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Ask Slashdot: Geek-Centric Magazines Still Published On Paper? 125

QwkHyenA writes "I've recently cancelled my Linux Magazine subscription because they went paperless. I know, I'm a heartless geek and should be 'shunned,' but I enjoy the unplugged sensation of reading paper periodicals. What sort of magazines are out there that still are delivered via USPS that will scratch my Engineering, Coder, System Administrator and 3D Printer itch?"
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Ask Slashdot: Geek-Centric Magazines Still Published On Paper?

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  • Analog (Score:4, Interesting)

    by j-pimp ( 177072 ) <> on Tuesday December 27, 2011 @10:52AM (#38502630) Homepage Journal
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Check at your local bookstore? Somehow, there's always a large selection of very specific mags there that manage to stay in print.

    • Check at your local bookstore? Somehow, there's always a large selection of very specific mags there that manage to stay in print.

      And the majority are about Photoshop and gaming. Those might scratch the 3D Printer itch as the OP puts it, but I hardly see how these are relevant to engineering, coding or sys admin (which is what the OP is asking.)

  • by larry bagina ( 561269 ) on Tuesday December 27, 2011 @10:54AM (#38502648) Journal
    Proceedings of the IEEE, etc.
    • NetworkWorld, and a few other IDG publications are still in ink. Many are free to qualified subscribers that don't mind acres of checkboxes on qualification forms.

  • by __aasehi2499 ( 1959610 ) on Tuesday December 27, 2011 @10:57AM (#38502694)
    2600, maybe a mask too ;D
  • by sticks_us ( 150624 ) on Tuesday December 27, 2011 @10:58AM (#38502712) Homepage

    Join the ACM.

    This still comes on paper every month (plus a digital edition): []

    The articles cover a wide range of topics, including:

    - Computing and society
    - Legal issues
    - New trends in computing
    - Programming language geekery

    Some of it may be too "niche" or "hardcore" (depending on your interests) but there's usually something for everybody in every issue. No, it won't be quite as task-specific as some of the mags out there (i.e., Not many articles with titles like "Turn up the Volume with LVM: twenty ways to crank up your hard drive!!") but excellent, nonetheless.

    YMMV of course.

    • by rev0lt ( 1950662 )
      They recently stopped printing one of their magazines, I think it was Queue. But CACM is excellent, I'd recommend it.
    • IEEE (Score:3, Informative)

      Another relatively inexpensive option is the IEEE. []

      Although the IEEE is encouraging members to switch over to digital only to reduce costs and waste, IEEE Spectrum and many of the technical society journals are still available on paper for those who want them.

      - The society journals can be quite technical and specialized, but IEEE Spectrum maintains a broader focus.
      - The IEEE Computer Society ( is the largest society in the IEEE, with lots going on and lots of publi
  • Make Magazine (Score:5, Informative)

    by ThoughtMonster ( 1602047 ) on Tuesday December 27, 2011 @10:59AM (#38502720) Homepage

    Not strictly "geek" stuff, but always interesting. Though I guess you already know of it.

    • This was the first one I thought of. More "engineering" focused than software, but a good dose of Arduino micro-controllers and robotics accompanies each quarterly issue. Lots of 3D printers (Makerbot especially) and 3d scanners. The RSS Feed is heavier on the robotics side. It always gets my creative juices flowing.

  • by lucidlyTwisted ( 2371896 ) on Tuesday December 27, 2011 @10:59AM (#38502722)

    Linux Format []

    • Sure, if they ever send some of their people over to the US to do a US based edition. Or they could just simply get a company to print and publish it in the US so they don't have to ship it over!

  • For 11 (Score:5, Informative)

    by xigxag ( 167441 ) on Tuesday December 27, 2011 @11:00AM (#38502726) [] [] [] (Linux Pro)

  • Makezine (Score:5, Informative)

    by tamyrlin ( 51 ) on Tuesday December 27, 2011 @11:00AM (#38502732) Homepage

    The make magazine is pretty good if you are into DIY. If you are into electrical engineering I guess Circuit Cellar or Elektor could be interesting as well.

  • No, strike that, Wired is gone over to the dark side of popular culture, but I read it still.

    Come to think of it, been years since Wired was very geeky, or computing-centric. Feh.

    • Worth saying that skipping the Play section makes this feeling subside for me.
    • Wired is gone over to the dark side of popular culture, but I read it still. Come to think of it, been years since Wired was very geeky, or computing-centric

      I bought it for the first time circa 2000 (i.e. over a decade back, and it was still a few years old even then) and even at that point it struck me as more of a US-oriented business magazine [] masquerading as a science/tech magazine for people who didn't *actually* like science (just liked to think that they did, as well as fetishising the latest technology).

      The presentation was sometimes interesting (and just as often was pretentiously up-its-own-arse style over substance) and they occasionally do have som

    • by rwa2 ( 4391 ) *

      Yeah, but on the plus side at least now it's one of the few "geeky" magazines you can get in exchange for airline miles (or other forms of otherwise worthless marketing points).

      geek:geeky::sports:sporty ?

  • WIRED is a great magazine. They've got a paper edition ($10/yr) that includes free access to the iPad edition. They also have website, but I prefer to read their stuff on paper. Their great graphic design and looong articles are really nice to pick up and read.
  • Perhaps... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ( 245670 ) on Tuesday December 27, 2011 @11:07AM (#38502804)

    Buggy Whip Monthly

    Sorry but tech mags are going to be the first to drop paper distribution. I used to work for a large magazine and their printing and postage costs are insane . Like "buy a private island with a year's printing and mailing costs" insane. Each postage increase adds a nice 3-4 bedroom house to the year's overhead.

    Since geeks are the most likely target market to accept a shift to electronic distribution, it's logical that they would be the first to make the move.

    • Since geeks are the most likely target market to accept a shift to electronic distribution

      I'm not convinced of that. Geeks may be the most likely to have the gadgets to read electronically distributed mags, but they're also the ones most likely to know the downsides of that and the ones most likely to quarrel over formats and possible DRM. I think it's fairer to say that geeks are the most likely market to be divided over a shift to electronic distribution.

      • Re:Perhaps... (Score:4, Informative)

        by vlm ( 69642 ) on Tuesday December 27, 2011 @11:55AM (#38503326)

        Photocopy the schematic, trash it all up with soldering iron burns in the basement lab... Photocopy the parts list and haul it around with me everywhere until I acquire all the parts I need from fests and whatever? Scribble notes and equations all over the printout as I modify as necessary and see fit. Scribble notes on the schematic as I build (so, the analog ground is the green wire, and the optoisolated digital side ground is the black wire, vs the RF ground that is balun xfrmr isolated to the leftmost toroid core...)

        Most electronic distributions historically seem paranoid nuts about allowing purchasers to copy or print out articles, completely missing the point that if I didn't find at least one article in the mag worth printing out and hacking up, I wouldn't buy the %^&! magazine to begin with. Either you let me fire up ye olde laser printer or you go bye bye.

    • Sorry but tech mags are going to be the first to drop paper distribution. I used to work for a large magazine and their printing and postage costs are insane . Like "buy a private island with a year's printing and mailing costs" insane. Each postage increase adds a nice 3-4 bedroom house to the year's overhead.

      Yes, but the replacement has its own problems.

      AFAICT, Linux Magazine is currently pretty much free online, although it looks like you may have to pay to get material older than 6 months...? The trouble with this approach is that it kills the publisher's revenue stream. It's great to cut costs by eliminating printing and postage, but cutting costs doesn't help you if you lose your revenue. This is the same sort of thing that newspapers are currently struggling with. Some are paywalled, most aren't. I'm not a

      • Advertising is the main source of revenue for most publications. Magazines are a collection of ads with some filler called "articles". Check out what it costs to get a full page ad in a magazine and you'll probably be shocked. I just checked my old mag's suggested retail price on their website and you're looking at over 80 grand for a single-run 4-color ad. That same page sold in 1/3 chunks pulls in a hundred grand at list price. More if you want placement in a prime area. Moderate discounts for a com

        • Advertising is the main source of revenue for most publications.

          Well, yeah, but "main" isn't the same as only, and "most" isn't the same as all.

          Newspapers typically depend on both ads and subscriptions, with neither being negligible.

          I subscribe to Asimov's Science Fiction and Fantasy and Science Fiction. Both contain very little advertising.

          I subscribe to The Atlantic and The New Yorker. Both are full of ads, and yet neither one is available for free, so apparently both need payments from readers to survive.

      • by equex ( 747231 )
        Posting from a noscripted, flashblocked, ++ browser, I'd be careful with depending on geeks for ad revenue. I suppose most of you have similar setups.
        • by MemeRot ( 80975 )

          Yes. I have a set of very clever glasses with strips of duct tape over them that block out all the ads while I read magazines.

      • The trouble with this approach is that it kills the publisher's revenue stream

        Are you joking? The Linux fanboy mantra is always "Content wants to be free!" The fact that a Linux magazine is full of content with zero revenue for the publisher or writers must be wet dream for Stallman and their ilk.

    • "I used to work for a large magazine and their printing and postage costs are insane."

      Okay. OT, I know, but I've figured this was the case. So why aren't their non-print subscription costs insanely less? I don't get it. And I don't see something else making up the difference. Server costs? Not bloody likely. Super-highly paid web designers? Yeah, right.
      • (P.S. I know some are free. I'm talking about the ones that aren't.)
      • Free market. If people will pay a high price, why charge less?

        My old mag's iOS and Android content is free for now but I suspect that will change when they can get a favorable subscription model in place. Last time I checked, Apple was making some onerous demands in this area.

    • by gl4ss ( 559668 )

      printing and posting overheads are only big if you have a lot of subscribers. look, a normal linux magazine or such around here costs 20-30 fucking euros when bought at a magazine shop. printing and posting it there can't be that much of the whole %.

      and subs you will not have when you're paperless.. especially if you're just doing stuff that "should" be on a normal web page if it was electronic. electronic is great for by hobbyist for hobbyists.

      anyhow, maybe dr dobbs? is it still in print?

      • anyhow, maybe dr dobbs? is it still in print?

        Nope. They went electronic a few years ago.

      • by unitron ( 5733 )

        The first one you print is the expensive one, after that they get progressively cheaper, up to a point.

        And bulk mailing is cheaper.

    • by ubrgeek ( 679399 )
      A ton of years ago I spoke in front of the magazine publishers' association of America (or something similar. I forget the exact name). They asked about digital versions of subscription publications. I told them that (at the time) WSJ and Playboy were doing quite well online with Playboy being so successful they were able to cut back on their print run. Then I paused and without thinking said, " The sound of one hand typing." Half of them laughed and half looked reallllllly uncomfortable.
    • by MemeRot ( 80975 )

      I prefer to keep my electronics out of the bathroom though, where all of my quality magazine reading happens.

    • Sorry, but that's true for you, and not that many people.

      There's a usability with paper that's just not there with electronic magazine. Paper mags makes my ipad look clunky.

  • by Nova Express ( 100383 ) <lawrenceperson@gmail. c o m> on Tuesday December 27, 2011 @11:08AM (#38502810) Homepage Journal

    I know you were looking for technical magazines, but two of the most import science fiction magazines in the field, Asimov's Science Fiction [] and The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction [] are still being published on paper (though I think both are also available in electronic format as well).

  • 2600. You can get it via subscription, or you can buy it at your local Barnes & Noble.
  • It may not be exactly what you're looking for, but it's a generally well-written a produced magazine that often features articles about computer science and engineering, along with articles about all of the other sciences. It's also unlikely to drop its print format any time soon.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by marshotel ( 1101007 ) * [] American Scientist is a bit more like the old SA. Much smaller circulation and not as timely but most articles are written by scientists not journalists.
      • by vlm ( 69642 )

        Interesting, good pointer, thanks. I might subscribe. I looked at some back issues and the "Computing Science" column reminds me strongly of the S.A. "Computer Recreations" columns of the olden days. Now, where is the modern version of the old S.A. "Amateur Scientist" column? Is that "Make magazine" or Elektor or what?

    • by rnturn ( 11092 )

      SciAm is a shadow of its former self. I subscribed many years ago and the articles were written with the idea that its readers were somewhat well versed in science. Not quite the audience educational level as, say, Nature might require, but you definitely benefited from having taken a lot of science in your schooling. You might have even felt a sense of accomplishment after you finished an article in particle physics or some new medical discovery (neither were close to my college major) and understood what

  • HackerMonthly (Score:3, Informative)

    by nFriedly ( 628261 ) <nathan.friedly+s ... om minus threevo> on Tuesday December 27, 2011 @11:18AM (#38502936) Homepage Journal [] They take the most popular articles from [] and, with permission, republish the article in a beautiful print format.
  • I was a little miffed when I got the notice about LJ going digital with 6 months left on my sub, but I have tried the Android app [] and have been pleasantly surprised.
  • Digital versions are hard to read in the "Reading Room" with out the tablet having a chance to get wet. And a laptop on bare skin well that gets a little hot.
    • by jaymz666 ( 34050 )

      That, and does a family really need a tablet for every single member? Seriously. I may want to read my magazine and my wife may want to read hers at the same time! Is it more cost effective to have a couple of magazine subscriptions for 12-30 dollars a year or two tablets at ~$800 every few years?

  • IEEE Spectrum (Score:3, Informative)

    by JohnM4 ( 1709336 ) on Tuesday December 27, 2011 @11:25AM (#38502992)
    IEEE Spectrum is a magazine sort of like Popular Science except it's based on reality. Articles are geared for the general techie/engineer type and don't rely on you knowing specific fields. []
    • Oddly, it used to be for Electrical Engineers, with detailed engineering articles that would bore just about anybody else. But they've reformatted, and now it's more like PopSci for sure.
  • I agree that it's sometimes better to get this information in print. Ditto for books: Sometimes I still buy two or three hard copies of books when dealing with a project I need to implement in an infrastructure, for many reasons. One is that it is better to not be chained to the desk (or a hot 17" laptop on my lap) curl up on the sofa studying the books. Kindle? Do not want. Real tablet? Sure, they're great. Ditto for my iPhone; many of the books I own in print, I also have eBooks of, and I've read many bo

  • by vlm ( 69642 ) on Tuesday December 27, 2011 @11:49AM (#38503268)

    If geek does not equate to EE anymore, does that mean I'm one of the cool kids now? Wait; don't answer that, I know I am.

    QST QEX Elektor nuts-and-volts monitoring-times if these titles mean nothing to you then turn in your soldering iron.

    If you get the "proceedings of the whateverconf from 20-whatever" from the ham radio guys that is pretty good reading. "Proceedings of Microwave Update Conference 2011" was just released a week or two ago and you can get it from Lulu POD for about $20. I personally recommend the article about the 3 GHz 1 watt amplifier, and the waveguide-horn EME antenna article was a fun read. Yes there is only one "Microwave Update Conf" per year, but there are a couple conf proceedings that I purchase annually, so that every couple months I get a proceedings of the digital conf, proceedings of the various VHF conf, etc, you get the idea. Its.. kind of an expensive habit, but then again, its a heck of a lot cheaper than actually attending the conf, so...

    I would not count MAKE, its cool and I read it and like it, but I don't think of it as a "magazine" anymore. MAKE is more like a short story non-fiction anthology that happens to be published on a very regular schedule. Then again "best science fiction of year X" seems to be published on a schedule too, and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that, and I don't know why people don't call it a "annual magazine". On the magazine side of the argument, MAKE does have regular columnists, but I counter that "best scifi of 20--" also have certain author names that seem to show up every year. Also I forgive them for having columnists simply because I enjoy reading Doctorow's column. Maybe its because I read and toss out magazines, but I have kept every single issue of MAKE on my bookshelf as a source of project ideas, just like I keep books. A complete set of MAKE is about 20 lineal inchs at this moment, I'd estimate just under two feet. Two feet of bookcase well spent.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    They have been very responsive to readers' objections in developing more usable formats/methods for electronic viewing - i.e. Android and iOS apps, as well as a better web-viewable mode (although I think it uses Flash - would need to poke that one around a bit more) as well as the original PDF (although that has been, and still seems to be, very unwieldy in terms of file size - usually a dozen MB or more - and thus slower to process with a tablet PDF viewer, and image-heavy articles not fitting well on anyt

  • by poity ( 465672 ) on Tuesday December 27, 2011 @12:19PM (#38503566)

    Beautiful, and enough technical detail to tickle your engineering bones without boring you to death
    Some of the popular heavyweights: [] [] [] [] []

  • Yes, I complained about Linux Journal stopping the print edition too, but I broke down and bought a tablet and reading LJ there is great. (happens to be an iPad, so I guess my geek card is cancelled?)
  • What the heck else can you do for 20 minutes in the crapper ... browse Readers Digest. That's the real reason geeks are willing to pay extra for paper magazines...
  • Wired is very popular magazine still mailed still has big name Technology players on the cover and 2600 magazine still has it's 2 times a year release on paper.
  • I too like the permanence of paper magazines, plus if I skip an issue, I don't have to worry about making backups or that it might disappear from somebody's web site. My favorite magazine focusing on IT issues is ;login:, the magazine of the Usenix Association. I find it surprising and hard to explain why it's not more popular among IT professionals.
  • ;login: is still pretty good, and on dead tree. It's the journal of USENIX/SAGE.

    I have an entire shelf of the things going back to Babbage-knows when.

  • Linux Magazine (at least the US version) has been gone for a couple years now. I’m guessing that the OP meant to write Linux Journal, which recently went digital?
    AFAIK, the only remaining US print magazines, other than the ones associated with professional organizations, are:

    Linux Pro Magazine []
    Ubuntu User []
    Admin magazine []

    These three have digital (PDF, DRM-free) and print subscriptions.
  • Two magazines that are great fun for anyone who likes electronics related things:

    Nuts & Volts []

    Servo Magazine []

  • E-pubs are cool too but I understand the joy of dead tree reading. A few that I get (aside from the ACM/IEEE/Make mentioned above) are:
    Nuts & Volts [] : electronics hacking of all sorts
    Servo [] : - sister pub to N&V focus on robotics
    Home Shop Machinist []
    Machinist's Workshop [] []"> Digital Machinist :
    three print mags directed at makers in metal. Latter focuses on CNC. Lots of projects of various levels
  • What's so special about being 'unplugged?' I never understood what fascinates people when they do enjoy something solely because it doesn't use electricity.
    • What's so special about being 'unplugged?' I never understood what fascinates people when they do enjoy something solely because it doesn't use electricity.

      My wife gets ticked and drops a trade rag in the toilet, too bad; get another. Drop my rooted Kindel in the toilet and I'm ticked too! The fight is ON!!

  • IEEE Spectrum Magazine: A highly accessible magazine for the lay person and well in front of technology issues: []

    Machine Design Magazine: [] (and coincidentally, first story is about 3D printers)
  • It's not as good as I remember, but the writing is more engaging / less dry than Scientific American, and is actually somewhat useful in everyday life. Also tends to have wonderful explanatory graphics. Gives you a bit more coverage of biological sciences than some of the other recommendations I've seen here.

    But really, just go to the periodical stacks at your nearest University Engineering library, I almost always find something completely random that engages me there.

  • Servo and Nuts & Volts are still on paper, I do believe.

  • The real problem I have with magazines going digital isn't the loss of paper; it's the loss of freedom. Many magazines (Popular Science, Popular Mechanics, CQ, etc.) have handed their digital operations over to Zinio, which heavily DRMs their content. Don't renew your subscription? - lose access to previous copies you've already paid for.

    If you want me to buy your eMagazine, give it to me in PDF, epub, or some other format where I can keep it and view it where I please.

  • c't and it's related magazine iX from Heise, if you can read German
  • Have been getting it since issue 3, and love every one.
  • Before 3D printers, there were 2D printer. It's a great invention that brought an end to the book manufacturing industry (publishing, printing and distribution) because people could now print 2D based products from the comfort of their home. The machine used simple materials such as paper and coloured ink and could transform them into book and magazine, given the proper blueprints which you can buy from the Internet. There might even be 3D blueprints to create such a machine
  • by QwkHyenA ( 207573 ) on Wednesday December 28, 2011 @04:41PM (#38518930) Homepage

    I sincerely appreciate the suggestions folks and you've given me a number ideas I honestly hadn't even thought of!

    And, Yes, I'll even buy a tablet in the future and probably restart my subscription to Linux Journal (I had that wrong in the OP.) But as a couple of you have pointed out, electronic devices are not compatible with all situations and sometimes I just need to take a break from an LCD screen.


Mater artium necessitas. [Necessity is the mother of invention].