RISC OS has come a long way from its 6502 powered OS 1.2 roots and it'd be foolish to cast the history of our platform into a forgotten well of ignorance. In order to archive past attitudes and events of the Acorn market, its user base, related companies and the computer trade press, drobe.co.uk has begun chronicaling and indexing early issues of Acorn User magazines and publishing them online for readers to peruse and also search to find particular content.
Having sought permission from Tau Press, the publishers of Acorn User magazine which is still running to this date we'll have you know, the first issue to be uploaded is March 1985 (currently a quarter of the magazine is online with more to follow) and many other issues are planned for online publication in time. It's worth it for the ads offering 20MB hard discs for over a grand and a hardware article by Paul Beverley, now Archive magazine's editor.
Issues can be found from the link below and also on the left side menu. Keep your eyes peeled for more issues and contact Ian (who master minded the whole thing) for further information.
Bootnote: Didn't AU also inherit the rights to Micro User, Electron User and Archimedes World? You could certainly get some of the former done in association with the BBC fanbase which still thrives on the Web.
If you've got the server space to do the whole lot, can do a coordinated effort with say, 200 or so people who each own a scanner. Each one can scan their copy of a particular issue - straight away you have a fab resource!
I have a sheet-feed scanner which scans in each page for me, and also some *excellent* OCR software that generates text associated with each page that is used in part of the AcornSearch engine.
Unfortunately with lots of people scanning stuff in you will get lots of variants of quality of document, as well as (more than likely) badly OCR'rd in text. (The high-end software I have access too recognises irregularly formatted text, images, and columnated/tabled text which is damn useful.
The first 49 pages were only as a demonstration, but now permission has been given I can get on with scanning the remaining 40+ magazines.
Server space is irrelevant
Be patient, more magazines will arrive soon.
Ian Hawkins (g0tai)
Wonderful! Well done ! I spent a lot of time and some money for hunting old issues of Acorn User but didn't have had much success because I could only get a few issues. Now I can enjoy this stuff online. Thanks a lot.
It'd be great to get hold of some of the old stuff (obviously 8bs has quite a few of the old AU/Micro User BBC disks, but not all) There was quite a lot of interesting software across all the mags - if what you say about AU owning rights to other magazines and their content, I think a suitable downloads area would be a perfect compliment.
Oops, wrong forum. Ahem. Nice work, g0tai. Shame it's only Acorn User, eh? Unfortunately I gave my copies of the (almost) complete BBC Micro User away to dgs due to lack of space. It'd be great to be access them again online. They were only slightly dog-eared too.
I'll investigate a reasonable file format that people can send me stuff in (so that i can still OCR pages), it wont be nice -
It'll probably be something like a 56M archive of jpg images (archived for ease of transfer) per magazine that I haven't got. And I'll have to run stuff through convert to get it into a reasonable format/size for the OCR software
Ian Hawkins (g0tai)