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Sky & Telescope digital edition, nxt etc questions

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#1 dpastern

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Posted 13 July 2018 - 12:28 AM

So, I'm not a frequent visitor to the forums, and only just saw the thread on S&T moving from NXT to Zinio and the cessation of PDF downloads.  Very disappointing and I'll be cancelling my subscription effective immediately, and demanding a refund like many others.  I refuse to be locked into an online digital vendor.  I also received no Email verification from S&T about switching to Zinio.  I'll call it and say that they did this on the sly deliberately.  It wasn't accidental, and it wasn't a mistake.  If that is the case, it is truly appalling.  

 

Anyway, my question relates to the NXT software on the iPad.  During my subscription, I've been downloading each month on the iPad.  I presume the download is in PDF format, but I cannot be sure.  I cannot see where the downloaded data is stored on the iPad, and none of the digital files appear in iBooks (I just checked).  Does anyone know if it's possible to find the downloaded local files on the iPad, if so, are they PDFs, and if so, is it possible to import them into iBooks?  I am presuming that the only way to get PDFs into iBooks is to download them on a computer, then synch the iPad to the computer and transfer the actual PDF files to the iPad.  However, I'd love to be wrong.

 

Input appreciated.

 

Cheers,

 

Dave

 

PS to anyone who has cancelled their subscription because of this, did you receive a partial refund, effective from the date of cancellation until the end of the subscription?

 

edit: a spotlight search on my iPad does not find any of the downloaded months via the NXT app.  The data is there, but hidden.  Excellent transparency Apple.  NOT.  A user should *always* have access to their own data.  


Edited by dpastern, 13 July 2018 - 01:26 AM.

 

#2 Redbetter

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Posted 13 July 2018 - 01:50 AM

Since you have been able to get access to the digital edition in the past, and others have said that the pathway still works for them, I suggest you go to a computer, log in and download pdf's from there.  I would do that before cancelling.

 

I would download the pdf's myself, but it won't accept my address, even though they send me links to the digital edition every month...except this one.  So I am just stuck.


 

#3 dpastern

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Posted 13 July 2018 - 01:56 AM

Since you have been able to get access to the digital edition in the past, and others have said that the pathway still works for them, I suggest you go to a computer, log in and download pdf's from there.  I would do that before cancelling.

 

I would download the pdf's myself, but it won't accept my address, even though they send me links to the digital edition every month...except this one.  So I am just stuck.

yeah, I'd done for that most months already (on my Mac).  Have just downloaded the few months that I was missing.  It's just a p.i.t.a to synch the iPad and import the PDFs.  When I tell an app (on the iPad) to download a file locally, it should be transparent...and that downloaded file available outside of said app (i.e. via a file manager).  It's the one thing where iOS really SUCKS and Android kicks its behind.  


 

#4 jp071848

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Posted 13 July 2018 - 08:36 AM

Not sure of this is applicable to your specific situation with IOS, but in Android, Windows and Linux, when I download the S&T online versions from NXT, they always download as a PDF file with the filename "newtrack_st_yyyymm.pdf"

 

Best of luck finding your missing files, this whole download debacle with S&T is a very disappointing development. Fortunately, it's easy to  build PDF images from Zinio downloads, so I'll probably stay with S&T, but having full searchable PDFs would be so much nicer.


 

#5 dpastern

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Posted 13 July 2018 - 10:15 AM

Not sure of this is applicable to your specific situation with IOS, but in Android, Windows and Linux, when I download the S&T online versions from NXT, they always download as a PDF file with the filename "newtrack_st_yyyymm.pdf"

 

Best of luck finding your missing files, this whole download debacle with S&T is a very disappointing development. Fortunately, it's easy to  build PDF images from Zinio downloads, so I'll probably stay with S&T, but having full searchable PDFs would be so much nicer.

yeah if only it was that easy...it seems Apple has a severe aversion to users being able to search their device for files...spotlight is USELESS (hell, I drop to a terminal and use find or locate and it's far easier, especially since I can use grep, gawk, sed etc).  I downloaded a few free supposed "file explorers" for iOS and they're all totally useless.  I mean, I have music downloaded to the iPad (via iTunes and synced from the Mac) and they don't even find any of those music files...it's CRIMINAL that Apple doesn't include a proper file explorer.  But hey, it's Apple...don't even get me started on that company.  

 

I don't want complex or time consuming PDF stitching stuff to deal with, I just wanna find the files that the NXT app downloaded, to my **** iPad, which I bloody well OWN.  My iPad.  My Data.  I *should* have the to see it, and do with it, as I wish.  Android lets me, but AndroidOS sucks for other reasons, and out of the 2, I'd pick iOS any day of the week.  They could both learn a tonne from each other, and stop screwing customers/users over at the same time.  But nah...


 

#6 jp071848

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Posted 13 July 2018 - 11:12 AM

yeah if only it was that easy...it seems Apple has a severe aversion to users being able to search their device for files...spotlight is USELESS (hell, I drop to a terminal and use find or locate and it's far easier, especially since I can use grep, gawk, sed etc).  I downloaded a few free supposed "file explorers" for iOS and they're all totally useless.  I mean, I have music downloaded to the iPad (via iTunes and synced from the Mac) and they don't even find any of those music files...it's CRIMINAL that Apple doesn't include a proper file explorer.  But hey, it's Apple...don't even get me started on that company.  

 

I don't want complex or time consuming PDF stitching stuff to deal with, I just wanna find the files that the NXT app downloaded, to my **** iPad, which I bloody well OWN.  My iPad.  My Data.  I *should* have the to see it, and do with it, as I wish.  Android lets me, but AndroidOS sucks for other reasons, and out of the 2, I'd pick iOS any day of the week.  They could both learn a tonne from each other, and stop screwing customers/users over at the same time.  But nah...

I hear ya. We had one of the original Ipads for my wife when they first came out, and as "system administrator", I had to put up with the bloody thing for WAY too long. I eventually had to put my foot down and got her a gorgeous Samsung tablet which is much easier to run unlocked and rooted, with a custom ROM. Now if I could find a decent Linux-compatible tablet that takes a separate keyboard, I'd be very happy.

 

Sorry I don't know much about modern Ipads and their hardware configurations, but how do you go about reading a distinct PDF file that you want to import from another device? Do Ipads have a USB port or an SD card slot or does Apple still think you don't need those?


 

#7 dpastern

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Posted 13 July 2018 - 11:49 AM

I hear ya. We had one of the original Ipads for my wife when they first came out, and as "system administrator", I had to put up with the bloody thing for WAY too long. I eventually had to put my foot down and got her a gorgeous Samsung tablet which is much easier to run unlocked and rooted, with a custom ROM. Now if I could find a decent Linux-compatible tablet that takes a separate keyboard, I'd be very happy.

 

Sorry I don't know much about modern Ipads and their hardware configurations, but how do you go about reading a distinct PDF file that you want to import from another device? Do Ipads have a USB port or an SD card slot or does Apple still think you don't need those?

no USB port, no SD/microSD slot.  Apple thinks that its inbuilt memory is more than sufficient...I mean, who'd buy an iPhone X 256GB for what, $1500 if you could get the base unit with say 32GB for $400 and add a $200 microSD card...it's the same reason why Apple hard solders RAM and HDDs to their boards now...charge you triple the going rate for the part...price ripoff!  (it's why I'll *never* buy another Apple MacBook Pro).

 

A linux based (not Android!) device would be awesome, but sadly, Linux on the desktop is DEAD.  

 

Typically, I'll grab the PDF on my Mac, plug the iPad in, open up iTunes (terrible application), select the device (if not already auto selected), choose the file type (music/video/book etc), then choose the actual file and mark it as sync, then click sync and done.  It's just a right royal p.i.t.a when the **** file exists on the iPad already (since the NXT app downloaded it).  

 

As I said, it's my data, my device, I should be able to see what's on it, and do whatever I want with said data.  For too long, technology companies have been given a free ride by governments and allowed to screw consumers over...


 

#8 michael h

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Posted 13 July 2018 - 01:02 PM

Copied from a prior response

 

Unfortunately, our issue PDFs continue to appear on file-sharing sites, despite our best efforts (simply google "Sky and Telescope PDF"). The company has the right to protect its content. Zinio is the same reader that our closest competitor uses.

 

 

 

Yes S&T does have a right to protect its content.   When I was in college I worked for six years in the retail grocery industry.  We had a similar problem to media piracy.  We called it shoplifting and more of it goes on than most people know of. 

Instead of making life more complicated / difficult for the good customers we concentrated on stopping the shoplifters.  The business owner had a saying that you have the ability to make a happy customer every time they walk in the door,  you only get one chance at making them mad.

 

I did not receive any notification from S&T or Zinio but I have received e-mails from Zinio to purchase other on line magazines that I have no interest in.

If S&T refuses to continue the PDF  they have had their one chance.  I will not renew.

 

Mike H


Edited by michael h, 13 July 2018 - 02:44 PM.

 

#9 ascii

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Posted 13 July 2018 - 04:27 PM

I can go to the Sky and Telescope web site with Safari on my iPad, where I am logged in with my digital subscription account id.

  • Click on the "Magazine" menu on the black toolbar.
  • Select "Current digital issue".
  • It loads the July issue into its web-app interface.
  • Click on the "PDF" link.  It loads the PDF.
  • I can select the "box and arrow" icon in the Safari tool bar and copy the PDF to iBooks, or any other compatible app, such as DropBox.
  • I can return to the web app and select the icon that looks like a staggered stack of magazines to get to the archives.
  • Clicking on any issue, it churns for a long time, but it eventually loads.
  • Repeat the PDF download procedure.

Hope this helps!


 

#10 dpastern

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Posted 14 July 2018 - 12:32 AM

I can go to the Sky and Telescope web site with Safari on my iPad, where I am logged in with my digital subscription account id.

  • Click on the "Magazine" menu on the black toolbar.
  • Select "Current digital issue".
  • It loads the July issue into its web-app interface.
  • Click on the "PDF" link.  It loads the PDF.
  • I can select the "box and arrow" icon in the Safari tool bar and copy the PDF to iBooks, or any other compatible app, such as DropBox.
  • I can return to the web app and select the icon that looks like a staggered stack of magazines to get to the archives.
  • Clicking on any issue, it churns for a long time, but it eventually loads.
  • Repeat the PDF download procedure.

Hope this helps!

of course!  Yes!  I feel so "duh" that I didn't think of this simple solution myself.  

 

PERFECT solution.

 

Thank you!

 

edit: Safari no longer gives you the option to open up PDFs in iBooks via the box and arrow icon.  FireFox still lets you do it though.  However, in Safari, with the PDF open, if you hover just below the toolbar, a floating option comes up, offering you to open in iBooks.  So, either way, it does work, just not quite as you described with the box and arrow!


Edited by dpastern, 14 July 2018 - 01:24 AM.

 

#11 ascii

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Posted 14 July 2018 - 07:28 AM

of course!  Yes!  I feel so "duh" that I didn't think of this simple solution myself.  

 

PERFECT solution.

 

Thank you!

 

edit: Safari no longer gives you the option to open up PDFs in iBooks via the box and arrow icon.  FireFox still lets you do it though.  However, in Safari, with the PDF open, if you hover just below the toolbar, a floating option comes up, offering you to open in iBooks.  So, either way, it does work, just not quite as you described with the box and arrow!

I'm glad it worked out for you.   When you say "hover" it makes me suspect that you are doing this in macOS instead of iOS.  My instructions were based on my attempts in iOS on my iPad.  On the iPad I verified that the steps work as I had listed them, so with your additional tip, we have both iOS and macOS covered.  waytogo.gif


 

#12 dpastern

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Posted 14 July 2018 - 07:35 AM

I'm glad it worked out for you.   When you say "hover" it makes me suspect that you are doing this in macOS instead of iOS.  My instructions were based on my attempts in iOS on my iPad.  On the iPad I verified that the steps work as I had listed them, so with your additional tip, we have both iOS and macOS covered.  waytogo.gif

iPad (v4 or whatever Apple calls it), less than a year old, not quite up to date on iOS.  Safari's box/arrow does NOT give me the option to save to iBook (I've actually tried this before).  Only FireFox has that functionality now.  If I'm viewing the PDF in a Safari tab, i can move my finger up towards the top of the page, just below the toolbar, and the option to open in iBook becomes available.  AFAIK, MacOS *only* applies to Apple Computers and not their phones/tablets.  My MBP is a mid 2010, so is not able to be upgraded to MacOS (stuck on El Capitan).  This is simply because of the ROM chip on the motherboard, no other sane reason why it can't be upgraded (in fact, Apple uses the ROM chip to stop you from being able to upgrade to MacOS).  Disgusting behaviour.  

 

What some Louis Rossman videos on YouTube and you'll see how dodgy Apple's designs are, and how terrible their conceit is for their customers.  

 

PS I spent 18 months working for Apple as tech support circa 2003.  Thoroughly unpleasant company to work for, would never work for another American company ever again in my life.  I intend on buying no further Apple products.


 

#13 bobhen

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Posted 14 July 2018 - 08:11 AM

Copied from a prior response

 

Unfortunately, our issue PDFs continue to appear on file-sharing sites, despite our best efforts (simply google "Sky and Telescope PDF"). The company has the right to protect its content. Zinio is the same reader that our closest competitor uses.

 

 

 

Yes S&T does have a right to protect its content.   When I was in college I worked for six years in the retail grocery industry.  We had a similar problem to media piracy.  We called it shoplifting and more of it goes on than most people know of. 

Instead of making life more complicated / difficult for the good customers we concentrated on stopping the shoplifters.  The business owner had a saying that you have the ability to make a happy customer every time they walk in the door,  you only get one chance at making them mad.

 

I did not receive any notification from S&T or Zinio but I have received e-mails from Zinio to purchase other on line magazines that I have no interest in.

If S&T refuses to continue the PDF  they have had their one chance.  I will not renew.

 

Mike H

I know this is painful for S & T to hear and for all print/digital publishers for that matter. But it is 2018 and not 1978.

 

How much “original” content is in every S & T issue anyway? Most of that content can be found online for free – star charts, sky maps, astronomy news and happenings etc. can all be lifted from other sources.

 

S & T has got to stop thinking like it’s 1978. For publishers today you don’t want to “protect” or “hinder” you want to “disseminate”. “Easy” access to S & T content that can be easily downloaded and used in schools and clubs and shared yes shared, etc. is the new business model.

 

Again, I know this is counterintuitive and painful for publishers but more and easier access means more readers and that should (with some good, unique articles) bring more advertisers. If you protect content or make life difficult for consumers they have so many alternatives today that leaving is just too easy, as S & T will learn.

 

Cloudynights is a FREE site with FREE articles/reviews and FREE classified ads that I’m sure cost Astronomics a pretty penny to keep going BUT it must be a profit center for their core business otherwise it would not be worth it.

 

Forget protecting and think sharing. Share until it hurts. Attracting readers at ALL costs is the new internet/2018 business model. More readers means more advertising. Be creative. Think new.

 

Facebook isn’t protecting anything – they make billions.

 

Bob


 

#14 ascii

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Posted 14 July 2018 - 08:16 AM

I'm not sure what's going on in your case, but the box-and-arrow menu works on mine, iPad Air 2, iOS 11.4.1 (the latest).  I copied a PDF issue to iBooks just this morning.  Here's a screenshot showing what I see in Safari, with options to copy to both iBooks and Dropbox.

 

Whatever the solution, it can be done, and that's the important thing.

 

 

 

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#15 sanderb

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Posted 14 July 2018 - 08:38 AM

iPad (v4 or whatever Apple calls it), less than a year old, not quite up to date on iOS.  Safari's box/arrow does NOT give me the option to save to iBook (I've actually tried this before).  Only FireFox has that functionality now.  If I'm viewing the PDF in a Safari tab, i can move my finger up towards the top of the page, just below the toolbar, and the option to open in iBook becomes available.  AFAIK, MacOS *only* applies to Apple Computers and not their phones/tablets.  My MBP is a mid 2010, so is not able to be upgraded to MacOS (stuck on El Capitan).  This is simply because of the ROM chip on the motherboard, no other sane reason why it can't be upgraded (in fact, Apple uses the ROM chip to stop you from being able to upgrade to MacOS).  Disgusting behaviour.  

 

What some Louis Rossman videos on YouTube and you'll see how dodgy Apple's designs are, and how terrible their conceit is for their customers.  

 

PS I spent 18 months working for Apple as tech support circa 2003.  Thoroughly unpleasant company to work for, would never work for another American company ever again in my life.  I intend on buying no further Apple products.

MBP mid 2010 is supported even by High Sierra. If you look in "About This Mac", does it really say mid 2010? There are also patch tools available to run it on unsupported 2008/2009 Macs, but on some systems your WiFi may not work if you do.


 

#16 dpastern

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Posted 15 July 2018 - 12:37 AM

MBP mid 2010 is supported even by High Sierra. If you look in "About This Mac", does it really say mid 2010? There are also patch tools available to run it on unsupported 2008/2009 Macs, but on some systems your WiFi may not work if you do.

my bad, meant mid 2009.  I've seen the ROM hacks, no thank you.  Ugly.  The sad thing is, the 2009 MacBook Pros unsupported.  The 2009 MacBooks (non pro) are supported.  Whoever did this at Apple needs a lobotomy.  

 

I'm not sure what's going on in your case, but the box-and-arrow menu works on mine, iPad Air 2, iOS 11.4.1 (the latest).  I copied a PDF issue to iBooks just this morning.  Here's a screenshot showing what I see in Safari, with options to copy to both iBooks and Dropbox.

 

Whatever the solution, it can be done, and that's the important thing.

Sadly, iBooks does not appear in the list, and I can't seemingly add it.  Took some screenshots of what I see, but for some reason they're not arriving at my Email address yet, will check later and add them to my post.


 

#17 Marty0750

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Posted 15 July 2018 - 03:55 AM

of course!  Yes!  I feel so "duh" that I didn't think of this simple solution myself.  

 

PERFECT solution.

 

Thank you!

 

edit: Safari no longer gives you the option to open up PDFs in iBooks via the box and arrow icon.  FireFox still lets you do it though.  However, in Safari, with the PDF open, if you hover just below the toolbar, a floating option comes up, offering you to open in iBooks.  So, either way, it does work, just not quite as you described with the box and arrow!

This works only up to July 2018 issue. After that it is only via Zinio - no PDF download - unless I missed a step somewhere.


 

#18 dpastern

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Posted 15 July 2018 - 05:15 AM

This works only up to July 2018 issue. After that it is only via Zinio - no PDF download - unless I missed a step somewhere.

Correct.  

 

And for how long it'll work, who knows.  I'd say S&T will be actively working as fast as possible to remove the books from the NXT library, so that they are inaccessible on that particular platform, and ONLY available on Zinio.  Terrible customer service and support from S&T.  


 

#19 dpastern

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Posted 15 July 2018 - 05:22 AM

OK, screenshots to prove that there is ZERO option for me to export PDFs to iBooks on my iPad...

 

41611958840_a4062d8f4f_b_d.jpg

 

41611959060_1c8f2c4bf2_b_d.jpg

 

and if you go to press on more, this is what you see...

 

41611959290_051e95bc7c_b_d.jpg

 

41611959500_18e266e07d_b_d.jpg

 

as you can see, there is no option to even add iBooks to the list of apps...more retardation from Apple.  

 

A pretty O/S does not make a well designed O/S.  I don't know who does Apple's beta testing, but their iOS software is as buggy as hell.  Mail?  Can't search for a string...I can't remove Facebook and Twitter from the settings sub control panel (they are bloody *hard* wired there).  

 

I found a bug with the wifi tethering 6+ months ago and took the time to speak to someone at Apple (tier 3 actually) and report it.  The guy was gobsmacked at the simplicity of the bug.  It still hasn't been fixed.  

 

I know many people today are sheeple, and believe that companies give them the very best quality, and this is part of the reason why society is going South at a rate quicker than the Titanic sinking.


 

#20 rmollise

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Posted 15 July 2018 - 10:41 AM

Yes S&T does have a right to protect its content.   When I was in college I worked for six years in the retail grocery industry.  We had a similar problem to media piracy.  We called it shoplifting and more of it goes on than most people know of. 
Instead of making life more complicated / difficult for the good customers we concentrated on stopping the shoplifters.  The business owner had a saying that you have the ability to make a happy customer every time they walk in the door,  you only get one chance at making them mad.

 
So, your grocery company installed security/inventory control systems. They had no other effective way to stop stealing. Some customers were annoyed when the device at the door beeped and they were asked for their receipt. Most realized a few annoyances like this were preferable to higher prices, or possibly the store going out of business.
 
Guess what? S&T not being offered in a theft-prone .pdf is an inventory control system. wink.gif

Edited by rmollise, 15 July 2018 - 10:42 AM.

 

#21 ascii

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Posted 15 July 2018 - 10:52 AM

If you still have Facebook and Twitter in your Settings, in the absence of their apps, you must be running a version of iOS that is earlier than 11.  They were removed in iOS 11.  I don't know if having an older version of iOS causes the Safari/iBooks/PDF feature to be missing, but it might be worth updating the OS.

 

As far as searching for strings in emails, there is a way to have it show results based on email message content instead of just People or Subjects.   It's not the best implementation, but it works.

 

To search email contents, type the search text in the search box just the same as you would when searching People or Subjects.  Let's say your searching for "Saturn".  The first result in the list, just above Top Hits shows a magnifying glass icon followed by - Search for "Saturn".  Tap that field, and it will switch to showing the results of a message content search.  To restrict the search to exact multi-word strings, place quotes around the string.  Unfortunately, I haven't found a way to make it either highlight all of the results within the displayed email message, or step through the email message, highlighting individual results as you go.

 

I'm under no delusion that Apple does everything right.  They certainly don't.  Witness the recent MacBook Pro keyboard debacle.  I just consider them to be less terrible than most of the competition.  The areas I give them highest, though imperfect, marks on are for their focus on security and privacy.  As for one of their competitors, Google's chrome OS is reported to be exceptionally secure, but privacy with Google is almost nonexistent.  Their business is selling your information to advertisers and heaven knows who else.


 

#22 dpastern

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Posted 16 July 2018 - 01:12 AM

 
So, your grocery company installed security/inventory control systems. They had no other effective way to stop stealing. Some customers were annoyed when the device at the door beeped and they were asked for their receipt. Most realized a few annoyances like this were preferable to higher prices, or possibly the store going out of business.
 
Guess what? S&T not being offered in a theft-prone .pdf is an inventory control system. wink.gif

oh Uncle Rod...is it wise to tick off 90% of your customer base, to protect 5% of revenue?  I think not...

 

If I'm out in the field, with no wifi/connection and want to access a S&T article, I can't with Zinio.  That's a major usage issue that having locally stored PDFs corrects.  

 

Yes, it's S&T's product and they can do whatever they want with it.  And, it's MY money and I can do whatever I want with it.  Since I've cancelled my subscription part way through the year, I expect a pro-rata refund from S&T, and if they won't do that, I'll be instructing my credit card company to do a chargeback.  I'm pretty confident that my credit card company will side with me on this.


 

#23 dpastern

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Posted 16 July 2018 - 01:17 AM

If you still have Facebook and Twitter in your Settings, in the absence of their apps, you must be running a version of iOS that is earlier than 11.  They were removed in iOS 11.  I don't know if having an older version of iOS causes the Safari/iBooks/PDF feature to be missing, but it might be worth updating the OS.

 

As far as searching for strings in emails, there is a way to have it show results based on email message content instead of just People or Subjects.   It's not the best implementation, but it works.

 

To search email contents, type the search text in the search box just the same as you would when searching People or Subjects.  Let's say your searching for "Saturn".  The first result in the list, just above Top Hits shows a magnifying glass icon followed by - Search for "Saturn".  Tap that field, and it will switch to showing the results of a message content search.  To restrict the search to exact multi-word strings, place quotes around the string.  Unfortunately, I haven't found a way to make it either highlight all of the results within the displayed email message, or step through the email message, highlighting individual results as you go.

 

I'm under no delusion that Apple does everything right.  They certainly don't.  Witness the recent MacBook Pro keyboard debacle.  I just consider them to be less terrible than most of the competition.  The areas I give them highest, though imperfect, marks on are for their focus on security and privacy.  As for one of their competitors, Google's chrome OS is reported to be exceptionally secure, but privacy with Google is almost nonexistent.  Their business is selling your information to advertisers and heaven knows who else.

Yes, I'm not running the latest iOS on the iPad in question - experience has taught me to be very wary upgrading iOS.  Given that iOS 11 has been out for a while now, I shall upgrade and re-test, hopefully it fixes the issue.  

 

I've never been a fan of spotlight, hate it with a passion.  I'd much rather drop to a shell and use find.  Having a search facility inside the mail App is a simple thing that many customers would want.  It's a basic function.  It's a design faux pas.

 

I've been in the IT industry 15 years, as has my best mate.  He wouldn't touch a new MBP if Apple threw it at him.  He was lucky to just sneak in and get the last decent 13" MBP, although RAM and HDD are hard soldered, which I am thoroughly against.  I've had a few arguments with Apple about that.  


 

#24 Tony Flanders

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Posted 16 July 2018 - 04:58 AM

oh Uncle Rod...is it wise to tick off 90% of your customer base, to protect 5% of revenue?  I think not...

 

If I'm out in the field, with no wifi/connection and want to access a S&T article, I can't with Zinio.  That's a major usage issue that having locally stored PDFs corrects.  

 

Yes, it's S&T's product and they can do whatever they want with it.  And, it's MY money and I can do whatever I want with it.  Since I've cancelled my subscription part way through the year, I expect a pro-rata refund from S&T, and if they won't do that, I'll be instructing my credit card company to do a chargeback.  I'm pretty confident that my credit card company will side with me on this.

You're both right, of course.

 

Rod is right that it's silly to compare internet piracy with shoplifting. Shoplifting can never be stopped, but there are various was to discourage it strongly, and make it not worth anybody's while unless they're desperate.

 

By contrast, it's exceedingly difficult to discourage internet piracy unless you have the resources of a multi-billion-dollar company at your disposal, and even then you can only make a minor dent -- never recovering as much as you spend on countermeasures. Internet piracy costs nothing and is very nearly risk-free. To steal something from a store, you have to physically walk inside it, risking arrest. To steal something on the internet, you sit at a desk in some remote country that has tenuous relations with the U.S., risking nothing.

 

I haven't asked anybody at S&T, so I don't know whether this whole affair was initiated by the parent company, or stemmed from an incident right here on Cloudy Nights. But I was pretty shocked when someone here blithely posted something to the effect, "Wow, cool, here's a site where you can download PDFs of S&T issues." It should have been instantly obvious to the poster that the site was illegal, and that it was unethical at best to bring attention to it on Cloudy Nights. But now the cat is out of the bag ...

 

Having said that, I don't see any way to stuff the cat back in the bag. I was pretty startled when S&T first started digital publication in a way that allowed PDFs to be downloaded. It is indeed a very nice feature for the digital subscriber, but very few publications provide it, precisely because it makes piracy essentially effortless. It seemed rash to me at the time, but I didn't want to call attention to it, because I benefited from it too. (I was working at S&T then.)

 

The irony is that if S&T had never provided this feature, then nobody would have come to expect it, and nobody would resent the fact that it's now unavailable. But it's quite true -- once you have provided a benefit for free, no matter how rashly, you can't take it away without alienating a lot of people. Sort of a darned-if-you-do, darned-if-you-don't situation.

 

In fact, the internet is a darned-if-you-do, darned-if-you-don't across the entire journalism profession. Every major news organization needs to have a website for credibility, but nobody makes money from it. There's no way that advertising revenues are going to cover your costs unless your name is Google, Amazon, or Facebook.

 

No doubt Sky & Telescope's days are numbered. It's a pity, because it is a venerable organization, and still provides a standard of consistency and quality that has no counterpart on the free internet. But it's impossible for an organization with a paid staff to compete forever with information provided by large numbers of highly competent volunteers. Especially in astronomy, which was the second area (after particle physics) where the World Wide Web was applied. All things considered, it's amazing that S&T has held on as long as it has, and continues to provide such high-quality content while still making a profit.


Edited by Tony Flanders, 16 July 2018 - 05:02 AM.

 

#25 dpastern

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Posted 16 July 2018 - 06:05 AM

 

or stemmed from an incident right here on Cloudy Nights. But I was pretty shocked when someone here blithely posted something to the effect, "Wow, cool, here's a site where you can download PDFs of S&T issues." It should have been instantly obvious to the poster that the site was illegal, and that it was unethical at best to bring attention to it on Cloudy Nights. But now the cat is out of the bag ...

 

 

The irony is that if S&T had never provided this feature, then nobody would have come to expect it, and nobody would resent the fact that it's now unavailable. But it's quite true -- once you have provided a benefit for free, no matter how rashly, you can't take it away without alienating a lot of people. Sort of a darned-if-you-do, darned-if-you-don't situation.

I'm not condoning piracy, don't get me wrong.  And, if someone posted a link to a site to illegally download S&T PDFs on CN, then that thread/post should have been removed, with the offending user given a temporary ban at least.  But, mods can't see everything that happens on here, and always react in a fast enough time.  

 

I once asked S&T about the CD collections that they offer - if the monthly magazines were in PDF format or not.  I was told that they were not, but an included reader was on the CD/DVD in question.  I declined to buy the collections, and still haven't to this day, for that particular reason.  If the vendor won't provide me with a PDF, they don't get my money.  That's how I play.  If others are happy to accept being treated like this, that's up to them.  I am not.  Nor will I ever be.  I expect to be treated like a customer, NOT a criminal.  

 

As to this stopping piracy, I call BS.  Someone will buy the print version and scan it to PDF, I guarantee it.  And pirated PDFs will still be available.  The only people that will lost out are the legit customers who PAID money for the service.  

 

There is also the argument of the original sale contract included the option to download the magazine as a PDF.  A contract is an agreement between 2 persons, and despite modern court rulings that allow businesses to change the terms of a contract at whim, I do not recognise that this is legal.  A contract amendment MUST be agreed to by all parties to said contract, otherwise the contract is null and void.  You try selling a business on the current accepted "we can change a contract whoever we like" premise and see how that works out for you.  That the judiciary has allowed businesses to do so is criminal.  But hey, the courts have never served we the people, only big business.  I was never notified of the changes (never received the 'we're changing to Zinio" Email that S&T claims was sent) and I never agreed to it (S&T are welcome to show my digital or physical signature where I did so, oh wait, it doesn't exist).  

 

I understand that consumer protection is something alien to many Americans, but not everyone is from America.  Australians have quite high consumer protection levels, and rightly so.  Experience has taught me that business will screw over customers to make a buck.  That's how business works.  With less competition (i.e. the big corporates have bought out all the little players), there is less choice, and a greater chance of market monopoly abuse.

 

Either way I'm not ashamed to vote with my wallet or to criticise a company that I believe has treated customers with disdain.  But, I am old fashioned, and my morals are different to many people today.  People who stand up for their rights are labelled whingers and whiners and trouble makers today.  It's a faux pas to stand out from the generic crowed of idiots who gobble up any old BS that they're fed.  That ain't me.  


 


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