by Martin Veitch

Last thoughts on Personal Computer World

Jun 11, 20092 mins
IT Leadership

Like a lot of people I was saddened my news of the demise of Personal Computer World, the long-running UK magazine that many held dear.

I worked in the same company for many years and always had respect for the people who worked on the title. One of the dark, dirty secrets of the computer media sector is that many of the journalists don’t know much more than the common-or-garden ‘expert’ on the Clapham omnibus — and frequently far less. PCW was different in that if you really, really wanted to know which codec was superior for video compression, the strengths of Micro Channel Architecture versus ISA versus EISA, the subtle charms of deploying OS/2 or which shareware file viewing utility was best to supplement Windows 3.0, some bloke on PCW would know. He might be wearing a bow tie, odd trousers or a T-shirt commemorating a Borland object-oriented programming boot camp, but he would know.

Unlike most journalists, the PCW boys (and they were, almost exclusively, boys) were, generally, strangers to the local pubs and therefore viewed with suspicion by fellow hacks. But they took their jobs very seriously and they were good people and I hope the last, distinguished crew on deck go on to long and prosperous careers.

Contrary to the view of some, it seems clear to me that many, many people still crave technical knowledge to inform their purchases but the internet has made that information instantly available and for nothing. It’s not the writers’ fault that PCW is toast — it’s the web, stupid.