It should come as no surprise that a computer system with such mystically intriguing software as an artificial intelligence program called "Guru" and an accounting program named "Satori" should find its home in a Hindu monastery. For six years after the 1979 inception of Hinduism Today, the staff published the old-fashioned way, with waxed galleys, x-acto knives, photo chemicals, white out and forbearance. They tried their best to fix up and paste down crooked lines with jagged edges and crude corners to produce what always approached (but never quite reached) "professional" quality work. The result were good. The work was slow and laborious, even with a fully outfitted photo typesetting unit right on the spot. There were no complaints – just the thought: "Well, this is just about as good as it gets." But they were wrong. It got better.
In 1986, Macintosh computers brought to Hinduism Today a formidable vanguard of high-tech vitality. A full fleet of these marvelous instruments of modern-day wizardry were installed in a unique 8-Mac Plus network with two 40-MB Bernoullis, an Abaton 300 dpi scanner, assorted software, two LaserWriters and an Imagewriter. That uncommon orchestration made news in magazines Macworld and Macuser when Hinduism Today won a contest organized by MacConnection to find the world's most sophisticated uses for the Mac. But, for the staff the Hinduism Today, the winds of change moved swiftly. Even that configuration was outgrown in two years. Nine recently installed Mac II's now join forces with eleven Mac Pluses and fifteen internal hard disc drives (60 and 150 megabytes strong) to reinforce the voice of Hinduism with more than 1000 megabytes of power. And that's not all. Now, there is color – not just read, blue and yellow. Mac II users choose from a pallet of 16.7 million hues.
This Hawaii network is a Macintosh master-piece not unlike a Swiss army knife in its versatility. It addition to fully supplying Himalayan Academy Publications with all of its typesetting and graphics facilities, it handles accounting, letter writing, filing, data processing, inter-departmental communications, astrology and more. The publisher of Hinduism Today, for instance, can maintain continuous contact with all members of the newspaper staff disbursed in several buildings without leaving the chair of his powerful Mac II work station. Also, through a program called Tops, all forms of data and information can be transferred with ease from one computer to another with but a push of a button. A user at Mac A can access a file on Mac B's hard disc. All in all, over 100 programs are used daily as a matter of routine.
If you are not around computers enough to be impressed by the facts and figures expressed thus far, here is another fundamental Macintosh consideration: These computers are fast, fun and easy to use. And because of a wide range of software choices available specifically for the Macintosh, practical achievements are possible in diversified fields of endeavor. For instance, using a program called Illustrator '88 (Hinduism Today's primary graphic tool), a non-artist with a good sense of design can produce professional looking graphics with a fine-line precision that only skilled artists were able to produce before – and in half the amount of time. The same person can click on Quark Xpress, another major program used to produce Hinduism Today, and – again without much previous training – produce all manner of type-setting marvels with but the delicate touch of a finger. For laymen and professionals alike, such easily available tools stimulate creative imagination, making previously uninteresting areas invitingly alive with opportunity. The staff of Time magazine would certainly agree. They have announced plans to convert their complicated and expensive work stations over to Macintosh based systems. The schematic below shows the complex Mac network that produces Hinduism Today.
For those wanting to start desktop publishing on their own, we recommend as the minimum system a Mac Plus with 2 MB of RAM, a 20 MB hard disk drive, the Quark Xpress program, and an Imagewriter. Final copy can be run out on a commercial shop's laserwriter.
Article copyright Himalayan Academy.