About Mike

I’ve been writing about technology full-time since I helped launch InfoWorld back in 1981. I co-wrote the seminal history of the personal computer, Fire in the Valley (it was the basis for the movie Pirates of Silicon Valley). I was editor-in-chief and then editor-at-large of Dr. Dobb’s Journal forlikeever. I have been a columnist or editor for a bunch of computer magazines. Four different columns for MacUser alone. Model and scripter for an Italian comic strip. Co-wrote the Computer History entry in the online Encyclopedia Britannica. I now edit books for the Pragmatic Programmers and edit and publish a programmer’s magazine called PragPub. My partner Nancy Groth and I live on a wild and scenic river in Oregon.


Magazine Writing, Editing, & Management

Editor, PragPub, Pragmatic Bookshelf software developer magazine, 2009-.
Book Development Editor, Pragmatic Bookshelf, 2010-.
Editor-at-large, Dr. Dobb’s Journal, 1988-2008.
Editor, Southern Exposure Magazine, food/wine/tourism magazine, 2003-2008.
Editor, Unix Review, software industry magazine, 2000-2001.
Editor-in-chief/Associate Publisher, Dr. Dobb’s Journal, 1984-1988.
Senior Editor and member of launch team, InfoWorld, 1981-1984.
Co-author of the 20,000-word entry “History of Computing” in Encyclopedia Britannica.
Columnist/contributing writer/editor/editorial consultant, various publications in the United States, Germany, and Italy, including San Francisco Examiner, Upside, Farmer’s Almanac, MacUser, UnixReview, PC Magazin, Business Software, Whole Earth Catalog, Southern Oregon Magazine. Helped launch a book line and a number of magazines and newsletters. 30 years of magazine editing and writing with more than a jillion published articles.


Fire in the Valley: the Making of the Personal Computer, McGraw-Hill, 1984; 2nd Edition 2000; 3rd Edition from The Pragmatic Bookshelf, imminent; selected by Business 2.0 magazine as one of the 100 best business books of all time, made into a movie.
Visual Quickstart Guide: RealBasic for Mac, Peachpit Press, 2003.
Dr. Dobb’s HyperTalk Handbook, McGraw-Hill, 1988.

Other Media and Ventures

Co-author of book for movie Pirates of Silicon Valley, TNT, movie nominated for 5 Emmys, 1999.
Writer and model for comic strip character Max Netroom, Investigatore Virtuale, published by the Italian company WebEgg, 1998-2002.
Co-owner, Summer Jo’s Organic Farm, Restaurant, and Bakery, Grants Pass, Oregon, 1999-2013.


MA, Computer Science, Indiana University.
BA, Psychology, Indiana University.

Contact Information

Michael Swaine
Blog: www.swaine.com
Email: mike at swaine dot com
Twitter: @pragpub or @mswaine

Where I Live

I live in Southern Oregon, on a wild and scenic river.
Most of Southern Oregon’s nearly 300,000 residents live near Medford, Ashland, Grants Pass, and Jacksonville, in the folds of land along the I-5 corridor and the valley of the wild Rogue River. Here a series of sheltering ridges slice the region into distinct communities and microclimates. A banner across the main street in Grants Pass declares, “It’s the Climate,” and the locals know that’s true—the climate, the access to nature, and the pace of life.
Tourists come here for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, the Britt Festival’s music in the historic gold-mining town of Jacksonville, or to raft the Rogue out of Grants Pass.
To the west lie the coastal communities of Bandon, Gold Beach, Brookings, picturesque towns framed by high bluffs and sea caves and broad balmy beaches that justify this area’s nickname as Oregon’s Banana Belt.
Where I now live, in between the valley and the coast, there’s pretty much nothing but a million acres of wilderness, with breathtaking canyons, wild rivers, and hidden resorts inaccessible by car.
It’s beautiful and rich country, where you can navigate class V rapids in the morning and attend a world-class performance of Twelfth Night in the evening.