So long and thanks for all the fish...

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Twenty years of mobile coverage, almost 25,000 articles across (at times) up to five sites, half a dozen writers, Symbian through Meego and Windows Phone operating systems, then cross-platform to iOS and Android for the last couple of years, Rafe Blandford’s ‘All About’ sites have had a good run. And most of it is still accessible and will hopefully remain so for a while. But I do have an announcement...


Times are changing. The mobile/smartphone world has plateaued to a large degree, a new Android phone emerges (literally) every week that is largely indistinguishable from everything else from the last 24 months, a new iPhone emerges each year that… ditto, offers almost the identical experience and functionality of last year’s model. Windows on phones died out. Blackberry’s efforts faded away. There is no viable ‘third ecosystem’ anymore. Sadly.

With everything else equal there might still be enough to cover, mind you - in the last three months, I’ve got a lot of editorial mileage out of the Microsoft Surface Duo 2, for example, and that’s a device that is very definitely different. But there needs to be more. A lot more.

In parallel with this plateauing, there are two other salient major factors. Firstly, as I’m sure you’ll have noted by now, I lost my dad late in 2021, just before Christmas. While sad enough in itself, I’ve been deluged by the work and responsibility of sorting out his (and my also late mum’s) physical estate and 85 years of ‘stuff’. I always said that when he died that I’d have to retire. I stopped my Phones Show videos immediately (here’s the last one) and also stopped writing for other sites completely. And you’ll have noted that content here has been less voluminous as 2022 has unfurled.

Secondly, the site itself has had issues for the last few years - features and links not working and, in the last few months, the straw that broke the camel's back, stories simply coming up with blank content. Much of the site code is only documented in Rafe’s brain(!), leading to delays in getting anything fixed, since he's now high up in management in the IT industry and just doesn’t have the time for projects outside his main employment.

Finally, times are changing in how people consume content. Long-form 2500 word articles aren’t as attractive now as quick fire glossy videos. And, while both still have their place, general reader attention span does seem far shorter now than a decade ago.

All of these factors have converged to now, Spring 2022. While I’m sure there may be some more content at some point (if the CMS allows), either from myself or a guest, it will become a rarity. However, Rafe moved the sites to a cheaper server a couple of years ago and so I’m confident that all the existing 25,000 articles and stories will remain online for the immediate future, at least. So there’s that. At some point, if the servers ever go offline, there’s always The Internet Archive, which has the vast majority of the All About content, going back to the very beginning (January 2002, if you’re counting, the first archive crawl of AllAboutER6!)

So, as they say, thanks for all the fish. Thanks a million to Rafe for keeping everything (largely) going for so long (and for funding things as best he could), thanks to Ewan, David and other writers in the past, thanks for the millions (literally) of readers, commenters, and forum members over 20 years.

Steve Litchfield