Masthead CMC Magazine / May 1, 1996
 Riding the Technology Fence in Online Publishing, by Jim Brain

Hacking A New Magazine

I publish a technical content magazine, Commodore Hacking , which focuses on the Commodore line of 8-bit computer systems, including the Commodore VIC-20, Commodore 64, and Commodore 128 computers. These computers were produced in during the 1980's, and are considered "obsolete" by today's "PC-centric" computer users. However, many users still use these and similar machines for day-to-day activities.

Before you start laughing, let me emphasize that this is no joke. In a world where many users purchase thousands of dollars of computer equipment for word processing, you can do pretty much the same on a $100.00 system. Many European users can scarcely find a better computer that is as affordable, and many U.S. users are re-discovering the simple nature of such machines. Whatever the reason for using the machines, the need for quality information on the machines never diminishes.

In 1991, a Commodore user by the name of Craig Taylor decided that Commodore users were embracing the Internet to some extent. This group included many accomplished Commodore programmers and information sources. Craig decided to use the Internet to publish a periodic text magazine that displayed the talents of these resourceful individuals. Thus, Commodore Hacking was born.

Of course, being a college student, Craig maintained an irregular and inconsistent schedule of publication dates. The magazine cost nothing to receive, so users gladly overlooked these problems. A number of issues followed, with the final issue under Craig's editorship appearing in July 1995. During the early years of publication, the World Wide Web became a powerful presence. As the Web caught on, a few Commodore enthusiasts (mainly users in college with access to non-Commodore machines) took the text issues and "HTML-ized" to some extent.

In 1995, Craig determined that he could not continue as editor, and passed the reins to myself. I determined that the magazine filled a noted void of content in the post-Commodore world (Commodore severed support for the machines in the late 1980's, and declared bankruptcy in 1994. In 1995, ESCOM AG bought what remained of the liquidation). Commodore Hacking centers around exploring, explaining, and utilizing technical issues surrounding the hardware and software on the Commodore 8-bit machines. No other Commodore magazine delved into the technical side of the system to the same degree.

However, since the magazine's inception in 1992, the World Wide Web had redefined online publishing, and many more Commodore users could access the Internet, albeit with textual browsers. In addition, few of the magazines available in 1992 still existed. As I took over the editorship, I decided to renovate the magazine to reflect the changes in the online world. However, actually renovating the magazine proved --harder to realize.

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