AlwaysOn

I get a new print magazine about Internet technology when Internet technology is putting print publications out of business.

I got it in the mail yesterday. The regular mail. The kind with the mail truck that puts stuff in my mailbox up on the corner. I like to think of it as analog mail.

The magazine is called AlwaysOn with the subtitles “the insider’s network” and “The blogozine on innovation.” Huh? The cover led me to believe that they’d collected a bunch of blog entries about technology, printed them up on slick paper, threw a few ads in to pay the bills, and mailed them out to people they thought might be stupid enough to buy in at the hefty price of $39 for four issues a year.

Well, that’s pretty much what the magazine is. The “Member Posts” section has short blog-like pieces that end up with the number of posts and comments that I assume are attibutable to that author on the AO Web site. Then there are a few one- to three-page articles about the Internet, blogs, communication technology, and high-tech business. And a couple of interviews. The big feature is “The AO Power List,” summary of a few dozen of the movers and shakers in the high-tech world.

It’s 48 printed pages, 18 of which are full-page ads. That leaves 30 pages of content for a susbcriber per-issue price of $9.75. (There was no cover price on the issue I received, so I don’t know what it would sell for on newstands if it even appeared there.) Is it worth it when you can just go out on the ‘Net and find the same kind of content online for free?

And I wonder how a quarterly publication can keep up with technology anyway. If it includes everything that happened since the last issue, most of that stuff would be sorely out of date. If it included only the latest and greatest info as it went to press, the information would still be stale — considering its editorial content — since it takes at least a few week for the actual production of the print publication. During that time, the same content could be covered to death on the Internet.

What’s interesting to me is that this publication should appear now. Last month, I got a letter from Technology Today, which I subscribe to, saying that because of the boom in Internet publishing and communication, they’d publishing once every two months rather than once a month. And the magazine would be getting slimmer. This, mind you, is a publication that has been in existence for more than 50 years. MIT, the folks that publish Technology Today, will be adding more current, up-to-date content, on its Web site, which has additional content for subscribers. So they expect subscribers to get most of the content they pay for online rather than in the printed magazine.

I also wonder where they got my name and address. From my Macworld Expo registration? Or from the Technology Today folks?

Anyway, in case you haven’t read between the lines, I’m not impressed and I won’t be subscribing to AlwaysOn. I’d be interested in hearing from other folks who have gotten this publication and liked it enough to sign up. Use the Comments link or form for this post to share your thoughts.

What do you think?