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Loadstar (magazine)

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Issue 53 (1988)
Issue 53 (1988)
Loadstar disks
Loadstar disks
Basement offices where Loadstar was published for much of its history, despite references to the "Loadstar Tower"
Basement offices where Loadstar was published for much of its history, despite references to the "Loadstar Tower"

Loadstar (ISSN 0886-4144) was a disk magazine for the Commodore 64 computer, published starting in 1984 and ceasing publication in 2007 with its unreleased (until 2010) 250th issue. It derived its name from the command commonly used to execute commercial software from a Commodore 1541 disk: LOAD "*",8,1, with inspiration from the word "lodestar".

Loadstar was launched as a sister publication of Softdisk, based in Shreveport, Louisiana. It was the second platform for which Softdisk produced a disk magazine, after the Apple II. At the time, the Commodore 64 was a very popular home computer due to its inexpensive price and advanced graphics and sound capabilities.

Early issues of Loadstar were produced by the Softdisk staff, most of whom had more experience with Apple than Commodore computers at the time, and much of the content was ported over from the Apple. However, over time, Commodore-specific staff and freelance contributors came aboard.

In addition, Loadstar was the official disk magazine for magazines published by Commodore, including Power/Play and Commodore Magazine. Users could find type-in programs from these publications featured on Loadstar.

In 1987, Fender Tucker was hired as its editor, and he gave Loadstar a distinctive style and atmosphere, including references to a fictional "Loadstar Tower" where it was supposedly published (the offices at the time were in fact in a basement). Loadstar's staff soon expanded to include Jeffrey L. Jones and Scott E. Resh, and the magazine's regular "Puzzle Page" feature - with interactive crosswords, card games, and logic puzzles - was edited by Barbara Schulak.

Under Tucker, a sister publication Loadstar 128 was launched for the Commodore 128 personal computer. This magazine was quarterly. Jones contributed to the Loadstar Letter, a printed publication which accompanied issues of Loadstar.

In 1989, Loadstar published DigitHunt, a number-puzzle game which was apparently the first home computer implementation of Sudoku.

A notable feature in some early issues is the inclusion of a disk with software to access the then-new online service Quantum Link, which had been fervently pitched to Loadstar by head of marketing Steve Case. The company that ran this service eventually turned into America Online.

As the years went by and the Commodore 64 was increasingly regarded as an obsolete computer, the resources of the company were shifted to software for more current systems such as Windows and the Macintosh, and later to the Internet. However, Loadstar held on, and ultimately outlasted the disk magazines for newer platforms. When Softdisk no longer wished to support it, it was spun off as an independent company, J&F Publishing, co-owned by Tucker and his wife, Judi Mangham, who was a co-founder of Softdisk. It has continued to be published, well into the 2000s, for a cult-following audience of old-time Commodore buffs and for people who use Commodore 64 emulators on other platforms.

In January, 2001, Dave and Sheri Moorman of Holly, Colorado, took over as editors. It remained in publication until 2008, in several formats including "classic" Commodore 1541 floppy disks and e-mailed files in C-64 emulator format. An official Web site exists, but not at the earlier loadstar.com address, which now belongs to somebody in Russia according to its WHOIS record.[1]

J&F Publishing still officially owns it, but the editing and distribution had been franchised to the Moormans' company, eTower Marketing, with Dave Moorman editing the monthly magazines and Sheri Moorman handling business matters. Tucker is now concentrating on other ventures such as republishing the books of Harry Stephen Keeler under his Ramble House imprint.

249 issues of Loadstar were published. It was scheduled to cease publication with issue 256 with Dave Moorman kindly making issue 248 a free pass-around issue in November 2007. However, Dave Moorman moved on in 2008, leaving his last issue 250 unpublished. After another Loadstar assistant finished editing it, issue 250 was unofficially released in June 2010.

Discover more about Loadstar (magazine) related topics

Disk magazine

Disk magazine

A disk magazine, colloquially known as a diskmag or diskzine, is a magazine that is distributed in electronic form to be read using computers. These had some popularity in the 1980s and 1990s as periodicals distributed on floppy disk, hence their name. The rise of the Internet in the late 1990s caused them to be superseded almost entirely by online publications, which are sometimes still called "diskmags" despite the lack of physical disks.

Commodore 64

Commodore 64

The Commodore 64, also known as the C64, is an 8-bit home computer introduced in January 1982 by Commodore International. It has been listed in the Guinness World Records as the highest-selling single computer model of all time, with independent estimates placing the number sold between 12.5 and 17 million units. Volume production started in early 1982, marketing in August for US$595. Preceded by the VIC-20 and Commodore PET, the C64 took its name from its 64 kilobytes (65,536 bytes) of RAM. With support for multicolor sprites and a custom chip for waveform generation, the C64 could create superior visuals and audio compared to systems without such custom hardware.

Commodore 1541

Commodore 1541

The Commodore 1541 is a floppy disk drive which was made by Commodore International for the Commodore 64 (C64), Commodore's most popular home computer. The best-known floppy disk drive for the C64, the 1541 is a single-sided 170-kilobyte drive for 5¼" disks. The 1541 directly followed the Commodore 1540.

Apple II

Apple II

The Apple II is an 8-bit home computer and one of the world's first highly successful mass-produced microcomputer products. It was designed primarily by Steve Wozniak; Jerry Manock developed the design of Apple II's foam-molded plastic case, Rod Holt developed the switching power supply, while Steve Jobs's role in the design of the computer was limited to overseeing Jerry Manock's work on the plastic case. It was introduced by Jobs and Wozniak at the 1977 West Coast Computer Faire, and marks Apple's first launch of a personal computer aimed at a consumer market—branded toward American households rather than businessmen or computer hobbyists.

Home computer

Home computer

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Commodore 128

Commodore 128

The Commodore 128, also known as the C128, C-128, C= 128, is the last 8-bit home computer that was commercially released by Commodore Business Machines (CBM). Introduced in January 1985 at the CES in Las Vegas, it appeared three years after its predecessor, the bestselling computer in the 80s Commodore 64.

Quantum Link

Quantum Link

Quantum Link was an American and Canadian online service for the Commodore 64 and 128 personal computers that operated starting November 5, 1985. It was operated by Quantum Computer Services of Vienna, Virginia, which later became America Online.

Microsoft Windows

Microsoft Windows

Windows is a group of several proprietary graphical operating system families developed and marketed by Microsoft. Each family caters to a certain sector of the computing industry, for example, Windows NT for consumers, Windows Server for servers, and Windows IoT for embedded systems. Defunct Windows families include Windows 9x, Windows Mobile, and Windows Phone.

Internet

Internet

The Internet is the global system of interconnected computer networks that uses the Internet protocol suite (TCP/IP) to communicate between networks and devices. It is a network of networks that consists of private, public, academic, business, and government networks of local to global scope, linked by a broad array of electronic, wireless, and optical networking technologies. The Internet carries a vast range of information resources and services, such as the inter-linked hypertext documents and applications of the World Wide Web (WWW), electronic mail, telephony, and file sharing.

Holly, Colorado

Holly, Colorado

The Town of Holly is a statutory town in Prowers County in southeastern Colorado, United States, near the Kansas border. Located four miles (6 km) from the Kansas border at an elevation of 3,392 feet (1,034 m), Holly is the lowest elevation town in Colorado. The town population was 837 at the 2020 United States Census.

Floppy disk

Floppy disk

A floppy disk or floppy diskette is an obsolescent type of disk storage composed of a thin and flexible disk of a magnetic storage medium in a square or nearly square plastic enclosure lined with a fabric that removes dust particles from the spinning disk. Floppy disks store digital data which can be read and written when the disk is inserted into a floppy disk drive (FDD) connected to or inside a computer or other device.

Harry Stephen Keeler

Harry Stephen Keeler

Harry Stephen Keeler was a prolific but little-known American fiction writer, who developed a cult following for his eccentric mysteries. He also wrote science fiction.

Source: "Loadstar (magazine)", Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, (2022, November 25th), https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loadstar_(magazine).

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