The internet is an interesting place. Quite often, things I am trying to find end up not findable (far too often), but I almost always end up somewhere I didn’t intend to be finding something I didn’t mean to find.
Recently, I went in search for a Chromaset game that was referenced by L. Curtis Boyle on CoCoTalk Live (the nation’s leading weekly Color Computer talk show) episode 17. A reference had been made to this “Zero Gravity” (I think that was the title) game being disassembled and ported to OS-9, and I was curious to see what kind of game it was.
During this search, which was unsuccessful, I ended up at some random home page that had an archive of newsletters in PDF format. The one I found was from 1983, and it contained a review of the Chromaset subscription service (which I think was a cassette tape full of programs you received each month).
It was a fascinating read, including an article talking about rumors that Radio Shack was working on a “CoCo III” model. (That article was a gag, though, but no doubt rumors of a CoCo 3 must have started circulating as soon as the CoCo 2 came out.)
Reading through this newsletter was like stepping back in time. 1983 was when I received my first Radio Shack Color Computer. I remembered newsletters like this.
Today, archive sites like archive.org and the Color Computer Archive do a great job at trying to preserve much of this old information. I have scanned and submitted several newsletters and manuals, myself. One could easily spend weeks going through all that is there, which is why I expect none of us have done it. (I wasn’t even aware of this “ETUG” newsletter until I stumbled on it accidentally.)
Wouldn’t it be neat…
With retro computing so popular these days, wouldn’t it be neat if there were some kind of subscription service that would mail you physical paper copies of newsletters from the past, on a schedule just like they were back then? I’m not talking about anything new, but actually representing a point in time as if you were subscribing to them back then.
All it would take is finding as many of these newsletters as possible and getting them organized by date. Then, when someone subscribed, they’d start receiving newsletters each month, starting with the earliest time available.
Or, you could sign up starting at a specific month (say, the year you first got your computer).
Subscribers wouldn’t be in sync with each other, so discussing the “latest” news would be problematic, but since all of this exists digitally, it would be as simple as…
Hey, I just got the August 1983 issue of CoCo Chronicles out of East Texas. There’s this cool BASIC program that makes sound like a synthesizer with no machine code! Here’s a link to the PDF of the issue…
Think of all the great tips and programs we’d (re)discover this way, as a new generation wades through the cutting edge information of 35 years ago.
There might even be a way to automate something like this, through a service that will print and mail on demand.
Sure, we can all go download any of these for free… But have we? It’s much easier to pay attention to something when it shows up at your house, versus you having to remember to go out and find it. (Amazon, anyone?)
There are some problems, of course: Copyright. Low quality scans of copies that might be hard to read. Zero interest in this…
But if such a service existed, would you sign up? How much would you be willing to pay? Who would have the time to run something like this?