by Max Jones and Ryan Suenaga
In late 1995, the cold weather surrounding the Apple II world was broken by the flame of a single candle burning in the midwest of the continental United States. That candle represented the fire of one man who single-handedly kept the Apple II in print as the membership of its community dwindled.
That man’s name is Max Jones. His brainchild, a 20-page magazine printed on plain paper with the curious title “Juiced.GS“, would quickly become the standard by which all other Apple II publications would be measured.
Ten years ago
The Apple II world of 1995 was considerably different from it is today. The Apple IIGS and IIe had been discontinued just a few years previous and the platform was still commercially viable for some companies–but barely. More and more companies were leaving the Apple II arena or closing outright.
One of the most significant losses was GS+ Magazine, a combination disk and paper publication originally aimed at high end users and programmers that became more and more popular with the everyday user as other publications went to inconsistent publishing schedules or disappeared altogether. The passing of GS+ inspired Jones, a newspaper editor in rural Indiana, to dive into the Apple II publishing world with both feet.
Virtually unknown in the Apple II world, Jones used his page layout prowess honed through hours on the powerful desktop publishing program QuarkXPress to create his uniquely named publication with “QuirkXPress” – the page layout module of AppleWorks GS. Jones uploaded a prototype of Juiced.GS to the GEnie A2 RoundTable as well as a few other online Apple II sites for review, then waited anxiously for feedback. What would the Apple II world think of the online newcomer’s work? Would the magazine with the funky name be met with applause, or would Juiced.GS be stillborn?
Shocked and awed
The reception the prototype Juiced.GS received from the Apple II world was the virtual equivalent of a standing ovation. Even experienced users of AppleWorks GS were stunned at the professional appearance of the prototype publication. From the very start, Juiced.GS had the look of a winner.
For the first printed version of the magazine, Jones enlisted the aid of some veteran Apple II enthusiasts: Tim Kellers, who contributed a review of PMPFax by Parkhurst Micro Products; Greg Nelson, who printed camera-ready proofs on his Hewlett Packard DeskWriter 550C; and Ryan Suenaga, who contributed what would become a regular opinion column on the last page of each issue (Suenaga is the only contributor to have articles appear in every issue). The first production issue shipped in February, 1996.
Big baby steps
The fledgling publication immediately put the Apple II world on notice. Jones (with assistance from Mike Westerfield of Byte Works and Joe Walters of CompuServe) dropped a bomb on the readers of his first issue with an article on a “Mark Twain” Apple IIGS prototype. The Mark Twain featured was located in New Mexico and was separate from the prototypes that had previously been discovered by Joe Kohn of Shareware Solutions II. While Kohn had made the existence of the Twain known to the public, he had not yet published an article in his newsletter about the rare computer that never existed when Jones sent his debut issue to subscribers. This issue sent a statement to the Apple II world: Juiced.GS would leave no stone unturned in reporting Apple II news.
The success of the fledgling publication came despite the stress of putting the publication together with the quirky AppleWorks GS page layout module. Jones explains:
“About AppleWorks GS…. my experience putting out the prototype and Volume 1, Issue 1 with AppleWorks GS gave me a great appreciation for just how difficult that program was to work with. I always felt like I was teetering on the edge of disaster, and my stress level increased the closer to the end of the production cycle I got.
“That all changed with GraphicWriter III. It was a far more stable program and the features were easy to learn and easy to use. Things were so much easier after I quit using AppleWorks GS to build pages. I’m sure glad the new version of GraphicWriter III came around when it did.”
The transition from AppleWorks GS to GraphicWriter III happened early on in the production of the magazine. Jones reports:
“I converted to the updated version of GraphicWriter III (the one Richard Bennett – now known as Richard Bennett-Forrest – worked on) during the production phase of Volume 1, Issue 2, and I used that experience to write a review of that new version. After that issue was released, the folks at Seven Hills (publishers of GraphicWriter III) contacted me and asked if I would allow them to use the review to distribute with their promotional materials. I allowed them to do so. They were particularly interested in the portion of the review where I compared and contrasted the new GraphicWriter III to the AppleWorks GS page layout module.”
Just add water
What Jones found as the months went on was fertile ground for growing a newsletter that was desperately needed by the Apple II community, although the circulation remained small. Jones did much of the work on the new publication by hand, himself, to keep costs down. He explains:
“All the issues of Juiced.GS that I produced were printed at the same place: ‘Just Copies’ in Terre Haute, Indiana. They used to display a copy of it on their promo board in their waiting area. They were so good to work with, and often gave me breaks on prices whenever they could, and would work the job around according to my timetable, even when they were really busy.
“During the first year, as I was trying to keep my costs down, I did all the collating and stapling myself on a fancy stapler I bought at OfficeMax.”
It was becoming increasingly clear that Juiced.GS was vitally needed in the Apple II community to hold together the users remaining in it. Without a paper publication, those remaining users without access to the online world became increasingly isolated. As more and more Apple II fans discovered Juiced.GS, more and more subscribed, but how to reach the rest of them?
During his first KansasFest in 1996, Jones met Steve Disbrow of EGO Systems, the publishers of the defunct GS+ Magazine. Disbrow continued to publish a paper catalog of Apple II products that he sent out quarterly. Jones and Disbrow struck a deal to place an advertisement for Juiced.GS in the catalog. The ad was a wild success and built the readership of the fledgling newsletter beyond what Jones imagined possible.
Jones also found demand for other products. A two-disk shareware collection was released with each issue of the publication, which gave those users without telecommunication access a dependable source of new software. The success of the disk sets would later lead to two CD-ROMs filled with scans of back issues of Juiced.GS and scads of software: Friends for Life and Friends II. Jones’ success had convinced others to use Juiced.GS to sell their products, including the Time in a Bottle two CD- ROM collection and the A2-ROMulan CD-ROM. Jones found that, while he could not make a living doing Juiced.GS, there were many Apple II users hungry for his products. “Business is Good” became his slogan, and business was good for the little magazine that could from the small town in Indiana.
Who’s who: an all-star staff
One of the strengths of the publication has been its collection of writers. Unlike other Apple II publications that were often written almost exclusively by one person, Juiced.GS always had multiple writers contributing. Moreover, Jones went out of his way to recruit and develop writers around the globe. Besides Kellers and Suenaga, Juiced.GS went on to feature articles from noted programmers Richard Bennett-Forrest, Andrew Roughan, Eric “Sheppy” Shepherd, and Geoff Weiss; longtime Apple II file librarian Tony Ward; hardware expert Tony Diaz; and many others such as Dave Bennett, Doug Cuff, Ken Gagne, and Howard Katz.
Jones himself went from being a relative unknown in the Apple II world to a celebrity in his own right. Within the span of a few years, Jones became a staff member of the A2 RoundTable on Genie and made multiple appearances at KansasFest, wowing the crowd with his presentations on desktop publishing and participating in contests and events. Jones gave a keynote presentation at KansasFest 1999 and was selected to be the guest of honor at the celebrity roast in 2001.
Rolling with the changes
After five years in the Apple II business and many more in the newspaper editing business, Jones became the editor of The Tribune Star, the newspaper for which he had worked for much of his career. While he continued work on Juiced.GS, it became increasingly clear to Jones that he could no longer give the time and energy to Juiced.GS that he had in the past. Halfway through Volume 6, he began searching for a successor to take over the publication.
The search started with Suenaga, the other Juiced.GS staff member who had been there since the very beginning. While he was willing to do the editing and page layout duties, Suenaga knew that his other commitments would not permit him to run a business. So Suenaga served as matchmaker for Jones and Shepherd, who had acquired Syndicomm.
By the summer of 2001, the die was cast. Syndicomm would take over Juiced.GS in 2002. Suenaga would be the Editor-in-Chief, Jones would remain as Associate Editor and assist with page layout (in time, Ken Gagne would be added as Associate Editor to assist with other duties), and Shepherd would be the publisher. After briefing the staff at KansasFest 2001, the announcement was made by Jones, Shepherd, and Suenaga.
A new beginning
The first issue from the Syndicomm team was published early in 2002 with a cover picture of Shepherd and Suenaga in tuxedos inviting the readers to “party on”. The format was largely unchanged (other than Suenaga’s long time column “II Be Named Later” being replaced by “A Word or II”, written by Gagne) although the publication was delivered in envelopes for the first time. Also, more photographs were used than during Jones’ tenure, due to shifting more of the final finishing work from the IIGS onto Macintosh computers.
Suenaga and company would follow up their critically acclaimed debut with their inaugural swimsuit edition which featured two IIGS CPUs adorned in a two piece swimsuit on the beach. Unfortunately, the next few issues would be plagued by printing mishaps.
While the printers battled problems, the Juiced.GS staff continued pushing ahead. The staff produced ground-breaking original work including articles on Apple II history, networking and TCP/IP, hardware development, programming, product reviews, movie reviews, book reviews, and almost any topic that they could think of.
When the staff couldn’t find news to report, they instead went ahead and made news. Gagne produced the Esprit de Apple Corps CD-ROM set; Diaz released the A2-ROMulan CD-ROM and DVD-ROM; Katz lead the Lost Classics Project in obtaining freeware releases for abandoned products; Bennett-Forrest worked on a Java-based Apple IIGS emulator; Roughan spearheaded the Marinetti Open Source Project; and Weiss continued work on several Apple IIGS software programs. In addition to programming, Shepherd continued running Syndicomm, which provided online forums, publications, and software products for the Apple II.
Perhaps the biggest news Juiced.GS made in the Apple II community came in April 2003 when Suenaga announced that Steve Wozniak, the inventor of the Apple-1 and Apple II computers and the co-founder of Apple Computer, Inc., would deliver the keynote address at KansasFest 2003.
Now and forever
Much has changed yet much remains the same. The current appearance of Juiced.GS is very similar to its first issues, and much of the work continues to be done on the Apple IIGS. Diehards worldwide continue to subscribe to what is the world’s last paper Apple II publication. Shareware disks are no longer compiled. Suenaga, the only contributor to every issue, has made it known that this is his final volume as editor.
In celebration of the tenth volume of the Apple II world’s last remaining print publication, Juiced.GS founder Max Jones shares a few thoughts on his experience working on the magazine:
“Overall, creating Juiced.GS will always be one of the most enjoyable and rewarding experiences of my life, not because I made any money from it (the profit margin was quite slim), but because of the brilliant, interesting and entertaining people I had the opportunity to meet and get to know.”
The first decade of Juiced.GS has provided Apple II fanatics a timely, reliable, and often earth-shattering source of news. The fire of one man who had a dream has lit the candles of faith for Apple II users throughout the world for ten years.
Apple II Forever, and Juiced.GS Forever!
Here is an addendum added by editor and publisher Ken Gagne to cover events from 2005 to the present:
2005 and beyond
In 2006, associate editor Ken Gagne became editor-in-chief. The staff grew to include Ewen Wannop, and later Ivan Drucker, Martin Haye, Peter Neubauer, and David Schmidt. Juiced.GS additionally feature contributions from many freelancers in the community, including Antoine Vignau, Peter Watson, Mark Percival, Mark Munz, Steve Weyhrich, Kelvin Sherlock, Evan Koblentz, and Randy Brandt. The back-page column, originally written first by Suenaga (“II Be Named Later”) and then Gagne (“A Word or II”), was given to publisher Eric Shepherd (“Random Numbers”). Staff writer Andy Molloy became the associate editor.
For the first time ever, production was moved off an Apple II and onto a Mac, with layout being done not on GraphicWriter III but on Pages, part of Apple’s iWork suite for Mac OS X.
Gagne took on additional responsibilities with the September 2007 issue when he agreed to accept publishing responsibilities from Shepherd. For the first time since founder Max Jones, the magazine’s editor and publisher were now the same person. Shepherd remained on staff, writing his column for every issue.
In April 2009, the Juiced.GS web site, previously designed in RapidWeaver, was remodeled to use WordPress, bringing many new features, such as a cover gallery of all back issues and a searchable index of every issue and article. In July 2009, as a result of a Juiced.GS focus group at KansasFest, a blog was added to the site.
Juiced.GS debuted a spinoff product at KansasFest 2009: a 2010 wall calendar, featuring twelve months of full-color photos, previously seen only in black-and-white, culled from the last seven years of Juiced.GS. With help from Weyhrich, the calendar marked historical dates in the Apple II timeline. A 2013 calendar was sold at KansasFest 2012 as well.
In the summer of 2010, a new product line was announced: Juiced.GS Concentrate. Concentrates feature content previously published in the print edition and assembled into thematic PDFs. The first Concentrates offered focused issues on copy protection, BASIC programming, podcasting, and file transfer utilities.
In the summer of 2011, Juiced.GS was issued an International Standard Serial Number, or ISSN, allowing it to be catalogued by libraries, archives, museums, and universities. Complete collections of Juiced.GS‘s print issues were donated to nine such institutions around the world, making the publication available for research and preservation both on-site and via interlibrary loan.
In March 2012, Juiced.GS began printing full-color front and back covers, the first time any part of the magazine was printed in color. The first issue to feature this upgrade was also the first to feature not a photograph or a screenshot, but original artwork, courtesy Wade Clarke.
At KansasFest 2012, the first six volumes of Juiced.GS, edited and published by Max Jones, were brought back into print for the first time since their original print run nearly a decade earlier. This announcement also marked the first time complete volumes of Juiced.GS could be purchased as PDFs.
(reprinted courtesy of Juiced.GS)