Citadel, PageMaker, and the Macintosh

Jeff Pack, Brown University '99 (English 112, 1996)

My first real exposure to "the other side" of personal computing, the Apple Macintosh, was during my senior year in high school, working on the staff of Citadel, our yearbook. I'd seen the Macintosh interface before, of course, but never used it on a regular basis. (I still prefer Windows and Windows 95, just because that's what I'm used to using.)

After I observed the other users for a while, a division among the staff soon became apparent. On one hand (unfortunately, this side of the gap could be counted on one hand) were those of us who'd grown up with computers and used them on a regular basis; on the other were those who did most of the actual work on paper and only ported it into PageMaker because they had to (and then had to constantly ask for help when anything unexpected happened). Even when they became familiar with computers, their method of use was observably different. For example, "new" users were more prone when modifying photographs to read through the list of possible altering filters and try out the interesting-looking ones - letting the program dictate the use - whereas "old" users would figure out what they wanted to do and then figure out which filters to use to achieve the desired effect - using the program as tool.

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