To Subscribe or not…

To subscribe or not to subscribe. A good question, and one I have been asking myself for quite a while. I love Macintosh magazines. Macworld. MacUser. Mac home Journal. But at the moment, I do not subscribe to any of these publications. Sure, I read them all every month, but that means a trip to the book store anytime a new issue comes out. (By now, I know the day my store usually gets each magazine in!)

So why not subscribe? I would save money, not only in the price of the magazine, but in time and gas money I spend going to and from the store. It would seem that it would be a good idea, right? Maybe not… Let’s look at the December issue’s I bought so far. (I have not bought MHJ yet, as of this writing.)

Macworld. My favorite magazine, mostly due to the fact that I really look
forward to David Pogue’s “The Desktop Critic”, and Guy Kawasaki’s “Wise Guy” columns. (Yes, I know Guy is gone!) I also enjoy Lon Poole’s “Quick Tips”. And the December 1995 issue was no exception. Great all around issue! But if I was a subscriber, I would have missed a lot! Like what, you ask? The bonus CD Rom that Macworld only ships with the newsstand edition.

MacUser. Those guy’s over at Ziff-Davis are great. MacUser is usually smaller size-wise than Macworld, but it does cost a dollar less! It also has one of the best writer’s in Mac publications around, Andy Ihnatko! Andy is a brave writer, who really let’s you know how he feels. His “Word 6.0” columns come to mind. And his “Crash, Boom, Bang” column in the December issue was pure reading pleasure. And the ever “-dark” writings of John C.Dvorak are a must for any Mac user! Of course, I could not go a month without reading Christopher Breen’s and Bob Letvitus’s “Help Folder” column, MacUser’s answer to MacWorld’s “Quick Tip’s.” And what would I have missed had I been a subscriber? The bonus CD Rom, of course!

I bet you see a pattern developing here.

Most months, I just get a new AOL or CompuServe disk, which I erase and use for other things. As of late, however, these magazines have shipped with CD Rom’s full of very cool stuff.

In the Macworld CD Rom, it was game and learning demos. I like this, as I am not much of a game player myself, but at times would like to see what is out there for the offerings. Not being a game player, I have no idea what is good or bad! But thanks to Macworld, I have found a few game’s I really liked. And I may just buy some of them soon, after playing the demos.

For those who missed it, here is what is on the disk:

Foul Play, Full Throttle, DOOM, Onslaught, Rebel Assault 2, and Buried in Time, Dark Forces, Diamonds 3D, F/A-18, HAVOCâ„¢ Preview, Links Pro CD, Marathon 2, PowerPete, Sensory Overload, and Total Distortion.

And that is just the Entertainment demos! They also have a few home learning demos as well. As you may know, I am a father, so these were particularly helpful. They included…..

80 Days, Airport, BODY, Dr. Seuss’s ABC, Freddi, How Animals Move, Math Munchers, MFIAD, Oregon Trail II, Paws, SCIENCE, Sesame Street Letters, Sesame Street Numbers, The Magic Applehouse, and Zoo.

Now, if I had been a Macworld Subscriber, I would have missed these great demo’s, and thus may not buy some of them. All this for $4.95? A truly great deal. Sure, I can download most of these demos from AOL or the internet, but I bet it would cost much more on connect time alone than MacWorld’s $4.95 cover price! That, and I would have to store them on disk, costing me even more money. This way, I have it all on one CD Rom.

I saved MacUser for last because it is the best CD Rom I have ever seen ship with any magazine. I had trouble finding this issue because I was a few days late getting to the bookstore! A mistake I won’t make again! Not only did this CD Rom has a few back issues of MacUser in PDF format (Viewable in Adobe Acrobat, which was included on the disk!), but also a few clip art images. (You can never have enough clip art!)

Also on the disk is stuff people on AOL only do not have access to. ZMac Exclusives! You can only get these puppies on eWorld or CompuServe. What are they? Programs developed by ZMac that cannot be uploaded to other BBS’s or online services. Some are utilities, programs, and the like.

Included are:

ZMac’s PIXs 1.0, ZMac’s TabMania 1.0.1, ZMac’s SoundSmith 1.1.3, ZMac’s QuickLaunch 1.0, Smooth Move, ZMac’s Mad ppatter! 1.1, ZMac’s Find Pro III, ZMac’s Custom Icon Pack II, ZMac’s Clean Sweep 1.1, and Thumbnail 1.0.

The best part, however, was its demo versions of some of Adobe’s best products. (Demo versions do not let you save or print work, but with a screen capture utility, like Snapz…)

These demo’s included: Adobe Dimensions 2.0, Adobe Illustrator 5.5, Adobe Pagemaker 5.0, Adobe Streamline, Adobe Photoshop 3.0, Adobe Premiere 4.0, and Adobe Persuasion 3.0.

I looked on AOL. I could not find anyplace to download these demo’s there. I know for a fact that I may never buy any of these products, or at least wouldn’t have until I tried them out first. And thanks to MacUser, I did just that. Photoshop and Pagemaker in particular really got my attention!

So now we return to my original question: To subscribe or not? Well, after flying my FA/17, checking out Marathon, drawing some cool pictures in Photoshop, and adding some clip art to my library, I think not. Besides, next month I may get another AOL disk, and lord knows I can use that to store my screen snapshots of Adobe Illustrator on!


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