Letters Down with Digital . Tactic Performance
Going Digital: Against... NO NO NO, please no to the suggestion to move to digital only for A to B. Maybe we are Luddites but there are a great many of us to whom the printed page is very important. The feel, the texture, the smell, the sight of the printed page, plus of course the colour, is not replaceable with something on a flickering screen. Please don’t do it, even if in time you may be forced the review the cost. A reader of many years.
Chris Cade Cade Street, East Sussex ... Going Digital: quite a horrible thought. I can’t bear to think of the possibility. However, it all seems inevitable because of the way costs are going. I have been a loyal reader of The Guardian for years (decades actually) but have stopped buying it since the New Year when the paper shrunk hugely in content with most of the interesting articles now on-line only. Well, at least that’s still free, but probably not for very much longer. I go to their web site only very infrequently for a brief, listless wander around.
I have given up reading most magazines. I used to buy a variety such as New Scientist, photo, cycling or railway magazines now and again, plus The Oldie. But I have given them all up because they cost the best part of £4 a time. So I can see the problems facing the printed media. One solution is to learn to scan-read and call in at W H Smiths occasionally. This practice may become widespread, so it adds to the problem and is therefore self-defeating.
I receive several on-line newsletters from various organisations, but to be honest I rarely read them, as the information that comes from screens is overwhelming: it all makes your eyes and brain go screwy after a while. The only newsletter I do look at is the CTC weekly digest, which usually has several links to other sites of interest, but I don’t go to these places as there’s never time, and by then I’ve gone screen brain-dead. Besides, without a very fast broadband connection, there’s always frustrating waits for photos to download, and the video links forever seem to freeze. So I’m probably missing out. But then, what you don’t know about, you don’t miss.
If A to B went digital, I would miss it a great deal, but it probably would have to be goodbye after all these years, since issue one of The Folder, in fact.Would I make an exception for A to B? I’d like to think so, but I fear not, because it would be yet another of those ephemeral items competing for attention, flicked through on screen at some late hour, to be forever forgotten, rather than that put in a little stack of A5’s on the bookcase to be consulted occasionally, especially for some inspired technical solution (eg taking a SA 5-speed hub apart or making a spring-loaded Brompton hinge).
As Woody Allen put it: ‘Down one road lies disaster, down the other lies utter catastrophe. Let’s hope we have the wisdom to choose correctly.’
Malcolm Mort, Liskeard, Cornwall ... Thanks for the warning. I’m happy to renew now, but very unlikely to continue a sub if you go digital.
David Edwards, Llanelli, Dyfed www.atob.org.uk
A to B 89 Apr 12