Family Computing (December 1983)


Source: Family Computing – Issue Number 4 – December 1983

Family Computing was a relatively short-lived multi-format computer magazine from the early 1980s. There were a bunch like it but most didn’t survive long. It seems magazines dedicated to one particular computer did much better which I suppose makes sense since most people probably didn’t have multiple computers of different types.

The December 1983 issue of Family Computing includes:


  • A No-Hassle Way to Shop? – Beat the crowds and save money to boot just by pounding on your computer keys – with the right connection.
  • The Layman’s Guide to Word Processing – Best-selling author McWilliams makes even rank beginner understand why word processing has become such a popular computer application for home use.
  • A Young Girl’s Fantasy Turns to Fortune – Adventure game designer Roberta Williams turned her talents for storytelling into successful software packages published by the company she heads with her husband, Ken.
  • Buyer’s Guide to Joysticks, Paddles, And Track-Balls – All you need to know to choose the right hand controller for you and your computer.
  • Automatic Pilot – Four homeowners, who’ve turned science fiction into fact with easy-to-install home-controlling equipment, may be part of a wave of the future.
  • How to Make Your Own Computer Cover for Just a Few Dollars – It takes just a small investment of time and money – and a little sewing skill – to protect your computer.
  • Things Computer Salespeople Seldom Tell You – Asking the right questions when you buy a computer can save you hours of frustration and rage – and a bundle of money.
  • What’s A Computer? – California kids have some offbeat answers.
  • Games For Two…Or Ten – A selection of games guaranteed to gather crowds of players around the computer.
  • 10 Gifts Your Computer Wants For Christmas – If your computer makes life easier for you, don’t forget to return the favor – it’s sure to pay off for you as well.
  • How People and Machines Can Work in Harmony – Part two of a special report on ergonomics.


  • The Programmer – For enthusiasts of all levels.
  • Holiday Programs – Trim you electronic tree to music, make your own personalized wrapping paper, and divvy up holiday chores with programs for Apple, Atari, Commodore 64 and VIC-20, IBM, TI, Timex, and TRS-80 computers.
  • Puzzle – Shopper Search: Finding Mom at the department store.
  • Reader-Written Program – Writing letters in code – making your own character set.


  • What’s in Store – 14 pages of product announcements and reviews.
  • New Hardware Announcements – The latest in the field: Atari’s 1400XL, Timex’s 2000, TRS-80’s PC-4, Chalk Board’s PowerPad, and more.
  • Novelties and Notions – A compendium of computer-related items including disk punches, coloring books, calendars, computer printout greeting banners, and more.
  • Software Guide – Quick takes on two dozen new and noteworthy programs.
  • Software Reviews
  • Book Reviews


  • Editor’s Note
  • Behind the Screens – People, News, and Trends
  • Home-School Connection – Take a lesson from teachers – choose educational software the way they do.
  • Games – Giving games as gifts.
  • Home Business – A successful home accountant.
  • Computing Confidential – Addicted to computers.
  • Computing Clinic – Questions from readers.
  • Light Touch – The Man Who Bought Two Many Peripherals.
  • Basic Booth – A monthly cartoon.
  • The Primer – A multipart reference guide that appears each month.
  • Advertiser’s Index
  • Sign Off – Avoiding the “Piano Lesson Syndrome.”

…and more!