Suppliers' Good Service

By John Crane

Originally published in EUG #17

Thanks for EUG #16. Once again a very enjoyable read and quite informative. There seems to be quite a goldmine of information on Elks and BBCs amongst our readers and thanks to all those who took the time and trouble to help me out.

As regards Slogger and Bill Bradbury's 'running' of it, I have had a little experience of his dealings lately and thought my views may be of interest. Firstly, his answer machine. If you've managed to get through to it on more than one occasion, you've probably noticed it's a bit um, erratic. He's told me in the past that it's dodgy and he doesn't always get the messages it records in full. Having said that, why someone who sells and repairs computers and other electronic bits and pieces can't either fix or replace it is beyond me! (Perhaps it's better now. I haven't spoken to it recently!)

Contrary to popular belief, I have found the best time to catch Bill in person is after 7.00pm and he's always seemed quite happy to talk to me. Indeed, when I had some work done by him a short while ago, he once rang me at 9.45pm to let me know how he was progressing.

I have written to Bill on a number of occasions and, while he has often taken two or three weeks to reply, he has always answered my queries quite fully. He still has a fairly comprehensive Elk catalogue available and perhaps if his address was included on EUG disks, more people would be aware of his facilities and his interest may perk up a bit. At one time in the old 'paper' days of EUG, there was always a Suppliers' page. I myself have compiled such a list and it is enclosed with this disk. I'm sure there are more but at least it's a start.

Anyhow, back to my saga. Somebody enquired if MRBs were still available and I can assure you that they are. I had my Elk upgraded to 64K earlier this year and I'm quite satisfied with it. At the same time, I had Slogger's SP64 package fitted and this is where the problems began! Apparently, Bill's stock of SP64 boards had run dry and he had to order more parts to build some more. However, some of the specialist chips involved were no longer available and the updated equivalents crashed the whole setup! No problem - Bill totally redesigned the circuitry for the SP64. In fact, I understand Andrew Hilbig was drafted in to help. After a considerable amount of time and effort, they got SP64 back on its feet - with one or two extra features to boot.

Throughout all this, I must admit I did pester Bill a bit (I am a bit impatient!) but never once did he reply to me with anything other than courtesy and consideration.

As for Christian Weber's comments, I cannot agree. If you can't introduce yourself through the letters page, where can you? After all, we've got a problem page for practical exchange of help. As for the title page, the argument doesn't hold water as far as I'm concerned. If EUG was a magazine on a newsagent's shelf then obviously a recognisable cover would be essential but since all EUG members receive their magazine on disk or perhaps tape, so long as it's clear on the outside what's on it, it doesn't matter what the title page looks like. In fact, I look forward to the variety. I certainly wasn't aware of any age problem. I'm 29 myself for what it's worth and if anybody wants to send in chart music reviews, that's fine by me. Equally if we have any older members who wish to send in Knitting Patterns, that's ok too. I personally only read things of interest to me and if I start reading something that turns out to be otherwise, I just hold down the SHIFT key and skip to something else.

Another point while I'm rambling on. Whilst I agree that Pres' interfaces are on the pricy side (and that their interests indeed lie elsewhere), I sent back one of their old 32K SWR RAM cartridges for repair recently and my faith in their Elk backup has been restored! It took them a few months but this morning, a brand new ABR cartridge arrived despite the fact that they are no longer made or that they no longer stock it! Fantastic! Although I rang them up with another query recently and they just tried to talk me into buying an A3010 or A3020. "Nobody bothers much with old Electron stuff anymore," someone told me.

They appear to have abandoned their name as well. They're now using the old ACP (Advanced Computer Products) title. Their address hasn't changed though.

That's all for now anyway. Since this will probably appear in EUG #17, Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year to all.

John Crane

I'm sorry if I gave the impression that I was in any way personally dissatisfied with Bill Bradbury. I'm simply a bit frustrated trying to get information on what Slogger is currently doing so that I can put it into EUG. After all, it is surely in both Slogger's and EUG's interests that each survives. Slogger does have a bit of a shaky history but I and all EUG members I'm sure wish them and Bill Bradbury well.

I do think though that we as customers are right to complain. So if I or any EUG member feels that a company is not working in our best interests then let's say so loud and clear. Competition in the Electron market is not dead yet and our money is as good as anyone else's. I for one am a little fed up being given second class service (and not just from computer companies!) simply because it appears that I am unlikely to spend very much.

I did finally manage to contact Bill Bradbury and he has said he will try to send something so perhaps things are looking up.

Gus Donnachaidh, EUG #17