18 May 2012


A day late and a dollar short?  I am pessimistic and think that is often the case with me.  I got back into the sports of running and so looked forward to actually doing all half-marathons of the NYRR Five-borough Series.  Alas, in 2011 I couldn't do the Bronx Half because of Hurricane Irene, then for 2012 there is no more Queens Half and Bronx Half.  In another situation, after years of not being connected to my high school, I helped organize a silver reunion, joined the official alumni association, made many new friends and re-connected with others.  Unfortunately, soon there will no more Newtown High School (of Elmhurst, Queens, that is) thanks to Mayor Bloomberg's politicking.  And then there's ATPM, the independent, free online Mac magazine.

For many years I helped put out the newsletter for the New York Amiga Users Group (which through magic was shortened to Amuse).  I mostly wrote the product news so it was somewhat easy.  Wade through the many paper mail the group received at its mailbox then write a few sentences about the product to be released or upgraded.  At some point the newsletter no longer came out and not too long afterward I stopped going to the meetings altogether.  Some more time passed and I discovered the MetroMac, the Metropolitan New York Mac Alliance.  Ugh, it's been so long I had to Google for that group name.  I contributed a few cartoons and at least one software review but then the newsletter was dying.  One day while googling for something I stumbled upon ATPM, short for About This Particular Macintosh.

One major difference with the ATPM experience was that there was no physical contact involved.  The entire magazine staff is spread all over the world and so is the audience.  Some staff members developed friendship and arranged to get together for special occasions or when business travel put them into close vicinity of others, but  it is not necessary to have physical interactions.  Email plays a big role as articles were sent for editing and returned.  Reviewers get registration code through email, too, then downloaded the software, usually in demo or limited version, and finally activated the full version with the registration code.  When a draft version of the mag became available, the staff got notified and many more pair of eyes would go over the articles.  Near the end of the month or the first few days of the month, the new issue came out, thanks to our dedicated editor, and we all breathed easy for a few days...  until when the cycle started again.

I started with ATPM as a copy editor, i.e. proofreader.  One day I took a shot at writing a review and even drew a cartoon appearing separately but referred to the reviewed product.  I had a good run with being a reviewer, but then other things in life got in the way.  Writing is a lengthy process, especially for a high-quality magazine like ATPM, and I was not the only one not able to keep up with the monthly process.  In recent months there were fewer and fewer articles submitted.  The May 2012 issue, http://www.atpm.com/18.05 , is the final one in the monthly, magazine format.  Discussion about a new format for ATPM is ongoing so stay tuned!

It is a special joy for me to have a review and a cartoon in the same issue of ATPM.  For the May 2012 issue, I have a review of Draw Something and already came up with a cartoon related to the product.  Something along the line of the latest iOS upgrade having extra features specifically made for Draw Something to help decipher lousy stick drawings.  When I learned that the issue would be the final one, I thought hard for something else to draw.  Luckily, the cartoon still involves Draw Something and makes much use of puns.  The first three puns are pretty obvious.  The last one may be tricky if you are not fond of fonts or don't work with typography.

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