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The last thing I want to do on a California winter weekend is rake leaves and clean out rain gutters. Yet it’s an inevitable part of my life as a homeowner: either I do my chores or our house turns into a leaking, rotting hovel surrounded by moldy leaves and sprouting mushrooms.

If you aren’t a homeowner, you may be spared from raking leaves. But if you own a Mac, you do have some chores to do. No, your Mac may not explode if you don’t take care of it (despite this issue’s fantastic cover image by Joe Zeff—see “About This Macworld”). But you could lose data, productivity, or both. By taking a little time now for some routine maintenance, you can avoid wasting lots of time later staring at that spinning beach-ball icon.

Clean Your Room

As an editor, I’m always hesitant to publish stories like “Prevent Mac Disasters”. They make me feel like I’m telling you to floss your teeth and clean your room. But when we recently asked a panel of Macworld readers to pick their favorites from a list of more than a dozen story ideas, Mac maintenance won by a solid margin.

Perhaps that’s because even now, several years after OS X arrived, plenty of Mac users are still concerned about all the mysterious stuff going on behind the scenes of their computers. The fact is, while OS X is a fantastic operating system, it’s also a complicated, weird beast. And although it comes with a bunch of useful self-maintenance routines that you should take advantage of, those routines alone aren’t enough.

That’s why we commissioned Contributing Editor Rob Griffiths to lead our efforts to give you the plain, simple facts about what you need to do to keep your Mac humming along from day to day. No, our advice may not be sexy—but it’s good for you.

Hello Again, Eddy

Every year at this time, we hand out our Editors’ Choice Awards. This is the 20th consecutive year our editors have scoured the market to pick the most-innovative products introduced for the Mac over the past 12 months. And this year, we whittled the list down to just 34.

As usual, plenty of big companies walk off with a coveted Eddy statuette. But so do a bunch of underdogs—small, up-and-coming developers that work on a shoestring (Rogue Amoeba, developers of Nicecast, for example) and that fill a niche or come up with a remarkable innovation the big companies have missed.

We brought back something this year that we haven’t done since the mid-1990s: Readers’ Choice Awards, one for hardware and one for software. To determine those winners, we polled readers on, as well as members of our private reader panel. These sources agreed on the two winners (both from Apple).

This is the 11th year I’ve spent some serious quality time with Eddy. When I first met him, we were awarding a company run by Steve Jobs—but it was Pixar, maker of 1994 Eddy winner Typestry 2.1. We also awarded a new Mac desktop back then, but it was the 6100/60 Power Mac. And comparing the games of 2004 to those of 1994 reminded me that no matter the decade, my Mac can still be a great time waster: I honestly can’t figure out if I’ve spent more personal time playing this year’s Halo: Combat Evolved or 1994 Eddy winner SimCity 2000.

Playing either one, however, beats spending time raking leaves and cleaning out rain gutters on a chilly Sunday.

Sidebar: About This Macworld

February 2005 Macworld
Back in January of 2002, our cover showed a Power Mac G3 being squashed by a PowerBook. Outraged readers wrote in, taking us to task for destroying a perfectly good computer. We had to inform them that we hadn’t actually squashed a Mac—the image was an illustration. So before you fire up your e-mail clients, let us assure you that no Macs were harmed in the production of this issue’s cover. The burned-out, beat-up desktop you see was the creation of Joe Zeff, an illustrator who’s done covers for Time , Newsweek , Esquire , and other worthy mags. He built the image from scratch, using NewTek’s LightWave 3D running on his very own dual-processor G5—which also doubled as his model.

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