Compute!’s Gazette Disk (Commodore 64, VIC-20)


USA 1985

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Back in the 8-bit days of computing, it wasn’t as easy to get software (“apps” in modern parlance) as it is today. There was no internet to speak of and centralized online services were expensive and the connections slow. You were mostly stuck finding software at a local retail establishment that sold such things or going through a mail-order company. You could also type-in programs from magazines dedicated to whatever computer you happened to be using. However, this could take many hours.

Then there were products like Compute!’s Gazette Disk. Compute!’s Gazette was a spin-off of Compute! magazine that focused just on Commodore 8-bit computers like the Commodore 64. In addition to subscribing to the magazine, you could also subscribe to their disk service. With this service you received a disk each month with all of type-in programs from the magazine from that month. It was relatively expensive at about $70 a year but on the other hand that’s less than $6 month typically for several programs. It certainly saved you a load of time if you actually wanted those programs.

There were several such subscription based disk services over the years. Most magazines dedicated to 8-bit computers had them and there were a few disk only services like Loadstar as well. Some of these services lasted well into the 1990s. Compute!’s Gazette Disk was published until 1995. That’s pretty incredible when you consider that was the time of the Pentium, Power PC and the beginning of the Internet age.




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