Wall Writings – My Mac Magazine #51, July ’99

“The Why-My-Column-Is-Always-Late Column” or, “Why the Increase in Mac Games is Going to Ruin Me” or “An Explanation for the Dominance of Windows in the Business World”

Hi again. You readers might not be aware of this fact, but if you just ask Tim, Russ, or anyone else involved in the “printing” process of My Mac, I’m sure they’d let you know what I’ve just admitted in the above title-I am chronically past deadline in turning in my columns. This month, I’ve been especially bad; I’ve never actually kept track, but this month may be the all-time latest I’ve ever submitted anything to the Big Guys.

They’re always very cool about it, and they always seem to be able to get my column revised and polished in time to make the appropriate issue. But, if My Mac is ever a day or two later than usual in being published, and you’re wondering why, chances are it’s because of me. I would’ve kicked myself off of the staff by now, or at least severely reprimanded myself, but thankfully, so far, they’ve done neither. (Oh, wait, did I just say that aloud? I don’t want to be giving them any ideas…)

Anyway, I thought that this month I would try to publicly explain why I have such a nasty habit of missing deadlines. I would like to be able to say that it’s because I wait until the last possible moment in order to write about the latest, up-to-the-minute Apple news stories. But even though that’s happened a few times, that’s rarely the case. I would also like to say that I’m very busy with other important things in my life, such as studying or working. That, too, is sometimes the case, but right now it’s summer, and I don’t have any studying to do. I have a summer job, but it certainly doesn’t demand all of my time. So, although it’s a noble excuse, I can’t use it and keep a clear conscience. No, there is actually only one passable excuse for why my column is always late.

I’m a horrible procrastinator.

Now, before you wonder too much why I’m spending an entire column talking about my procrastination habits, I ask you to hang with me at least until the end of this paragraph. Please don’t quit reading my column because this is a Mac magazine, and this column doesn’t relate to the Macintosh at all. Because, in a brilliant segue, I’m going to rescue this column from off-topic land and tell you that the Macintosh itself is the reason that I find it so easy to put off writing about the Macintosh. Ironic, huh?

The fact is, while I’m sitting at my Mac, there’s always something else more fun to do. There’s always a new website to visit, there’s always a new game to play, there’s always a new email list to subscribe to and read, there’s always some more CDs that I can encode into MP3 tracks, there’s always a new shareware program to try out, there’s always a new system-enhancing extension to install, there’s always someone to chat to or write to, and, well, you get the picture.

Which leads me to the two subtitles for my column this month. I had a hard enough time staying on task when the only games I had to play were the new shareware offerings from Ambrosia and FreeVerse. Then, game companies made a few Mac games and PC ports, like DOOM, Marathon, Sim City, and Myst. Recently, we’ve had excellent ports of games like Unreal and Tomb Raider, plus the amazing PlayStation emulator from Connectix. But in the coming months, with lots of game makers jumping onto the iMac band wagon, I’ll have to try out Half-Life, Duality, Star Wars Episode One: Pod Racer, Diablo II, StarCraft, Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six, and, my own personal most-anticipated title, Madden NFL 2000! What’s a guy to do???

My second subtitle comes from something I’ve learned in my dealings with Windows, wherein installing stuff is scary. Moving stuff around and customizing things is even scarier. If an installer put a file in a certain place, I’m not going to move it, because I might mess something up. I’ve got be really careful about what I install, because it might lead to software or driver conflict so severe that I’ll have to reinstall the whole system. There has been more than one occasion where I-and others-have made the comment that my Mac running VirtualPC is the most stable Windows system on my college campus. And because of that, I don’t dare try to have too much on a PC. When I’m using Windows, I do what I have to do, and I leave before I ruin something. If I wrote for a magazine called My PC, I bet I’d have my columns turned in early every month, because using Word would be about the only thing I’d feel safe in doing. (In all fairness, using the Internet is fairly straightforward on new PCs, and installing a few games probably wouldn’t render the computer unusable, but you never know…) But, it certainly wouldn’t be nearly as fun.

And when you get right down to it, that’s what the Mac is all about. Ease of use. Simplicity. “Customization.” And, in my opinion, most important of all, fun. So, of course, you can understand my column being late every month, right? Perfectly understandable, right? Tim? Russ?

I didn’t think so. 🙂

Mike Wallinga

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