Some nifty history in The Best of Creative Computing: Volume 3 (1980), Kindle edition

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Bill Loguidice's picture

I sent the free sample of The Best of Creative Computing: Volume 3 (1980) to the Kindle app on my iPad 2, and I must say, speaking as both a historian and tech enthusiast, there are definitely some historical nuggets of genuine interest in there. The book was originally a 1980 release and collected more than 120 articles from the 1978 run of the legendary magazine. From the tone and content of the articles, you can definitely tell this was written for an unusually intelligent, sophisticated, and yes, geeky audience, which makes sense considering the type of individual who would be interested in computing in the late 1970s, and is a refreshing change from what tech magazines became from basically the late 1980s on as the potential readership expanded and the content had to be simplified accordingly.

Anyway, below you'll find a few select screen captures from the free preview, with a bit of commentary. I'll definitely be making this a purchase, since it's only $9.99 for the Kindle edition, and the original paperback often sells for upwards of $100+! Enjoy (and get the ebook!):

The Dynabook concept - first conceived in the late 1960s - was an incredibly forward thinking, albeit theoretical, device, embodying what first turned into what we know today as laptop computers, but, perhaps even more remarkably, may have even more in common with how we use tablets like the iPad today. The second screen capture in particular seems to embody the dream of the latter.
The Best of Creative Computing: Volume 3 (excerpt)
The Best of Creative Computing: Volume 3 (excerpt)

This was just a contemporary 1978 comparison of the popularly available microprocessors. Even then it was clear that the performance to price ratio of the Z-80 was pretty tough to beat.
The Best of Creative Computing: Volume 3 (excerpt)

I found this interesting because this mentions the two programmable consoles from Fairchild (Video Entertainment System) and RCA (Studio II), which means that likely the Atari 2600 wasn't quite released yet, nor was the Coleco Telstar Arcade or what is commonly referred to as the Bally Astrocade, but was originally released as the Bally Home Library Computer. For 1978, some of those omissions seem strange, frankly, but there's no way of knowing when the actual article itself was actually conceived and what the particular author was familiar with. What is also interesting is that there's a hint of the console as the gateway to personal computing. Of the consoles I mentioned earlier, only the Bally Astrocade would offer true programmability relatively early on, with true save/load to cassette. Obviously, the dream of turning a console into a computer - or as a gateway to computing - was more promise than what the reality ended up being, even though there were at least a dozen attempts from the Astrocade onwards, none of which caught on in notable numbers.
The Best of Creative Computing: Volume 3 (excerpt)

This one is kind of neat, in that it talks about true pocket computers. What's interesting is that small LCD screen technology seems to have only just made their appearance by 1978 (there was an earlier article talking about the start of what we know today as ATM's and the privacy concerns therein!). Though it doesn't get all of the details right, obviously, the article seems to correctly predict (aside from giving short shrift to the idea of onboard printing) the short-lived early 1980s phenomena of the pocket computer, led primarily by Tandy, example here. While PDA's would of course have some short lived popularity themselves in the 1990s (with the Palm Pilot series, primarily), it wasn't until the introduction of the iPhone in 2007 that true pocket computing devices became mainstream.
The Best of Creative Computing: Volume 3 (excerpt)
The Best of Creative Computing: Volume 3 (excerpt)
The Best of Creative Computing: Volume 3 (excerpt)


Joined: 01/21/2009
as something I lived throuhg,

as something I lived throuhg, all that old stuff is very neat reading. You may have just sold a copy of this by posting this. I used to read an old Amiga mag almost every day on a site that used to post um.
which i may have got here or ??? found the link someplace. that old stuff is very interesting to me.. This is a bit more technical but i do remeber buying a few of the issues back then.. at least I sure seem to .. that lettering is stand out.. AD&D campaign modules.. and Im sure that old computer mag.. fun stuff.

davyK's picture
Joined: 05/21/2006
Love this era - this looks

Love this era - this looks like a no-brainer for me...

Kevin Savetz (not verified)

I'm so glad you're enjoying the Kindle-ized version of that great book. I'm working on Best of Creative Computing 2 now, then will do volume 1.

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