Some decisions are easy. When I downloaded ATPM 1.01 from eWorld in early 1995, I immediately knew that I wanted to read the e-zine regularly. When the founder, Danny Novo, asked for helpers in January 1996, the position of Very Critical Associate Editor in charge of reviews seemed tailor-made for me. I volunteered, and, to my surprise, he said “Yes” pretty much right away. When Danny stepped down as Editor in June 1996, it was an easy decision for Robert Paul Leitao and I to try to fill his shoes. Little did we know what we were getting ourselves into—how much work and how much fun it would be.
Now we come to a difficult decision: this is the final issue of ATPM. It is difficult because ATPM has meant so much to us for so long. Some staffers have remarked to me that it’s been their longest relationship. I’ve been writing and editing here for nearly half my life. It’s also difficult because we don’t want to disappoint you, our readers.
You’ve probably noticed that recent issues have been getting thinner and thinner. The simple truth is that we’ve been having trouble getting as many articles and reviews to you as we’d like. Everyone on staff is busier than ever with jobs—and with life. Some staffers who began contributing as singles are now married with children. Work and personal responsibilities have been a factor from the beginning. Starting with Danny himself, many ATPM staffers have retired over the years. In the past, there were always new people coming in to offset those departing, but that hasn’t been the case lately, despite our efforts at recruitment. Perhaps there are things we should have done differently, but there’s no denying that the online world has changed. People are no longer starved for information about the Mac and Apple; they’re deluged by it. And prospective writers no longer need to find a publication willing to carry their words; now anyone can have a site with a content management system with just a few clicks. The shift has been to instant publishing and ever shorter forms of communication.
All of us at ATPM are volunteers. We aspire to professional standards, with deadlines and multiple editors poring over each article. However, I’ve always made it clear to the staff that this is a hobby. Other things in their lives should be more important. This is for fun. I’ve learned to expect a lot from this team because they’ve proven that they can deliver. They’re some of the finest people that I’ve ever worked with. At the same time, it’s clear that circumstances have changed. My gut feeling is that continuing ATPM would have meant asking for more than they probably should give to the publication. Thus, we’ve decided to stop publishing ATPM. We had a good run, but it’s time to retire.
This is not to say that we’re going away entirely. The ATPM Web site contains every article that we’ve published. (The original issues in DOCMaker format, which requires the classic Mac OS, have been converted to PDF.) We’ll continue to accept and respond to comments posted on the article pages. The front page has been redesigned to highlight the original cover art from each of our 205 issues, and we’ve organized indexes of the columns, product reviews, and desktop pictures. We intend to keep the site running indefinitely, as a record of what our world was like from 1995 to 2012. Although we expect traffic, and thus ad revenue, to decline as the site is no longer updated, Web hosting costs are also declining so the site should remain self-supporting. Many staffers will continue to be involved in the Mac community through their jobs and personal blogs and Twitter feeds. Additionally, some staffers will be starting a successor site. We’ll announce it to ATPM subscribers when it’s ready, and if you aren’t already a subscriber you can sign up for one of the our mailing lists.
It’s been an honor and a pleasure to work with such great people. From the managing editors, reviews editors, copy editors, Web editors, cover artists, and designers, to the columnists, reviewers, cartoonists, photographers, and one-off contributors—many talented people have contributed to ATPM over the years. Thank you for your dedication and for teaching me so much. And, finally, to the all the readers of ATPM: thank you for making our publication a part of your life, and may you continue to enjoy your personal computing experience.