Windows Tech Journal
Windows Tech Journal published a number of Kyle’s articles. From September 1992 through August 1997 his column “In The APIary” was a feature of every issue. The intent of the column was to ease the transition that experienced software developers suffer when moving from MS-DOS to the Windows platforms. It also featured a section that suggested one book, not always technical and not always current, that Kyle found interesting enough to recommend.
In December of 1996 the original publishing company sold its magazines to a larger firm, PennWell Publishing Co. Starting with the September 1997 issue Kyle became “editor at large” and the column was replaced by a charter to become a commentator on industry history and trends.
In mid-December 1997, PennWell shut down all the magazines without notice and discharged the staff.
VB Tech Journal
VB Tech Journal, published by the same firm that published WinTech, had a Kyle byline in almost every issue, but not all of them were from Jim. His youngest son, Tony, also appeared there.
The elder Kyle’s articles in VB Tech provided background and discussed good programming practices, to help fill gaps in the typical reader’s formal training. He also did frequent software reviews and comparisons.
Like WinTech, VB Tech died unexpectedly on December 17, 1997.
Btrieve Developer’s Journal
While doing research for the book “Btrieve Complete” Kyle became acquainted with Scott Smith and Steve Mook of Smithware, the publisher of BDJ. When the book appeared, they asked him to do a background article to accompany their review. They liked it enough to offer him the position of News Editor for the Journal, which he held from mid-1995 to early 1997.
Effective with the Autumn, 1998, issue, BDJ’s name and ownership changed to become Pervasive Software Developer’s Journal instead. Kyle remained a frequent contributor to the magazine until it ceased publication in mid-1999.
Computer Language Magazine
Computer Language Magazine appeared on the scene in 1985, founded by two Dr. Dobb’s Journal veterans. During its 7-1/2 years the magazine attracted a loyal following. CLM ceased publication with its June 1993 issue and was replaced in the Miller-Freeman lineup by Software Development Magazine. Kyle wrote a number of feature articles and several software reviews for CLM.
PC Techniques (later known as Visual Developer magazine) was founded by The Coriolis Group (headed by Jeff Duntemann and Keith Weiskampf) in 1990 and featured hands-on coding techniques, concentrating on use of the Turbo Pascal language. Kyle has written one feature and several “HAX” items for PCT. The magazine ceased publication early in 2000.
Dr. Dobb’s Journal
Dr. Dobb’s Journal was the oldest surviving code-oriented periodical when it shut down at the end of 2014, having first been published in the mid-1970s. Kyle appeared in its pages once, with a description of the DEVLOD utility from the first edition of Undocumented DOS. It appeared in the November 1991 issue.
This listing is necessarily incomplete; I didn’t keep copies of everything from those years, so only a few highlights appear.
Kyle’s original interest in journalism involved a camera rather than a keyboard. His initial national publication, in the March 1949 issue of Minicam Photography, described what later came to be known as “push processing” to increase the effective speed of film. However the editors requested better photographs; Kyle took the hint and thereafter concentrated on writing! (The photos with the article were supplied by the late Bob East, at the time a staff photographer for The Daily Oklahoman, who made national news in 1994 when he was the victim of an operating-room error that killed him.)
“It’s Never Too Dark” appeared when Kyle was a freshman at the University of Oklahoma. Another article of his, in the same issue, told how to make your own infra-red flashbulbs by coating ordinary bulbs with a dye mixture.
While at OU, Kyle still viewed photojournalism as his goal, and to that end proposed a photo story to this magazine about the antics of teen-aged drivers known as “Rackin’ Around.” The editor at Varsity liked the idea, and bought the piece. It appeared as a three-page spread.
His high school classmates who served as the cast were chastised by the school principal, although none of them suffered any disciplinary actions.
Kyle continued to be interested in the use of infra-red flash, and the next year sold an article to Mechanix Illustrated describing how to build a filter to attach to a flashgun so that ordinary bulbs could be used without dipping. Photos for this one, including one of Kyle, were made by Floyd Bright, another OU student.
Bright’s photo of Kyle later became a dust-jacket cover illustration for an introductory book on photography aimed at the “young adult” market segment.
His interest in science fiction led Kyle to discover this magazine devoted to the paranormal, and when he came across a book dealing with “automatic writing” he jumped at the chance to interview its authors via mail, and make an article for Fate from the discussion. It was his only sale in this genre. The magazine survives to this day.
This small article was his first use of Professor Walter Campbell’s “Hey, you! See? So…” formula for writing non-fiction. It proved so successful that it became his primary tool for the next 60-plus years.
The OU Sooners football team first gained national prominence while Kyle was a student at the university. His first major non-technical magazine article (and there have been very few since) was a biographical study of the legendary coach Bud Wilkinson that appeared in Sport magazine. It was the first of many articles on Wilkinson that appeared at that time, and by far the friendliest toward the late coach.
Sport was one of the first publications devoted to sports that featured the individuals rather than the action; it pre-dated Sports Illustrated by almost a decade, and many of SI’s features were copied from this McFadden publication.
Military service from 1952 to 1954 temporarily halted Kyle’s writing efforts, and it was 1958 before he seriously resumed them. By then he had taken up ham radio. His first sale was to the ham journal “CQ” and came about because that magazine’s editor shared Kyle’s warped sense of humor and love of puns. Several more serious pieces followed during 1959.
He eventually stopped dealing with the publisher of CQ, because payment for articles was delayed by months at a time. However these articles provided the foundation for the rest of his career.
Success at CQ impelled Kyle to explore the general-interest electronics magazines as well, and he sold a short article to Popular Electronics which appeared in mid-1959. This article and those in CQ made up for lack of formal electronics training, and qualified Kyle for an interview with RCA Service Company as a potential tech writer. In late 1959, he moved to California to help write manuals on the Atlas missile project.
A discussion with another RCAS writer led him to build a hi-fi speaker consisting of 16 inexpensive PM speakers, and that project appeared in the January 1961 issue of Popular Electronics as the “Sweet Sixteen.” Readers built several thousand copies of it, and Kyle was still receiving mail about it more than 50 years later.
The editor (Wayne Green, W2NSD, who later founded Byte) who had liked Kyle’s work at CQ left that publisher in 1960 to start his own magazine. Kyle heard about it via the west coast ham grapevine and wrote to ask if there was any possible market. At the same time, the editor wrote to ask Kyle if he had any interest in writing for the new venture. The letters crossed in the mail.
The interest was there, and nearly half the content of the first 12 issues of 73 Magazine came from Kyle’s typewriter. By the time Kyle moved back to Oklahoma City in 1962, 73 was well established and his appearances became less frequent. However they continued until 1975, on a sporadic basis, even though Kyle quit ham radio in 1967.
For one year, from February 1962 to February 1963, Kyle was with Horizons Publications, a small magazine house in Oklahoma City that produced trade journals.
He originally edited two publications, TV Horizons (for the CATV industry) and Communication Horizons (for two-way radio), and was technical editor for their main publication CB Horizons (the first magazine aimed at CB radio enthusiasts).
Later, he was founding editor of VHF Horizons, which targeted ham radio operators working in the VHF bands at 50 MHz and above.
Kyle left the company in February 1963 and for the next two years free-lanced for a number of the magazines listed above, in addition to writing his first large-scale book. Horizons itself went out of business in 1964.