Is it just me, or has the magazine got boring?

  Jon Storm 13:28 26 Oct 2006
Locked

I'm a long-time subscriber to PCA, and it seems to me that the magazine has declined over the last couple of years. It's got very dull and predictable. Oh look, another article on how to do hardware upgrades/Windows Vista/MS Office - I can barely contain my excitement. Not.

It used to have bigger and more interesting features - now it barely has features at all. Let's look at Issue 137 (called December but actually out now - I wish you would use real dates BTW. Where's the logic in giving advice about Christmas presents in the February issue?). But anyway, the first three "features" listed in the index aren't actually features at all, they are "Behind the news" and "Consumerwatch". Then the oft-repeated hardware upgrades (yawn) with a Vista slant, "70 Software secrets", which is mostly an MS Office tips piece, and a piece about Wi-Fi. Again.

How about some proper features? Go and interview people who do unusual things with their computers. Do a tour round a small manufacturer, or a computerised music or video studio. Find out what's happening in robotics, or human-computer interface research, or Linux - anything, just get out of the office and write about something different. PCA used to be good at this a few years ago, but it seems to have rather lost it's way. Perhaps that's why we're on our third editor in 12 months. Come on Paul, shake things up a bit before we all expire from boredom - and I don't mean things like renaming "the advisors" "How to" and calling it a new section, or pretending that one page "Behind the News" items are features.

Oh, and while I'm complaining, didn't it strike you that a _sixteen_ page advert for 1&1 - or anyone - is a little excessive?

  Cymro. 13:47 26 Oct 2006

I did once dare to criticize PCA on this forum and you would have thought I had committed the most heinous crime of all time. I thought they wanted me shot at dawn. I think you will find them very protective of their beloved magazine as they are of their forum. So I had better say no more, just wait for the reaction.

  Arthur Scrimshaw 13:56 26 Oct 2006

worth it's salt needs to listen to criticism, good and bad. And long as it's constructive I'm sure no one at PCA towers will get prissy. If they get out of touch with their readership they will lose sales. The rider to that is sometimes magazines make a conscious decision to change direction accepting they will lose some readers but hope to pick up many new ones.

  Sethhaniel 14:00 26 Oct 2006

in the early days I took the plunge and subscribed because it was the only PC magazine that gave 'Full' versions of software on the coverdisk - and not being web connected it was good to get some change of programs - but now every little thing need to access the web before it even decides to install on the PC -

I one dared write to point out that the program on the coverdisk had been on an earlier issues disk also - exactly the same copy & version - and jokingly suggested that at least they could have put it in a plastic case so I could give it as an Christmas present - guess what along with the surly reply they enclosed an empty 'plastic cd cover' that happened to be on the writers desk

So in a round about way I got what I asked for -
look out for more entertaining features in the next issue ;)

  RickyC :-) 14:08 26 Oct 2006

Sethaniel - I'd be interested to know when this happened, and to which software you're referring. I've been the cover disc editor here for over 5 years and wasn't aware that anyone had ever sent out an empty disc case.

Regarding the requirement for online registration, in order for me to continue to offer free software via the cover discs, I need to be able to show software companies that their applications appeal to our readers.

By ensuring readers register, I can determine what kinds of software are of particular interest to readers. I will be able to see when a program is only registered by a few thousand readers, and so isn't as popular as those which have been registered by in excess of 10,000.

It also allows me to go to the major software developers and use the success of previous covermounts as leverage to get the best exclusive software which hasn't been offered on any of our competitors.

I'm sure you'll have noticed how many different PC magazines there are in the shops, each with free CDs and full software. PC Advisor always offers exclusive software which won't have been given away on any other magazines. In order to continue doing this, we need to get everyone to register - hope you understand!

regards
Richard
Cover Disc Editor

  DrScott 14:18 26 Oct 2006

where Jon Storm is coming from, but I think PCA has done quite a lot to improve its readibility. The new layout is good, and the news section is bigger than it's ever been.

But yes, I too get a little bored of the Vista updates and 'tips and tricks' that appear to be recycled. But it varies every month, and on a slow month the features are less interesting.

On the whole though it remains a good magazine. Personally I'd prefer to read stuff about how RAM actually works, and now perpindicular drives actually work, and what the best upgrades are, but that's why I subscribe to Custom PC. For more software reviews, and generally useability stuff including system reviews, PCA remains my favourite.

As for that 1&1 advert, that too appeared in Custom PC and got such a huge number of complaints it's not been seen since!

  rodriguez 14:24 26 Oct 2006

"along with the surly reply they enclosed an empty 'plastic cd cover' that happened to be on the writers desk" - haha nice one. I'd have been happy with the free CD case as I am running out. Sounds like the sort of thing Basil Fawlty would do though.

  Sethhaniel 14:33 26 Oct 2006

probably before your time as I have been subscribing for a good few years now -
but probably still have the cd's and will let you know in the course
And the correspondent was of the fairer gender ;)

  season8 14:39 26 Oct 2006

As an IT Techie I read most of the mags at work, as we seem to subscribe to most of them. I do like the reviews on games & new software, but also find that the cover discs do have some good things on them, may be not every month, but they do have a good amount on them for the general IT user.

Of course I would like to see more Linux & Open Source and this has been making an appearance recently. I'm not a great gamer but do like the demo games. On the whole I read the magazine for what is in it i.e.; reviews more than for what is on the CD/DVD.

  J Cricket 14:43 26 Oct 2006

If you think it's so awful? I think it's a good read.

I think the reason that the consumerwatch and behind the news is listed on the contents is probably because they are features but not in the sense you think of them, they are news features. I suspect that they are not advanced because PC Advisor isn't aimed at advanced users.

I agree about the big advert, though, that was annoying, but it isn't exactly the end of the world.

  Sethhaniel 14:47 26 Oct 2006

the dreaded 'Tiscali' disk glued to the inner pages of the magazine ;)

Was it the constant monthly nagging that finally brought about its demise ;)

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