Insert Flap “A”: A Review of The Complete New Yorker

Posted on June 8, 2007. Filed under: Books, DRM, Humor, Main Stream Media, Software, Technology, The New Yorker |

I dithered for months about purchasing The Complete New Yorker on DVD. Although the concept was great, the product itself was a disappointment to many. Most of the criticisms focused on the excessive disk-swapping required to use the product. I knew that this would annoy me no end. The only other alternative was to purchase an external drive with all the content in one place. The New Yorker sells this item for about $200. If you buy the hard drive, however, I don’t think you get the book that comes with the DVDs. The DVD product sells in a retail store for $100, but if you are willing to wait several weeks, you can purchase it $30.00 on The New Yorker’s web site. If you do buy it there, they will throw in an update DVD as well.

I have read about ways to load the DVDs on to a hard drive that will save you the trouble of swapping DVDs. Since the method is undocumented, it’s not clear to me whether you can do this without violating the license agreement you agree to when you install the product. The license agreement brings up the topic of digital rights management.

The product’s packaging is handsome but flawed. For example, the book that accompanies the DVDs is glued to an cardboard cover (an uber cover?) that requires the reader to cart around the DVDs every time he wants to read the book. The book, it seems to me, ought to slide out of the set.

The DVD sleeve should slide out of the set, too. The DVDs are housed in a folder that is glued to the same uber outer cardboard cover as the book. There are two additional pieces of cardboard that come tucked into the folder. I guessed that they were there to stiffen the product and protect the DVDs. So I retained them. The problem is that they could slide out of the folder. If you are having trouble picturing them they are like those pieces of cardboard that the hand laundry inserts into your shirts. The only difference is that you don’t throw these away. But while you’re looking at the DVDs, what do you do with the two pieces of cardboard?

You could try to separate the book from the uber sleeve. If you do, you will notice that while the book does indeed come loose from the uber sleeve, it takes some of the cardboard from the uber sleeve with it, which is unattractive. You will also notice, if you have not already, that the book itself does not have a title printed on its spine, which will make it harder to identify when it is placed on a bookshelf. This leads to the inescapeable conclusion that the The New Yorker neither intended the book to stand alone nor contemplated that anyone might try to make it so.

I’m thinking out loud here but if the book and the sleeve were removable, in theory you could be left with an empty cardboard uber cover. What would you do with that? It’s attractively printed so I don’t think I would throw it away.

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  • Quotes of the Day

    "Writing editorials is like wetting your pants in a blue serge suit. It feels good, but nobody really notices."

    --Jack Germond

    "Famous men and women, by the act of putting themselves on display, whether as politicians, actors, writers, painters, musicians, restaurateurs, or whatever, invite public appraisal. They are all, impressively or pathetically, acting on the presumption that their ideas, their fantasies, their music, their bodies are more original than those of, say, a plumber or a certified public accountant. They are all exercising the impulse, as Mencken put it, ‘to flap their wings in public.’ This is so obvious to the critic–and, I believe, to the ordinary reader or spectator–that it seems hardly worth saying. But resentment of the practice of criticism itself is strong among professional artists (and all Presidents of the United States). There is a psychological type among them that hates critics on principle as parasites or failed performers. This is very natural but surely very childish and, in any country claiming to be civilized, actually anti-social. The existence of critics, good, bad, or indifferent, is a firm clause in the social contract between the governors and the governed in any nation that is not a dictatorship. Public figures should accept with good grace the public response to their invitations to be admired and resist the temptation to retort, except in the face of flagrant malice."

    --Alistair Cooke

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