If you could find the subscription list of Personal Computer World Magazine (PCW) in its startup year, 1978, you’d have a Who’s Who of the UK tech business today. The mag has died – killed by the banking recession, and Private Equity leveraging – but the industry it kick-started will always remember it. I was a founder …
A place in History
and that is just Guy. I probably read every issue of PCW. Guy and I crossed paths many times before PCW in my days at Walmore Electronics and Rapid Recall and and a few times since.
I hope you, Barry and Gordon continue to write to inform and entertain us. Perhaps you will do as I did a couple of years ago, retire but still keep your hand in because that what you enjoy.
Now I will have to rely completely on the internet and download what I want to read offline to my Be-Book.
All the best for the future of some of my favorite journalists.
Sad direction of our times
I used to buy PCW reguly upto about a year or two ago. Generaly I found myself reading what I'd already read on the web and lacking in area's that taxed the brain. Alas PCW went were most mags went and dumbed down, albeit not as much as some you still see today.
Over the whole magazine period of computing my favorits were: UNIX World (1980's mag) and of course BYTE and Dr Dobbs which is still good for a brain excercise.
One sad note and may be a scary insight to our times I went into a well known bookstore about a year ago, they had a rather large and plesant selection of mags and a went to look for the computer section, alas my eye's were laiden with what I shall call the Ladybird selection of computer mags targeted at people who's first thought at the sound of a floppy is a blue pill. I scanned the area with great intence, surely they must have a copy of Dr Dobbs I thought, alas no. I scanned all the magazine selections incase it was miss-filled to no avail. One other detail did become apparent; I could buy any one of 4 gun magazines, sad given cant legaly buy a gun in the UK yet can easily buy a computer.
The pen may be mighter than the Sword, but as far as magazines go the gun is greater than the computer it appears.
I put this concerning observation to the shop staff who took on the stance that I was talking mikawotamongo and stood there emenating early signs of a comma.
It was at this stage I thought, Hmmm lets go to old faithful, good old WH Smiths wont let me suffer a derth of dumbness, Dr Dobbs 0 GUN MAGS 3.
That was realy the last time I went to buy a computer magazine. Indeed the ones that would have a few pages of appeal are overlaiden with adverts and are thin, over glossy and cost about the 10th of the price of a full Microsoft OS upgrade. Or a 1/3rd of the price of a Mac upgrade. But wait they have a shinny DVD, of what does this contain, yes its wikclematymongo linuc distro 896beta 27, gleep. I downloaded that for free.
Real issue with magazines is that the retail model and target audience have drifted in different directions. Only real area were I can see them comming back would be in electronic form and the likes of kindle as such. I'd love to be able to have a device that was as easy to buy a mag as using a oyster swipe card and the magazine isn't costed to suport a small rainforest, another irony given in the early days the size of them was akin to such scales, indeed PCW did there best though even that reduced in size by 50% every 5 years it seemed.
So magazine wise its scientific america and the like for me, least more content than a entire years worth of computer magazines (Dr Dobbs being the only exception - if indeed that still runs). As for a final note, I miss BYTE mag, that had real content. Though going thru some of my piles I found a copy of Freelance Informer, now that was a great mag - only an agent :).
Ahh fond and not so fond memories.
I suppose as PCW are gone now, there is no harm in saying this…
I used to do the repo work for PCW in the 90's. Little known to PCW, the repo work was meant to be done by some big repo house in London. They could not cope with meeting the workload, so farmed out the work to a little repo house in Bucks where I used to work the night shift on my own.
I remember a motorbike courier arriving about 8-9 pm, dropping off a load of SyQest cartridges, with Pagemaker files and Type 1 fonts, along with a bunch of slides and pictures to scan and drop in. I had to scan all the pictures and replace the placeholders in the Pagemager files with the nice hi-res ones, then print the lot out to a film image setter. This was just the real content, not the many, many pages of ads, thank God.
Mr. Kewney, I seem to remember the odd late night phone call from the repo house in London phoning me up and screaming at me not to run the NewsPrint section as they just got a new version. In those days all we had was an ISDN link, so you can imagine I was ecstatic, especially if I had already printed and developed the film!
The worst part was being given a tiny picture ripped out of another magazine, and being expected to blow it up to half A4. As some of you may know, a printed image in a magazine or paper is made up of loads of different coloured dots (cyan, magenta, yellow and black). The problem is that when you scan it in and them print it out again, you’re prone to get interesting Newton ring effects. Also, the text on the back of the image could bleed through. On occasion, I my boss would say that he got a phone call from the London repo house complaining that PCW had chewed them out because of a crap looking image in the magazine, every time it was down to one of these pictures. Normally, we just said that they were welcome to try and do better, to their credit, they did normally come back and say fair enough, it was crap to begin with.
Still, that said, for the most part I enjoyed it, and I did enjoy being able to read PCW before it was available in the shops and without those ads.
And I remember Inmos. It sounded really cool, I think Atari launched a computer called the Perihelion that used Inmos transputers. Sadly too expensive for the average person, though I think they did sell a few to some universities.
Anyway I’ve made this post far too big. RIP PCW and keep to your deadlines Mr. Kewny :)
10 LET A%=10, B%=0, C%=100, D%=50, F$=""
20 REM DRAW SCREEN
30 GOSUB 3000: GOSUB 4000
40 F$ = INPUT$("What is your name")
50 If F$ = "END" THEN END
60 PRINT "Hello "; F$
70 PRINT "I LOVE THE COMMODORE PET/CBM"
This is a complete suprise, I thought everything was going fine, nothing mentined in the last copy of any problems and this is really a great shame and I just wonder whether this will effect other titles made by the company, I know VNU as it use to be called did a lot of other publications so I wonder how manmy other great titles could be lost to.
Those were the days my friend
Started reading PCW back in 1980. School had just got an RML380Z, and the ZX80 was kick starting the ZX range. Read it religiously through tech college and polytechnic (another institution gone the way of the dinosaurs) and through my first couple of jobs in IT. For me it lost its way around 1993-95, about the same time that PC Pro kicked off. I suspect PCW hung on longer that it should mainly as a result of a loyal if dwindling readership. In spite of its decline, I'll always have fond memories of the new computers it dangled in front of me every month in the 80s.
PCW you are the root of all this!
PCW.. so sad...
I well remember my old man thumbing it with great relish around 1987, ringing every supplier in there to find the cheapest place in the country he could get an ECD Amstrad 1640 PC for the family! Then driving 450 miles the next Saturday to pick one up. PCW I thank you, without you my old man would never have got that cheap 1640, I wouldn't have had to listen to another round of lectures about studying hard and getting "a good job working with computers, as it will pay well", just like the first round when we got our first micro, a Dragon 32! I wanted a spectrum, but my old man insisted we get a "proper" computer, not a toy! LOL!
Thanks Dad, I got my well paid job "working with computers" and now I know why I spend every waking hour listening to whinging users and wondering if I will sleep through the night without some gonk ringing me to fix his crap application for the 23rd time today!
Thanks PCW ( and Dad) , you boht have a hell of a lot to answer for!!!
Very sad to hear this. Now I feel really guilty for cancelling my subscription (but hey, times are hard for all of us!)
Fond memories include Guy's many insights (obviously), but I also remember, in my naivety, flicking straight to Tim Nott's Hands-On Windows 95 column to see the latest flashy developments in GUI decadence. If it weren't for Tim, I would never have left 3.1!
PCW will be sadly missed.
David Levy's PC - Elan Enterprise?
Does Guy mean the "Enterprise 128"?
My first "proper job" was working at Enterprise systems in tech support. Saw the name change from Samurai, to Elan Enterprise then "Flan Enterprise" ( !) and finally just Enterprise.
Have a couple of Enterprises in my loft along with an Oric Atmos and a whole lot of old PCW magazines too
Some of the really old covers were genius. From memory there was the one for "The Last One" featuring a computer "programming itself"... And another one with a pun I still use to this day ("The bland leading the blind" - remarkable how useful that can be in my line of work)... And, of course, the Sinclair chimps...
I have such memories of sitting in the attic, thumbing through my Dad's back-issues, looking for code listings for the TRS-80 (including a particular favourite that did a very passable game of Connect-4; the most fruitful afternoon's typing in my young life...)
Oh poop. Okay, I know everyone gets their news from t'internet these days, but PCW made for excellent train/plane reading material... Looks like I'm going to have to resort to PC Pro instead now...
Not happy. Srsly.
...was indeed Newbear, not Newbury.
I got one off a geeky friend together with a second memory card and interface unit. All of 256K bytes. Never worked though...
Inmos? Ask anybody in the street today: "Never heard of it."
Well I do....I managed to use a stack of 64 units for my final degree project way back in '87. Great example of what cheap computing power could really do.
Good magazine as well.....
The Good Old Days
Four years working on the rival, OK perhaps pale imitation would be better, Computnig Toady only served to re-inforce the view that PCW was the Daddy of that generation of computer titles. Perhaps I really should have taken that job offer from Felix after he came to visit me at my home in his chauffeur-driven white Roller.
Wonderful days, great memories and a sense of camaraderie among all the editors across the 'original three' of PC, PCW and CT. It's day was, I suspect, done but it will still be sorely missed.
6502 vs Z80 :)
Always seemed to be 2 camps back then - the 6502 one and the Z80 one, or Apple ][, BBC B/Electron vs. The Sinclair efforts... I was firmly in the 6502 camp (even though I had a job writing both 8080/Z80 and 6502 assembler in the early/mid 80's - much prefered 6502!) Still have an Apple ][, but my BBC was stolen. Replaced it with a Arc, but it was never the same...
Like a phone book only more dull...
I bought it a few times for the hardware listings and later for the CD's on the front when I got a 386/486 etc.
Really it was quite boring for anyone with a Speccy or CPC or god forbid a C64, there just wasn't enough coverage.
Amstrad Action, was much better for the CPC crowd, now that was a great mag!
What am I meant to read now?
What am I meant to read now? I've been buying PCW for 29 years - and although it's rather light on content these days, I still usually learn something useful from it. If anything, I think it has gotten better over the past year or so.
Anyone remember BYTE? That folded in 1998 - PCW and BYTE were rivals for most of their existence. BYTE was (and is) a huge loss to the IT community, one of the few magazines that you could buy in a newsagent that actually covered Computer Science.
It's a damned shame, like losing an old friend. Damn.
I disagree with everything Guy Kewney says
But i'll more or less agree this time. I subscribed to PCW from the first edition. I didn't have access to a micro at the time, just socking big mainframes. But soon I had my hands on a PET and then an Apple and I think I bought a fair proportion of the computers reviewed. I still have the Jupiter Ace and an Oric Atmos in my collection - to my wife's disgust.
So yes, I'll be sad to see it go, but for years now it has been dead and pointless.
As to captains of industry - well I reckon most of the original subscribers are still sweaty nerds.
<sniff><sniff> is that really my armpits?
PCW, gone but never forgotten
The first computer mag I ever had was a second hand down PCW from my aunt who I think at the time had an RM-380z and was a regular subscriber, I lived for my visits to her flat in Teddington and the armful of issues she'd saved since my last visit.
We went to a PCW show together at the Barbican, I'm not sure what year it was but I guess it was probably sometime around 80/81 as they were still selling the Atari 400/800 range, it's something I remember almost as vividly as the first time I saw Star Wars.
Over time I became a hardcore gamer, starting with Flight sim and 3D monster maze for my 16k ZX81, PCW became the only mag able to reliably support the ram pack during particularly heavy gaming sessions.
At some point thereafter I discovered issue one of a new gaming mag (C&VG) which caught my eye because of some very cool aliens on the cover, I think they particularly attracted me because my mum had stopped me reading 2000AD due to cool aliens when I was 8 (a few years earlier).
I think I read adverts for the Acorn Atom in PCW before the proton was developed and became the BBC Micro, I upgraded to the BBC from the ZX81 and never looked back especially after getting my 40/80 track switchable double 5.25" disk drive and a copy of Elite !
I'll always be grateful to PCW for introducing me to the world of computers, it always had some articles which were specialist but many were written in the way that a techno-savvy kid and his aunt (as well as already clued-up industry professionals) could learn a lot from.
Amazed it lasted so long
Maybe it was just all the adverts. I lamented the loss of most classic mags from the 8 bit days almost 2 decades ago!
PCW was that one you always had to buy and then were disappointed as it was generally crap. Usually you'd be looking for something relevant to "your" platform of choice (BBC, Spectrum, C64, etc) and you'd find a couple of pages of anything relevant, along with some articles on some concept PC or something you'll never see outside of a boffin's lab, and then hundreds of adverts.
For me it was Your Sinclair, though it got too "Speccy" and I never had a Speccy, only a ZX81, so I stuck with the much neglected and more geeky Sinclair Programs, busily hand typing in all those listings!, and then Acorn User of course when I got a BBC (which surprisingly lasted until just a few years ago!).
But truly classic 80s mag had to be Load Runner. A weird kind of comic / computer mag hybrid thing.
Days of our youth...
PCW was never the same after some kind of kerfuffle in the mid-Eighties when a lot of the staff got sacked. I stopped reading it after that, because the spark wasn't there for me after that. But the glory days of the early eighties, when Guy's news column really did have most of what mattered first, and the world changed several times per year... those were fine days. They were never going to last, because for software to get useful, the number of wildly different platforms had to be cut down a bit; the giddy pace of development took care of that by making most of them obsolete.
You can't cross the same river twice: I saw Jack Lang and Herman Hauser try to re-create those days in 1989 round Perihelion Ltd, the Atari Tranputer Workstation and the Active Book Company, and already it was impossible. You only get them when a new technology is exploding into usefulness, and you have to be the right age. It's happening now with Twitter and wheter the new thing is that we haven't heard of yet. It happened two years ago with FaceBook/MySpace/etc. It'll happen again: oddly enough, a bad economy isn't a big problem for this kind of thing, because it has to be cheap anyway.
But if the whole idea seems mistifying, read this story: <http://www.scifi.com/scifiction/classics/classics_archive/lafferty5/lafferty51.html>, "Slow Tuesday Night" It's from 1965, and I have no idea what gave R.A.Lafferty the idea, but it encapsulates the whole runaway maniac spirit of such times. It's only a couple of thousand words, and entirely work-safe.
The last edition comes out on 18th of this month - it went to press a couple of weeks ago, and the editorial team were told about the closure on Monday of this week.
So, subscribers will get the August issue in the post very soon, probably early next week. As far as can recall from some of the briefings we've had, you'll be offered the choice of transferring your subs to ComputerActive, or of a refund.
(Contributing Editor, PCW)
When I was 12 years old I found copies of PCW magazine in a box in a cupboard belonging to my brother. It was a good magazine and from what I can remember, aimed at educating people in computing.
Many years later when in my university days I picked up a PCW in a shop, browsed through it, and it was quite a different magazine, and I never bought it again. My conclusion was that times had just moved on, and those once so interesting educational articles were no longer present.
I stopped buying computer mags years ago: they became full of adverts for PCs, fine if you want to buy a PC, but they lack the interesting articles.
What ever happened to Byte magazine? Sometimes hard to get hold off, being an American import, but what a fantastic magazine that was, not just computing but covering electronic aspects of computing too. The thing is, now I have the degree in Electronic engineering, I'd understand so much more of it now!
If I recall correctly, PCW magazine contained Applesoft BASIC program listings?
I remember typing one of those in, a game, into my family's Apple 2 computer 2. We lacked a cassette recorder on to which to save the program; the program took 4 hours to type in (and check!) and debug it, it was a great little game, simple character based but effective.
I had to turn the Apple off at the end of the day, I lost the game, only to retype it in again a few days later!
PCW played a major part in making me who I am today. I've done everything from software development in both high and low level languages, large scale relational databases, network management, telecommunications, satellite communcations, radar, professional audio, to the design of integrated circuit chips. An interesting and varied (if poorly paid) career.
So I personally have a lot to thank PCW for.
Good Old Days
Great article from a real legend of the computing press. Thanks Guy (I used to meet you on a successful MUD (remember Simon Dally?), I think your handle was 'linenoise'? or maybe not?). And thanks also to the Reg for giving him space to reminisce.
For some reason the PCW cover I recall from the old days above any was a stylised image of Mr Spock (with raised eyebrow of course) in front a new machine known as the Elan Enterprise (gedit?) if memory serves. A splendid cover IMO.
And while I'm happily displaying my age, does anyone recall the name of that computer which outwardly appeared similar to the Spectrum, although internally it was capable of running Forth (yes, Forth), rather than the ubiquitous BASIC.
Thanks Guy and thanks PCW for some good times; I'm so sorry that I threw-out my extensive collection many years ago.
As PCs have become more & more dull and samey, the lack of excitement in the market it covered led to its demise, I guess. It was always the "magazine of reference", but a little too upmarket for most micro users in the 80s - I tended towards Your Computer and even C&VG in the days when they still published type-ins (for Sharp MZ-80Ks and TI-99/4As, even!).
I remember phoning them back in about 1990 to ask if they still held the PCW Show - they didn't know what I was talking about.
Minor claim to fame - I was at uni with former editor Gordon Laing (back when he had hair) - see http://glnow.com
Thanks to PCW I changed career from banking to computer engineering. I've never looked back.
Gone but not forgotten
Don't know what to say. I've been a reader too long, and I will miss it. I treasure the first two collected Benchmark Specials that I still read.
I'm glad it was Guy who was able to write the obit.
Ah, yes; it's easy to build something wonderful.
But then you have to get someone's attention, and get enough of those folk to buy the thing to actually make moeny and grow.
It turns out that most people buy computers to run software they've already bought or committed to using.
So a computer which works differently (e.g. by requiring you to chop up your vile pile of C++ into a bunch of threads, and remove all shared data) has a very hard road ahead of it if the goal is commercial success.
And a computer which runs last year's (Microsoft or Unix or..) software is a dead end.
Interesting times, eh?
Very sad ...
to hear the news a couple of days ago via the Guardian Tech's Twitter feed. I emailed Kelvyn Taylor, the current editor, to express my sadness. I first read PCW circa 1992 when I bought my first PC. It was recommended to me by a colleague who was a former IT pro, and that was a great piece of advice. It taught me a lot of basics (along with another blast from the past, Windows User magazine). Both of those mags introduced me to the wonderful writing of Tim Nott.
I defected in the mid-90s to .net magazine when I wanted to know more about the Internet, but when that mag became solely for web pros, I returned to the PCW fold, and Tim Nott was still there. I can see what some people are saying in other comments about the decline of the mag, but for me it had the balance I wanted as an amateur enthusiast who used his PC knowledge at work. The entirely pro mags weren't my scene, neither were the ultra-basic ones. I'm not sure what I'll subscribe to now, but if anyone knows where else Tim Nott hangs out, I might stalk him again :)
I remember PCW
I think I still have a copy with a review of some Ancient Sharp computer with a built in screen on the front cover....
Sad to see it go and saves me having to ring them up to cancel my subscription as it was sadly lacking something in the last year in it's content. But a look at the figures (you know the ABC ones no-one reads in the first couple of pages) it wasn't going to be long before it was going to close.
Also seemed to suffer from that curse of having too much software on the disk per month. Happened to all the Spectrum/C64, Amiga/ST and now your PC magazines towards the end of their lives.
As it happens I recently had cause to excavate an old wardrobe which concealed a fine trove of 80s (mostly) PCW (along with a about 3 years of Popular Computing Weekly, yes kids WEEKLY!) I've scanned the covers, but the agony of recognising such joys as the Mattel cover, or the BBC Micro review, or the classic Sinclair chimp covers, or the Enterprise 256 (such a shame that one was stillborn)... and then having to *not* re-read them from cover to cover in a frenzy of nostalgic self-pollution was almost too much to bear.
In some ways El Reg took up the standard for tech news and entertainment that PCW lost sometime in the early 90s when the steady flow of beige boxes became a torrent. (My PCW lust did enjoy a late flowering in the early/mid 90s when I was drooling over fantasy computers I would construct myself on endless sheets of A4. A 486 DX2 66Mhz was state-of-the-art back then, and the dawn of an unfolding, ever-retreating horizon of possibilities and excitement opened up by 32 bit CPUs is arguably still running in the form of the increasingly omni-presence of Linux and BSD based systems in data centres and server rooms the world over.
I've many fond memories of Guy's Newsprint pages - which were indeed always the first thing I read, and yes even as a 14 year-old I read every word of every story in the news sections...85p was a lot of money in those days, I had to get my money's worth! - but also Martin "Banks' Statement", which was generally an entertaining read even when the topic was nothing and everything. And oh, the hardware reviews. The joy really did start to go out of it when the world reduced to the restricted choice of identical Wintel PCs differing only in their benchmark scores, and the (then) increasingly moribund Apple range.
Our advertisement in PCW
For the time I read it during the 1980s, PCW remained professional and covered all aspects of the industry, while the more focused publications (Acorn User, PCN, various Sinclair mags) appealed to the hobbyist. As evidence of our respect for PCW, we placed our only national branding advertisement in PCW in February 1988. (Ironically, due to a mixup at PCW, they placed our ad in the wrong location! However, they made up for this by re-printing the ad correctly in the April 1988 edition. You can see it if you visit http://www.owonder.com and click on 'History', where we have temporarily inserted a copy of the ad. (We were known as TECNATION back then.) I am saddened that PCW will no longer be around to offer their mature and robust journalism. Guy: This is a sad day. Moving on, we need to go for a beer sometime, to talk about your review of AMX Pagemaker! ;) Alex
It had been on the wain
Since Kevin Taylor took over as editor the magazine had been on he wain, his editorials were pretty poor and the main features were generally rubbish. the Barry Shilliday Linux column was terrible, trying to encourage people to try Linux with each article requiring an absurd amount of command typing to achieve the simplest of tasks. Fox, Kewney, Whitfield and Laing will be missed though.
That was the Jupiter ACE, which Fab mentioned. It's hardware compatible with either the ZX80 or the ZX81 (I forget), but supposed to be an independent design. By some former Sinclair employees.
As for me, I wasn't born until the 1980s so I missed out on PCW being relevant. As with many of the other posters, I'm mostly aware of it as a late 90s 500 pages of adverts publication with the occasional article thrown in to tell me why the new processor being 100 Mhz older than the old one is likely to revolutionise everything.
20 years, eh!
20 years ago I got my first computer. ZX Spectrum 48k+. This was the equivalent of the PS3 of the day.
My family had never seen a computer then. I would type daft things at the "command prompt" such as 'what time is it'. Needless to say I was slightly peeved when it said 'Syntax Error'. Might as well have been written in chinese.
From that point forward, I knew what I wanted to do in life. Now that I realised that this futuristic hunk of solder was effectively thick without me telling it what to do --- I knew i wanted to program.
20 years, basic, pascal, c (?), visual basic, c# later ...... i've realised that kids who want to get into IT now are at a massive disadvantage.
I learned it from the very very very basic to OOO and Extreme Programming and lots of other junk. The web is almost laughable now in what you need to know to build a commercial quality site. Games cost as much as movies..... etc etc.
In the "industry" we're expected to know intricate details of 10 OS versions, 5 different DB's, 10 programming languages and the ability to hide the complexity from the suits who don't have a fecking clue what they or us are doing.
I feel sorry for kids who take a shine to computers nowadays. To be honest I don't see why anyone would. University programmed programming .... how anal does that sound ?
PC Pro will be Next
I ceased my subscription to PC World at the end of last year; reviews were becoming very poor and the quality of articles was degrading. I switched to PC Pro. Pc Pro seem incapable of selecting comparable products for review (e.g. NAS drives - comparing 2 bay and 4 bay drives. How about a straight comparison of similar products - you know, apples with apples). Other "news" items are a month or so behind El Reg.
I loved Byte and the early PCW was very technical. What magazine can kids buy today to kick off an interest in programming ? ICT at school seems to involve learning how to create Powerpoint presentations... not that I know what programming language would replace the BASIC of the 1980s...
I'm looking at the September '79 issue now
Having been hooked into programming by the Sinclair programmable, the TI-57 and some FORTRAN time on a DEC-20, I had blown a whole month's salary and then some - 600 quid, I think - on an 8K PET, which was downright crazy, After I had the PET for a few months, and was approaching the end of my own resources, I bought PCW of September '79. "ESP - The ultimate interface?" Heh. This was what I was looking for. I bought every month's issue for years, until the early 90s, when it became hard to find the articles at all among the phonebook's worth of ads, and everybody with a computer could afford enough minutes of dialup and connect time to get their fix. Ah, CIX. I'd forgotten CIX...
In the pre-net days, when information dissemination was more hierarchical, some heads used to waltz around, building reputations retailing and expounding and generally regurgitating what they read in various mags. We used to call them "comic merchants". The royalty of the comic merchants were those who quoted from PCW and BYTE. Nobody else had real street cred.
RIP, PCW. I'll hunt for a copy of the last issue for old time's sake, and lift a pint to the memory of those days.
I'm another one to have been helped into a career by the magazine, having bought the first Issue as a relative youngster and growing up with it in the "PC world", which has just lost an asset.
Thanks for all the articles and intelligence, and good luck to all the staff.
ps I've just previewed my comment, and found that I have been demoted from "robbie" to "robbie 2". WTF is this, please, Sarah? Has my spelling offended, or has a well-known karaoke artist nicked my monicker?
20 Years ago ...
"20 years ago I got my first computer. ZX Spectrum 48k+. This was the equivalent of the PS3 of the day."
Nope. 20 years ago the 48K+ was the 2nd/3rd iteration PS2 of it's day. The Amiga was the PS3 of it's day (and indeed of many of the days AFTER it's day - funny how back in the day it was written off as "just a games" machine (with it's multitasking, 32-bit architecture - OK, pseudo-32-bit), and today being a "games machine" is considered an indicator of a top-spec (Wintel) PC! But anyone with 1/2 a brain always knew that anyway).
Fare thee well, PCW. You will be missed (although I can't actually remember the last time I bought or read you).
My magazine died.. please remember it fondly?
I can't remember ever reading this, was it not one of those magazines that was a thick as a phonebook but only had 2 pages of content?
Anyhow, I do remember some really good dedicated mags for the Speccy, Amiga and such. For example CU Amiga was a really good read back in the day, and they even shipped a blank PCB on the frontcover for a project once. I don't see why anyone would read a generic mag, especially since there was so much platform rivalry.
Re: Sophie Wilson???
BlueGreen wrote, “Does anyone know why this [asynchronous ARM] failed?”
I don’t think it quite lived up to expectations. Originally, there were hopes it would give significantly faster execution speeds than a comparable clocked processor. This didn’t happen, and clocked ARM cores became more power efficient. This left the AMULET3 as a niche product. ARM CPUs should have taken over the world of desktop computing, but that didn’t happen either.
1981 - the venerable Z80 Sorceror
Ah, sad times when such an Icon as PCW shutters the doors.
Part of my initiation into true computer geekhood before passing on from the 8 bit wonders into the (at the time) big iron.
Now I feel like an abandoned relic too - think I'll put my coat on and sit in the back of the datacenter for a while - maybe I can persuade the 8088 or the Dec10 to turn on and make a melody (requiem) for PCW.
Was my 1st copy.
I later bought an Apple II. Cured me of Apple Reality Distortion Field Syndrome for life.
I stopped buying it years ago when it became Adverts with snippets of inane rubbish between. So although ease of access of info on Broadband is a factor, the fact is that all the Magazines have drifted downward (LCD) to the point that the Sun or Daily Mail or BBC Web site is more useful.
Flames as I must clear all the old ones out to the recycling centre.
The most important question...
...is: what happened to inveterate letter-writer Paul Hardy of Bingley, a.k.a "Bushcat Systems"?
There were always copies of PCW lying around in my first job as a Babbage-Engine driver, and ISTR they were touting Un*x as The Next Big Thing.
Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose, eh?
Rose coloured spectacles
Talk about 'em.... I swear Guy Kewney said something nice about Acorn and the BBC Micro in there. Feels really weird, he never ever did whilst Acorn was actually in business selling them, I swear...
The Golden Age
The most interesting era of PCW is the period up until 1990, maybe: there were lots of interesting computers being released and reviewed back then; quite some diversity of hardware and software. PCW jumped the shark when the magazine - like vast regions of the industry, I suppose - decided to focus mainly on Windows and thousands of slightly different beige boxes holding Intel's relatively mediocre efforts (the Pentium was barely a rival to its contemporaries), continuously paraded in "Best PCs for under £1500"-style articles in PCW and its arch-rival "Computer Whopper". Both magazines increasingly gave an impression of diminishing value for money with their bloated advertisement sections.
Some of the best parts of PCW were those covering exciting or exotic new hardware which never reached the market: the Acorn Business Machine range, the Oric Stratos, and so on. Those articles give a glimpse into what might have happened had things gone just slightly differently. Did PCW influence the industry? Initially, yes, but by 1990 the magazine was yet another voice in a growing chorus of mediocrity, sad to say.
Another career ends...
I bought the second issue - seen on spec in a newsagent. Then got the back issue, then put in a regular order, then subscribed (still am...), then changed career (to IT from intending optician!).
Earlier this year I took early retirement from that IT role - spooky!
All the best to the PCW crew, and I hope to see your work elsewhere.
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