CompuMart catalogs from 1980

I recently got ahold of a couple of CompuMart catalogs, sent to me from across the country. Ironically, the actual CompuMart location was only about a 10 minute drive away. I know nothing about it, but I can see on Google Maps that it is clearly long gone.

Compumart 2014 gmap

But never mind. I have no knowledge of CompuMart apart from these catalogs, but the catalogs are pretty cool. A very compact collection of information, pictures, prices on quite a wide range of computers of the early 1980s. The Summer 1980 edition pre-dates the Apple ///, and the Winter-Spring 1980-81 issue announces the Apple ///. Also included are KIM-1 ads, Atari, Commodore PET, HP-85, really quite neat.

So, without further ado:

  • CompuMart Summer 1980 Microcomputer catalog (300dpi, or 600dpi)
  • CompuMart Fall-Winter 1980-81 Microcomputer catalog (300dpi, or 600dpi)
Compumart summer 1980 Compumart fall winter 1980 81

Peelings II

I’d always been fairly aware of the Peelings II magazine back during the early 1980s when the Apple II was going strong, because they advertised fairly aggressively in things that I did read, but for some reason I’d never really read any of the issues. Probably this is because the magazine wasn’t sold on any newsstands I had easy access to, and I was never motivated to subscribe. Looking at it now, though, it’s pretty interesting. It’s essentially a magazine of reviews, and as such, it provides quite a bit of useful information for the modern-day retrocomputing enthusiast.

Peelings ii v4n1 7

I looked around a bit, but I couldn’t find any issues scanned online. I have exactly seven issues of the magazine, the first 7 issues of 1983. The issues don’t have dates on them (apart from “1983”), but it appears that Peelings II came out 9 times per year.

So, I scanned the ones I have. And they are linked below. They’re scanned at 600dpi, so the files are fairly large.

Peelings ii v4n1 Peelings ii v4n2
Peelings ii v4n3 Peelings ii v4n4
Peelings ii v4n5 Peelings ii v4n6
Peelings ii v4n7  

Saint Softalk dot Mac

Softalk was one of the most highly regarded computer magazines focused on the Apple II series of computers, running from September 1980 until August 1984. They’ve been mentioned here before. In the later years, however, the publishers branched out to a couple of other platforms. There was a second magazine called Softalk for the IBM PC, which was—well—Softalk, for the IBM PC. But there was also a Softalk magazine devoted to the Mac, upon its release. This was ST.Mac, which is etymologically “Softalk” with a filetype/extension “.Mac”, although it also seems to have gone by “Saint Mac” as well.


ST.Mac launched just after the original Macintosh did, its first issue covered February 1984. Monthly issues followed, although unfortunately not for long—the whole Softalk enterprise pretty much stopped after August 1984, including both the original Apple II Softalk magazine and ST.Mac. So, all in all, there only were seven issues of ST.Mac, which might explain why even Mac enthusiasts often have never heard of it. I certainly hadn’t until pretty recently, despite having loved the Apple II Softalk for over 30 years.

The magazine is primarily focused on the Macintosh, but also considers Lisa within its scope, and it’s one of the best/only places to find magazine print ads relating to Lisa products. It’s also interesting to see some of the contemporaneous discussion, not all of it positive. I can say myself, having been fairly deep into the Apple II world at the time of the Mac’s introduction, that upon my first experience with a Mac (I think it may have been a “Fat Mac”, the second iteration that had 512K rather than 128K), I wasn’t actually swept away in the way people were supposed to have been. As a child (but one already pretty handy with the command line), it felt kind of slow and limited. True, there were a lot of dots per inch, but I still took it to be mostly a toy computer aimed at novices, and I pretty much ignored it for the next five years until I the Macs gained software and traction and speed (at which point I bought the SE/30, which I still consider to be basically the pinnacle of the compact Macs). And some of that kind of reaction can be seen in some the letters that got printed in ST.Mac, too, though of course the focus of the magazine was mostly the positive and new developments on the Mac platform, right as it was getting its start.

Anyway, I have now scanned the entire short run of this little magazine, and it is definitely interesting to read in retrospect. So, without further ado, here they are. The main links below are to the smaller 300dpi scans (around 70MB), and better, larger, 600dpi scans (around 260MB) are linked separately if that’s of interest.

Stmac feb1984 Stmac mar1984
Stmac apr 1984 Stmac 1984 may
Stmac 1984 jun St mac 1984 jul
St mac 1984 aug  

Quick File ///

Here is Quick File /// for the Apple ///. I imaged the disks and scanned the manual, since I didn’t find an existing manual scan online. The disks weren’t protected, and were actually already available on, but these are (presumably identical) images of my own disks. The program does work in Sara OS X, but note that in order to get the “tab” key to work, you need to press Ctrl-I, since pressing the actual tab key seems just to emit an “i” character.

I have two of these, one open, and one still wrapped. The open one didn’t have the slipcover, and I haven’t convinced myself to open the wrapped one yet. So there is no scan yet of the slipcover, but I may either open it or try to scan through the plastic.

Qf3 box wrapped

Nevertheless, this is what I will find inside the box if I wind up opening it:

Qf3 box open

Strangely, the manual is called Quick File /// Sampler. It sounds like that would be some kind of auxiliary manual used to point out aspects of the example files, but it is in fact the only manual there is with Quick File ///.

From playing with it briefly, it seems like it’s a pretty well-thought out database system, given its goals. It’s not a spreadsheet, but it can do basic total calculations in reports, and there is no kind of cross-table linking or relations. It also seems particularly novice-oriented, there is quite a bit of onscreen help and opportunities to undo mistakes.

Qf3 splash

Qf3 sues cards

Anyway, here are the files:

Qf3 manual Qf3 addendum

Qf3 boot disk

Qf3 program disk

Qf3 sample disk

Qf3 packing list Qf3 sla Qf3 auir

On Three 1987, volume 4

I finished up a few more scans of On Three, so here they are. I decided in the interest of collecting things together that I would post the whole volume in this post. I still need to scan June 1987 and re-scan March 1987, I’ll insert them in this post later once I have. I have also put up a static page with all of the scans I know about collected together for convenience.

Mike Maginnis scanned and posted a few of these issues earlier, which then made their way onto the asmiov Apple II archive site. I’ve fetched those for this collection—the ones Mike scanned are marked in the list below with an *.

On3 v4n1 On3 v4n2 1987 On3 v4n3
On3 v4n4 On3 v4n5 On3 v4n6
On3 v4n7 1987 On3 v4n8 1987 On3 v4n9
On3 v4n10 On3 v4n11 1987 On3 v4n12 1987

on three

I recently received a great collection of On Three magazines and I am working through them to fill in some of the holes in the collections on the net. I have started scanning on the tail end of the run, partly just because they were the easy ones. As of the March/April 1989 issue, the format of On Three was reduced to more of a newsletter, only 16 pages long, without the nice colorful covers that they had previously. The audience for Apple /// products and news had taken a sharp downturn, and On Three dropped their 800 number, shrank the magazine, and moved to Chicago. There are still nice articles in these last few issues, but it is kind of saddening to see it dwindle out. Despite that, the enthusiasm continues to show through, but it’s clearly an era ending, when the machines were getting well obsolete and when Apple’s support was essentially entirely gone.

From the 1990 issues, I have only the first and the last, the last of them being only 8 pages long. I don’t know if it continued beyond that issue.

OnThree1989 03 04 OnThree1989 05 06
OnThree1989 07 08 OnThree1989 09 10
OnThree1989 11 12  
OnThree1990 01 02 OnThree1990 11 12

Apple on Apples

At a few different times in its history, Apple has published magazines of a sort. These were not just catalogs, although they did of course promote the Apple cause. The Apple magazine lasted for a few issues in the early 1980s, and I will be posting scans of those at some point in the future. Later on, there was an Apple magazine issue that made an appearance in 1997, but as far as I know was just a single issue and then the project was dropped again. In between, Apple produced two issues of Apple on Apples. I don’t believe that there were any more than those two. Apple seems to keep thinking this is a good idea, but then changing its mind and just going back to publishing catalogs. The second issue is undated, but the events list suggests it is from early 1983, so I’m going to guess January 1983.

The Apple on Apples issues are quite short. The first one has only a couple of contentful articles, amounting to a profile of a couple of companies using Apple II Pluses to run their businesses, and an interview with Mike Markkula. The second issue is more developed, with articles on Logo, the Lisa and //e, online and local networking with the Apple II Plus, an interview with Paul C. Dali, profiles of Allen Dziejma and Paul Lutus, and tips on integrating Visicalc and Apple Writer on an Apple ///.

Each issue features a “puzzler” as well. In the first issue, the questions included “What is the weight of an FCC-approved Apple II?” and the answers were provided. In the second issue, Apple was more ambitious with the puzzler and made it a contest, six winners being awarded “I solved the puzzler” T-shirts. I have no idea if those were ever given out, or what the answers to the puzzler were, because there was no issue number 3. One thing I don’t understand about the puzzler is that in issue 2, they list the winners of the last puzzler, yet the puzzler in issue 1 gave the answers and didn’t provide anywhere to write in. Did they just make those winners up? Very strange. [Update: see below.]

In any event, they’re sort of interesting, and they’re quite uncommon in the wild.

Apple on apples v1n1 Apple on apples v1n2

For the record, the problems I found in the “puzzler” were: One disk has its media access slot sideways, the logo and the feed advance wheel on the Silentype printer are on the wrong side and the plug comes out the back not out the side, the Monitor III is essentially upside down, though the switches are at the top instead of the bottom and are red, there is no useful need for antennae above the monitor, the keyboard is wrong in various ways (missing a row of keys, the space bar is red, some keys are elongated where they shouldn’t be. Anyone have an “I solved the puzzler” T-shirt?

Update: Turns out, there were actually two versions of Apple on Apples v1n1. The one I scanned and discussed here says “October 1982” on the cover, and has the puzzler as discussed, with the answers. The other version does not give a date on the cover, has an additional introductory “About this issue” note, and has a trimmed-down “puzzler” section that actually does give an address to send answers to. Unfortunately, my copy of this second version has some water damage, but I will add a scan of it here shortly.

Dear Educator, we live in exciting times!

Pretty much right from the beginning, Apple marketed itself heavily to children and the educational market. Through a happy accident I wound up with what seems to be an untouched Apple Curriculum Materials Kit, from February 1979. From what’s inside, it seems to have been sent out to schools (on request) to persuade them both of the value of having microcomputers in the classroom (as opposed to larger timeshare machines in computer rooms), and promoting the Apple II as the computer that would fit the bill, with a future and plenty of established material already.

IMG 3617

In this kit is a cover letter introducing the materials, an outline of why microcomputers and the Apple II in particular is a great step forward for education, some ideas for computer awareness and literacy units for various grade levels, a price list (effective February 15, 1979), a list of dealers, a list of users groups, and a reply card to get on the mailing list.

For grades K-3, it is suggested that the children might like nice friendly games like “Sink-the-ship” or “Shootout” or variations on “Hangman,” while in grades 4-6, it is suggested that children might enjoy destroying submarines.

Unfortunately, the original version of the reply card referred to the “educators mailing list” and it seems that somebody got nervous about sending this out to educators, and behind the scenes of this little card you can just feel the wheels turning.

Hmm. “Place me on your people mailing list” doesn’t sound right, so “educators mailing list” must not be quite right. “Mailing list for educators” would probably be best, except the cards are already printed. And this is 1979 for heaven’s sake, we’re aren’t anywhere close yet to being the most valuable company in the world. We can’t just print a whole new stack. Well, maybe we can salvage it by saying it’s the “educators’ mailing list.” That sounds nice, kind of personalizes it for them. Ok.

And so, somebody drew in apostrophes on the reply card so that it reads “educators’mailing list.” I don’t think these were hand drawn on each card, but it’s possible. It’s hard to say for sure. But it is clearly hand drawn after the fact.

Anyway, the shape that this kit was in was truly remarkable, given that it took nearly 34 years to wind up in my hands. So, here are the scans.

Dear educator cover letter Microcomputers in education
Microcomputer classroom Apple price list feb15 1979
Apple authorized dealers Apple users groups
Apple v1n1 currkit cover Curriculum reply card

The Rising Star

Almost certainly the biggest player in the Epson QX-10-specific software world was Rising Star Industries, the creators of Valdocs and its various successors. Valdocs is an integrated software suite that (as I understand it) was generally packaged with Epson QX-10 machines. RSI pretty much tied its future to the QX-10 (and to the QX-16) with Valdocs, and when the QX-10 lost favor with the public, RSI went down with it. But in its heyday, they produced a newsletter called The Rising Star, with some articles on the background of the company, tips and tricks in Valdocs, new versions, etc.

I have gotten ahold of four of these. I don’t know if there are others out there anymore, but here are the ones I have:

Rs v1n4 1984 fall Rs v2n2
Rs v2n4 Rs v3n1

Softalk’s historical scoop: Apple joins the Dark Side

Prompted by discussion on the Softalk Forever!!! Facebook group, itself prompted by the initiation of an ambitious data mining project (The Softalk Apple Project) using Softalk as its base, I present the one full scan I’ve done since the last round at the beginning of the summer.

It’s a nice one to have, though, it’s issue number one, September 1980, which started it all. My copy is not perfect, but it’s not bad. It is, however, a bit aged and quite brittle. So, although the issue is not particularly long compared to what issues would become, it was a challenge to get it to look even as good as this does.

Softalk1980 09

Welcome to Softalk. Whether you’re a hobbyist or a businessperson, a programmer or a nonprogrammer, Softalk is designed for you, because each of you has chosen Apple for your computer; and so did we. (Straightalk, Softalk Sep 1980, p. 3).

Addendum: actually, I’m seeing a lot of compression artifacts in this scan at high magnification. Though it might destroy this issue to go through the scanning process again, I might try once more to see if I can get a cleaner scan. I don’t really think it’s a dpi issue, since my 600dpi version of this has similar artifacts. Might require some experimentation. This version will stay here for now.