Earlier this year, I received a copy of Linux Pro Magazine instead of Linux Magazine. Linux Magazine ceased printing and went online-only and Linux Pro completed the subscription. Yesterday, I received the last copy of PC Magazine. They are going online-only too and I will have to pay for the online content.

Recently, it was announced that the Detroit News and Detroit Free Press were cutting delivery back to three days a week and readers will have to go online to get news on the non-delivery days.

I suppose some of this is inevitable but, honestly, online news and magazines hold nothing against a good paper or magazine, even if they are 75% advertisements. Of course, nothing tops a good tangible book. Ebooks? No way!

Some benefits to print over online content:

1. Once printed, the content cannot be changed. Good for holding people accountable and good for being used to prove that certain things were at one time considered true and undeniable and to disprove what's "true and undeniable" today will always be so. The fact that the news can constantly be updated, i.e. changed, is not necessary a good thing. We've always been at war with Eastasia.

2. They don't require electricity or other power source to work.

3. They are more portable than any portable device. They can be dropped and if they get wet they will work again once dry.

4. Book burnings are more difficult to organize than hitting the delete key.

5. Google, or any search engine, cannot selectively hide content from searches of old books, newspapers, or magazines that exist somewhere in physical form.

If everything goes electronic, and I fear someday it may, people's rights will be abridged and thoughts will be completely controlled by some other entity. We've already seen this in a similiar form on television during the most recent elections.

Well, it can go either way with print vs. electronic media. In the Soviet Union, publishers of samizdat were better off with computers because they only had to break a disk if officials came in, rather than shredding loads of paper. The Internet also makes it substantially easier to distribute subversive content, so that even strong countries like the PRC are unable to regulate blogs, plus there are ways of encryption like Blowfish which no human on Earth can break.

As I type this, I'm about to take a five mile walk to Lehigh, which I'll have to repeat later this evening. Of course I'm going to be reading there. I don't have anything against the printed word, and enjoy how I don't have to scrunch up in front a glorified TV screen to read it. But it seems the advantage for technical literature, which is largely apolitical at any rate, is definitely with the Internet. See this site for an idea ... and that's only scratching the surface.

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