Macs At Work
Small Megahertz, Big Output
Macworld. magazine, November 2002

Pick up any full-color glossy magazine off the newsstand, and chances are it was put together by an army of computers running off enough processing power to light up a city block. Not Delaware Beach Life. Four times a year, editor publisher Terry Plowman assembles his 100-page magazine on a single iMac that sports a G3 PowerPC chip with a clock speed that hasn’t been considered speedy since the Clinton administration.

Nevertheless, Plowman has published four issues of Delaware Beach Life since the magazine’s June 2002 debut, using nothing more than a 400MHz G3 iMac with 192MB of RAM. Not that Plowman’s complaining: “When the iMac came out, it seemed like a perfect model for my home office,” he says. “I like that it’s self-contained, and it fit my budget of about $1,500. I considered buying a more powerful Mac, but I was unsure about ad revenues with a startup, so I decided to give this model a try.”

The mighty-if-modest iMac tackles every task at the magazine from page layout to subscription management. And while graphics programs can put test its processing limits, the machine still holds its own with demanding applications such as Adobe Acrobat, QuarkXPress, and Adobe Photoshop.

The quality of the full-color glossy magazine is so convincing that even the printers don’t know the difference. “They’re none the wiser,” Plowman says. “Every month, they receive perfectly crafted PDFs, which they use to print the magazine. They’re delighted I’m on a Mac, since most publications they work with are done on the Mac platform.”

Although Plowman will soon add an 800MHz G4 iMac with a 17-inch flat-panel display to meet the growing magazine’s needs, his three year old iMac won’t be forced into retirement. Plowman plans on using the original machine to handle subscriptions, accounting, and e-mail. One thing is for certain, however. “I’m too familiar with Macs to even consider a PC,” he says. “They just strike me as an inelegant version of a Mac.”—LISA BAGGERMAN