21 May 2013

Lightbox to Cloud: CX across three decades

Julius with original mags

Julius with early editions of Channels

In 1990 when I started work on Channels, I met Josh Luo at Jands who was the only human in St. Peters who could operate Pagemaker 3 on a Mac IIcx. Our creative director was David Mulholland – these days a driving force behind the Vista project. The Mac IIcx was a revered machineĀ  mostly allocated to the R&D dept, where it gainfully created front panel artwork for Jands Event and Instinct lighting consoles.

Between front panels and owner manual artwork, Josh labored to create Channels, a 16 page A4 black and white magazine that started life as The Organ of Jands, at the time deep in the recession ‘Australia had to have’ (quote: Paul Keating).


Very soon this unashamedly ‘house magazine’ acquired advertising from other distributors, thanks to an enlightened (or mayeb distracted) management at Jands. Before too long I bought the rights and the mailing list to start Connections Magazine. Along the way, Channels grew to 64 pages and discovered colour – at least for the cover.

Around the 32 page mark, I bought a second hand Mac IIci with an A4 mono screen, like this:


I learned Pagemaker 3, and soon was on Pagemaker 4. The files were without images, just a position box, so they still fitted on a floppy disk. I had an external floppy drive, on a thick SCSI cable. Pagemaker 4 was resident on the internal floppy drive. We were in a floppy world, without email, and without the www.


I would take the floppy to a publishing output house like WYSIWYG in Kent Street Sydney, and they would produce a ‘bromide’ or high resolution page on white photo paper of each page – for about $15 a page.

Then the bromides and the photos made their way to a reprographics house where the pictures were converted to bromides and screened for the printing plate.



The ‘reprographics’ phase was all consuming. Soon we had a 40mb Syquist drive, like this:


The progression of drives, portable media, and outsourcing continued through the 1990’s. Our capital expenditure on new Macs, Scanners, and storage devices (not to mention colour laser printers) would typically hover around $40,000 per year.

Staying on top of this was a serious technical undertaking. We had upgrades for Aldus Pagemaker and Macromedia Freehand, new font Suitcases, fonts, clip art on a CD that would arrive in the mail each month and Mac specialists. We also endured a Windows server for the Access Database that drive our subscriptions and MYOB for accounts. Amen.

Fast forward: wow! Cloud. Adobe Creative Suite on monthly subscription. Upload the whole mag to the printer in Adelaide on the web.

You would not want to be working in the old paradigm!

Now, we can get on with The Story and write for you.





Published monthly since 1991, our famous AV industry magazine is free for download or pay for print. Subscribers also receive CX News, our free weekly email with the latest industry news and jobs.