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What the Hell - Issue 100 of Positive Feedback

11-01-2018 | By Dave Clark | Issue 100

Okay so the article below is from way back in June 2002 when David Robinson and his wife Lila Ritsema, Carol Clark and I (Dave Clark) decided to merge our two print publications into one web publication, well for the first two years or so, so sorta two. This article ran not only in the last print issue of Positive Feedback (Volume 9, Issue 3, 2002) but as I said, in the first issue of us going online.

As audioMUSINGS, we published 15 issues starting in 1998 and ending in 2002. Was a love hate relationship. Loved to see us at Tower Records, loved the format, the look and feel, and editorial philosophy, the creativity... hated the desktop publishing, the deadlines, the time and work it took to get an issue out. And yeah we grew, we changed... from black and white to color, from 23 pages to 52... from flat to glossy... we evolved, but we need to change even more. We needed to change from print to web.

Issue 1 of audioMUSINGS, 1998

Issue 15 of audioMUSINGS, 2002

Okay, so a lot has also changed with Positive Feedback... or evolved since 2002. We dropped the audioMUSINGS part, we dropped the Online part, we went from an html site to a "Frankenstein" WordPress php site, have added way more writers (and lost a few as well), grown our readership from a few thousand to several hundred thousand, attended way too many shows, personally reviewed way too many products (yeah, expect way less from me from now on), published a ton of content (the older html site is like 6000 pages and the new-er WP site continues to grow)... we have gotten bigger and way better. New features, new sections... a new look and format. And while we have sadly lost a number of dear friends in the industry (several of whom were our writers) to health issues, we have become new friends with many, many more. New friends, great friends... what the industry is all about; community. What we are all about.

So here we are.... a 100 issues since we went online. Wow, where did the time fly... 16 years and counting. What the Hell?! Never thought we would be here... like this. For sure we will draw the line at some point and say enough is enough... time to move on. There have been many changes for Carol and myself during these 16 years—our own health issues, retirement, returning to the arts (www.daverclarkdesigns.com ...yeah a selfish plug), and with many more changes to come. Same for David and Lila. Time moves forward, people move forward, life changes... things happen. The site has moved forward and it has changed, changed for the better. Oh man did I spend a lot of time creating graphic images and layouts at the time when we were html, looked so cool, but now... the older site looks so dated! A decent amount of time and effort to get where we are today... but more to come. Stay tuned.

Positive Feedback ISSUE 1
june/july 2002

"Yes, I can teach you to fly—but that cocoon has got to go…"

Yes, things have changed. Positive Feedback magazine is no longer going to be published as a print journal…instead, we've shifted to online publication, and have organized ourselves as Positive Feedback Online. The former audioMUSINGS group, under the editorial leadership of Dave and Carol Clark, has joined the editorial community of Positive Feedback, to form the new online venture. Some 50 or so editors and writers will be participating in PF Online, as a larger team.

Dave Clark will be acting as a highly valued new Senior Assistant Editor (in tandem with Rick Gardner from the PF group), and will also be the new Web Site Editor for PF Online. Dave and his talented wife Carol Clark are smashingly talented in the realm of html and web design; I've been very taken at the look and feel of their efforts. We believe that you'll find the new PF Online to be a massive improvement over the old Positive Feedback web site.

Yours truly will act as the new Editor-in-Chief of the Positive Feedback Online e-zine. With me will be the old "River City Gang" from Portland, now much more highly visible than ever…much to the dismay of traditionalists, no doubt!

Ah well; we aren't doing this for them anyway, eh?

Which brings up a good point: what's the goal of this new enterprise?

To continue in the best tradition of both publications, really; from audioMUSINGS comes an emphasis on the equipment. They are a hardware review group with a well-developed approach to evaluating audio gear by placing in front of one reviewer after another. This allows them to form an extended impression of a component or components under varying conditions. As audiophiles based in the L.A.area, they know each other very well, get along, and represent all the best things that a gathering of reasonably proximate audio loons can provide: tunes, good times, pleasant audio tweakiness and the odd ‘phile obsession. It's great to have them aboard!

audioMUSINGS will therefore continue as a section of the new Positive Feedback Online, operating as the focus for audio hardware.

Positive Feedback will act as the aegis for the new venture. Those who know PF from its 12.5 years of publication are aware of our philosophy. (If not, check elsewhere on our site for an eyeful.) In summary, PF is, and has always been, about several things:

Creativity – PF is first and foremost an artistic endeavor, a pursuit of writing in service of the audio arts. Art is at the heart of all of life, all of music, all of audio—and all of what we do here.

Community – We are also a gathering of kindred spirits, who happen to like each other and enjoy working together. What's more, we don't quite understand why people would want to live their lives any other way.

Commitment – PF has always represented a union of ideals and practical work. We intend to carry through on that commitment here in PF Online.

You can think of PF Online as an extension of Positive Feedback in a new medium, one that allows us to go with our strengths, and leave all the constraints of traditional publishing behind.

Which brings me to…

…the question of that I have already heard from some of our print subscribers: "Why'd you do this?! I prefer magazines…don't like the web! Say it ain't so!"

Ask me something hard.

There are a number of reasons why Positive Feedback made the decision to shift from print to electrons. (I'm sure that Dave Clark could add his own list here.) As a matter of fact, the logic—and economics—are so powerful that I've been quietly meditating this move for a couple of years. But now it's become feasible.

First off, printing magazines has become ungodly expensive. As in, REALLY EXPENSIVE. Unless you've got deep pockets…as in a few million…it's gotten very hard to play in that game. Just ask the folks at Fi, Audio Adventure/Play, Ultimate Audio, etc. Takes all the fun out of it, it does…

Next, shipping magazines has become even worse. Some of our overseas subscribers were costing nearly US $10.00 per issue for shipment/handling, which is bloody close to totally absurd. Sure, we had readers willing to pay it, but it was continuing to go out of sight…and 9/11 only made it worse. With more cost increases on the horizon, it was time for a change.

Web technology, color output technology, digital photography, digital image editing, and high-speed Internet access is finally getting to the point of delivering acceptable…even exceptional…results, when used properly. As an IT professional in my life as Clark Kent, mild-mannered college professor, I am intensely aware of what can be done. The technological moment had arrived for a change.

We'd like to cut the interminable delays and hassles of print publication down to the near-real time of the Internet. Enough said.

We'd also like to make our issues dynamic in content…more on that in a moment. The web allows this; traditional print publications don't.

Finally, the new medium allows some creative possibilities that we've never been able to pursue at Positive Feedback before; Positive Feedback Online will be free to do things in ways we've explored.

About that "dynamic content"…

Here's something different: each issue of Positive Feedback Online will be dynamic in content.

By that, we mean that if you come in to catch Issue 1, and read it on its first day, that's fine and dandy…but you'll have to come back in a few days to check it again. There might be some new essay…or a new review…or some new letters in the "Reverberations" section, together with responses from an editor or two…or a counterpoint from another editor about something said by a colleague…or new photos…or a new interview…or new poetry, or satire, or art work (suitable for printing out and putting on the wall!) of an audiophile nature...there will always be something new happening.

And until the next issue comes along (every two months…yes, we'll be bi-monthly), you'll have to come back again and again. We think that readers are going to like it!

One more thing: anyone with Internet access anywhere will be able to read Positive Feedback Online…at a kiosk, at home, at work…in full color…and print out whatever they want to read. (Yes, that allows you to take us with you into those sacred ‘phile moments in the toilet.) You'll get some of the very best audio writing about…not quite like anything else on the planet.

And all for free.

That's right: no charge to read PF Online. And no charge to browse the archives.

The site will be entirely supported by our loyal advertisers, God bless ‘em!

So kick back and enjoy! Welcome to Positive Feedback Online: A Creative Forum for the Audio Arts. May there be many more issues…good audio times for all…and please accept my thanks for your patience and support during the long gestation of this artistic project.

All the best,

David W. Robinson…Ye Olde Editor

Positive Feedback Online