2010/06/30

2 Comments »

  1. As the first “new” issue of JOT has just hit the stands, I thought I’d make some comments.

    For over 10 years, I’ve been reading material – books, magazine articles, blogs, forums – on a hand-held device. JOT has always been a problem; I believe I was “scraping” the site for a while, but this ended up being a bit too much work, and over time, just stopped. I’ve not needed to “scrape” any sites to get material to my reading device for years.

    With the changes to JOT announced, I was hoping I could add JOT back to the list of things I can read on my pocket device. I didn’t read this blog post carefully enough though.

    Two major issues: PDF only for “research contributions”. and not having a feed for the articles.

    re: PDF

    PDF is a problem because it doesn’t provide a great reading environment for small devices. Programs like GoodReader for the iPhone provide as good a reading environment as you can possibly get for PDFs, but it can only do so much. A sample JOT article downloaded into GoodReader only displays well in landscape mode, and requires the usual resizing/adjusting/vertical locking that most PDFs do. Frankly, a pain in the ass.

    Also, it appears that the articles are only available in PDFs singly, which means I would need to download each one by hand to the device. More pain.

    It also seems confusing to have some content in HTML and some content in PDF.

    re: feed

    A feed is something I asked a previous editor about years ago. A perfect story for me would be to have all of the content published available in the feed. But it appears the “research contributions” aren’t published in the feed, which is avenue of publishing the “non-research contributions”.

    I find this distinction between “research” and “non-research” contributions to be odd. Presumably, if I follow you on Twitter and in a feed reader, I’m going to see all the non-research contributions, and will be able to easily read them on a hand-held device. And for all the research contributions, I won’t be notified when they’re available, nor will I be able to read them on my device. Fail.

    It seems pretty obvious to me that you should publish ALL of your material as HTML, and all contributions should have a feed entry associated with them. If you want to distinguish “research” and “non-research” contributions, do it textually, not via your distribution mechanism. The HTML does not need to be fancy; in fact, it would be nice to have it as simple as possible.

    In lieu of getting the articles published in a regular manner, perhaps you could look into just making it easier to consume the “research” contributions on a hand-held device. Which, in the end, is all I really want. This could be as easy as combining all the PDFs into a single PDF file, formatted in such a way as to be readable on a small device – eg, reduce the ENORMOUS whitespace, and use larger fonts.

    In the end, sort of feels like the new JOT has stepped fully out of the 1980′s, right into the 1990′s. Very similar to Wired’s recent attempt at producing a version of their magazine for the iPad. Close, but no cigar.

    Comment by Patrick Mueller — 2010/07/07 @ 14:57

  2. It would be interesting to have a possibility to comment on articles. What is even more useful, is the possibility to vote and evaluate articles using the same dimensions as reviewers (presentation, innovation etc.)

    Comment by Alexandr Savinov — 2010/07/08 @ 10:05

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