Philip Newton (pne) wrote,
Philip Newton

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Decline and Fall of Dr. Dobb's Journal

Quite a while ago, I thought it would be interesting to subscribe to Dr. Dobb's Journal, since I'd heard good things about it. I wasn't sure what things were like now so I asked someone when the topic came up somewhere. He said he wasn't sure since it'd been a while since he had read it and suggested I get a trial subscription.

Turned out they don't have trial subscriptions, so I went ahead and subscribed for a full year. This was around January 2002, IIRC.

Months went by and no DDJ arrived. Finally I got around to both (a) finding the old credit card slip where they had taken my money and (b) complaining to the publisher. Even though it'd been months and they only had my word for it that the journal never arrived, they refunded my money in full. (Well, I got less out since the dollar-to-euro rate was more unfavourable.)

But still, I could use the money since while $79 (IIRC) was slightly painful when I paid for it, we've since had to budget more and since this was coming out of my personal allowance it was quite a bit of money.

Then today in I came across a funny article about rebooting a toothbrush (which I mentioned earlier). Since then, I had a look at the thread in alt.folklore.computers and they started to talk about DDJ... and what I saw wasn't particularly fun. Try starting at this link and reading the thread from there (click "see this message in context" and then start reading in the right-hand frame). Here's just one quote: "Each issue gets thinner and has less material in it."

Sounds a bit like what happend to The Perl Journal, which also belonged to CMP for a while (if I understood correctly) and was published as part of SysAdmin magazine until they discontinued that (just after I had renewed my subscription for another year -- darn it) (though it's since been "resurrected", if one can call it that, as a PDF magazine available by download; it still costs money).

So this kind of makes me glad that I didn't subscribe to DDJ if it's only a shadow of its former self -- and especially if, as people say in that thread, the editors deliberately stripped it of what made it readable because their target audience has changed (probably to "those who control the budgets"). Ach, for the good old days.
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