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Thursday, June 30, 2005

Nightmare e-Zine 

Cygnus Business Media Magazine Adopts E-Book Systems' Digital Flip(R) Technology For Its Online Publication

So there I was, checking out publishing-oriented press releases on Yahoo, when I came across the above linked piece, announcing that Cygnus' The CPA Technology Advisor was now available in an E-Book Systems digital format. I hadn't tried that particular e-magazine viewer before. And I won't be doing it again.

Here's my critique of the experience:

1) It's hard to find the e-zine on the magazine's website. In fact, it's hard to find anything on the home page. It's too busy.

2) The installation process for the E-Book Systems reader was a nightmare on my system. I was asked to install active-X controls, my firewall and spyware software kicked into high gear with warnings (which I sadly overrode), and then I was presented with an 8 meg download. In the interests of research, I allowed all this to populate on my computer. I can only imagine the hoops a reader would have to go through to install this on a corporate system, where users don't have the ability to override the firewall.

3) Once the e-zine was up and running, it was, for me, very difficult to navigate. If I used the "flip" page icon, sometimes the pages wouldn't flip. If I wasn't careful, and tried to flip a page in the vicinity of an ad, I found myself bounced over to the advertiser's website. Some pages took a long time to load (I've got a nice broadband connection, and shouldn't have these issues).

4) Finally, in frustration, I tried to exit the viewer. Clicking on the 'x' somehow only allowed me to shut down other programs I had open (email, web browser) until finally, the viewer consented to exit. It reminded me of the time a few years ago when my home page was hijacked by a piece of spyware.

5) I immmediately uninstalled the viewer software, and will now run a full spyware scan to get rid of whatever junk this thing left hidden on my system. I've also got to try to get rid of the software that the viewer installed in my system tray--which didn't go away with the uninstall.

6) Summary: difficult to install, difficult to navigate, suspicious population of spyware-like stuff. This is not the way to do an e-zine. At the very least, I hope it was inexpensive for Cygnus. But the price was way too high for this prospective reader.

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