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Old 02-10-2007, 10:08 AM   #1
memobug
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Why the Web is Killing Technology Magazines

This article explains why production deadlines, space limitations and cost are making print magazines noncompetitive in the technology sector:

Magazines vs. The Web: End of an Era by Josh Norem
There was once a heyday in which print magazines flew off the shelves when a new piece of hardware was released. These days, readers flock to their favorite website, and instead gauging public interest in terms of the number of issues sold, we measure it in page views.
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Old 02-13-2007, 03:47 PM   #2
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Heh... of course, we knew that...

Good article. Although Josh centers his attention on hardware magazines, the same pretty much follows for most magazines that report on any kind of news or events.

I think the significant fact is that Josh, and others, have come to realize that web-based reporting is quickly improving in quality, reliability and trustworthiness. As those aspects improve, and the lower-quality sites are weeded out, the web is being considered as good a source of information as print.

And that doesn't just apply to news, but lots of other web-based activities, including e-books and web-based writing.

Just warms your heart, doesn't it?
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Old 02-14-2007, 06:58 AM   #3
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IMO, the web will not replace print magazines for me until I am able to have 24/7 connectivity on a suitable replacement; e.g., I like my technology mags to go, not to sit in front of my PC and waste the day away indoors. There is a valid point, however, about the immediacy of the web being so much quicker and beating print media to press, but that won't stop magazines from going to print... and being by those of us who like to have something we can stuff in our backpack and read wherever, whenever.
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Old 02-14-2007, 08:17 AM   #4
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There are other advantage of print magazines:
1) So far, with current technologies, it's generally a lot easier and more pleasant to read content on them.... despite the full page ads on every other page.
2) There is a lot of work done already to find the most interesting articles, validate their correctness and style, and package it in a useful manner for readers. Eventually, we'll see that in the electronic versions, but the closest we have now are the various bloggers who select items of interest and provide some context.
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Old 02-15-2007, 12:48 AM   #5
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I totally agree on both points Bob, though the second point didn't jump to mind initially (while it should have) and is a major point of interest; i.e., a bunch of mediocre articles vs. the major ones that interest people the most. Maybe, in regards to digital media, it is best to say they are useful to find more information on something you may have read about in a magazine or as a place to find semi-obscure content you might not find elsewhere.

Thanks for driving this home!
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Old 02-16-2007, 02:21 PM   #6
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Paper Magazine are still good.

I read regular tech magazines at lunch at fast food places all the time.
I also read magazines on a 12 inch screen tabletpc and use http://www.zinio.com to look at some things.
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Old 02-17-2007, 12:02 PM   #7
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According to the theory of evolution, the subject best fitted to its environment and most able to adapt to rapid changes wins through survival. I must wonder aloud which medium--print or weblog--is going to be the dominant one in the techno-journalism fight.

Personally, I grow weary of the daily non-refinements of technology or devices reported in most technology weblogs. Really, having to watch seven moving ads for a blurp little larger than my current most will become, followed by two scrolled screens full of diatribes, fanboy flame-battles, egregiously poor spelling and ad hominem attacks do not constitute news or journalism to me. Sure, the quick little videos are neat, and I sometimes learn things in a tertiary manner by reading the fights in the comments section, but it is naught compared to the depth and breadth of a well-reported article in Wired, Popular Science or Popular Mechanics.

I remember little essay in PopMech titled "These Gadgets Suck." It showed a pile of tech toys that were less than successful. In the essay, the author urged developers, engineers, and the consumers to stop wasting time, money, and other resources in the search for the next new shiny thing.

In a recent posting to Gizmodo, a former editor had this to say:
http://gizmodo.com/gadgets/feature/h...rap-236310.php

In less civil terms, he echoed the sentiment:
Stop buying junk, stop obsessing over junk, stop salivating every time a tiny
incremental improvement is prophecied.

All geeks are susceptible to "chrome-lust." When the new Treo came out, I was eager to upgrade. Why? because it was new, it was "better." Well, thanks to the non-support of my wife and counseling, I am still going strong with my 650 and will only get a new one after this one's demise. (Note: Palm's website states that the 650 is no longer available; wonder what I'll get if I break this one? Thank the gods for insurance)

My point is that the web will only kill magazines if we become so addled and ludicrously swayed by shiny objects--like toddlers with enormous credit--that we start to believe that a ten line blurb about the new firmware for the iPod is more credulous than a Popular Science report about a device that transforms solid waste into energy (http://www.popsci.com/popsci/science...ccdrcrd/1.html)

Even if the printed form of these entities do not exist and they completely transmogrify into an RSS/online only format, I hope that they survive and prove that Americans and geeks of all stripes can and will hold substance over style.
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Old 02-17-2007, 01:15 PM   #8
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Haven't read a technology magazine in years. I get all my tech news online. So, yes, I would agree with this statement. That said, I'm not that hot for tech anymore to begin with. Really important tech news will bubble up to the mainstream anyway. (Like the iPhone.)
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Old 02-17-2007, 01:16 PM   #9
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Sure, a lot of the fascination is purely that -- fascination and "lust" for the next new and better thing. But I don't think it's much different than a desire for a better version of anything that affects your quality of life so directly and significantly. I think that because electronic gadgets are so immature in the big picture, that using them creates lots of annoyances and headaches despite their utility and fun. So every improvement is a significant benefit in terms of what we can do with the device, or what headaches we can avoid.

If you had a toaster that could only toast on one side, and frequently would look like it's on but not toast, and it was hard to clean, and had a slightly bitter flavor in the toasted bread. Plus older toasters couldn't toast as fast, and they don't plug into some wall sockets anymore. Wouldn't you really look forward to a new model that can toast on both sides? That's sort of what mobile device users face all the time.

On the other hand, we could probably save a lot of grief by not trying to do so much with the gadgets. Read paper, use paper calendars, etc etc. But the fascination together with the utility drives us onward. Life without portable electronics would be so empty!

As the technology matures and takes the headaches out of it, then we might see a lot more adoption from the general public, especially for reading industry magazine content on electronic devices and from other sources. But the headache factor for non-technical users will definitely slow progress for a while.
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Old 02-17-2007, 03:25 PM   #10
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Bob:

To extend your "toaster" analogy, how many times were the toast-loving public duped into purchasing a new toaster just because it had an little light to let you know that it was on?
I understand that incremental change is the nature of gadget evolution. However, unlike a toaster than can be rebuilt or turned into scrap or will simply rust away when left in the rain (albeit after a very long time), iPods & Razr's & MP3 players cannot easily be recycled, their batteries cannot be reclaimed without making a big mess, and crummy devices use up other seemingly finite resources.

Every time some goof dismisses the SONY Reader for only doing one thing, I want to ask if they own an iPod, and then beat them with it if they respond in the affirmative.
Personally, I cannot see why anyone would ever want to own a phone that was not a Motorola Q, Blackberry, or Palm Treo.

My ultimate point is that the ADD kids reporting for and posting on tech sites seem to incite the proliferation not just of meaningless news, but also of useless gadgets.
Unless consumers hold the gadget producers to task vis-a-vis making quality devices that truly are an improvement to the old and an enhancement of our lives, the vicious cycle of the "bleeding edge" will continue.

Back to the argument of the thread, I seem to remember as a young man hearing the phrase "paperless" office/society. I think that we have yet to see that, and indeed thanks to people like my parents who use five sheets of paper to print out something off AOL, we are far from there. Technology magazines will be around until their online counterparts have something substantial to say.
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Old 02-20-2007, 08:51 AM   #11
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All good points about gadgets. I get the same "chrome-lust," but my budget keeps me under control by forcing me to buy only what I need or can reasonably use, and holding onto it until it croaks. Hence, my Toshiba e330, plugged into a 6-year old Gateway computer that I've upgraded within an inch of its life (one more addition to it, and I'll be putting a dedicated smoke detector in the office).

Manufacturers surely don't help, but it is their job to make money... and unfortunately, they've discovered that planned obsolescence and new skins make them more money than actual innovation. And face it, if the public didn't respond by buying the not-really-new stuff, the manufacturers wouldn't sell it.

As I pointed out earlier, things will improve as some sites are weeded out... including those that have lackluster reporting, and those that bombard you with too-annoying animated ads.
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Old 02-20-2007, 11:42 AM   #12
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Planned obsolescence was invented before we were born. Now why does that scare me?
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Old 02-20-2007, 12:27 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cthulhu
To extend your "toaster" analogy, how many times were the toast-loving public duped into purchasing a new toaster just because it had an little light to let you know that it was on?
But the german toaster that burned the pirate skull and crossbones into the toast is just sooooooo COOL!

It must be mine!
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Old 02-24-2007, 04:00 PM   #14
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rlauzon:

now if it was chrome-shiny, with a cool to the touch magnetic surface *AND* burnt a "hello cthulhu" into it, I might just think about getting one.
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Old 02-26-2007, 01:19 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cthulhu
rlauzon:

now if it was chrome-shiny, with a cool to the touch magnetic surface *AND* burnt a "hello cthulhu" into it, I might just think about getting one.
That might tempt me, too.

Anecdotally, I have dumped the PC magazine I used to get.
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