AWUG®/iWUG® History

The following article describes the changes that occurred at AWUG® and iWUG® and appeared in the December 2007 issue of the AppleWorks Journal.

The Time has Come

by Warren Williams and Cathleen Merritt

With the introduction of iWork in January 2005 and Apple's statements about the future of AppleWorks, it shouldn't come as a surprise that AWUG® membership has been declining. However, the extent and speed of that downslide is striking - from more than 15,000 members in 2000 to fewer than 2,000 members today. Our attempt to reverse that decline by supporting iWork has not succeeded. So, although this is difficult for us to write, after 16 years of service to the AppleWorks community, AWUG® and iWUG® will close its doors on January 31, 2008. It was a hard decision, but with declining membership and rising costs, the writing is on the wall.

Now that the decision is made, we are turning our efforts to making sure that AWUG® and iWUG® go out in style. You trusted us with your ideas, with your writing and with your money. Our job is to make sure that we handle those responsibilities fairly and honestly.

We will save our personal goodbyes for next month's AppleWorks Journal, but an announcement like this raises important questions. Here are our answers to some of those questions:

Question: When will you discontinue publishing the AppleWorks Journal?

Answer: The January 2008 AppleWorks issue will be the last issue of the AppleWorks Journal. In addition to our usual content, we're hoping to include some goodbyes and memories from our long-time members. If you have a few words or short story that would interest your colleagues, now is the time to share it. Please send your note via eMail to the . Your January 2008 AppleWorks Journal might arrive as much as two weeks late to give us time to incorporate our members' thoughts and remembrances in addition to our usual content in each issue.

Question: What will happen to the balance of the money you sent us?

Answer: As you'd expect, we will send the balance of your money back to you. However, we have four other options for your consideration, including a choice that gives you electronic copies of every issue of the AppleWorks Journal ever published - that's 160 issues published from February 1992 through January 2008. Imagine how much space this four CD compendium will free up on your bookshelf! You can also choose any of AWUG®'s in-stock AppleWorks and iWork books and CDs at unbelievably low prices. Or you can get a free one- or two-year subscription to Macworld magazine. We describe these options on page 17 of the December AppleWorks Journal.

Question: I just sent in my renewal payment. Will I have to request a refund?

Answer: We realized in early November that AWUG® and iWUG® would have to close. Once we made that decision, we immediately changed some policies regarding member renewals. Members who paid by credit card or purchase orders were only charged to extend their membership through January. Members who paid by check should fill out the forms on pages 17 and 18 of the December AppleWorks Journal to exercise one of their refund options.

Question: What will AWUG® do with the money that is not reclaimed by members?

Answer: We will use those funds to archive all of AWUG®'s and iWUG®'s resources (including our back issues and templates) so they are available if people need them in the future.

Question: What will happen to AWUG®'s and iWUG®'s web sites?

Answer: Tim Harrison has volunteered to continue to operate the web sites for the foreseeable future. However, there will be some changes. For starters, after January 15 or so, you won't be able to order CDs, books, back issues, copies of articles or other items from the site. If you want those items, you should buy them now by taking advantage of AWUG®'s "Clean Us Out" prices on page 18 of the December AppleWorks Journal.

Tim plans to maintain the Public Domain Libraries on the sites - that will give you access to the hundreds of AppleWorks, Pages, Keynote and Numbers templates AWUG® and iWUG® members developed these past 16 years. However, Tim will not be adding new templates or disks to those libraries.

The web sites' on-line discussion and help forums will continue to operate and will become an increasingly important resource for those of us using AppleWorks or iWork. We're concerned that some members have never used the forums, so we'll publish two articles that take you step-by-step through the process. The first article starts on page 6 of the December AppleWorks Journal.

The AWUG® free AppleWorks/iWork News Service will continue to distribute the latest news about AppleWorks and iWork. If you haven't registered for that free service, you should do so now. (To register for this free service, go to <www.awug.org> and click on "AppleWorks/iWork News Service".) Once we close our office, it will be the only way we have to send you information we think you'll want to know.

Over time, the web site will evolve to reflect Tim's interests and capabilities. We expect he'll also need to find ways to cover the cost of operating the site - either through a dues structure or some other alternative. But those plans are far down the road at the moment.

Since the online library will be available to all users and because Tim is volunteering his services, we will refund the unused balance of the $10 annual fee many members paid for unlimited downloads from AWUG®'s web site.

We can't tell you how much we respect and appreciate Tim's years of hard work and dedication to the formidable task he faced putting together and maintaining the web sites. We admire his willingness to keep the sites operating and encourage you to join us in supporting his efforts going forward.

Question: What will happen to AWUG®'s Members Helping Members program?

Answer: The key to the success of this program was always the dedication, competence, cordiality and altruism of AWUG®'s volunteers, and those will remain unabated after AWUG® closes. We encourage you to stay in touch with AWUG®'s volunteers, who remain an important source of help solving problems with AppleWorks and iWork. You'll find a roster of those volunteers in the June/July 2007 issue of the AppleWorks Journal - we suggest you keep that issue handy.

Question: Will I be able to get CDs and templates from AWUG® after January 31?

Answer: You will be able to download any files you want from AWUG®'s and iWUG®'s web sites at www.awug.org and www.iWorkUsers.org. However, you will not be able to order any CDs or other products after we close on January 31.

Question: I haven't yet received my copy of Mac OS X: The Missing Manual, Leopard Edition that is on back order. What will happen if that book isn't published until after AWUG® closes at the end of January?

Answer: We expect to receive these books by mid-December, but if they don't arrive on time, we will stay open as long as necessary to fulfill all our outstanding orders and back orders. We will not charge your credit card until we ship your order. We also ordered additional copies of Mac OS X: The Missing Manual, Leopard Edition for members who want to use their membership balance to purchase that book at AWUG®'s special $22.95 price. You can place your order by using the form on pages 17 and 18.

Question: What will happen to the CDs in AWUG®'s Public Domain Library?

Answer: We will archive and protect those CDs in case they are of historical interest to future generations. We will also try to identify a library or other institution that will care for the CDs and make them available to researchers and others with a legitimate interest in their contents.

Question: What will happen to AWUG®'s staff? Will anyone lose his or her job when AWUG® closes?

Answer: At its peak, AWUG® had 11 full-time and part-time staff members that managed our membership database, filled your orders, duplicated CDs, developed and maintained the web sites, and performed the other jobs necessary to maintain an organization with more than 15,000 members. But as membership declined, staff members retired or pursued other opportunities. AWUG® now has only six mostly part-time staff members, almost all of whom are ready to retire - they have seen their children grow up and some are grandparents - they are ready to move on with their lives. Our biggest concern is for Jon Saalberg, AWUG®'s long-time graphic artist, layout specialist and public domain librarian, who is seeking an appropriate career opportunity. Jon is a capable, well educated, hard working, reliable, bright, mature, experienced and trustworthy gentleman who will be an asset to any company or organization that needs help creating and producing newsletters, advertisements and other print publications. Members who want to discuss employment opportunities with Jon can reach him at (734) 474-5023. Cathy and I will continue to be available for consulting and instructional work when needed by the AppleWorks and iWork communities. We'll also be doing technical writing, which we always enjoy.

Question: How can I contact AWUG® after January 31, 2008?

Answer: We will disconnect most of AWUG®'s telephone and fax services on January 31. However, you can reach Warren Williams <> and Cathy Merritt <> for the foreseeable future. Please be assured that after more than two decades of work supporting our AppleWorks colleagues, we want to handle AWUG®'s closing responsibly and ethically. If you have any concerns or believe we are treating you unfairly, please let us know.