Byte (Magazine)

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Byte
Byte 01.png
Byte issue 01 cover
Format Print
Editor Virginia Green, Wayne Green
Publisher UBM
Origin Peterborough, NH, USA
Language English
Frequency Monthly
Active September 1975 - July 1998
Topics Computers, Cyberpunk, Technology
Number of Issues 287
Follows NA
Precedes NA
Associated Publications 73, Kilobaud
Website byte.com (defunct)

Byte magazine was an American microcomputer magazine, influential in the late 1970s and throughout the 1980s because of its wide-ranging editorial coverage. Whereas many magazines from the mid-1980s had been dedicated to the MS-DOS (PC) platform or the Mac, mostly from a business or home user's perspective, Byte covered developments in the entire field of "small computers and software", and sometimes other computing fields such as supercomputers and high-reliability computing. Coverage was in-depth with much technical detail, rather than user-oriented. The Byte name and logo continued to exist as of 2011, but as an online publication only, with different emphasis.

Foundation

In 1975 Wayne Green was the editor and publisher of 73 (an amateur radio magazine) and his ex-wife, Virginia Londner Green was the Business Manager of 73 Inc. In the August 1975 issue of 73 magazine Wayne's editorial column started with this item:

The response to computer-type articles in 73 has been so enthusiastic that we here in Peterborough got carried away. On May 25th we made a deal with the publisher of a small (400 circulation) computer hobby magazine to take over as editor of a new publication which would start in August ... Byte.

Carl Helmers published a series of six articles in 1974 that detailed the design and construction of his "Experimenter's Computer System", a personal computer based on the Intel 8008 microprocessor. In January 1975 this became the monthly ECS magazine with 400 subscribers. The last issue was published on May 12, 1975 and in June the subscribers were mailed a notice announcing BYTE magazine. Carl wrote to another hobbyist newsletter, Micro-8 Computer User Group Newsletter, and described his new job as editor of Byte magazine.

I got a note in the mail about two weeks ago from Wayne Green, publisher of '73 Magazine' essentially saying hello and why don't you come up and talk a bit. The net result of a follow up is the decision to create BYTE magazine using the facilities of Green Publishing Inc. I will end up with the editorial focus for the magazine; with the business end being managed by Green Publishing.

Virginia Londner Green had returned to 73 in the December 1974 issue and incorporated Green Publishing in March 1975. The first five issues of Byte were published by Green Publishing and the name was changed to Byte Publications starting with the February 1976 issue. Carl Helmers was a co-owner of Byte Publications.

The first 4 issues were produced in the offices of 73 and Wayne Green was listed as the publisher. One day in November 1975 Wayne came to work and found that the Byte magazine staff had moved out and taken the January issue with them. The February 1976 issue of Byte has a short story about the move. "After a start which reads like a romantic light opera with an episode or two reminiscent of the Keystone Cops, Byte magazine finally has moved into separate offices of its own."

Wayne Green was not happy about losing Byte magazine so he was going to start a new one called Kilobyte. Byte quickly trademarked KILOBYTE as a cartoon series in Byte magazine. The new magazine was called Kilobaud. There was competition and animosity between Byte Publications and 73 Inc. but both remained in the small town of Peterborough, New Hampshire.

Byte started in 1975, shortly after the first personal computers appeared as kits advertised in the back of electronics magazines. Byte was published monthly, with an initial yearly subscription price of $10.

The Early Years

Byte was able to attract advertising and articles from many well-knowns, soon-to-be-well-knowns, and ultimately-to-be-forgottens in the growing microcomputer hobby. Articles in the first issue (September, 1975) included Which Microprocessor For You? by Hal Chamberlin, Write Your Own Assembler by Dan Fylstra and Serial Interface by Don Lancaster. Advertisements from Godbout, MITS, Processor Technology, SCELBI, and Sphere appear, among others.

Early articles in Byte were do-it-yourself electronic or software projects to improve small computers. A continuing feature was Ciarcia's Circuit Cellar, a column in which electronic engineer Steve Ciarcia described small projects to modify or attach to a computer (later spun off to become the magazine Circuit Cellar, focusing on embedded computer applications). Significant articles in this period included the "Kansas City" standard for data storage on audio tape, insertion of disk drives into S-100 computers, publication of source code for various computer languages (Tiny C, BASIC, assemblers), and coverage of the first microcomputer operating system, CP/M. Byte ran Microsoft's first advertisement, as "Micro-Soft", to sell a BASIC interpreter for 8080-based computers.

Growth and Change

By the early 1980s BYTE had become an "elite" magazine, seen as a peer of Rolling Stone and Playboy, and others such as David Bunnell of PC Magazine aspired to emulate its reputation and success. In spring of 1979, owner/publisher Virginia Williamson sold the magazine to McGraw-Hill. She remained publisher until 1983, about 8 years after founding the magazine, and subsequently became a vice president of McGraw-Hill Publications Company. Shortly after the IBM PC was introduced, in 1981, the magazine changed editorial policies. It gradually de-emphasized the do-it-yourself electronics and software articles, and began running product reviews, the first computer magazine to do so. It continued its wide-ranging coverage of hardware and software, but now it reported "what it does" and "how it works", not "how-to-do-it." The editorial focus remained on any computer system or software that might be within a typical individual's finances and interest (centered on home and personal computers).

From 1975 through 1986 Byte covers usually featured the artwork of Robert Tinney. These covers made Byte visually unique. In 1987 Tinney's paintings were replaced by product photographs, and Steve Ciarcia's "Circuit Cellar" column was discontinued.

Around 1985 Byte started an online service called BIX (Byte Information eXchange) which was a text-only BBS style site running on the CoSy conferencing software, also used by McGraw-Hill internally. Access was via local dial-in or, for additional hourly charges, the Tymnet X.25 network. Monthly rates were $13/month for the account and $1/hour for X.25 access. Unlike CompuServe, access at higher speeds was not surcharged. Many of the Byte staff were active on the service. Later, gateways permitted email communication outside the system.

Byte continued to grow. By 1990 it was a monthly about an inch in thickness, a readership of technical professionals, and a subscription price of $56/year, a high figure for the time. It was the "must-read" magazine of the popular computer magazines. Around 1993 Byte began to develop a web presence. It acquired the domain name byte.com and began to host discussion boards and post selected editorial content.

It developed a number of national sister editions in Japan, Brazil, Germany, and an Arabic edition published in Jordan.

End of the Printed Magazine, and Online Publication

The readership of Byte and advertising revenue were declining when McGraw-Hill sold the magazine to CMP Media, a successful publisher of specialized computer magazines in May 1998. The magazine's editors and writers expected its new owner to revitalize Byte but CMP ceased publication with the July 1998 issue, laid off all the staff and shut down Byte's rather large product-testing lab. Subscribers were offered a choice of two of CMP's other magazines, notably CMP's flagship publication about Windows PCs.

Publication of Byte in Germany and Japan continued uninterrupted. The Turkish edition resumed publication after a few years of interruption. The Arabic edition also ended abruptly.

Many of Byte's columnists migrated their writing to personal web sites. The most popular of these was probably science fiction author Jerry Pournelle's weblog The View From Chaos Manor derived from a long-standing column in Byte, describing computers from a power user's point of view. After the closure of Byte magazine, Jerry Pournelle's column continued to be published in the Turkish editions of PC World, which was soon renamed as PC LIFE in Turkey. In 1999 CMP revived Byte as a web-only publication, from 2002 accessible by subscription. It closed in 2009.

The launch of byte.com

UBM TechWeb brought the Byte name back when it officially relaunched Byte as byte.com on 11 July 2011. According to the site, the mission of the new Byte is:

"...to examine technology in the context of the consumerization of IT. The subject relates closely to important IT issues like security and manageability. It's an issue that reaches both IT and users, and it's an issue where both groups need to listen carefully to the requirements of the other: IT may wish to hold off on allowing devices and software onto the network when they haven't been properly tested and can't be properly supported. But the use of these devices in the enterprise has the air of inevitability for a good reason. They make users more productive and users are demanding them."

The byte.com launch editor was tech journalist Gina Smith. On September 26, 2011 Smith was replaced by Larry Seltzer.

In January, 2012 American science fiction and horror author F. Paul Wilson began writing for byte.com, mostly in the persona of his best-known character Repairman Jack.

In April 2013, byte.com stopped being updated.

As of October 2013, byte.com redirects to http://www.informationweek.com/byte/, which in turn redirects to http://www.informationweek.com/personal-tech/ -- there is no byte.com branding or mention of Byte or byte.com anywhere on the page the browser is ultimately redirected to.

Downloads

Issue User Original Collection Rescans Collection Tertiary Scans Notes
1.1 (September 1975) Archive.org
1.2 (October 1975) Archive.org
1.3 (November 1975) Archive.org
1.4 (December 1975) Archive.org
1.05 (January 1976) Archive.org
1.06 (February 1976) Archive.org
1.07 (March 1976) Archive.org
1.08 (April 1976) Archive.org
1.09 (May 1976) Archive.org
1.10 (June 1976) Archive.org
1.11 (July 1976) Archive.org
1.12 (August 1976) Archive.org
1.13 (September 1976) Archive.org
1.14 (October 1976) Archive.org
1.15 (November 1976) Archive.org
1.16 (December 1976) Archive.org
2.01 (January 1977) Archive.org
2.02 (February 1977) Archive.org
2.03 (March 1977) Archive.org Archive.org
2.04 (April 1977) Archive.org
2.05 (May 1977) Archive.org
2.06 (June 1977) Archive.org
Best of Byte - Volume 1 (June 1977) Archive.org
2.07 (July 1977) Archive.org
2.08 (August 1977) Archive.org
2.09 (September 1977) Archive.org
2.10 (October 1977) Archive.org Archive.org
2.11 (November 1977) Archive.org Archive.org Archive.org
2.12 (December 1977) Archive.org
3.01 (January 1978) Archive.org
3.02 (February 1978) Archive.org
3.03 (March 1978) Archive.org
3.04 (April 1978) Archive.org Archive.org Archive.org
3.05 (May 1978) Archive.org Archive.org
3.06 (June 1978) Archive.org
3.07 (July 1978) Archive.org Archive.org
3.08 (August 1978) Archive.org
3.09 (September 1978) Archive.org
3.10 (October 1978) Archive.org Archive.org
3.11 (November 1978) Archive.org Archive.org
3.12 (December 1978) Archive.org Archive.org
4.01 (January 1979) Archive.org
4.02 (February 1979) Archive.org
4.03 (March 1979) Archive.org
4.04 (April 1979) Archive.org
4.05 (May 1979) Archive.org
4.06 (June 1979) Archive.org
4.07 (July 1979) Archive.org Archive.org Archive.org Subject tags on third scan need splitting.
4.08 (August 1979) Archive.org Archive.org Archive.org
4.09 (September 1979) Archive.org
4.10 (October 1979) Archive.org Archive.org
4.11 (November 1979) Archive.org
4.12 (December 1979) Archive.org Archive.org
5.01 (January 1980) Archive.org
5.02 (February 1980) Archive.org
5.03 (March 1980) Archive.org
5.04 (April 1980) Archive.org
5.05 (May 1980) Archive.org
5.06 (June 1980) Archive.org
5.07 (July 1980) Archive.org
5.08 (August 1980) Archive.org
5.09 (September 1980) Archive.org
5.10 (October 1980) Archive.org
5.11 (November 1980) Archive.org Archive.org
5.12 (December 1980) Archive.org
6.01 (January 1981) Archive.org
6.02 (February 1981) Archive.org
6.03 (March 1981) Archive.org
6.04 (April 1981) Archive.org
6.05 (May 1981) Archive.org Archive.org
6.06 (June 1981) Archive.org
6.07 (July 1981) Archive.org
6.08 (August 1981) Archive.org
6.09 (September 1981) Archive.org
6.10 (October 1981) Archive.org
6.11 (November 1981) Archive.org
6.12 (December 1981) Archive.org
7.01 (January 1982) Archive.org
7.02 (February 1982) Archive.org Archive.org
7.03 (March 1982) Archive.org
7.04 (April 1982) Archive.org Archive.org Archive.org Subject tags on third scan need splitting.
7.05 (May 1982) Archive.org Archive.org Archive.org Subject tags on third scan need splitting.
7.06 (June 1982) Archive.org
7.07 (July 1982) Archive.org
7.08 (August 1982) Archive.org Archive.org
7.09 (September 1982) Archive.org Archive.org
7.10 (October 1982) Archive.org Archive.org Subject tags on rescan need splitting.
7.11 (November 1982) Archive.org
7.12 (December 1982) Archive.org
8.01 (January 1983) Archive.org Archive.org
8.02 (February 1983) Archive.org Archive.org
8.03 (March 1983) Archive.org Archive.org
8.04 (April 1983) Archive.org Archive.org
8.05 (May 1983) Archive.org
8.06 (June 1983) Archive.org Archive.org
8.07 (July 1983) Archive.org Archive.org
8.08 (August 1983) Archive.org
8.09 (September 1983) Archive.org
8.10 (October 1983) Archive.org
8.11 (November 1983) Archive.org Archive.org
8.12 (December 1983) Archive.org
9.01 (January 1984) Archive.org Archive.org Rescan needs tags
9.02 (February 1984) Archive.org
9.03 (March 1984) Archive.org Archive.org
9.04 (April 1984) Archive.org Archive.org Rescan needs description from first scan
9.05 (May 1984) Archive.org
9.06 (June 1984) Archive.org Archive.org
9.07 (July 1984) Archive.org Archive.org Archive.org
9.08 (August 1984) Archive.org Archive.org
9.09 (September 1984) Archive.org
9.10 (September 1984) Archive.org
9.11 (October 1984) Archive.org Archive.org
9.12 (November 1984) Archive.org Archive.org
9.13 (December 1984) Archive.org Archive.org
10.01 (January 1985) Archive.org Archive.org Archive.org Original Dark
10.02 (February 1985) Archive.org Archive.org
10.03 (March 1985) Archive.org Archive.org
10.04 (April 1985) Archive.org Archive.org
10.05 (May 1985) Archive.org Archive.org Archive.org
10.06 (June 1985) Archive.org Archive.org
10.07 (July 1985) Archive.org Archive.org Archive.org
10.08 (August 1985) Archive.org Archive.org
10.09 (September 1985) Archive.org Archive.org
10.10 (October 1985) Archive.org
10.11 (October 1985) Archive.org
10.12 (November 1985)
10.13 (December 1985) Archive.org Missing table of contents.
11.01 (January 1986) Archive.org Archive.org
11.02 (February 1986) Archive.org
11.03 (March 1986) Archive.org
11.04 (April 1986) Archive.org
11.05 (May 1986) Archive.org
11.06 (June 1986) Archive.org
11.07 (July 1986) Archive.org
11.08 (August 1986) Archive.org
11.09 (September 1986) Archive.org
11.10 (October 1986) Archive.org Archive.org
11.11 (October 1986)
11.12 (November 1986) Archive.org
11.13 (December 1986) Archive.org
12.01 (January 1987) Archive.org
12.02 (February 1987) Archive.org
12.03 (March 1987) Archive.org
12.04 (April 1987) Archive.org
12.05 (May 1987) Archive.org
12.06 (June 1987) Archive.org
12.07 (June 1987)
12.08 (July 1987) Archive.org
12.09 (August 1987) Archive.org
12.10 (September 1987) Archive.org
12.11 (October 1987)
12.12 (October 1987) Archive.org Archive.org
12.13 (November 1987) Archive.org
12.14 (December 1987) byte-magazine-1987-12 mislabeled should be 1987-10
13.01 (January 1988)
13.02 (February 1988)
13.03 (March 1988) Archive.org
13.04 (April 1988) Archive.org
13.05 (May 1988) Archive.org Archive.org
13.06 (June 1988) Archive.org
13.07 (July 1988) Archive.org Archive.org
13.08 (August 1988) Archive.org
13.09 (September 1988) Archive.org
13.10 (October 1988) Archive.org
13.11 (October 1988)
13.12 (November 1988)
13.13 (December 1988) Archive.org
14.01 (January 1989) Archive.org
14.02 (February 1989)
14.03 (March 1989) Archive.org
14.04 (April 1989) Archive.org
14.05 (May 1989) Archive.org
14.06 (June 1989)
14.07 (July 1989)
14.08 (August 1989) Archive.org
14.09 (September 1989)
14.10 (October 1989)
14.11 (October 1989) byte-magazine-1989-10 mislabeled, should be 1989-08
14.12 (November 1989)
14.13 (December 1989) Archive.org
15.01 (January 1990)
15.02 (February 1990)
15.03 (March 1990)
15.04 (April 1990)
15.05 (May 1990)
15.06 (June 1990) Archive.org
15.07 (July 1990)
15.08 (August 1990)
15.09 (September 1990) Archive.org
15.10 (October 1990)
15.11 (October 1990)
15.12 (November 1990) Archive.org
15.13 (December 1990) Archive.org
16.01 (January 1991) Archive.org Archive.org
16.02 (February 1991) Archive.org
16.03 (March 1991) Archive.org
16.04 (April 1991)
16.05 (May 1991)
16.06 (June 1991)
16.07 (July 1991)
16.08 (August 1991)
16.09 (September 1991)
16.10 (October 1991)
16.11 (October 1991)
16.12 (November 1991)
16.13 (December 1991)
17.01 (January 1992) Archive.org
17.02 (February 1992) Archive.org
17.03 (March 1992) Archive.org
17.04 (April 1992) Archive.org
17.05 (May 1992) Archive.org
17.06 (June 1992)
17.07 (July 1992) Archive.org
17.08 (August 1992) Archive.org
17.09 (September 1992) Archive.org
17.10 (October 1992)
17.11 (October 1992)
17.12 (November 1992)
17.13 (November 1992)
17.14 (December 1992)
18.01 (January 1993) Archive.org
18.02 (February 1993) Archive.org
18.03 (March 1993) Archive.org
18.04 (April 1993) Archive.org
18.05 (April 1993) Archive.org
18.06 (May 1993) Archive.org
18.07 (June 1993) Archive.org
18.08 (July 1993) Archive.org Derive fails.
18.09 (August 1993)
18.10 (September 1993)
18.11 (October 1993)
18.12 (November 1993) Archive.org
18.13 (December 1993)
19.01 (January 1994)
19.02 (February 1994)
19.03 (March 1994)
19.04 (April 1994)
19.05 (May 1994)
19.06 (June 1994)
19.07 (July 1994)
19.08 (August 1994)
19.09 (September 1994)
19.10 (October 1994)
19.11 (November 1994)
19.12 (December 1994)
20.01 (January 1995)
20.02 (February 1995)
20.03 (March 1995)
20.04 (April 1995)
20.05 (May 1995)
20.06 (June 1995)
20.07 (July 1995)
20.08 (August 1995)
20.09 (September 1995) Archive.org
20.10 (October 1995)
20.11 (November 1995)
20.12 (December 1995)
21.01 (January 1996)
21.02 (February 1996)
21.03 (March 1996)
21.04 (April 1996)
21.05 (May 1996)
21.06 (June 1996)
21.07 (July 1996)
21.08 (August 1996)
21.09 (September 1996)
21.10 (October 1996)
21.11 (November 1996)
21.12 (December 1996)
22.01 (January 1997)
22.02 (February 1997)
22.03 (March 1997)
22.04 (April 1997)
22.05 (May 1997)
22.06 (June 1997)
22.07 (July 1997)
22.08 (August 1997)
22.09 (September 1997)
22.10 (October 1997)
22.11 (November 1997)
22.12 (December 1997)
23.01 (January 1998)
23.02 (February 1998)
23.03 (March 1998)
23.04 (April 1998)
23.05 (May 1998)
23.06 (June 1998)
23.07 (July 1998)

External Links

byte.com (defunct)