Macintosh History: The Lost Art Of Trici Venola

January 20, 2010

The mid-1980s were a great time to be a Mac fanatic.

The machine was new, developers were coming out with neat stuff for it, and even though there wasn’t an Internet, we all felt connected through magazines, Bulletin-Board Systems (BBSes), CompuServe, user groups, newsletters, and the floppy disk service EduComp.

One of the stars of that period was a young woman artist named Trici Venola.

Her artwork was seemingly everywhere and it was easy to spot because of her very distinctive style.

One of the things she worked on was Foundation Software’s Comic Strip Factory. But I remember her most from her work for MacWeek, a weekly electronic magazine that was distributed via BBSes and those EduComp floppy disks. (This MacWeek was before there was a weekly tabloid on paper.)

Oh yes, kids, long before there was a Palm Pilot and Peanut Press and Fictionwise doing eBooks, there were electronic publications. And the Macintosh had the best. MacWeek was memorable due to the passion of Jerry Daniels, Mary Jane Mara, and the artwork of Trici Venola.

For an upcoming post about screen design for publishing, I tracked down Trici (she is currently enjoying life in Turkey). I asked for one thing, didn’t get it, but wound up with some delightful lost Macintosh history that I’m excited to show everyone.

It’s a comic strip done for the MacUnderground, an early online service for Macintosh users.

Trici doesn’t remember, but I met her briefly at Foundation Publishing’s booth at CES in Chicago way back when. Doug Clapp (where’d he go?) was manning the booth and Trici was there too. She showed me her mouse finger and how it was bent inward. She drew all of her work by mouse. Keep that in mind!

After the break, words from Trici herself and some sample panels.

Read the rest of this entry »

Actor Timothy Hutton Leverages Books

January 20, 2010

Timothy Hutton: Literary Sex God

The title sounds smarmy but it’s actually one of the better posts I’ve read about books and Twitter.

Timothy Hutton is an actual reader and is savvy about books. This is probably something you’d never find out about him given the current crass state of TV talk shows. Hmmm… maybe PBS should jump on this with a Famous People Who Read books discussion program? (The late Steve Allen would have been a natural host for that!)

Hutton stars in an ensemble series on TNT called Leverage. I watch the show and did several posts about it (see here). It airs Wednesdays at 10PM EST. Hey, that’s tonight! Just in time for you to set the DVR. It’s also available at the iTunes Store.

The iSlate Factor People Are Missing

January 20, 2010

The introduction of the iSlate is going to be a Richter-scale value shock in the industry.

Even if it comes in at a whopping US$999 (which I really hope it will not!), it’s going to reset the scale of value of everything.

From time to time, I go to J&R in Manhattan, a large electronics retailer. I go to check out prices and to see what’s new. And sometimes even to buy.

Read the rest of this entry »

New York Times Bizarre Metered Model Of FAIL

January 20, 2010

The New York Times Announces Plans for a Metered Model for in 2011

NEW YORK, Jan 20, 2010 (BUSINESS WIRE) — The New York Times announced today that it will be introducing a paid model for at the beginning of 2011.

The new approach, referred to as the metered model, will offer users free access to a set number of articles per month and then charge users once they exceed that number. This will enable to create a second revenue stream and preserve its robust advertising business. It will also provide the necessary flexibility to keep an appropriate ratio between free and paid content and stay connected to a search-driven Web.

And how precisely is this going to work?

Cookies? FAIL!

Log-in? FAIL!

Forget it.

This is what you do instead.

You create a daily New York Times Lite. It summarizes everything. This Lite version is absolutely free. And you let everyone link to it — because this is marketing.

For people who are enticed by a summary and want to read further, that’s when you stick up the gate and demand payment.

Your meter will be shredded within hours of its appearance.

Really, do you guys just want to continue to bleed to death?