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Looking for Cableton

I’m gathering miscellaneous items I’ve written down the years into a collection called Odd Lots. A fair number of those are editorials or END/Breakpoint pieces I wrote for the magazine across its ten years of publication. I no longer have the source files for a lot of my earlier material, though I do have most from about 1996 on. I have a complete run of PC Techniques / Visual Developer on a high shelf…

…or at least I thought I did, until I was scanning the spines for August/September 1993. It wasn’t there. And that issue included something I wrote called “Cableton,” which I had included in the tentative table of contents for Odd Lots.

I tore the house up, and opened a few previously unopened boxes from our move down here in 2015. No Cableton. It may still be around here somewhere. However, I looked in all the obvious hiding places, and quite a few very non-obvious hiding places, like under my big reading chair. Hit a wall, I did. So let me put out a request to my friends and readers who may actually have a copy of that issue: Could someone email me a scan of “Cableton”? Once I have a scan I can OCR it, like I’ve done with a lot of other items in those very old issues.

What else will be in Odd Lots? Some humor pieces, most of which were never published. A fair number of editorials and idea pieces from the magazine that I think may still be important. A little memoir, some of which I’ve published here on Contra. A few important Contra entries. It won’t be a huge book, and it won’t be expensive. If nobody has that issue, I’ll call it unfortunate and move on. But if you have it and a decent scanner, please email me a page image.


And as a postscript, if you’ve enjoyed some short item that I’ve written, let me know. I’m not always a good judge of what my best work is. Then again, nobody ever is. It’s a blind spot that may be baked into the human mind.


  1. Steve Stroh says:


    The topics I enjoy most are:
    * Pascal
    * Ham Radio
    * Living in Phoenix
    * Writing as a total independent (especially about ebooks)

    Something you’ve probably written about, but I don’t remember reading much about, is how you went about publishing the Carl & Jerry columns from Popular Electronics into a book collection. Would enjoy hearing that story (again?) about how you got the rights, and all the mechanics of getting them into print again.

  2. Jonathan O'Neal says:

    (Check your inbox)

  3. Jason Kaczor says:

    Hi Jeff;

    Everything you write is interesting! Specifically – I echo Steve above and add; embedded electronics/IoT (Raspberry Pi), and your general thoughts on life.

    Please keep writing forever and ever.

  4. Michael Black says:

    The article in “73” where you write about scavenging electronic junk. December 1973 or 74, there was a review of the Heathkit GR-78 portable shortwave receiver.

    1. Well, sure: That was literally the first nonfiction piece I was ever paid for. And technically it was the first piece of writing I ever sold, period. But Wayne Green (as was his habit) sat on it for most of a year, and in the meantime, “Our Lady of the Endless Sky,” my first fiction sale, managed to get into a hardcover anthology and into my hands before I ever saw the issue of 73.

      My title was “All the World’s a Junkbox,” but Green’s operation changed it to “Zillions of Parts for Nothing” before it was published. That piece will indeed be in Odd Lots, if perhaps under its original title.

  5. Andy says:

    really got a kick out of “Stormy”

    1. Yes, that’s been one of my favorites as well, ever since it first appeared in the magazine!

    2. Now, “Stormy vs. the Tornadoes” is in my collection of AI stories Souls in Silicon and will not be in Odd Lots. If you liked Stormy, you’ll probably like “Sympathy on the Loss of One of Your Legs,” also in Souls in Silicon.

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