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 Silicon Chip -- to renew or not to renew?
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 Return to top of page · Post #: 1 · Written at 1:02:57 PM on 21 April 2018.
GTC's avatar
 GTC
 Location: Sydney, NSW
 Member since 28 January 2011
 Member #: 823
 Postcount: 6012

Well, it's subscription renewal time again and I'm pondering whether to bother renewing. Do I want to read about yet another motor speed controller or battery charger? Do I want to read about another Arduino touchscreen project? The Vintage Radio section is usually still an interesting read, but is it worth the price of subscription?

These are the weighty questions I am pondering right now.


 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 2 · Written at 2:39:09 PM on 21 April 2018.
Robbbert's avatar
 Location: Sydney, NSW
 Member since 18 September 2015
 Member #: 1801
 Postcount: 1380

I've never subscribed, but I'll keep on buying it while it's less than $10.

I also have to admit I don't get a great deal of value from it. My favourite columns are the serviceman and anything valve-related.

The serviceman has gone backwards since the old days, mostly because things aren't meant to be repaired any more. Either it's impossible to get the thing apart without destroying it, or the spare parts are too expensive or not available.


 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 3 · Written at 4:44:58 PM on 21 April 2018.
Brad's avatar
 Administrator
 Location: Greenwich, NSW
 Member since 15 November 2005
 Member #: 1
 Postcount: 6349

I have a current subscription simply because many newsagents only bother to stock a few copies these days. I remember as a kid I'd be at the newsagent on the 1st day of every month and there'd be plenty of copies of the top four or five selling electronics magazines. I suppose subscribing is less expensive anyway.

I've been of a two track mind for a few years now. The modern electronics is mostly beyond me because I never kept up with the advances made in the kits that are now available. A pick axe was a mattock when I was building kits as a kid. Now it is a microchip.

The vintage radio articles, whilst well written in their own right are something I've been a bit disappointed with for a long time. When the VR articles started in Silicon Chip and Electronics Australia back in the late 1980s they contained much needed technical information which helped me with some of the restorations I would later undertake. Today's articles do not contain this information and are merely a product description with a brief rundown on what was done to get it going again. This is not helpful to those wanting to enter the fray.

That said, my subs renew in February so I have another ten months to think about the next one.


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A valve a day keeps the transistor away...

 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 4 · Written at 10:02:43 PM on 21 April 2018.
Marcc's avatar
 Location: Wangaratta, VIC
 Member since 21 February 2009
 Member #: 438
 Postcount: 4344

One of the problems is editing, and this is across the board and you cannot single out one magazine, newspaper. You really need someone with an understanding of the subject at hand, lest something is changed, which alters the entire context and I have seen that frequently.

The other thing is accuracy and credibility and that I, and others have found, with some writers for SC. I do believe that the reasoning behind why something was changed, or what lead to the problems discovery, is valuable info for some. When I make comment on some faults on the American forum, I try to make a point of qualifying why, I want it done a specific way, or why I think it is what I chipped in with.

The big thing with that one is, that those who know nothing & post videos on Utube etc. to prove it: don't exist: They will be caught out swiftly.

Ad nauseam: I am still waiting for the definitive answer from comment in SC on Wax Paper caps, as to how, in two sets they were good. I want to know haw these were tested? The Wax paper & other HV NP caps, can be tested for capacity, however, If they are leakage tested at their rated voltage first 99.9% of the Wax paper caps will have unacceptable leakage, so they're duds.


 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 5 · Written at 10:42:27 PM on 21 April 2018.
Otherunicorn's Gravatar
 Location: Emerald, VIC
 Member since 3 March 2018
 Member #: 2221
 Postcount: 5

Personally, I find magazines are a thing of the past. Every time I buy a copy of SC, I feel cheated. More and better information can be found on the web, and I can go looking for what I want, not chewing through yet another treatise on oxygen sensors for cars, what the coming future will be like, or another project that requires a preprogrammed chip because real electronics skills are a thing of the past. The serviceman harvests from any submission it can get, and while the vintage radio section is interesting, it certainly isn't worth the entire cover price.
And then you either have to store the things, or throw them out.


 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 6 · Written at 9:23:43 AM on 22 April 2018.
Marcc's avatar
 Location: Wangaratta, VIC
 Member since 21 February 2009
 Member #: 438
 Postcount: 4344

This Magazine & Newsletter thing also comes at an initial distribution cost. Just looking at Club newsletters, at which point I was doing three. Aside from the time factor, there comes the cost & distribution.

Since the privatisation of what is left of mail distribution one has now got to advance the finalisation of the newsletter by a week to allow for the fact that these advances have turned snail mail into tired snail mail. Apparently Centrelink allows 16days & I find that credible.

We then have the cost, One Newsletter goes out email & I get others that way. For a Club with near 200 members & where a WEB browser has eight legs; you have something like $160 or more to commercially print it (The most efficient) plus postage, so you are looking at $250 - $300 per month so 11 newsletters posted quickly adds up.

I would agree on electronic skills being lost, but that's the tip of the iceberg & OH&S a lot of which is speculation & paranoia, helping insurance companies make more money on phantom risk, is not helping ( & I have worked in OH&S).

There is a modern Amp on the bench at the moment. Mass of IC's & SMD's. If it's much more than a dry joint, or simple PSU fault: It's not cost effective & just another item for the e waste pile.


 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 7 · Written at 1:05:32 PM on 23 April 2018.
Ian Robertson's Gravatar
 Location: Belrose, NSW
 Member since 31 December 2015
 Member #: 1844
 Postcount: 1906

Rather than whinge, why not write something for them?

Solves the subscription cost issue too (or it can).


 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 8 · Written at 5:14:53 PM on 23 April 2018.
Marcc's avatar
 Location: Wangaratta, VIC
 Member since 21 February 2009
 Member #: 438
 Postcount: 4344

I did write an article for it...............


 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 9 · Written at 9:59:51 PM on 23 April 2018.
GTC's avatar
 GTC
 Location: Sydney, NSW
 Member since 28 January 2011
 Member #: 823
 Postcount: 6012

So did I. At the time I was paid ahead more than a year on my subscription, so I opted for the cash.

And then you either have to store the things, or throw them out.

That's another factor, although with SC you can opt for a digital subscription.


 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 10 · Written at 10:52:27 PM on 23 April 2018.
Brad's avatar
 Administrator
 Location: Greenwich, NSW
 Member since 15 November 2005
 Member #: 1
 Postcount: 6349

One year I bought both the digital and the magazine combined subscription however I found myself using the magazine more than the website. I've never been a fan of the way the digital version worked (and I know I am not the only one). The company I work for issues a quarterly magazine with company news and happenings. That operates on a similar platform to the digital SC however at least there is the option of a PDF file which is easier to open, zoon in, etc. I do understand that there's issues with enforcing copyright with PDF though.

With regard to the hard copy - sometimes it is better to sit out in the sun and read a proper magazine rather than blinding one's eyes on a computer monitor. Print is much easier on the peepers.


‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾
A valve a day keeps the transistor away...

 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 11 · Written at 11:15:19 PM on 23 April 2018.
GTC's avatar
 GTC
 Location: Sydney, NSW
 Member since 28 January 2011
 Member #: 823
 Postcount: 6012

On the question of SC content, and particularly projects, I was having that conversation recently with a couple of long time subscribers who said they have not renewed due of lack of interest in the direction things are going. As we well know, technology moves on apace, and if I were a schoolkid today interested in things electronic doubtless I'd be into Arduinos and Raspberry Pi's and what have you, but I think there would be other dedicated magazines (online or hardcopy) that would be more appealing than SC.

Overall, I think SC's major problem up the track is going to be finding a regular audience after those of us reared on EA and even TV&H shuffle off this mortal coil -- or simply stop buying it for some of the reasons already advanced.


 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 12 · Written at 7:45:10 PM on 24 April 2018.
Sirwin's avatar
 Location: QLD
 Member since 10 April 2009
 Member #: 465
 Postcount: 104

I actually stopped subscribing many years ago due to the editorial climate change denial. I do occasionally get it out of the library but I'm not overly impressed by the Vintage Radio column. Many technical errors.

Cheers


 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 13 · Written at 9:50:52 PM on 24 April 2018.
Brad's avatar
 Administrator
 Location: Greenwich, NSW
 Member since 15 November 2005
 Member #: 1
 Postcount: 6349

I tend not to worry about the politics of the editorials. If the magazine is good (and generally speaking it certainly is) the opinions of the owner aren't relevant. SC editorials have been a hot topic in the past, especially in the magazine's safety valve, but again, it's just another page in the book at the end of the day.

It's a case of something that cannot be everything to everyone.


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A valve a day keeps the transistor away...

 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 14 · Written at 3:52:02 PM on 17 May 2018.
GTC's avatar
 GTC
 Location: Sydney, NSW
 Member since 28 January 2011
 Member #: 823
 Postcount: 6012

Well, I relented and chipped in for another 12 months.


 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 15 · Written at 5:06:31 PM on 17 May 2018.
Johnny's avatar
 Location: Hobart, TAS
 Member since 31 July 2016
 Member #: 1959
 Postcount: 411

Yes I suffer from FOMO(fear of missing out), too!
Got to get that monthly fix, which unfortunately for us oldies can at times be a little boring.
But one has to try and keep up with the technology.
JJ


 
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