Changing Our Spots

Matthew JC. Powell
11 December, 2007
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Perhaps a more accurate title for this column would be “Keeping all the same spots, but changing the names of them”. But that would be kind of clunky and wouldn’t capture the way subtle reference to Mac OS X 10.5 — Leopard — which should be out by the time you read this.

As you may have noticed, we’ve put a broom through the design of Australian Macworld this issue. The old design had remained virtually unchanged since 2001, and every once in a while you need to freshen things up. Plus we’d added sections, dropped sections, changed sections, renamed sections — basically there was a lot of inconsistency that needed fixing. Hopefully you’ll find the new-look Australian Macworld easier on the eye and a whole lot easier to navigate.

The big thing you’ll notice is we’ve dropped The Hub. This isn’t because the “digital lifestyle” has faded from relevance, but quite the opposite. The convergence of consumer electronics, digital media and computing is now such a central part of what people do with their Macs, we decided it no longer needed a separate section. All of the content you used to find in The Hub is still here, but it’s part of the News, Reviews, Features and Help sections, along with everything else.

Of course calling the sections “News” “Reviews” “Features” and “Help” would be sooooo 1980s, so we came up with funky 21st-century names for them all.

Way back in 2002 we ran a competition to find a new name for the Contents page, which up until then had borne the unfortunate moniker “Wassup”. Anthony Goodland of Mount Lawley in Western Australia won that comp by coming up with the eminently sensible, clever and Mac-like c-F — the keyboard shortcut for “Find”. Since the 10.2002 issue, that’s what Contents has been called.

We’ve taken our cue from Anthony in renaming the other sections of the magazine. So News is c-N — “New folder” in the Finder, “New file” in most applications. The Help/How-to section is c-? — “Help” in pretty much every Mac application. Reviews is a little trickier: c-J is “Show view options” in the Finder, and we figured that reviewing products is kind of like viewing your options. It’s a stretch, yes, but it works.

Features, rather than being differentiated by one bearing the name “Focus” and the other one being “the long bit of The Hub,” are now just numbered, c-1 and c-2.

What used to be called the Interface columns are now grouped under “Opinion” and each has its own keyboard-shortcut appellation. My page (this one) is c-A because rather than one specific beat I cover a little bit of everything — so “Select all” seemed appropriate.

The Mailbox is now c-V — “Paste” in any Mac application including the Finder. I wanted to use the keyboard shortcut for “Send by email,” but it varies in different applications (there are programming guidelines you know, developers). Since sticking a postage stamp on a letter is kind of paste-ish we went with that.

Dan Warne’s NetWorth is now c-K — “Connect to Server”. Logical.

Fleur Doidge’s InSight is now c-I — “Get Info”. Makes sense to me.

Martin Levins’s Education column presented a challenge, and we went through a whole bunch of possible candidates for the new title including the mostly meaningless c-E (just because E stands for Education). The other candidate was c-R — “Show Original” — because one goal of education is to discover originality. In the end we went with c-Y, which is “Redo” in most applications that have multiple levels of undo — because you do something, then you redo it, then you redo it again, and that’s how you learn. Yeah, big stretch. Love to hear your ideas.

Keith White’s ReadMe is now c-O (or, as he likes to call it, “Commando”). In any Mac application it’s “Open” which of course is what you must do before reading a book or a training DVD.

Which leaves Alex Kidman on the back page with c-Q — “Quit”. Well, it’s the last thing you do before you go, isn’t it? And of course you always have the option to restart.

We hope you’ll like the new section names and the way we’ve reorganised the content of the mag. At the very least, you’ll learn some handy keyboard shortcuts.

The process isn’t finished, of course, and we’ll have a whole lot more to tell you about next month. Meanwhile I’d really love to hear what you think about it all. What have we done right, what have we done wrong, which of your pet peeves have we still not fixed? It’s your magazine, after all, so have your say.

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