back to article RIP Personal Computer World

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 …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    I too remember PCW...

    And you're right, it was required reading. I still have the Windows 3.0 review edition somewhere in the void. PCW was far and away the most important and best written magazine of the era.

    Like every other mag, it went through the bloated phase: 1+ inches thick, 95% adverts for horrible generic PC clones with their CPU speed hard-wired on LED displays, and I went right off it. Where were the articles? Lurking forlornly somewhere around page 357, but too hard to find!

    But I'm very sorry to read of its passing.

  2. northern monkey
    Dead Vulture

    I, for one...

    Would like to offer my condolences.

    I think I can safely say that without the guidance of PCW in my formative years I would not be where I am today.

    I may have to go and dig out the old floppies and shed a tear over them (as I can't actually read them anymore due to complete lack of a floppy drive!!)

    RIP, Personal Computer World.

    p.s. On the gillette front, surely at that stage 90% of the male readership did not care for such things as razors, proudly stroking their bushy beards as they wrestled over opcodes?

  3. Linbox
    Stop

    I wouldn't be where I am today....

    ... without PCW. It was a formative part of my love affair with all things computer related.

    I remember buying the IBM PC issue like it was yesterday. I remember all the excitement about transputers, the rise of hard disks and the inexplicable failure of 1Tb storage devices to become available ... until recently. I also remember that the BBC Micro smashed all the benchmark records for the day when it could do a "for 1 to 1000 ... next" loop in exactly 1 second. The last time I tried that on a modern computer, I had to make it a 1 to 1,000,000 loop just so I could measure it...

    Thanks for the memories.

  4. BlueGreen

    Sophie Wilson???

    bloody hell, she never got mentioned. This is the first I heard of her and I went to a 2-day talk held by Steve Furber and Ivan Sutherland (that Ivan Sutherland) on the attempt to make a clockless ARM [*] and I'm sure her name never came up.

    And even did the beeb basic <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sophie_Wilson>. Give it a while loop and it would have been about perfect.

    (a bit later) Ah. Mystery solved. Clue's in the wiki page near the end. Hmm. Well, best of luck to her.

    PCW - well, I read you for a long while but it became obsessed with flashy new computers on the front cover so I dropped you decades ago. Needed a bit more meat on the bone. Not your target demographic, I guess.

    [*] Does anyone know why this failed?

  5. Charlie Stross

    RIP ...

    Wow, I didn't know Felix had a hand in PCW -- tangentially speaking, that explains a number of things that puzzled me about the way the Computer Shopper folks ran things in the early days (another Dennis project).

    Oh yeah: I still have an ICL One Per Desk in the attic ...

    I haven't read PCW in years. But I'll raise a pint to her (it?) tonight.

  6. JPatrick
    Linux

    and I was just about to get a subscription....

    I've been reading this since as long as I can remember, my dad bought it first. Sad to see it go as this was one of the better pc magazines. I have noticed that the adverts have been getting thin on the ground....

    Hope it comes back when the market is better!

    The penguin because well I'm not sure....

  7. James Campbell Andrew
    Unhappy

    Nostalgia

    I have every issue of PCW from issue 1 up until mid-1993. They make fantastic reading.

    Thanks for the memories guys.

  8. handle

    Aww

    I remember your name from when I was a nipper in shorts.

    And I remember the machine the mag reviewed that had two 5.25" floppy disk drives whose motors had variable speeds so you could play tunes on them.. Now what was that called?

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Ahh, nostalgia is not what it used to be

    As a 14 year old I devoured every word of PCW every month. Great stuff.

    Owned all the usual suspects - zx80, vic-20, electron, BBC, Archimedes. Still happily coding and sometimes in ARM assembler.

    Ahh, where's my pipe and slippers

  10. typeo

    Not really...

    a surprise. The quality of the content and reviews in this magazine had been going downhill for a while. There were a few exceptions to this, Guy Kewney being one of them. The UK edition of PC Magazine was a far better magazine, with more in depth reviews and details of technology. That went by the wayside ages ago now though. Printed media is struggling and in The Reg is an example of the way things have moved on.

  11. Frostbite
    Dead Vulture

    When I were a lad......

    Ah! the bad old days of computing.......RIP PCW, fondly remembered.

  12. Felix Oxley

    So long ...

    and give my regards to the chimp.

  13. David S
    Unhappy

    You're shitting me.

    PCW gone the way of Practical Computing? Say it ain't so, Guy!

  14. Stevie Silver badge

    Blimey!

    PCW. Takes me back.

    You'll be telling me that Datalink folded next.

  15. Andrew Moore

    RIP PCW...

    I still have a copy from 1989 knocking around here somewhere which carries a review of a Games Pack I wrote for the Psion Organiser II.

  16. Emo
    Dead Vulture

    Sad news :(

    As an avid subscriber since around 1990, I've enjoyed the magazine and reviews.

    The last 6-10months thou has seen the magazine thin down somewhat to the point that I thought it would become a pamphlet :(

    Very sad to see the mag go :(

  17. Dylan 2
    Thumb Up

    PCW changed my life

    Chris Bidmead's '32 Bit' and later 'Unix' column introduced me to Linux. Twelve years on I'm paid to swear at Redhat based web servers, and my home machines all run Debian.

    Without PCW I'd still be fretting about whether I'm updating malware scanner's pattern files frequently enough.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    WTF?

    I have to disagree with the author. I grew up on home computers in the 80s and PCW was universally known as being crap. If you had a Sinclair you bought Your Sinclair. If you had a BBC Micro you bought Micro User, if you wanted general microcomputer news you bought the real PCW (Personaly Computer Weekly).

    What amazes me is that it lasted this long when far better publications called it a day decades ago.

    Much as I hate to see something that harks back to the retro days finally folding, but I think the author is probably a tad too close to it to realise how little it really mattered :( Sorry.

  19. MrJOD
    Dead Vulture

    Sad demise of an institution

    Sad, but inevitable.

    I remember, as a teenager, rushing to the newsagent for each new edition. I was ecstatic when a family friend/geek gave me an older stack including PCW#1-20 and some editions of Elektor.

    Started with a Microtan 65 (remember that?), and moved to a BBC Micro, and PCW remained an essential purchase... until the market basically became this months PC clone which was 100HMz faster than last month's. The irony is that I think the computer market is about to get interesting again...

    I've spent most of my career as a software developer in mobile telecomms, and PCW was definitely a large part of what got me started.

  20. Matt Hadfield 1

    Noooooooo

    I remember PCW, I used to read it as a child when we went to my parents friends house.

    I can't believe it lasted this long,

    and that it's now gone.

  21. PaulK

    It was awesome!

    Free software with every issue - type it yourself BASIC or if you were really lucky, a hex machine code dump. Checksum? What's that then? :o)

  22. Ian Ferguson
    Heart

    RIP PCW

    I remember fondly the 80s/90s issues. But saying that 'PCW did nothing for the British computing industry' is a bit like saying Financial Times has done nothing for the London Stock Exchange. Sure, PCW didn't directly influence, but it kept a whole generation of up-and-coming technophiles informed and on the cutting edge.

    And the 'new-box-on-the-cover' thing is a no-brainer (retrospectively). I'm a sucker for motorcycle magazines - and what do you think sells those? You won't see a single one without the latest, shiniest bike on the front.

    PCW has had it's day - no surprise that it's died - but thanks for the memories :)

  23. Lord of Dogtown
    Thumb Up

    A race to the bottom

    Well all IT is done in India and there is little left for us in the UK to do now, apart from formulate debt repayment and exit strategies. I loved PCW and PC mags in general, would not buy them now as 'Programming' well thats not done here, nor is x,y or z.

    May as well release 'Popular Aluminium Smelting' or 'Car manufacturer monthly' we have won the race to the bottom, now what?

  24. RichyS
    Thumb Up

    Nostalgia overload

    Ah, I remember PCW well. Growing up with the fast paced change in the computer industry in the 80's, PCW was essential reading.

    Like many, I think I stopped reading it when the PC compatible finally won out over the varied and interesting 'home' computers. Probably around the time Windows 3 came out...

    I still have a few copies lying around somewhere. Probably underneath the BBC Model B, Archimedes (I loved that machine) and Cambridge Computer Z88 (that I used at school, much to the consternation of some teachers) in a cupboard at my parent's house!

    Possibly the most significant one in terms of modern day computing is the June 1990 issue. Cover star was the first colour laptop (from NEC -- bloody expensive, and a pretty hopeless screen!), some new fangled 486 computers (from RM and Compaq -- I think they were about £16k each, with 4MB of RAM!), a group test of sound cards (the cheap but low quality one from some new start up called Creative came dead last), a report on some fancy 'multimedia' thing called DVI (which transmogrified into DVD, I think), and a report on CD-ROMs -- what could we possibly want to do with all that space! And Guy's NewsPrint column -- do you still wear those natty bow-ties?

    Ahh, fond memories...

  25. David Pollard

    Remember the Sig-Net?

    Yes. One that I had in the attic went off to Bletchley Park.

    Give them a call and see if they can use the Dragon, Oric Atmos, Newbrain, Archimedes and any other early loft-insulating clutter *before* your personal demise. Some of their examples of early computers they keep running so that youngsters can try them.

    And if there's to be a wake for PCW, which is surely fondly remembered by many, why not float the idea of putting together a commemorative DVD and donate the profits/rights to Bletchley? Maybe the government won't help them (despite the recommendation by the Lords) but I'm sure that enough of the industry figures who would feature could justify a contribution to the production costs on expenses.

  26. Christian Briddon

    RIP PCW. You will be missed.

    I used to read this magazine religiously from being 8 years old (in 1978) and read it until a couple of years ago when it was sadly overtaken by t'internet.

    I still bought the odd issue but even though I don't read it regularly I will still miss it.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    A nice obiturary by one of the PCW stalwarts

    First BYTE, now PCW... <sigh>. Wish I had bought PCW more often in the 80s, when everything was new and exciting. It was probably about 10 years ago I stopped reading it, after the PC industry became commodified and homogenised, the people writing for PCW didn't really have much of a clue about what they were writing about any more, and the magazine grew to telephone directory proportions with all the advertising. By the way, "Newbear Computers"?! - I think you mean Newbury. And of course, Sophie Wilson was actually called Roger in those days.

  28. Rob Beard

    Fond memories

    I have fond memories of PCW. I think the first issue I read was an old issue from about 1984, I must have been about 8 or 9 (so it would have been about 1987) when I read it and I was fascinated with these stories about weird and wonderful computers such as the Memotech, MSX and the Dragon (I had a CPC 464 at the time). Being fairly inexperienced with computers at the time I never could get my head around benchmarking, of course now I realise what it is but back then it was a foreign concept to me, I thought was something to do with a workbench!

    When my dad got a PC, PCW was one of the many publications we bought alongside Computer Shopper, Micromart, ST Format and Practical PC (I have fond memories of that one, including a review of Windows NT, pressing CTRL-ALT-DEL to login seemed like such an alien concept, and they mentioned it in the review).

    I seem to remember PCW being more of a serious magazine but I still enjoyed it and did regularly buy it up until I guess the late 90's.

    It's a shame that the magazine is closing but I guess these days a lot of people get their fix of IT news and reviews online and I guess a lot of the less technical IT stuff is covered by the likes of Computer Active.

    I'll certainly be buying the last issue of PCW on 18th June, even if it's just for old times sake.

    Rob

  29. Neil 4

    Eh, WTF??

    When did this go under? I've still got a subscription and am fairly sure I got a copy a few weeks ago.

    In fact, I've had this subscription so long they still go to my parents house.... PCW taught me a LOT when I was growing up. I suppose it still did.

    Very disappointing news. I still liked reading Mark Whitehorne's DB columns, and Barry Foxes monthy rant. And of course Mr Kewney - you are a legend in your own lifetime.

    Best of all though was the page at the back where they re-printed the old covers from 5 or 10 years ago and you could play the "ooh I remember that one!" game.

  30. Anonymous John
    Unhappy

    Sob!

    The first issue had a picture of a Nascom 1 (my first computer) on the cover.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    RIPped

    I think a lot of the other PC magazines out there would never have happened without PCW as a target to aim at. I do think -- sadly -- it forgot how to stay ahead of the crowd a while back, probably around the time I abandoned it for PC Pro, but it trod useful ground between the too-geeky and too-American Byte and the many, many "Computers for housewives" titles that have come and gone over the years.

    You are, of course, far too modest to mention that many of us kept buying and reading it precisely because of your contributions.

    (I think my ex-wife may still have my old Intertec Superbrain in her loft. I wonder if it still works?)

  32. Peter Hawkins
    Thumb Up

    Re: Awwww

    That was the ACT Sirius. 1.2M floppies in the early 80's using variable speed drives.

  33. Antony Shepherd
    Unhappy

    Monkeys on the cover

    I've still got a stash of 80's era PCWs up in my Dad's house, next time I'm up there I must dig through a few, if only for the comedic value of the old adverts.

    Admittedly I did stop reading it a long time ago after it had become just another PC of the month magazine.

    Yes MrJOD, I do remember the Microtan 65, that was my first computer too.

  34. Fuddy

    PCW

    Yes - I remember it well.

    Always my first read of the monthly IT mags

    Sorry to see it go.

  35. Pete 2

    I still have issue #1 somewhere

    ... being the sad git that I am.

    However, it's interesting to see how it went downhill, from being a technical magazine in the pre-PC era to basically being a framework to hang advertising off.

    I don't know which came first, the gradual move away from being a technical publication (a la Byte, Dr Dobbs) which brought in a new, less technical, more swayed by gloss, readership - or if the new band of PC owners weren't interested in making things and writing code - merely wanting reviews of a buch o' flash-bang-gore games and wizzy add-ons to spend their pocket-money on.

    Personally I stopped reading it when the reviews lost all their credibility - to the point where nothing ever got less than a 3 out of 5 stars. (and possibly never less than 4 if you were an advertiser). I can't say if this impression was borne out in fact, but that's what it seemed like at the time.

    Maybe it's as well that the mag. has gone. After all, PCs nowadays are pretty much generic. There's very little "new" about them - either in terms of tech, additions and even the games & apps are much like they were 5 years ago. (Just with better graphics, faster frame rates and higher prices). In fact, given the ubiquity of the 'net it's surprising that printed computer magazines still exist at all.

    Maybe they just ran out of new superlatives for all the near-identical reviews?

  36. Fab
    Stop

    @AC WTF?

    "PCW was universally known as being crap"

    Really? I think you are universally known as being a prat.

    PCW was simply the best magazine in 80s. Well written and in depth articles. AC was probably some spotty kid who wanted to copy some broken code from one of the code magazines into your ZX81. You probably found the long words in PCW a challenge to you.

    Guy Kewney is actually the only computer journalist I have ever remembered because I found his articles interesting and well written. (I was most amused when he appeared as a Nigerian IT guy on BBC2 a few years back). No disrespect to the other journos, its just Guy that I remember.

    I believe I still have some early PCW magazines. Including the BBC Micro review. A well thumbed edition. I think I may also of the ZX Spectrum review.

    It was certainly was a golden age of personal computing. I used to work on weekends in a computer shop (a rare thing at the time) and remember the odd ball machines that never really made it, uhm Lynx? Memorex? Jupiter Ace (a computer whose programming language was Forth and was manufactured out of Yogart cartons).

    They were fantastic times and I think made all the better by publications like PCW.

    At some point PCW lost its interest for me. But I generally stopped reading computing mags. When I did pick them up again I did find PCW a bit stale and found PC Pro more interesting. Cant remember why but anyhow it is sad to hear that PCW is gone. It was certainly an institution.

  37. slodriver
    Unhappy

    My first money as a programmer...

    I got "Program Of The Month" in the June or July 1984 edition of PCW for a BBC Micro game. It was a delicate balance between adding enough REM statements in the Basic to boost your earnings (£100 a page if I remember rightly) while still allowing the program to fit in the Beeb's memory once the graphics had eaten most of the RAM. Sorry to see PCW go though.

  38. Dex
    Gates Horns

    Am i the only one.....

    .....Wishing it was a different Personal Computer World (PC World)?

    Gates....well because he's got them eating out of his pocket

  39. richard 69
    Happy

    Zzap 64 rules!

    loved it, PCW was too full of boring adverts about motherboards and fans.....and my Dragon 32 was a dream machine in 1982...ahhhh whirlybirds.....

  40. David Biggins
    Unhappy

    Sad to see it go ...

    ... especially as I renewed my subscription only one month ago. Do I get my money back?

  41. Steven Jones

    A different world

    I still have the Nascom II I built from a kit dating from about the era of PCW. I seem to recall the Nascom being reviewed in one of the early editions - was it number 2? (although it might have been a Nascom 1). In those days real computer nerds soldered their own machines together and everybody knew what Kansas had to do with data and program storage...

    Things were different in those early days - now every computer rag looks much the same as every other one with computers being just another consumer gadget and acres of comparative reviews of identikit PCs where differences in brands hide interiors all built from the same international "Lego block" portfolio of components. Back in those pioneering days there we huge differences between machines - fundamentally different architectures and software environments, not replaced entirely by the near mono-culture of Windows with a side-field of Macs, and a tiny market garden of Linux to give some minor nod to choice. In those days there were distinct processor architetures from Zilog, Motorola, Intel, MOS Technology and (later) Acorn - not just the near universal Intel architecture.

    However, PCW was a (literal) lightweight in comparison with Byte magazine which pre-deceased it by more than a decade.

  42. Andus McCoatover

    Nice article

    Good bit of nostalgia. Remember it fondly. Wonder if they'll PDF the last issue?

  43. Richard 33

    Enterprise 128

    .. was the name of David Levy's abortive attempt at a games-oriented home computer:

    https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Enterprise_128

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    A trip down memory lane

    I don't remember judging whether PCW was good or not, it was 'the guv'nor' - the authoritative voice of the writhing chaos that was the fledgling home computer industry. They made or broke systems by what they said about them. And benchmarking was great, type in the PCW routines and you too could run a computer lab. Love dancing down memory lane. Remember the first hard drive I had, 10 megabytes for a hundred quid! And more storage than I could ever use! My first computer, a trash-80. Upgraded to 32k at vast cost. Why was it such fun playing text only adventure games? A dvd of the best of PCW would be a great thing.

  45. Francis Fish
    Unhappy

    I miss Byte more to be honest

    But that went down the bog even longer ago, sadly. I remember fixing a printer by poking some timeout variables as per their recommendations.

    Happy days.

  46. eldel

    @Fab

    Memorex - ahh yes - I had one of those. I even had the 'size of a small table' double floppy unit for it.

    I actually bought the first issue of PCW while waiting outside a courthouse for a hearing to start. The mag was the high point of the day :-). I'm pretty sure I owned every copy up to Sept 2001 when I abandoned the sceptred isle. Sad to see it go - it actually managed to combine real journalism with an understanding of the tech, a feat which is all too rarely seen. Do they all still hang out on CIX or has that gone the way of the dodo as well?

  47. RobinAsquith
    Coat

    Required Reading...

    ..for those who had substituted a fascination with computer technology over stuff like girlfriends :-)...actually speaking for myself, being enrolled in a single-sex school didn't help

    Anyhow, yeah ..what an era! I was indeed a collector of what became an increasingly chunky publication into the mid-90s, eventually i had to chuck em all away (something like 75 issues), PCW did indeed chart the progress and innovation in the industry, those front-covers are embedded in my memory, Steve Jobs' NeXT machine, the Windows95 launch issue, the first Pentium machine, it almost seems like we're in a resting lull from the march of progress now, i say "almost", it may be an illusion which afflicts nostalgic people of my age, progress just ain't what it used to be these days though.

    Still hunt around from time-to-time for the benchtest of the Agilis Modular System...a very cool and unique piece of hardware, be nice if VNU put the whole of the archives up on the net for free...

  48. ThinkingOutLoud
    Paris Hilton

    Old Computers

    Take a trip down memory lane here:

    http://www.old-computers.com/news/default.asp and click on the Museum Tab.

    I used to work for Dixons late '70s to late '80s and I had a great time selling and playing with every new computer as it arrived in stock.

    Some favourites for reasons unrelated to their virtues:

    Tatung Einstein, one of the first "serious" looking home computers. Very competent, ran CPM, had a good monitor, no-one cared.

    Oric 1, quirky, powerful and easy to program - had anyone bothered to.

    Apricot F1 (which I still have!), about a year ahead of IBM on every front. 3.5" disks, double default RAM, colour support, 8086 chip, etc. Oh, it even included a voucher to upgrade to Windows 1.0 in the box.

    Sanyo MBC Series, first budget PC compatibles that really weren't. WordStar & CalcStar were good enough bundled apps. Very reliable.

    Sinclair QL, awesome performance, superb software bundle courtesy of PSION, 80% initial failure rate but the microdrive proved remarkably resilient.

    Apple Macintosh, my first sight of WYSIWIG combined with NLQ dot matrix printing. I was privileged to see the future before most.

    Amstrad PCW8256, because I earned sh*tloads of money selling them. C'mon, a complete system that worked straight out of the box, just add paper? They were pretty reliable and the third party software explosion added to the sales. Thank you if your parents bought one.

    Many others, but I still have fond memories and nightmares about the above - work out which...

    Paris because one day she'll get old but remain thoroughly usable...

  49. Keith SLoan
    Unhappy

    PCW

    Sad to see PCW go, I used to buy it a lot during the 80,90's when there was a lot happing in the PC world. Still it lasted longer than Byte which was my favourite magazine with all its Technical articles and themes. In those days you felt that the magazines educated you. Today they don't as one PC is much the same as another and nobody bothers with in-depth technicalities like Byte and Dr Jobbs did.

  50. Mike 41

    Under the covers....

    As someone endlessly fascinated by how things work, I always appreciated PCW's 'under the covers' photos which continued well after the time when computer buyers weren't expected to take the lids off...

    However whenever they tried to explain any hardware technical details, there were very often laughable errors that revealed the author really didn't have a clue what they were talking about. ISTR reading an explanation of how floppy drives work with an internal picture with the stepper motor labelled something like 'electromagnet - this creates the magnetic field used to write data to the disk'.

  51. GreyTech
    Happy

    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.

    Bob Robinson

  52. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    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 :).

  53. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    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 :)

  54. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    BYE PCW

    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"

    .......

  55. John Taylor
    Unhappy

    Fairwell

    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.

  56. Clive Summerfield
    Unhappy

    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.

  57. The Fuzzy Wotnot
    Alert

    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!!!

  58. This post has been deleted by its author

  59. Dale Richards
    Unhappy

    Very sad...

    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.

  60. ReadyPeople

    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

    Gerald

    www.ReadyPeople.eu

  61. David S
    Unhappy

    Nostalgia trip

    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.

  62. Robin Baker

    Newbear...

    ...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...

  63. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Inmos

    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.....

  64. HenryB
    Unhappy

    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.

  65. Gordon Henderson

    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...

  66. Jacqui Smith's DVD Collection!

    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!

  67. Conrad Longmore
    Thumb Down

    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.

  68. Lotaresco

    I disagree with everything Guy Kewney says

    ... usually.

    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?

  69. Dave Gomm

    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.

  70. Bod

    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.

  71. John Dallman

    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.

    John

  72. Nigel Whitfield 1

    Last edition

    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.

    Nigel

    (Contributing Editor, PCW)

  73. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    RIP

    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!

  74. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Thanks

    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.

  75. Richard 20
    Unhappy

    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.

  76. Uncle Slacky Silver badge
    Dead Vulture

    Inevitable

    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

  77. Peter Gant
    Dead Vulture

    Thanks

    Thanks to PCW I changed career from banking to computer engineering. I've never looked back.

  78. Peter Gathercole Silver badge
    Unhappy

    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.

  79. Pete Wilson
    Black Helicopters

    @Frank Gerlach

    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?

    -- Pete

  80. davefaulkner
    Thumb Down

    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 :)

  81. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    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....

  82. Paul Taylor
    Dead Vulture

    Tick tock

    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.

  83. Tom Paine Silver badge
    Unhappy

    Sadly missed

    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.

  84. Vision Aforethought
    Unhappy

    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

  85. Brian Gannon

    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.

  86. Thomas 3 Silver badge

    @Richard 20

    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.

  87. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle

    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 ?

  88. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    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...

  89. JimT
    Dead Vulture

    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.

  90. The original robbie
    Dead Vulture

    Sad news

    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?

  91. Jolyon Smith
    Dead Vulture

    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).

  92. Daniel Palmer 1
    Flame

    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.

  93. Someone

    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.

  94. Rick 17
    Unhappy

    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.

  95. Mage Silver badge
    Flame

    August 1978

    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.

  96. Mr Larrington

    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.

    In 1986.

    Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose, eh?

  97. hugo tyson

    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...

  98. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    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.

  99. Tocsin
    Unhappy

    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.

  100. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  101. A J Stiles

    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.

  102. MnM
    Thumb Up

    so long

    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.

    Thanks PCW!

  103. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    Shame

    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.

  104. luxor
    Unhappy

    Bye,bye PCW

    I have enjoyed reading you every month for years.

    You will be missed.

  105. Reg Varney

    "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.

  106. Tanuki
    Thumb Down

    Byte was better.

    Never did like PCW; Byte (specially Ciarcia's Circuit Cellar) was much more informative!

  107. Peter Fielden-Weston 2

    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.

  108. Individual #6/42
    Unhappy

    Fond memories

    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.

    Great times.

  109. David 66

    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'

  110. storng.bare.durid

    PC What?

    Byte.

    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.

  111. dolomiah
    Unhappy

    Shame..

    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....

  112. GrahamT
    Unhappy

    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.

  113. Julian 4
    Paris Hilton

    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

  114. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    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?

  115. Bill Fresher

    PCW was a huge magazine...

    ... unfortunately 99.3% of it was adverts.

  116. Richard Milner

    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.

  117. Pete 43

    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

  118. Mark Bailey 3
    Coat

    Other favourites

    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.

  119. Nigel Whitfield.

    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.

    Nigel

    (Contributing Ed, PCW)

  120. Dazed and Confused

    Calculator corner

    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.

  121. Blovrek

    Founder ignored

    Not once Mr Kewney mentioned the founder of the magazine Angelo Zgorelec, and without him there would be no magazine. Strange reporting?

  122. Alex 3
    Dead Vulture

    Journalists

    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).

  123. Anonymous Coward
    Heart

    Top Article!

    Thanks!

  124. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    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?

    Watelane

  125. jg007

    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.

  126. Roger99

    Angry subscriber

    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!

  127. Roland Bavington
    Dead Vulture

    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.

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