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The Icon Bar: News and features: Acorn User - no more CDs
 

Acorn User - no more CDs

Posted by Richard Goodwin on 09:40, 12/9/2001 | ,
 
Acorn User has stated in the current issue (October 2001) that it has implemented "an exciting new scheme in regard to extra magazine-related electronic copy", which seems to roughly equate to "no more CDs".

All content is supposed to appear instead on the Acorn User website, although at the time of writing the October content has not, as promised, been uploaded.

This step has not won fans on the newsgroups. As some have pointed out, at the time of their subscription they were promised a CD every three issues; now they have to download it at their own expense. No reduction in cost has been promised, nor an extension in their subscription. No information has been received on how AU plan to stop people who haven't bought the current issue from downloading the content for free either.
 

  Acorn User - no more CDs
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Steve Allen Message #89078, posted at 11:24, 12/9/2001
Unregistered user Acorn user went a bit crap about a year ago, still doesn't stop them bombarding me with reminders trying to get me to re-subscribe tho. And it is WAY too expensive.
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Rob Kendrick Message #89079, posted at 11:36, 12/9/2001, in reply to message #89078
Unregistered user And fairly shortly, they'll remove all the editorial, and ask people to pay a fiver for some adverts stapled together.

Oh, that's already happened. ;-)
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Guest Message #89080, posted at 12:18, 12/9/2001, in reply to message #89079
Unregistered user About a year ago, Acorn User had around 50 pages of editorial an issue... on a countup yesterday, Acorn User has 30 pages of editorial [at best], of which six are of little use if you neither know or want to know about Digital Video.

The current 50:50 ad/editorial ratio is supposedly good in the magazine industry. It's not. It's supposed to be a case of balancing the adverts around the editorial, to make the magazine a more attractive proposition for people to buy and/or read.

As a current, and soon to be former, reader of Acorn User I'm a bit pissed. I shall be venting my frustration over the telephone.. but wait will that do any good?

The Acorn User CDs were something to play with, but they've generally been pretty poor for a long time now. All the same I've paid for them and I want them...
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Rob Kendrick Message #89081, posted at 13:02, 12/9/2001, in reply to message #89080
Unregistered user You're forgetting to count the review articles etc written by employees of the company that develop/sells the product. I'd certianly count these as adverts.
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Guy Inchbald Message #89082, posted at 14:00, 12/9/2001, in reply to message #89081
Unregistered user Well, there's some interesting stuff written by Paul Middleton this month. Gets my fiver.

The 'half the editorial is ad-ware' effect is common in many disciplines, of which RISC OS's niche markets are typical. Personally I prefer ad-ware to reviews that miss out major features, which in turn is infinitely better than no AU.

But I agree that pulling the CD without prior warning is a bit naughty. What about users who have a CD drive but no web connection?
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
James Wilson Message #89083, posted at 16:50, 12/9/2001, in reply to message #89082
Unregistered user I still own an A3010, largely due to lack of money. I've been reading Acorn User for many years, and I used to happily play with the cover disks each month. Since they used CDs I store them up as I expected my Omega to arrive very soon. At present I have no Omega or CD-ROM, and can only access the internet via a Windoze PC.
I am extremely fond of RISC OS, and would like to support the platform, however with the magazine already being extremely expensive, with no *info and no way for me to easily access whatever may be on the cover CD things are not looking promising. I hope Acorn User realise their mistake and bring back the cover CD.
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
William Black Message #89084, posted at 20:47, 12/9/2001, in reply to message #89083
Unregistered user Guy, what Paul Middleton wrote was a pile of rubbish, designed to try and justify the cack-handed way he is mismanaging RISCOS Ltd. Very few companies are on Middleton's side anymore - he's in this for the money, he doesn't really give two hoots what anyone wants (32bit anyone)?

As for AU, I read it WHSmith each month. I takes, quite literally, about 5 minutes. I only really read it to check the adverts, see what offers are available etc.

The bloke who wrote the Kinetic 300Mhz review was desperately incompetent. It proves Steve doesn't bother to read what goes in the magazine.

This latest move, getting rid of CDs, is designed to save AU the bother of compiling a CD (having to find stuff) and they also save money. More cash for Tau Press for a further reduction in what you get for your cash.
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Guest Message #89085, posted at 22:21, 12/9/2001, in reply to message #89084
Unregistered user Probably a little harsh on Tau Press - whilst I disagree with the move to remove the CDs, I understand why. If Acorn User isn't selling anywhere near what it was a few years ago, the likelihood is the production of the CD costs as much as the production of the magazine... and is hence driving the cost of production up.

So loss of CD, bad....
Loss of pages, bad....
Loss of both at the same time... very bad.

Response of annoyed reader - I won't subscribe again.
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Ian Cranna Message #89086, posted at 23:04, 12/9/2001, in reply to message #89085
Unregistered user <quote> "This step has not won fans on the newsgroups" </quote>

What news groups ??
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Me Message #89087, posted at 02:18, 13/9/2001, in reply to message #89086
Unregistered user AU has long been a pathetic travesty of what it used to be - the only surprise is that it's still around, which is more a testament to the will of some people not to see the platform die than any dedication to what must be one of the world's most utterly useless collections of paper masquerading as a magazine. It has nothing going for it. Bad design, a grammatically-retarded editor with only a basic grasp of spelling and most importantly a lack of almost any interesting articles. You just need to look at websites like this one to see what it _could_ contain if Tau could be bothered.
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Guest Message #89088, posted at 02:24, 13/9/2001, in reply to message #89087
Unregistered user The AU CD website is now online:
http://www.acornuser.com/cds/october2001/!AU_CD15/PAGES/INDEX.HTM

A lot of content there. Don't forget to check the "cridits".
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Rob Kendrick Message #89089, posted at 09:48, 13/9/2001, in reply to message #89088
Unregistered user Well done Acorn User on supplying your CD on the web! Not only is it *full* of broken links, missing custom 404 pages (don't you just love .htaccess? :) and spelling mistakes, there's nothing much that interesting, nor much that warrents a CD anyway.

I think both the webmaster, the CD creator, and the editor of AU should be given a right good spanking at the least.

Do they seriously think the way to up profits to cope with falling readership is to make the magazine worse to save money? Do they know not the word 'investment' ?

Is it me, or is a large percentage of RISC OS related companies completely mismanaged?
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Rob Kendrick Message #89090, posted at 09:50, 13/9/2001, in reply to message #89089
Unregistered user Apologies for the atrocious grammar in that posting, it's early, and I've not had any coffee yet. I'll go and get my dunce hat, and sit in the corner.
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Me Message #89091, posted at 10:11, 13/9/2001, in reply to message #89090
Unregistered user I thought it made a good read this month
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Mr Jake Monkeyson Message #89092, posted at 10:17, 13/9/2001, in reply to message #89091
Unregistered user This month's AU seemed like quite a good read -- although I only seem to have been sent half an issue (joke). The size of the magazine is almost reaching Electron User dimensions, which can't be a good thing.

There seems to be a complete lack of RISC OS related advertising in the latest issue -- half the advertisers are digital camera specialists, or insurance companies. No adverts from R-Comp, Microdigital, RiscStation, many dealers... how can AU expect to survive when nobody writes for it, nobody reads it, and nobody advertises in it???
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Matthew Phillips Message #89093, posted at 11:15, 13/9/2001, in reply to message #89092
Unregistered user When they first introduced the cover CD, we were promised that the contents of the "cover discs" would be available each month on the web-site, with the CD every three or four issues containing these and extra resources on a different theme each time. First the cover disc content disappeared from the web, and through incompentance or lack of time often failed to appear on the CDs *either* (try finding some of Mike Cook's stuff) and now it's going to appear on the web again but won't appear as a CD.

The great advantage of the CDs was that they could have included big things that are a pain to download, such as TeX, GCC, IMDB. We'll have to rely on RiscWorld and Foundation Risc User for this sort of stuff now.

I can understand Tau Press doing this if they are running short of cash (which they may well be). To be honest, the last few CDs have been so bad, that their loss is no big deal.

As for advertisers of insurance and digital cameras in AU... Fine - the more money that can be brought into the Acorn market to support the Acorn economy, the better as far as I am concerned.
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Mr Jake Monkeyson Message #89094, posted at 11:22, 13/9/2001, in reply to message #89093
Unregistered user I'm not against unrelated companies advertising, but I am concerned that the number of RISC OS companies advertising is falling rapidly. This can't be a good indication of the market.

I hope that the Omega, Vantage, and RISC OS 4+ bring some life back soon.
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Ex Acorn User reader Message #89095, posted at 11:26, 13/9/2001, in reply to message #89094
Unregistered user But what's the point in offering advertisements of products which largely depend upon firewire or USB connectivity to be used on any currently available RISC OS machine???

If there are new users of Acorn computers, who's to say that they'll not accidentally buy something from one of these under the impression they'll be able to use it on their machine.

It's misleading, it's wrong ... and it's not stated anywhere that the stuff isn't Acorn compatible.
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
William Black Message #89096, posted at 12:58, 13/9/2001, in reply to message #89095
Unregistered user Tau Press don't give two hoots. They don't care whether it's misleading or not, if it gives 'em money, they'll do it.

As for CDs, just how immensely cheap do you think CD duplication must be for 4000-odd? Pennies each, at most.

What I don't understand is the complete carelessness with which Steve Turnbull treats the magazine - let's say he somehow doesn't have time to do more than just scan an article:

* how could you miss the 300Mhz blunder?
* does he not have an electronic spellchecker?
* does this then mean you can't tell the beginning and end of a sentence and/or paragraph?

Tau Press believe in RISC OS so much they use an iMac to produce the magazine. Steve believes the Acorn alternatives are not up to the job.

Acorn User could do with being bought by a decent, self-respecting publisher with an Editor that gives a hoot.
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Rob Kendrick Message #89097, posted at 13:01, 13/9/2001, in reply to message #89096
Unregistered user Having not picked up this month's rag... what was the 300MHz blunder? Perhaps we should start a website for cataloging all the blunders and mistakes the RISC OS press make :)
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Guy Inchbald Message #89098, posted at 13:13, 13/9/2001, in reply to message #89097
Unregistered user Let's all remember that most RISC OS companies nowadays are very small, even one man bands with a day job.

Every time I see AU on the newsstands it gives me a thrill to think how brilliantly it compares to other low-budget "publications" and fanzines. All honour to Tau Press and their RISC OS publishing system.

No excuse for dodgy CDs and websites though - better none than unusable.

As for PM's writings, trying to keep RISC OS alive has to be worth something - it is his day job after all. And I am somewhat heartened that he may yet do just that. The past is the past. He *is* listening and responding, time will tell if it is enough.

I'd love to see the same from a Pace person in a future issue ;)
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Guy Inchbald Message #89099, posted at 13:16, 13/9/2001, in reply to message #89098
Unregistered user oops William Black posted while I was busy writing.
there, and I thought that AU was DTPd on an Acorn.
sniffle.
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Lee Johnston Message #89100, posted at 13:18, 13/9/2001, in reply to message #89099
Unregistered user The 300Mhz blunder was the article claiming that the 300Mhz Kinetic was effectively creative advertising by Castle. The article stated that you really got a 233 Rev-T SA and that combined with 66Mhz RAM and rounded up gave the 300Mhz figure Castle were mooting.

I normally try to reserve judgement on AU until I've read it, and I usually find it a good, light (and I emphasise light) read, although the spelling and gammatical errors are unprofessional. However ATM I can't judge it because it is late yet again.
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Rob Kendrick Message #89101, posted at 18:33, 13/9/2001, in reply to message #89100
Unregistered user Ah, where in fact although it runs at 300MHz, it isn't a 300MHz part, because they don't exist. It's just a heavily over-clocked 233MHz.

<AU>Whoops.</AU>
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Michael Stubbs Message #89102, posted at 19:34, 13/9/2001, in reply to message #89101
Unregistered user No it's not. Castle are being supplied with chips suitable to be clocked
at 300Mhz by Intel. That is, Intel know what they are doing and
are supplying suitable chips.

But I think the point that William B is trying to make is that
AU made an embarrassing balls-up and insulted Castle at the same
time.
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Ben Brook Message #89103, posted at 20:13, 13/9/2001, in reply to message #89102
Unregistered user As webmaster of acornuser.com I would like to begin by apologising for the lack of a link from the web site to the location of the CDs which have been there since the beginning of the week. Unfortunately the upload of these CDs coincided with me having to wade through a lot of paperwork regarding personal matters and so links to the CDs were not made until last night. However, I accept no responsibility for the good or bad quality of the structure of what would have been on the CD. Any broken links within the contents of the would-be CD are dealt with by a third party. I was only asked to link to those CDs as soon as they were uploaded. Again, I'd like to apologise for any inconvenience caused by this and will endeavour to avoid this problem again.
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Rob Kendrick Message #89104, posted at 20:53, 13/9/2001, in reply to message #89103
Unregistered user Micheal: Suitable to be /overclocked/ to that speed. They're still 233MHz parts overclocked. They just don't get given the crap ones that run fine at 233, which means it's just more expensive, and they're not curing the real bottleneck, just pumping up the numbers for bugger all speed increase.
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
George the Hippo Message #89105, posted at 23:23, 13/9/2001, in reply to message #89104
Unregistered user Take a look at the graph - 350 MIPS for a 300MHz Kinetic compared to ~260MIPS for a standard Kinetic. That's more than a meagre increase.
'Bottleneck' - What Bottleneck?
The RAM is clocked at 122MHz if I remember correctly.
The only bottleneck it seems, is figurative. That is, the lack of 26bit-capable chips with faster clockspeeds. Castle were quick to obtain the faster StrongARMs when they noticed them as a esult of their relationship with Intel.
If Castle could sell machines on the scale of Apple for example, Intel would no doubt continue 26-bit emulation in faster chips.

  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Lee Johnston Message #89106, posted at 09:41, 14/9/2001, in reply to message #89105
Unregistered user Yes 350MIPs is a significant improvement over ~260MIPs, although given that it doesn't specify which instructions were being executed and what the benchmark was it doesn't really mean very much. I'm not knocking Castles efforts here - it's just that raw speed is relatively unimportant. More important is whether the computer is physically capable of doing what you want it to do in reasonable time.

I also seriously doubt Intel would retain the 26bit mode if Castle sound as many computer as Apple. The number of computers Apple sells is dwarfed by the potential sales of the embedded markets Intel are targetting - markets which would be compromised by including the 26bit mode (I'm talking PDAs, Mobile Phones, Network Processors here). Besides if Castle were selling that many machines then there would be the resolve to update RISC OS properly, which is what should happen.
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Rob Kendrick Message #89107, posted at 10:38, 14/9/2001, in reply to message #89106
Unregistered user MIPS? Meaningless Indication of Processor Speed. Also, according to Castle's site, the processor card only has support of PC100 SO-DIMMs, so it can't possibly be 122MHz, and I doubt it's faster than 66MHz (as, IIRC, the StrongARM can't address memory that quick, anyway).

Also, another major bottleneck is to the main bus, for example, IDE, Network, even when you use the PC Card.

I did some tests, such as bzipping a large file, testing how quick Slayer was etc... on my 242MHz StrongARM RiscPC (overcloked Rev. K) and a friend's 233MHz Kinetic. The bzip was slightly faster on the Kinetic (3-5%, IIRC) and the Slayer scan was actually /slower/. Plus my friend had a nice IDE card, where my RiscPC just uses the on-board.

So, people are spending large amounts of money for a 5% speed increase on processor and memory intensive tasks, and most likely slower everything else? (As the Kinetic has no DMA to anything off the processor card.)

Sounds foolish to me.
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
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