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 …
Ah, the memories
I'm sure I must have read at least one copy of PCW at some stage of my mis-spent youth.
Don't knock ARM either. Now the patents on early-generation ARM technology have expired, and given that the objection that ARM code is too memory-intensive has now been rendered well and truly irrelevant, it's got interesting possibilities. After all, as long as you have the Source Code, then it doesn't matter what the instruction set of the underlying processor is.
PCW - the daddy. I remember being very pleased when it became good again, after a period of defection to PC Pro. The single-minded embeardedness of the likes of Guy Kewney and Mark Whitehorn couldn't be matched elsewhere. Glad to see you more recently on El Reg, Mr Kewney.
I got interested in computers in 1980 when playing at my friends house on his Sinclair ZX 80. I then started badgering my Dad into getting me a computer and I used to buy PCW every month along with Personal Computer News weekly (didn't last long) and BYTE.
Those days were great with all the different architectures and seemingly a new machine every month. I particularly remember the BBC Micro review.
I stopped getting BYTE and PCW when they became PC mags rather than computer mags.
I still get PC Pro 'cos there's one thing you can't do with Internet based news. You can't read it on the bog! There's nothing nicer than to spend a half hour or so straining on the bog with a hefty tome of computer magazine to read.
I have enjoyed reading you every month for years.
You will be missed.
"Back in the day", it was essential reading...
... when it and Byte was the only "general" computer magazines widely available.
But, it's been irrelevant for years, and the current incarnation, with the crappy paper and the retro articles has largely been embarassing - the columns have been trivial, the reviews superficial.
Byte was better.
Never did like PCW; Byte (specially Ciarcia's Circuit Cellar) was much more informative!
Didn't read it much
Brought the occasional copy as PCW was a bit 'high brow' for me. I subscribed to a rival. However PCW was a respected instituion. I may not have read PCW but I did respect its views on tech matters.
Very sad to see it pass away like this.
As a result of PCW I for into 6502 assembler and Z80 machine code. Until I discovered girls (nearly a decade later) this was one magazine I read each month. I ended up working for IBM and probably still have a tape of old ZX81 progams somewhere.
i remember when ;)
10, 11 years old buying PC World for the type-in-this-program pages and reviews of grown-up computers I could only dream of. I was using a Jupiter Ace, trying to translate BASIC code into Forth '79
RIP / Come back rockin'
Gone but not (completely) forgotten.
These days, websites are pretty darn good enough so as one doesn't actually really need to go buy a magazine with outdated news.
PCW was one of the first magazines I bought in April 1984 - I still have that copy and brings back great memories of those exciting days of owning my first home computer (Oric-1, yeah baby). I learnt loads from it and bought it most months. Guy's articles, TJ's workshop (remember that?). In the 'good old days' there used to be competitions for who could write the fastest or shortest machine code (6502 and Z80). So geeky, it was right up the street for a spotty 13 year old nerd (me). I haven't read it in years, but went out of my way to get the 25th anniversary special edition. I will be getting the August issue out of respect to a dear-departed....
What the other hundred(s) said
I read it from issue 1 - I still have the first year's issues somewhere plus odd issues down the years, but stopped buying it regularly about a year ago when I found the previous month's copy still unread in its WH Smith's bag, so maybe I am one of the causes of its demise.
Still, I will miss having it around.
First Byte, now PCW; if Bike goes, life won't be worth living - except for El Reg.
A Real Shame!
I was a late-adopter ;-) I bought a 'priceless' ZX80 review edition from April 1980 and had every edition of PCW from December 1980 to late 1992 when PCW became PC World magazine :-(
Guy Kewney was definitely a must-read even for that techie-teenager. Covering articles such as: "A Mess-DOS" (bemoaning the awful command line and memory limitations of MSDOS in 1984); as "El-Grande" (the start of the 68000's availability in 1980) to bizarre articles about dodgy MDs of tech companies doing a runner.
PCW's obession with Sir Clive Sinclair - putting a monkey on the front cover of every computer his company designed (apart from the ZX80) always made me grin: The artist monkey reviewing the Spectrum on the first glued-spined PCW mag (they used to be stapled); the bowler hat monkey for the QL and the monkey on the bike for the Z88.
PCW were brilliant not just at news, but for teaching computing. They promoted hobby groups under the banner of CTUK (Computer-Town UK) and ran tutorials on everything from assembler to basic conversion to 'C', Pascal, Logo and early object orientation. Not only that, but user-contributions gave the readership a shot at a little fame (gosh, even I got something in the mag!).
Sad to see it go... I wonder when the back-issues will be worth something ;-)
-Cheers from julz @P
Wait a minute
The editorial staff weren't told it was the last issue. So they'll a final issue to commemorate all the issues down the ages.
We're all being duped by clever marketing !
My 1st issue contained the review of the BBC Micro and I ended up getting an Atari 800. Jan 2009 was my last issue (it was really bad by then, the reviews were worthless).
I now get PC Pro. Alas, they don't seem to know how to "compare" items thought their reviews are useful (e.g. measuring the amount of sound PCs produce).
But which, if any, magazines encourage kids to code any more?
PCW was a huge magazine...
... unfortunately 99.3% of it was adverts.
PCW was founded by Mr. Angelo Zgorelec
He was a Croatian news-seller originally. He got the idea from looking at magazines in the US on holiday.
Dennis Publishing paid him £1 million for the title and he used the money to buy Practical Electronics and set up two new mags called Astronomy Now and Programme Now.
I worked for Angelo for several years up to 1994, doing production and editorial work, but he got tired of the stress and sold the magazines to another company who immediately made me redundant. However, I got a job with a CD-ROM company and from there moved on to where I am now, so it all ended happily for me.
looking for a 6502 fix?
A guy I work with has written a 6502 "assembler" (ok it's in J2EE) for suitable mobiles.
He calls it jbit and can be found on source forge
Remember Sinclair User? Gordo Great Belly giving hints to brave adventurers. Andrew Hewson's Z80 programming column was a must read.
Remember New Computer Express? "Computer Junkies" read one title page. Ha! Whilst camping in Cornwall I walked 20 miles to the nearest town to find a copy, to see if Robin Alway had kindly printed my scrolling text program in his ZX Spectrum column. Junkie indeed!
Rest in Peace PCW!
Mines the one with a copy of Input magazine.
No, that really is it
@AC, 15:42 no, you're right the editorial team weren't told it was the last issue - not until it was all safely sent off to the printers.
The team was told on Monday; and with the exception of some very early copy (the Hands On columns come in before just about everything else, and I'd already edited them), that's it. I think those last columns will end up on the web but there won't be a final issue. That's the August one, and that really is it.
(Contributing Ed, PCW)
Am I the only one that remembers Dick Pountain's Calculator Corner. This was the best bit of the mag. Things like a perfect Noughts and Crosses in less than 256 steps on a Casio 502 (I recently regained my 502, wish I knew where my 602 was!)
Modern programmers should be forced to spend a year working on some of these early systems. When memory was measured in bytes and not Gigabytes it made you think much harder.
I seem to remember that the issue that trumpeted the IBM PC also predicted the eventual death of the rest of the then diverse PC world with it's wealth of CPUs, Operating systems (or monitors) and programming languages.
Not once Mr Kewney mentioned the founder of the magazine Angelo Zgorelec, and without him there would be no magazine. Strange reporting?
I hope some of the PCW journos get a break here every now and then.
This was a great publication - sad to see it go... I hope it comes back when the time is right (maybe in 10 years when it becomes Personal Cloud World).
Don't forget VISICALC
Good memories of happy times - no suits, very few rules; Personal Software, spawning God knows how many ground breaking products, including Visicalc (distributed by Roger Foster's ACT, in Birmingham). Remember 1-2-3, anyone?
I remember meeting Ed Esber, a saleman at Personal Software - now a grand old man of the PC industry- ex Borland.
A certain Julian Allason and a magazine call Petsoft, always winding up the Commodore management... where are they now?
I Used to but PCW and PC Mart regulary when I was 13 :)
Damn, that that was a long while ago!
I have bought PCpro and a few others recently when they had a specific interesting article or a 3 issues for a £1 offer but the news is often long out of date and the features and articles see to skip through things too quickly, as other have said the stupid DVD is pretty useless although PC Pro does sometimes ocasionally have older but still useful full versions of programs.
still sad to see all this going as once gone it will be very hard for them to ever come back and every so often I get sick of staring at the screen and wish I had good magazine to sit down with and read and this is one less that will be available.
I'm appalled at the way this closure was handled.
I have been a subscriber for many years, and only heard about the closure in The Register.
Today(15th June) I received the last issue, with no mention of the closure. Even assuming it had already been printed, a note could have been inserted.
PCW have my email address and have used it previously. Why couldn't they send an email to subscribers?
Worse: a direct debit for the next year's subscription was charged to my bank account on 6th June!
Such a shame to see it go
It was such a pleasure reading everyones comments. A lot of them resonated with me and the names of different early computers and the front pages brought back a lot of happy memories.
I too had a Microtan 65 and was somewhat shocked to find out it didn't come with Basic! It took me about 3 months to work out how to program from the booklet of Opcodes and how they affected each register. I also read Byte magazine like some of the other correspondents and was fascinated by the world of "grown up" computing it revealed.
All in all the magazine and it's writers contributed greatly to the person I am today and I am greatful it existed.
- Product Round-up Smartwatch face off: Pebble, MetaWatch and new hi-tech timepieces
- Geek's Guide to Britain BT Tower is just a relic? Wrong: It relays 18,000hrs of telly daily
- Geek's Guide to Britain The bunker at the end of the world - in Essex
- Review: Sony Xperia SP
- Dell's PC-on-a-stick landing in July: report