Adventures & experiences in contemporary technology
When I start to lose interest in the features in a magazine that I regularly buy, then it’s a matter of time before I stop buying the magazine altogether. Such a predicament is facing PC Plus, a magazine that I been buying every month over the last ten years. The fate has already befallen titles like Web Designer, Amateur Photographer and Trail, all of which I now buy sporadically. Returning to PC Plus, I get the impression that it feels more of a lightweight these days. What Future Publishing has been doing over the last decade is add titles to its portfolio that take actually from its long established stalwart; Linux Format and .Net are two that come to mind and there are titles covering Windows Vista and computer music as well. Being a sucker for punishment, I did pick up this month’s PC Plus and the issue is as good an example of the malaise as any. Reviews, once a mainstay of the title, are now less prominent than they were. In place of comparison tests, we now find discussions of topics like hardware acceleration with some reviews mixed in. Topics such as robotics and artificial intelligence do rear their heads in feature articles and I cannot say that I have a great deal of time for such futurology. The tutorials section is still there but has been hived off into a separate mini-magazine and I am not so sure that it has escaped the lightweight revolution. All this is leading me to dump PC Plus in favour of PC Pro from Dennis Publishing. This feels reassuringly more heavyweight and, while the basic format has remained unchanged over the years, it still managed to remain fresh. Reviews, of both software and hardware, are very much in evidence and it manages to have those value-adding feature articles; this month, digital photography and rip-off Britain come under the spotlight. Add the Real Word Computing section and it all makes a good read in these times of behemoths like Microsoft, Apple and Adobe delivering new things on the technology front. I don’t know if I have changed but PC Pro does seem better than PC Plus these days.
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