…and one sad

After 30 years, the original US version of Macworld magazine is to go out of print. It will continue online and the UK version is unaffected, it will still publish a print edition, but Macworld US is gone.

I’ve never written for the US one but I did have a column for a spell in the UK edition. It feels like another me from another life but it was there. So strange to think of that now.

Back when I was in computer magazines for a living, there was always rivalry between Macworld and MacUser. What I didn’t understand until right now when I looked it up – or maybe I’d just forgotten, it is a long time ago – is that MacUser began as a UK title. The title was then licensed to a US company and later, when that firm got out of the magazine business, another firm took it on. But they had also taken on Macworld and they weren’t going to keep both running. So whatever was Macworld US and whatever was MacUser US merged operations together and became Macworld.

But I worked for that US company. Ziff Davis. Long gone from magazines, which in some ways now seems prescient, it had a big advantage that even as I worked in the London office, I could request a copy of US magazines. I would request the US MacUser.

Back then, it was such a good read that I’d request it and I’d keep it. I remember moving house and having to decide the fate of many years’ worth off MacUser issues.

I can scare remember the days of having to wait a month for news and there is no magazine now that I regularly read.

I miss that experience. And as sad as I was when I learnt that my old mag, PC Direct, had closed down, tonight I am just that little bit sadder because MacUser as was, Macworld as it became, was just a damn good read for a long time.

How to find something on the App Store

The iPhone and iPad App Store is the best of these app stores in every way bar one. Usually the argument that it’s the best of them is said to be because of the sheer number of apps you can get. It’s certainly true that there are a lot: something like 1.2 million.

I’d say the reason it’s the best is that the apps on it are the best. The most mature, the most feature-rich, the simply best-designed. Hopefully it won’t always be thus but Apple has the benefit that coding for iOS and then releasing your apps is easier on its platform than on Android. And Android has the problem that its users don’t pay money. It’s a fascinating example of how a culture can arise around a technology; iPhone users will pay for an app they want, Android users think if it isn’t free, there’s something wrong with it.

Mind you, even on iOS you get people saying £3.99 is expensive or overpriced and that’s a laugh.

Just on this issue of culture and technology, I do also enjoy how there’s a funny snobbishness with some developers who make announcements apologising for releasing on the iOS App Store first. They say a lot about how great their Android version will be but the thing is that it’s plainly easier for them to code for iOS.

Nonetheless, there can be few App Stores where it is harder to find the thing you want. Macworld has done a feature about finding apps that I want you to see but as full as it is of advice for how to search this bleedin’ thing, I don’t think it’s critical enough. When Microsoft Office finally came out for iPad, I went on the store and I searched for the words “Microsoft Office” and I still couldn’t find it.

I don’t think there can be a worse example of how hard it is to find apps. IF they weren’t so useful, wouldn’t sane people give up? The doubtlessly sane folk at Macworld have persisted far better and far further than I have and they’ve got five solutions for you.

I want to suggest a sixth. One of theirs is that it’s worth searching on the developer’s name. It’s not guaranteed to help, they say, but it can and if you like one developer’s app you may well like other ones they do. I agree with that very much and would add that when you find one, there is a tab called Related that shows you the firm’s other software right there.

This is how I found OmniOutliner after being such a fan of OmniFocus and now I am such a fan of OmniOutliner. I hope this happens to you too and if it does, this Macworld article will have helped.