8-Bit Software Online Conversion

8-bit Software (c) Duncan Webster DEC 1991 Issue 17 December 1991 PD Library Review Many thanks to all members who responded to my enquiry for information and opinions regarding the various PD libraries operating for the BBC world. Quite a few have responded, so I have decided to spend a few issues publishing YOUR opinions before investigating a selection of PD libraries in more detail. If any member would like to volunteer as a PD libraries investigator then please let me know. Your job will be to write to a few PD libraries around the UK with a view to submitting a detailed report about the PD library based on the factors mentioned in the issue 16 disc magazine. D.G. Shimmin writes about BBC-PD which is based in Bolton and operated by Alan Blundell. BBC-PD is incredibly well organised and offers many advantages over other PD libraries according to Mr. Shimmin. These advantages include the ever increasing selection of good quality software (over 100 discs), User Friendly and comprehensive catalogues, a user disc rating system, generally FULL PD discs and all orders are uaually supplied within a week. At a price tag of 1.50 per disc this represents the higher end of PD pricing but according to D.G.S. it appears to be worth it for the amount of work put into the co-ordination and presentation of the library. Mad Rabbit PD is run by Joel Rowbottom who also used to run a Bulletin Board called the Rabbit Run (whatever happened to that?). There appears to be mixed feelings about this library with the posotive side being the availability of well presented, imaginative and useful software which is not normally available at other PD libraries which gives Mad Rabbit PD an air of uniqueness. However the minus side of Mad Rabbit is that some of the discs on offer contain very little software (some as low as 33k). Pricing is the same as BBC-PD with each disc costing about 1.50 - which could be regarded as value for most of the Mad Rabbit discs, but robbery for the ones containing 33k of programs. This PD library stands out as one of the few libraries with "unique" software and it is well worth getting a catalogue, but don't hold your breath as some of the reply times are very slow. Masterdisc Magazine and Purple Domain PD are both the work of Andy Nibbs. Masterdisc magazine is a monthly magazine which is very simalar to 8-bit Software but exclusively for Master Series Computers. However there is an annoying routine in the boot file which will stop a Master Compact in it's tracks with the message "only suitable for Master Computers". The removal of this offending item and the disc works perfectly on a compact - perhaps something that ought to be looked at. As for the content of Masterdisc the only work that comes close to summing up is "Excellent!!!!". Every disc is professionally presented through a WIMP menu which makes loading software and reading articles as easy as using an Archimedes (excuse the plug). The minus side of Masterdisc Magazine has to be the price - at 2.50 for some discs this represents the most expensive PD around. However in this world if you want quality goods you have to pay the price for them and Masterdisc Magazine is certainly no exception to that rule. Purple Domain PD also has an excellent selection of software together with a service to be relied upon with the only drawback being that some of the discs are rather less than full. Unlike Masterdisc Magazine though, Purple Domain is very cheap with each disc being approx. 50p plus P & P. Robin Pike PD has an interesting selection of software which is typically found on many PD libraries around the UK. However there are quite a few items within the catalogue not to be found at other PD libraries. The pricing system of RPPD is extremely and needlessly (in most cases) complex, but a general price of 1.00 to 1.50 per disc could be assumed. More in depth reviews of PD libraries in future issues.