`Rolling Stone Of Technology' To Debut

SAN JOSE, Calif. - Its publishers describe it variously as a "Vanity Fair for propeller heads" and the "Rolling Stone of technology."

To others, Wired magazine will simply be "the least boring computer magazine in the world."

Wired, which will reach newsstands nationwide the first week of January, is seeking to capture the elusive market formed by the convergence of computing, communications and the media, and characterized by recent events as Apple's Newton personal digital assistant, Kodak's Photo CD and the alliance of IBM with Time-Warner Inc.

In a publishing industry characterized by comparative, qualitative product reviews and promotional photos of computer look-alikes, the San Francisco magazine's format definitely will be unique. But with constraints on corporate advertising budgets, the success of a startup magazine today is anything but assured.

Wired's stories will provide a broad context for new digital technology, a critical look at the impact of this technology on culture and society and a forum for the information elite to share news and views, said Wired's founders Louis Rossetto and Jane Metcalfe.

"If Rolling Stone covered music the way computer magazines cover the information society, it would be full of stories about amps and wah-wah pedals," said Rossetto, Wired's editor and co-publisher.

Rossetto and Metcalfe say their new magazine will appeal to early adopters of technology, the same ones who buy high-tech cars, wide-screen televisions and cellular phones. It won't have any product reviews and only one regular columnist: Nicholas Negroponte, director of MIT's Media Lab and the spiritual leader of the so-called digital revolution.

Negroponte's involvement goes beyond being a regular contributor. He was the magazine's first outside investor. Wired's only other outside investor is Charlie Jackson, founder of Silicon Beach Software, a software company.