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Portal Comparisons

By Peter Naulls. Published: 17th Apr 2003, 12:10:08 | Permalink | Printable

You realise, dat dis means war

Here at drobe.co.uk, we always like to try our best, and fan mail that we receive suggests we are indeed the best RISCOS news website by a long way. Some of this can be attributed to substantial behind-the-scenes work by Ian Hawkins to improve Drobe features, and Chris' one-a-day article regiment occasionally supplemented by myself.

But really, we aren't trying to blow our own trumpet (honest), and we realise that much of the reason is that we're the best is because we don't really have that much competition.

So, we'd like to make an open list of suggestions to the other "competing" RISCOS news portals. This is meant to be positive critisism, and it's also meant to be a helpful PR exercise for RISC OS. We find it disappointing that an outsider looking at one of the other news portals might think there's so little happening, when the sheer content of news on Drobe reveals otherwise.

The Hit List

The Iconbar

Nice effort, but it would be good to see some consistency. Mad updates at the beginning of the month by one or two of the multitude of editors often peters out by the middle of the second week. There's no denying the enthusiasm of editors like John Hoare, but you guys really need some kind of plan.

Firstly, I would suggest not posting multiple articles on one day - if you do, you'll run out, and the Iconbar quickly becomes the Iconbore when it's not updated for 2 weeks. And how about some kind of roster to ensure that editors do an item occasionally, and allow for when people are away (as John is presently).

TIB's saving grace is its very popular forums, and its comments system, which is a touch better than drobe's.


We appreciate that news only forms a portion of RISCOS.org's content (but nevertheless an important one on the front page), and most of the items are intentionally short in nature to cover big items. And they do manage to update about once a week, which is consistent, if nothing else.

However, the occasional repeated headlines (as you can see on their front page presently), and items wrongly placed in the World section (which, incidentally, we think you should drop - you can find World news in numerous other places), detract somewhat. No specific advice, but things RISCOS.org might consider.


Yawn. And more Yawn. Home of user group postings, occasional verbatim press releases, and er, that's about it.

Guys, get a clue. If people want to read verbatim press releases, they'll do so on comp.sys.acorn.announce. If you want people to visit My RISC OS, then you'll have to make an effort. If you don't care, then please direct them to one of the other portals. My RISC OS as it is isn't a good representative to people outside of RISC OS.


A one person effort, so the number of updates it gets is reasonable enough, but Stuart does seem to pick some unusal items to list. He also oddly claimed one month last year that there was little RISC OS news (drobe had 20 items that month) - Stu, if you want RISC OS news, then look no further ;-).

We do like that you're now covering items in a more editoral style with commentary, but I don't think the layout really works for this. Items are squashed together, and it's all the same font. Perhaps you might give some thought to this.


Well, it would be unfair to let ourselves escape. We don't have any specific advice for ourselves, but we continue to experiment with various features, and are always looking for ways to improve, and of course, comments are always welcome.

All we'd like is a bit more competition.

Finally, you're welcome to list Drobe news items on your website, via our RSS feed. All that we ask is that you carry a suitable link back to drobe.co.uk.


News, Comments, Flames

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 is a RISC OS Userflibble on 17/4/03 12:14PM
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Forums ant comments system a touch better than drobes eh? Looks like I'm going to be busy this weekend.

-- Ian Hawkins (g0tai)

 is a RISC OS Userpiemmm on 17/4/03 12:14PM
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We like to keep you on your toes.

-- Peter, drobe.co.uk

 is a RISC OS Usermrchocky on 17/4/03 12:15PM
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I think you're being a tad unfair. The comparison between MyRISCOS and drobe is that you've decided to go el reg whereas MyRISCOS (when it gets updated) tells it as it is. If you like, they're the shredded wheat of the portals - nothing added, nothing taken away.

The styles are totally different.

 is a RISC OS UserNodoid on 17/4/03 12:21PM
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So it's just a pretty front end to csa.announce, then? In that case, people can just use [link] :)

 is a RISC OS Usernunfetishist on 17/4/03 12:24PM
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Or indeed [link]

Suppose I'd better go and find some news...

 is a RISC OS Usermonkeyson on 17/4/03 12:33PM
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Actually guys, I have a point to make ... as ever. How come your news columns are organised from left to right instead of straight down?

Don't know if it's just me (probably is) but I read each column one at a time from the top down. I know you don't get much room on a page without scrolling, but I think you'd be much better off using just one column rather than end up with entries that look like they've been put in all over the place :)

Apart from that the site's not bad thou :)

 is a RISC OS Useriamnotamused on 17/4/03 12:40PM
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Mostly fair comments, I'd like to see competition to drobe aswell, Iconbar is the only serious one, and they do't update enough for my liking. I'd also like to see a lot more pro-active journalism, i.e. hassling Microdigital and Riscstation for info. Maybe you do, and you don't tell us, but it's a thought.

 is a RISC OS Userthegman on 17/4/03 12:40PM
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I'd like to see riscos.org giving up on the news thing - what's the point if it's rarely updated. Similarly with myriscos.org, PFJ etc clearly don't have the enthusiasm to do the site - fair enough, so just point people at Drobe. I'd love to see Iconbar updated as often as Drobe - there's always another angle to a story, even if it's just more indepth info on a new piece of software etc. -- Gavin Smith, Carrickfergus

 is a RISC OS UserSparkY on 17/4/03 12:43PM
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iam: probably fair. As usual, it's impossible to please everyone. Chris has been experimenting with various layouts so that our increasing news content doesn't look too silly.

Having just one column looks a bit plain, I fear. What's certain is that we're likely to change the format again, if only cos we can.

-- Peter, drobe.co.uk

 is a RISC OS Usermrchocky on 17/4/03 12:53PM
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My vote is for the newest story to have the two columns (including pic/screenshot) with all stories below in the two column format. -- Gavin Smith, Carrickfergus

 is a RISC OS UserSparkY on 17/4/03 12:55PM
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I think that Iconbar are great but are putting their targets too far ahead. It was the first portal I used (I'm firly new to RISC OS) and was always dissapointed about lack of news. That's why I changed to Drobe. The good part of Iconbar is the other stuff; multimeadia, programming, articles and other features which drobe don't do (I know they do the occassional feature). Iconbar just need to update more and do more features, the sound/audio section is empty and games isn't amazing (although AcornArcade are going great) Keep up the good work everyone! ----------- Smiler - :D Alex Melhuish

 is a RISC OS UserSmiler on 17/4/03 1:15PM
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iconbar in update shocker

;-) -- Ian Hawkins (g0tai)

 is a RISC OS Userpiemmm on 17/4/03 1:36PM
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I don't know why this was posted under the heading 'RISC OS news' as it isn't - some people seem intent on creating hostile competition where it doesn't exist. The scene just isn't big enough for it IMO.

Only two of the 'multitude of editors' listed on TIB's staff page are responsible for posting news or still in the scene. Plus monkeyson, which totals three. I've always thought the two sites compliment each other well, and I check them both.

Smiler: I really don't understand the comment (re. TIB sections) "games isn't amazing (although AcornArcade are going great)" - AA _is_ TIB's games section and it has always been that way.

 is a RISC OS Usertfountain on 18/4/03 6:38PM
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good to see your not biased in any way shape or form!

 is a RISC OS Usertim_firmager on 18/4/03 7:14PM
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tfountain: you're taking our comments far too seriously. It _is_ news, (in drobe.co.uk's defintion, which may not be yours), because it relates to the current state of events, not static information.

The article is meant as a bit of fun (see the disclaimer at the top). "Hostile competition", is completely the wrong turn of phrase.

Please take the article in the manner in which it was intended - a somewhat humourous (and also seriuos) constructive critisism intended to improve the RISC OS scene.

-- Peter, drobe.co.uk

 is a RISC OS Usermrchocky on 18/4/03 7:45PM
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The other RISC OS portals have it easy, compared to drobe. They can have a new news item each day -- "Drobe updated!" :)

 is a RISC OS Usermonkeyson on 18/4/03 7:59PM
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Just use our RSS feed ;-)

-- Peter, drobe.co.uk

 is a RISC OS Usermrchocky on 18/4/03 8:02PM
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