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How This Site Came About

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


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

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

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". :)

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