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The way we read the magazine is changing and the world is too

All I want for Christmas is an iPad. I’m not entirely sure why yet, other than everyone I meet nowadays seems to have one.

Well not everyone of course. Not yet anyway. But I get the feeling that it won’t be very long before these multi-functioning, ultra tactile tablets become the predominant means to deliver information.

As a purveyor of paper products the rapid move towards electronic information delivery is an interesting and challenging process. The often asked question “when will NCE be available to read on my computer?” has always brought a sense of dread - is this the death of the magazine?

Enter Apple and the question “When are you going to make NCE available on iPad?” suddenly seems much less threatening. Because as one NCE reader pointed out to me last week, “the technology now truly mimics the experience of reading paper”.

As I say, not having an iPad yet, my exposure is limited to some brief caressing in the Apple Shop. But while I accept that such devices may not be for everyone now and perhaps won’t obviate paper completely tomorrow, I’m increasingly getting the feeling that they will soon be the norm.

The sudden need for this kind of radical change in thinking has been something of a feature of 2010. As the year draws to a close it is astonishing to see how many other new norms are now upon us. We now have, for example, a government in which once sworn political enemies are finding common ground across the spectrum of policies.

“It is clear that 2011 will see more radical thoughts become the norm”

And we have been through October’s unprecedented spending review in which every section of public expenditure was challenged to deliver much more for a lot less to an extent once thought unthinkable. This week’s local authority settlements make it clear that councils will have to rethink the way that local services like road repairs, bin collections and social services are delivered.

Then there is the Localism Bill, which this week has heralded truly scary new thinking in the way public cash is spent. It means less power at the centre and more cash and control for the man in the street – whether or not he wants it or is able to handle it.

Meanwhile the Cancun G16 meeting reminded us of the scale of the challenge still facing the world to tackle climate change and the huge amount of rethinking that we still need to do in terms of renewable energy, low carbon transport and resource management.

Rest assured the future for the civil engineering profession is looking interesting. This week’s special issue on infrastructure in 2011 sets out the battleground and radical challenges facing the profession over the next 12 months and beyond.

It is clear that 2011 will see more radical thoughts become the norm. In comparison, I have to accept that simply making NCE available on the iPad now starts to seem fairly straightforward.

  • Antony Oliver is NCE’s editor

Readers' comments (6)

  • A link on the homepage to the digital copy of NCE Magazine might be a start...

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  • Andrew Munro

    While Apple might wish to be taking over the world, they haven't yet. Please don't forget that there are other mobile OS out there such as Android. Your poll should have included this as an additional answer - "No - using something else"

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  • So did Santa bring you an iPad Antony??
    Happy New Year anyway, would be glad to be involved in a way in the transition when you're starting it!

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  • As an expat who is restricted to only 4 NCE publications per year (although paying the same subs), i'd very much welcome electronic access to the UK based pulications through the ipad (which I own) or PC

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  • I would be keen to receive electronic formats of the NCE and do away with the printed edition. And why not encourage this by reducing the subs too?

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  • NCE 15 September, 2008
    'Now you can read NCE's new digital edition of the magazine on-line every Friday. The digital edition is exactly that: the entire magazine - ads and all - presented in a neat on-line package.

    All the latest civil engineering stories, civil engineering jobs, and civil engineering analysis available on-line just without the paper.

    To read the digital edition, you can either click on the 'Digital Edition' tab to the left of the screen, or simply follow this link.'

    It seems 'every Friday' actually means 'when it snows' !

    Why ?

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