Good bye AU, hello QercusBy Martin Hansen. Published: 4th Jan 2004, 15:30:00 | Permalink | Printable
Qercus kicks starts 2004 with special offerOpinion On the morning of the last day of the year it arrived. Issue number 267. The final edition of Acorn User Magazine. This is the 66th edition to be produced under the overseeing eye of Steve Turnbull. In the opening editorial he, with a wry smile, reminds us that, "We took over on issue 201, after the ill-fated Phoebe launch and cancelled Acorn show. The secret of good comedy, is timing."
To my mind it is an even greater irony that he is bowing out at this particular moment, when the world of RISC OS is surging forward with new purpose built ARM hardware in the form of Iyonix, and the remarkably innovative, if controversial, and what some regard as a downright divisive alternative, VirtualRiscPC. There is more to talk about, review, and try out now than there has been for years. Indeed, this final edition is a-buzz with adverts and a round up of the new machines; one of them featured prominently on the front cover.
In a small twist of fate, my subscription runs out with this issue. The way forward is signposted and mapped out for me in a three page feature on Qercus, the new name for a curious magazine that is to be a two element affair that alternates an Acorn User type magazine with an Acorn Publisher type one. I vaguely feel that this has the sound of a "dodgy idea" - perhaps trying a bit too hard to please everyone.
I have, actually, met the man steering this publishing fusion forward, and because of that I know where John Cartmell is coming from. He handed me a very carefully crafted, well written letter, at last February's South West show. He was clearly on a mission to push forward a platform that he passionately believed in, via, at that time, Acorn Publisher. He does genuinely listen to people's ideas, what they say, and how they feel. He knows that it's all about getting folks on board, keeping them with you, and he's willing to do whatever it takes to coax them along and keep them happy.
First issue foray
January's Qercus is to be "Graphics and design" flavoured with articles on using Composition, Draw, Web Wonder, and Artworks. An in-depth review of one of the new WindowsXP-VRPC "hybrid computers" is promised and RComp's UniPrint is tested. The February issue sees the launch of a WIMP programming series, and articles on databases, Pluto, and Genealogy. *Info is returning, as are the Yellow Pages. Another hybrid computer is given a thorough examination, along with a look at "MicroSoft in Europe". The proposed contents imply a breadth and depth of coverage that is wider and more balanced than has been my experience over the last few years from the pages of Acorn User.
When I renewed my subscription last year, I enclosed a note to the effect that I felt I must be mad to be paying 4.20UKP an issue for a 52 page magazine of diminishing quality with no cover disc, or on-line extras. I refused, however, to be one of those who abandoned a sinking ship. Instead, I finally got off my back-side to write three articles - a contribution to something that really seemed to be struggling but which, incidentally, has improved greatly over the last four issues. This time round, it's a very much happier note that I enclose; I'm genuinely looking forward to receiving a year's worth of Qercus magazine. Good luck with Qercus, John. And thank-you, Steve, for carrying the flag through some bloody tough times. The news that AU had folded never came.
Special offer [Updated]
We did originally publicise a special offer on Qercus, but it turns out it's really for Acorn User readers only. Acorn Publisher used to run an offer whereby you can request a free copy of the magazine if you claim you haven't seen it before. That offer is still open, we're told, even in the wake of the Acorn Publisher and Acorn User merger.
"There may be some special offers available to certain groups. Members of those groups will be told about the offers directly", Qercus editor John Cartmell reminded us today.
"If we decide to make any offers available to Drobe readers we will let you know. As you know we have long had a general offer of a free copy of Acorn Publisher for anyone who hasn't seen that magazine; that general offer continues - other offers will be targetted."
Finnybank merges Acorn Publisher and Acorn User
Qercus website - it's just disguised as the old Acorn Publisher one
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