John Koloen, Publisher and Laura Burns, Editor
Laura Burns and John Koloen started publishing the Home Computer Compendium in 1984. They later changed the name to MICROpendium. This publication had the longest run of any TI-99/4A magazine, from February, 1984 through June, 1999. MICROpendium is credited to keeping the TI-99/4A alive and a viable computer, with hardware and software developed for it more than a decade after Texas Instruments stopped producing it.
The MICROpendium contained many varied articles including reviews, programming, hardware, and how-to's among others. There was always plenty of room in each issue for feedback and comments on the TI and Geneve, and it was an open forum for the entire TI community. Many articles covered the current TI Fairs along with reviews and descriptions of new TI hardware products being released. Many of the authors were famous in their own right such as, Regena, Bruce Harrison, Charles Good, and many others.
The MICROpendium was aimed more at the technical user, but all levels of user could benefit from the many different levels of articles. If you want a good history lesson of people, places, and things dealing with the TI line of home computers you can't do better than this publication.
Laura McNeil Burns grew up in Houston, Texas, where she graduated from the University of Texas at Austin. After working on various publications in Austin and San Antonio, Laura moved with her Husband, Fred, to Calgary, Canada, where they had two children.
After a divorce, Laura returned to Texas, where she did freelancing and newspaper work for a time. There she met John Koloen. The couple eventually married. John has been a stepfather to Laura's two children, Bruce and Edward Burns. John Koloen was educated in the public schools of Kenosha, Wisconsin, and graduated from the University of Wisconsin at Madison. He worked on the docks in Wisconsin, construction in Colorado, and on newspapers in Wisconsin and Illinois. He came to Texas in the late 1970s where he became managing editor of the Round Rock Leader.
He was working there and Laura was working as an information specialist for state government when one day she brought home a book on newsletter publication. John, who had felt some dissatisfaction with Home Computer Magazine, got the idea of publishing his own TI99/4A publication.
They traded off for typesetting privileges at the Leader before finally buying their own equipment, working nights and weekends on Home Computer Compendium, later MICROpendium. This monthly magazine lasted for 15 years, though in its latter phase publication was reduced to every two months. During this time, the couple left their day jobs to enter the publishing business full time. With a group of investors, they founded the weekly newspaper, the Lake Travis View, in Lakeway, Texas, and became editor and publisher of a monthly magazine founded with another group, Austin Health and Fitness, the largest monthly publication in Austin at the time.
Eventually, economic turnarounds forced the selling of the latter two publications and the closing down of MICROpendium. John now works as a manager in state government. In his spare time, he is an avid tennis player. Laura does various freelance writing and editing projects. Laura is a volunteer on behalf of people living with AIDS. She is on a care team through the Interfaith Care Alliance, and has served on the Williamson County HIV Coalition and as an alternate on the Greater Austin Area HIV Planning Council.
Inducted to the TI99ers Hall of Fame on March 7, 2004