A Formal SuperSite Intro from Me, Jason Snell

A Formal SuperSite Intro from Me, Jason Snell

You are reading a story written by someone who has spent nearly twenty years writing primarily about Apple and the Apple ecosystem. I know, I'm as surprised as you are.

My name's Jason Snell, and for a decade or so I was the lead editor at Macworld. For the past couple of years I was also in charge of IDG's other consumer properties, including PCWorld. But there's no denying that I have made a career of covering a certain fruit company located in Cupertino, California.

We would seem to be mismatched, this site and me. And it's true that I put on a face mask and a tomato-resistant jacket before I got up on this stage, just in case someone brought in a case of rotten tomatoes. Still, I think we have a lot to learn from each other.

Before we kick things off, I wanted to take a hint from Richard Hay and tell you a little bit about my background. My first computer was a Commodore PET, and my second was an Apple II. As such, I've always been a child of the command line, and I haven't been far away from a Vax or Unix shell prompt since about 1988.

I've always mixed technology and writing, from editing articles for my college newspaper using vito creating and distributing one of the Internet's first magazines via FTP and Usenet in the days before the web. I taught myself HTML and, as an excuse to learn some early server-side extensions, created one of the first television-related blogs on the Web in 1996. I was the editor in chief of my college paper--while I was running network cable so that I didn't have to use a floppy disk and sneakernet to get to the computer attached to the laser printer.

I started as an editor at MacUser magazine in 1994, just as I was wrapping up my master's degree at UC Berkeley. A few years later I was brushing up on my Windows NT skills as Apple had a near-death experience. Then things got really weird: Steve Jobs came back to Apple and turned the company around, and I got to have a front-row seat for a remarkable and unlikely 15 years of success.

Today, Apple products are a fact of life for most businesses. If it's not MacBooks and iMacs, it's at least iPhones and iPads. And it's not just Apple's hardware success that's driving this, but the embracing of Apple's platforms by some sources that would have seemed unlikely just a few years ago.

Sure, Microsoft Office is on the Mac. I've been using Word for Mac since the late '80s. (And it's high time for an update to the suite--fortunately, one's coming later this year.) But Office is on the iPad now too, and it's really good. Meanwhile, old foe IBM has become a strategic partner of Apple, developing enterprise apps and deploying iPads in large organizations. Apple in the enterprise, and not accidentally? These are strange days indeed.

Though I've been a Mac user for ages, I've also frequently found myself in organizations that were deeply committed to other platforms--including the last few years in an all-Exchange shop. My Macs have been officially supported, half supported, and unsupported, and all the while I've gotten my work done.

So let me explain my presence here. Obviously there are a lot of changes going on at this site, as new contributors arrive and Paul departs. (As someone who also recently left his old home and started a new site of his own, I wish him all the best!) I've been asked to contribute a weekly column relating to Apple, what it's doing, what its users are doing, and how that affects you.

I can't profess to be an expert in Windows (although I've got Windows 8.1 installed on my iMac, as well as a trusty old Windows XP VM, and am looking forward to checking out Windows 10) or even in Microsoft's platforms. I've been a user of them for ages, but I come from another perspective. I'm one of those users that many of you need to support or otherwise interact with.

What I have been is a keen observer of Apple over the years, from the days in the '90s when the company was doomed right up to today. I've learned a lot about how Apple works, why it behaves the way it does, and what its product philosophy is--and I'd like to think that this gives me some good insight on what it'll be doing next.

If you're not someone who has ever used Apple's products, I'm hoping that this column can bridge the gap a little bit between our worlds. When I was starting in technology, vast gulfs separated the Mac and Windows worlds. But these days, cloud services and mobile operating systems and the middle ages of both Apple and Microsoft have led us to a much messier place. If I can help provide some perspective about how Apple's stuff fits into the larger technology world, I will have done my job.

Now I need your help. I'd love to hear from you about what you'd like this column to be about. What are your burning questions relating to Apple, its platforms, and its ecosystem? What are your greatest frustrations in dealing with Apple products? Let me know in the comments below, or send your questions and comments to me at [email protected]

[You can follow Jason Snell on Twitter at @jsnell, read his blog at Six Colors, listen to his tech podcasts at Relay FM, or listen to his geek culture podcasts at The Incomparable.]

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