Jim Kyle is a professional software developer and writer based in Oklahoma City, OK. For almost 15 years he was the Head Barkeep of the Programmers’ Pub (the Software Development forum on CompuServe, sometimes described as “Cheers on the Net”), holding that position from 1985 until late 1999. Until January 1999, the forum was sponsored by Software Development Magazine, the successor to Computer Language Magazine. At that time the magazine dropped its sponsorship, and the Windows User Group Network (WUGNET) took the forum under its umbrella. In November 1999, CompuServe merged the forum into another area and Pub I came to an end.
First published in 1949 (with two articles in the predecessor of Modern Photography magazine) he has earned his keep with a keyboard ever since. Trained as a news reporter, he spent four years on the staff of The Daily Oklahoman in Oklahoma City. In 1959, he switched to electronics technical writing for economic reasons, moving to the Los Angeles area where he eventually became chief technical editor for the Ramo-Wooldridge division of TRW Inc. As ham radio licensee K5JKX, he soon became known as a leading member of the electronics press. In 1962, he returned to Oklahoma City and has lived there ever since.
During the years from 1960 through 1975, he contributed prolifically to 73 Magazine, Popular Electronics, RadioCraft, Electronics World, Radio-TV Experimenter, Electronics Illustrated, and other magazines of the times, and also wrote a number of books (now out of print) published by TAB. He was 73’s first contributing editor when it began publication in 1960, and remained on the masthead for 10 years. Possibly his best-known work from this period was the “Sweet Sixteen” loudspeaker system, published in the January 1961 issue of Popular Electronics, with a follow-up article in the April 1961 issue.
After joining the General Electric Company in 1965 as a tech writer in the Oklahoma City plant, his interests turned from ham radio to computers, and by 1967 he was deeply involved in creating a mainframe system for Automated Document Editing and Publishing Techniques (ADEPT). Although never released to public view, by 1975 this system was in use to create all service manuals for the Honeywell Page Printing System. It was a forerunner of today’s desktop publishing systems, although it ran on a time-shared mainframe.
Kyle returned to writing for publication in 1988 and has since authored or contributed to a number of books. He was editor at large for Windows Tech Journal and a member of the Editorial Review Board for VB Tech Journal, until the owners shut down both magazines in December 1997.
Besides writing, Kyle was a co-founder of ARI Incorporated, a small software development firm (now defunct) that specialized in custom work-flow systems. Before helping establish ARI, he worked for Norick Software Inc. where he developed their Document Imaging System, and prior to that spent 24 years in the mainframe peripheral industry with G-E, Honeywell, Magnetic Peripherals Inc, and BTI Systems Inc.
Since late 1996, he has been semi-retired and works from a home office. He does, however, continue to consult and do Btrieve data retrieval. Kyle welcomes correspondence from readers, though it’s possible that replies may sometimes be delayed. Send mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kyle has contributed several memoirs to a history-oriented blog run by Doug Loudenback (“Doug Dawg”) in Oklahoma City. They include the first one, of billy clubs and war, and an unusual fiction factory. More may be added from time to time, as the thought strikes him.
Besides the data retrieval service, currently Kyle’s major activity is production for his high school alumni association of a 40-page slick magazine (The New Classen Life) published quarterly in February, May, August, and November. Details may be found at the association’s web site.
In December, 2015, he achieved a first: after believing for some 65 years that he was unable to create salable fiction, he did write a short story that was accepted for inclusion in a science fiction/fantasy anthology. The book, Lightships & Sabers, is now available in both print and ebook editions.