The magazines basically defined a nationwide small town.
–Carl Helmers, the first editor of Byte magazine
Buying microcomputers by mail required a healthy measure of blind faith. Customers mailed checks to companies they had never heard of to acquire products they couldn’t be sure existed. All they knew was that they wanted a computer, so they mailed their money and waited. And waited. Fortunately for the manufacturers, the earliest buyers of microcomputers rarely demanded customer service. They were hobbyists who would tolerate almost anything—including the mirage world of mail order—to get their own computers.
Soon magazines were coming on the scene to alert the hobbyists to the new machines. But this ...