This column originally appeared in the May 2012 issue of About This Particular Macintosh.
Thus, we arrive at the end of the road. Two constants in life are change and death, and this is a bit of both for the staff of About This Particular Macintosh. This is our final issue. As Michael stated in the publisher’s letter, the site will remain, offering a glimpse to future Mac users into what our computing world was like from 1995–2012, at least from the perspective of this handful of real-world users.
It is because of this handful of real-world users that this has been a difficult column to write. To be honest, this has been a difficult issue to edit. As noted elsewhere, for many of us, working on ATPM has been a lengthy relationship. For me, this is the second-longest relationship I’ve had, behind my marriage, which is only six years older than my time here on staff. The people here at ATPM are my friends, and while that aspect will not change for us in the foreseeable future, there is still a sadness about the end of the thing which brought us together in the first place.
Looking back on the 14 years I’ve been on staff, my colleagues and I have shared in marriages, deaths in families, children born and adopted, new jobs, new ventures, entirely new careers, moves, and even an appearance on a nationally televised prime-time game show. Despite most of us having never met in person, it’s been quite remarkable how much life we’ve done together.
Eric Blair holds the distinction as the first ATPM staffer I ever met in person. I was in New York for a Macworld Expo, and Eric took the train down from Boston for a day. Former managing editor Daniel Chvatik was the next staffer I met. I have long referred to Tom Iovino as my “birthday paisano.” For myriad Web-related questions, I’ve got a scrappy Tasmanian to call upon in Raena Armitage, on the other side of the world. More than one of our online chats has begun with my asking, “So how’s tomorrow going?” I’ve watched, virtually, of course, as Grant Osborne partnered with friends to launch a company and a Web site they were truly passionate about.
The first time I met our publisher and fearless leader, Michael was picking me up at the airport in Connecticut, so the two of us could attend Rob Leitao’s wedding. So many of Rob and Sandy’s families marveled at the two guys “Rob knew through the Internet” being at his wedding, but for us, it was a no-brainer. The three of us had grown close in the virtual world, and we wanted to celebrate this joyous occasion with our friend. I will never forget the arcade in Rob’s mom’s basement, or going through the Danbury Railway Museum with Michael. A couple of years later, when my family found itself vacationing in New England, Michael spent a day showing us around parts of New Hampshire and Vermont.
I’m sure if we pulled out 14-year-old e-mails and chat logs we could figure it out, but my own memory fails to reveal exactly how Lee Bennett and I began our road to friendship. But it’s through 14 years of e-mails and chats that Lee became my best friend in the online world. So much so that when a work convention brought him to the Dallas area, he carved out an evening to come visit us at our home. And there was the day spent with us at Disney World a couple of years after that. And when it came time to try out FaceTime, Lee was the first person I called. So when, two years ago, he told me he was getting married, my wife, after being informed, only asked “So what day do you think you’re going to fly out?”
And as if enough of the staff weren’t becoming friends over time, we imported our non-ATPM friends to contribute. Daniel’s friend Jens Grabenstein contributed reviews and desktop pictures in the early part of the 2000s, and “came back” last year with another desktop picture set. I once interviewed my font-creating friend Dan Bailey. I recruited my pal Tom Bridge to write for us, and local friend Kevin Rossen as well.
While I am proud of every issue I’ve worked on these past 14 years, what I take away from ATPM as we close the door on monthly publishing is so much greater than the sum of all of those. Five, ten years from now, I’m sure I won’t remember most of what we published. But I know the friendships I have made through being part of this amazing publication will endure, and flourish. And as we close this door on part of our past, that’s a future I look forward to.