Goodbye, PC Plus

A couple of months ago, I was told some pretty sad news: after 26 years in the business, PC Plus was closing down. Future, the publishing company that owns it, decided that the magazine was no longer economically viable and that October 2012’s issue (number 326) was to be the last one. The news was made public about two weeks ago:

The final issue hit the newsstands in the UK on 11 September (my local Barnes and Noble will get it about a month later). The staff that were full-time on the mag have been redeployed to other magazines in the Future stable.

PCPlus logoMy final article for them was on Alan Turing and those incredible thought machines he invented. In my tenure as the “Make It: Theory” columnist, I wrote exactly 70 articles, at the rate of one every four weeks. As you can see by viewing the PCPlus category in this blog, I wrote about pretty much anything that took my fancy, although there were a few topic requests from my editor along the way. I still have some dozen still to reprint here, and I’ll continue publishing them at the rate of one a month.

I still remember the genesis of my residence in the mag. In March 2007, I was travelling in England for DevExpress at a London conference; the conference had just finished and I took a quick holiday. First stop was a little pub/hotel in Peaslake in Surrey for a couple of nights until my wife arrived from the US. While I was there I got an email from Richard Cobbett, the Features Editor, asking whether I was interested in a stint writing for PCPlus. Apparently he’d contacted Will Watts, the editor of the long defunct .EXE Magazine, and Will had recommended me. The reason for this sudden interest is that Wilf Hey, their current columnist for computer science and its practical applications – the column was called Wilf’s Workshop – had died suddenly and they wanted to investigate having a theory column, rather than Wilf’s mix of theory and programming. So I wrote the first draft of the first article (on rounding errors when using binary representation of decimal numbers, like monetary amounts) in my room one evening. Richard and the Powers That Be liked it enough to make the column permanent.

I do feel glum about the magazine’s demise: overall I really enjoyed writing for it – even though some articles were squeezed out of me like blood from a stone – and  it’s always fun to see your name in print. I also got reasonably good at drawing simple illustrations for the articles with Adobe Illustrator. I guess that “skill” will now atrophy a bit. Of course, the pay was welcome too: a little bit extra to buy some tech gear and software (and if I wrote about it I could claim for it on the taxes).

So, farewell, PC Plus. It was good working for you.

Album cover for Geometry Of LoveNow playing:
Jarre, Jean Michel - Pleasure Principle
(from Geometry Of Love)

Loading similar posts...   Loading links to posts on similar topics...

2 Responses

#1 John Patmore said...
30-Nov-12 2:09 PM

I too will miss this magazine.

I have been a constant subscriber since the days of 3.5" floppies - the days when the magazine itself was 1/2" thick - and I still have all the old issues stacked up in boxes.

The quality of the articles was really excellent throughout its history with good in-depth reviews, programming tutorials, and some quite unusual topics, many of which were very technical.

Future Publishing have cancelled one of the very greatest computer magazines in the world in my humble opinion. The trend towards dumbing-down to the lowest common denominator continues apace, the 3-minute attention span rules, and the accountants win again.

I for one am cancelling my subscription to the poor mockery that is "Windows 7 Help & Advice" which has been forced upon me as a replacement.

My best wishes go out to all of the contributors who made my valuable reading time so interesting every month for the last 20 years, and to the many producers and staff who maintained the existence for so many years of the classic that was PC PLUS.

julian m bucknall avatar
#2 julian m bucknall said...
30-Nov-12 2:28 PM

John: Unfortunately in this new era of magazine publishing, you have to be hyper-specific and targeted, otherwise you can't get the audience and, doubly unfortunately, the tech crowd are well aware that the internet and Google exist and can find their news, views, and advice elsewhere immediately. Indeed that's how I found the content for my own articles for PC Plus (even if I did pay for some "behind paywall" research). Doesn't make it any easier though...

Cheers, Julian

Leave a response

Note: some MarkDown is allowed, but HTML is not. Expand to show what's available.

  •  Emphasize with italics: surround word with underscores _emphasis_
  •  Emphasize strongly: surround word with double-asterisks **strong**
  •  Link: surround text with square brackets, url with parentheses [text](url)
  •  Inline code: surround text with backticks `IEnumerable`
  •  Unordered list: start each line with an asterisk, space * an item
  •  Ordered list: start each line with a digit, period, space 1. an item
  •  Insert code block: start each line with four spaces
  •  Insert blockquote: start each line with right-angle-bracket, space > Now is the time...
Preview of response