For The Good Times

By Chris Dewhurst

Originally published in EUG #59

Sorry it's taken a while to respond. Since my previous copy of EUG #57 got lost en route to me at Keele, I received #57 and #58 together and have only now spent a morning reading both issues from cover to cover. These discs were damaged in transit as well but the software was okay so I have made copies onto the hard drive of my A3010 for safekeeping. I suppose one advantage of EUG transferring to cyberspace is that we won't have to reply on "snail mail" any more!

Anyway, the usual congratulations for both EUGs and, as regards the imminent closure of everyone's favourite mag, let the readers hear this:

I first came into contact with EUG when, in 1998 and the traditional Acorn community spirit, I decided it was high time I shared a series of articles and programs I'd written over the previous four years with a bigger audience than myself. I sent some letters off to user groups that were advertised on the web. One of these was 8BS and another EUG.

Chris Richardson at 8BS was the first to respond so naturally I sent all my programs to him [You'll find at least four quality discs purely of Chris Dewhurst programs in the TBI section of - Ed]. About two months later, an advertisement for EUG c-r-a-w-l-e-d through the post, addressed and signed in Gus' loopy handwriting. It took me a few months to decide if I should part with my money for a subscription to this magazine. Eventually I paid for six issues because I thought I would continue to support the 8-bit range, even if correspondence with user groups was slow.

My first EUG disc was EUG #44 and decided to appear in August 1999 - despite the disc being labelled June 1999 - addressed with totally the wrong postcode! I was surprised it even reached me! I wasn't really impressed with the contents [The original EUG #44, the last magazine produced by Gus, contained next to nothing and is now supplied as a back issue amalgamated with EUG #43 - Ed] but I thought that if I could get some of my programs published then I could try and help make it more professional. So I wrote three programs (Goldminer, Fibonacci Wallpaper and Oozeman) and sent them off to Gus.

Actually, at the time I considered these second-rate and not up to my usual standard, but figured that if I never heard anything back then I wouldn't have wasted too much effort. How true my suspicions were when, after months of non-EUG, I began to think the former editor was just another incompetent being with which, regrettably, we have to share this universe. Wondering what to do with an idle moment near Christmas, I emailed Gus and he replied (two weeks later) that he had given up EUG and passed the buck to a promising young Dave Edwards.

With renewed optimism, I now set about getting in contact with Dave and learned by that time that no less than four EUG discs had gone out to me. Why I didn't receive them is still a mystery but either the local postie with too great an interest in MD discs was to blame - or the combination of a dubious postcode, a new editor and a cardex of addresses in Gus' handwriting was my downfall.

Fortunately, copies of all the missing issues now swiftly arrived and I promised to contribute stuff on a regular basis. Writing BBC programs was by this stage a cop-out for me, so I put myself into top gear and set about writing to the best of my ability - whilst studying for my degree at the same time. My only guilty feeling was that EUG was supposed to be for Electron owners and I was sending in BBC stuff!

Nonetheless I am inspired by the ever-evolving look of the excellent EUG magazine which shows great promise. Come rain or shine, come student debt or unemployment, it is a pleasure to receive EUG every few months, a delight to write another program and sheer satisfaction that at least something in this ever-changing world is constant. Or was. I read with shock in EUG #58 about the decision to close EUG.

You can imagine how devastated I felt when our dedicated and talented [Aw, stoppit! - Ed] Dave announced that EUG was to be granted a year's grace before being consigned, in one form or another, to cyberspace. I have to say that it might save a lot of heartache to substitute EUG for a website but remember: (1) People think that the Internet is immortal in the same way as they thought the BBC was going to live forever until it didn't; (2) I hate relying on those coal-fired PC nuisances. I get double-delight out of receiving EUG on disc and sitting down at my BBC or Archimedes. What I'm saying is, if Dave doesn't want anyone else to take over EUG, he should not put all his eggs in one basket.

That said, I know a little about internet programming from a course in the first year of Uni so if you get stuck, Mr Ed, then make sure to get in touch. Incidentally, if you need a hand in the "painstaking transfer" of old paper EUG pictures to disc, I could scan them into my dad's PC, and use the !ChangeFSI utility on my Archimedes to convert the pictures into BBC format. They would need touching up, but it would save you a bit of work.

Christopher Dewhurst

I know for a fact there are others with similar horror stories about dealing with EUG towards the end of Gus' leadership. In fact, I wrote a similar (although more scathing) letter moaning that he'd taken more than a year to send me a replacement disc (Banging The Table, EUG #36) at one point, only to be rewarded after all that with a second disc that didn't work! (This was made all the more infuriating by the fact his editorials always laboured the point that he needed errors to be pointed out to ensure he wouldn't "make the same mistake again"!) I suspect "the Gus issues" (EUGs #15-#44) will generate quite a bit of discussion on the websites when the discs are freely available to download.

On the EUG rejuvenation project, perfectionist that I am, I have always favoured re-creating the artwork in preferance to digitised images. Although it has been a laborious task, with only EUG #6 now outstanding, the worst is over. Thanks for the offer though.

Dave E