A digital revolution? Not really

For more than 10 years, Cabling Installation & Maintenance magazine has been a source of useful and timely information that, thanks to those at the United States Postal Service, has traveled through rain, snow, sleet, and hail to reach your mailboxes.

For more than 10 years, Cabling Installation & Maintenance magazine has been a source of useful and timely information that, thanks to those at the United States Postal Service, has traveled through rain, snow, sleet, and hail to reach your mailboxes. From time to time, subscribers have told me interesting and sometimes colorful stories about their collections of issues, where they keep the magazine month-to-month, and what other (biological) activities they are engaged in as they read the current issue. I take most of these remarks as compliments, and try real hard not to think about the others.

Over the past few years, we have tried to keep up with the way that you, our audience, receives and uses information. Specifically, and most notably, the Internet has made a significant impact on how the whole world delivers and receives information. For a while, people like me who work on printed magazines were being told that we would be extinct. We'd better secure employment with dot-coms or our careers were over, because printed publications were going away quickly. Everything was going digital.

Luckily for me, I got to keep my job on this print magazine and step into the realm of digital information at the same time. CI&M launched several digital products in the late 1990s. We completed the first of several Web site revamps and began posting news stories regularly.

Today, we update the site daily with news from the cabling and telecommunications industries. We also launched a newsletter, "Cabling News," that is delivered via e-mail. It goes to subscribers every other Friday and includes the top news stories from our Web site.

I mention all this not just to thump my chest and boast about some of the magazine's accomplishments, but because this month, you will have the opportunity to change the way you receive and read it.

From all of you who signed up for a subscription, we collected contact information. Those of you who provided us with your e-mail address will receive, a little later this month, an e-mail with a link that will take you to a digital version of this magazine.

The digital version is a sample that will include several pages from this month's issue. It will include both editorial and advertising pages (hey, we still have to pay our bills).

After viewing the digital magazine, if you decide you would rather receive it than the printed version, you can sign up for it. Nobody will be automatically switched from the printed version to the digital version. You must specifically request digital to begin receiving it monthly. For those who opt for the digital magazine, if after a month or a few months you decide you want to receive the printed magazine again, you can.

One of my favorite figures in sports, Dallas Cowboys head coach Bill Parcells, once said, "I reserve the right to change my mind." We let you reserve that right, too.

For some time, all our printed material also has been available on our Web site, www.cable-install.com. That won't change, but I want to emphasize that the new, digital version of CI&M will differ from our online content as well. The digital version that you'll get to preview this month will look just like the pages of the magazine. You will be able to turn from one page to the next, and move back and forth throughout the issue as you please.

So, I'm asking you to hang onto this issue once you have read it, if you don't make that a regular practice. When you receive that e-mail letting you see our digital version, compare it to the one you're holding right now. Consider which one you'd rather see each month, and then make your choice—remembering that we'll give you the chance to change your mind.

I'll bet that many of you will find the digital version at least as practical as the printed one. And for those of you who have described to me in graphic detail the location in which you read your issue each month, get yourself set up with a WiFi connection so that when you link to the contents of the digital magazine, you can take your laptop with you.

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