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September 95 - Editor's Note

EDITOR'S NOTE

CAROLINE ROSE

On this issue's CD, all the files that used to be in Apple DocViewer format have been converted to AdobeTM AcrobatTM. Based on feedback that we've gotten from many of you since we started using DocViewer, we trust you'll be happy with this change. You should find that Acrobat has better search fea- tures and resolves some other problems. Because conversion is faster, the information can be more timely. Also, the files take up less space. So we hope you're satisfied -- but you probably won't be for very long. It's just not the nature of the computer-using beast.

Think about it: How long after you get an upgrade to some software or hardware product do you start looking ahead to the next version? With the old problems solved and your old needs satisfied, you go on to realize a set of new ones. When it comes to computers, we always want more, and better.

I remember when the Macintosh was first designed, Steve Jobs kept saying it was to be an appliance, like a toaster: you simply plug it in and it does what you want, reliably and without fuss. (We're not talking multi- attachment Cuisinart here.) As you no doubt recall only too well, the options to add to the functionality of the first Macintosh were intentionally limited. It was to be a simple "black box" ("beige box"?).

Now, I know you're glad that that era didn' t last very long, but think for a moment about all those non-nerds out there who haven't yet seen fit to buy a computer -- all those potential customers Jobs was hoping to attract. They write things and add up numbers sometimes just like we do, don't they? So what are they waiting for?

I think the problem is that they want toasters -- machines that work year after year without always needing to be updated, upgraded, or extended. They see the computer as a moving tar get, constantly advancing to satisfy some relatively insignificant new needs they never even knew they had -- doomed to instant obsolescence. Better they should use a pen or pencil.

I suff er from this attitude myself to some degree, at least when I'm wearing my Home User hat. There I use a little old Macintosh with old but reliable software that works every time I do the paperwork on it that I've been doing for ten years now. But at Apple, I become a Computer Professional monster with ravenous needs for the latest and greatest software and hardware -- downright insatiable.

So enjoy it while you can: have your fill of our new Acrobat files or whatever innovation pleases you these days. But rest assured that you'll be hungry again in no time.

Caroline Rose
Editor

CAROLINE ROSE (AppleLink CROSE) resisted learning anything about computers in college, where she majored in math, but she couldn't escape them in the real world. First she used gigantic IBM machines at her statistical research job in Manhattan. But California beckoned, and with it came terminals spewing yellow paper and, eventually, computers with display screens. This was a big "Wow!" at first, but now Caroline gets her excitement from non-computer endeavors, such as travel. On her trip this year to the Big Island of Hawaii, she kayaked among (breaching) humpback whales and watched lava flow down cliffs and into the Pacific. Hard to top that! *

 

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