A "timely" Christmas wish
Author: Len Massaro
Date: December, 1989
Keywords: gift wish list holiday
Text: Someone suggested making a Christmas computer hardware and software ''Gift List'' for this month's column. I think it's a good idea, so here it is. It is difficult to make such a list because we all have different types of Macintoshes. There are some common things we would like to have our systems do for us*work faster *work easier *store more. Then, there are the things that are ''newer'' and ''sexier'' than what we own. That's what marketing is all about. Apple is a master at getting us to be excited about every purchase we make for our Macs. Then, when we think we have it all, Apple introduces a ''new'' version. Ours is great, but the new one is ''sexier.'' The sexiest thing we have in our office now is Apple's CD-ROM disc player. We have a CD-Remote desk accessory that looks and functions like a hand-held TV/VCR/Stereo remote unit, and I can change tracks the same way you would on your unit at home. The fact that it works in the background means that as I am typing this using Microsoft Word*, I am listening to a music track from Kenny G's ''Silhouette'' Album. CD-ROM stands for compact disc, read-only memory. Each CD-ROM disc can contain more than 550 Megabytes of information-text, numbers, sound, graphics or a combination. That is the equivalent of 270,000 pages of type-written text or 700 times the contents of a 800K floppy disk. CD-ROM is an optical medium, meaning that information on the disc is stored in a track that is read by a laser beam in the drive. The information is read-only; it cannot be altered after it is recorded. The cost of creating a master disc ranges from $2,000 to $11,000, but once completed each disc can be pressed for about $2. The real problem is what do you put on a 550MB disk? Broderbund has produced a CD containing the ''Whole Earth Catalog ($149.95). Grolier has its ''Electronic Encyclopedia*'', based on its Academic American Encyclopedia,containing 30,000 articles ($395). Highlighted Data publishes an electronic version of the Merriam-Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary($199.95). Image Club has created ArtRoom* containing more than 1,000 PostScript images and 100 laser advertising fonts ($999), and DarkRoom*, a stock photo library of more than 500 ready-to-use photos saved in the TIFF format ($499). Educorp makes a CD that has nearly 300 MB of public-domain shareware software, its entire collection ($199, published semi-annually). The specialty topics are growing daily, from a Universe of Sounds*, containing thousands of sound samples, to a Time Table of Innovation, an interactive history of scientific development featuring over 6,000 events taken from more than 50 reference works. When it comes right down to it*If I had one ''wish'' for Christmas, I would like to have the time to learn all I can about my current system, wrapped up in the time to enjoy using it. Best Wishes for a Happy Holiday Season from all of us at Capital.
Copyright © december, 1989 by Len Massaro