LaserWriter Revolution

Source: Paul Danish, "The LaserWriter: Stop the Presses, A Revolution is About to Explode!" Club Mac News (March 1985), 27-28.
Location: M1007, Apple Computer Inc. Papers, Series 12, Box 18, Folder 1.

With the cost-effective LaserWriter, we may see a boom in small newspapers-- community, weekly, and trade publications, to name a few.

This is only the beginning. The implications extend far beyond giving the bland suburban shoppers of the world some competition.

A newspaper is not just so many bytes of information! News content is [end p. 27] only a small part of the paper's value. The bonus is packages and organized information by page placement, headlines, and proximity to features and pictures. In effect a newspaper page is a relational database (created with a non-dynamic implementation of windowing technology).

This concept of using typography and positioning to indicate relationships and relative importance among various blocs of information is an extremely powerful intellectual tool. Four centuries of typography didn't just happen by accident!

However, the print medium is a tool to which very few people gain access. The reason is the cost of organizing information in this form is hideously expensive. A reasonably efficient print shop will charge $35-45 to set the type and compose a single tabloid newspaper page. Although the power of typographically organized databases has been known for centuries (they were used in the Talmud over 1,000 years ago), as a practical matter, only commercial publishers have had the option of presenting information in this form. Until know, that is. A Mac and a laser printer will make this sort of capability available to, well, the rest of us.

The birth of the LaserWriter doesn't necessarily mean that it will be easier for aspiring editors to enter a business that for 40 years has been becoming increasingly monopolistic (although God knows that should be enormously welcome). The real impact is that the typographic and illustrative tools that publishers have literally used to start wars and topple governments will now be available to anyone with a Macintosh and a laser printer.

If you decide to try it and get caught, don't tell 'em where you got the idea! [p. 28]

Document created on 7 April 2000;