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RISC OS Sometime unrest grows

Published: 14th Oct 2007, 23:35:49 | Permalink | Printable

Readers praying for RISC OS Anytime Now [Updated]

Louie SmithMedia watch - Bi-monthly magazine RISC OS Now was branded RISC OS Sometime this week by its readers, who have received two issues in a year-long subscription.

Having each forked out 25 quid for a six-issue subscription this time last year, some of the magazine's readers are fed up of waiting for copies and explanations for the delays to arrive.

Subscriber Michael Chappell said no one from RISC OS Now't had dropped him an email to give him a progress update.

He commented: "I'm still none the wiser as to when the next issue will be out. It's coming up to a year soon since it was released and I've only had a couple of issues. Perhaps, it should be RISC OS Sometime."

He added: "It does nothing for the integrity of the Acorn community if we can't even get a hobbyist magazine out on a regular basis and I, for one, will not be renewing my subscription."

Editor Louie Smith, pictured, was unavailable for comment. Last month, she said the RISC OS printing system was unable to meet demands of modern printer firms. She said this had lead to delays in getting her magazine printed but subscribers will, eventually, receive their six issues.

Update at 14:17 19/10/07
The magazine's webmaster Paul Vigay has said RISC OS Now should be back on schedule after solving problems with PostScript generation.


RISC OS Now website

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I am very disappointed as the magazine showed great promise, and especially as many of us subscribed after the year long absence of Qercus. But at least when we hear from Louie, it is only to set out the problems she is experiencing. Unlike certain other editors, she doesn't spend every day posting dozens of argumentative and off topic messages to newsgroups, while trotting out promises of the magazine being in the post month after month.

 is a RISC OS Userdruck on 15/10/07 9:13AM
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For anyone who might have been mislead by Drucks comment above:

Qercus is now well and truly back on track with regular issues being posted as promised.

 is a RISC OS UserCol1 on 15/10/07 10:15AM
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Is it not time for bygones to become bygones, and for RISC OS Now and Qercus to start cooperating? I just can't believe the market is big enough for two A4 magazines. Louie is clearly someone with a lot to contribute - would it really be so impossible for her and John to sit down and pool their talents? There would be issues with subscriptions of course, but where there's a will there's a way.

 is a RISC OS Userlym on 15/10/07 10:53AM
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Qercus has been willing to co-operate with anyone from before RON started. I told Louie some of the problems she would face months before her first issue, including the market limitations, and at the same time I told her the publication date of Qercus 277 which came out before RON 1. At that time she could have easily chosen to take a major part in the Qercus re-launch - but wanted to go it alone. Since then we have happily co-operated with David Bradforth and Alligata - co-operation is the only sensible way in a market like ours.

Unless Louie's problems are simply that of time (something I fully understand) she should have been able to work her way through the printing problems from the details I have released over the past year - if anyone is interested there will be more details in the theatre presentation at the SE Show. If RON cannot continue then I'd be happy to talk to Louie about continuity for subscribers, contributors, and whatever input she wants to continue to make.

Qercus 286 (we offer 9 issues a year) has been printed and will be in the post next week but subscribers (new and old) will be able to get an early copy of the issue at the South East Show on Saturday, Issue 287 (Christmas special) is currently in preparation for publication in time for the Christmas (Midlands) Show on 1st December.

 is a RISC OS Userjc on 15/10/07 3:17PM
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I must say that I'm very astonished that there seem to many problems getting a magazine to print! Getting the layout nice, the contents worth the work of printing etc. is something different, but when it is ready for printing getting it onto paper should not be a real issue!

The way I'd suggest is dead simple and proven to work, that is was used by me quite some time (mainly for b/w but for colour work too): 1. Ask you printer which PS flavour is preferred (some to have preferences) 2. Print as Postscript file - either one in full colour or four for the separations - in the resolution the printer tells you 3. Give that file to the printer and include a simple printout just to make sure the printer knows what the output shall be

If needed with the Ghoscript tools psbook and psnup you can even arrange the pages of a magazine such that the printer doesn't have to do that. BTW, the printer I worked with just wanted simple source pages in ascending order and even when I split the output into several PS files that was never a problem!

For big images, especially colour images try this: Convert the image to a JPEG, put this JPEG in an ArtWorks picture and then put that ArtWorks picture into the DTP program (Publisher or Ovation Pro). For example with a 9M Sprite the PS file was 14M, after converting the sprite to a JPEG with 95% quality the image was about 1.5M and the PS file just below 2M.

In case your printer can't handle PS files there are two options: 1. Go to a printer that can - I would say that any good printer should be able to use PS files. 2. Convert it into a PDF using Ghostscript and the tools to go with or simply with GSView's export function.

If for some reason the PDF conversion is a problem, run the PS file through ps2ps first since that Ghostscript tool which converts PS to PS does a decent job of cleaning up the PS file.

 is a RISC OS Userhzn on 15/10/07 7:34PM
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In reply to druck: I agree! And the editor in question was busy again... well at least he's editing and publishing again :-)

 is a RISC OS Userhzn on 15/10/07 7:36PM
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In reply to jc: Considering the long time you claimed printing problems instead of publishing and supplying Qercus I consider your comments on this issue pretty strange ... When Louies RISC OS Now was announced Qercus was sill in non-publishing state - why would Louie have wanted to join in on a magazine that is not published at that time?

I do hope that Louies non-publishing time is shorter than yours. It amazes me how often companies in the RISC OS market offer something, collect money and then simply not deliver what they offered, deliver less or simply deliver with significant delays. That kind of "business" is not serious business but suggests that the people behind this are not up to the job at hand. Furthermore this kind of behaviour does not help the RISC OS market. As for that I do applaud Martin Würthner (who announces things and does deliver in the time frame the states) or Castle (who simply work on something and tell you when it is ready) - to me that is sound business.

And jc, including advertisement for Qercus in this place is by no means gentlemen-like...

 is a RISC OS Userhzn on 15/10/07 7:52PM
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hzn: I contacted dozens of printers and many would not accept PS files. Of those that said they would: some changed their mind; some charged far too much; some tried and failed.

I can only speak for our experience; others may be far luckier.

 is a RISC OS Userjc on 15/10/07 7:52PM
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In Reply to hzn

Given the state of the RISC OS market I'm amazed that products, magazines and software are still being produced in relative abundance.

I agree that MW has a real good record in delivering on what he states but that may also have something to do with the fact that Martin has another means of money coming in. The "non delivery" of somethng is not confined to our market and even larger companies don't deliver on what they state aka Microsoft and Vista which were both late and had a lot of touted features removed. We could also be worse off if we were in the niche market that Amiga followers live in so though things aren't perfect, the Acorn cup is a lot fuller than most.

Personally I think JC has redeemed himself somewhat with the consitant delivery over the past year of Qercus and I hope that Louie does get RON back on track as it takes a brave person to take a risk on launching something new in to our small market.

 is a RISC OS Userbluenose on 15/10/07 9:11PM
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While it's disappointing that publishing of RON has stagnated, I'm more let down by the apparent notion that the magazine should be prepared on RISC OS. If RISC OS, or any of its applications, aren't able to deliver content in a form a publisher can work with, then that shouldn't mean publishing has to be delayed in my opinion.

I've noticed Louie uses a MacBook Pro. If she can get the content on there, preparing and converting it into a format a publisher can work with shouldn't pose a problem.

Having said that, hopefully the PostScript work started by Martin Würthner and John Tytgat can enable Louie to produce and deliver the magazine completely using RISC OS.

 is a RISC OS UserhEgelia on 15/10/07 10:55PM
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I'm optimistic that Louie's temporary problems have been solved and that future issues will be back on track. I'm liaising directly with the printer at the moment, and I'm pleased to say that RISC OS is now being used 100% from start to finish - although it did involve writing some Postscript pre-processing software for RISC OS. However, now that this application is complete and working, there is no problem in getting Louie's OvationPro files into a format compatible with the final printer.

However, as a final note, I'm very disappointed by "the Drobe newsdesk"'s complete lack of journalistic reporting. The statement that "Louie was unavailable for comment" is a complete lie and illustrates the lack of journalistic ability at the Drobe newsdesk. NO ONE from Drobe even attempted to contact Louie before publishing this story. However, rather than speculating on Drobe, why don't you all pay the RISC OS Now stand at the SouthEast show a visit, pick up the latest issue and chat to Louie in person.

 is a RISC OS Userpv on 15/10/07 11:26PM
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hzn: "And including adverts..." I thought it would be obvious that the postscript was in reply to druck's deliberately misleading leader. I wanted to avoid a slanging match by simply stating the truth of the matter. I'm sorry that wasn't sufficiently clear.

 is a RISC OS Userjc on 15/10/07 11:49PM
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An email was sent to Louie's editor@riscosnow address last week asking for her side of the story. "Unavailable for comment" reflects the non-response. An effort was made in the piece to give Louie's side of the story in absence of her reply by linking to an earlier Usenet post.

 is a RISC OS Userdiomus on 16/10/07 12:16AM
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In reply to diomus:

Which email address did you send to (you can email me if you like)? The .co.uk or the .com? Unfortunately, it looks like she didn't receive it, so it's a pity you didn't try an alternative method of contacting her. The feedback form on the website works, as does the email address you've used in the past.

 is a RISC OS Userpv on 16/10/07 7:50AM
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The .co.uk address.

 is a RISC OS Userdiomus on 16/10/07 8:26AM
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In reply to jc: Weird printers not taking industrie standard input. But PDF should do the trick as I outlined.

 is a RISC OS Userhzn on 16/10/07 9:18AM
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In reply to bluenose: Well MW delivers on time despite having other means of income I'd rather say. To me this is proof of professionalism or good planning (or both).

But perhaps I should have put the "collect money" in bold since that is the main issue of which we have quite a few in the RISC OS market with the different flavours of the end result, that is no delivery, much delayed delivery or simply less delivered than offered and paid for. To take your example of MS and Vista: true it was late but you didn't have to pay in advance but only when delivery was made.

 is a RISC OS Userhzn on 16/10/07 9:25AM
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In reply to pv: This is really good news, indeed!

Perhaps the reason for me not having problems with my PS files for the printer is that I used Impression Publisher and perhaps Ovation Pro does some small things differently... And for larger colour images I use JPEGs inside ArtWorks since that does speed things up and makes the resulting PS file smaller and quicker to process.

I'd very much like to know more about the pre-processing of the PS files - currently when creating PDF using Ghostscript or GSView in some cases I run ps2ps (which is some kind of pre-processing of PS files).

 is a RISC OS Userhzn on 16/10/07 9:32AM
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in reply to pv: Chris isn't the only to have e-mailed Louie and not had a response. At Wakefield she asked me to let her know when we had a VRPC suitable for her MacBook. I've now e-mailed several times to different versions of the address (.co.uk /.com) and had no response. Is she perhaps using the "Vigay" spam filter system?

 is a RISC OS UserVirtualAcorn on 16/10/07 9:52AM
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hzn: Our concern over the past 12 months has been to get issues of Qercus out on time whilst improving standards, style, and fully supporting the market. Whilst doing that we have noticed problems at the printers side that might have been critical had we produced the pdfs through RISC OS and not been certain that the fault lay with the printers themselves. It's not just RISC OS being up to the job - but having confidence that RISC OS is doing the job properly. In the not too distant future we will be able to make time to check through all the problems and find ways of ensuring that RISC OS pdfs can be produced that *will* be OK. NB Mostly they are anyway, and people producing a simple magazine may have no problems at all - but Qercus is not that simple and, whilst most pages will be OK it's too much to cope with a deadline and a printer saying that eight of your pages won't resolve. If you want more then read Qercus 285, come to our presentation at the SE Show, and read what we have to report in the magazine in the future. In the meantime the PostScript that we produce from RISC OS has produced ten issues of Qercus over the past year with no problem.

 is a RISC OS Userjc on 16/10/07 10:24AM
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Strange. Both .co.uk and .com addresses should go to her standard POP box, which is not hosted on the vigay.com server so isn't subject to my finely tuned and cut-throat spam filters. :-D I'll double-check her computers, as I know she uses multiple machines to check emails, including WebMail from work etc. I'll prod her about VRPCMac though because she did mutter something about spending money at the SE Show, so I presume she /did/ receive that one. :-)

 is a RISC OS Userpv on 16/10/07 4:17PM
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I must purchase all of the issues of RON at Guildford this weekend. Last year I couldn't get to the stand because of the constant queue of folks waiting to by the launch issue, and endlessly keeping Louie talking when she could have been selling, selling, selling...

It's a big job getting a magazine out then the technical systems to do so are up and running.

Trying to get the system set up at the same time as being an editor is tough. Also, with other platforms there are lots of experts around to help out - With RISC OS an editor is more on his/her own.

Good to see practical help and advice being posted here (and elsewhere).

 is a RISC OS Usermartin on 18/10/07 12:55PM
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Ooops... Must purchase one copy of each back issue, not "all of the issues"...

 is a RISC OS Usermartin on 18/10/07 12:57PM
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