Historically, this blog has enjoyed criticising .net magazine for its poor content – always with the admittance that writing about web “stuff” in print media is a difficult task to say the least. Recently, after an editorial change, .net magazine improved dramatically and it’s content went from strength to strength and here at WhyDontYou we were happy to admit this.
Sadly it seems the wonder days of June 06 are a distant memory. After an excellent start with a nice layout, good articles and decent expert advice and tutorials, .net magazine has let itself slip back into the swamp.
I have delayed commenting on the Feb 07 issue for a while so that I could properly read it and give it a reasonable chance. Despite this, it seems my initial feelings were correct and the magazine is pants. The last two issues have been tepid at best, and in retrospect it seems the decline has been in place since about October 06. The new editor didn’t change things for long.
I suspect that the contributors to .net are approaching the limit of their expertise now, and given the limit of around three pages per issue to “teach” something, they are pretty much against the wall. The end result is you get a mix of pointless advice on how to do a “file save” which then jumps to an assumption that the reader can code an Turing test winning AI without assistance. The “inbox” (normally a very entertaining feature which spans three pages) is down to one page and four letters. If that is really all there is in the inbox at .net then they are going out of business soon.
The cover highlights what the editor things are the main selling points and this issue we have (amongst others, but these will get my attention here)
- “Top 50 firefox extensions”
- David Hasselhoff’s favourite websites (!!!!!!!!!!!!)
- Create sites that make money
First off, the top fifty firefox extensions is a typical example of when a magazine has some space and no idea what to put in it. This is not dissimilar to when TV channels try to fill dead slots with “50 greatest comedy moments” or similar crap, and sadly the .net version of it lives up to expectations. Five (yellow) pages of firefox extensions which while undoubtedly useful seem a bit “personal” to waste column inches on. This is especially true when you think that the space could have been used to cover Ruby, Rails, AJAX, Java, PHP, MySQL, ASP (etc.) and give people advice on how to use the technology well.
I am sure I don’t need to say anything about the pointlessness of printing David Hasselhoff’s “fave” sites. Granted it is only 1/4 of a page and it is in the “Bookmarks; The stars pick their favourites” section but really…….. Why not get web stars and ask them, at least it is likely the sites would be interesting (rather than Pipexhoffworld.com, imdb.com and 1500videos.com) or original. Still it gets Hasselhoff and pipex some free advertising I suppose.
the last of my “hit list” is the “Create Sites that Make Money” article. While this bears superficial resemblances to a reasonable article for a web magazine, it is almost content free. Seven pages are dedicated to this first of a two part e-commerce feature. Seven pages which actually say nothing. It is full of space wasting comments (“You need to think hard about what’s going to turn a browser into a buyer”) which look like they have been extracted straight from some American sales techniques manual which went out of vogue in the 1980s. The whole article is full of supposedly “scientific” research comments (“The internet is now the shopping medium of choice for certain products and services for 65% of the population” – What on Earth does that mean), yet the terminology actually hides the pure emptiness of the article. I wont even begin to comment on the graphics and screen shots used. It really does boggle the mind.
Sadly, this nonsense is not alone in the magazine, and while the tutorials are excellent (the photoshop one, as always is brilliant), it seems to be a sign of the downward spiral.
One last point – why on Earth do they bother with that back page feature? A blank page would be better if they can’t sell advertisement space….
[tags]net magazine, dotnet, dotnet magazine, Internet, Technology, osCommerce, David Hasselhoff, Firefox, Firefox Extensions[/tags]