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Personal Computer World

Personal Computer World

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Encyclopedia
Personal Computer World (usually referred to as PCW) (February 1978 - June 2009) was a long-running British
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 Computer
Computer
A computer is a programmable machine designed to sequentially and automatically carry out a sequence of arithmetic or logical operations. The particular sequence of operations can be changed readily, allowing the computer to solve more than one kind of problem...

 magazine.

Although for at least the last decade it contained a high proportion of Windows PC content (reflecting the state of the IT
Information technology
Information technology is the acquisition, processing, storage and dissemination of vocal, pictorial, textual and numerical information by a microelectronics-based combination of computing and telecommunications...

 field), the magazine's title was not intended as a specific reference to this. At its inception in 1978 'personal computer' was still a generic term, and did not refer specifically to the Wintel
Wintel
Wintel is a portmanteau of Windows and Intel, referring to personal computers using Intel x86 compatible processors running Microsoft Windows...

 (or 'IBM PC compatible
IBM PC compatible
IBM PC compatible computers are those generally similar to the original IBM PC, XT, and AT. Such computers used to be referred to as PC clones, or IBM clones since they almost exactly duplicated all the significant features of the PC architecture, facilitated by various manufacturers' ability to...

') platform; in fact, such a thing did not exist at the time (the original IBM PC
IBM PC
The IBM Personal Computer, commonly known as the IBM PC, is the original version and progenitor of the IBM PC compatible hardware platform. It is IBM model number 5150, and was introduced on August 12, 1981...

 itself would not be launched for another three years). Similarly, the magazine was unrelated to the Amstrad PCW
Amstrad PCW
The Amstrad PCW series was a range of personal computers produced by British company Amstrad from 1985 to 1998, and also sold under licence in Europe as the "Joyce" by the German electronics company Schneider in the early years of the series' life. When it was launched, the cost of a PCW system was...

.

History


PCW was founded by the Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia refers to three political entities that existed successively on the western part of the Balkans during most of the 20th century....

n-born Angelo Zgorelec in 1978. PCW’s first cover model, in February 1978, was the Nascom
Nascom
The Nascom 1 and 2 were single-board computer kits issued in 1977 and 1979, respectively, based on the Zilog Z80 and including a keyboard and video interface, a serial port that could be used to store data on a tape cassette using the Kansas City standard, and two 8-bit parallel ports...

-1, which also partly inspired Zgorelec to launch the magazine.

PCW went monthly from the second edition. Zgorelec was publisher for the first 16 issues, and then went into partnership with Felix Dennis
Felix Dennis
Felix Dennis is a British magazine publisher, poet, and philanthropist. His privately owned company, Dennis Publishing, pioneered computer and hobbyist magazine publishing in the United Kingdom...

 before selling the title to VNU
VNU
Nielsen is a global marketing and advertising research company headquartered in Lower Manhattan, New York City. Nielsen is active in over 100 countries, and employs some 32,000 people worldwide...

. The magazine was owned by Incisive Media
Incisive Media
Incisive Media is a publisher of business media. It is based in London, United Kingdom, with offices in New York, Hong Kong, Singapore and Beijing.-History and management:...

, which announced its closure on 8 June 2009.

As the magazine was launched four years before the first IBM PC
IBM PC
The IBM Personal Computer, commonly known as the IBM PC, is the original version and progenitor of the IBM PC compatible hardware platform. It is IBM model number 5150, and was introduced on August 12, 1981...

 (reviewed in the magazine in November 1981) the magazine originally covered early self-build microcomputers. It later expanded its coverage to all kinds of microcomputers from home computer
Home computer
Home computers were a class of microcomputers entering the market in 1977, and becoming increasingly common during the 1980s. They were marketed to consumers as affordable and accessible computers that, for the first time, were intended for the use of a single nontechnical user...

s to workstation
Workstation
A workstation is a high-end microcomputer designed for technical or scientific applications. Intended primarily to be used by one person at a time, they are commonly connected to a local area network and run multi-user operating systems...

s, as the industry evolved. Regular features in the earlier years of the magazine were Guy Kewney
Guy Kewney
Guy Kewney was a South African-born British journalist, regarded by some as the first UK technology journalist. He was best known as a personal computing pundit, starting with Personal Computer World writing a monthly column for the magazine from its launch in 1978 until its closure in June 2009...

's Newsprint section, Benchtests (in-depth computer reviews), Subset, covering machine code programming, type-in program listings, Bibliofile (book reviews), the Computer Answers help column, Checkouts (brief hardware reviews) TJ's Workshop (for terminal junkies), Screenplay for game reviews and Banks' Statement, the regular column from Martin Banks.

The cover style, with a single photo or illustration dominating the page, was adopted soon after its launch and continued until the early 1990s.


PCW eagerly promoted new computers as they appeared, including the BBC Micro
BBC Micro
The BBC Microcomputer System, or BBC Micro, was a series of microcomputers and associated peripherals designed and built by Acorn Computers for the BBC Computer Literacy Project, operated by the British Broadcasting Corporation...

. The magazine also sponsored the Personal Computer World Show, an annual trade fair
Trade fair
A trade fair is an exhibition organized so that companies in a specific industry can showcase and demonstrate their latest products, service, study activities of rivals and examine recent market trends and opportunities...

 held in London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

 every September from 1978 to 1989.

The magazine underwent a major reader marketing push in 1992, resulting in its circulation figure rising from a middle-ranking 80,000 to more than 155,000 at a time when personal computing was becoming hugely popular thanks to Windows 3.1 and IBM PC
IBM PC
The IBM Personal Computer, commonly known as the IBM PC, is the original version and progenitor of the IBM PC compatible hardware platform. It is IBM model number 5150, and was introduced on August 12, 1981...

 clones flooding the market. PCW battled with rivals Computer Shopper
Computer Shopper
Computer Shopper could refer to the following publications:* Computer Shopper - a home computer magazine published in the United Kingdom* Computer Shopper - a home computer magazine published in the United States...

, PC Direct
PC Direct
PC Direct was a UK computer magazine published by Ziff Davis. The magazine was shut down in 2001 soon after Ziff Davis sold its European business to VNU.- References :*...

, PC Magazine
PC Magazine (UK)
There are several different versions of PC Magazine. The UK edition was taken over by VNU in 2000 and ceased publication in 2002, although they still maintain a website.The columnists moved to Personal Computer World....

 and PC Pro
PC Pro
PC Pro is one of several computer magazines published monthly in the United Kingdom by Dennis Publishing. PC Pro also licenses individual articles for republication in various countries around the world - and some articles are translated into local languages...

 for several thousand pages of advertising each month, resulting in magazines that could run to over 700 pages.

The magazine typically came with a cover-mounted
Covermount
Covermount is the name given to storage media or other products packaged as part of a magazine or newspaper...

 CD-ROM
CD-ROM
A CD-ROM is a pre-pressed compact disc that contains data accessible to, but not writable by, a computer for data storage and music playback. The 1985 “Yellow Book” standard developed by Sony and Philips adapted the format to hold any form of binary data....

 or DVD-ROM, the latter containing additional content. Although the magazines themselves were identical, the DVD version cost more than the CD-ROM version.

During a brief period in 2001, the magazine was (effectively) sold as 'PCW' as part of a major overhaul of the magazine design and content, but this abbreviation was dropped from the cover after just a few issues. The content also reverted back from having been a bit more consumer electronics focused to return to its roots.

The magazine changed (both in terms of style and content) on many occasions after its launch. The last major change took place with the November 2005 issue, when the magazine was relaunched with an updated look (including glossier paper and a redesigned layout), new features, fewer advertising pages, and a slightly higher price tag.

Editors of the 1990s include Guy Swarbrick, Ben Tisdall, Simon Rockman, Gordon Laing and Riyad Emeran.

Closure


The magazine was closed in June 2009, with owners Incisive Media
Incisive Media
Incisive Media is a publisher of business media. It is based in London, United Kingdom, with offices in New York, Hong Kong, Singapore and Beijing.-History and management:...

 quoting poor sales and difficult economic climate for news stand titles. At the time of closing, its audited circulation figure was a mere 54,069 Its last issue, dated August 2009, was published on June 8, 2009. This final issue made no mention of it being the last one, and advertised a never to be published September issue. Subscribers saw their subscriptions shifted to PCWs sister magazine, Computeractive
Computeractive
Computeractive is a fortnightly computer magazine published by Incisive Media in the United Kingdom. It was originally published by VNU Business Publications, which was bought by Incisive Media in 2007. Its sister magazine is The Ultimate Guide series...

.

At its close PCW featured a mixture of articles, mainly related to the Windows
Microsoft Windows
Microsoft Windows is a series of operating systems produced by Microsoft.Microsoft introduced an operating environment named Windows on November 20, 1985 as an add-on to MS-DOS in response to the growing interest in graphical user interfaces . Microsoft Windows came to dominate the world's personal...

 PC, with some Linux
Linux
Linux is a Unix-like computer operating system assembled under the model of free and open source software development and distribution. The defining component of any Linux system is the Linux kernel, an operating system kernel first released October 5, 1991 by Linus Torvalds...

 and Macintosh-related content. The news pages included reports on various new technologies. Other parts of the magazine contained reviews of computers and software. There was also a 'Hands On' section which was more tutorial-based. Advertising still made up a proportion of its bulk, although it had diminished somewhat since its peak in the 1990s.

External links