Feedback Loop

written by Matthew Reed

“Feedback Loop” was a popular column in 80 Microcomputing magazine. It began in the June/July 1982 issue and ran until the magazine ended in 1988. “Feedback Loop” answered reader letters about “any questions or problems dealing with any area of TRS-80 microcomputing”. It was one of the best sources of TRS-80 information available at the time.

“Feedback Loop” was written by Terry Kepner for most of its run. It replaced “The Exclusive Oracle”, a similar column written by Dennis Báthory-Kitsz that also answered reader questions.

In “Feedback Loop”, Terry Kepner answered questions about software, hardware, programming, product availability, and practically anything related to the TRS-80. His answers were very detailed and in depth. At the peak of the magazine’s popularity (1982 and 1983), “Feedback Loop” frequently ran six pages long and answered twenty or more questions per column.

For example, one column in 1983 featured reader letters that dealt with:

  • key repeat on the Model I
  • a reader submitted weather forecasting program
  • twelve(!) reader suggestions about using lowercase in Model I Scripsit
  • how to find ribbons for an Okidata Microline printer
  • how to print Epson MX-80 emphasized mode using Model II Scripsit
  • problems with tractor feed printing on an Epson MX-80
  • problems with the print head on an Epson MX-80
  • printing graphics on an Epson MX-80
  • problems with the Microtek Bytewriter
  • how to find SuperScripsit printer drivers

The SuperScripsit word processor was a common source of questions in “Feedback Loop”. The April 1983 issue contained a special “Feedback Loop Special Edition: SuperScripsit” devoted to answering questions about the word processor. This special column was in addition to the normal “Feedback Loop” column.

Terry Kepner’s final “Feedback Loop” appeared in the August 1986 issue. He wrote:

I’ve enjoyed writing the column and will miss your many problems, questions, and creative solutions. Take care and keep on computing!

After Terry Kepner left, “Mercedes Silver” edited the column from September 1986 to December 1987. The name, a reference to the “Mercedes Silver” who had appeared years earlier in the “The Gamer’s Cafe” column, was actually David Goben and Beverly Woodbury. From January 1988 until the magazine ended in June 1988, the column was edited by Beverly Woodbury.

Categories: Magazines