Personally, I love getting a good magazine in the mail. Do they pile up? Sure. But at least I can get to them when I want, leave them around as bathroom reading or on the nightstand as “non-essential”’, read them when the stupid airplane is ‘taking off/landing’, and most importantly, pass the issue on to friends & coworkers when I’m done.
It’s that last item that I find so compelling about print: Print is “casually sharable”. You can give your copy to a friend, tear out the pages of one important article, leave your back issues in the lunch room for others to read, etc. In this siloed “all-about-me” world we’re transforming into, where everyone isolates themselves to their own narrow their vision & opinions, (including myself) being able to be casually, non-directly educated about theories & different vantage points is critically important to have a broader perspective.
So here’s the tech magazines I subscribe to. Enjoy.
- Laptop Magazine (12 issues, $14.99)
I have issues with their editorial content which is pretty narrow in scope & I’ve found myself referring to the magazine as “iPad & Android” magazine since they’ve been dedicating sometimes 50% or more of their column inches to non-laptop device articles, however no paper publication beats Laptop Magazine for laptop & mobile device reviews. Hands down, they’re the most detailed, thorough, and consistent out there. There’s no wiggle room around their process & very rarely do I ever see inconsistency in their evaluation process and that’s great. Only Maximum PC does as a good a job IMHO.
- PC World (12 issues, $19.97)
PC World has proven to be a great magazine for timely “topical” articles discussing relevant computing & IT issues – not just products or new technologies – but “solution areas” in print form. The research they do in these articles could probably by found in bits and pieces elsewhere however PC World ties it all into comprehensive articles of 8-10 pages and that saves me time. And this way I don’t have to go through all “social consciousness” content of Wired. Their last publication discussed “privacy” and the different perspectives on the matter, including a well-researched discussion about “device fingerprinting” (cookieless tracking), something that no other magazine has touched as far as I’ve seen and I appreciate that. Very different from hardcore technology rags like Laptop Magazine or Maximum PC.
- Maximum PC (12 issues, $19.95)
My favorite magazine – the magazine I leave until last to read, kinda like how I used to leave “Bloom County” for reading last when I’d parse through the daily funnies in the newspaper. Similar to the Wall Street Journal – except for techs – Maximum PC magazine always has SOMETHING to learn in there around new hardware or software technology. I have no qualms saying that it helps give me an edge in discussing IT technology because the information is SO CURRENT, but again, it’s pretty niche, low-level technical in nature and focused more for hardware jockeys so it may be appreciated at various levels by different people.
- Computerworld (24 issues, $129 – or FREE if qualified)
I really have mixed feelings about Computerworld. Computerworld has occasionally gotten desperate, writing articles for shock value & occasionally even being dragged through the dirt due to some questionable individuals like Randall C. Kennedy. Sometimes I even get the feeling that their articles are trending toward the print version of talk radio just for the hype/controversy around the online version. But just as I often find myself cringing but still forging ahead while listening to TWiT Network’s Tech News Today, I’ll read Computerworld, because it’s pretty much the only game in town left for print news about general computer technology that’s published more than once month. Ultimately, beggars can’t be choose and besides, the publication is free to most folks in IT.
- Official Xbox Magazine (12 issues, $24.95)
Yeah, I know. This seems like pure fun. I frankly don’t have time to read IGN or Kotaku or Destructoid or any of the gaming-oriented sites any more sadly – not even via RSS. I just can’t allocate bandwidth to it. But I can read a magazine in my totebag or occasionally flip through an issue during lunch or while travelling, and for that reason, I keep my subscription alive, as I have since the magazine first started back in 2001. The glimpse it provides into new games coming out is good information and provides me with an idea of what the trends are in electronic entertainment gaming techniques – and with gamification becoming a steadily growing business, I think this is a worthwhile investment for any one in IT.