With this issue, COMPUTE! has a new look. Several adjustments to the way we put together the magazine have been made in the past few months, and this issue implements a process which started—on the drawing boards—last year.
The personal computer market-place is maturing and currently pausing for breath after several frenetic years in the early 1980s. Many manufacturers, and many computer magazines, have retired from the scene. There are approximately one-fifth as many hardware and software companies today as there were a year ago.
For magazine publishers, this greatly diminished universe of advertisers represents a challenge. Fewer ads necessarily mean fewer pages.
While there are dozens of popular magazines like High Fidelity and Science Digest which have stabilized over the years at fewer pages than COMPUTE! currently prints, there are some economies which we must now effect. In a nutshell, we want to continue to bring our readers an equivalent amount of information in a smaller package every month.
Fortunately, there are several ways to seek painless concision. The first thing we looked at was the size of our typeface, the "point size." COMPUTE! has always printed larger characters than is traditional for magazines of its class and audience. It may not be too easy to detect, but with this issue we have slightly reduced the type by one point in most of the magazine (one point equals 1/72 inch). "Reviews," "Readers' Feedback," and the "News & Products" sections have been reduced by two points. These are gentle reductions and bring COMPUTE!'s type in line with most other popular magazines.
However, even though there will be no decrease in readability, this change results in an average of 10 to 15 percent more information per page.
To maintain the ease with which COMPUTE! can be read, we have made additional changes to our layout. For one thing, we have gone to a primarily three-column format, replacing our previous two-column design. Program listings, too, have changed from two- to three-column format. Aside from contributing more words per page while still maintaining easy readability, these adjustments give our design staff greater flexibility to create layouts with more variety and eye appeal.
Finally, we have requested that our columnists write within one- or two-page limits each month. With the more economical type size and page layout, they will be able to deliver excellent information each month in less space. Ultimately, that frees the editors to increase the variety and content of COMPUTE!.
In a not entirely unrelated development, Philip Nelson has accepted the position of assistant editor of COMPUTE!. Philip has been on our staff as assistant technical editor for six months and has proven to be an excellent, careful editor and a fine writer as well.
We feel that these changes to COMPUTE! are both necessary and positive. These adjustments will allow us to continue to bring you the greatest number of high quality articles and programs in the years to come.