Twenty years

A lot of what I post here are how tos or tutorials, so I hope you’ll forgive me for a bit of self-indulgence. But an announcement posted on the web this week has me looking back at the last 20 years in the Apple ecosystem and on my own career.

On Monday MacNN announced plans to shutter, marking the end of a 21-year run. MacNN is a news resource for Apple enthusiasts. At one time it vied for dominance in the Mac news media with the publication I wrote for, MacCentral. Monish, MacNN’s founder, and many of the writers and editors there are people I’ve known, liked and respected over the years. MacNN isn’t the first Apple news-oriented site to go away recently. AOL’s shutdown of TUAW is still a raw wound in many Apple enthusiasts’ minds.

But it is an indication of just how much the business of publishing information on the web has changed over the years. In announcing MacNN’s shutdown, Charles Martin notes that the management has decided to pull the plug even though they were building audience and improving page views. Too little, too late in a radically changing publishing market, I fear. I hope MacNN’s staff land safely.

back in the day

In 1995, when MacNN got its start, I was working as a network administrator for a graphic design firm in Watertown, MA. Apple was a beleaguered company at the time. It seemed Apple’s best innovation was behind it. It simply couldn’t compete effectively against the Wintel juggernaut. But in graphic design and publishing and many other creative arts and businesses, the Mac still reigned supreme.

We were an all-Mac shop and the owners were investing heavily in technology. Sites like MacNN and MacCentral were vital resources for people like me. We needed help to guide budgets around expensive computer hardware. We wanted to understand how hardware and software worked. We had to look out for the many pitfalls and speedbumps other companies had already fallen prey to and avoid them.

I still check sites like MacNN nearly daily, though it’s more reflexive than out of necessity these days. Still, whenever there’s good content about Apple technology I’m happy to read it. MacNN’s demise gives us one less place to find that sort of content, and that’s a loss for us all.

Best of luck to everyone affected by MacNN’s closure.

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