I was a pretty big nerd as a kid, to put it mildly. After getting a Tandy computer for my 10th birthday, I became a big computer geek throughout my teenage years. Some time around the age of 13 or 14 my mother got me a subscription to PC/Computing Magazine. This long-forgotten magazine really helped to foster my love of technology and tech journalism, a passion which continues to this very day.
PC/Computing magazine was very similar to other computer magazines of the era, though it was more business oriented than its sister publication, PC Magazine. In any case, I could never tell much of a difference. I liked the magazine mostly for the opinion columns written by John C. Dvorak. I also loved reading about new kinds of software and hardware, and I even liked the ads. Especially the Gateway 2000 ads, which usually featured creative advertisements with cows and computers.
While I enjoyed the columns, ads and reviews, my favorite thing was the specs. I just loved reading about computers with a then-absurd amount of RAM, or a ginormous hard drive. I’m talking about the kind of computers that would have cost my parents’ salaries back then, while offering less computing power than a cheap phone today.
I lost interest in the magazine as I got older. By my junior and senior year of high school, I had grown slightly less nerdy, focused more on grunge music and girls. My subscription lapsed, and a couple of years later, PC/Computing Magazine rebranded itself as Smart Business Magazine. Like the History Channel a decade later, this rebranding involved “dumbing down” the magazine for businessmen instead of techies. The new format was a failure, and PC/Computing went under not long after. By the time I rekindled my love of computers, this old magazine was long gone. Since then, most other computer magazines have fallen out of print as well, transforming into glorified blogs. And while I don’t mind getting my tech news online, I’m still a bit nostalgic for PC/Computing Magazine.
Did you read any computer magazines back in the day? Let me know in the comments.