November 2008 Issue

The bad news is that the New Yorker’s online archive isn’t all that much better.  It uses the same DRM-encumbered .djvu format files as the DVD version (must prevent copying, you know), delivered in a reader application that, for sheer dorkiness, makes the old AOL software look sophisticated.  If you run your monitor at a decently high resolution (above 1024 x 768, it seems), you’re going to need a magnifying glass to see if a page is worth clicking and magnifying to readable size.  To then get from a magnified page to the next page, you must click out of it and go back to the two-tiny-page view, equivalent in convenience to throwing a paper magazine across the room and then fetching it before turning every page. And no bathroom breaks allowed; if you walk away from your computer for more than about ten minutes, you have to go through the cumbersome login process all over again.  And you’d better be sure that you’re really logged out before you try to log back in, lest you get the dreaded “too many concurrent connections” message.

Obviously, putting such extensive archives online is a daunting project, but I must point out that Harper’s Magazine has done a far more reader-friendly job with their archives (going all the way back to 1850).  The page images are in .pdf format, which can be read within most browsers or downloaded for more leisurely viewing or printing. The New Yorker Archive won’t even let you print more than one page at a time. And saving an article to your computer?  Fuhgeddaboudit.  At least with the Complete New Yorker DVDs you can print a range of pages to a .pdf file and mail it to your co-conspirators (or just save it to read in your dotage).

On the other hand, with the online archive you do get to read, albeit awkwardly, the entire run, more than 80 years, of The New Yorker for just the price of a print subscription.  And they claim the whole shebang is still in beta, so I suppose we can hope for a sudden attack of common sense.

And now, on with the show….

Page 2 of 2 | Previous page

1 comment on this post.
  1. Dmitry (novosibirsk):

    nice )

Leave a comment