Mac UK

The Mac Web and the Future of Mac Magazines

Dirk Pilat - 2002.01.21

Recently my last issue of the superbly designed MacUser was delivered to my practice, and with a little tear in my eye I went through immaculately designed magazine with it's daringly arranged news sections, how-to courses, Photoshop Masterclasses, and 30 pages full of ads.

I sighed, "What a waste of money!" Which it is. Due to the vast and knowledgeable Mac community on the Internet, there is just no need anymore for even the best of the print media, like MacUser.

Don't get me wrong: When the Internet was still a vast and empty space, there was nothing more exciting than getting a crisp copy of your favourite mag freshly delivered and have a hour long bath with aroma oils and a chilled bottle of Sancerre while reading the latest news about your favourite pile of plastic in the household.

As my iceBook is not yet waterproof, I can not repeat this pleasure with Low End Mac, but there is still Wired and the Economist for underwater pleasure.

Everything I got from MacUser every two weeks I can now have a couple of times daily delivered in on my LCD screen. For intelligent editorials I read my own back issues (just to start crying after half a page - how can so much drivel be published) or just the daily ramblings on LowEndMac.com. For help with Web design, I check out Wired's Webmonkey. If I need help with OS X, I turn to my trusty mailing list. For all things geek there's the mighty Slashdot, etc., etc., etc.

So if I see mag like MacFormat in the UK that has negligibly researched editorials ("ask the experts?" pffft...), design that looks like a bunch of primary school children were given a copy of InDesign to play with, and the appeal of a heavy metal fanzine, I silently weep for the millions of trees that went into the production of this pile of coloured paper.

It would be interesting to see how Mac magazine editors react to their dwindling circulation. They could, for instance, have a look at Wired, the über-geek mag: Initially more interested in hardware, software, and contemporary computing (great alliteration, ay?), it covers just about everything that will make an impact in our lives in well researched, literally excellent, performed pieces of writing with some of the most daring design ever put on paper.

This could be the way for the Mac mags everywhere: Instead of trying to keep up with the Internet and compete with old news and how-to's, go for a more global approach and feed the Apple users' minds with challenging features, not tell us the 50,000th time how to allocate memory to a classic application.

Always remember, your average Mac user (politically left or right) will always ask for that extra bit more: in journalism, software, and hardware. Leave the rest to the PC mags and the Internet.

Happy new Year! LEM

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