This short article about BYTE magazine was written by me several years ago and published in our LCF Group  publishing web site LCF Articles.
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Byte Magazine - September 1975 to July 1998
All hobbies, products, reoccurring events and topics of great interest generate magazines or newsletters. Now with the world wide web the shift is to forums and blogs online. During the late 70’s and 80’s dozens of computer magazines were published, however most had a very short life – just like most of the early microcomputers. First was the simple newsletters and a few of them became successful magazine publications. Most likely the first real microcomputer magazine was “Byte” and interestingly it lasted through all the publishing wars.

Wayne Green
The start up of “Byte” by Wayne Green has lots of intrigue and fascinating stories. Wayne Green (his web site) was a renegade and lively fellow who had already invented many creative products and magazines for the amateur radio field. He was good at picking up good business trends and this certainly was true with Byte magazine. Wayne was creating many minor hardware and software products for microcomputers. He considered himself as a real computer guru and had a big ego. He was always writing about how to be successful in business and make a fortune however, I think his personal long term success and fortune was mostly hype and ego. At the time of this writing Wayne Green is 90 or so years old and is still writing an interesting blog at*

The first issue of Byte was published in September 1975 and was full of interesting articles and advertising – it sold out very quickly and Wayne had a big following. Unfortunately his wife had other ideas and left him and took Byte magazine with her. Wayne wrote really colorful editorials about his wife stealing Byte in his other magazines and folks purchased them just for the entertainment of his writing. There was much litigation and usual bickering that goes on with some family breakups. Not to be out done, Wayne immediately started a new computer publication called “Kilobyte” in January 1977. This also quickly became another contention with his former wife. She would not let him use the word “Byte” as part of the “Kilobyte.” Again Wayne lost out and ended up calling his magazine “KiloBaud.”  The names Byte (8 bits of data), Kilo (1000) and Baud (speed of data transmission) were well known only by techies, computer geeks and hobbyist which were the only ones interested in these publications. Computer magazines for the general public did not become popular until well into the 80’s when the IBM-PC became a common part of the home and office.

Byte magazine was purchased by McGraw Hill and became a long term success in the computer publishing field. Kilobaud was a great hobby publication and died when the microcomputer became more than a fascination for the general public. The first issues of Byte and Kilobaud were filled with technical details about how circuits worked – how to write programs – how to make computers do something useful and how to hook up all kinds of gadgets to them. The magazines are highly prized collectable items today.                                                                                                                           

The early computer magazines are a great source of historical documentation because every new start up entrepreneur advertised his ideas and gadgets in them. It seemed in the late 70’s every new computer
company wanted to be the next IBM in microcomputers. IBM would eventually take this lead with the IBM-Personal Computer in 1981. There were articles describing all the new things and events in this young industry. All the history makers were written about and had their 15 minutes of glory and some made it really big like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs.

*You can find a lot of information on the internet about Wayne Green – search Wayne Green or W2NSD (his ham radio call letters).

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Today has been a great day. Our three paid summer student office assistants are at work helping with our Historical Computer Collection and many other projects. We are always happy to have this talented help in the summer and often during the Christmas and Thanksgiving holidays.  Tomorrow my wife Gaynell and I take our Ukrainian guest Helen Goncharsky to the airport for her trip back to Lviv.  It has been a delight for FAIRS to sponsor her one month visit to Floyd Virginia.
                   "by David Larsen" KK4WW Computer Collector/Historian