HPCC website



#2

Have you seen the new outfit of our European club, the HPCC?
Mark Power did a brilliant job with a new layout, simpler and no longer spagetti-like.

Some suggestions from a active web designer are allowed:

- There should be a possibility to download old DATAfile articles or even back numbers. Noone will buy a CD-ROM with old articles, because you never read them all, but these articles are a quarry for single informations.
- Add some more pictures, mainly from the meetings. I want to know, who is in the club! (Maybe you could add a member´s list as well.
- Forget your work with the forum, the last posting is several month old... We all use Dave´s forum. I think it´s better to use one single forum than to read in different.. personal opinion, sorry.


#3

Hi, Matthias:

Thanks a lot for your interesting suggestions for the
HPCC web site, I agree with most of them but I want to make a couple of remarks:

Matthias wrote: "Noone will buy a CD-ROM with old articles, because you never read them all"

On the contrary, quite a number of people have got the
PPC CD #3 - Handheld and Portable Computer Club's (HPCC) - Twenty-One Years of Datafile 1982 - 2002 compiled and made available by Jake Schwartz as part of the PPC CD-ROM Set, and it's easy to see why: it makes fascinating reading and it's incredibly useful as a reference of what's been done and how.

If your remark would hold, all CD-ROMs with the full contents of PPC, CHHU, Australian Technical Notes, HPX,
etc, would also fail to hold the interest of HP fans. Fortunately, that's not the case, more like the opposite.

"I want to know, who is in the club! (Maybe you could add a member´s list as well".

Good idea, perhaps such a list will be eventually included at the site. Meanwhile, some members (who I hope wouldn't mind me mentioning their membership here) are Wlodek Mier-Jedrzejowicz, Tony Duell, Bruce Horrocks, Frank Wales, Jordi Hidalgo, Toni Hutchings, Bill Butler, Richard Nelson himself, ..., and yours truly, to name a few. You can get a pretty accurate listing of most active members by simply
looking at the Table of Contents of past Datafile issues,
here.

Best regards from V.


#4

Actually, I don't think Richard Nelson is an HPCC member. I don't recall seeing him in the list.


#5

Hi, Tony:

Tony posted: "Actually, I don't think Richard Nelson is an HPCC member. I don't recall seeing him in the list. "

Actually, I was under the impression that he had kind of an "Honorary Membership" but I may be wrong.

In any case, Datafile includes articles by him every so often, the latest issue (V23N6, December 2004) for instance does include
his amusing and interesting "HP Calculator Quiz" (V23N6P37),
and I guess Matthias is more interested in who does contribute to Datafile with articles, regardless of him/her being a member or not.

Best regards from V.

#6

I don't know if anyone is still following this thread, but... There was some discussion of who is or is not a member of HPCC. Well, the list posted by Valentin Albillo contained people whose articles have been published in Datafile - some are members of HPCC at present, others were members but are not now, or were not members but have become members. The British law on privacy of personal information is very strict, so it might even be illegal for us to say who is or is not a member!

If anyone wants to use this as the opening of a new thread on the Data Protection Act and other bureaucratic excesses, relating to our interests, please feel free to do so :-)

Wlodek

#7

I don't think we have enough web space to put all the articles on-line, and anyway selling the CD-ROMs (and back issues of Datafile) provides income to the club (it does take money to run the club, we have to pay to have Datafile printed, we have to pay postage to send it out to members, we have to pay for the room where we hold the monthly meethings).

As regards people only wanting a few articles, I would point out that Dave Hicks here sells plenty of his CD-ROM collection, even though I can't think anybody wants _all_ the manuals on said disks. Also, you'll often find useful information (to you) in articles that, at first sight, seem to have nothing to do with the information in question. It's better to read everything you can.

I will admit I've not bought that CD-ROM (I personally prefer to read paper), but I have access to every issue of D/F ever published, and have read all of them (!).

I am also pretty sure that the UK Data Protection Act would prevent us making the membership list available to the public. Members get a 'Memberpack' every year which includes a membership list.

More photos of meetings would be a good idea. And I agree with dropping the HPCC forum. I never use it, I come here. It's not as if the HPCC one is private for club members only, or anything like that.


#8

Speaking of generating funds for the club, sales of the Datafile CD have passed the 80-copy mark, and have generated U.S. $400. for HPCC since the disk first went on sale. For each copy sold, $5.00 goes back to HPCC.

Jake Schwartz


#9

Sure, I know there are quite a few members who want a printed journal each month, but there are probably a lot more of us out there who would pay a smaller amount just to get the PDF version.

That would HAVE to subsidize the printing of the journal, even if a few members changed "status".

Think about it...more members paying somewhat less...but with NO printing cost = excess funds to cover the printing for those that want it.

Cost/volume/profit analysis. Might even use it for my managerial accounting class I'll be teaching.

Give us a PDF membership level! :-)


#10

This idea has been discussed -- many times -- in the past. I seem to remember the main problem was finding a way to prevent the pdf file being copied round all your friends (I am not saying _you'd_ do this, but there are plenty of people who would, alas).


#11

Quote:
I seem to remember the main problem was finding a way to prevent the pdf file being copied round ...

Already some years ago you could encrypt PDF to each individual who was allowed to read the document.

With the newer products you can even encrypt once and let download the whole world. Only the customer who received/bought a decryption key is able to read the file. You have also print and copy control, etc...

There are ways to solve completely this problem.

Have a look to the page http://store.adobe.com/security/main.html and related security links.


#12

Just a small note about this:

Adobe pdf creation tools are *not* free,

so the cost for the software would have to be

set into account, too.

Raymond


#13

@raimond:

Quote:
...the cost for the software would have to be
set into account, too...

That's right. But I believe that hundreds of (new) members would buy a pdf version and on the long term the total costs for the club should be far smaller than the costs of a printed edition.

I'm *pro* minded for a PDF version in addition to the paper version, but from my personal point of view I still would pay my fee for the printed version.

The feedback from some HPCC exponent in charge would be interesting.


#14

On my Macintosh powerbook I'm using right now, if I go to print, I have the option to "Save as PDF" on the print dialog box. That's built into the mac OSX system.

Of course, that doesn't encrypt! the file, but it does create a PDF.

I just don't believe this is a money loser for HPCC.

They would gain more members (like me) who would pay for a PDF but don't wish to pay for postage.

Anyone else?

Gene


#15

You might have a new personal member just because of the PDF version

Can one print from the encrypted himself?

Sometimes a very interesting article should be taken with and I still don't have a pocketPC with a PDF reader

Could I perhaps transfer then document with the key into a pocketPC/Communicator/Qonos for travel needs?

I would like to read some articles while commuting (& computing :)

[VPN]

#16

Hi, Gene and all following this thread:

Here are my humble opinions and comments on this topic, for what they might be worth:

  • Creating the PDF files is essentially free. As far as I know, Datafile people can generate PDF files, encrypted or not, right now, no extra cost involved. Besides, there are a number of free libraries available on-line to that purpose, I routinely generate PDF on the fly as part of the software I develop, with graphics, text, etc., dependent on some inputs and results, i.e., a report. Come to that, I would volunteer to do the conversion myself, if necessary. In other words, it's very easy and that's no problem at all.

  • Securing the PDF file so that only subscribers can have access to its contents is far more difficult, or even impossible. There's no encryption method for PDF files that can't be broken, as far as I know, you can always remove the encryption if you have the required knowledge and the right tools, and once it's done, it will spread very quickly.

  • Even if encryption is not removed, the encrypted file can nevertheless be distributed as long as you also
    include the password. The mere fact of having Datafile in
    a digital format means that you can then process it by
    digital, automated means, i.e., sooner or later it will get broken.

  • Another likely scenario is: you don't break the encryption and you don't distribute the PDF file with password and all, but you do print any number of copies, in plain paper, and distribute that among your friends, local club members, whatever, thus having a number of people reading and essentially owning a copy of that Datafile issue for free.
    Unless you forbid printing (which in my opinion should not be done because it's much more convenient and comfortable to read a paper printed copy than the glaring screen), this can't be avoided at all, and is by far the most likely scenario: who can resist the temptation to print a copy for your good friend and HP-calc innamorato What E. Ver, so that he/she can enjoy reading it at leisure, at home ?

    You can do that right now with your printed copy of Datafile, but passing that one original to a number of people is time consuming and inconvenient. Printing copies for all of them is not.

  • Also, having Datafile in digital form, as a PDF file, means that it can eventually become a vehicle for viruses. There are already a small number of PDF viruses, more or less of the 'proof-of-concept' status, but I still remember that one of the very first viruses for MS Word was "Concept", a simple virus which just proved you could write viruses for Word. Needless to say, now there are hundreds of very harmful viruses than can attack and spread via MS Word (Excel, etc) documents. I concede that this is a minor point, but in any case is something that simply cannot happen in its present, printed form.

To summarize, while having Datafile in PDF form might be a good thing, it's an important issue with severe implications for the survival of Datafile itself, and so it's not something that you can take lightly, a careful evaluation of pros and cons by the powers-that-be is definitely needed, lest you risk ruining in one year something that has valiantly survived for nearly 21.

Best regards from V.


Edited: 26 Jan 2005, 7:15 a.m.


#17

Perhaps. :-)

I just don't think most of us are waiting on edge to print out copies of Datafile. While I would love to have a PDF format, I do not know of anyone within 500 miles of me who I would print a copy for!

One idea...Datafile could ALWAYS try this and if copies showed up on the 'net, they could discontinue it.

They could stop it if 1/2 of the members dropped out.

They could stop it if the total $$ that came in was less than before.

I just don't see how that would be. :-) I think they would have more $$ than before.

After all, a large number of us here and on comp.sys.hp48 may not get the paper copy at ~$50 or so per year, but we might do the PDF @ $25/year or so.

It wouldn't take very many new subscribers to make this an attractive option.

:-)
Gene

#18

A couple of minor points :

1) Datafile is already sent to the printing company electroncially, I assume as a pdf file (although I am not actually involved in this)

2) HPCC has been around for almost 23 years (not 21)! We don't want to do anything that might change that...

As regards the cost of membership, I have probably different views on this because I am a UK member who gets to almost all the monthly meetings. I think of it like this :

I pay \pounds 25.00 per year, which is just over \pounds 2.00 a month. For that I get an interesting afternoon's meeting -- it's less than the cost of going to see a movie or the theatre, and a lot more interesting and educational. Datafile for me is actually a bonus (and if Datafile stopped being produced, I would still remain a member of HPCC, if the meetings stopped, I wouldn't).

#19

Re encypted PDF files :

I know little about this (much prefering to read stuff on paper...) but what is to stop :

1) The decrypted version (or the postscript/pcl/whatever you send to a printer) being distributed

2) The decryption key/password being distributed

3) Somebody printing off a dozen copies for all his friends


#20

I think perhaps this is a fear of something that would probably never happen.

I like HP calculators quite a bit and HPCC (and its members too). But, I don't see a market for stolen Datafile issues that would be large enough to reduce the # of paying members.

Suppose it did. Imagine:

Now: 100 paying datafile members each paying $50 / year. Total revenue $5000/year.

Add a paid PDF option:
Then: 90 paying datafile members (10 change to PDF only): $50/year
and 30 new paying datafile members for PDF only @ $30/year.
Total revenue $4500 + $900 = $5400.

Gain $400 in total.

Suppose 50 people now see the PDF of the datafile who were not members before and have not joined up now.

There is no loss of revenue.

I guess teaching managerial accounting and cost/volume/profit relationships for so long makes me think through these things differently.

Personally, having more $$ for datafile/HPCC is a good thing. :-)


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