From the moment my brother-in law handed me his just-read issue 1.01 of Wired, I was hooked. I started subscribing with issue 1.02. For years, I sat down and read it when it came, devouring all the myriad stories about culture and technology, enraptured with the potential of a connected, digital world.
And then something happened with that dream of a wired age: It came into being, and it left Wired behind. Sure, Wired kept up for a while. I used Hotwired for web search a while over Yahoo!, and Wired.com was a leader in tying in print and online content (and that's not even mentioning the glory that was Wired's sister site Suck.com).
But as the Web started to grow, no one magazine could keep pace with it. For a time there in the late 90's, cover stories on Wired were all about the booming dotcom economy and the promise it held for the entire world. After the inevitable bust, Wired spent a LOT of time devoting covers to the latest Hollywood hi-tech wonder movie, a niche that Starlog aptly fills and a direction rather divergent from Wired's proto-cyberpunk roots.
Around 2003, I let my subscription lapse. I'd had enough. The future was *now*, not whenever the story was written, edited and sent off for printing. A year or so later, I picked up a free subscription again for a year, but once that was done, I didn't renew. I had had enough. I didn't need a magazine to tell me what was cool about our digital world, I had websites, RSS feeds, aggregators and podcasts to keep me up to date on what's out there in tech.
And I'm not alone: Wired subscription rates have been dropping off quickly as of late. It seems that Wired magazine is a victim of the very future it dreamed off...