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Whatever Happened To Computer Magazines?

Whatever Happened to Computer Magazines?

I had my first computer in 1981. My family got one so my mom could do accounting for small businesses using Peachtree v1.0 on our brand-new Commodore CBM. Back then Byte and Compute! were must-reads, as they had ads for software and hardware vendors (there was one, count it, ONE consumer computer stop in my city, and it was on the other side of town from me), and they also had articles about upgrading your computer and programs you could type out (by hand!) and use on your computer. 

Eventually, these magazines were supplanted by PC Magazine,MacWorld and the like, which weren’t so much about the computers themselves, but rather, what you could do with them. These magazines in turn were replaced by Wired and Computer Gaming World, which were more about how the computers themselves affected society itself.

(By now, you’re saying, “Wait, isn’t this a GUN blog? What’s with all the computer stuff?” Hold on, you’ll see the connection soon).

However, I think the last time I visited was in the 2010’s sometime. In just over a dozen years, Wired went from being a must-read (I was a subscriber from issue #2 until the mid-2000s) to becoming completely irrelevant. Same is true of Macworld and Compute!

Why? Because the future that each of those magazines were working on creating came to fruition, and as a result, the magazines themselves were no longer needed. Computers and software became so common that you could buy them in any shopping mall, thus negating the need for specialist magazines like Byte, and then they became even more ubiquitous and easy to use, you didn’t need a magazine to help you use one. They became appliances, not tools for enthusiasts, and there is no such thing as “DishwasherWorld Magazine.” 

Wired has suffered the same fate. When they first started out, they were all about a wired, interconnected future, and then that future happened and there was no need for a magazine to describe what was unfolding before your very eyes. 

Now pick all of that up, and drop it down on top of guns, specifically Gun Culture 2.0. All of the heaviest hitters in the media world of Gun Culture 2.0 (with the exception of PewPew Tactical) are at least 10 years old, yet the future we want hasn’t shown up yet. There’s many reasons for that (ownership of computers and cell phones are not restricted as guns, for one), but part of that is that guns still require a hobbyist’s level of expertise to use. They’re MS-DOS, not iPhones. 

Will that change? Dunno. But for now, no matter how we try to break through the barrier of the 1 percent, guns themselves are going to be fighting us, and we need to accept that.