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Why on earth did I open my big mouth? "I've got an idea!" I said ...
So I don't repeat myself - here is my original posting to comp.sys.acorn.programmer. It still says it all, really.
From: Morbo Jones Subject: RFC: Programming Notes Website Newsgroups: comp.sys.acorn.programmer Date: Sat, 26 Apr 2003 20:24:20 +0000 Evening! I've decided I would like to maintain a website which would be of some use to the RISC OS community. I'd obviously like to do this in an area which interests me - and as I'm very into coding and electronics (both in an amateur capacity and professionally) I have an idea for a website which I would really value your opinion on. I have a big collection of Acorn magazines, which my wife keeps trying to get me to throw out. She just doesn't understand - these magazines are still useful even today, thanks to all the technical information contained in *INFO, Arc Agora, Joe's Jottings, Mike Cook, Alan Wrigley, Hints and Tips ... the list goes on. Over the years, these articles have been marvellous stepping-stones in my computer projects. In my early days I'd read the BASIC manual cover-to-cover, but the PRMs were often just that little bit too daunting, too formal. But my collection of "Here's how to do XXX" articles in the magazines? Fantastic! Just enough example code for me to see what sort of parameters went into which registers for which SWI calls. Enough reference that I didn't feel I was stabbing in the dark because the PRMs phrased everything in such a technical manner. But not everyone has such a collection, do they? And as collections of these magazines get more and more scarce, what are budding amateur coders going to do? I firmly believe that a healthy future for RISC OS depends on freeware/shareware coders as much as the commercial companies. So I feel I should be encouraging new RISC OS coders whenever I can. So, I would like to maintain a website which keeps a collection of programmers reference material in a kind of "How to ..." manner. I'd like people to be able to browse the site, and find some example code of what they're trying to do, in friendly, informal magazine-style articles. Where would I get the content from? Well, it would be great if articles from old magazines could be included (do you own such IP? Would you be happy for this? If so, please let me know!). I'd love to make those available, if I could. "How to" questions regularly appear on CSA programmer, so gleaning material from there would be relatively straightforward (with the permission of the posters). Most of all, I'm hoping that enthusiasts on the 'net would submit such articles. You wouldn't have to be the worlds best communicator. You may not consider yourself an authority on the RISC OS platform. But a quick article saying "This is how I did /this/ ..." may be enough to start someone else along the right path. I would also be happy to link to an article on your site (rather than store it locally) if you have already done any articles which you think would be useful, but wish to keep on your own webpage. Secondly, I'd also like the site to contain a wishlist of articles that people would like to see. That would encourage article-writers who may otherwise believe that they have nothing to contribute. Thirdly, I'd like to keep a listing (like an online directory) of coders who have RISC OS projects currently on the boil. Perhaps you're looking for assistance? Or want beta-testers? Perhaps you're flagging a bit, and want some encouraging e-mails to spur you on? Or perhaps you're about to start a project, and want to see if anyone is already doing something similar. Anyway, thats about it. If you've read this far and you're bored then I do apologise - my wife says I have a tendency to waffle. And if you think it's a stupid idea then please be gentle when you say so :). But I have decided that I'd like to use more of my time doing something constructive and useful for the community as a whole, rather than piddling-about with lots of silly little projects and having no real focus - as I've been doing so far. I also have a Broadband connection which I'm under-using, and a couple of spare computers which would make good servers if necessary. I need to gauge what people think of this idea. There's no way I can create all the material by myself, but I'd love to do the boring donkey-work (typing, scanning, collation) and provide resources if people are willing to contribute. I feel that this community is too small to sustain lots of individuals all doing their own thing, but if we worked together then we could achieve great things. Group hug! Witty suggestions on what to name the site would also be appreciated. At the moment it is provisionally entitled "oflaoflaofla". :)