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The Icon Bar: News and features: New Editor for Acorn User
 

New Editor for Acorn User

Posted by Richard Goodwin on 10:40, 31/10/2001 | ,
 
According to a posting on the comp.sys.acorn.announce newsgroup John Cartmell has taken over as editor of the Acorn User magazine. Steve Turbull will stay on as Consultant Editor and as a contributor.

John intends to add a number of new ideas to AU, including some that were contributed when he recently asked the newsgroups for input. He goes on to say, "The presence of Acorn User in the newsagents is an essential tool for the RISC OS community... Our intention is to provide an excellent read, and a source of information, for all current or potential RISC OS users."

If you want to comment directly to AU about this, email editor@acornuser.com

Source: Newsgroups
 

  New Editor for Acorn User
  This is a long thread. Click here to view the threaded list.
 
William Henry Smith Message #89334, posted at 12:00, 31/10/2001
Unregistered user Perhaps the first task is to see about actually making AU available in newsagents?! I've not seen it ANYWHERE, for MONTHS.

How can people buy it, if it's not on the shelf?!
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Andrew Weston Message #89335, posted at 14:14, 31/10/2001, in reply to message #89334
Unregistered user Gameshow would be nice to see although Steve has said there is less demand for games.
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Jon Hall Message #89336, posted at 15:07, 31/10/2001, in reply to message #89335
Unregistered user 'Less demand for games'?
Not sure about that - I remember Steve writing that everytime a game was featured on the disc/CD the issue sold out.
It's just there arn't any atm:(
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
John Hoare Message #89337, posted at 15:17, 31/10/2001, in reply to message #89336
Unregistered user Hopefully a demo of TEK...?
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Mr Jake Monkeyson Message #89338, posted at 17:31, 31/10/2001, in reply to message #89337
Unregistered user As an ex-contributor - *INFO!!!
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Chris Williams Message #89339, posted at 17:49, 31/10/2001, in reply to message #89338
Unregistered user Was I the only one who thought when *Info closed, "Oh what- I've got all this software I was going to send them too"?

Bring back *Info and I'll do a program a month :)

Chris @ drobe.co.uk
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Gerph Message #89340, posted at 21:45, 31/10/2001, in reply to message #89339
Unregistered user *Info had its day, and that day is now gone :-(

The problem is that *Info got its original appeal
from the Yellow Pages; they provided useful insights into writing code in a compact and succinct manner. Readers could pick and choose what they looked at and understand new parts of the system without having to be at a machine. This was useful. It meant that people thought before they tried doing things. Then the cover-disc came along. With a cover-disc on every mag, many more
programs could be provoded - great. There was a great mass of PD software that the PD libraries were providing, but *Info was something a little different. Not just demos or utilities, but a discussion about the tools, and a chance to follow up.

Then the yellow pages went. They were a big waste of paper, when you've got all your source on the disc, weren't they ? But the upshot of losing the yellow pages was that *Info became smaller; nobody actually bothered to look at how the things worked because... well, you had to be at the computer and looking inside the apps at the source itself. And who wants to do that, when you could be looking at the other cool things on the disc, or playing a game ?

So, the interest in actually learning from and using such things as a basis for other developments was lost. At the same time, programs were becoming larger; there wasn't so much incentive for people to work on things when the base program was hundreds of K, rather than tens - you can't just jump into such code when you're starting out; you need to be lead in with small bits that you can toy with. If the effect is impressive, so much the better.

Around this time, the Internet was taking of in a much more serious way. PD applications available to everyone, information everywhere on every topic under the sun, and - joy of joy - usenet, where you can ask the most inane and pointless questions that you would have known the answer to if you'd spent more than a few minutes thinking about the problem. Why learn from programs when you can just ask someone else how to do it ? Why experiment when someone else has probably done it already ? Why waste time on programming when the world is at your very finger tips.

The days of the enthusiast programmer are numbered. The loss of *Info is only one part of that loss, and it's not one that should shoulder the blame for this change. Attitudes are different these days.

Apologies for length.
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Mr Jake Monkeyson Message #89341, posted at 23:37, 31/10/2001, in reply to message #89340
Unregistered user When programs were in the yellow pages, they were edited so they all had the same style -- variable and procedure names, indentation etc. That was a Good Thing for learning to program.

Ne'mind.

Anyone think the magazine needs a makeover? More words per page, less huge headings, less pictures padding the articles out, nicer fonts, a more inspired in the layout -- look at something like Mac User or Digit. They look fantastic, althought they do have about five art contributors each issue...

Are there any RISC OS artists who would do a bit of imagery for a couple of the articles?
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Peter Price Message #89342, posted at 02:42, 1/11/2001, in reply to message #89341
Unregistered user IMHO Acorn User could learn a lot from the content and layout of Future Pub's Linux Format (http://www.futurenet.com/futureonline/popup.asp?div=1&id=92). The design is excellent while it's still a mag of relatively few pages.

Peter @ drobe.co.uk
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Mike Message #89343, posted at 23:54, 1/11/2001, in reply to message #89342
Unregistered user Gerph: I always wondered what happened to *Info. Your explanation was interesting and made a lot of sense. Cheers.
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
John Hoare Message #89344, posted at 15:03, 2/11/2001, in reply to message #89343
Unregistered user It also explains why I enjoyed reading computer magazines more when I was 12...
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Mr Jake Monkeyson Message #89345, posted at 15:58, 6/11/2001, in reply to message #89344
Unregistered user Got the December issue yesterday. Another so-so issue. It's very thin, despite what should be the christmas advertising and general bumper editionry.
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Lee Johnston Message #89346, posted at 16:28, 6/11/2001, in reply to message #89345
Unregistered user I've only glanced it over but I've seen a few interesting items - perhaps for the wrong reasons though.

I liked the little update on Select and RiscStations in the news briefs section. Hopefully they got a more positive reply about it than I did. I'd be interested in seeing their comments.

The letters page had three interesting letters. The first is optimistic, talking about all the adverts, and all the companies that are still around and the help given by Reflex. Oh dear!!

The second is much more realistic in my view. RISC OS machines no longer cut it for certain types of application and we're not likely to see a solution for sometime, if at all. (Yes there is hopefully Omega, but Omega will only be as good as its switching hardware and all the reams of 32bit apps out there that will run on XScale..err).

Finally I enjoyed Michael Stubbs letter, again for the wrong reasons because I don't see the problem with Matthew Price's article / opinion. I think what Matt is using his machine for is exactly the same as someone using the RiscCPS emulator - I bet no one in the RISC OS market ran out to buy a Neo-Geo to save SNK from going under....There is one other issue raised - as Michael points out you can scrounge a Kinetic machine for the cost of a PC. However I'd ask when was the last time someone saw a Kinetic importing a Word doc and maintaining all the styles, and exporting a Word doc and styles, or Excel, or Powerpoint. As a poor "student" he might need these facilities. He might even need to connect a machine to a *gasp* DHCP managed network.

If Matts happy then good luck to him.

Ok, so where did I put my flame proof overalls? ;)
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Robert Richards Message #89347, posted at 18:28, 6/11/2001, in reply to message #89346
Unregistered user I don't believe Michaels asserion that a Kinetic RPC can be had for the same price as a modern PC. You just have to look at any newspaper. Today I saw 2GHz P4, 256 MB RAM, 20gig HD, DVD, CDRW, 15" monitor, digital camera, scanner, printer and *hods* of software.
£699. Including VAT
There's a 1.5GHz P4 and some P3 versions too, going down to around 500 quid with all the above extras.

Compare with the Kinetic. It's going to be about twice that price. Plus VAT. You get - Kinetic RPC base unit, some RAM, HD and CD (I think - may be extra). Err - that's it.

Which is the better value for money?

I like RISC OS. But blind advocacy and saying they are as cheap as PC's is nonsense.
[No offence intended if Michael is reading this, but I really don't think it's true by any stretch of the imagination that PC's and RISC OS kit are in the same league as regards cost and value for money]

Don't forget that all those PC's come with USB, fast RAM, fast disc interfaces etc etc.
No, I'm sorry but it's a different world.
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
David McEwen Message #89348, posted at 18:36, 6/11/2001, in reply to message #89347
Unregistered user Lee: Just a quick comment about what you wrote about RiscCPS.

When I released the emulator, which initially only ran Capcom aracde games not SNK ones, SNK were already basically dead. Sad to say but true. The first release with Neo Geo support only ran games pre-97 (IIRC) and the games emulated were not in any way deflecting revenue from any publisher or developer (ignoring the uptake and size of RISC OS market).

Thus buying a Neo Geo machine - which haven't been available officially in the UK for many a year - would not have saved SNK as the money from a 2nd hand one would not have gone to them. Having said that I do own a Neo Geo.

I had to say something as it was a poor comparison...
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Ben Brook Message #89349, posted at 20:20, 6/11/2001, in reply to message #89348
Unregistered user Robert, I agree that you can buy a PC for the amounts you quoted but at what cost? The school where I go to 6th form and also assist a great deal in the ICT department have ditched all of their Acorns (except for 2 floating around somewhere). They have replaced them with 'cheaper' PCs. These are all-in one motherboards with memory that is really dodgy. There are countless times when moving an image slightly within a word document results in the entire page blanking out; the only cure for this is to minimise then maximise the window. Another machine periodically refuses to boot up, the only fix for this (apart from replacing the motherboard) is to open the case, extract the RAM, re-insert it and the machine works - very scientific! In another room these cheaper PCs were all supplied by what must me the worst batch of hard drives ever. If it weren't for the forward thinking of the network manager to use Drive Image bootable CDs we'd be spending ages recovering installations. I could go on with the problems we have with these 'cheap at the time' PCs. I can honestly put hand on heart and say that I have never had a major problem with any of my RISC OS compatibles - the longest I've been using Acorns personally at home is just over 4 years. Also, whenever I do have a problem I can't solve I receive some of the best service available from many of the RISC OS supporting companies and dealers. The Acorns I have were well worth the money spent on them and have more than paid for themselves by behaving for me!
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Mike Message #89350, posted at 00:17, 7/11/2001, in reply to message #89349
Unregistered user Ben: I believe you may have missed something. PC's are indeed cheaper and far, far better value than any Acorn.

The problems you describe, is the fault of the school for buying something of very poor quality at a rock bottom price. PC Chips motherboards perhaps?

The vast majority of PCs do not behave this way, even the cheap ones. For example, a PC containing a Gigabyte motherboard and Samsung memory would be inexpensive and run very reliably. (The other components would have to be of good quality too of course...)

Contrary to popular belief, Windows 9x PCs do not crash very often. Just a little care is needed over what hardware and software is installed on them. My windows 95 osr2 PC at work has run for months without a crash.

It sounds like the PCs at your school belong in the bin, not a classroom.
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Lee Johnston Message #89351, posted at 09:30, 7/11/2001, in reply to message #89350
Unregistered user Rob - I think Michael was effectively suggesting buying a second hand RPC from someone like CTA and then bunging a Kinetic board in it. Done like this you can have one for about 600 quid. True, spec wise it doesn't match a PC but it's always worth remembering that you only need that level spec PC to run something like Word because of the resources the software consumes.

I can't argue with the point about USB though.

David: Thanks for the correction. In retrospect it was a poor comparison - I should've just left it at the point that I didn't see a problem with what Matthew was doing. Mind you would comparing it to all the people who have jumped ship and now run something like Red Squirrel be closer to the mark? ;)

Mike: I agree. My Novatech Laptop has run Win98 for 3 years. The only time I've reinstalled is when I wanted to dual boot to linux. Other than that I've had few problems. The same went for an NT box I used to use. Of course I don't fill the drive with all kinds of rubbish either.
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Robert Richards Message #89352, posted at 15:12, 7/11/2001, in reply to message #89351
Unregistered user I guess the point I was trying to make was that PC's at least appear to be better value for money.

I had a PC, bought a PIII machine when they first became avaialable. Then I sold it and bought an Acorn with the proceeds. I'm glad I did that - even though there's no USB, DVD, fancy graphics etc etc because it's reliable and never let's me down.

The problem is that people see the price of a PC, and the range of things it can do. If they are lucky, they also get to see the price of a RISC OS machine and the range of things it can do. People don't think about maintenance and reliability - many people just accept that "computers crash, live with it".

There really is no easy way to convicne people, but:
a). They need to know that there is a choice
b). We need some radical new hardware
c). It needs to be reasonably priced


At the moment I can think of a couple of reasonably priced RO machines, but a and b aren't addressed at all. Fortunately, we're still getting good quality software from Cerilica, Icon, David Pilling, Iota etc.

To bring this back on topic (:-)), Acorn User could be a great way of gettign attention for RISC OS. Perhaps the new editor could see about having some free copies given away with the Whopper or one of the other general computer mags?
And how about changing the name? Acorn are gone, and most people snigger at the name. RISC OS User perhaps?

Cheers,

Robert
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
John Hoare Message #89353, posted at 15:44, 7/11/2001, in reply to message #89352
Unregistered user *That's* a good idea. People do snigger at Acorn, but seem interested in a *RISC* OS. :)
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
mentat Message #89354, posted at 15:59, 7/11/2001, in reply to message #89353
Unregistered user How about RISC FORMAT :P

Do you think that AU is up to the task? Would it stand up against scrutiny and actually attract people??

On a slightly upbeat note, I don't find that many people snigger at the Acorn brand. It's just that they tend to wonder what you're on about. Which can give you the opportunity to shock a poor member of the public (check for a history of heart problems first) by showing them the unthinkable - i.e. a desktop that isn't turquoise as standard. And the stability issue can be worth a lot of cash to some people (even though it doesn't apply to my RPC cos it's decidedly wonky - or to web browsing :(

As for bringing a discussion back on topic:

"heresey!"

:)
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Ben Brook Message #89355, posted at 16:13, 7/11/2001, in reply to message #89354
Unregistered user In other words the vast range of different components available to build a PC (has anyone done the maths to find the number of possibilities?) means that you are more prone to hardware conflicts, nasty crashes and dodgy goings on. Also, as a small aside these weren't exactly the cheapest PCs available and they weren't using motherboards manufactured by some obscure company in Taiwan.

If, of course someone can arrange (I mean arrange and not cobble together!) a presentation extolling the virtues of RISC OS and also has a large cheque to pay for 200 RISC OS machines of a decent spec to replace the PCs please come forward (I'm having enough trouble as it is to convince them to upgrade a RiscPC 600 with 4Mb RAM to something along the lines of a StrongARM, RISC OS 4 and a 32Mb RAM stick.)
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Guy Inchbald Message #89356, posted at 17:54, 7/11/2001, in reply to message #89355
Unregistered user I really like the idea of Risc User.
Almost avoids the need to rebrand RISC OS.
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Robert Richards Message #89357, posted at 23:34, 7/11/2001, in reply to message #89356
Unregistered user I thought there already was a RISC User...

How about a slogan for RISC OS too. Win XP is "Yes you can". SO we could have "RISC OS... reassuringly expensive" to nick a phrase already coined by someone else!
:-)))
And then go on to explain how it could be cheaper than a PC in the long term...

I'm sure it's perfectly possible to put together a convincing presentation extoling RISC OS, it's justa question of putting it to the wider audience.
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
mentat Message #89358, posted at 09:24, 8/11/2001, in reply to message #89357
Unregistered user What about RISC Taker :)
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
mentat Message #89359, posted at 09:56, 8/11/2001, in reply to message #89358
Unregistered user Don't get me started on RISC OS marketing techniques... I'll come out with all kinds of ribbish like:

"RISC OS Works (properly)"

"Power may corrupt, but the only way to corrupt RISC OS is with a hammer."

"The cheapest IT solution will cost you more - but you'll only have to buy it once (this decade)."

"The safest option is RISC."

"In the time it takes your RISCOS workstation to reboot, you could have ... taken one sip from your coffee."

But the most convincing of all...:
"You'll never have to run scandisk again. At all. Ever."

I am of course conveniently forgetting about a lack of functionality in various areas, but I forgive me.
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Mr Jake Monkeyson Message #89360, posted at 11:15, 8/11/2001, in reply to message #89359
Unregistered user Or:

'RISC OS: 1980s technology'

and give examples of contextual menus, anti-aliased fonts and stuff...
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
mentat Message #89361, posted at 13:46, 8/11/2001, in reply to message #89360
Unregistered user "Did you know there is an OS that is SO good, it's barely been updated for the last 5 years? And it doesn't look like it'll be changed for the next 5 either. That's how good RISC OS is. Buy it now!"
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Guy Inchbald Message #89362, posted at 16:05, 8/11/2001, in reply to message #89361
Unregistered user so whatever happened to Risc User?
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Mr Jake Monkeyson Message #89363, posted at 19:09, 8/11/2001, in reply to message #89362
Unregistered user The one published by RISC Developments, then Beebug?

Didn't they just decide to call it quits?

Its editor, Richard Hallas, went on to edit Foundation RISC User.
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
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The Icon Bar: News and features: New Editor for Acorn User