Byte (November 1983)


Cover of the November 1983 issue of Byte

Byte was subtitled "The Small Systems Journal" and it generally covered computers that were used at home or in a business environment. In the early 1980s, there was a wide variety. In November 1983, it wasn't yet quite clear that the standard set by IBM for the PC would be the one to dominate though it was definitely starting to take hold. In fact, this issue focuses on the PC and includes:


  • Build the H-Com Handicapped Communicator - Details on how to build a scanning communicator designed for those unable to talk. Includes both code and hardware design.

  • BYTE West Coast: California Hardware - A look at new hardware including a portable computer called the Workslate which features a built-in 300bps modem and 16-line x 46 character display, a 128KB bubble memory expansion card for the PC from Intel, another 128KB bubble memory board from Helix, and the Cygnet Communications Cosystem which works with an IBM PC to automatically send and retrieve e-mail, provide automated database access and more.


  • IBM PCs Do the Unexpected - A look at some of the unique applications for the IBM PC including emulating a Cray-1 to help study how energy is transferred from the sea to the atmosphere, custom medical software developed in COBOL, as an electronic therapist, and more.

  • IBM 's Estridge - An interview with the president of IBM's Entry Systems Division. This was a new division headquartered in Boca Raton, Florida that was responsible for, among other things, the IBM PC.

  • Enhancing Screen Displays for the IBM PC - A type-in program that provides a set of enhancements that makes it easier to configure color and monochrome monitors on the PC to your needs.

  • POKEing Around in the IBM PC, Part 1 : Accessing System and Hardware Facilities - The first in a two-part series about directly accessing memory and hardware via POKE and PEEK commands in BASIC.

  • Could 1,000,000 IBM PC Users Be Wrong? - A look of the future of IBM and the PC (including the upcoming PCjr). At the time, Apple was still leading in shipments of "business-oriented desktop systems costing between $1000 and $10,000" (with Tandy/Radio Shack in 3rd) but the PC was expected to take the lead by the end of the year.

  • Big Blue Goes Japanese - IBM introduces the IBM 5550 or Multistation 5550 in Japan. This is basically an IBM PC for Japan (an other parts of Asia) that was capable of processing Kanji and other complex character sets.

  • Expanding on the IBM PC - A look at some of the expansion boards available for the IBM PC. Included here are CP/M boards, networking, RAM disk, clock, memory expansion, drive controllers, multi interface boards (parallel and serial ports), graphics, print-spooler/buffer boards, speech synthesizers, EPROM programmers, and much more.

  • Installable Device Drivers for PC-DOS 2.0 - Supporting device drivers was a new capability in PC-DOS 2.0 which shipped with the XT.

  • A Communications Package for the IBM PC - A look at how the Transend communications software evolved during design.

Table of Contents from the November 1983 issue of Byte


  • The IBM PC XT and DOS 2.0 - A review of the brand new IBM PC XT and DOS 2.00 that shipped with it. Differences between the XT and original PC included a 10 MB hard drive in place of one of the two floppy drives, removal of the cassette port, 128K standard RAM (as opposed to 64K) - expandable up to 256K on the motherboard, eight expansion slots (up from five), standard serial port, and more.

  • The Corona PC - A PC compatible that featured an 8088 CPU @ 5MHz, monochrome monitor, 128KB of RAM and a single floppy drive for $2595. It was also available with two floppy drives ($2995) or with one floppy and a 10Mb hard drive ($4495).

  • A Look at the HP Series 200 Model 16 - Also known as the HP 9816, this machine includes 256K or 512K of RAM, 270KB 3.5" floppy drive, and a 68000 CPU, and BASIC which it was designed to work with though a version of Pascal is also available.


  • Japan and the Fifth Generation - A look at Japan's efforts to develop artificial intelligence. While the topic of AI has become especially hot in recent years, it has long been a goal since the earliest days of the PC or computers in general.

  • Speech Images on the IBM PC - A look at an experimental speech input card that plots the "voice print".

  • Lmodem: A Small Remote-Communication Program - A relatively simple type-in smart-terminal program for CP/M based systems written in BDS C.

  • The Software Tools: Unix Capabilities on Non-Unix Systems - A look at a package that provides many Unix-like tools on a variety of non-Unix systems. These include tools such as diff, ls, ar, sort, find, field, sedit, format, and many others.

Table of Contents from the November 1983 issue of Byte (continued)