H&E Computronics Magazine

written by Matthew Reed

H&E Computronics TRS-80 Monthly Newsletter

January 1979 issue of TRS-80 Monthly Newsletter

H&E Computronics, Inc. was well known for their line of business software for the TRS-80 and other computers, including programs such as VersaReceivables and VersaLedger. But they were probably best known for their TRS-80 monthly magazine, which billed itself as “the original magazine for TRS-80 owners.” It was called by a number of different names over its publication history, including TRS-80 Monthly Newsletter, TRS-80 Monthly Magazine, and H&E Computronics Monthly News Magazine. But most people knew it as H&E Computronics Magazine or just H&E Computronics.

The first issue was published in July 1978 as TRS-80 Monthly Newsletter with this mission statement:

The purpose of the TRS-80 Monthly Newsletter is to provide and exchange information related to the care, use, and application of the TRS-80 computer system.

Created by publisher Howard Gosman, the TRS-80 Monthly Newsletter soon grew to become H&E Computronics Monthly News Magazine, a 70 page magazine. Despite being published by the H&E Computronics company, the magazine wasn’t an advertisement for their products (they had a catalog for that purpose). From the beginning, it contained a variety of articles, columns, reviews, and third-party advertising.

H&E Computronics Magazine

November 1982 issue of H&E Computronics Magazine

One of the more interesting columns was “The Crystal Ball,” which contained “news and rumors of interest to TRS-80 owners.” The rumors and predictions listed were sometimes right (predictions of the Model 16 were correct in almost every detail) and sometimes wrong (the Model III didn’t have an 80-column display). But they were always interesting reading and helped keep people thinking about what would be introduced next. I think it is safe to say that this column wasn’t a favorite of those at Radio Shack; on more than one occasion, they used the TRS-80 Microcomputer News to try to discredit rumors in the column.

Also popular were the columns by Hubert S. Howe, Jr., editor-in-chief of the magazine. His columns about assembly language programming on the Model I were later reworked into the book TRS-80 Assembly Language, which was published by Prentice Hill in 1981. “Model III Corner,” another one of his columns, delved into the Model III hardware in great detail.

Although H&E Computronics continued to sell their business software until at least the late 1980’s, H&E Computronics Magazine ended when it was merged into BASIC Computing magazine (formerly 80-U.S. Journal) beginning with the September 1983 issue.

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