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                            Question of Support
  Robert Pigford                                       cyrano@goodnet.com
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Whom should I be supporting with my Amiga-stuff purchasing dollars: The
local shopkeeper or the advertisers and developers in the only remaining US
Amiga magazine (AC/Amiga)?

Both are important, of course.  Without the developers, one could argue
that there would be nothing for the local shop to sell.  And don't all
retail sales of things flow some money back to the developers?  In fact,
the money's already gone to the developer at that point; I buy product from
the dealer who got it from a distributor who got it from the
developer/manufacturer.  The developer's had his money for quite some time
once I take the product home.

But AC/Amiga is worth supporting, IMHO.  If we want a greater-than-48-page
issue again, there need to be more advertisers.  Even though most readers
buy the magazine for the editorial content, it's the ads that pay the
bills.  We, as Amiga users, need to be telling developers and manufacturers
that we saw their adverts in AC/Amiga, and back that up with hard dollar
purchases.

I recently pulled out all my old Amiga magazines.  I have Amiga World
running back to December, 1991, when I bought my first Amiga, an A2000HDP.
I have every AC's Tech ever published (and all the coverdisks).  I even
have the odd issue of .info and Amiga Video/Graphics lying about.  The
variety and content in those old magazines is amazing.  Many of the
techniques and ideas still have practical application today.  I read some
of the product announcements and beat my head against the wall that I
didn't buy them when I had the chance (of course, I didn't have the money
at the time...).

How many computer magazines can you say have information that's still
useful today?  The PCWorlds and whatnot are merely showcases of the latest
& greatest.  Rarely is there something to help you really get more
effective use out of your system.  The Amiga magazines, however, are chock
full of ideas and techniques and suggestions and methods -- all aimed at
making our favorite computer more friendly and/or useful.  That creativity
is what makes the Amiga community so powerful.  That power is why I still
have an Amiga and continue to spend money to upgrade it.  That's where the
value in an Amiga magazine is.  That's why I don't want to lose AC/Amiga.

So what am I doing about it?  Well, for starters, I'm stepping back through
my software and making sure I'm registered on all the shareware I actually
use; that will help the private developers.  I'm upgrading all my programs
to their latest versions (as much as possible, anyway); that will help the
commercial developers.

I've given myself a budget for Computer Stuff every week/month, which I
spend at my local Amiga shop (Wentek Computers in Scottsdale, Arizona,
(602)483-7200).  The proprietor, Rob Wendling, has always been friendly and
helpful to me, and he keeps stuff on the shelves to browse.  That's
important to me -- I like to browse and impulse buy once in a while.

I'm writing letters to the developers and manufacturers of all the stuff
I'm buying and using now, letting them know how I learned of their products
and that I want them to support AC/Amiga with advertising dollars; AC/Amiga
is my primary source of new Amiga-related information, and I turn there
first when looking for information on an upcoming intended purchase.

And finally, I'm trying to do something to help increase the volume of
editorial content in AC/Amiga by writing for them.  I've been cutting my
teeth by writing for the MECCA newsletter, and have some ideas to submit to
Don Hicks, managing Editor of AC/Amiga.  I've requested a copy of their
Writer's Guide, to prepare myself more fully.  I don't know if I'll
actually be published or not, but at least I'm trying.

Through it all, of course, I'm actively supporting my user's group (MECCA).
I participate in the regular meetings, and host a technical presentation
every so often.  I share my recent Amiga experiences (good and bad) with
the group.  I help others with their technical troubles.  I participate --
that's the key.  Many members are in fact active in several local clubs,
and I applaud them.

So I started this message with questions of 'whom do I support?'.  Funny
how the answer turns out to be myself.

By supporting all these organizations with my dollars and my energy, I help
sustain and improve the Amiga community and market.  It's a logical
economical cycle: When products in a given market sell well, more vendors
are enticed into that market.  The volume of available products goes up,
which gives me more options for my purchasing dollar.

It's a positive cycle, don't you think? 8^)
So what are you going to do?