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Where are you?

You're at the Web site of yours truly, Jim Heid. I write articles for computer magazines and newspapers, I chair several Web design conferences, and I consult on streaming media matters.

You'll find a few things here:

  • Links to the newspaper columns, feature articles, reviews, and how-to stories I write
  • Descriptions of the conferences I'm involved with and the training work that I do
  • Occasional news and opinion pieces on Internet, Web design, and streaming media issues and technologies
  • Miscellaneous items with which to waste irretrievable moments of your life.

Who am I? Why am I here?
I wear a lot of hats. One is that of a computer and technology writer. I've been a Contributing Editor of Macworld magazine since 1984, and I currently write primarily about Web design and multimedia-related topics: digital audio and video, streaming media, Flash, authoring programs, and the like. For a couple of years, I wrote a weekly, nationally syndicated Macintosh column for the Los Angeles Times, the largest metropolitan newspaper in the United States. I'm also a frequent contributor to PC World, and have written for Internet World and civic.com.

I'm also the Editorial Director at Avondale Media, producers of how-to DVDs on all manner of topics. I help develop the content of our DVDs and also do much of the editing and DVD authoring.

Another of my hats is that of Conference Chair for several of Thunder Lizard Productions' events, including the Web Design series and Macromedia Web World. As Conference Chair, I'm largely responsible for developing the events' editorial content: determining the topics we cover, and then finding and working with speakers to develop those sessions and their handouts. I also speak at our events, delivering sessions on my specialties: streaming media, RealNetworks RealSystem G2, SMIL, and Apple's QuickTime.

And my third hat is that of a streaming-media consultant. I've implemented streaming for radio stations (listen to KOZT's classic rock now) and have consulted for International Data Corporation and Intel Architecture Labs' Internet Media Initiative.

More than You Probably Want to Know
I'm an old-timer in the personal computer world. I bought my first computer, a Radio Shack TRS-80 Model I, in January 1980. Later that year — after getting an Expansion Interface, a full 48K of memory, an 80K floppy disk drive, and the coveted lowercase upgrade — I got a 300-baud modem that I used to get onto bulletin board systems and The Source, an early online service.

In 1981, after four years a typographer for a high-end printing firm in my home town of Pittsburgh, PA, I moved to the lovely Peterborough, NH to take a job as technical editor for Wayne Green Books, a book publisher founded by computer publishing pioneer (and eccentric) Wayne Green. I was the Technical Editor for such seminal works as the Encyclopedia for the TRS-80 and Programming the Timex-Sinclair.

In 1983, I became Senior Technical Editor of Kilobaud Microcomputing, a then-revered computer magazine founded by Wayne Green in 1977. There, I got to work with computers great and strange — the Morrow Designs Micro-Decision CP/M machine, the first IBM PCs and Compaqs, the GRiD Compass, the Tandy 100 laptop, the Apple Lisa. I'll leave it to you do decide which of those were great and which were strange.

I also participated in the magazine's coverage of the Macintosh's debut, working with a prototype in 1983 and writing feature articles on Microsoft BASIC, MacForth, MacPascal, and other early Mac programming tools. When Kilobaud folded in 1984, I began freelancing for Macworld magazine and others. The rest, as they say, is repetitive-stress injury.

I've written roughly a dozen computer books, several of were bestsellers and almost all of which are now out of print. I'm most proud of the 1200-page Macworld Complete Mac Handbook, which saw four editions and three CD-ROMs before I left the book game in 1997. The Handbook was the first general computer book to include a CD-ROM; I produced all three of its CDs, shooting and editing video and creating an interactive front-end in Apple's HyperCard, of all things.

In the early nineties, I taught several week-long courses in electronic publishing and fine typography at the Kodak Center for Creative Imaging in Camden, Maine — a magic place that, alas, didn't survive long enough to witness the Internet age. I've also spoken at many Macworld Expos, computer user groups, and conferences.

Other interests? Music (jazz, funk, blues), photography (both digital and silver-based), the beach, diners, and ham radio (they call me N1EDH — when they call me).

I live near the bustling metropolis of Albion, CA (population 398) with the love of my life, Maryellen Kelly, and the dog of my dreams, Trixie.


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Copyright ©1995-2000 Jim Heid. This page last updated September 16, 2002.