One of the themes for Vintage Computer Festival East is “Women in Computing”. My Idea for this theme started with one woman: Margaret Morabito. She wrote a book titled “Vintage Commodore 128 Personal Computer Handbook” published in 2019. More recently she collaborated on a book with one of the creators of the Commodore 128 computer, Bil Herd. After they both talked about their book during VCF West in 2021 I was curious to know more about her. Through my research I discovered that she was a technical editor for RUN magazine for many years. RUN Magazine was published from January 1984 until December 1992. The magazine contained articles about Commodore 8-bit home computers and peripherals as well as reviews on available software packages. In addition, every issue featured several type-in programs written in BASIC and/or machine language. The magazine’s name came from the BASIC command “RUN”, which started execution of the computer’s program, presumably typed in from the magazine.
Even though I had subscribed to that magazine years ago, I had never heard of her. My original thought was to create a theme around authors of magazines, books and other publications from the vintage computer era. I called to ask her to be a speaker for our show and find out more about her. I learned that she designed and ran the Tutoring Center, the Q-Link Community College and Parent-Teacher Information Exchange. Q-Link was an online service for the Commodore 64 back in the 1980’s when most people connected to each other and to online services through telephone modems. She later ran the school on other services such as GEnie, Delphi, CompuServe, AppleLink, AOL, and PCLink. These were early online services back in the 1980’s and 1990’s. Most are defunct, but some like AOL continue to this day. Amazed at her experience, I thought that maybe there were other women in vintage computing besides the “big names” from history that I had read about like Ada Lovelace, Grace Hopper and the ENIAC programmers.