More Than A Blackout

By Alan Richardson

Originally published in EUG #39

Our Acorn Group is expecting an address from Alistair France of Acorn on some aspects of Acorn's future. Should be an interesting address.

A lot of the early books on programs and utilities for the Electron had disks or tapes of the programs listed in the books. I'm wondering whether anyone has a collection of these? Possibly the PD libraries?

I am still seeking a ROM image for my Cumana Disk Drive Interface for the Electron. Is anyone in touch with someone who has worked for Acacia Computers? Acacia wrote the software for Cumana. Or anyone who used to be with Cumana when it was producing disk drives?

I'm still interested in contacting anyone who has expertise with the Okimate 20 printers, especially relating to a colour dump for the Elk. I was told that Electron User used an Okimate 20 with some specially written software for screen snaps that appeared in the magazine.

I am still after an original tape of Boffin by Addictive.

There was a group called "The Friendly Electron Club" in Gillingham, Kent. As with many others, it appears to be no more. Does anyone know of it or its history? A letter sent has remained unanswered.

Does anyone have the disk from the Advanced User Guide published by Adder Publishing Ltd? I'm happy to send two blank disks for one in return?

I had several queries in my last letter and I've had one response by e-mail. There must be some people sitting on extensive collections of Elk software.

On a broader front, I notice that A&B Computing offered quite a lot of Elk software over the years, mostly on disk. Does anyone know what happened to this? Could make a good collection judging by some of the titles.

The Auckland Blackout Having the central business district of a city of 1,000,000 plus people out of action for over three weeks is a major. I believe some small businesses did not survive. But then it's amazing how innovative some of the survivors became. Cooking with gas... dinner by candlelight... My mother and brother live in apartments in the CBD but fortunately their building was fed by a cable from another area. I live on the North Shore and we were not affected. It was never a complete blackout. Sometimes some of the traffic lights would be working then the next day they would be out. By and large traffic was well-behaved. Helped by the fact that not a lot of people were coming into the city. Tall buildings that relied on air conditioning had problems. Most were evacuated where the occupants could find other offices or had suburban branches that became a temporary head office. Someone I know was asked to stay in a building to man the phones. She said it was difficult climbing eight floors with stale air and every so often they had to do onto the roof and breathe deeply for a while. Many had generators installed but not all could afford the cost.

Basically, the city had been relying on four old cables. As soon as one failed, the extra load on the other three caused two more to fail. There was always one cable supplying some power though. The supplier, Mercury Energy, installed temporary overhead lines and they're working well. I believe that there will eventually be new cables in a tunnel that is still being built.

Alan Richardson

To be honest, Alan, this story illustrates the character of the New Zealander. If this had happened in London, there would've been hell to pay. In fact, the Government would probably have fallen.

If you can, we would really like a report of the meeting with Mr France. Acorn have generally abandoned us here in the UK.

Best of luck with all of your requests.

Gus Donnachaidh, EUG #39