Back in the early days of computing, magazines were one of the only sources of information about new software, games, trends and hardware. While you had your friends who sometimes know about things to come, and the BBS system if you had access to an expensive modem that was nearly as slow as sending the data via snail mail, there was not really a way around magazines at that time.
Magazines back then provided us with information that we were interested in and had a hard time coming by in any other fashion. While they surely were not of better quality than the magazines today, they had the advantage that they were one of the only sources for people interested in computers. Today, magazines face the same problem that newspapers face: they have new competition in form of the Internet.
Computer magazines had their purpose back in the days but today and in their current format, they do not really serve that purpose anymore.
- Their contents are usually out of date when the magazine comes out. Most come out monthly which means that you may end up with information that you read about a month ago or even earlier elsewhere. It does not make sense to write about a security vulnerability or phishing attack that came out a a week ago or even earlier than that as it is old news.
- The majority of contents they include are available on thousands of Internet sites as well. I do not really need a magazine anymore to tell me that a new program came just out when in fact it has been out for a while and reviewed on dozens of Internet sites already.
- Most magazines do not offer exclusive contents, like well researched articles that offer insights that you do not find anywhere online. Instead, they tend to post the very same line of articles over and over again. In Germany, every computer magazine seems to run a monthly "the ultimate USB drive" article that no one seems to be interested in anymore because it has been posted that often.
- They can't make direct use of the Internet. When I post a review, I can add a link to the developer website directly to it so that it does take a click to go there and download the program.
I suppose there is still room for magazines out there, but when it comes to that, it is usually the specialized magazines I'm interested in and not the mainstream tech magazines or game magazines.
What about you? Do you still read computer magazines? If so, which do you read? If not, what is your reason for not doing so?Enjoyed the article?: Then sign-up for our free newsletter or RSS feed to kick off your day with the latest technology news and tips, or share the article with your friends and contacts on Facebook, Twitter or Google+ using the icons below.