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ATPM 5.11
November 1999



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Welcome to the November issue of About This Particular Macintosh! That is, if you can find a new Mac! What is it about human nature and short supply? If someone announces you can’t have something, everybody wants one. We’ve seen a lot of red-faced computer sales people explaining to customers why $100 off on a discontinued open box Mac is a better value that the none-to-be-found model that’s replacing it. Trying to find a new Mac at a computer store is becoming the hi-tech version of “Where’s Waldo?” First you think you see it, but then you don’t.

Our sources tell us supply problems should be resolved in time for the American celebration of Thanksgiving and the start of the Christmas shopping season. Pass the sweet potatoes and pumpkin pie. We’re ready to “talk turkey.” Our latest edition of Audacious Tidbits and Puckish Musings will keep you merry until the holiday season begins.

Flip, Flop, Flip!

No. It’s not the first line of a new Dr. Seuss rhyme, but something equally colorful: Apple’s recent policy changes and re-changes of the pricing on the original and new G4s. In the wake of the Taiwan quake (Hey, this Dr. Seuss stuff is contagious!), RAM prices have gone through the roof. Apple intended to make up the lost margin by replacing the original G4s (in very short supply) with slightly slower models (in much greater supply) without so much as a penny’s reduction in price. A few days later Apple reversed its decision to cancel unfilled orders for the original G4s and then “clarified” its revised policy by stating that the original G4s will only ship to a limited number of buyers. Confused? You betcha! It’s the first major PR snafu for Steve & Co.

In fairness to Apple, it can’t control natural disasters. Motorola’s tardiness in ramping up production of the original G4 chips is also partially to blame. The margin on PCs is not what it was a few years ago. To remain competitive, Apple has had to reduce the cost of its product’s components by switching to less expensive PC parts and lowering prices. In today’s market, there is little room for manufacturers to “absorb” increases in the cost of components. Looking on the bright side of things, Macs have never cost so little. A slight reduction in clock speed from that originally desired is a small price to pay for a stellar product.

Free At Last! Free At Last!

How long has it been since you escaped the dark world of PC hegemony? Low prices on new Macs (if you can find one) are giving computer buyers a much-needed freedom of choice. We asked our readers how long they’ve owned a Mac. The results of last month’s survey (with 393 participants) are as follows:

Less than two months


Half a year less


A year or less


Two years or less


Four years or less


More than four years


I don't have a Mac


“I don't recall”


It’s Less Than You Thought,
But More Than We Promised!

That is how Robert Paul Leitao describes Apple’s fourth fiscal quarter performance. As of this writing, Apple’s stock has recovered from almost all of the pounding it took after the company announced that the delay in shipment of G4s until October would depress the company’s results for the three-month period that ended in September. After reducing Wall Street’s expectations, Apple handily outperformed its own revised estimates.

Apple has already announced that the current quarter will have higher costs due to the number of days added to the length of an otherwise normal quarter in order to adjust the calendar. But the increased sales during the period should lead to exceptionally high profits.

Read more about it in this issue’s Apples, Kids & Attitude.

It’s The Interface, Stupid

Some people can make things seem so complicated. The Mac is the platform of choice for musicians and other creative artists who make a living working with sound. Why is the Mac so popular with music’s creative types? Read David Ozab’s column to find out. This month David also offers readers part two of his insights into MIDI and the Mac, in which he reviews hardware and software that are compatible with USB Macs.

Don’t Font With Me, Bud!

Fonts. Fonts. They’re digitally cute. The more you use, the more you...Forget it! None of that sissy stuff for this staff! Fonts are big business. They’re macho. They’re also something to talk about while we await the delivery of our new G4s. Believe us, staring at now-empty workstation spaces will get you thinking about a lot of stuff. It beats getting out a rag and cleaning that nasty black outline on the wall behind where the old computer and monitor used to sit.

Fonts. Fonts. They’re macho and cool. They’re first and foremost a designer’s tool...That’s better! In acknowledgement of the role fonts play in our computing life, we have made them the theme of this month’s issue! We just hope the G4s arrive before we have to pick a theme for next month’s issue.

David Spencer has found a way to make font finding fun. We don’t recommend that you repeat that line three times fast, but we do suggest that you read his column at least once. Come back to his column each month for other fascinating finds on the World Wide Web!

This month’s Personal Computing Paradigm is a comprehensive overview of fonts on the Mac. Michael also reviews Font Agent, a utility for organizing fonts on your hard drive.

Shareware is Fontware. Well, sometimes. Bill Lovett’s fondness for shareware knows no bounds. This month’s Shareware Roundup features font aids.

Other Reviews in this month’s issue include:

Nice Fonts on A Cool T!

We’re so fond of our new ATPM t-shirts that we’d like everyone to have one. Only the t-shirt costs money; the font impressions are free. Visit our shirt’s page to find out how you can publicly join the coolest group of Mac fanatics around. Each t-shirt features the funky-fonted ATPM logo emblazoned on a prestigious all-white, high-quality Hanes Beefy-T. Order yours today!

Please enjoy our latest issue!

The ATPM StaffApple

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