Slang for a dual-processor G4 Macintosh, and the first computer I ever owned that was making bank. As the only soup-to-nuts Mac shop in Yuma, Arizona, a thriving border town of 160k people, we became the go-to guys for graphics-related issues in hardware, print, logistics, and quality control. The latter being my military specialty in the Marines; lorded quality control over eighty jet aircraft, 420 souls, and every blood borne rule and regulation created to maintain status quo, on my six-year watch, anyway.
The Yuma Daily Sun newspaper was instrumental in my transitioning from the Marines to civilian life, for which I am ever grateful. It worked out well for us both—the newspaper was on the verge of transitioning from a analogue (blanket) format to a digital one—and I thank Sandra Feller, the paper’s Advertising Director, who hired me for the purpose of defining the role of computer-based advertising model for a digital newspaper. I not only worked my way off the night shift and into a full-time job but, I sealed my fate as a graphic artist one joyous morning in 1995.
I had just topped off my coffee and quickly returned to my “spec artist” desk after overhearing a funny conversation about one of the newspaper’s client’s disappointment with her realty ad and more specifically, with the quality of the her photograph in the ad. As she and her husband were being reassured by Sandra, I saw an opportunity to impress my boss and score points by making a lovely woman even more beautiful.
In the computer, I pulled up her ad, Photoshopped her photograph and reprinted it. I gave it to my boss’s secretary. It worked! I saved a client and I got the recognition.
Within minutes of getting my ad, her office was standing behind my chair as I demonstrated Photoshop 2.5. The husband, who was standing over my shoulder watching me deftly remove stray hairs and blemishes from his wife’s photograph, he immediately pulls out his wallet and says, I’ll pay you whatever you want if you can do that for real! We all had a good laugh.
It was a magical moment for me, for Sandra, and everyone who had gathered around the Macintosh that day. I realized in the moment that I could do this for a living.
I would open my own store and hire people who were either passionate for Information Design and it resonated in their sales pitches, or their graphics work, or they were passionate about administrative kinds of work and quality, would work the office, communicating with clients and sales staff.
We offered our admin services to the City of Yuma, producing myriad custom forms, marketing materials, department letterhead & stationary, as well as mailing list services. If we weren’t taking care of your graphic needs, we were maintaining the serviceability of your Macintosh computers. Many of our house calls were warranty referrals from Apple Support services.
The Chamber of Commerce proved to be an invaluable source for ginning up interest in my services and I put in my dues making the effort to meet & greet everyone. The C of C retained my services as a Mac consultant and I provided them the meme of information design when presenting their marketing materials to the City’s business leaders.
The Macintosh was my lifeline from the dogma of life in the military. After fifty-years of living out of boxes, I wanted a home. I wanted to live someplace longer than four-years. I wanted my kids to graduate from the same high school they started who, unlike their father who spent the first two-years attending Yuba City High School in California, before his father decided to drive to the Panama Canal Zone and I would would graduate from Balboa High School, Panama, in 1971. (The ten of us drove to Panama and back!)
In my own career in the military, I was fortunate enough to be involved with the Marine Corps’s transition to the computers. Most major companies, like Ford and GE were already using them in the workforce and the military was determined to organize everything using them.
As someone who was already using a personal computer—I owned an Apple ][ and was already printing custom military letterhead in the early Eighties—I gravitated towards military computers and their effectiveness in managing massive systems and processes like documenting the effectiveness of aviation military training, accountability and OpSec, for the purpose of trend analysis. That endeavor paid off too.
At the Yuma Daily Sun, I was learning a new profession and a new way of life. I was a civilian for the first time ever. No longer an institutionalized warm-body ready and willing to jump into the breech, but a graphics guy letting his hair grow working on a wardrobe that isn’t green and includes brown leather shoes.
As a Marine working the night shift at the Sun, I was developing the desktop procedures for running an “advertising agency”, overseeing the process of converting all paper products into their digital equivalents, using standardized naming conventions and organizing them so that any one of the six graphic artists and a newsroom upstairs full of geeks, could be trained to find them again, on demand.
We deployed myriad storage devices, i.e., tape, optical, fixed-disk, and incrementally backed up the backups of the backups and publish it throughout the organization so that anyone with proper credentials could use the wire and archival graphic/photo services available both locally and internationally.
I learned to produce a newspaper the old fashion way, without the benefit of computers and imagesetters. I never learned typesetting but I did work with two amazing typesetters named Victor & Rico, with 50-years of typesetting experience between them, who made the transition from working with hot, nasty lead characters used to produce a newspaper one letter at a time, who went on to be retrained to use a Macintosh to accomplish the very same work, double the pay, and they loved it!
The lessons learned at every step of the way, proved invaluable when it came time to open the doors to my own business. I networked and collected thousands of business cards while doing business all over the desert Southwest and Southern California. I met a newspaper man who wanted me to digitize his own newspaper to save cost and I did for him what the Yuma Daily Sun did for themselves.
By the time we were finished with his transition, he was not only printing his newspaper cheaper by an order of magnitude, his entire operation to produce his paper streamlined and built with economies of scale in mind. Increasing his circulation was no longer a burden on his staff. The system put in place, with its myriad logistical processes was capable of
The Macintosh changed his business in ways he never thought possible; like the man who discovers that the deliciously prepared meal was actually made with stuff from his own kitchen. Combinations of processes can yield better results.
Graphic Results! became a reality with the generous support from friends & family who offered help and encouragement along the way.
I joined the chamber of commerce, played a little golf, went to the theater, until I was doing business with everyone in town who had a personal interest in Information Design.
My investment paid off handsomely. I became friends with hundreds of the many fine business people of Yuma, Arizona. They embraced me and my family and my children thrived. Super place to raise a family.
These days I write and sketch but with my failing eyesight it gets harder to see the lines and the words I’m making.