attention. (Both were owned by Future, a large British publishing firm.)

Still, I’m declaring the demise of these two dead-tree publications as the end of computer magazines in this country. Back when I was the editor-in-chief of IDG’s PC World, a position I left in 2008, we considered Maximum PC to be a significant competitor, especially on the newsstand. Our sister publication Macworld certainly kept an eye on MacLife. Even after I moved on to other types of tech journalism, I occasionally checked in on our erstwhile rivals, marveling that they somehow still existed after so many other computer magazines had gone away.

I take the loss personally, and not just because computer magazines kept me gainfully employed from 1991-2008. As a junior high student and Radio Shack TRS-80 fanatic, I bought my first computer magazine in late 1978, three years after Byte invented the category. It was an important enough moment in my life that I can tell you what it was (the November-December 1978 issue of Creative Computing) and where I got it (Harvard Square’s Out of Town News, the same newsstand that had played a critical role in the founding of Microsoft just four years earlier). Even before I purchased that Creative Computing, our mailman had misdelivered a neighbor’s copy of Byte to our house, an error I welcomed and did not attempt to correct. From the moment I discovered computer magazines, I loved them almost as much as I loved computers, which is why I ended up working in the field for so long.

A 1989 Wall Street Journal article on the big bucks being made in the computer magazine business. From the collection of David Bunnell, who cofounded PC Magazine, PC World, and Macworld, among other publications.

I spent most of that time at PC World, which I joined in late 1994 at almost precisely the moment it launched its first web presence. From the start, the web was a terrific way to keep tabs on tech news. Eventually, it would make the whole idea of a publication about computers that came out once a month feel more than a little silly. It also let merchants reach customers directly, a gut-punch to the ad business that had made PC World and its biggest rivals so profitable.

But the web didn’t render printed computer magazines obsolete overnight. PCW had some of its fattest, happiest years as a business in the late 1990s. Even in 2008, when I left, the print magazine was a profit center, not an albatross.

Indeed, the entire computer magazine category spent years in Wile E. Coyote mode. We’d blithely walked off a cliff—it’s just that gravity hadn’t kicked in yet. Here’s a slide from an internal PC World presentation charting our newsstand sales vs. our principal surviving competitors from 1996-2004. By this time, several major magazines had already failed: Byte in 1998 and PC Computing and Windows in 2002.

I should pause to acknowledge that newsstand sales weren’t the primary barometer of a computer magazine’s health. For one thing, about 90 percent of PC World issues were sold via subscription. For another, advertising was what kept us rolling in dough. Still, selling single issues at $6.99 a pop was a great little business in itself, so we put a lot of effort into creating a product that people would notice at the newsstand and choose to purchase. And I am ashamed to admit that I occasionally moved the PC Worlds in front of the PC Magazines when I encountered them for sale, though I wouldn’t be astounded if there were Ziff-Davis staffers who performed the same ploy in reverse.

Our point with the above chart was that PC World had become the newsstand leader. But it did so not by growing but by bumping along rather than nosediving. As you can see from the chart, Maximum PC was the only title that ticked steadily upward. It clearly cared about the newsstand as much as we did, and we worried that it might someday surpass us. (It never did, at least during my tenure.)

In the 1990s, Computer Shopper was so huge it teetered on the verge of being impractical to, you know, read.

Unless you worked at PC World in 2004, what’s most striking about this chart is Computer Shopper’s utter collapse—from something like 350,000 issues sold at the newsstand a month to fewer than 55,000. As the most catalog-like major computer magazine, it was the most vulnerable to being rendered obsolete by the web. Once a 1,000-page (!!!) monthly behemoth, it withered in more dramatic fashion than PC World or PC Magazine. When it didn’t feel like Computer Shopper anymore, readers lost interest.

Even PC World’s best newsstand seller of all time—our Windows 95 issue, seen below in another internal PowerPoint slide—didn’t match Shopper’s mid-1990s heyday. But we sold almost 200,000 copies, for a sell-through rate nearing 60 percent—figures that slipped out of the realm of possibility within a few years. Counting subscribers, we peaked in 1999 at a circulation of 1.25 million, the largest ever for a computer magazine.

Computer magazines had been such a robust business that they could spend years dwindling and remain viable. PC Mag didn’t abandon print until 2008, shortly after I left PC World. Shopper followed the next year. PCW held on until 2013, whereupon I wrote a piece for TIME asserting that the era of the computer magazine had ended. (In retrospect, that was a tad premature.) Macworld made it to 2014.

A Maximum PC cover from back when we at PC World were a little intimidated by their newsstand prowess. (It hasn’t aged well.)

Maximum PC and MacLife, meanwhile, pretty much ignored the internet. They even dismantled their web presences: now redirects to, a sister brand, while simply spits out a string of garbage characters.

Pretending that the internet didn’t exist sounds like a preposterous strategy for keeping a print magazine alive, but it somehow worked. Maximum PC and MacLife survived—scrawny, but with a pulse—until 2023. Their final issues were 98-page weaklings that cost $9.99 apiece and seem to have a grand total of one page of paid advertising between them—plus an article sponsored by a mail-order computer dealer. MacLife has an editorial acknowledging it’s going digital-only; Maximum PC does not.

My local Barnes & Noble still has a sizable technology magazine section, but it’s dominated by British imports that aren’t quite computer magazines.

Should we mourn the end of computer publications printed on paper? No—and yes. What was great about the computer magazine age wasn’t that the information was printed on dead trees and delivered by truck once a month. In most respects that matter, the web is a far superior way to keep people informed about the technology in their lives.

But as timely and efficient a means of communication as online media is, the entire computer publishing industry failed to figure out how to turn it into a business that was remotely as vibrant as print had been. And those vast quantities of full-page ads paid for some amazingly ambitious service journalism.

PC World had a sprawling lab full of technicians benchmarking everything from laptops to TVs, and paid experts well to write how-to columns on products such as word processors and spreadsheets. When we wanted to compare the usability of Windows, OS/2, and Mac OS, we hired normal everyday people through a temp agency and shot video of them performing typical computing tasks. We invested an absurd amount of money on twice-yearly surveys that let our readers rate the reliability and customer service of major computer manufacturers. In 2000, I dropped everything to spend months flying around the country working with Dateline NBC on an investigation into PC repair shops.

Forty years ago, PC World published the most successful debut issue in magazine history.

PC World’s headcount over the last couple of decades tells a story in itself. In mid-2000—well into the web era—we had 80 journalists, product testers, and designers on staff. Seven years later, the figure was slightly over half that. Today, the masthead of the all-digital PCW carries 13 names. I’m unsure if they’re all full-time employees, and almost half are pulling double duty on Macworld.

There is still fine work being done at the online incarnations of former print publications and newer outlets that were digital from the start. I haven’t even mentioned the fact that today’s tech media spans the written word, video, audio, and community—and that it’s possible for an individual journalist to partake in all of the above without being employed by a giant company. Bottom line: If there was a magic switch that would let us ditch present-day computer journalism for what we had in, say, 1995, I wouldn’t flip it.

(Of course, I might feel differently if I’d owned a fabulously profitable computer magazine rather than merely working at one.)

I do remain grateful that computer magazines existed. I’m glad I got to help make them. It’s great that many vintage issues are available in scanned form at the Internet Archive, Google Books, and elsewhere. Their time has passed—but what a time it was.


  1. Bill Snyder April 15, 2023 at 11:07 am #

    Not many journalists have your institutional memory which makes this such a good story. One other reason it was such a good time: computer magazines were paying journalists enormous salaries.

  2. Esther Schindler April 15, 2023 at 12:49 pm #

    Of COURSE I moved magazines around on the shelf so that mine were in front! …or the ones in which I had articles were, anyway.

    • Robert Diftler April 25, 2023 at 5:58 pm #

      Harry, thanks for the article. I also did the newsstand cover up. Living in Dallas I use to visit a busy book store in Addison every Friday night. At the time I was associate publisher at windows magazine. I covered every pc pub with windows mag. After my effort the entire newsstand was displaying win mag!

      I worked at crn early 80s, org sales rep, pc world mid 80s, pc mag after that, then win mag, then national sales director at government computer news! Was fun!

    • James Knott April 29, 2023 at 11:15 am #

      Hi Esther
      I remember you well from the Team OS/2 days on Compuserve. I’m the guy who brought you that big chocolate bar, when you visited IBM Canada. You may recall I used to do 3rd level OS/2 support at IBM back then. However, for the past 20 years or so, I’ve been running Linux. I’m still allergic to Windows. 😉

      • Esther Schindler June 22, 2023 at 12:55 pm #

        I REMEMBER YOU! I got stuck in a huge snowstorm on the way to that meeting, too.

  3. Mike Mihalik April 15, 2023 at 1:16 pm #

    Don’t forget that monthly subscription to web resources like Readly and Apples scooping up of Texture, PressReader, Kindle Unlimited, and Issue to name a few.

    I gave up individual subscriptions to print mags years ago, and instead paid for online access to more magazines that I could ever read.

    Sure, I still visited the newsstands in places like Barnes & Noble to see if there were other magazines that piqued my interest.

    There’s still a place for magazines and newspapers. Just deliver them to my phone, tablet, and desktop.

    There’s something satisfying in reading that magazine and newspaper layout format. Much more useful to me than endless articles on a website.

    • Robert April 18, 2023 at 12:51 pm #

      Great article. Perhaps now you can submit articles on web safety and computer advances to the 50+ demographic. As Mike says here “there’s something satisfying in reading that magazine and newspaper layout format” Our readers still get print. It may be dead in the tech magazine world but not dead to 50+ folks wanting information. Yes we have websites and place our print edition online at but there is still value in holding the newspaper taking time and not being barraged by pop ups. We try and inform, empower and entertain. There’s a lot of talent on this thread that could benefit the elder audience on how to prevent the scams, hackers, and bottom feeders from harming an audience. Computer savvy journalists are still needed.

  4. Dogzilla April 15, 2023 at 2:43 pm #

    I lived for the day my Byte magazine was received every month. Nothing on the web now is like the content from the top mags back in the day.

  5. Larry Bouchie @TechPRGuy April 15, 2023 at 2:53 pm #

    I think Red Herring was the first tech mag I bought, in 1995. At one point, I thought my friend, who tipped me to it, was pranking me, as I went to about five news stands asking for “Red Herring” lol. Then I started working in PR, repping tech vendors. Started pitching and placing stories in LAN Times, ADT, BYTE, PC Week, Computerworld, SAR, Upside, etc., etc. Gave my career a huge, early boost, netting Cognos an Infoworld award in a database reporting tools bakeoff. And I distinctly remember perusing the magazines at Barnes & Noble, circa 1999, and spotting 10 magazines with stories about my clients – that was a thrill! By the time I ended my career 20 years later, most of the magazines were gone, or existed online using contributed byliners. Fortunately, we could still pitch tech stories to the NYT, WSJ, AP, Reuters, and other news and business outlets.

  6. Jon April 15, 2023 at 3:26 pm #

    I have a digital subscription to Maximum PC through Zinio, there’s been no indication that they’re stopping that. In fact, the latest issue had a subscription offer for the 1 or 2 years of the print edition, so the decision to shut that down seems to have been rather sudden.

    • Eric Griffith April 16, 2023 at 7:18 am #

      they may continue to make a “print” version that’s essentially a PDF for Zinio or other subscriber services. We did that for a long time at PCMag too–until this year, in fact. But we haven’t printed on paper since ’09.

  7. David B April 15, 2023 at 5:15 pm #

    Loved Byte and Dr. Dobbs Journal. Used to visit British Library in London to read old copies of both to help understand how to program CP/M OS. When new Intel/Motorola chips came out I devoured the dozen’s of pages of detail that Byte went into.

    • Erwin April 18, 2023 at 6:56 am #

      Al Stevens was the MAN at Dr Dobbs. The magic of computers has gone and they’re so everyday now that the spark needs a new home.

    • Lynn April 21, 2023 at 11:15 am #

      Yep, Byte and Dr Dobbs Journal were the ones we read. The days of S-100 machines. Loved the CompuPro! Never heard of a couple of the mags in this article.

  8. Ben Combee April 15, 2023 at 5:19 pm #

    I think Code Magazine is still publishing out of Houston TX. They show print subscriptions at and I’ve seen it at my local B&N.

    • Harry McCracken April 15, 2023 at 5:23 pm #

      Thanks, Ben. It’s interesting that the straggling survivors tend towards being pretty technical.

  9. roy brander April 15, 2023 at 9:10 pm #

    Brings me back to when there was a point to reviewing software, because consumers had a choice over which office packages to buy. That Windows 95 issue is also about the time that corporate IT took over all purchasing and went all-Microsoft.

  10. Kevin in San Diego April 16, 2023 at 12:28 am #

    Oh damn. I miss those days. We had a local magazine here called ComputerEdge, edited by the likes of Dan Gookin and Andy Rathbone, of DOS and Windows for Dummies fame. Free mag, I used to grab a copy every Thursday and sit down in a local restaurant and read it cover to cover. No way to recapture that feeling. They tried to stay alive for a few years online. No joy. Digital just don’t do it.

    • Albert April 21, 2023 at 1:05 pm #

      It was the Byte Buyer before changing to ComputorEdge. They were forced to change the name when Byte threatened to sue them for possible conflict with the name convention. I used to read them myself and looked forward for the new issue every week. I learned a lot from them. Those were the good times.

      • Jim Amos April 21, 2023 at 8:45 pm #

        We had the San Diego based ComputerEdge available here in Denver. We worked in a camera repair shop that also repaired electronic devices and we read every issue we could get our hands on, from before the name change to very end. It was the best!

  11. David Needle April 16, 2023 at 9:59 am #

    Thanks for doing this Harry – great piece. Of course you wrote from your experience and several of my favorites (where I also worked) weren’t included: Infoworld, Personal Computing and Computer Currents, to name a few. The latter two are long gone and Infoworld gave up on the print version many years ago. It was a special era and one that deserves to be memorialized.

    • Harry McCracken April 16, 2023 at 10:14 pm #

      Thanks, David. I thought of the controlled-circ, less consumer-y publications as a category unto themself, although of course InfoWorld started out more consumery and was available on newsstands at first (I remember buying it at the Paperback Booksmith in Kenmore Square). I worked at InfoWorld from late 1992-early 1994 on the InfoWorld Direct supplement, née Computer Buying World. It was not a terribly satisfying experience, but it helped lead to my first PC World gig.

      • Shawn Laflamme April 18, 2023 at 10:45 am #

        InfoWorld Direct not a satisfying experience? Well, that’s probably an understatement. But you have to admit that it had some entertaining moments.

        • Harry McCracken April 18, 2023 at 3:22 pm #

          Hi, Shawn. Computer Buying World was, overall, a great experience, so it all evened out. Most of the entertaining moments I remember happened at CBW, I think. Funny that the same people producing more or less the same publication resulted in such different scenarios.

          In related news, I donated my CBWs and InfoWorld Directs to the Internet Archive, and hope they will eventually be scanned for posterity.

        • Harry McCracken April 18, 2023 at 3:23 pm #

          Also, thank you for the AmigaWorld shirt you gave me 30 years ago, which I still own and occasionally wear.

    • Chris Wesling April 21, 2023 at 4:51 pm #

      I had a subscription to InfoWorld when it was still the Silicon Gulch Gazette!

  12. Michael Antonoff April 16, 2023 at 1:28 pm #

    Personal Computing circulated well over a half a million copies each month in the eighties. Unfortunately for its staff, Ziff was willing to pay big bucks to the owners in 1990 to kill the magazine and have its subscribers merged into the list of the newly-launched PC/Computing. I worked at the latter for about a year some 4 years after Personal moved me from New Jersey to California.

    • Harry McCracken April 16, 2023 at 10:10 pm #

      Personal Computing (which doesn’t seem to have a Wikipedia entry) deserves to be better remembered, since it was the first slick, not terribly technical, business-oriented computer magazine for a general audience. After starting it, my friend David Bunnell certainly used it as a template for PC Magazine, PC World, and Macworld.

  13. Brian April 16, 2023 at 1:29 pm #

    My Dad got a subscription to PC World with the introduction of the Pentium in 1993. As a young person growing up with computers, PC World was my favorite magazine, bar none. What a first-class publication; it wouldn’t surprise me if it was the best computer magazine of the ’90s. Thanks for your contributions.

  14. Sye April 16, 2023 at 2:28 pm #

    I do indeed “quibble with this assertion” in its obviously absolutist form the article title promotes. 2600 has a dedicated if specialized audience, releases periodically in each quarter, still in print, has no current plans to stop dead tree production, and it’s paid for by subscriptions. This is the definition of “magazine”. Just because you personally dismiss it because of vague hand-wavy arbitrary narrowing of your definition of a “computer magazine” doesn’t make it less so.

    Otherwise though, the writing is on the wall. Dead tree magazines in general and even traditionally edited e’zines are slowly on the way out. It’s to be expected that geeks have accelerated this demise within our own domain of interest except for a very few specialist audiences such as 2600.

  15. Ann Revell April 16, 2023 at 4:06 pm #

    Harry, without these publications I would never have met you… in Boston, many many years ago. I raise a glass of Chateau Neuf du Pape in honor of all the relationships these publications fostered!

    • Jim Louderback April 17, 2023 at 9:20 am #

      I’ll join you with a burgundy Ann. And Harry, I’m shocked that you would cover up competitive magazines. Aside from Esther – who I would have fired if I’d known – none of us would EVER stoop that low. For reals.

      • Harry McCracken April 17, 2023 at 10:44 am #

        Hi, Jim. I’ve already heard from another former ZDer who rearranged newsstands on your behalf. I mainly did it when PCW was impossible to find, and eventually not even then.

        • Ian Betteridge April 17, 2023 at 11:57 pm #

          Ha, Harry, who knew you were such a bad boy

          So much good stuff in this, Harry, thanks so much for writing it. We are near contemporaries (I started on MacUser UK in 1995) and I loved that industry. Even though the pace of work was insane. And it’s hard to comprehend labs like those now. We had our own equivalent at Dennis, but they were nothing like the size of the US ones.

  16. Maria Korolov April 16, 2023 at 4:08 pm #

    My first tech reporting job was at Computerworld, back in 2000. It was the height of the dot-com coverage era — people were learning all about the Internet by reading print publications. And they were THICK. I remember getting on airplanes — the job involved a lot of travel back then to tech conferences — with a stack of magazines a foot high. ECompany Now. Business 2.0. The Industry Standard, Red Herring, Wired, Upside… It seemed like there was an infinite appetite for feature stories about the Internet and how companies were adapting — and people were reading the stories in print. To save articles for later I would literally rip them out of the magazine and store them away — then throw out the rest of the stack of magazines at the next airport, when I landed, because it was too much to carry.

    It feels like we’re at a similar inflection point again. Except I don’t know if this time we’re going to see the creation of new reporting jobs to cover the AI transformation.

    I’m already doing a lot of my reporting via email. All of that will probably be automated by ChatGPT 5, once the fact-checking functionality is in place. My AI will talk to their AI and 90% of news stories — all the stuff that’s already pretty routine — will probably be done automatically, more accurately, faster, and, of course, cheaper. Leaving us tech writers chasing the 10% of stories that remain that still need face-to-face interviews and probing follow-up questions. Probably video, too, to prove that an actual human talked to another actual human. (Until AIs can do that part, as well.)

    But with AI, we can have our interviews automatically transcribed, summarized and outlined in a click. We can have our background research done for us automatically. The AI, trained on our writing styles, can have drafts ready for us in an instant for us to review, modify, and submit. So not only will there be fewer stories for humans to write, but the humans will also be more productive, meaning that the number of jobs will shrink even further.

    After all, the goal of all journalism is to have humans read our stories, and there’s only so much reading that humans can do. Plus, there will probably be AI-powered reading apps that automatically summarize stories and focus on just those elements that are most important for readers to know. That will take advertising revenues away from publishers, meaning that that they will be under even more pressure to cut costs.

    As a tech journalist, I’m super excited about all the possibilities that AI affords. But, as someone who is too young to retire, I’m also terrified about what it will mean for my profession.

  17. David Strom April 17, 2023 at 4:26 am #

    Harry, I have collected numerous issue #1 of several mags if you would like copies of their covers JLMK. 
    It was a very special time for me too! PC Week 1988-90. 
    Thanks for the memories.David

  18. Don Willmott April 17, 2023 at 5:14 am #

    During my 14-year tenure at PC Magazine, I saved every issue until the stack was as tall as I was. Then I decided just to keep some “greatest hits.” The rest went into the recycling bin, and so it goes. Even after 20+ years I’m still incredibly proud of the amazing thing my colleagues and I built.

    • Harry McCracken April 17, 2023 at 10:59 am #

      I have ditched almost all the print copies of magazines I wrote for in favor of PDFs.

  19. Jack Burnett April 17, 2023 at 6:39 am #

    Harry, thank you for posting this valuable retrospective. I am proud to say that my name is on the masthead of that first issue of BYTE that is shown, and that I was actually “in the room” when the idea for it (not mine) was conceived. Those were wild, exciting, exploring days, when big news might come about a—wait for it!—1k memory board. Our receptionist-cum-ad bill collector once told me many years later about having to dun some entrepreneur in his Bay Area garage. And on and on, although I should make it clear that I was an implementer, not a driving force. FWIW, I eventually moved on from America’s first computer magazine to America’s oldest continuously published periodical, The Old Farmer’s Almanac, where I am managing editor. Thanks again.

    • Harry McCracken April 17, 2023 at 10:57 am #

      That’s cool, Jack. I’d love to read the definitive article on just who created Byte someday, since it was a subject of some controversy.

  20. Ken Timlin April 17, 2023 at 6:41 am #

    Does no one remember a magazine called “Datamation”? I believe it was the first-ever computer magazine dating from the late 1950’s. I became aware of it in my first computer class back in 1974. Obviously it was oriented toward corporate, mainframe computing and has been gone for more than 20 years but it was certainly historically significant.

    • Harry McCracken April 17, 2023 at 10:36 am #

      I remember Datamation, and the website still exists!

    • James Knott April 29, 2023 at 11:23 am #

      Yep, I remember it. I was a computer tech back then, working in a data centre. That was one of the magazines we had at work. We had about 15 techs back then and several programmers in the department, and so we were subscribed to a few computer industry magazines.

  21. sizer99 April 17, 2023 at 8:34 am #

    Back in the day I loved Byte, Infoworld, PC Magazine, Computer Shopper, Creative Computing, Compute!, and various 6502 magazines that came with code. But… yeah. I haven’t bought a computer magazine (ignoring Edge for video games) in 20 years. They went from super cool tech stuff you couldn’t find anywhere else to being nothing but shopping guides for tech challenged managers (even Computer Shopper had some hardcore stuff way back). And if all you need is reviews then there’s always the internet. Computer magazines dumbed themselves out of existence.

    • Harry McCracken April 17, 2023 at 2:24 pm #

      I didn’t touch on this in my story, but there was such an evolution in what people needed out of a computer magazine, and it was a real challenge. For years, anyone who was into computers needed to take a real hands-on approach to them, and it provided an endless amount of material for stories. But computers eventually got simpler, and smartphones are simpler still. There are certainly still highly people who want highly technical publications, and that’s great. But the masses ended up needing less hand-holding than was once essential. Great for them; not so great for people in the hand-holding business.

  22. audiophoria April 17, 2023 at 9:47 am #

    Back in 1985, I had just started my first IT job (managing inventory – lowest job). In a meeting in my second week, our manager asked for suggestions for a 300+ modem purchase – everyone just looked around – no clue. But I had just poured over a PC Magazine roundup/review of 50+ modems: I named the best modem with a detailed technical explanation of why it was best choice for our needs, etc. I got promoted the next day. So much could be said about what great resources the best computer magazines were back in the day…

  23. Steve Burgess April 17, 2023 at 10:33 am #

    Harry, great post. I think my first “computer magazine” was “Proceedings of the IEEE,” which had a ton of computer-related content. Then there was “Byte.”

    • Harry McCracken April 17, 2023 at 10:39 am #

      Computers and Automation is another candidate as the first true magazine about computers. And since it employed Pat McGovern, it led to the company that started a whole lot of other ones.

  24. Stannie Holt April 17, 2023 at 12:11 pm #

    Great article! Your deep institutional memory makes this a “hail and farewell” to remember. I worked at InfoWorld from 1997 to 1999, when the dot-com economy was at its peak. It was a thrilling ride. I remember all the tech-biz magazines Maria Korolov mentioned — all fat with print ads for an impressive “thud factor.” And I remember tearing out articles to save — in fact, I still have a banker’s box of clippings somewhere. Thanks for summing up an era.

  25. John Dickinson April 17, 2023 at 12:58 pm #

    Harry leaves out the invention of PC Mag’s PC Labs. It was the thing that made the magazines indispensable corporate buyers. PC World had to invent a competitor to keep up. And by the way, Computer Shopper’s high points were about 1,200 pages and 600,000 newsstand sales.

    • Harry McCracken April 17, 2023 at 2:28 pm #

      Hi, John. There is SO MUCH I didn’t write about in this story, and maybe I’ll cover some of it in additional pieces. PC Labs was certainly a crucial institution and the founding of our own PC World Test Center was a direct reaction to its importance. We sometimes felt like we had to do it on a shoestring compared to the ZD version, but in retrospect we spent a fortune, and I’m sorry those types of institutions don’t exist in the way they once did.

      And wow, 600,000 copies of Computer Shopper at the newsstand!

  26. John Dodge April 17, 2023 at 7:58 pm #

    I’ll have to share this with Bill Bulkeley, a good friend who I see several times a year. We traded emails today as a matter of fact. He’ll appreciate that his piece is still getting traction. Bill interviewed me for this piece on background. Harry, your post motivates me to go out to a Barnes and Noble and find a computer mag. Perhaps, a fool’s errand.

    • Harry McCracken April 17, 2023 at 8:12 pm #

      That’s great. I was interested by the piece saying that InfoWorld couldn’t get funding for a lab until 1988. When I visited it in 1992, it was ginormous.

  27. Gary A. Bolles April 17, 2023 at 9:41 pm #

    Harry, great roundup from a phenomenal time… I first wrote as a freelancer for Network Computing Magazine in late 1989, eventually EIC, and then Inter@ctive Week, Yahoo! Internet Life, etc. We documented the rise of the Internet even as it ate our lunch. The business has continually reinvented itself, but now AI is trying to finish the job. -gB

  28. Erwin April 18, 2023 at 6:53 am #

    One title to rule them all… Dr Dobbs Journal

    • kaiponte April 19, 2023 at 2:00 pm #

      Harry, great article. You must be about the same age as I. (I started with the then-new TRS-80 in fifth grade.) I still have copies of Byte and Computer Shopper. My father-in-law, who passed away last year at 86, spent his entire 60-year career writing for various technical publications and would comment on how the readership was dwindling. Wonder how we’ll find these article in 30 years.

  29. Steve Woit April 19, 2023 at 1:55 pm #

    Proud to say that I put together the first corporate IDG budget for PC World when I was working for Pat McGovern, on an original IBM PC running a review copy of Lotus 123 that we had received from Lotus founder Mitch Kapor. The print computer magazines had a great run here in the U.S. and around the world. The brutal competition between IDG and Ziff Davis and others made everyone better in the end (unfortunately with millions to the lawyers as well).

    • Harry McCracken April 21, 2023 at 3:36 pm #

      Wow! I recently learned that our lawyer at Fast Company worked for ZD during the PC Mag/PC World ruckus. It was fun to hear the other side of the story!

  30. Julio Franco April 19, 2023 at 10:08 pm #

    Thanks for the memories and insights Harry. I was probably about 10 when I started reading PC Magazine and PC World which introduced me to the world of computing, product reviews and testing. Later, I also subscribed to Maximum PC (who would become advertising partners many years later). Who knew that would become a life-changing pastime for me, by the time I was 15, I was a full-on tech enthusiast and was starting to code basic stuff, so I published a simple website to “report” on tech news. That’s when I started TechSpot, still a high school kid, playing to be a reporter, eventually learning from the trade and building an audience. It’s been almost 25 years since but it all started with that magazine sitting on the newsstand.

  31. John Dee April 21, 2023 at 4:57 am #

    Attention YOU PEOPLE ABOVE, HERE ..
    You are certain people, of a certain era.

    AMC tv network ran a series: “Halt and Catch Fire”, 2014-’17; later thru Netflix

    Starting in the iax86 era, a steady-on hardware dude and flaky OS chick hit stride, but that attracts an “innovator”..and.. bla bla.
    HwDude’s wife rises up amid the bullchit, and blossoms into formidable CorpChick.
    Very good plot & character development, with surprisingly accurate timeline / industry / design issues,
    and only a few out&out inaccuracies; likely pushed thru on the real writer(s)’ weeks off.
    You will clench your fists. You will laugh. You will yell at your tv. You may blubber like a 19-to-30yr-old casualty who “just knew” that my ..err.. that their design could work.

    Series title based on assembler mnemonic “HCF” from ancient techie insider-joke.

    One of the above mags ran an April Fool’s joke article listing many such “rumoured” instrux.
    Similarly, there was an April full-page advert for a brand-new kind of memory device.
    The page showed the DIP, just like a mfg’s spec sheet for a RAM or ROM module.
    New! Improved!
    WOM !
    I was well into the timing specs before I realised .. “Write Only Memory” ..?.. d’OH!

  32. John Dee April 21, 2023 at 5:18 am #

    Heady Days

    I loved (and lived for) David Thompson’s MICRO CORNUCOPIA mag, each month for a couple of years.

    “Little Boards” (?) advert offered a 5.25″drive-top-sized Z80 board that brought my cigar-box dream a little closer.
    By the time MicroC went colour-print, there was a small(er)-board offering that fit over top of a 3.5″ drive.

    Planets aligned for deep info from MicroC (addresses into pre-’83 Kaypro’s adm3-emu char-display ram), to join with my college Pascal thru Mr. Kahn’s excellent compiler, and I wrote an article for MicroC, “Faster Screen Output With Turbo Pascal”.

    MicroC only ran a few more issues after going colour.
    I sure miss MrT, Dorcas, Becky, herr Schtumpf, Oz & Co.
    Heady days, indeed.
    Any good skillz that came along after that, I credit to people like them, and I thank THE MAGAZINEs (above) for keeping alive my hobby interest(s), without which I’d have trotted, many, many a blue screen ago.

  33. joe lahr April 21, 2023 at 6:17 am #

    Article misses a great pioneer of these magazines, Wayne Green, his mags include: 80 Micro, Byte, Kilobaud Microcomputing, RUN, InCider, and Pico; he was a friend of mine and a great guy. He died in 2013 at age 91. He also wrote “The Secret Guide to Health”

    • Harry McCracken April 21, 2023 at 3:38 pm #

      There’s so much more to say about computer magazines that I didn’t say in this story, and a fair amount of it involves Wayne. He spoke at one of the first Boston Computer Society meetings I attended in 1979 (and told us we could all become rich writing software). Many years later, I worked for a brief time in the converted motel in Peterborough that had once been his headquarters. And I loved the blog he wrote at the end of his life.

    • Christopher Winter April 21, 2023 at 4:59 pm #

      Don’t forget 73 Magazine, Wayne Green’s first IIRC. He held the amateur call sign W2NSD (“Never Say Die”).

    • James Knott April 29, 2023 at 11:29 am #

      I met Wayne Greene at the 1975 Radio Society of Ontario convention, in Ottawa. I bought the first 3 issues of Byte from him there. I was already receiving 73 Magazine by then. My first computer was an IMSAI 8080, which was advertised in the magazines back in those days. I still have every print edition of Byte on my shelf, going back to Vol 1, #1, Sept. 1975.

      • Harry McCracken April 29, 2023 at 6:49 pm #

        Buying the first issue of Byte from Wayne Green himself is a bucket-list item I didn’t know I had, and can never achieve, sadly.

  34. Stepheb Hanks April 21, 2023 at 6:43 am #

    How are we supposed to purchase new hardware to update our PC’s without such Great Instructions ??

  35. Erik Magnuson April 21, 2023 at 7:56 am #

    Circuit Cellar is still in print and can be traced back to Steve Ciacia’s articles that started to appear in Byte in the latter half of the 70’s. It’s probably the closest to the Helmers era Byte magazine in content.

    • Harry McCracken April 21, 2023 at 3:39 pm #

      Yes, a little bit of Byte that’s still extant.

  36. Elane April 21, 2023 at 8:03 am #

    Wow – Mac ones as free dvds and I learned mostly there, never sassy rude Apple “Geniuses” lol…tragic news.

  37. Elaine April 21, 2023 at 8:10 am #

    Also – not all have Internet…mean. I LOVED one magazine – flags/comments and saved to revew later. Wifi bad on airplanes so Miss a lot. Improve not remove.

  38. Bill April 21, 2023 at 9:05 am #

    I loved them all but PC Mag was my fav!! And Computer Shopper!

  39. Scott McCulloch April 21, 2023 at 9:46 am #

    It’s not the distinction that the article made, but, as someone who still buys 2600 sometimes, I wouldn’t call it a computer magazine. Certainly there is a good deal of overlap, but there’s plenty of non-computer content in a typical issue.

  40. Matthew Noland April 21, 2023 at 10:14 am #

    I grew up in the 70s and 80s and my first computer experience was my parent’s new 1983 Apple IIc with all the works (two 5.25″ floppy drives, dot matrix printer and of the white phosphor monitor, not the green one). It cost about $4k in today’s money. After college graduation in the early 1990s they bought me my first PC, a Packard Bell 486DX2. I never used it much outside of word processing duties because we had no internet.

    However, the mid-90s saw the internet boom and then PCs started flying off shelves. Not only that, but PC builders started getting into things and game developers were coming out with some epic games. It was then that I decided to get into building my own PCs, mostly for gaming but also for productivity. I had a PC Mag subscription and it was my go-to for print reviews and advice, but I also gained competing knowledge through tech websites and the all important interaction and advice from member forums. I also subscribed to Maximum PC for a couple of years as it was mostly geared towards gamer based enthusiast building. Back in the early ’00s I let those subscriptions go and only would buy a copy of PC Mag at the airport store when traveling for work. For many years I kept the ones that I thought were of historic interest like a revolutionary new Intel or AMD processor, but after several moves since then, they got lost.

    In any event, it is obvious the internet and tech websites did major damage to these tech print magazines, but they will forever be a fond memory to me of inspiring to learn more. And let’s face it, they were great bathroom reads too that a tablet or smart phone could never replace!

    • Richard Kahn April 21, 2023 at 10:55 am #

      Oops, I hit the wrong “reply” button, and the reply I meant to give to you, Matthew, went to Rudi Dietrich instread:

      I do have a lot of similar memories working with technology going back to 1969 when I took my first computer course (BASIC). My parents had a TRS-80 running CP-M. I still have a TRS-80 Model 100 portable computer (8 line x 40 column LCD display) and yes, it still works. I also still have a Smith-Corona electric typewriter which was my second major purchase with my own money, as a freshman in high school. I still use it. Love hearing stories like these. As a ham radio operator (NV1Z) I have memories hiking to the top of Mount Monadnock in New Hampshire, and making phone calls from there to my parents in Sharon, Massachusetts. No big deal these days, but this was in the early 80s.

  41. Rudi Dietrich April 21, 2023 at 10:20 am #

    I think what is forgotten by the cheers for all-on-the-web systems is also clear. Now we all are milked for our own shopping identity and sold down the line. I am not even mention the total loss of independence. The praised umbilical cord system gives all the control to the marketing world. Personal freedom of choice? One is hooked and sucked out or dead in the water. I may be a bit pessimistic. I thought the Brits were kinder.

    • Richard Kahn April 21, 2023 at 10:53 am #

      I do have a lot of similar memories working with technology going back to 1969 when I took my first computer course (BASIC). My parents had a TRS-80 running CP-M. I still have a TRS-80 Model 100 portable computer (8 line x 40 column LCD display) and yes, it still works. I also still have a Smith-Corona electric typewriter which was my second major purchase with my own money, as a freshman in high school. I still use it. Love hearing stories like these. As a ham radio operator (NV1Z) I have memories hiking to the top of Mount Monadnock in New Hampshire, and making phone calls from there to my parents in Sharon, Massachusetts. No big deal these days, but this was in the early 80s.

  42. Milton April 21, 2023 at 10:23 am #

    Another nail in Gutenberg’s coffin.

  43. Richard Kahn April 21, 2023 at 10:42 am #

    I met Wayne Green a couple of times. Once at a Live Free or Die festival in Jaffrey, NH, sponsored by a friend of mine. The other was when Wayne ran for the vice presidency of the United States, and, as a ham radio operator (W2NSD was his callsign) he got invited to speak at radio club meetings. As a former computer geek I subscribed to some of his publications. As others have mentioned, I also remember Ciarcia’s Circuit Cellar. Nowadays it would just feel funny to seek out a hardcopy print publication to get answers to questions relating to any kind of technology, LOL!.

    • Harry McCracken April 21, 2023 at 3:40 pm #

      One of the many Wayne facts that sticks in my head: He announced his run the the vice presidency at a Wendy’s.

    • James Knott April 29, 2023 at 11:36 am #

      W2 Never Say Die
      In 73 he often had stories about his WW2 service in the submarine USS Drum (IIRC)

  44. KC Clark April 21, 2023 at 11:33 am #

    I finished reading my April issue of Maximum PC last night. I had no clue that it was my last one until this article popped up in my feed.

    I quit subscribing to PC World and PC Magazine when they quit putting out physical copies. I’m just WAY less likely to read something when I don’t have the physical copy. I used to buy copies of Maximum PC when I saw a cover that interested me at Microcenter. I eventually got a Maximum PC subscription since it was the last PC magazine available.

    I remember the old days of putting a new system together using Computer Shopper. I would have all the relevant pages marked while trying to figure out what I was going to buy. I definitely prefer using the internet versus Computer Shopper.

  45. Mick Mitani April 21, 2023 at 3:50 pm #

    I started with my TRS-80 Model I that I purchased in 1979 while an Airman at McChord AFB working on the F-106 Delta Dart flight simulator. I was a member of the Puget Sound Computer Users Group (met Bill Gates once) where most of the guys had Apple IIs or kit-built CPM computers. A few of us had Commodore Pets or even fewer like me a TRS-80 (which many of the other members considered a joke for a computer). I bought and used Softside, Creative Computing, Compute! and Dr. Dobbs Journal but my first subscription was to Byte which I got before I bought my TRS-80. Then it was Antic when I switched to the Atari 400, then 800 and 800XL before finally giving in to the dark side and buying my first PC clone in 1985, a Commodore PC-10 II. By that point I had subscriptions to PCMag, Computer Shopper (mailman hated delivering that one), and PC World because that TRS-80 lit a fire in me and when in 1981 I made E-4 I was allowed to cross-train from flight simulator maintenance to computer programmer and I never looked back, retiring recently after 42 years of programming.

  46. Carlos Rodriguez April 21, 2023 at 4:22 pm #

    I still have my copy of Byte (Dec 1977) with the original Star Trek crew on the cover. I worked with 8080 chips at the time. In the 80’s, my first IBM PC had a 10 Mbyte hard disk and ran DOS. My apps were WordStar, Lotus-123 and Borland Turbo Pascal.

  47. Stephen April 21, 2023 at 4:33 pm #

    I would literally spend HOURS looking at the ads in Computer Shopper. Imagine dreaming about upgrading that 2400 baud modem to 9600. When we built PCs in the late 80s and 90s, we weren’t simply consumers (as virtually everyone is today), but producers. Hands-on. Knowing a little about what made things tick. I miss those days.

  48. Dave L April 21, 2023 at 4:34 pm #

    I, too, miss the old magazines (and you can count my vote for Byte being the “best computer magazine ever”). I know the trend is toward online publications, but there are two major problems I run into regularly: (1) too many require that you pay to look at single article, so you can’t even get a preview to see if you want the thing in the first place; and (2) subscriptions are hard to share without sharing a password, the first security violation of all! Around our house we still subscribe to the daily newspaper, but the online version lets you invite only one other user and there are three of us. Then, of course, there’s the argument that online subscriptions, which theoretically should cost a lot press to produce (no paper or shipping) don’t cost any less than print any editions. But I digress.

    The biggest problem I have now is being able to figure out who I can trust. Some online publications — which I won’t name — are very obviously highly influenced by their advertisers (not that they weren’t in the print days). There are far too many sources to do a search, then evaluate each one (if you can get past a paywall), then find out half of them are word-for-word identical. I miss being able to browse the stacks at the bookstore or the library.

  49. Christopher Winter April 21, 2023 at 5:14 pm #

    Thanks for your perspective on the history of computer magazines. I’d like to give a shout-out to Computer Currents (along with David Needle) and MicroTimes, two free magazines published in Silicon Valley. Computer Currents began here, but soon went national. MicroTimes apparently was always regional.

    • Harry April 21, 2023 at 5:52 pm #

      We had a Computer Currents edition in Boston with local ads, and I eventually wrote a few pieces for CC. I believe that MicroTimes had separate editions for Northern and Southern California but maybe that was it.

  50. chaze April 21, 2023 at 5:39 pm #

    I will chime in to add my memories of what was a slightly different audience at least back in the 1980s. Sure, I’m familiar with most of the magazines that everyone else mentioned from the 90s on. I really enjoyed all that Apple, Commodore, IBM, and Radio Shack had to offer–even if it would be decades before I’d own all of them. My fond memories start around age 12 with Family Computing and Compute!’s Gazette. My whole family loved typing in the programs that were published in those magazines and seeing what they would do. Well, maybe typing in the machine language versions in MLX was a bit monotonous, but it still was magical seeing what SYS 49152 would reveal.

  51. Andy Fox April 21, 2023 at 6:11 pm #

    Anyone remember the name “John C. Dvorak?” I read many a column. Anyway, this article hits me right in the heart, although I am/was part of the problem. For many years, I excitedly pored over PC Gamer and Computer Gaming World as well as Computer Shopper and other mags listed in the article. For me though, it wasn’t dropping the print side for online fare, I left the industry so to speak. I stopped building my own computers in the early to mid 2000s, and then in approximately 2010 I stopped playing computer games. More accurately, God drove them out of my life. I went through a huge fast of computer gaming, but I did fire them back up a little during Covid. But now, I spend probably on average 3 hours a month, whereas when God took them out of my life, I was spending 10 hours or more per week.

  52. D Cherniwchan April 21, 2023 at 6:23 pm #

    I had a subscription for PC World back in the early 2000’s but cancelled when there were more pages of ads than actual information. I’m surprised it stayed in print as long as it did.

  53. Matthew Reich April 21, 2023 at 9:11 pm #

    Thank you for the informative history of general PC magazines.
    Before those, there were newsletters, e.g. DTACK GROUNDED, see:

  54. Shirley Marquez April 21, 2023 at 10:02 pm #

    YouTube has taken over a lot of the role that the computer magazines once had. Linus Media Group employs more people than any of the remaining computer magazines, continues to expand its lab capabilities, and has been branching out to cover other tech products. Solo YouTubers like GamersNexus, Gamer Meld, and JayzTwoCents regularly turn out computer-related content.

    The one I still miss is BYTE magazine. When it was at its best, it wasn’t telling you what to buy right now; other magazines did that better. BYTE was telling you what you would be buying next year, and what your job would be five years in the future; things that no other magazine was doing, and that no single web site does nearly as well today.

  55. scottyb April 22, 2023 at 10:48 am #

    Interesting article but it would have been much stronger writing had the term dead-trees not been shoehorned into virtually every sentence. Print equals dead-trees. We get it, and it was catchy at the first instance, even the second or third, but don’t treat the reader like they are so brain dead they can’t retain the concept longer than a goldfish.

  56. Mark April 22, 2023 at 12:04 pm #

    Good do read such a nuanced memory of how it all began, esp. the why. I had completely forgotten the amount of advertising driving these magazines in the days before the ‘net took over. I recall something by John Dvorak (in the early 90’s?) when he opined that the PC had finally evolved and matured to the point where it was no longer possible for one person to know all there was to know about them. He was marking the end of the PC as a niche hobbiest/enthusiast product, and the beginning of the PC as a mainstream consumer product.

    I still have my – I ❤️ DOS – bumper sticker from PCWorld magazine around here somewhere.

    • Dave Haynie June 11, 2023 at 12:59 pm #

      Absolutely true!

      When you bought the first home computer, an Altair, an IMSAI, a Heathkit, your hobby was building/integrating hardware and maybe getting to the point of some useful software… but not until you build up tgat next 4K RAM board. In the early personal computer era, you bought your Apple ][, your Commodore PET, your TRS-80, etc. because you wanted to code. Over time, sure there were… tapes, the first consumer means of software distribution.

      Moving on, the next generation, the Atari 400/800, the Commodore 64/128, the Apple ][e and okay, the early MS-DOS PC, etc. were probably the last computers in which the average user could grok the whole system. I think that’s a huge part of the allure of retrocomputing for those enthusiasts. You can know the whole system. But this was also the first generation in which the primary goal was commercial applications, not

      Certainly in the 1980s, the Apple Macintosh and even more, the Commodore Amiga, were complex enough that at least most users would never learn the whole system. Most users after the first year or so, once software was available, looked to the application rather than the system. That’s ultimately why the PC Clone won the desktop race, and it had really won structurally before the 1990s, even if it needed software and hardware evolution to do the kinds of things Amigas and Macs could do in the 80s.

  57. Randal Schwartz (@RandalSchwartz) April 28, 2023 at 9:46 pm #

    I’m happy to have had a little part in this during the dot-com boom. I ended up writing 255 timely articles on Perl, helping to launch the interactive web, and thus the commercial web. And getting my name in print far more often than the books I had written. But one by one, the magazines I was writing for went down. (I often joked that I was the achilles heel in any publication, apparently.) Thanks for the detailed and timely writeup.

  58. James Knott April 29, 2023 at 8:15 am #

    I have, on the shelf behind me, every paper issue of Byte Magazine, including the one shown above. I bought it from the original publisher, Wayne Greene, at the 1975 Radio Society of Ontario convention, in Ottawa, Ont. I also worked as a computer tech for several years, working on computers like the Data General Eclipse and DEC VAX 11/780 and we had several computer magazines at work. These magazines were mainly about the “big iron”. One that comes to mind was called “Datamation”., IIRC. Wayne Greene also started a couple of other computer magazines, as well as amateur radio and audio.

    • Harry McCracken April 29, 2023 at 6:50 pm #

      If you’re going to every issue of a computer magazine, it should definitely be Byte.

  59. Holly Drawbaugh April 30, 2023 at 6:50 pm #

    That’s my newsstand slide! Nice!

    • Harry McCracken May 9, 2023 at 3:49 pm #

      Hi, Holly!

  60. grepnyc May 5, 2023 at 1:32 pm #

    2600 is still going strong in it’s print edition. 🙂

  61. Columbus Vaughan May 6, 2023 at 12:04 pm #

    The sad part is that with print copies, you can access back issues when you need them, anywhere; during power outages, away from Wi-fi access, ect. Maximum PC did NOT let subscribers know of the change AT ALL. I had given a gift subscription to my Father-in-Law last Christmas and nothing was mentioned. I did not receive any notification of the change & had contacted the British publication site telling them that my subscription had not arrived. They responded that IT HAD BEEN DELIVERED!! And then offered to send me a replacement which would take 5 weeks. The issue that they said had arrived in my mailbox was a DIGITAL COPY!! Then, the next day, I received in the US mail a letter telling me about the change regarding the Christmas gift I’d sent and an offer to refund the rest of my money if my father-in-law didn’t want to get on-line issues. They said to contact them by April 30, 2023 to get a refund. The letter arrived at my house on May 6th! If you subscribe to an on-line magazine for, say 3 years, and then, you stop subscribing, you will no longer have access to the back issues that you were entitled to when you were a subscriber. I can thumb through back issues of physical magazines from long ago and I don’t need Internet access or passwords or electronic devices to do it. Why subscribe to an on-line magazine when most times you can find free on-line content that tells you the same stuff? I used to subscribe to PC Magazine, PC World, Computer Shopper and others. They’re all digital now and I have never subscribed to any of them since then. Make all the environmental arguments you want, but I won’t pay for any digital magazine, I feel that is foolish.

    • KC Clark June 26, 2023 at 11:48 pm #

      I never got anything from Maximum PC telling me about switching to digital. Only reason I knew is because this article popped up in my feed back in April.

      Today was the first time I tried to access it. Just goes to show that if I don’t have the physical magazine, I’m way less likely to read it. Had no clue I had three issues waiting for me. Supposedly there is some way to download the magazine to my computer via the PocketMags app but it remains to be seen if I’ll spend the time to figure that out.

      My guess is I’m going to ask for my $ back since I’m not likely to read it anymore. And maybe I’ll re-subscribe when it is time to build my next system. Maybe.

  62. Ken Gagne May 6, 2023 at 6:02 pm #

    Wonderful article. I joined _Computerworld_ during your final days at _PC World_ and somehow survived many rounds of layoffs over the next six years. Even though I missed the glory days it was still an experience to be a part of such a storied publication and industry; thank you for bringing up those memories.

    I also appreciate your qualification that there are some mags still in print, even if they don’t look like the old ones. _Juiced.GS_ is another one that’s been in print every quarter since 1996 and is still quietly chugging along.

  63. Mark DeLoura June 8, 2023 at 8:00 am #

    Those were wonderful days. So many years of joy, learning about computers from all the great magazines, some from folks in this thread! I was EIC of Game Developer for a year and have a stash of the entire run of the mag here in storage (1994-2013), will bind and donate one of these days. It’s fun looking at some of the earlier magazines/newsletters now, the People’s Computer Company and early Dr Dobbs… used to be able to see them at Living Computers here in Seattle (RIP).
    Am happy to see Make: magazine still hanging in there, and getting each issue still fills me with that same sense of excitement and possibility. Thanks to everyone who worked so hard to share their love of computers with us all!

  64. Dave Haynie June 11, 2023 at 12:39 pm #

    Hi Harry!

    The print computer magazine was my first computer teacher. My Mom had a friend who needed to unload some old magazines, the first issues of Kilobaud. That lead me to BYTE and Creative Computing. They taught hardware, my eventual primary profession. My first success in the industry was selling some game programs to Creative Computing Software, over the year before I started college in fall of 1979.

    Once I was designing computers fulltime, I wrote articles in monthly magazines: Amiga World, Transactor, Amiga Sentry, and others. That was passing on knowledge to the community.

    And sure, today, you can learn a ton of stuff online. But think about it… when was the last time you hit a computer news website and it gave you a fraction of the excitement of that monthly magazine? The “pull” model that permeates media today is certainly timely, if you regularly visit. But the monthly data dump of the push model of journals, at least in my experience, was far more compelling. I really to owe my career to that push!

  65. David Schmuck July 30, 2023 at 9:58 am #

    I’m late to this article, but just wanted to register my thanks for capturing some of this history.

    I have an August 1996 PC Gamer framed on my wall as an artifact of my story that started me down the tech and engineering path. While PC Gamer was always close to my heart, Boot/Maximum PC, Computer Shopper, and PC World’s hardware sections were what I was really interested in. So thankful for all those journalists reporting on the latest CPU architectures, chipsets, driver and API developments. Echoing what another commenter said, while I love reading online tech news, nothing captures the feeling of sitting down with a fresh magazine and going through it cover to cover. I’ll cherish it forever.