I have commented previously on the withering of the traditional media, at least its print aspect. I noticed this week an article in the Daily Illini, the student newspaper of the campus of the Boneyard, and now a blot of the demise of PC magazine. [Link] (I regret not having a link-citation for the DI article; at the time it did not seem worth noting.)
In the old days when desktop computers were new and as yet not shackled to the coffle that is the network, I subscribed to PC World. Originally I subscribed to several magazines: BYTE, Dr. Dobb’s Journal, PC, and PC World. These seem to now be listed in order of some metric of worth. BYTE was the most useful, best spanning the chasm between technicality and technology, between utility and popularity. DDJ was geekish at best, nerdish at its epitome. PC was worth the price, PC World was not.
In a sense, PC was the TIME of the information milieu. Much of what it spouted was either dead wrong or absolutely pi radians out of phase, but just being said demanded attention to protect oneself from those bogs who occasionally adopt geekishness for fashion’s sake. This rather brings us to the question of whether the magazine failed because that component of humanity, small but none the less sizable, ceased to need technology or simply quit worrying about it? Given my recent observations of the (what is the information equivalent of illiteracy or innumeracy?) of people today, I rather suspect the latter.
I believe it was Arthur Clarke who posed that “any technology sufficiently advanced is indistinguishable from magic.” In the case of modern consumer technology, I suspect it is that such technology is now indistinguishable from religious mysticism for much of consumer humanity. So my mourning for the demise of PC is as much about the demise of a useful and fruitful medium as it is about the degeneration of the species. And given the nature of social evolution, I suspect both are equally irreversible.