The 10,000 copies of the December issue of PC-Home magazine were distributed with a CD-rom, a computer- readable CD, on the cover instead of the floppy disks attached to the other copies. Such promotional disks filled with software are an essential weapon in the fierce circulation wars fought by the 80 computer magazine titles on sale every month.
The cover disk for PC Home contained a five- minute video demonstration of a new game; extracts from several books, including The Christmas Carol, Wind in the Willows and Robin Hood, in four different languages; samples of music and software with which to manipulate them - and 200 words of instruction on converting light bulbs into bombs.
These were apparently copied from an American bulletin board, an electronic information and message system, and - the publishers claim - placed on the disk by a disgruntled contractor.
The author of these handy tips signs himself Starhawk 1 and says: 'I got this from a movie and have tried it. It works]]]' The rather complicated instructions require a blowtorch as well as a large supply of light bulbs.
A single CD-rom can hold 440 times as much information as a floppy disk: this can be in the form of programs, music, video clips, text or any mixture of these things. Next week, the software giant Microsoft will launch a CD- rom containing all the pictures in the National Gallery.
Computers, page 30