Congratulations, EUG!

By Alan Richardson

Originally published in EUG #50

Greetings from New Zealand and congratulations to EUG on reaching the ripe old (st)age of producing a fiftieth issue. Great work from a line of dedicated editors [And readers - Ed].

Down under an Electron is definitely a rarity. Concomitant with this article, I am writing a small piece (My first, I think) for the local Acorn Users' Group newsletter. The members will probably be surprised to learn that the Electron is still supported overseas (by EUG). The pressure mounts to upgrade to an Archimedes or perhaps a RISC OS machine. They are all I read about in the local newsletter.

Since we moved I have not had as many computers set up as I used to. Previously, I had a Sinclair Spectrum ZX81, Commodore 64, Z88 and a Memotech MTX512 set up and ready to run. Now is down to the Elk and the Z88. The pressure to become Internet capable also works against staying with an older computer. I have email through the Commodore computer Bulletin Board service. This is workable because I can work with text. It's the large memory required for screen graphics that limits what I can receive. And now music files!

Still, the Electron has been amazingly adaptable considering the design requirements at the time it was developed. I think the design team did very well. Microsoft prefers to change the operating system every year or so. Not my idea of a useful setup. Some of the software produced for the BBC and Electron range has also proven to be quite advanced when compared to other offerings. I am thinking especially of the View series.

In New Zealand, probably because of the size of the market, dealers move to support anything new and rapidly lose interest in supporting older machines. This applies to several brands, and not just the Electron. Overseas I notice that support for older machines continues for a long time.

Double-density disks are also reaching the end of their production. Has anyone looked at whether an LS-120 drive (Superdrive) can be made to work with an Electron? It would give us readability of double-density disks and the option of using high density 3.5" disks or the 120 megabyte disk which could be something like having a hard drive? Would need some software written for it.

I am currently running my Electron with the MASTER RAM BOARD, Plus 1, Acorn DATACORDER, ADVANCED PLUS 3 (twin double-sided 3.5" drives under ADFS), a Super 5 EQ-333 24-pin printer and Pace Commstar RS-423 port connected to a LineLink 144e which I run at 9600 baud. I can also download files from my Z88 for storage on disk via the Elk. The screen I am using is a Roland CC-121. I have three of these but only one is working. It gives a good screen resolution but I cannot get them serviced here. The flyback transformer is no longer available. I wonder whether these were popular in the UK and if so, whether there might still be flyback transformers available for them.

I like our Editor's idea of looking at programs that have been available through Public Domain libraries. Seems we could find a gem or two. I also think it's a great idea (worthy of support) to have a repository for all that was ever produced for the Electron - amazing just how much was! Any chance of a master list of all these things? Hardware, software, books et al.

How about a survey for the millennium? Who is still using an Electron? What is it used for? How long has it been used for? Etc, etc.

John Crane, EUG #51