Category Archives: Random Stuff

BackpackingLight Magazine Issue 9

(Warning: Technology rant imminent…)

I recently subscribed to BackPackingLight magazine, produced by the team at For some reason, I must have misunderstood the offering. I assumed it was a print magazine and would come in the mail. The idea of noodling over the pages at a local coffee shop sounded quite appealing.

Last night I received an email informing me that my magazine was ready for electronic pick-up. Interesting… I've read a few e-books before – so why not – save a few branches – sounds like a fine idea.

Unfortunately, BPL Magazine uses Zinio for their distribution. Zinio is the weak link in the deal.

IMHO Zinio has fallen into the same trap as the music industry – they are seemingly so paranoid about copyright infringement that they have tried to build their own form of DRM protection. Instead of simply rendering a PDF of the magazine, they have built a custom Flash based viewer. The viewer makes reading the magazine a miserable experience.

There are many flaws with it:

  • You can only zoom in predefined steps
  • You can't drag-pan the page around without using the shift modifier
  • The custom scroll bars are flaky
  • It's really slow to render
  • The print feature only prints one page at a time

I would love to know what BPL Issue 9 contains – I just can't bear to read it in this viewer.

(OK – rant over, back to your scheduled viewing :))