THE NeXT WORLD

Bright Lights, Small City

Dan Ruby

On The New Yorker magazine's famous cover, the world beyond the Hudson river fades away to insignificance. Los Angeles pops up in the distance while Japan lies low on the horizon. It's a brilliant self-parody of the provincial view of the supposedly worldly Manhattanite, who has the arrogance to believe that little of im-portance happens west of Hoboken.

Some developers have accused this magazine of suffering from a similar myopia. On our version of the map, Silicon Valley and especially Redwood City would loom large, while significant bases of NEXTSTEP activity in Chicago, New York, and Europe would show up as outposts. A tiny onion dome would represent Moscow.

Well, NeXTWORLD is not The New Yorker. Much as I'd like to publish John McPhee and Jeremy Bernstein, our mission is much narrower: To provide information that brings together users and providers of NEXTSTEP products.

When we look east, or any direction, we see pockets of opportunity places where developers and a community of users form a hotbed of NEXTSTEP activity. Places like Vancouver, Hamburg, Sydney, LaSalle Street in Chicago, Washington, DC.

Also the San Francisco Bay area. There was grumbling from some that the primary qualification for receiving a Best of Breed award was a phone number in the 415 area code. Not true: Of our BoB winners, only four were local. Ten others were from outside the area, including three from Europe.

There are two determinants for what products and user activities get attention in NeXTWORLD. First, we have to know about them. Since we're busy, it may require a follow-up call, but between the Internet, telephone, fax, and package-delivery services, all developers have equal access to us. We also welcome visitors.

Second, we apply judgment to the relative significance and worth of products. It wouldn't be much of a magazine if we printed unfiltered information. We decide what gets coverage, how many cubes to give, who gets awards. This judging role carries with it a serious responsibility to be fair and impartial. We have to be fully informed. We must not bring biases to the table. We must not be too impressed with our own importance.

One thing that is not a determinant is a company's advertising budget. It shouldn't be necessary to say this, but NeXTWORLD's editorial product is not for sale. We call 'em as we see 'em.

While we wouldn't exist without NeXT and we couldn't afford to publish without the support of third-party advertisers, our loyalty is first and foremost to NEXTSTEP users. If we serve our readers, then we serve the market. It doesn't matter if they live in Palo Alto, Paris, or Altoona.

All right, everyone out there in Paducah, Keokuk, and South Succotash: I want your feedback. What kinds of articles would you like to see more or less of? Tell me what's wrong with our graphics. Are there other types of information or services we can provide that will make your life as a NEXTSTEP user easier and more productive? Send mail to druby@nextworld.com. I won't reply to every message, but I will consider all input carefully as we continue to evolve NeXTWORLD into the best magazine it can be.

Dan Ruby is editor in chief of NeXTWORLD.