Sleep 2: Editorial Things To Come

17 April, 2020


The Editorial entitled Things To Come from the May-June 1976 edition of the Creative Computing Magazine.

Transcript available
[Music] Helping you fall asleep. I'm John Chidjie. You can follow me on the Fedverse at, on Twitter @johnchidjie or the network @engineered_net. Sleep is supported by you, our listeners. If you'd like to support the show, you can do so via Patreon, with a special thank you to all of our patrons, and a special thank you to our Patreon Silver Producers, Oliver Steele, Kevin Koch, Joseph Antonio, and John Whitlow. And an extra special thank you to our Patreon Gold Producer, known only as R. Visit to learn how you can help. Thank you. So now that's out of the way, let me talk to you. Just for a few minutes. Creative Computing Magazine. May/June 1976. Editorial. Things to come. Over the next five years, I expect dramatic changes in every aspect of the small computer field. Those of us now in in the field will be overwhelmed, at least in numbers, by people today who have never heard of a personal computer. This is somewhat akin to the situation in 1920 when radio amateurs who had for years been a growing but close-knit group, all of a sudden, with the advent of commercial AM radio, found themselves in a minority of radio users. Companies that had been catering to hams switched over to production of commercial radios as a new consumer industry leaped into life. Oh sure, some manufacturers stuck with the hams and over the years there were new entrants, but the real growth was in commercial radio. Today the TRS-80, PET, Video Brain and Atari video computer system are the first of what promises to be a broad expanding line of commercial personal computers. More and more the video video game systems will have keyboard and memory options and new computers will be announced at the Toy Fair or Consumer Electronics Show rather than at computer industry shows. How often have you seen Atari or Coleco at a personal computing show or the NCC? Yet it is from companies like these that I expect major future developments. This is one reason that at Creative Computing we cover these other shows and product profiles of video games and the like. A parallel development to the completely assembled, neatly packaged commercial computer system will be systems dedicated to a single function or group of functions. For example, no longer will you buy one general purpose computer, but you will buy one for text editing, one for library cataloging, one for games, one for music synthesis, one for CAI, and so on. As prices come down to $300 and lower, it just won't make sense to buy the peripherals to do all these functions on one system, when several dedicated individual systems can be bought for the same or less cost. The user, of course, will not have to learn to program in basic or other computer languages since all of the systems and application software will be built in. Computer clubs, therefore, will lose one of their primary functions - software interchange. Indeed, the typical buyer of a commercial personal computer, like buyers of AM radios in the 1920s, will have little interest in a computer club anyway. After all, they're buying their computer for one or more specific purposes - not for the fun of building it, or writing software, or any of the other reasons that most people have bought their own computers for the past three years. Another parallel development that will profoundly influence the use of small computers will be the establishment of one or more low-cost digital communication networks. The recently announced Bell Data Network (ACS) may be overkill for home users, but no matter what the form, home and small business users will have access to high-speed data communications. Not only will users have access to databases containing all types of encyclopedic data, stock market data and the like, but also the small business will be able to receive orders from field sales representatives, acknowledge orders, quote prices and perform all the other data communication functions now available only to larger businesses with their own data nets. In forecasting all this, I don't mean to imply that the current cult of personal computer users will die out. Quite the contrary, they will continue to exist just as radio amateurs did. Some will gravitate towards packaged commercial systems, while others will continue in computing as a hobby. There will be side-by-side development between hobbyists and packaged systems users. some overlap and much synergy. All in all, the future of small computing will continue to be intellectually challenging and exhilarating. It will expand at an increasing pace, and in 10 years most people will regard a personal computer as commonplace as a transistor radio or pocket calculator is today. We at Creative Computing intend to be there too, growing and changing with the field. We hope you'll be with us.
Duration 5 minutes and 46 seconds Direct Download

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John Chidgey

John Chidgey

John is an Electrical, Instrumentation and Control Systems Engineer, software developer, podcaster, vocal actor and runs TechDistortion and the Engineered Network. John is a Chartered Professional Engineer in both Electrical Engineering and Information, Telecommunications and Electronics Engineering (ITEE) and a semi-regular conference speaker.

John has produced and appeared on many podcasts including Pragmatic and Causality and is available for hire for Vocal Acting or advertising. He has experience and interest in HMI Design, Alarm Management, Cyber-security and Root Cause Analysis.

You can find him on the Fediverse and on Twitter.