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In 1982, I was a freelance writer/editor who got a gig at a new publication called PC Magazine, mostly because I had recently written a book on robotics for young adults. I was ushered to a desk in a room cluttered with various half-built systems and introduced to an IBM PC (8088 processor, two 5.25-inch floppy drives, monochrome monitor) and a copy of WordStar. (No modem -- the Internet was still something for scientists and academics.) And my life in computer journalism began.

Now, it seems that PC Magazine -- the print version -- is going to close. I still have copies of some of my old magazines down in my basement. They are thick with reviews and advertisements; before the Web, this was where people went to find out which computer they needed to buy.

There were three of us in that room: two editors and a tech guy. We called it the Toy Room because this was where all the tech came and got tested; we got to play with and take apart all the new PCs that were starting to be manufactured. A year or so later it was decided that PC Magazine needed to adopt a more business-like attitude, and we were told that the Toy Room was now going to be called The Labs. I was disappointed.

I only lasted at PC Magazine about a year and a half, although I worked with the company (Ziff-David, ZD Publishing, whatever) on and off for many years to follow. But I started to learn my trade there.

The last print publication will be dated January 2009. PC Magazine isn't the oldest computer magazine around -- Computerworld, where I now work, was started in 1967, and there are others. But its beginning heralded the start of the age of home computers. The ending of its print publication means, to me anyway, that we're now past the beginning of that age. I'm just a bit sad to see it go.

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brooklynwriter

February 2013

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