The Magazine, from the creator of Instapaper

The Magazine is for people who love technology, especially the internet, mobile, truly great personal computers, and related fields influenced by technology such as photography, publishing, music, and even coffee.

Rather than telling readers everything that happens in technology, we deliver meaningful editorial and big-picture articles.

I’ve only had the time to read the foreword and Guy English’s article, but I really like the idea of this. ​The interface is even simpler than Instapaper’s, the business model should be profitable from the beginning, and it even looks like it’s going to be a good deal for the writers:

If a good portion of today’s free-trial subscribers let their subscriptions continue into the paid period next week, it will be profitable then, just one week after launch. And I’m hoping they will, because not only will The Magazine be able to continue indefinitely, but I’ll be able to raise the author payment rates sooner than I expected

At only $2 per month, The Magazine is cheaper than even my subscriptions to individual bloggers’s sites. With two issues containing four articles each per month, that puts the cost of each article at a quarter (you like how I do that basic math for you? Yeah, you’re welcome.). If three out of four articles in each issue are at as great as Guy English’s piece in the first, I am totally fine paying for this in the foreseeable future.

With that said, I have to wonder where Marco is going to take this as it becomes a success, as I’m sure it will. It seems that his first priority is paying the writers well – something I appreciate as a blogger who would like to make some kind of living from this one day, but have mixed feelings about as a reader. My hope is that the magazine is a profitable as Marco says and that he can quickly raise the pay rates to levels competitive with major publications.

This would enable him to draw in some very talented people on a regular basis – this might be wrong, but I have a feeling that the first issues are all going to feature work by Marco’s friends in the blogosphere. Not that that would necessarily be a bad thing, as he’s friends with some very talented people – it’s just that people that read Marco’s blog also tend to read Gruber, Dalrymple, and the rest of the top Apple bloggers. It’d be nice to be exposed to some other voices.

Once he’s able to pay the writers more competitively, I’d also like to see more content per issue. With Marco’s reputation for the quality of his work and the publicity The Magazine is getting around the blogosphere, there is going to be a fucking ton of submissions by people who want their work so prominently featured. I’d love to have four articles a week by the established writers we know and trust and another two to four by writers who have yet to really be “discovered.” The Magazine could be the publication that puts the next generation of geek writers on the map.

On that note, time to think of something to submit.

“Now, more than ever…”

Most people like to assume that their representatives in the various levels of government spend each morning listening to very smart people tell them the latest information about our nation’s most important issues. That when they go into a debate about a bill, they have their facts ready but have minds open to new information. That when the evidence goes against what they previously believed, they change their opinions in order to help our nation be better.

In reality, what we get are political parties with platforms that must be held to by their members. The persistence of certain planks of these platforms has resulted in what economist Larry Summers coined as “now-more-than-everism,” which causes politicians to change their logic each election cycle in order to promote the same set of policies. We have a surplus? We should cut taxes. The economy is booming? We should cut taxes. The economy is in the worst downturn since the Great Depression? We should definitely cut taxes!

Here’s a quote from John Barrasso, U.S. Senator from Wyoming: “Decisions we make in Washington will have a tremendous impact on the future of our country. Now more than ever, Republicans must show that we have the right policy solutions that will benefit every American.” Senator Barrasso advocates lowering taxes and has voted against all stimulus packages while in office. Yesterday, U.S. Senate Republicans re-elected John Barrasso to serve as chairman of the Senate Republican Policy Committee. As in, he’s the one in charge of the group of Republicans that will decide what policies the party puts forward for the next two years.

The problem is that one solution really can’t fix all problems. That isn’t to say that supply-side policies are never needed: if the economy ever reached a point where demand is outstripping supply and no companies are building factories to match that demand, it would make sense to alter the tax code to promote investment by those with large amounts of capital. With that said, that situation does not match the conditions of the current economy, where companies are discovering that consumers are buying less than they expect and Chinese factories would gladly ramp up production if demand increased.

China is one of the largest contributors to the free market and yet is considered a Communist nation. Several countries in Europe are both higher on economic freedom indexes than the United States but also provide universal socialized healthcare to their citizens. Perhaps the United States could benefit from moving away from this black-and-white universe where there are two options, they’re the same every election cycle, and we switch between them every time things turn for the worse. Maybe we would be better off if our parties actually acted like adults and admitted that policies from each others’s platforms are what is needed at different times.

The problem with this line of reasoning is of course ideology. Every election cycle further demonstrates that people have strong beliefs about the size and role of government, and you can imagine the response people would have to their representatives compromising to the “other side.” This leads to politicians being content with the status quo, even if they personally feel like they should work with the members of the other party (see also: every moderate Republican’s stances during President Obama’s first term). For things to change, the voting public needs to become more accepting of bipartisanship when it makes sense. You know, now, more than ever.

Romney and Net Neutrality

The best public policy directs a vibrant free market to act in the best interests of the public by properly aligning incentives; Romney would allow the broadband industry to be ruled by radically misaligned profit incentives that defy common sense.

The first half of this sentence is my exact stance on the relationship between the government and the economy.

Microsoft’s new tune: Only 16GB open on a 32GB Surface, not “more than 20GB,” as promised

When the Surface’s pricing and storage options were announced, it received praise coming with, at minimum, 32 gigabytes of internal storage. That’s twice what the low-cost, full-size, and current-model iPad sports, it was noted.

However, once you nickel and dime your way through the amount of stuff Microsoft has installed on the device, you end up with a flat 16 gigabytes of open space. Ding.

I was going to say something witty about how the Surface doesn’t really have a price advantage with regard to regard to flash memory, doesn’t have a Retina screen, and has dozens of amazing apps to download in its store, but then I decided to just link to this post from CNet complaining about the iPad 3 only had 28 GB of space available out of the box.