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Why Byte (the paper mag) has disapeared


There was paper mag called Byte which was really good.

Does anybody know why it's no longer available ?

Has the publisher been bank rupt ?

Gollum
Wednesday, May 19, 2004

It used to be good in the early 80s. I spent hours at Universirt reading through the old back issues along with Creative Computing.

Matthew Lock
Wednesday, May 19, 2004

It couldn't sell enough on the newsstand, or by subscription to keep up with the costs of printing.  Even so in the latter years it became slimmer and slimmer.  If you just judged by the advertising copy in 1979 as compared to 1995 or so you could be forgiven for thinking that the industry had shrunk drastically.

Simon Lucy
Wednesday, May 19, 2004

It was runover by a big truck called "the Web".

Just me (Sir to you)
Wednesday, May 19, 2004

The online version is still available at www.byte.com for about $20/yr.

BYTE Me
Wednesday, May 19, 2004

And is the online version as 'hot' as the paper copy I used to love?  Worth $20/y?

i like i
Wednesday, May 19, 2004

It got bought by CMP who then decided to shut it down. Took me a year to get my subscription refunded.

Its a shame as there really isn't anything comparable now, lots of info on the web but its not the same. I used to love the Circuit Cellar articles.

Tony Edgecombe
Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Circuit Cellar has been its own magazine for quite a while: http://www.circuitcellar.com/

Byte _was_ an excellent magazine, it stopped being good several years before they decided to stop publishing the 'dead tree' version. I haven't looked at the on-line version to see what the quality's like now.


Wednesday, May 19, 2004

I used to love Byte magazine also.  In the 80's it had in depth articles on how to apply Turbo Pascal, Microsoft C, even Ada.

As time went by, and the PC industry 'matured' (in other words, PC's became a commodity product, and Microsoft continued to make the OS code internals more and more arcane and complex) it became very hard to do accurate, in-depth articles on programming and applying the PC. 

Instead, it became a 'review' magazine, doing ra-ra articles on the latest 'advance' in Windows or Intel processors.  The Circuit Cellar articles were out, and warm-feely articles were in.  People like me quit subscribing, and the Web provided the same kind of info Byte was doing.

CMP publishers bought it from Ziff-Davis, and as has been pointed out, it now has an on-line magazine.

Circuit Cellar Inc. is now its own magazine (since 1987, I believe) and it STILL does the applied technology articles by the way, but these now tend to be embedded processor applications (PIC, Rabbit/Z80, Atmel, AVR) -- not the "what cool thing can we get the PC to do next" stuff that came out in the '80's.

AllanL5
Wednesday, May 19, 2004

AllanL5 has it right. The fundamental reason for it's decline was the hegemony of Microsoft/Intel dominance and loss of diversity in the industry.

old_timer
Wednesday, May 19, 2004

I get the impression MaximumPC has picked up the "spirit" of Byte magazine, though it's more hardware-oriented.

Philo

Philo
Wednesday, May 19, 2004

My memory is similar to what AllanL5 has written: Byte transitioned from being a more theoretical "interesting technical information" magazine (for example covering interesting processor architectures, including great diagrams and tables), to being yet another PC Magazine.

Dennis Forbes
Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Also in the UK magazines survive by attracting advertising. And the result is you get really good articles. Compare the UK edition of "Computer Shopper" with the US version, or take a look at "PCPlus". They'd be worth the money without the cover CD/DVD.

Stephen Jones
Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Well, MaximumPC has gone way down hill as well.

I subscribed to it back when it was known as "Boot", and it was much more hard core then.  Of course, the page count was always a little on the low side, but the stuff that was there was of generally very high quality with a lot of in depth technical details (although mostly hardware oriented).

I really miss the mag and its original online community.

Steve Barbour
Wednesday, May 19, 2004

You really think so? I've subscribed since the first issue of Boot, and I think the flavor of the magazine is the same - they're still very technical, still unforgiving in their reviews, and always willing to go the extra mile (admittedly it's been a while since they set anything on fire)

OC'ing and watercooling are still major topics, as well as case modding; and I'm sure if there's ever another hack that involves connecting solder points with pencil lead, they'll publish it. :-)

What I really want to know is why Alex St. John left - I thought he was done writing, but now he's got a column in CPU magazine...

Philo

Philo
Wednesday, May 19, 2004

"And is the online version as 'hot' as the paper copy I used to love?  Worth $20/y?"

I'd say no.  I subscribed to the online version for a year, but when this ran out last autumn I didn't renew because there really wasn't much interesting content.

I do miss the old *real* Byte, though.

Colin Macleod
Thursday, May 20, 2004

Philo, it's entirely possible that they've recovered.  I ditched my subscription after the third issue of Maximum PC.  After the re-org the content seemed to consist of a lot more of the "if you can't say anything good" type reviews.

I was fairly active in their online forums which underwent a considerable cultural shift then as well.  I could possibly be bitter...

Anyway, I haven't seen anything in the mag that would entice me to buy it whenever I've browsed through it at the grocery store (the rural equivalent to the news stand). I hope you're right and they've gotten themselves straightened out.

I didn't realize Alex was back to writing about computers.  I seem to remember that he had left to go back to doing skateboarding type mags (which was where he had gotten his start).

Steve Barbour
Thursday, May 20, 2004

Oh, and the reason he left, if memory serves, was disagreement with the new owners of the magazine.  At least that's what I remember.  The next time I run into one of the former staff I'll see if I can get them to refresh my memory.

Steve Barbour
Thursday, May 20, 2004

Byte went through several phases.  Up until sometime in the 80s (1986?), they were a cross between do-it-yourself, computer science, and general computer and programming topics.  They used to have issues devoted to such specific topics as Forth, Smalltalk, and Declarative Languages.  They had "build your own hardware" projects that were pretty advanced.  They had programming tutorials on building parsers.  They reprinted some hardcore computer science papers from the top people in the field (such as Backus's Turing Award lecture).

Later they became more fixated on specific computer systems.  This wasn't too bad, back when there were a variety of popular home computers: Atari ST, Mac, PC, Amiga, Archimedes.  But when the home computer market homogenized into the PC market, then Byte just started printing reviews of printers and systems and laptops and so on.  It was still better than most, but the spark was gone.

Junkster
Thursday, May 20, 2004

"After the re-org the content seemed to consist of a lot more of the "if you can't say anything good" type reviews."

Hmmm... right after the switch I think I stopped reading for a while (tho I was still subscribed) - I remember I fell in love with boot because they gave the occasional 1 to products (including the iMac and Daikatana - there were no sacred cows); that impression lasts to this day. (This month the Corinex Powerline Router got a 2)

Mind you, I do still have a bone to pick with them - they benchmarked dual CPU vs. single CPU but their test suite was linear. They did mention this in the article, but I'd rather see a parallel-tasking benchmark that really tests why dual CPU rocks on the desktop.

Of course, that I can even contemplate having that discussion with the magazine editors without getting blank stares is why I keep reading. :-)

Philo

Philo
Thursday, May 20, 2004

A better question is why Slashdot (the web portal) has disappeared. I can't ask it to cater only to me, but I would like to. I can't wait to throw it some profiles so it shows only interesting stuff to me.

Li-fan Chen
Sunday, May 23, 2004

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