Zine: About This Particular Macintosh
Published: Friday, 3rd February 2017
E-zines were a staple of early computer fandom across many of the various platform userbases, and Macintosh wasn’t excluded!
I have a pretty decent collection of Macintosh e-zines from the very late 80s through to the turn of the millenium, and they’re a fascinating and wonderful thing to behold. What’s striking about the earlier ones, before PDF became the defacto standard for publishing these kinda documents, is the variation in tools used to deliver the zine content. Jason Scott of textfiles.com touched on this in a blog post some time ago, and it truly is looking back at a bygone time when things were done different.
One of the more astonishingly well-realised of these extinct digital publishing methods is that employed by the About This Particular Macintosh e-zine. ATPM, for short, used DOCMaker, by Mark Wall/Green Mountain Software. DOCMaker-produced documents were essentially self-contained applications, the reader didn’t need to have DOCMaker installed on their Macintosh, they just opened the latest issue of their favourite zine et voila! Perhaps I’ll look at DOCMaker in more detail in a future article, it certainly merits further investigation.
Anyway, back to ATPM. This e-zine began publication in April 1995 with the expressed aspiration to “entertain, and maybe to inform as well” from the editor, RD Novo. The early issues very quickly developed into a professional looking and interesting (informative, too!) publication and by volume 3 and 1997 was a top-drawer zine with a large staff and contributors list. These are *really* good reads, time-capsules certainly, but also very helpful even in 2017 for the vintage Mac enthusiast, with obscure software described and old and long-forgotten system maintenance tricks outlined. What’s more, these zines started when Apple was squarely in the mire. It’s fascinating to have a users-eye real-time view of the ongoing turmoil of the decline and near-collapse of Apple, as well as the second coming of Jobs.
I have placed the DOCMaker versions of the first 5 volumes of ATPM in the misc section as .sit files, I recommend you go and download them immediately, transfer them to your vintage machine (DOCMaker seems to have incredible compatibility, running on almost any vintage Mac apparently), and get reading. If you’re not able to enjoy them in their original format, the entire 18 volume run of ATPM in PDF format is available at atpm.com. I have also placed the PDF versions in the Internet Archive to ensure that these treasures are never lost.