From the Editor's Desk

When you get right down to it, Macworld is about Mac products. We report the news about current and upcoming Mac software and hardware, review those products once they're released, and provide you with tips and other advice on how to use them. And while Macworld readers are clearly a group of people willing to pay top dollar for outstanding Mac products, that doesn't mean you don't appreciate a good value.

With this month's cover story, we wanted to offer you advice on being a savvy Mac shopper, so when you do spend your hard-earned dollars on Mac products, you get the most for your money. For example, within our 11-page feature, Christopher Breen details the cost differences between ink-jet and laser printers. If you print a lot of text documents, that low-cost ink-jet printer ends up being more expensive than you might guess.

We've also rounded up the very best low-cost Mac software, with more than 50 fantastic programs that cost $30 or less -- including more than 20 that are absolutely free. Free programs like the excellent Logorrhea (which lets you easily browse and search all your iChat transcripts) are obviously an amazing value, but the $20 spam-filtering utility SpamSieve is an even better one -- after all, we're all being driven slowly crazy by junk e-mail, and isn't $20 a small price to pay to save yourself time and soothe your state of mind?

Game On

For more than a decade, Macworld has chosen the very best Mac games for induction into our Game Hall of Fame. The original Hall of Fame author, Steven Levy, placed our fictional museum of Mac gaming legends in his hometown of Pittsfield, Massachusetts, and the tradition of selecting the best Mac games has passed to another Bay State citizen, Peter Cohen.

This is Peter's third year as keeper of the Game Hall of Fame, and we're lucky to have him as our regular Game Room columnist. If you aren't a frequent reader of our online Mac news site, MacCentral.com, you may not know that Peter leads a double life -- he's an able news reporter and editor by day and one of the foremost experts on Mac gaming by night. It's a tough job, but someone's got to do it.

One of the things that excites me the most about this year's crop of Hall of Fame inductees is the variety of the games Peter selected. Of course, there are action games with plenty of gore. But there are also clever, addictive products such as Noiz2sa, a two-dimensional arcade-style action game that features pulsating pastel geometric shapes instead of blood and guts.

And for the fourth time in five years, Halo appears in our list of forthcoming games that may be in the next crop of Hall of Fame selections. The good news is that Halo -- which premiered at Macworld Expo in June 1999, before Microsoft snapped up Bungie and redirected Halo to the Xbox -- should actually be out on the Mac by the time you read this. (As an old fan of Bungie's Marathon series, I'm certainly looking forward to playing it.) But until I have a copy of Halo in my hands, I'm not making any guarantees.

Still, if you or someone you love enjoys using the Mac for something other than work, you'll find a game to suit you in the Hall of Fame. And of course, a game makes a great gift. You don't think it's a coincidence that the new Game Hall of Fame inductees appear right around the holidays, do you?

About this Macworld

Things are busier than usual at the Mac Publishing offices these days. We're working on several projects, in addition to Macworld, that may interest you.

First is Mac Developer Journal, a new magazine for people who create Mac software. The costs of starting a new print magazine were too great, so we decided to put out the magazine via Zinio, the same technology we use for electronic versions of Macworld. Mac Developer Journal is a joint effort between Macworld and O'Reilly & Associates, publishers of numerous computer books and the excellent MacDevCenter.com. Mac Developer Journal will be released quarterly. For more information and article samples, check out www.macdeveloperjournal .com.

Our second big project is Total Panther, a special newsstand-only issue of Macworld. Total Panther has in-depth information about Mac OS X, including details of Panther's new features, a guide to switching from OS 9 to OS X, a massive collection of how-tos and tips updated for Panther, reviews of hundreds of OS X programs, and a DVD-ROM with more than an hour of video tips and lots of software. Look for Total Panther on your local newsstand, or order it for $7.95, plus $4 shipping, from 800/288-6848 or at www.macworld.com/panther.

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