Blogs before blogs

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.