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Old 01-21-2010, 09:34 AM   #1
Steven Lyle Jordan
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Popular Science eyeing e-book devices

In the same issue (on newsstands now) that features a blurb on the eDGe and an article on Mary Lou Jepsen, creator of the 3Qi display screen, Popular Science editor Mark Jannot confesses to being impatient that his science magazine hasn't made the transition to e-books yet:

Quote:
"Because this is a magazine that prides itself on using not only words, but also photos, illustrations, graphics, and the carefully choreographed interplay among them to communicate information in the clearest, most dazzling fashion, to read Popular Science on an E Ink e-book reader would, in a word, suck."
(Sadly, the Jannot editorial is not online, highlighting a small deficiency in PS to bring all of its content online at this stage.)

But Jannot apparently has hope for the Pixel Qi screen technology, and reports to be actively pursuing the transition of PS to e-book formats on good quality, high resolution color screens in the near future. (And hopefully, he's seen the Mag+ from Bonnier, for some good ideas on how to organize his content.)

Here's hoping that the proper combination of these desires, ideas and elements will result in a reader and e-book package of all magazine content that will mean I can move all my subscriptions to e-book packages and a good reading device, and stop filling my house with reams of paper every month.

Last edited by Steven Lyle Jordan; 01-21-2010 at 09:40 AM.
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Old 01-21-2010, 11:52 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Steve Jordan View Post
(And hopefully, he's seen the Mag+ from Bonnier, for some good ideas on how to organize his content.)
Cool preview. Me want real bad!

If something like this came on the market tomorrow even as high as ~$1000 I'd but it in a minute - provided it supported the ebooks I already own too.
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Old 01-21-2010, 11:56 AM   #3
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Kinda Ridiculous if you ask me. They should have a digital version that is available now for subscribing to so when the color readers come they will already have a base of customers that can show it about.

I've read several old editions from Google Books http://books.google.com/books?cd=3&q...G=Search+Books and thoroughly enjoyed them even in black and white.

I'm sure he's seen the bonnier one and hopefully the SI/Time Inc one as well http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ntyXvLnxyXk

Last edited by Dulin's Books; 01-21-2010 at 12:01 PM.
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Old 01-21-2010, 12:10 PM   #4
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The thing which I'm not seeing addressed is the matter of bandwidth.

A 4-colour glossy magazine of some 10s of pages represents _gigabytes_ of data --- and one can just grab it off a newsstand and flip through it instantly --- I'm currently waiting some 10s of minutes just to copy a couple of gigabytes of graphics from a DVD-R to a server (over 1000BT).

Once upon a time I subscribed to a couple of .pdf magazines at www.qmags.com and it was always striking how much the resolution of images was reduced and how long it still took to d/l the files.

Now one has things like Olive magazine (a flash based interface) and one has to d/l a page at a time and flipping from one end to the other of the file takes rather a while.

Even if one does lower the resolution to what's possible on a screen, people will still want to be able to zoom in --- so the device has to have a connection to d/l the higher resolution / zoomed image.

When is the next breakthrough in bandwidth going to happen? Until then, what sort of compromises are going to be necessary and how will this affect battery life and interfaces?

William
(who carries a loupe in his laptop bag for examining the details in printed works from time-to-time)
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Old 01-21-2010, 04:06 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by WillAdams View Post
The thing which I'm not seeing addressed is the matter of bandwidth...
True. I've seen enough low-res PDF "digital magazines" in my day to make my eyes dry up and fall out of their sockets.

But are digital mag producers thinking of serving content live, or allowing you to download it and read whenever/wherever you are? I think there's some of both thoughts out there. Bandwidth may not be such an issue if the mag is stored locally on your device, as opposed to streaming it from an online source... I'd rather have the files locally anyway, and have the option of saving or keeping parts as I desire (I have described the idea of a "digital scrapbook before) and either deleting or archiving the rest.

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Originally Posted by Dulin's Books View Post
Kinda Ridiculous if you ask me. They should have a digital version that is available now for subscribing to so when the color readers come they will already have a base of customers that can show it about.
I'm sure they're concerned of creating a digital version based on one form of software/format/output... then having a new device come along that is better, forcong them to redo the formatting/delivery system. Unfortunately, no one's thinking far enough ahead to create a standardized formatting for content, and devices that can grab the content and display it as they see fit... everyone seems to be concentrating on optimizing their content for one device, and cutting all others out. It'll be one of the biggest headaches of digital magazine delivery... I'm sure not gonna buy a reader for every magazine I read, and if one reader only reads 1 or 2 mags, it's not worth it.

Edit: Silly me... I thought PopSci was still owned by Time Warner... but they are now owned by (wait for it...) the Bonnier Corporation! So I guess it's safe to say they are aware of the Mag+ video. Of course, that was a concept piece, not a working device...

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Old 01-21-2010, 04:31 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by WillAdams View Post
The thing which I'm not seeing addressed is the matter of bandwidth.

A 4-colour glossy magazine of some 10s of pages represents _gigabytes_ of data
Oh, please. There is a new image compression technology called "jpeg" that came out oh, around 18 years ago. Results in magazines that are only tens (or at worst a couple of hundred) megabytes each, with resolutions high enough for all but the most anal, demanding of readers.

Take a look at some of the free "light" versions of back issues of these:

http://www.3dcreativemag.com/

http://www.2dartistmag.com/

Small files. Look good.

If you are on a modem, then yeah, a few dozen megabytes for a magazine issue might actually mean something to you. But at even mediocre broadband would be in no way stressed by it. With my mediocre by world standards 10 megabits per seconds, downloading a few dozen megabytes is almost quicker than typing the words "a few dozen megabytes." I sometimes download 700MB divx files of moves I already own on DVD because doing so is actually quicker and less hassle than searching through my unorganized shelves. A few dozen to a few hundred megabytes is nothing.

(Of course how they would look on a small device and how much space they would take up on it are entirely different issues.)

http://www.worldpoliticsreview.com/I...speedchart.jpg
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