Magazines Technology

Wired UK on iPad

As you can probably tell from the amount of times I mention it, despite its flaws, I do quite like the iPad edition of Wired, and so I’ve been rather happy to learn that Wired UK will also be introducing an iPad edition — it kicks off with the December issue, with a release on November 4. It’s still not clear to me how much of the content in the UK edition is original (and how much comes from the US edition), but I believe it’s fairly different, and so it looks like we’ll soon have access to two issues of the magazine every month.

I also can’t wait to see what the editors and designers of the UK edition will end up doing in terms of presentation. The FAQ they recently put out mentions that they are using the same Adobe-produced tools that the US edition uses, so should we expect pretty much the same thing, or are we going to get some new ideas on what a magazines on the iPad can look like. I’m of course hoping for the latter.

Magazines Meta

What is this, a Magazine Blog or Something?

You may have noticed that over the past couple of weeks I’ve been posting lots in regards to magazines. It is in fact something I’ve “actively” decided to start doing here, and there’s reason for it. First of all, it’s no secret that I have quite a bit of love for that particular medium — there’s a reason why that profile blurb in the column on the right has always had the “sustained by an unhealthy addiction to magazines” bit.

When I launched SNOW Magazine earlier this year, pretty much all of the Japan-related art/design/culture coverage I used to do here moved there, which has sort of put this personal blog of mine in a bit of limbo since. I wasn’t sure what I should write about, and pretty much kept to things that related to my various activities. So far all of my magazine-related thoughts and comments have pretty much lived only on Twitter, which is of course rather limiting, and it was when I was thinking of commenting about the latest iPad issue of Wired that I thought, hey, why not write it up here. How’s that for an idea, writing on a blog about something you’re passionate about. I know, it sounds weird, but I have a feeling it’s something that may catch on.

So yes, expect to see lots more of what you’ve been seeing here of late. I do plan to focus mostly on how magazines are transitioning to digital — mostly iPad, but other tablets as well — since it’s something I’m particularly interested in. Don’t get me wrong, I do still have a great deal of love for print — in fact, the SNOW Magazine Cafe was just a great big love embrace to that very thing — but I am also quite excited by what’s happening on the digital side of things, especially because of the iPad. If you ask me, there’s never been a more exciting time to be a reader, creator, and lover of magazines.


Instant Satisfaction

It’s Saturday evening, I’m at home relaxing on the couch, chilled beer at my side, flipping through my iPad, and I’m suddenly in the mood to read a new issue of something. I pop in the GQ app, buy the latest issue for $3. Instant satisfaction.

This is exactly why publishers need to get on the iPad as soon as possible. It’s not about appearing progressive because you’re “embracing” the digital medium or the — mistaken — fact that your audience may prefer reading digital publications over print. It’s about getting those people who are lounging somewhere, and want instant satisfaction. We’ve seen with the success of apps that people are very willing to pay $1 or $2 for just about anything without thinking much about it. I’m not particularly a huge fan of GQ, but I wanted to read a magazine, and right now I’m still limited in what I can get — I already have all the Wired issues, and although I like Time, I think it’s priced too high so don’t want to support them.

I want more magazines on iPad, and I want them now.

Design Magazines Technology

Wired Type Missteps

Just over a week ago the latest issue of Wired (September 2010) was released for iPad, and as I’ve done for all issues released for the device so far, I immediately bought it. Yes, despite the less-than-perfect way they’ve handled the digital conversion of the magazine, I’ve been enjoying the magazine, not only because of its nice price — for us Tokyo expats that is, although I still want an even cheaper subscription option — but also because I like the way it reads, and the way the material is presented (and those videos have been quite good too).

BUT, I was pretty surprised at some rather ridiculous flubs in the latest issue, both cases tied to the use of type. First example, pictured above, is an entire story — which also happens to be part of the issue’s cover story, “The Web is Dead,” which means it’s long — presented as white text on a red background. Really? Did anyone at Wired actually try reading the article after it was set in those colors? My eyes were practically in tears by the time I got to the end.

Next up was the use of type too tiny to read. The image above shows said article in landscape mode, and that “Buried” piece is where you encounter the problem — interestingly (if that’s the right word) enough, if you change it to portrait mode, it’s the page’s other article that becomes barely readable.

The big issue here is that these problems are tied to the fact that you can’t change type size in the magazine. So far it hasn’t been an issue for me because all previously issues were formatted in a way that made all text very readable on the iPad screen. I can appreciate that adjustable type size would ruin layouts, and I do like the layouts we’re offered in the magazine, but you can’t sacrifice readability just to make sure a column fits somewhere, or to attain a certain aesthetic (in the case of white type on red).

Games Meta Web


What do I do on Friday nights? Well, this last one I decided to build a site from scratch from an idea I had earlier this week (last Saturday night, actually) and the result is now online, and called Game. As I explain in the “About” page, the idea is simply to recommend games — these are not reviews, I will only include games I like — using a format that’s short and to the point. Also, I wanted a look for the site that was at an extreme opposite to what gaming websites usually look like.

Why do this? It’s been just over a year now since Arcade Mania came out, as well as me leaving Wired’s Game|Life blog, and I started missing writing about games. Anyone who follows my Twitter feed will know that I tend to recommend a lot of stuff there, but I wanted to do something that had a bit more permanence.

For now, my plan is to add 2-3 games a week, and they don’t have to be absolute new releases — right now, anything released in 2009 is still fair game I feel. Also, games will cover every platform, so expect flash/browser games, iPhone games, console games, etc.

I hope at least a few people find this useful, and I invite everyone to follow along on the site (and you can of course subscribe to the feed as well).