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The Media

After 47 Years, Computerworld Ceases Print Publication 105

Posted by timothy
from the old-computer-magazines-never-die dept.
harrymcc (1641347) writes "In June 1967, a weekly newspaper called Computerworld launched. Almost exactly 47 years later, it's calling it quits in print form to focus on its website and other digital editions. The move isn't the least bit surprising, but it's also the end of an era--and I can' t think of any computing publication which had a longer run. Over at Technologizer, I shared some thoughts on what Computerworld meant to the world, to its publisher, IDG, and to me."
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After 47 Years, Computerworld Ceases Print Publication

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  • CACM is older (Score:3, Informative)

    by Animats (122034) on Thursday June 19, 2014 @04:21PM (#47276395) Homepage

    Communications of the Association for Computing Machinery was first published in 1957.

    • Re:CACM is older (Score:5, Informative)

      by iggymanz (596061) on Thursday June 19, 2014 @04:39PM (#47276579)

      yes, that the magazine (still around) that published the famous (or infamous) letter by Edsger Dijkstra "Go to Statement Considered Harmful", which I'll bet half of slashdotters have heard referenced

  • by HBI (604924) <kparadine@gmail.cTEAom minus caffeine> on Thursday June 19, 2014 @04:22PM (#47276411) Homepage Journal

    I believe my first computer "magazine" was a photocopied zine for Apple computers from back in the 70s. I think I bought my last computer magazine in about 2000. The web killed the market for such things long ago.

    • I think I bought my last computer magazine in about 2000. The web killed the market for such things long ago.

      Although the Internet has certainly put a big dent in all magazine sales, I've been noticing that most magazine publishers are their own worst enemy -- less content, lower quality content, more ads and higher prices.

      • That has much to do with lowered demand. Content (particularly quality content) is a fixed cost for any particular issue, so if the circulation goes way down it's going to be under serious cost pressure. Ads and price increases increase revenue, and offset loss of revenue from lowered demand. After a while, of course, this can get into a death spiral.

    • Good unchangeable hard-copy print publications with typically far more reliable information. Pretty damned good vs the internet for a leisurely search if you keep shit organized.

    • by ruir (2709173)
      The web? You surely jest. I used to buy 3 or 4 magazines per month back in the late 80s, until around 1993-1995 the quality and novelty had a substancial drop in quality and a quite substancial price increase. Forward more two or three years, and most of the lower tier magazines where recycled Internet news with more than a couple of months. If you want to sell something, you have to provide actual content and pay well to have bright people.
  • Of course, so was MacWorld and the like. Anyone remember what a big deal HotWired was back in the mid nineties?
    Gladly, we can kill online ads through ad blockers so the revenue stream for such a magazine doesn't support it as a sustainable "business".

    Any meaningful insight comes straight from important folks' blogs, tweets and mouths at conferences. Discussion or editorials are done at places like /. , Reddit or HN. Internet successfully disintermediates yet another "market" and everyone benefits.

    • by mythosaz (572040) on Thursday June 19, 2014 @05:43PM (#47277137)

      Sometimes it was the advertising that we craved.

      Computer Shopper [wikipedia.org] was something we used to eagerly await the arrival of.

      • by Khyber (864651)

        DirtCheapDrives.com baby. Fuck yea CS was one thing I looked forward to 18 years ago.

      • by turp182 (1020263)

        I loved those bible sized tomes, reading about all of the computers I couldn't afford because I was a poor college student. It was all about the advertising, and it was fantastic.

    • by jbolden (176878)

      Gladly, we can kill online ads through ad blockers so the revenue stream for such a magazine doesn't support it as a sustainable "business".

      There is far more content today, more diverse and more knowledgeable than there was then. It is very much like the switch from Britannica to Wikipedia. Wikipedia is 100x larger and with web links allows people to more successfully research far more topics than Britannica ever could. Those magazines were geared towards selling readers to advertisers just as much as

      • by Khyber (864651)

        " Wikipedia is 100x larger and with web links allows people to more successfully research far more topics than Britannica ever could."

        All paid off, most likely, with maybe 2% of paid contributors actually disclosing their affiliation.

  • by wjcofkc (964165) on Thursday June 19, 2014 @04:49PM (#47276681)
    I remember watching cnet on television back in the mid 1990's. When it went off the air in in favor of an all web media outlet, I thought it was the end and was actually kind of depressed. It turned out television was limiting and now cnet probably makes more money from me browsing their site then they ever did with television advertising. Likewise, I used to spend a lot of time browsing computer related magazines. I haven't so much as visited a dedicated magazine isle in maybe 15 years. Print is dying with a whimper and no one cares. Nothing to see here, not really.
    • I remember watching cnet on television back in the mid 1990's. When it went off the air in in favor of an all web media outlet, I thought it was the end and was actually kind of depressed. It turned out television was limiting and now cnet probably makes more money from me browsing their site then they ever did with television advertising.

      Yes. But technology has never been the same without Desmond Crisis, Richard Hart, Sofie Formica, and especially John C. Dvorak's silly little "Try It, Buy It, Skip It" rev

  • I'm a dead tree fan for most technical pubs, but I swear it's been 10 years since I've seen a paper copy of COMPUTERWORLD. I've seen the mainframe articles dwindle, the PC section vanish into mainstream articles, and a lot more, but when my paper subscription expired and they invited me to read it online, I never went back.

    My postman used to hate those things. They had to be crammed into mailboxes. It was tabloid-sized and often fairly thick to boot. I think I've got the 1000th issue in a closet.

  • That was one that people literally bought for the advertisements. Of course, we don't need those advertisements any more, either.
    • I do nearly all my magazine-type reading on the Internet now, too, but I did enjoy the print magazines in their day, great old stuff like "Radio Electronics." Not that I wish to return to those days, which weren't really the good old days if you think objectively about it.

      I still like a print newspaper but if I were to be fully honest I'd have to say it's hardly a necessity any more, and it mostly contains wire service articles I read online two days earlier.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I always like Dr. Dobb's when it was just a newsletter.

    Dr. Dobb's journal of Calisthenics and Orthodontia

    Running light without overbyte

  • Interesting... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by DerekLyons (302214) <fairwater@gmFREEBSDail.com minus bsd> on Thursday June 19, 2014 @05:12PM (#47276895) Homepage

    What's interesting are the contents of the front page as it appears in TFA....

    • A set of benchmarks comparing one language to several others. (Said lanquage is now a footnote, the one's it's being compared to live on.)
    • A patent fight between two big technology companies of the day. (Both of which are essentially gone though one lives on as a brand name.)
    • A business withdrawing it's employees and dependents from a war torn Middle East.
    • A brief article on the demand for IT personnel.
    • An article on tax deductions and job training.

    All and all, not so different from what one might find on a recent average day on Slashdot.
     
    plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose
    .

  • by bobthesungeek76036 (2697689) on Thursday June 19, 2014 @05:16PM (#47276923)
    I was more of a "Nuts and Volts" kind of guy. Never got into ComputerWorld but there were a ton of my classmates that was always carrying a copy back in the '80s.
  • by Michael O-P (31524) on Thursday June 19, 2014 @05:33PM (#47277079) Journal

    Not that anyone cares, but this marks 20 years since I wrote an op-ed piece for Computerworld, titled "Ban Business Use of the Internet." It was on the eve of commercial interests being allowed onto the internet, and just after Canter & Siegel inundated Usenet with their Green Card Spam (look it up, kids). While I don't agree with every word I wrote, I think there were certain points I made which have come true. I wrote about corporate interests sponsoring university net feeds, and the speech restrictions that would come with it. Parallel that with the witchhunt of Aaron Swartz and his subsequent suicide.

    I was going to scan in the entire text, since it's not available on the web anywhere (that I can find), just to see what others thought about how I was right and how I was wrong about the corporate "invasion" to academia.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      this marks 20 years since I wrote an op-ed piece for Computerworld, titled "Ban Business Use of the Internet."

      Looks like you convinced 'em.

    • by jbolden (176878)

      That would be good to read. I was on the internet starting about 1988 and heavily by 1992. Once the AOLers came on the internet in swarms I never had much problem with the business. What changed the structure of the internet was the move away from academia to the general public IMHO not so much business.

  • As essentially a paid review publication, "ComputerWorld" ceased being worth paying money for long ago.

  • Bird owners are now looking for alternative cage lining materials. Rumor has it copies of "O" magazine may be the best alternative to Computerworld because it's super-absorbent and has those scratch and sniff pages all the birds will like.

  • Before the Internet, Computerworld was the only browsing distracton at work: '80 Mbytes of storage for under $12k!' and other ad favorites through the years [computerworld.com]

  • by bitt3n (941736) on Thursday June 19, 2014 @06:54PM (#47277655)
    It was good while it lasted, but I think we can all agree that the modern electronic computer has had its day, and it's time to go back to the classic mechanical contrivances of earlier times.
  • Great news! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by iamacat (583406) on Thursday June 19, 2014 @08:15PM (#47278173)

    This is a magazine about computers right? If I was the founder, I would be overjoyed that people are reading on star trek-style tablets and saving trees in process. I am sure there are publications that should not go digital only. Amish Times comes to mind. But online is a great medium for this particular one.

  • How little stuff has actually changed.

    The image of the very first Computerworld, the first page has a story about a patent lawsuit.

  • ... that "digital magazine" mention is the really scary part. That's wasted effort with a 98% chance they'll get it wrong.
    Obligatory xckd: http://xkcd.com/1174/ [xkcd.com]

  • When I think of "great magazines about computers" Computerworld hasn't been on that list in years. They were always the one you read after PC Mag, after PC World even, you know, if there was nothing else. Then there was Computerworld. I always suspected most people only ever read it when they got copies free at tradeshows.

    Anyway, there are still great computer magazines, in my opinion. Maximum PC is currently the top of the current class, maybe whatever PC Mag is doing as a second place.

    Unimpressed wi

    • Not just at tradeshows. I used to read it regularly when there was an office subscription passed around with a routing slip.

  • "Why PC's Crash, and Mainframes Don't" (April 98) is still somewhat relevant today. I wish the archives were online.

  • I tend to read things while I'm on the toilet. Since I don't want to bring a tablet into the bathroom with me to read it in web form and risk dropping the tablet into the toilet, Computer World will not be on my reading list anymore.

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