Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Magazines we like -- Backbone

In a world of failed and faltering tech magazines, Backbone seems to have found its mojo. The 6-times-a-year magazine, published out of North Vancouver by Publimedia Communications Inc., reaches most of its readers through controlled distribution in the Globe and Mail. (The total circ, according to its December 2004 latest CCAB audit, is 123,000, of which 104,000 approximately are controlled (92,000 in the Globe; the rest to a selected list of Backbone customers) and about 20,000 paid subs. Next issue, Backbone celebrates 5 years of publishing.

Its November/December issue lives up to its tagline: Business/Technology/Lifestyle, because it provides some of each. It's a handsome magazine, with articles that could teeter on the brink of advertorial, but do not (at least as is apparent to a casual observer). Not surprisingly, it is complemented by a good, solid website. The theme of the current issue is data security, and some of the factoids they provide are truly frightening. Such as that it takes 54 days between the appearance of a vulnerability and the release of a vendor patch for the problem.

The issue contains some very interesting features, even for the layman:
  • How the Canadian Football League has sped up the provision of online stats so that the serious sports fan waits 2 minutes, not a whole day for something official;
  • Why it's tough to pick tech stocks that will make you money;
  • How a little company sells drums online, making half as much and keeping twice as much as when they had a retail store;
  • The issues of ownership of websites and their designed
  • A story about black box techonology and what it means to today's cars (including saving on insurance)
  • And a piece about some eccentrics who play with radio-controlled planes, cars and boats (some of which cost $US 26,000).
The magazine is bulked up by a 5-page advertising supplement, properly labelled, that contains information on "Locking up your digital assets".

Being Christmastime and all, there is a "toys for the boys" section, promoting glasses that help golfers find their balls and a cunning little security card that screams its head off if anyone moves your laptop.


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