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The Dream of the 90s is Alive
June 4, 2012 1:14 PM   Subscribe

Wired Magazine has rereleased their inaugural issue for free in their iPad application.

Originally published in March of 1993, Wired magazine has been around long enough to be accepted to an elite university.
  • Find out just how prescient Nicholas Negroponte was
  • Burn your retinas with Pink text on lighter Pink background
  • See an ad for the original Powerbook
  • Sigh wistfully at the quixotic curmudgeon Richard Stallman
Included in the app version is a lengthy oral history of the magazine. But all the articles have long been available on their website. And an interesting "Annotations" feature.

Perspective: Downloading the 1.4 gig issue would have taken 225 hours on the 14.4K modems available at .
posted by DigDoug (53 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
Ah, back when it had the geek page.
posted by jeffamaphone at 1:17 PM on June 4, 2012


Before it all got Tired.... ahh, Cyberpunk!
posted by cavalier at 1:18 PM on June 4, 2012


Perspective: Downloading the 1.4 gig issue would have taken 225 hours on the 14.4K modems available at .

Supposedly they "release" the magazine as a set of giant static images. It's extremely unlikely the digital files they used to typeset the original magazine would have required that much space.
posted by delmoi at 1:22 PM on June 4, 2012


Tired:Nintendo Wired:3D0.

Hmm...no.
posted by zabuni at 1:33 PM on June 4, 2012 [7 favorites]


It's not just static images. They have full motion video ads as well. Though 1.4Gigs is pretty much the size of a very high quality 720p movie. I don't see the value of it. I would rather wait a month for delivery or buy it at the store than have to wait hours for it to download.
posted by Napierzaza at 1:34 PM on June 4, 2012


This is my first post, and I already see things I'd wanna change. (like completely my sentence at the end, though I think that's an HTML tag bug.)

Stupid work calling while editing. Sorry everyone.
posted by DigDoug at 1:39 PM on June 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


8x100 @ 300DPI is only 8 megapixels and could be reasonably compressed to 1.5MB in JPEG format; a hundred pages should be way under 200MB before you add in the other 90% apparently in the form of "full motion video ads". *cries for humanity*
posted by jepler at 1:43 PM on June 4, 2012


I remember enjoying the inaugural issue and then being sorely disappointed within a year or two when they ran a played out ASCII art signature of, I believe, the Simpsons, as something cool from the 'net.
posted by zippy at 1:46 PM on June 4, 2012


Needs more peeing baby ads.
posted by octobersurprise at 1:49 PM on June 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


The first issue I got was 1.3, for free at Comdex (Hey, remember Comdex kids?!). I bought every one for the next 9 or 10 years. It's easy to mock them for the excess, but I really did enjoy the world Wired wanted to exist. Especially as a geek outta place in the south/midwest.
posted by DigDoug at 1:53 PM on June 4, 2012


Wired Magazine has rereleased their inaugural issue for free in their iPad application.

Requiring people to download and install their software in order to view their content is a nice touch. That's so 1993.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 1:59 PM on June 4, 2012 [12 favorites]


1.4x106 k should be enough for anyone.
posted by entropicamericana at 2:04 PM on June 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh dear sin. I remember reading these, starting from about 1.05, having just moved out of the bush and into town, brought back by people visiting Ottawa or Montreal. It convinced me that there would be something beautiful waiting if I could only get to somewhere where every modem call wouldn't be long-distance.

Wired and third-hand Kraftwerk cassettes shaped my thinking, probably more than I'd care to admit.
posted by frimble at 2:09 PM on June 4, 2012


It's extremely unlikely the digital files they used to typeset the original magazine would have required that much space.

I haven't d/led the iPad app, but with all those ads, I'd be surprised if it wasn't a lot larger.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:10 PM on June 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


How did they do the spine art? Wired went downhill once they got rid of that.
posted by cjorgensen at 2:10 PM on June 4, 2012


The iPad version doesn't include the awesome heavy-stock lustre-finish covers that Wired had for years and years. It helped it stand out in a rack and was probably expensive as hell to manufacture. My other favorite magazine, Next Generation, used the same kind of cover material and had the same kind of intelligent writing that drew me to Wired.
posted by tmt at 2:11 PM on June 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


Included in the app version is a lengthy oral history of the magazine. But all the articles have long been available on their website.

...

Requiring people to download and install their software in order to view their content is a nice touch. That's so 1993.

It's also very 2008. I'm still waiting for mobile apps to collapse after people realize that the browser they already use can do all that shit.

What does the app do that the online magazine (web site) does not?
posted by mrgrimm at 2:17 PM on June 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


cavalier: "Before it all got Tired.... ahh, Cyberpunk!"

You mean before it got all Conde Nast?
posted by symbioid at 2:24 PM on June 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


The Dream of the 90s is Alive

iPad magazines totally remind me of back-in-the-day "multimedia" CD-ROMs made with Director.
posted by Artw at 2:25 PM on June 4, 2012 [15 favorites]


Requiring people to download and install their software in order to view their content is a nice touch. That's so 1993.
Plus own a several hundred dollar proprietary machine. At least from a hardware perspective, you could get PC hardware to play multimedia CD-ROMs from anywhere.
iPad magazines totally remind me of back-in-the-day "multimedia" CD-ROMs made with Director.
Except... you're not allowed to use it. Supposedly Wired had a really cool thing ready to go for the iPad when Apple announced you couldn't use flash, even if you exported to native iOS code. They ended up doing some super-hacky thing really quick, that was basically all static images.
posted by delmoi at 2:30 PM on June 4, 2012


What does the app do that the online magazine (web site) does not?

It downloads all the content locally and displays it in a nicer format that is more magazine-like than the website. Not critical features for everyone, but nice to have if you read stuff offline (like on the subway).
posted by brain_drain at 2:31 PM on June 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


If they really wanted to show their roots, they'd reprint early issues of 2600 and Mondo 2000.
posted by Mad_Carew at 2:34 PM on June 4, 2012


I'd like to see mags like Wired catch up to the latest trends in screen typography, e.g. Zeldman style easy-to-read copy without all the clutter.
That’s not all these apps do, but it’s one benefit of using them, and it indicates how pathetic much of our web design is when our visitors increasingly turn to third party applications simply to read our sites’ content. It also suggests that those who don’t design for readers might soon not be designing for anyone. -- Jeffrey Zeldman
The hills are absolutely alive with the sound of "this reminds me of something you would use Macromedia products for" when it comes to iPad publishing. It's like people have lost the ability to listen to their gut because of the amazing amount of new cool stuff out there.
posted by circular at 3:03 PM on June 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's like people have lost the ability to listen to their gut because of the amazing amount of new cool stuff out there.

You should try teaching graphic design. It's been like that for the past twenty years or so.
posted by Thorzdad at 3:21 PM on June 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


I've got an Internet connection at home that varies between 20 and 45 megabits per second download speed. It's *still* too damn slow when downloading the latest issue of Wired via their app. Sure, there's fancy features and video - but it's also almost a textbook case of how *not* to do digital magazine delivery. On a 16G iPad I should be able to store every issue ever published of the magazine and have most of my space left over, instead of not even two full years' worth.

Keep in mind that two years after the first issue of Wired came out, I was working at an ISP that was sharing a pair of T1s (1.5 megabits/sec) for ~3000 dialup customers.
If they really wanted to show their roots, they'd reprint early issues of 2600 and Mondo 2000
We've gone all the way back to 1984, our first year publishing, and put together "The Hacker Digest - Volume 1" for Kindles, Nooks, tablets, computers, the works. It's all DRM-free as well.
posted by mrbill at 3:27 PM on June 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'd like to see mags like Wired catch up to the latest trends in screen typography, e.g. Zeldman style easy-to-read copy without all the clutter.

The Economist produces a very well executed iPad edition. Looks clean, does double-dip a little with interstitial ads between pages of individual articles, but comes the closest you can come to printing "Don't Panic" in large, friendly letters on the cover by allowing the user to download the audio version, wherein someone reads all the articles in a soothing British accent. It's also stable, which is the worst thing in the world about so many iPad editions of anything (like the NYT): "stability" is a talking point. For all the bad things print editions have done to me — getting lost, catching on fire, getting ink on my hands — never once has the paper version of newspaper or magazine crashed.

On the flip side of The Economist, there's The Nation, which does the whole "static images of the actual pages" for its iPad edition, which means that sizing the type up large enough to read will involve scrolling around the page free-form: No reflowing, and no mobile-Safari-style double-tap-element-to-fit. Really awful, and very disappointing. Politically, I lean closer to The Nation than The Economist, and I was sort of hoping Team Lefty would get it right.
posted by mph at 4:08 PM on June 4, 2012


Somewhere in my scary closest of doom is a real, glossy, and garish copy of issue number one of Wired. Though I had a few years worth, they went off to be turned in to shopping bags or whatever. I kept #1 in case it ever became valuable. This release may stop that ever happening.
posted by njohnson23 at 4:15 PM on June 4, 2012


Scans Wired archive for stories on what happened at MIT Media Lab Europe or MIT Media Lab Asia.

Finds nothing.

Huh.
posted by Devonian at 4:15 PM on June 4, 2012


You'd think that a tech magazine would be able to figure out how to use technology well enough to not just put a bunch of static images into an app wrapper for their magazine. You know, things like… text, perhaps? Just tossing out a random idea to save roughly 70% of that download size.
posted by DoctorFedora at 4:22 PM on June 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


On one hand, these are high resolution (2000 x 2389 px) scans of the original magazine, weighing in at about 2.8 MB per JPEG. I don't know else you would do it, especially if you want to faithfully reproduce a magazine published 20 years ago.

But sweet mother of god, a typical page is over 8 MB in size.

Each page includes: And these are all portrait orientation; landscape orientation isn't supported.

I presume they're using some sort of Adobe technology to do this, because what other company could design something so utterly ridiculous and wasteful.
posted by i_have_a_computer at 4:25 PM on June 4, 2012 [4 favorites]


You'd think that a tech magazine would be able to figure out how to use technology well enough to not just put a bunch of static images into an app wrapper for their magazine. You know, things like… text, perhaps? Just tossing out a random idea to save roughly 70% of that download size.

Maybe with some kind of markup language for formatting?
posted by Artw at 4:31 PM on June 4, 2012 [7 favorites]


The Hyperlearning Revolution could have been written for this months issue.
posted by humanfont at 4:43 PM on June 4, 2012


Did that inaugural issue include the term, "Information Superhighway?" (Please tell me no.)
posted by Gerard Sorme at 4:49 PM on June 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


It might come down to resolution, but the Wired issues on the nook seem to have all the functionality of the ipad app, but with much smaller file (takes a few seconds to load on the nook, minutes on the ipad). I wish this issue was available for the nook though.
posted by drezdn at 4:54 PM on June 4, 2012


Heer cum the Zippies!
posted by mwhybark at 5:27 PM on June 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


I remember the very first Wired, because my local newsstand put it right where they ordinarily put my favorite magazine at the time, The Wire, which targetted my taste in music like a heat-seeking missile. I was pissed that the only jazz magazine I liked had sold out to become a Mondo 2000 knockoff.
posted by mr_curmudgeon at 5:30 PM on June 4, 2012


I came here to make Mondo 2000 jokes and chew bubblegum. (And the Mondo 2000 jokes have already been made.)

*POP*
posted by anotherpanacea at 5:53 PM on June 4, 2012 [4 favorites]


I don't know why Adobe don't make an embedded read-only version of the InDesign engine for iOS. You could ship the layouts, images and fonts and have much smaller downloads and a vastly better user experience instead of these hideous mega-downloads.

(Assuming Wired were willing to make the multiple conversion hops from Quark 3.3 to the latest InDesign, which Adobe makes massively hard because each new version of ID can only open from the previous version, nothing older)
posted by fightorflight at 6:03 PM on June 4, 2012


I think I still have the first issue of WIRED in some box someplace in this house. I save odd things for odd reasons, and I know I hung onto that for years. If it survived the last move-and-purge moment nearly a decade ago, then it's here someplace.
posted by hippybear at 6:49 PM on June 4, 2012


I don't know why Adobe don't make an embedded read-only version of the InDesign engine for iOS. You could ship the layouts, images and fonts and have much smaller downloads and a vastly better user experience instead of these hideous mega-downloads.

Kinda like PDF perhaps? PDFKit is part of iOS.

The big problem with InDesign PDFs is that all interactivity is accomplished via embedded Flash components. This obviously doesn't work on the iPad. Adobe is really tied to that dead weight.

Self promotion warning: You can make quite a decent magazine app that uses PDF though, my company just released one last week.
posted by schwa at 7:12 PM on June 4, 2012


1.6 gig?! How are they going to distribute that, on 3 cover CDs?
posted by Pronoiac at 7:18 PM on June 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


I just realized, I know of archives of scans of 80's computer magazines but I know of nothing like that for the 90's magazines: Mondo 2000, Wired, and Boing Boing.
posted by Pronoiac at 7:23 PM on June 4, 2012


Know what would be really far-out and crazy? If they re-produced the content in a non-proprietary format, something like tagged text (think SGML, but far, far simpler), that anything that could grok that could display - maybe even make it interactive.

Were there not stories of prominent tech/sci-fi writers just d/l'ing Wired's content and printing it out to actually read it? The hype in that rag was up to 11. After a while it felt just like a really strange catalog to useless gadgets. Except for the, "101 ways to save Apple" issue. That article was just... freaky.
posted by alex_skazat at 8:54 PM on June 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


See my previous comment about Wired and my initial high hopes.
posted by bendy at 12:54 AM on June 5, 2012


Also, a former boss gifted me a Wired subscription last year which came with a corresponding iPad subscription. Every issue is seriously, at least 1.4GB. If you're like me and you have a 16GB iPad, you're not super motivated to keep up with deleting and reading and reading and deleting. These files are too big.
posted by bendy at 1:00 AM on June 5, 2012


Metafilter: I already see things I'd wanna change
posted by chavenet at 5:48 AM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


mrbill: Thanks a ton for that link. I am snagging those files right now.
posted by DigDoug at 5:52 AM on June 5, 2012


Meh. I'll wait for the HyperCard stack.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 6:38 AM on June 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


I don't know why Adobe don't make an embedded read-only version of the InDesign engine for iOS. You could ship the layouts, images and fonts and have much smaller downloads and a vastly better user experience instead of these hideous mega-downloads.
They did. But Apple banned developers from using it. Remember?
posted by delmoi at 8:28 AM on June 5, 2012



You mean before it got all Conde Nast?


Huh! I tried a little bit of google, but does anyone remember approximately when Nast bought them? Memory is fuzzy but I remember Wired thinking way too highly of itself, like some kind of fashion magazine for technology, around issue 6 or 7. Again, YMMV, maybe it was earlier or later.
posted by cavalier at 10:03 AM on June 5, 2012


iPad magazines totally remind me of back-in-the-day "multimedia" CD-ROMs made with Director.

Somewhere in a closet I still have a big 3-ring binder of MacAddict CDs. Each one had some sort of multimedia ... thing in it. Typically in very bright colors. Often times they had pretty good audio tracks though; I've been meaning to go through them with some sort of script and scrape the embedded audio out.

It's clear that they must have been struggling to fill 670MB each month at times.
posted by Kadin2048 at 10:49 AM on June 5, 2012


Kinda like PDF perhaps? PDFKit is part of iOS.

Yes, PDF has the ingredients for this, I think. But the last time I looked at PDFKit (back in 2006, tbh) it wasn't up to this sort of thing. You need something that retains the idea of a layout, but isn't absolutely chained to one particular layout. A lot of blame lies with the PDF creation, but the troubles people having trying to extract text (or even select it) from PDFs belie its print roots.

HTML isn't really good for this either: in being designed to render on anything anywhere it turns out to be really bad at suiting "this tablet, here". That's arguably a strength, but the desire is to have something that allows you near-print control over layout, but *also* in a way that allows the reading client to repurpose and reformat as required.

There will probably have to be trade-offs on either side to get there, but last I checked HTML still can't even do basics like vertical alignment in any reasonable fashion, so it's hard to get there from here.

They did. But Apple banned developers from using it. Remember?

No, I don't, that's be really interesting. Got a link? I do remember them banning a Flash-Obj C compiler, but that wouldn't really have covered this case -- that was about taking existing Flash interactives and porting them to iOS, not static InDesign layouts.
posted by fightorflight at 10:54 AM on June 5, 2012


You mean before it got all Conde Nast?

Huh! I tried a little bit of google, but does anyone remember approximately when Nast bought them?


Um ... How about trying a bit of Wikipedia (JFWI?) ... ?

"Rossetto and Metcalfe lost control of Wired Ventures to financial investors Providence Equity Partners in May 1998, who quickly sold off the company in pieces. Wired was purchased by Advance Publications, who assigned it to Advance's subsidiary, New York-based publisher Condé Nast Publications (while keeping Wired's editorial offices in San Francisco).[12] Wired Digital (wired.com, hotbot.com, webmonkey.com, etc.) was purchased by Lycos and run independently from the rest of the magazine until 2006 when it was sold by Lycos to Advance Publications, returning the websites back to the same company that published the magazine."

So that would be ... Volume 6?
posted by mrgrimm at 12:44 PM on June 5, 2012


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