I find this most promising and very welcome: programming/coding-focused articles in a mag! Been missing this very format for well over a decade now — forums either allow culture/project-management/practices/patterns/lots-of-blah-blah-stuff to seep in or die out — Q&A sites devolve into flamewars — blog discovery has been withering as have dev blogs — live coders drag you at length into a stream of the minute hiccups of the moment — the mag format is still unbeaten. And most real-world mags that survived are also, again, no longer exclusively (let alone much or at all) about programming-itself and code-as-focus-and-truth, being filled with ops software tuts or OS admin knobs and all that yawn.
I presume the approach is curated-from-blogs-with-permission but collecting nuggets in a vast sea of meh is bang on Good Stuff, keep it up!
Issue I see with the current notify-on-release mechanism: doesn’t seem like subscription to the Google Group (posing as a mailing list) is not doable without being logged in to Google? At least from the UI it presented to me. Some of your prime audience have “degoogled” and won’t wanna re-sign-up-with-the-kraken. Is a most rudimentary rss/atom feed for this notify purpose on the horizon per chance? In fact, for this purpose, the once-a-month-or-so entry of a link into the feed could even be done manually in ~10 secs I’m sure ;D in fact ever-same link to the home-page per entry would suffice for the notify. In fact #2 only one entry with regular date-time tweak would suffice.
We’ll conjure up RSS/Atom soon. Any other ideas how we could push notifications about new issues to folks?
I think that posting on here, on HN, and maybe on a couple of appropriate subreddits would do the trick. Since the time between issues is long enough, it shouldn’t look like spam.
Great work, by the way! I just started reading and am really enjoying it. I’m disappointed I didn’t think of the idea myself!
Would it be feasible to provide either an HTML version or a tagged PDF version for accessibility? Please refer to my earlier comment on accessibility problems with untagged PDF.
We hope to make the PDF accessible to screen readers if possible (thanks for the link to your earlier comment - that will be useful), though it might take us some time before we figure this out (we have basically 0 knowledge about making accessible PDFs, so we’ll have to learn a lot; and the experimental nature of the zine probably doesn’t help).
For now we tried to make the PDF copy-pasteble, but I know we’ve failed at that in a couple of places (and don’t even get me started on how some PDF readers fail at ligatures or whitespaces). Well, it is a beta 1 build, so it should get better.
And lastly, most of the articles from Issue 1 have licenses which allow voice-recording the articles (our Standard Authors Agreement explicitly has a clause about it since I knew we’ll have issues with screen-reader compatibility), so hopefully some podcasts with the articles should start appearing soon.
Sorry about the problems.
Thanks for such a considerate response.
I’m curious, why bother with PDF in the first place, as opposed to a digital-first format like EPUB? I mean, PDF is such a print-centric format. Do you expect people to actually print these magazines? Or is there some other reason I’m overlooking? I don’t mean to be confrontational; I just wonder why you would bother with PDF when it clearly has issues, not just with accessibility, but as you said with copying and pasting.
It’s a fair question :)
The reason is that the whole idea was to use a space-limiting format that will follow the PoC||GTFO magazine model, i.e. it will be usually read on computers, but people should be able to print multiple copies to give away at events (we’ll be providing PDFs for offset printing too). While this might sound weird - i.e. why would one print 500 copies of a magazine to give away - but folks actually do that (I have at least two printed issues of PoC||GTFO, and I’ve printed around 500 copies for one conference as well).
This doesn’t fully explain ‘why PDF’, since we could have chosen EPUB as you suggest. However EPUB has more compatibility issues with non-plain-text content than PDF has (e.g. even in calibre you have tu change some options in the reader to get custom fonts families to be respected - e.g. monospace for code), and it’s even worse in case of printing (especially mass printing - I’m pretty sure print houses won’t accept EPUBs for printing, or will accept them and convert them to really badly lay out PDFs).
There were other options like HTML (e.g. limited to a specific resolution), but there aren’t too many tools to create complex articles as HTML, while almost every word processor, DTP tool or vector drawing tool can export to PDF. True, some can also export to HTML, but then we’re back at the printing problem.
Instead of PDF we could have used a different format like XPS - but that’s a pretty unknown and rarely used format.
So we’re basically stuck at a PDF. To make matters more complicated, each autor uses a different tool to generate a PDF from their article and then we merge these PDFs together - so our franken PDF is basically horrible and has issues.
But I still decided to got for the PDF because I’m actually quite confident that the team inside Paged Out Institute has enough expertise and skill between them, that we can eventually get a proper PDF that actually works. But it might take us a few weeks to get to that point - sorry.
Heh very funny timing for you to join the site. Welcome!
Hi! No mystery here - I joined to reply to the comments :)
Ah that makes sense, figured it was something of the sort.
Yeah that can be done. Let me edit it.
Edit: Or not misunderstood what you meant by tagged PDFs. I can see about nudging them to create one by I’m rather unaffiliated with it.