Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Before RBakerPC

Before the online username RBakerPC was ever created I was very active in amateur radio. After graduating college with a BSEE degree from Drexel and getting married, we moved to Massachusetts where I worked for Digital Equipment Corp. for three years. While there I met Wayne Green who published an amateur radio magazine called 73. I was very active in ham radio contests and during one of our conversations I asked him why he didn't have a contest calendar column like the other amateur radio magazines. His response was that no one had ever volunteered to do it and would I be interested. To make a long story short, I took on the task and the column ran for 10 years.

During the time I was writing for 73, Wayne started up BYTE magazine for the early computer hobbyists. Somehow I managed to be involved in the early issues and even had my name on the masthead of the magazine for some time. I was writing various articles on and off for BYTE and then Kilobaud Microcomputing, Midnite Gazette, Compute and eventually Commodore Magazine among others. There were even a few regular columns like the PETpourri column for the Commodore PET, VIC-20, C64 and Amiga computers, plus an Inside Quantumlink column in Commodore's magazine. All told, there were over 200 published articles and columns, plus a few books, spanning over 20 years. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

With all my writing in the Commodore computing world, QuantumLink approached me to run a section on their new online service QuantumLink just before it went live to the public. I started with a technical Question and Answer section that quickly evolved into an industry news section. When they started up PC-Link to cover the RadioShack and IBM PC markets, I was asked to expand my news section to cover PCs on that service. Then when AOL was born, I was right there with an expanded version of my news service on that system too. And that's where the RBakerPC name was born! You see, in the early days on AOL, any username with the 'PC' suffix was a reserved system account with special meaning and privileges. For whatever reason, I've stuck with that username on every system since and it's followed me to this day.

Robert Baker


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