Date: Friday, April 4th, 2014, 08:24
Category: Announcement, conference, History, Mac
In a session entitled “Confessions of an Apple Writer”, Ted Landau recounted his career writing about the Mac, which has existed practically as long as the Mac itself. He began the session by announcing that he was retiring as a Macworld/iWorld speaker and cutting back on his writing duties. As he reason, he offered, “Well, it’s just that time in my life.”. Currently a Senior Contributor at Macworld Magazine, he talked about his first “article” which was a submission to a Mac newsletter in which he described how to change the “Welcome to Macintosh” startup message using software called ResEdit.
Ted eventually moved onto his book writing career which started with a book that many of us “old-timers” are familiar with, “Sad Macs, Bombs, and Other Disasters”, a title that, while now synonymous with Mac troubleshooting manuals, was given by the book’s publishers and which Ted was not fond of.
When he chose to put his own spin on the title for his first OS X version of the book, “Mac OS X Disaster Relief”, he was given the disapproving glare from Apple and told they would not allow the word “disaster” associated with OS X. The title was then changed to “Mac OS X Help Line”, but he found out that sales were poorer than the original “Sad Macs…” book as a result of his toying with the name recognition of the popular guide.
Some time in 1996, with the advent of the World Wide Web, Landau taught himself HTML in order to create his own web site. Concerned about how buyers of the previous editions of his help books would feel once newer additions with updated information were published, the original web site he created contained addendums with updated material from the latest editions of his books. This web site went on to become the very popular MacFixIt and provided useful and up to date troubleshooting information for the Mac.
MacFixIt was eventually sold and acquired until it finally wound up in the hands of CNET. As part of CNET’s network of resources, MacFixIt continued to provide Mac users with helpful information for several years. Sadly, CNET recently removed all reference to MacFixit, which Ted remarked as being a sign that his retirement was the right decision.