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Modern Day Equivalent of Byte/Compute! Magazine? 327

Posted by timothy
from the must-have-tape-drive dept.
MochaMan writes "I grew up in the '80s on a steady diet of Byte and Compute! magazines, banging in page after page of code line by line, and figuring out how sound, graphics, and input devices worked along the way. Since then, the personal computer market has obviously moved away from hobbyists intent on coding and understanding their machines down to the hardware, but I imagine there must still be a market for similar do-it-yourself articles. Perhaps the collective minds of Slashdot can divine some online sources of fun and educational mini-projects like 'write your own assembler' or 'roll your own bootloader.'"
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Modern Day Equivalent of Byte/Compute! Magazine?

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  • Circuit Cellar (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 15, 2010 @02:38PM (#32582370)

    A fantastic hobbyist type magazine. Our community college has a student subscription for it, definitely worth it. Edited by Steve Circia, name should ring a bell!!

    • Re:Circuit Cellar (Score:5, Informative)

      by LWATCDR (28044) on Tuesday June 15, 2010 @03:11PM (#32582824) Homepage Journal

      Yep that was number one on my list. You might want to add Nuts and Volts as well.
      Oh and the entire internet for software.
      I really miss Byte :(
      Oh and this as well http://www.chaosmanorreviews.com/ [chaosmanorreviews.com]

      • Re:Circuit Cellar (Score:5, Informative)

        by negRo_slim (636783) <mils_oRgen@hotmail.com> on Tuesday June 15, 2010 @03:26PM (#32583018)
        Am I the only still buying copies of 2600? [2600.com]
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by dsoltesz (563978)
        I'll add my vote to Nuts and Volts - fun and fantastic mag.
    • Re:Circuit Cellar (Score:4, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 15, 2010 @03:54PM (#32583350)

      Absolutely correct. I rarely post or reply here, but I lunged at this one. Very gratifying to see you beat me to it.

      To give you an idea, the latest issue of this magazine includes a quaternion-based combined accelerometer/magnetometer/gyroscope navigation system for unmanned aerial vehicles-- and it's pretty good. There's also a good summary of cool new and emerging parts, and fairly often some high-profile design contests that are absolutely accessible to hobbyists.

      And yes, you'll occasionally see source code listings. Though the website is used thoroughly as well.

      I write embedded software for a living, and let me tell you, if you want to get back to that 1980s feel of knocking out your own computer just because you can, then hacking around to see what you can pull off with it, modern microcontrollers are awesome, and they are cheap, cheap, cheap. Add to that the cheap fab 'n' slab shops that not just print PCBs but will populate them with your parts, and you're off and running even if your soldering dexterity sucks.

      Also, I would say that "Make" has its place, and that is getting people to be creative comfortably within their skill space. The long term strategic goal for that magazine is probably as an easy entry point to get people back into a mindset where they realize that they can, in fact, build things themselves. I consider that goal strategically important for the global economy, as well as the Bright Shiny Future.

      But "Circuit Cellar" ("Circuit Cellar Ink" if you want to go back a bit) is an excellent thing to read and hack around with. Sometimes just seeing what other people have managed to pull off is half the fun. Much of that stuff finds its way into real-world applications, just like "Byte" and "Dr. Dobb's Journal" once trained an armada of people who changed the world (thank you, Michael Abrash).

      Best wishes and happy hacking,
            Matt Heck
            Senior Software Engineer, ECast, Inc.
            Former Director of Special Projects, TechShop, LLC

  • Make (Score:5, Informative)

    by WarwickRyan (780794) on Tuesday June 15, 2010 @02:40PM (#32582398)

    From O'Reilly is about the only one which I can think of.

    • Re:Make (Score:5, Interesting)

      by TrisexualPuppy (976893) on Tuesday June 15, 2010 @02:47PM (#32582510)
      Not anymore. They really dumbed it down over the last couple of years. When you recruit mindless radio DJs like Kipkay to the spotlight, you end up with stuff that might look cool to a twelve-year-old, but to any real hobbyist, it's just a bunch of lame junk like adding a Radio Shack toggle switch to a "radar gun" from Toys "R" Us or "hacking" a 9V battery by cutting it open and removing the AAAA cells. Not to rail on Kipkay because he really doesn't know any better, but Make has really moved to cater to the technically illiterate masses. It's becoming more of a light mods site than an in-depth guide to some really unique projects.

      There's still always 2600, as limited as its scope is...
      • by SharpFang (651121)

        Unfortunately, yes. They have some awesome news on really cool projects people made, but these are usually shallow news articles - a few photos, some lines, no in-depth, no instruction, no deep how-it-works. That is combined with in-depth instructables on very simple and easy projects - stuff anyone can do (or buy from "Maker Shed"). Don't get me wrong - some of the simple, easy projects are quite interesting (like making plastic from curdled milk), but all are on "low difficulty" and most are quite patheti

      • Re:Make (Score:5, Interesting)

        by gunnk (463227) <gunnk&mail,fpg,unc,edu> on Tuesday June 15, 2010 @03:53PM (#32583336) Homepage

        Wow... I'm going to disagree with you in a big way. The current issue (Make 22) has an in-depth article on converting your lawnmower to RC control. Circuit boards, wiring, assembly... it's a big project but with LOTS of good info to get you there. NOT an overview or a news article. The same is true for the article on hacking wireless power outlets. Then there is the Arduino-powered tweeting cat toy. The physics and construction of double pendulums. How about a sun tracker for solar projects?

        There's a ridiculous amount of great material in that single issue! Not news articles but full, in-depth how-to's. There are some light mods (to borrow your phrase) as well, but many of the projects require a significant investment of time and energy.

        I think Make is a great source for projects. No dumbing down that I see, at least not in the latest issue!

      • Re:Make (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Tomy (34647) on Tuesday June 15, 2010 @04:53PM (#32583930)

        This is really disappointing to me as well. I've been a subscriber since its inception, but I'm about to let it drop. I know which end of a soldering gun to hold. I don't have a desire to add a toggle switch to a toy to impress hipsters.

        Where are the articles like:

        - Build a high quality mass spectrometer (http://old.4hv.org/index.php?board=4;action=display;threadid=1268)

        - Convert a cheap Chinese milling machine to CNC (http://www.hossmachine.info/)

        - Build a Tesla Turbine and reap geothermal energy.

        It went from being "Make useful stuff" to "Make crap to impress dumb people"

    • Re:Make (Score:5, Interesting)

      by cexshun (770970) on Tuesday June 15, 2010 @03:15PM (#32582880) Homepage

      Are you serious? Make is crap! Once a month, you'll get an article about actually MAKING something. Other then that, it's 50 articles about knitting bicycle seats or turning a nerf gun "steampunk". Make has become nothing more then hipster fashion.

  • by vesik (249671) on Tuesday June 15, 2010 @02:40PM (#32582400)

    The Internet is this magazine.

  • That said check Make or google micro-controller projects.

  • Make Magazine (Score:3, Informative)

    by StillNeedMoreCoffee (123989) on Tuesday June 15, 2010 @02:41PM (#32582420)

    Make magazine is a wonderful DIY with electronics projects etc.

    • by SharpFang (651121)

      Unfortunately it's rather on the "shallow water" side. It has articles talking about some awesome and hard ideas, and it has DIY instructables on simple, easy things. It doesn't have in-depth instructables on difficult, ambitious, big projects though. News on really interesting projects and instructions/tutorials on simple ones. "Popular audience". Though some of their simple projects are ingenious in their simplicity too.

    • Re:Make Magazine (Score:4, Insightful)

      by tgd (2822) on Tuesday June 15, 2010 @02:59PM (#32582686)

      Make is to DIY what Wired is to technology ...

    • by cexshun (770970)
      Make is to DIY what iPod is to MP3 players.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by mattack2 (1165421)

        So, in other words, entering an already-created industry and blowing away the competition for years and years and years, with tons of so-called "killers" falling by the wayside year after year?

  • I like this one... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 15, 2010 @02:43PM (#32582448)

    Try looking at http://www.nutsvolts.com/. It has electronic and some programming at very low level.

    • by SloWave (52801)

      Sadly Nuts and Volts is dumbed down compared to the old Radio-Electronics mags. I let my subscription expire after only a year because it became too repetitive. Too much stuff about how to make LED's blink and the like. I don't think there is a good general electronics hobby mag anymore.

  • Maximum PC (Score:4, Informative)

    by mlauzon (818714) <mlauzon.gmail@com> on Tuesday June 15, 2010 @02:43PM (#32582456) Homepage
    Maximum PC is a great magazine.
  • by greggman (102198) on Tuesday June 15, 2010 @02:46PM (#32582490) Homepage

    I learned on Byte and Compute! as well but that's because back then that's all there was. That and a few books.

    Now there's a gajillion ways now to be a techie. Whether it's coding to the metal or using JavaScript or Flash, using Java or C# or C++ or C or hand coding assembly. The number of ways to get the same buzz I got from those magazines in the early 80s has increased exponentially.

    If you're stuck in the 80s though and just want to hand poke hardware then try the Arduino movement or one of these

    http://blog.makezine.com/archive/2009/12/fun_games_and_entertainment_open_so.html [makezine.com]

    And no, I'm not dissing those projects. I'm just trying to say that writing something in JavaScript or Python gives me the same feeling I got back in the 80s from typing in programs out of Compute! It's 2010. I'd much rather be programming in C# on XNA on my PC/360 than in basic or assembly on my Atari800.

    • I can't believe that everyone seems to have forgotten to mention that the internet has made this type of tree killing obsolete.
      Many orders of magnitude more stuff available online, dealing with any subject imaginable.
      The only thing this won't help you with is toilet reading, unless you are hardcore enough to wifi from the bathroom.

      • by ffreeloader (1105115) on Tuesday June 15, 2010 @04:21PM (#32583630) Journal

        You must be very young. I can remember when even Computer Shopper had some decent technical articles. I learned a lot from it.

        I can also remember when there were multiple magazines about anything technical. From computers to hotrodding you could find a lot of very technical how-to projects that took months for the magazine to complete. Every aspect of the project was gone over in great detail, unlike the vast majority of what you find on the internet today that is very, very cursory information. Back in the day a good article on hotrodding would tell you how to cc and modify the cylinder head combustion chambers to provide even power from all cylinders in your engine, or tell you how to completely rebuild and strengthen the transmission or rear differential in your car, or how to build drive train from beginning to end to get the most performance and longevity out of it. The last type of article would teach you to understand cam lobe technology and how it affects the power band of your engine, how to match heads and intake manifold, to the cam. How to match compression ratio to all of that, and then how to match your clutch, transmission, and rear end to the engine. The amount of knowledge those magazines made available was incredible.

        The old computer magazines were just as thorough in their approach to computing as the good hotrod magazines were to hotrodding. Even Radio Shack had a decent reputation for technical projects. Now they're nothing interesting at all. Thirty years ago you could buy almost anything you could think of in electronic components from them. They'd even sell you a build-from-scratch computer kit. Not the greatest computer in the world even for that time, but a great learning project. Nothing like it even exists today.

  • by tlambert (566799) on Tuesday June 15, 2010 @02:46PM (#32582494)

    If you are intent on bit banging... the available options these days are pretty much limited to microcontrollers, unless you want to end up in huge projects or small modifications on huge projects.

    Most of what you can do with these tends to be robotics projects, since there aren't a lot of 8-bit general purpose computers available out there any more.

    There are a lot of web sites that provide small source code for special purpose robotics projects which you could apply much in the same way as typing in BASIC games from Compute! or Byte magazine, and then playing with them.

    If your intent is to provide a project for a kid, you could do a lot worse than going some place like Weird Stuff, buying up a handful of Compute! magazines and a Commodore 64, a 1541 disk drive, and a box of 10 floppies. There are plenty of analog TV's out there still to use a monitors which are otherwise sitting unloved in peoples garages.

    -- Terry

    • Speaking of that, do you happen to know of any resources (such as tutorials/examples/projects) for basic audio and video?

      I'm an ECE, and know processors inside and out, however I don't have a clue as to how you go from circuit board to a screen. I want to know how you display images on a screen (probably best to start with an analog CRT for now). I also want to know how audio works as well. I had a C64 shortly after they first came out; I was old enough to tinker with it a bit, but too young where I coul
      • I searched, and found my answer (sort of). At least in the case of the C64, it uses a VIC-II chip to handle everything, controlled by 47 memory mapped registers.

        Now to dig into the specific workings of the chip. I think I found a starting point, unless there's something simpler. What I'd really like to know (for my project idea) is what the Atari 2600 used.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          The Atari VCS/2600 used a very simple chip called TIA. I forget the exact resolution but it's very low - about 50x25 - which is why it has such blocky graphics. It also has 2 sprites that create hi-res players and 2 "balls" which are used during play. It was designed with the intent of doing Pong-type games, but programmers discovered ways to create arcade games like Space Invaders or Missile Command as well. More here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atari_TIA [wikipedia.org]

          Jay Miner then moved from TIA to C-TIA for th

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        I picked-up a lot of knowledge from here: http://www.avsforum.com/ [avsforum.com]

        And here which describes NTSC in great detail: http://www.videointerchange.com/pal_secam_conversions.htm [videointerchange.com]

        And: http://nfggames.com/games/ntsc/colourresx.shtm [nfggames.com]

        http://www.videouniversity.com/articles/video-recording-formats [videouniversity.com]

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by TheRaven64 (641858)

        I want to know how you display images on a screen (probably best to start with an analog CRT for now).

        That depends on your aim. Driving an analogue CRT has almost nothing in common with driving a digital LCD. If you've got some kind of analogue output then you can plug in an oscilloscope and draw lines on it really easily. That's state of the art for computer graphics circa 1950ish. With something like a TV screen, it's relatively easy to generate a composite video signal. The display will handle the strobing, you just need to send the colour signals with the right timing and handle the sync correctly

    • by SendBot (29932)

      I read your comment and I suspect you're not entirely aware of what bit banging is. From the wikipedia article [wikipedia.org]:

      Bit-banging is a technique for serial communications using software instead of dedicated hardware. Software directly sets and samples the state of pins on the microcontroller, and is responsible for all parameters of the signal: timing, levels, synchronization, etc. In contrast to bit-banging, dedicated hardware (such as a modem, UART, or shift register) handles these parameters and provides a (buf

    • The high-end 40-pin DIPs compare favourably to entire home computers from the Byte era. They are programmed in C, can interface to USB, can be set up with their own bootloaders. The code to interface them to SD cards is well known and if you dan't want that, a 4MBit eeprom has more capacity than a 360kB floppy disk. And that's without even getting to the 32bit controllers.
  • by KhazadDum (790345) on Tuesday June 15, 2010 @02:46PM (#32582496)
    If you're looking for a replacement to the likes of Software Developer, Dr. Dobbs Journal, then please check out Pragmatic programming. As a hobbyist programmer, I enjoy the different articles, from metaprogramming to Facebook app development.
  • Arduino (Score:5, Informative)

    by BitZtream (692029) on Tuesday June 15, 2010 @02:46PM (#32582498)

    Personally I prefer working with ATmega's directly rather than with Arduino, but ... if you want to futz around and LEARN, Arduino is a good place for it. Lots of tutorials and others willing to help. Lots of neat plugin boards for sensors IO. Lots of choices of example software from FreeRTOS to VGA output on a pin (both of those aren't designed for the arduino framework, but porting them should be rather trivial once you get to the point where you would consider porting them.

    If you're using Windows, I'd suggest just using the AVRstudio from Atmel and WinAVR (GCC for AVR chips if you want to use C/C++ instead of just ASM). You can start with the Arduino development environment and move up later. Its free. The Arduino environment is really just a replacement for your main() with a while(1) loop on the standard AVR toolchain anyway

    Arduino has lots of examples and information, but from a debugging standpoint, its the worst there is.

    AVR Studio from Atmel has a nearly perfect simulator, and if you use something like HAPSIM you can simulate other hardware as well, such as serial ports, buttons, leds and a specific LCD.

    If someone would add some decent debugging abilities to Arduino it'd be a useful development environment for me, but debugging through the simulator might be a little overwhelming for a newbie I guess.

    I used to roll my own boards for ATmegas, now I just use Arduino boards, price is more than the processor, but cheaper than rolling the whole board yourself unless you do it in numbers, the Arduino hardware is the best way to go if you're talking quanities less than 10 for sure, probably cheaper all the way up to the 100s if you're hand assembling.

    • by Animats (122034)

      Personally I prefer working with ATmega's directly rather than with Arduino, but ... if you want to futz around and LEARN, Arduino is a good place for it.

      Yes. ATMega boards with small LCD displays are available [microcontrollershop.com], and Atmel's free AVR Studio is a reasonable IDE, with C and C++. If you already know how to program and don't want to join the Arduno cult, it's a reasonable way to get things done. There's a wide range of ATMega parts with different combinations of RAM, Flash, and I/O devices. AVR Studio sup

    • Re:Arduino (Score:4, Informative)

      by spinkham (56603) on Tuesday June 15, 2010 @04:23PM (#32583650)

      BBB [moderndevice.com] is much cheaper then the official arduino at any quantity if you don't need the USB after programming or shield compatibility. Same for the arduino pro [sparkfun.com], which is more expensive, but has shield compatibility and requires no assembly.

      Seeeduino [seeedstudio.com] is slightly cheaper then the official version and has some cool hardware features missing from the original.

      Your first one should probably still be the official arduino board, however. If you need a large quantity, you can save a bundle with the BBB or RBBB.

    • Re:Arduino (Score:4, Informative)

      by Achra (846023) on Tuesday June 15, 2010 @05:45PM (#32584464) Journal
      Another vote for working with the ATMega (or ATTiny) chips directly rather than via the arduino framework. The arduino boards are neat and everything, but expensive ($20-$30ish) I'd hate to lose one inside of a design. That is to say, when I design and build something, it is for permanent. I want to place a $5 microcontroller in there, not a $35 piece of development prototyping hardware.. and the dealbreaker: Arduino code is not compatible with bare ATMega chips. I recommend ladyada's minipov3 kit for learning Atmel microcontrollers: http://www.adafruit.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=5&products_id=20 [adafruit.com] $17.50, built-in programmer, battery-pack, ATTiny2313 microcontroller, LED's on the outputs.. You can't go wrong. The parent's comments about debugging are well-founded as well. Check this out: http://www.nkcelectronics.com/avr-jtag-ice-clone-debugger-programmer-kit.html [nkcelectronics.com] an $18 JTAG ICE for ATMega16/32/64/128 chips. I never thought that I'd be doing step-in/step-over IDE debugging on target hardware with a $20 piece of debugging equipment at home. The future is here.
  • Make and Some 2600 (Score:2, Informative)

    by jjrff (891275)
    As others mentioned Make is a good one and 2600 also has a lot more computer/network oriented material lately.
  • Steve Ciarcia's who wrote the Circuit Cellar column in byte started a magazine which now simply goes by Circuit Celler. The articles tend to be related to significant embedded devices. I find it holds the spirit of Byte in that it encourages users to build custom computers rather than just settle for commodity parts. This is the closest thing I have seen for understanding a machine to the basics.

    Make magazine obviously does the same at a more accesible level.

    In the end Byte's value was that it provid

  • Nut's and Volt's (Score:2, Informative)

    by waldozer (1204634)
    Nut's and Volt's is also a good one. And, I just love the name.
  • Bytes! Gazette (Score:2, Interesting)

    by glavenoid (636808)
    I remember Bytes! Gazette which catered to the Commodore 64 and 128 crowd had this clever input program in Commodore BASIC that would allow the entry of programs by byte-codes. That is, each edition of the magazine had these long list of byte sequences (i think they were 5 chunks to a line, and something like 200 lines for the bigger games) where the first 4 bytes were data and the 5th was a checksum for that line. You would enter these sequences using the BASIC program and it would allow you to proceed to
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by glavenoid (636808)
      Apparently I don't remember very well because I think it was Compute!'s Gazette. I wonder what else I am misremembering from my youth.
      • I remember Compute's! Gazette! And I remember not realizing that I needed the BASIC assembler at first myself:

        AE 3D 10 00 23 11 7E 4D 8A

        ?SYNTAX ERROR
        READY.
        _

        I feel like this is an "In my day...." post.

  • by mrbene (1380531)

    If you don't know of this quarterly magazine, look it up. It emphasizes the value of curiosity, while often providing templates for additional investigation. Some of the content is crap, but most of the time there's at least a few things of value.

    Check it out [2600.com].

    • Yeah, I think you'd be better served going through old issues of Phrack than wasting your time with 2600's technical articles. The stuff in Phrack is dated, but at least it's real. And the letters page is way more entertaining than 2600's feeble attempt to copy it.

      http://www.phrack.com/ [phrack.com]

  • There certainly isn't anything remotely close to those old magazines. I remember devouring issue after issue of Ahoy! (!) Remember having to run your code through the checker to make sure you typed in each line right?

    These days, about the only thing I can really think of that has code in it and projects like that is Linux Journal. Sure, Make has some things in it, but it's definitely not focused solely on computers. The one area that remains extremely accessible for a beginner and also has a very high

  • No, there isn't a comparable magazine these days.

  • Subscribe to "Dr. Dobb's Journal" and "Nuts & Volts"
  • Elektor [elektor.com]
  • With the computer magazines still in business converting into websites, why not go to the tech centric websites such as CNET?
    • by SharpFang (651121)

      Sure except CNET sounds like a rather poor choice. It's more of buyer's catalogue than a news site, and more of news site than a magazine for hobbyists. You won't find tutorials on new programming languages there, no objective (negative) reviews of new technologies, no instructables on tinkering and hacking.

      Sure it shouldn't have to be paper, but it should be the kind of content paper had...

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by LostCluster (625375) *
        You might want to look at the "CNET How-To" and "CNET Hacks" HD video podcasts... Hacks even goes into things the companies don't want known, like iPhone jailbreaks.
  • Linux magazines (Score:2, Interesting)

    by TINGEA77 (935076)
    Although limited to one operating system only both "Linux Developer & User" and "Linux Format" magazines have coding sections that address multiple languages, system details, mini-project ideas, although they are both targeting the beginner coder.
    • Linux Format is nice... but a bit expensive if you live in the US (about $16-17) and also focuses on newbies. It was a great introduction to Linux, but I really don't see an advanced coder really appreciating it as much.

      If you are new to Linux I don't think I can recommend another magazine as highly as Linux Format, but if you are an advanced coder it might not be that interesting to you. Though I do like one of the projects from one of the authors of it, its called MikeOS, it is an OS entirely coded in
  • I loved Byte Mag, but it wasn't the only thing I grew up on. I also cut my teeth on Creative Computing Magazine as well - it was one of the few places where one could get the source code for a game, type it in and run it - and then make changes and learn. I grew up typing in every program from every issue, learning with every keystroke. Now my kids need the same thing, but it needs to be in something more current - like Python. If someone made a modern version of this, with VB, Python or whatever, I'd l
  • Makezine [makezine.com] is the closest thing I've seen to anything like that lately. Lots of Arduino projects. I've also linked some projects you might find interesting:

    How to program a person. [makezine.com]
    How to scavenge a CD drive for parts. [makezine.com]
    Arduino accelerometer. [makezine.com]
    Electronics enclosure. [makezine.com]

    But I'm probably way off, since it sounds like you're looking for software projects, not hardware.
    • Damnit, when I started typing the above post I was thinking I might get a "first post", but since I looked up the cool projects it took to long and about a dozen other people brought up makezine, oh well.
  • Yes, he could go to the library and look at papers and figure out how circuits are made. But that is not what he is asking. He wants to know a place where all his info is available in a tutorial manner. So, suggest websites if you are talking about online stuff. Even google can give you more results than needed sometimes. There is a http://electronicsworld.tripod.com/ [tripod.com] I used to visit this when I was in undergrad. Now I am mostly into programming :)or :( whatever.
  • Make, as already mentioned

    Nuts and Volts

    That would make a good subscription set. :)

  • Slightly OT, but was wondering if there was a good BYTE archive online? I've found various sources for other magazines (gazette, transactor, etc.), but nothing for byte. I've got 5-6 complete years of byte that could be a good starter if someone were doing it.

    Anyone know what kind of copyright hassles some of these archives are getting? Are people getting permission, or are they relying on these publications being out-of-print and out-of-mind? I doubt there's much commercial potential left, for example.

  • This is a good hobbyist site for banging on the PC hardware. www.osdever.net/ [osdever.net]

  • by vlm (69642) on Tuesday June 15, 2010 @03:14PM (#32582862)

    I grew up in the '80s on a steady diet of Byte and Compute! magazines, banging in page after page of code line-by-line, and figuring out how sound, graphics and input devices worked along the way.

    They only existed in the 80s because the device manufacturers had no way to distribute large multi page paper documents for free. Sure, if you were a Genuine Degreed BS-EE with the job title to match, salesdroids would pretty much send you anything you ask for as samples. The general public, believe it or not, was expected to actually pay for printed appnotes and even printed datasheets.

    Nowadays, if you want to learn how to make sound, or program a LCD, or run a A/D converter, you just download the appnotes from the manufacturers website, typically you get a PDF explaining in great detail how it works, schematics, and example code to get you started out. Some manufacturers go further and sell demoboards for a really modest (probably subsidized) fees.

    Either the manufacturer's appnotes are so simple and clear that a "D" student could figure it out, or they go out of business and are replaced by a manufacturer with better tech writers. The quality level is generally excellent.

  • by ch-chuck (9622) on Tuesday June 15, 2010 @03:15PM (#32582878) Homepage

    Outsourcing Magazine [outsourcemagazine.co.uk]

  • hackaday.com (Score:2, Interesting)

    by konmpar (1822540)
    I like hackaday.com. Has lots of DIY articles as other member's really great projects...
  • Google

    http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8&q=write+your+own+assembler

  • Its not a replacement for Byte by any means, but if you are into automation or robotics then Servo Magazine is not a bad choice. http://www.servomagazine.com/ [servomagazine.com] It caters to the robotics competition crowd, but there is still lots to learn both electronically, mechanically, or programatically. Its great if you need to create sensors, control 'things', or just like making things that go whizz and move around the room. ;)
  • A lot of similarities still exist within Linux Journal.

  • c't (.de) (Score:2, Informative)

    by chaered (1834264)
    c't (link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C't [wikipedia.org] ) is pretty good, if you read German.
  • Magazines (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Jerrry (43027) on Tuesday June 15, 2010 @04:38PM (#32583780)

    In the U.S. there are three general electronics magazines:

    Circuit Cellar
    Nuts & Volts
    Elektor

    Of these, Circuit Cellar is the more advanced and covers topics that are probably over the head of most beginners, but it's still worth a read in any case.

    Elektor will be familiar to European readers as it's been published in multiple language versions over there for decades. The U.S. edition dates from the beginning of 2009 and contains the same editorial content as the UK edition. The construction articles in Elektor are quite well done and are look very professional. Elektor recently bought Circuit Cellar, but haven't changed the focus of that magazine (yet). Whether they do in the future remains to be seen.

    Nuts & Volts is geared more toward hobbyists and beginners, but it's still good for all levels (at least some of it). It has several long-running columns devoted to the Arduino, the PICAXE, and (starting recently) the Parallax Propeller.

    Another good option is Everyday Practical Electronics, which is published in the UK and sold by major U.S. chain bookstores.

    Although not strictly devoted to electronics, Servo Magazine (published by the same people who publish Nuts & Volts) does cover the electronics aspects of robotics. There is some overlap with Nuts & Volts, but not a lot.

  • Dr. Dobbs (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jasenj1 (575309) on Tuesday June 15, 2010 @07:46PM (#32585704)
    What!? No mention of Dr. Dobb's [drdobbs.com]? /. is slipping. - Jasen.

What this country needs is a dime that will buy a good five-cent bagel.

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