Before there were blogs there were columns. Comments were through the laborious process of ‘letters to the editor’ and hoping you’d get published.
The columnists were hired for their ability to interpret, inform and amuse. Two of them (me and Martin Banks) watched the PC industry as it flowered in the UK. We’ve also lived through the networking, web and social computing waves and, no doubt there will be more. Before the PC, Martin specialised in electronics writing and I lived through the visible record and minicomputer waves as a participant, with mainframes as a noisy backdrop, before becoming editor of Personal Computer World.
Martin and I grabbed a slice of history, as we saw it, by scanning and uploading 363 of our columns. (In the original blog post, I miscounted – I said 365.)
However, we relied on Google for the search and it wasn’t comprehensive. Result: you type in something you’re interested in (Sinclair, Curry, Hauser, Jobs, Gates or whatever and there’s a good chance nothing will show.) Shame.
So we’ve now switched to FreeFind‘s sponsored engine. At the expense of a few text ads at the top, you can now properly search the archive. It runs from 1979 to 1991 although it probably follows a bell curve. The search is at the bottom of the left sidebar on any Press Here page. (That’s where Martin and I hang out ‘cos we’re the press and we’re here.)
If you know anyone who’s interested in this kind of thing, you might want to tip them off.
One of the issues of the fast-moving pre-web world is that a lot of computing history got lost. This is our small attempt to redress the balance with the observations of two insiders.
I didn’t realise that the NCC was promoting some work we (Martin Banks and I) are doing in December. Not online, anyway. We approved the brochure a while back. The NCC logo in the left sidebar of this blog links to Communicating IT to the Board.
For 18 years Martin and I (together and separately) have been helping mainly blue chip IT companies handle the press. Occasionally this work has taken us into other areas and other industries. What we divined a long time ago is that a systematic approach to handling the press actually stands you in good stead with other interested (or disinterested) parties: venture capitalists, the board, analysts and even work colleagues.
It’s a way to hook interest, tell your story, engage in meaningful dialogue and all come away better off as a result of the encounter.
For the past few years, I have been riding the social computing wave in various forms. Before that it was web-related stuff, as well as traditional software. And, before that, it was the PC and microcomputers. (Before that, I was in the computer industry but not writing about it.)
In honour of the real PC’s 25th birthday, I’ve put a link in this blog’s ‘About‘ page to a selection of articles and columns that Martin Banks and I wrote as we rode the PC wave. For quite inexplicable reasons, my review of the first IBM PC isn’t in there. It would probably bore you witless anyway.
When you’re looking for some displacement activity, try typing Sinclair, BBC, KayPro, Osborne or Bricklin. Or whatever you like really.
Notice a bit of an echo round here?
On June 11 2005, I welcomed Martin Banks to the blogosphere.
He promptly disappeared.
Well, now he’s back.