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RiscDomain final finale

By Chris Williams. Published: 27th Nov 2003, 11:08:55 | Permalink | Printable

But no encore [Updated 30/11/03]

A special, almost emulation themed edition of APDL's RiscDomain magazine is available this week, on a strictly limited print run.

Highlights of this special issue include articles on VirtualRiscPC-SE, R-Comp's Grapevine, the history of the RiscPC plus various reviews and helpful guides for newbies. We like the idea of using Depeche Mode track names for headlines as there's also a "retrospective photographic" article which presumably shows the history of RISC OS in pictures, a nice touch. Finally, there's an opinion piece entitled "Does RISC OS have a future?" Provocative.

You can order a copy of this special edition from a specially set up ebay auction, the price of each copy is fixed and it's not a bad price either considering the pricing of other RISC OS publications, mentioning no names Steve.

But why is this edition so special though, we wondered. Emulating RISC OS on WinXP is nothing new, especially as it's now difficult to sensationalise the fact that our favourite OS can be booted on a platform that's as flimsy as a soggy bowl of cornflakes. I can still clearly remember being suddenly woken at 6 am on the morning of a major RISC OS show, to be told by another excited drobe.co.uk staffer that VirtualAcorn and RISCOS Ltd. had dramatically kissed and made up to produce VirtualRiscPC for MicroDigital. Now less than a year on, we're getting hate mail just for giving the emulation quarter too much coverage.

Emulation is pretty much largely accepted, thanks to the "oh but, it's ROS and WinXP working together" spin put out by various involved dealers, despite it perching RISC OS on the same level as the much emulated ZX Spectrum and similar historic hardware. Even Microdigital this week has decided to treat us with a VirtualRiscPC-SE slideshow, running on their Alpha range which is incidentally "filed [with] all the normal applications and files associated with Windows" - scroll down to the new photos, you can't miss it. Shame MicroDigital didn't bother to do a slideshow for the Omega.

So with all this in mind, we asked RiscDomain editor Dave Bradforth to explain why this issue of RiscDomain should be considered special.

"It's special as it's a one-off extension to the brand. I pondered for a while about bringing it back on a long-term basis, but the time required is prohibitive (for me), as such a one-off return it was", Dave explained this morning.

When RiscDomain started out in 2001, it had high hopes. However, despite various plans to reorganise, it never saw a fourth issue hence this week's finale. It's easy for us to shed a tear over the passing of RiscDomain, seeing as we get quite wound up in the goings on of the RISC OS media, however small it is. However, in reality it is sad to see a RISC OS publication walk off into the sunset for good. Regardless of the fact that it might be published weekly, monthly, annually or sporadically every 3-9 months, its input to the platform will still be missed.

RiscDomain editor Dave Bradforth has emailed in to say: "If any overseas readers would like a copy, its basic price is 2.99ukp add 2ukp postage - 4.99ukp but I will only accept payment via paypal. For this product, we do not have any other means of collecting payment from overseas readers. Payment should be made to the paypal account dbproaction@aol.com; and please put a note in the email with your full details in order that I know where to send it.

"I'm starting to print the magazines tonight, so all being well everybody will have their order by the end of next week. No matter where they've ordered from."


RiscDomain special edition sell off - pricings, ordering details

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I think that the closure of this magazine only illustrates my point ("RISCOS Ltd. 'adapting to change'" Article) in a different light:

Not enough development, nor users to pad out the magazines

 is a RISC OS Userem2ac on 27/11/03 9:31PM
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Or not enough users writing articles. Or maybe I'm going to be pleasantly corrected when you tell me you have contributed in some way?

Chris. Just me.

 is a RISC OS Userdiomus on 27/11/03 9:35PM
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No actually I was thinking that it was yet another sad day.

especially as this is the first that I have heard of the magazine.

Come to think of it my local WHSmiths seems to have stopped stocking Acorn User again: I think that plays a big part too :(

 is a RISC OS Userem2ac on 27/11/03 9:44PM
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Acorn User is a survivor. Sure, it's quirky and the production rushed, but it has stuck with us through some pretty bad times. Steve Turnbull's held something together when all around were sinking. (e.g. The Micro User). If you want a copy then subcribe. Four issues for 15.99ukp - a bargain !

 is a RISC OS Usermartin on 28/11/03 12:47AM
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a bargain which I cannot afford - im a student not a millionaire so subscription is out.

my point was, no one seems to stock it....lost sales

(btw that is a bargain ;))

 is a RISC OS Userem2ac on 28/11/03 9:31AM
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In repl to em2ac I thought students had instant access to all of every banks cash. Sounds like you are one of the more responsible ones who's realised it has to be paid back one day ! You could ask Steve for a "student rate" I guess. (btw The issue two back is available for free on the Acorn User website as PDF files to download) I take your point though; it's a long time since I saw a WHS copy in Shrewsbury.

 is a RISC OS Usermartin on 28/11/03 10:52AM
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In Reply to martin:

"Sounds like you are one of the more responsible ones who's realised it has to be paid back one day !"

My Mum had something to do with it ;)

 is a RISC OS Userem2ac on 28/11/03 2:10PM
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!!@@## Not fair! I went to ebay and found that the publishers won't post overseas! Very discriminatory and not fair!

 is a RISC OS Userpipalya on 28/11/03 9:14PM
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Try an email to Dave Bradforth. I think it's just that he didn't want things to get to complicated, but as long as you've got a credit card and are prepared to pay the extra postage he might be willing to oblige.

 is a RISC OS Userapdl on 29/11/03 8:43AM
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In Reply to diomus:

There were quite a few reasons why RiscDomain fell - the number of articles was not one of them, though you'd have to ask Dave Bradforth for the other reasons.

In reply to Martin:

While Steve should be congratulated for being able to keep AU going, looking at the last three issues, I can't understand how. It looks like something produced in the average junior school. The typeface hurts the eye, there is way too much whitespace and far too few articles. 15.99 for 4 issues is not a bargain anymore. Had the magazine page count of editorial been 52 pages, then perhaps, but when the entire mag is under 50 pages, then that's something different.

 is a RISC OS UserNodoid on 29/11/03 5:43PM
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I think Steve does need volunteers to help with submitting short, lively and interesting articles for free from enthusiasts. Go for it..... Let's see now; the last three issues. Nice Guilford Show review, an interesting piece spreading the word on Web-James and... oh! ... a full page review of some RISC OS web-site called "drobe". (Ha, ha!)

 is a RISC OS Usermartin on 30/11/03 3:46PM
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I quite liked the article on Drobe, as did some Drobe regulars I showed it to. Now we can all mutter "How curious" whilst reading Drobe...


 is a RISC OS Userdgs on 30/11/03 4:16PM
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Unfortunately, that's been tried and tested and basically gets people nowhere as sooner or later, someone at Tau screws it up by taking the author's good will for granted, not getting back to them etc etc etc It has been known for those doing work voluntarily getting screamed at down the phone...

 is a RISC OS UserNodoid on 30/11/03 4:17PM
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In reply to Nodoid Magazines are time consuming work and very hard, almost impossible, to get right. I imagine being responsible for a commercial one is very stressful. Not something I'd take on if I also had a day job to worry about. I've sent two articles in to AU without expecting any responce what-so-ever and then they magically appeared in print. No money to be made, not read by millions. I just wanted to make a contribution to something that needed some helping hands.

 is a RISC OS Usermartin on 30/11/03 4:41PM
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I completely agree. I've only written one article for Acorn User, but the experience was enough to put me off forever. They're not interested in improving the magazine. Any suggestions I made were treated like insults. Steve Turnball is jaded with the whole thing and is basically waiting for it to die.

Sorry to be negative but it's the truth. But don't worry, there *are* some excellent publications available, such as Acorn Publisher, Archive and RISC User to name just a few.

 is a RISC OS Userfylfot on 30/11/03 4:41PM
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In reply to fylfot ...and drobe itself of course ! It's good to have so many publications, including AU !

 is a RISC OS Usermartin on 30/11/03 4:53PM
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Yes, I agree that we're lucky to have so many publications. The problem is that Acorn User makes our platform seem unprofessional and dead. Practically every edition of AU contains an advocacy article that suggests everything is rosey and that RISC OS is the best OS.

What people like like yourself have to learn is that it's *ok* to critisise things, even if they're to do with RISC OS. The only way things can improve is if we acknowledge what needs improving. Unfortunately AU does nothing to help us at all.

 is a RISC OS Userfylfot on 30/11/03 5:10PM
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fylfot: I've written quite a few articles for Acorn User, with several more planned. Although there have sometimes been problems, they've always been resolved eventually.

One example was my latest Holland show report, which was cut very heavily because of lack of space. I was a bit unhappy about this, so I discussed it with Steve. He put up the full, unedited version on the Acorn User website - a solution I was happy with. (Hopefully it's still there!)

There can be problems with any magazine in getting your work presented in the way you want, so it's not something that's unique to Acorn User. All editors have their views on how things should be done. Actually I've found at least some other RISC OS editors are far more insistent on their own way of doing things than the Acorn User crew have been.

Martin is right, it'd be nice to see people making the effort to make Acorn User a little bit more like what it used to be. It is, after all, the only RISC OS newsstand magazine (even if on a very small number of newsstands now). But none of us are aiming to make money out of it!


 is a RISC OS Userdgs on 30/11/03 5:15PM
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I've not taken issue with any of the points you've raised.

I agree with you that Acorn User is quite laid back about what appears in its magazine. That's why it's so riddled with spelling mistakes and blatent errors. And I'm not talking about your articles. When you started writing for Drobe, I was very pleased because of the reputation you have established through AU.

I don't agree that AU is important because it's our only news-stand magazine. If it were important I'd be very concerned; it's an incredibly bad advert.

AU is expensive, contains very few articles, is full of PC adverts, full of spelling mistakes, is badly designed and has now established a very bad reputation for itself throughout our small market.

 is a RISC OS Userfylfot on 30/11/03 5:25PM
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In reply to fylfot It's ok to critisise in a constructive manner. I sense that you have had a bad experience, which I'm very sorry was not resolved to your satisfaction but that's no reason to try and destroy the publication that Steve cares passionately about and is a mainsty of RISC OS computing. I think the phrase is "take it on the chin" - we all need each other if RISC OS is to become the world standard that it should have been if Acorn hadn't (twice) completely messed it up (God, bless 'em).

 is a RISC OS Usermartin on 30/11/03 5:27PM
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Oh, my critism *is* constructive. If you want to write articles, do so for one of the decent magazines. If you want to read something worth paying money for, buy one of the decent magazines.

I've not had a bad experience with Acorn User. I've had the same experience as many other people.

I'm just trying to save a few broken hearts.

 is a RISC OS Userfylfot on 30/11/03 5:32PM
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In reply to fylfot I think that critisism that resulted in "shouting down the phone" is probably past the point of being constructive although I don't doubt that it was well intentioned. Even I, in a post back up there a bit, said AU is "quirky and it's production rushed". I do understand where you are coming from. I think it just needs to be phrased in a more diplomatic manner. And I do believe AU is worth fighting for.

 is a RISC OS Usermartin on 30/11/03 5:46PM
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If people want to accuse AU of shouting down the phone, it's not my fault. And personally, I don't see the problem of bringing it up. We need a few more realists who are willing to speak the truth.

I'm not the sort of person to pretend that everything is alright. I'll only say nice things about AU if they deserve it. It used to be a very good magazine, but why should I pretend that it is now?

 is a RISC OS Userfylfot on 30/11/03 5:55PM
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fylfot: The main problem is in separating the justifiable criticism (like yours) from the comments made by people who are obsessed with having a go at Steve or at Acorn User.

For example, the standard of spelling and punctuation in Acorn User right now is an awful lot better (I would say three or four times better!) than at its lowest point - about a year or so ago now? But anyone saying that publicly would just get shouted down, because anything even slightly positive about AU just isn't seen as acceptable these days.

I'm not pretending Acorn User is a "very good" magazine either.

But it could be.


 is a RISC OS Userdgs on 30/11/03 6:04PM
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I have a few quick points (quick because I'm supposed to be working). Producing a professional publication is extremely stressful and yes, people can end up yelling at each other when best laid plans fall apart. As well as writing and editing drobe.co.uk, I also sub-edit a weekly newspaper which can be explosive sometimes. Everyone's striving for the same goal.

As for editing copy, that's a fact of life - being a website, we have the luxury of a lot of space so articles aren't heavily edited. However, on paper, you have to be quite ruthless in order to fit everything in - sometimes knowingly cutting out hours of a reporter's work. Everyone understand this.

I have repsect for Steve T and his writers for keeping AU going - it is a RISC OS institution. However, I have a feeling AU's staff are also trying to keep down 'day jobs' (although every job is a day job for a freelancing journalist), and hence sometimes AU can get that rushed feel. Btw, I haven't even seen the review AU gave Drobe yet so I'd like to think I'm not biased.

Also, we should be grateful that there are alternatives - such as AP, Archive and (ahem) Drobe. No one is forcing you to read or buy AU, knock yourself out and subscribe to another dead tree package if you want a change. Also, I'm grateful that I have people like Ian and dgs writing for me - I'm not arguing against you, just adding my 2p.

Chris. Knee deep in QuarkXpress. Just me.

 is a RISC OS Userdiomus on 30/11/03 6:10PM
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If you have a linux box handy, don't get bogged down in the mire which is that pile of unadulterated crap that is QuackXcess, grab a copy of Scribus from CVS and enjoy yourself. It's bloomin' fantastic!

 is a RISC OS UserNodoid on 1/12/03 1:18AM
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An intrepid drobe reporter tonight visited rival RISC OS portal, The Icon-Bar, to plunder poll results concerning Acorn User Magazine. "The truth", claims our reporter, "is out there". In an investigation prompted by disgruntled commentary being logged on top website DROBE by disgruntled Acorn User authors the following was unearthed; From a poll that recorded 350 responces, 36% said "I'll buy it", 20% registered "I'll moan about it", and 28% announced "I'm not buying it". A naughty 3% admitted to moaning about it even although they did not buy it while a staggering 13% confessed that they did not know where to find it. It is not known how many of these responses, if any, are due to Nodoid, flyfot or indeed a certain Mr T. Data kindly supplied by Icon-Bar. HOme page, view polls.

 is a RISC OS Usermartin on 1/12/03 6:05AM
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Martin :"Steve Turnbull's held something together when all around were sinking. (e.g. The Micro User). "

I believe Steve was editor of The Micro User when it sank.

 is a RISC OS UserIvanDobski on 1/12/03 10:43AM
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Yes, editing a professional magazine is stressful, but it's NOT that hard if you are committed and know what you're doing.

I edit and design a company publication that alternates between a 4-side newsletter and a 16-page magazine. I've previous worked on a 32 page Newpaper. It IS stressful trying to get people to submit their material and there's always a temptation to 'flesh out' with pointless, top-of-the-head articles. However, I turned our company newsletter into something amatuerish no one gave a monkey's about to something people are actively interested in simply by making it GOOD - great design, and a lively persuasive tone (it's aimed at generating business). Making it good was simply determination provoked by not wanting to put my name to something crappy.

 is a RISC OS UserJessFranco on 1/12/03 9:55PM
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Dead trees just don't have the pull anymore, news is out-dated by the time it's printed, most reviews are redundant, it's pretty much down to the individual articles, and things which are easier for magazines due to the community feel they create around them, I genuinely wept when *info disapeared from AU, shortly followed by the end of my subscription, all we need is a 'readers letters' or flame of the week ala the reg, and a *info and drobe would be perfect, oh not forgetting a wierd old guy who does hardware articles.

 is a RISC OS UserNoMercy on 2/12/03 2:31PM
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NoMercy: Drobe has included some "Flame of the week" type material recently, and I think Mike Cook does still write articles for Acorn User occasionally.


 is a RISC OS Userdgs on 02/12/03 3:57PM
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NoMercy: Oh, and another thing :-) People have been announcing the irrelevance of paper-based computer magazines (because of all the information available on the internet) since the mid 1990's. We may have lost some magazines, but there are plenty of them still going...


 is a RISC OS Userdgs on 02/12/03 4:01PM
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Has anyone actually recieved their copy yet from the eBay auction? I havent :(

 is a RISC OS Userlittlewhitey on 10/12/03 4:11PM
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They're being sent out now - see [link]

 is a RISC OS Usermonkeyson on 11/12/03 01:20AM
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