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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 08:40, 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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rpozz Message #89108, posted at 12:06, 14/9/2001, in reply to message #89107
Unregistered user I'll agree with rob there. The thing that slows down a Risc PC is anything but the CPU speed. The kinetic is a significant improvemtent, but the network cards are only 10MBits/s and expensive, the parallel port/!Printers resemble a slug, and the speed on the onboard IDE bus is dire - that's why people are producing totally new hardware to house the StrongARM.

Clocking up the processor to 300Mhz so people belive that their machine will run 1.5x faster is simply sinking to Intel's dirty tricks with the P4.

OTOH, My AMD 1.2Ghz/64MB GeForce 2 still isn't quite as responsive as my Risc PC on the desktop :-)
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Michael Stubbs Message #89109, posted at 14:07, 14/9/2001, in reply to message #89108
Unregistered user Forget the figures, if you try out a 233Mhz Kinetic against a normal 233T, it's damn site faster. A 300Mhz Kinetic is even more so.

The bus speed on the motherboard, for most mortals, does not cause any problems. Most of the files thrown around on RISC OS are not bloated and huge so most people don't notice that it is slow.

I use my Kinetic for Web and print design, the latter involving lots of graphics etc. I find the Kinetic blisteringly fast and that's compared to my business partner's 500Mhz PC.

The only thing the Kinetic slows down is access to devices that need DMA. Everything else it speeds up.

I am sure Castle have appropriate developments going on, but you can't have your new hardware until Paul Middleton disappears and someone who cares gives Castle an appropriately 32bit version of RISC OS to stick on new hardware.

Until then, the Kinetic removes all bottleknocks that the average user might encounter, namely CPU to RAM.
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Richard Walker Message #89110, posted at 15:28, 14/9/2001, in reply to message #89109
Unregistered user There is some daft stuff being said about Paul Middleton here. What's wrong with the bloke? Does anyone honestly think he's just involved with EISCOS Ltd. 'for the money'?! What money?!

Kinetic... well... the last time I looked at Castle's web site, it was claiming that a Kinetic Risc PC supported DMA. So have the DMA issues been fixed? Or are they lying?

It's quite easy to end up with big files that you want moving around discs (local or network) or printing, or whatever. Kinetic doesn't address any of these issues.
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Michael Stubbs Message #89111, posted at 19:08, 14/9/2001, in reply to message #89110
Unregistered user Yes I do honestly think so, which would be fine if he was also doing what is really required.

You must be looking at the wrong Web site. Try http://www.castle.uk.co/support/faq/kinetic.htm where it quite clearly states that there is no support for DMA. You should be careful before you accuse people of lying (again).

Kinetic does speed up printing actually. Check your facts!
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Gunnlaugur Jonsson Message #89112, posted at 03:03, 15/9/2001, in reply to message #89111
Unregistered user Just to get back on topic for a while. I looked at the 'CDs' on the Acorn User site and I after that I really understand why the didn't want to continue to publish this as a CD, it hardly contains anything. The July disc is nothing but pictures from Wakefield (good) and from NASA (???). There's some PD on the October disc but no explenation or documentation.

Looks like it's back to the days of the BBS's for PD.
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Guest Message #89113, posted at 10:27, 15/9/2001, in reply to message #89112
Unregistered user What makes the AU "internet CD" even funnier is that it's just copies of websites anyway... so REALLY worth downloading from their website where the only advantage is that it's surrounded by misspelt links. Oh... not an advantage. Oops.
Like AU itself, it's all a load of ****.
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William Black Message #89114, posted at 13:13, 15/9/2001, in reply to message #89113
Unregistered user Acorn User has some nice adverts in it though ;)

Actually, it's a serious point and one that Tau Press are using to their gain: Acorn User is the only on-the-shelf magazine that non-enthusiasts (ie serious users) might pick up and buy (or not) and see adverts from companies in. There has to be a good advertising outlet.
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Richard Walker Message #89115, posted at 15:14, 15/9/2001, in reply to message #89114
Unregistered user For claims that Kinetic offers DMA, please see: http://www.castle.org.uk/castle/kinspec.htm

A faster processor will speed up the page rendering (the hourglassing you get after clicking print, but before the printer starts working) but it will not make the parallel/serial/network port work faster!!!

I'm also stunned that you think PM is involved with RISCOS Ltd. purely for money. No-one is in the RISC OS market for pure money - there isn't much of it to be had.
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Lee Johnston Message #89116, posted at 15:56, 15/9/2001, in reply to message #89115
Unregistered user rpozz - Intel have no dirty tricks concerning the P4 - it IS faster than the P3 but (and here's the caveat) only when running code optimised for the P4 which of course most isn't. In the latest Edge LionHead are claiming a 10% speed up for Black and White by changing one (yes ONE) instruction.

An x86 processor leaves ARM processors lagging - of course a lot of that power is soaked up by the OS (although Windows and Linux are both pretty fast given they offer far more than RISC OS ever seems likely to). Due to the way it's written RISC OS is more responsive. Of course the downer is that the way it, and its applications, are written means we're not likely to see faster processors, better graphics hardware etc etc, for a long time, if at all.

Michael, Richard, in some sense you're both right. Kinetic does not physically speed up the printer - it can't but, OTOH, if it means you get control back faster then to the user it may appear as if printing has been sped up.

The Kinetic shouldn't be knocked but, as Richard points out, it does have its limitations. The lack of DMA, for example, is a real problem when manipulating large graphics that require virtual memory.

Finally back on subject I still haven't received AU but I think the dropping of the CD is simply an admission that Tau Press either don't have the resources to produce it or there simply isn't enough happening in the RISC OS market to justify it on a regular basis. It's probably a combination of both.
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Ian Cranna Message #89117, posted at 09:01, 17/9/2001, in reply to message #89116
Unregistered user I think that the AU July CD, with lots of pictures from the Wakefield Show, was a good idea. I accept that there may not have been much 'content' on the CD, but the pictures of the show are important as a reminder that we are a community of RiscOS users. If we cannot attend a particular show the pictures at least make us feel involved.

After all, have you ever seen how far it is from Aberdeen, where I stay, to Wakefield, and back again. And where on earth is Binfield ???
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Rob Kendrick Message #89118, posted at 09:23, 17/9/2001, in reply to message #89117
Unregistered user Travelling from Southampton or Cambridge is most likely further, and I manage it :)
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Lee Johnston Message #89119, posted at 11:26, 17/9/2001, in reply to message #89118
Unregistered user Railtrack reckon 6hrs to Wakefield from Aberdeen. It takes distinctly less time to do it from Ipswich (via Liverpool St - Kings Cross). It wouldn't be much different from Cambridge - either direct to Kings Cross or again via Liverpool St.

Similarly railtrack reckon less than 6 hrs from Southampton.

Sorry ;)
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Rob Kendrick Message #89120, posted at 11:43, 17/9/2001, in reply to message #89119
Unregistered user They're fibbing, then... it normally takes 5 hours just to get to Birmingham from Southampton.
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Richard Goodwin Message #89121, posted at 14:05, 17/9/2001, in reply to message #89120
Unregistered user Wouldn't the AU CD have a lot more content if, like PC coverdiscs, it contained not only completely new stuff but also a continuing resources directory with the latest copy of StrongEd, Zap, PDF viewer, Harry's font site and so on? If you're not a 'net head then getting a single copy of a decent text editor might be tricky, but keeping it up to date is nigh-on impossible. Obviously unlike the PC discs you couldn't have up-to-date web browsers on every month, but it'd make the discs a valuable resource.
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Ian Cranna Message #89122, posted at 09:08, 18/9/2001, in reply to message #89121
Unregistered user According to the AA:
Aberdeen to Wakefield is 341 miles, 6h 57mins; Southampton to Wakefield is 226 miles, 4h 11mins; Cambridge to Wakefield is 135 miles, 2h 34mins.

I win (... or lose !!) :-(
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Rob Kendrick Message #89123, posted at 11:32, 18/9/2001, in reply to message #89122
Unregistered user That's almost certainly via road, though, not train, and we all know how fantastic Virgin is at running a train service :)

Eeek! This web appliance has an awful keyboard. Ick ick ick.
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Christopher Message #89124, posted at 11:32, 21/11/2001, in reply to message #89123
Unregistered user Used to buy Acorn User until they stopped supporting the BBC in 1993. The type-in "yellow pages" then ceased to exist. I only started buying AU again a few years ago when I bought an A3010 since, although the magazine was expensive, I decided it was worth it to support Acorn computers. Then they put the price up even further and introduced the CD - which only appeared every few issues anyway. I can't afford it and don't see any point in paying a fiver for a load of adverts. I now buy Archive, a subscription mag at £3 per copy. See www.archivemag.co.uk where you can get 2 issues for free. MUCH better value for money.
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The Icon Bar: News and features: Acorn User - no more CDs