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I Am Skooter
So here's us, on the raggedy edge.
I've proven who I am so many times / the magnetic strip's worn thin
— Bruce Cockburn, Pacing the Cage
May 4, 2006
Magazines Online

Silly readers, tricks are for kids.

I’m receiving Information Week through their complimentary professional subscription but online only. This means I get an email ever week, and I click a link to view the magazine.

I was getting a Mac publication as well for a while, with the distinction that it downloaded to my PowerBook and I had to use the Zinio Reader software to view it.

Great. More software to install.

The real question is — and I hope I’m not the first person to ask it — why are these paper publishers trying so hard to emulate their paper publication online?

Anybody who’s used these two software tools knows the interface. First you see the cover, then you click a page or a button to turn the page. The software — in both of these cases, at least — then animates the motion of the page turning.


Displaying nothing more than a scanned magazine page with fake animation of pages turning reminds me of the early days of TV (ok…in fairness, I wasn’t there so it doesn’t remind me of it but I think you get the point.)

Back in the day, TV was described as “radio with pictures.” This, of course, led to a bunch of shows which were nothing more than popular radio shows broadcast on TV. Sort of like that silly Howard Stern TV show which is filmed in his broadcast booth, but without the strippers.

Zinio Reader is more than one step forward and two steps back — it’s a return to the dark ages for online media. This scourge should end, and it should end quickly. Controlled circulation publications are ideally suited for online delivery using secured logins as a delivery method. Why these technology publications aren’t choosing to do this in this way I fail to understand.

Posted by skooter at 2:31 PM This entry is filed under Technology.
This entry is tagged: Software, Usability

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