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ATPM 8.03
March 2002




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Apple Cider: Random Squeezings From a Mac User

by Tom Iovino,

And now, the end is near…

and so I face the final curtain.

Ahh, the words of the immortal Francis Albert Sinatra as he croons into the Capitol records microphone. There’s nothing that screams class as loudly as Old Blue Eyes, a highball in one hand, a fedora dipped rakishly over one eye, singing his classic songs through a cloud of cigarette smoke in a Vegas lounge.

And me, as I sit here in front of my computer, listening to the melodious tone of Sinatra’s voice, I look around to see the living room littered with toys. Spit-up stains mark the carpet, and a mountain of dirty dishes lies in wait in the sink.

I think back to the days before Rhonda and I had kids, and I think about how different my life was. It seems that everything I did five years ago had a lot more pizazz. It had a lot more of that Je ne sais quois. Yeah, back then I hit the ground running and never stopped.

That was me back in the early days of writing for About This Particular Macintosh. I remember my first article I wrote for the magazine—the Mac-In-Bash Attack. I was so eager to turn the article in, and the first draft was full of such anti-Windows bile that Michael and Robert asked me to redraft it and take some of the edge off.

I was full of such passion for the Macintosh platform that I refused to work on anything Microsoft. When the computer guys at my previous job threatened to take away my beloved Macintosh Performa 6116, I got indignant, storming into my supervisor’s office and demanding that they stop. And they did. They saw how productive I was using the Mac.

And, when I bought my blueberry iMac 333 MHz, I thought I was in hog heaven. Ditching the old LC 580 for that sleek, translucent covered baby was one of the happiest days of my life.

But, boy was I wrong. I realized this when my two boys were born, and my life changed dramatically. Gone were the mornings of sleeping in until 9:30 or 10. They were replaced with early morning diaper changes, late night feedings, and smiles whenever I enter the room.

My house has gone from a tidy, well-decorated showplace to an overgrown toybox, the carpet showing memories of accidental food spills and bright red children’s Tylenol drips. I now wonder less about buying that dream sports car and more about how many miles we can get out of our new minivan.

My job has changed as well. I went from a guy who did some marginal public relations work to one of the first people contacted when something goes wrong in the county. Nearly one million people watch the news generated by my news releases, and their safety and security may ride upon my communications skills. The days have been getting longer as more county officials have come to know the quality of my work and seek my assistance in media relations.

Indeed, my life has become far more complicated and rewarding than it ever had been back in those days.

But lately, I have found myself feeling spread very thinly. As Bilbo Baggins put it in The Fellowship of the Ring, I feel like butter scraped over too much bread. Rhonda has asked that I take a good look at what I’m currently active in and simplify my life a bit.

I am going to take her advice and, with this article, I am stepping down as an opinions editor for ATPM.

It’s not an easy decision for me to make. Part of me feels like I’m letting the rest of the ATPM team down. After all, we have come so far together, working as a team. And, believe me, a better team of people to work with would be hard to find. Without the guidance, encouragement and excellent copy editing skills of the team, I wouldn’t look anywhere near as good as I do.

Many thanks to Michael and Robert. To Daniel. To Ed Goss, my counterpart in most, if not all, of the mayhem on the staff list. To Chris Turner, my birthday buddy. And, to the entire staff which I am reluctant to name for fear that I might leave someone out and leave hurt feelings. From the folks who I worked with way back when I was a wet-behind-the-ears opinion writer looking for a chance to have my work published, to the most recent staff additions, you have given me the opportunity work with you—shoulder to cyber shoulder. In fact, some of you I count as my closest friends, yet I have never seen your faces or shaken your hands.

Kinda bizarre how that Internet thing works.

And to our readers, I have enjoyed writing my piece for these past years. Sometimes—probably more often than not—I have left you scratching your heads wondering just where the heck I was coming from. In fact, about a year and a half ago, I was having a crisis, wondering if I should continue writing my Cider columns. After one article, I noticed the debate I had started, and felt as if I could continue writing.

But, lately, getting my stories in on time has been more of a chore than a pleasure. And, I don’t want to subject you to inferior writing just so I can say, “Hey, check me out, I write for a great e-zine!”

And, if you thought you were going to get off that easy, you are wrong. I’m issuing a challenge to our readership right now. I challenge one of you out there—one of you with a wacky enough imagination, a love for computing, and a desire to make someone smile by your writing—to step up and pick up the flag where my run now ends. This thing is only going to work as long as people who care as much about the computing industry and the Macintosh in particular offer their opinions and keep spurring others to great things.

As for me—well, I don’t think I can truly say goodbye forever. My career with ATPM has been rewarding for me professionally, and I have too much of me invested in the magazine to just walk away forever. With Michael’s and Robert’s permission, I would love to poke my head in every so often and make some wise crack remark from the peanut gallery.

So, gang, as I end this column, I just wanted to let you know how much fun this has been, and I look forward to reading upcoming editions of ATPM. Unfortunately, it’s 9:30 PM, my little one is screaming because he is cutting new teeth, and I have to get to bed soon to ply my trade another day.

There. That’s said. It was harder than I thought. But, as Frank Sinatra finished his outstanding ballad:

I did it my way!

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Reader Comments (2)

Joanne Iovino · March 6, 2002 - 12:44 EST #1
I'm sure you will think I am biased, but your articles were always very well written and very interesting. I will miss reading them each month. I know that for years you have been a crusader for Macintosh. You always strongly believed in the product you wrote about.

I particularly enjoyed the bit of humor you always sprinkled thoughout. As I matter of fact, I've very much enjoyed your special humor for your entire life!

I love you and, once again, I will miss reading all the very important things you had to say and your very special way of saying them.

Tom Iovino (ATPM Staff) · March 6, 2002 - 16:38 EST #2
Awwww, Mom. Stop embarassing me like that ;-)

At least I can always say that I had one loyal reader!

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