Archive magazine reviewedBy Mark Stephens. Published: 23rd Oct 2007, 15:46:44 | Permalink | Printable
A media watch specialArchive magazine is under new management after Jim Nagel recently replaced Paul Beverley as editor. Is Jim the next e.e. cummings and where will he take the RISC OS subscription magazine? Mark Stephens takes a look at Jim's first issue to find out.
In the heyday of the home computer boom, there were two crucial reads for the RISC OS and Acorn enthusiast: Archive edited by Paul Beverley, and Jim Nagel's column in Computer Shopper. Jim has been quieter on the scene since his slot was dropped by the mainstream IT magazine. However he has kept himself busy as a journalist for all sorts of other publications, including the Times newspaper.
When Paul announced that he was stepping down as editor of Archive, there was some relief that the magazine would at least continue under the new stewardship of Jim. The first issue has arrived in the post, so this seems like an opportune moment to have a look at Archive and see how it is evolving.
Jim has chosen to take over from volume 21 and has ghost-edited Archive in the past when Paul was busy building up his proofreading and copy-editing business. So there are therefore no major changes expected. The October issue is 64 pages long and will look reassuringly familiar to subscribers. The paper quality feels nicer than that of volume 20.
Archive magazine has always featured a selection of long-running series and regular writers mixed in with lots of other contributions - generally with some link to RISC OS or of interest to RISC OS users. Mentioning other OSes is fine so long as there is some link back to RISC OS usage.
The usual regulars are all still there: news, the free software column, the new commercial products round-up, and so on. The list of authors on the front cover will be familiar to readers. In this issue there are also articles on handling website statistics, transferring files to Vista, and distributed computing.
Most magazines and non-daily newspapers seem to focus less on breaking news, where you can never quite compete with online sites, television and radio, while concentrating more on useful and in-depth material. In line with this, Archive is a mix of reviews, tutorials, interesting snippets, ideas and suggestions. The technical level has always been varied and it stretches from easy-going to extremely involved - such as compiling the RISC OS shared source with the GCCSDK.
The layout and style of the magazine are essentially unchanged. Being very picky, as I'm getting old and intolerant, there were a few uninvited spaces in the email addresses printed at the end of articles, which I am sure will be sorted in the future. Overall, there is still the same attention to detail with layout and spelling - although the editorial's near total lack of capital letters, as you can see below, is hard to miss.
Jim has started to add some nice little flourishes to his magazine. Boxes featuring hints and tips now appear as little fillers throughout the magazine and there is a small biography and photo for each author at the end of every article - so they will no longer be able to hide anonymously at shows. I was quite surprised as some of my expectations of what some authors looked like and their age were way off. I did notice the editorial section lacked this detail so we will have to wait for the next show to see what Jim Nagel looks like.
Archive was always a very personal magazine where the editor said what he thought and Paul also had his 'God slot' for sharing his thoughts with his readers. It's not clear from Jim's editorial whether he plans to continue the monthly column based around the Christian faith, but he lays out his thoughts and plans for the magazine very clearly and eloquently. So rather than poorly paraphrase them, below is a scanned copy, republished with permission.
Click for a larger image.
Archive is still one of my highlights of the month and it's good to see it going forward under an enthusiastic and capable new editor. If you have not tried Archive or have let your subscription lapse, now is a good time to have another look at it. It's great to have Jim back and I hope Paul will continue to contribute to Archive and the community.
Drobe contributes a regular news summary column to Archive on a pro bono basis.
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