Jacob J. Walker's Blog

Scholarly Thoughts, Research, and Journalism for Informal Peer Review

Archive for April 26th, 2014

Thought of the Day: How can The Economist usually get it right in its writing, but not in its execution.

without comments

I find it interesting that several of the magazines that I think have some of the best content, have some of the worst technical implementations.  I have written in the past about what I don’t like about the web site of Scientific American.  Today, I’m going to kvetch a little about The Economist‘s attempts at using technology.

First, I really like The Economist, and their articles about technology are usually “right on the money”.  They clearly see the trends of what is going on, yet their execution of using technology sucks.  And in fact it has gotten worse.

At one time, when you bought a subscription, you would get the print and online subscription together.  Now you can buy a print subscription, or an online subscription, or a bundle.  But, what is frustrating to me, is that if you buy the print subscription, they don’t have an upgrade option to adding a digital subscription.

Further, their Android App is pretty bad.  It takes forever to download issues, and they often fail.  Further, while it generally locks me out of the full content (which makes sense, since I don’t have a digital subscription), every so often, the app will give me everything.  So in other words, it must be able to be hacked fairly easily, since I inadvertently “hack” it every so often.

And, they don’t seem to get that much better.  They recently released an Anthology Series, which looks very interesting to me.  But it won’t work on my version of Android, and even if it is did, the reviews say that it is awful software.

But maybe this isn’t so different than the problems in education.  A college or school might have amazing computer science & ICT instructors, but still implement technology awfully, because the IT department is walled off from the educators.  But should we trust a college’s education if it can’t do technology right?  Should we trust The Economist or Scientific American to give prescient information, when they can’t get their acts together?


Written by Jacob Walker

April 26th, 2014 at 4:48 pm

Posted in Economics