Something About Me

By Gary Woodcock

Originally published in EUG #49

I really admire people who keep the old flames of 8-bit burning (Such as the Electron User Group); don't let anyone tell you it's crazy doing it, Mr Editor. Now I have acquired a working Electron, I'm searching for an Acorn Atom. If anyone has one to sell, please let me know.

As a new reader, here's a little bit about my history (in case anyone is interested):

My interest in computers started at twelve when my dad gave me a ZX81 for my birthday. I started typing in programs from Sinclair User (Puckman was my achievement, got it working from a mag) and I used computers at school. Of course, they had the brilliant BBC! I watched those BBC programs on the mid-morning telly; one item there sticks in my mind - how one day we may be able to view photographic quality pictures on a VDU.

Anyway, I really loved using those BBCs at school but my pleas for one fell on deaf ears. My next Christmas gift was a Spectrum (1983-1987) which I stuck with, then an Atari ST (1987-1988). I had abandoned the world of home computing in the late 80s in order to find girls, drink, rock music and a job. Still, in 1995, while I was developing my career in management, I purchased a CBM 386-66!!! Ggggrrrreeeaaat.

This, and a shareware disk from a computer market containing a - yes, you guessed it! - BBC emulator (which I still have somewhere), kickstarted my interest in computers again. Fed up with my direction and my job, I packed it all in and joined the local TECH to start a HND Soft. English course in 1998 (Still going!). Last summer, I went to a local car boot and it was an Aladdin's cave for old computers. I was hooked! I now spend whatever money and time I have going to these places. My girlfriend thinks I am sad and mad! [All our girlfriends do! - Ed]

The last sale I went too was very, very bad. A guy was selling a BBC Model B with CUB Monitor and 5.25" Disk Drive for just £4.00! Yes, £4.00!! I only had a fiver and my bus fair home was £2 something but he would not move on this price despite my tears, pleading and a couple of pints of blood. They didn't shift him and I travelled on that bus an empty man.

In November last year, a friend delivered a plastic bag with an Electron inside it (No leads or anything!) and I have rescued an unmarked, yellow-stained BBC from a person using it as a bookshelf! Now with the Electron up and running, the quest goes on.

P.S. I went to Redcar and Saltburn-on-Sea once to see the area where David Coverdale, from the band Whitesnake, once lived.

Gary Woodcock

With EUG's readership rocketting, there are many other new members who may find it beneficial to introduce themselves to the group through the Mailbag pages.

Car Boot sales are still probably the best places to pick up bargain BBCs and Electron disk systems although eBay's seemingly endless lists of hardware and software on auction should be enough to keep the collectors vying with each other for elusive rareties that evade us if these are the only avenues.

Dave E, EUG #49