The Halcyon days of Computer Magazines

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iantm's picture
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The Halcyon days of Computer Magazines

Mods - I'm not sure exactly where this should be posted, so here it goes

Does anyone miss the halcyon days of computer magazines and publications? The days when magazines like MacAddict, MacUser, and Macworld were chock full of useful technical info. I miss the MacUser magazine of the mid 1990's before it ended up being absorbed by Macworld. It was a great, magazine that was easily approachable for someone new to the mac fold at the time. Back in those days, you could find information on the latest accelerator card, your expansion options for your five year old IIci, and other useful info.

MacAddict was great up until 2000 or so. The original crew was gone, and with it, the entire feel and sense of the magazine. It used to be a fun read, with the usual letter from Reuben Reynoso that was chock full of mac themed tomfoolery, the "This Old Mac" series that would have info on a particular vintage machine and what your options were with it. The Disc that came with the magazine was often pretty awesome. A pity that it ultimately became a marginal improvement over the freebie AOL discs that deluge our mailboxes.

Macworld was awesome in the 90's. Thick glossy pages, in depth articles on new technology and trends, the great David Pogue column, and a monthly guide to the latest shipping macs and what they had going for them.

It's been said that the internet has caused magazines like Macworld and MacAddict to lose subscribers. The internet was around back in those days. Sure, broadband wasn't as widespread, but remember that the target market is much smaller than it once was. Frankly, I'd say that the fact that my cats are capable of producing better content would have something to do with it. The fact that a new car brochure has more heft than these magazines, and less advertising content in them would probably be why everyone is going elsewhere for their info and not subscribing.

Thus ends my rant. Perhaps someone within MacAddict or Macworld is listening. The moment they produce a magazine that is fun, interesting, and a good read, is when I'll buy it. Until then, I'll keep reading Maxim and FHM for the articles. (I worked for a magazine firm, and will be getting those for as long as I live - then my survivors will be deluged with Maxim and FHM - heheheheh)

dankephoto's picture
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back issues

I've got 'em, boxes and boxes of MacWorld and MacUser from '88 or so to around '95, and whenever I go to dig out something (err . . . research, doncha know) I can end up sitting and rereading old articles for hours on end if I don't watch myself. Yep, great stuff, but once they started to suck I stopped the subscriptions.

Same thing with Wired, it rocked from the gitgo. I was a 'charter' subscriber but when it got sold off to new owners a few years on and started to suck, snip, no more Wired. The UK's Car Magazine was another fave, top-drawer writing, art, layout, photos, etc. then a new corp owner started to 'improve' it, went straight to hell. snif, snif Cray 2

Funny, I can't really articulate exactly how they sucked, but something definitely changed. Somehow they just weren't compelling any more, and without that, why bother?

dan k

chris501's picture
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this is the end my friend...

it's interesting, but i've been noticing the same changes across other media too. like some german pc magazines, way back in the mid-80ies until somewhen in the 90ies you could read articles about how to program little assembler programs that could do incredible stuff, or they explained exactly what the new graphics processors can do and HOW they to it.

i guess there are 2 problems today:

1) stuff is getting more complicated from day to day. remember when graphics cards were capable of 256 colors at best? today you got millions and billions of colors, the stuff in the background (chips and controllers) has become much more complicated and even harder or impossible to reprogram with simple tools...

2) companies work more secure than back in the times. there are more contenders in the computer business than years ago, so you have to get more control about what type of information is diluted to the press or other channels. otherwise you will end up with some chinese company producing your new breath-taking product much more cheaper then you ever could afford. the real interesting infos about new technologies are getting refrained from the public that way.

that's what i believe.

DrBunsen's picture
Last seen: 9 years 11 months ago
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Have to agree. Used to be an avid reader of MacFormat and The Mac (UK mag available downunder) before they folded. They were great. Still, my favourite computer mags were the ones from the early 80s before the Windows juggernaut stomped everything in its path and every man and his dog was coming out with their own proprietary systems and OSes. Exidy Sorceror, yeah!

Picked up a supermarket box full of various Mac mag cover CDs recently for $20 - including some OS disks (8.6, 8.1, 7.6.1) some full software restore disks (hopefully Nanosaur and Bugdom will be on one of them) and Alice Through The Looking Glass on floppy. When I've got time, I'm going to run them through some automatic cataloguing software and build up a list of what's on them.

Last seen: 8 years 10 months ago
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I guess I'm dating myself, I

I guess I'm dating myself, I but I miss Creative Computing. It managed to combine practical tips and entire programs in Basic, with general thought about the role of computers in society and cartoons (R. Crumb!), poems, and the nerd-iffic Spock ASCII art poster.

CaryMG's picture
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There Is A Light That Never Goes Out ....

Elvis, please click this > "Creative Computing" Magazine

Methinks you will like-y ....

Smile Smile Smile

Last seen: 8 years 10 months ago
Joined: Dec 20 2003 - 10:38
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Thanks for the link, but the

Thanks for the link, but the most interesting days of Creative Computing were the mid-late 70s, before they were bought out.

These "best of" volumes 1,2, and 3 pretty well covers this period.

They reprinted R. Crumbs "City of the Future" around 1975 or so. It suggested things like using human-like robots to satisfy urges like genocide and torture (thus sparing real people), and of course for prostitutes. They got a lot of unhappy letters to the editor over that one. Unfortunately I can't find it anywhere online (copyright issue I suppose).

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