I love my geeky tech magazines. When I was doing a lot of traveling in the last few years, I made it a habit to buy a bunch of computer magazines for the plane ride. Since then, I’ve subscribed to both PC World and PC Magazine at one time, but now I’m at a point where I don’t think I can subscribe to either of them.
My first love was for PC Magazine, as I remember when my dad had a bunch of them lying around when I was growing up. I was happy when I first started subscribing, but then Jim Louderback took the reins as Editor-In-Chief. In the following months, I saw a steady decline of the content and presentation of the magazine, to where I felt alienated enough to cancel my subscription. The magazine changed its layout and style. The print got smaller, the magazine got thinner, the photos were gone replaced with cheesy graphics, and the complex diagrams got replaced with these stupid hand-written-style arrows pointing at pointless features. Moreover, it seemed like the magazine was trying to be sex’ ed up into something that would appeal to a wider audience. In the process of doing so however, loyal readers like myself have become alienated. I understand their stance on “computers are more than the PC” message, but I don’t think we’re at a point to start reviewing cars. Technology has expanded and become so sophisticated that we now have “computers” in many of our daily devices – but we also have an expansion of avenues of information, so much so that PC Magazine needs to cover it all. If I’m really that interested in automotive technology, then I’ll seek out something that specific. If Ziff Davis feels the need to cover those things, then expand your avenues instead of wearing down the ones you have. I love a lot of the content Ziff Davis puts out (DL.TV especially), but I don’t want to support Louderback and the collision-course that’s been set for PC Mag.
For the last few months I was content with just having PC World, and my subscription was actually up for renewal. After this week, however, I don’t think I want to support their business with my dollars either. Earlier this week, their Editor-In-Chief resigned over the new publisher meddling with their editorial decisions – specifically writing a critical review/article about an advertiser. (See PC World editor resigns over apparent ad pressure) As an admirer of journalism, it’s extremely important that the press not be corrupted by their commercial ventures. I respect Editor Harry McCracken’s decision, and it bothers me that the publisher essentially said that he could see marketing people meddling again. In support of McCracken, I don’t think I’m going to be renewing with PC World.
I’d like to subscribe to a good mainstream tech magazine, but I may be up a creek. Maybe it’s time to take a break from geek magazines and get a subscription of Modern Drummer…