The Bell Tolls For EUG

By James Watson & Kevin Etheridge

Originally published in EUG #59

EUG #58 fell into my hands this morning as I was off to London, so I have only now had a chance to go through it. Those members who don't look at it until months later really ought to sort their lives out as that sort of apathy has now, combined with falling contributions, effectively sounded (as you said) the death-knell for EUG. One question: If you got more subscribers and more submissions, would you keep EUG going?

You will find my review of Sunday on this disc and I can also announce that we have permission from the author to include the BBC game Moonbase Beta on a future disc. It was originally going to be released by Superior Software [And appeared on ProAction's Play It Again Sam 19 - Ed] so I'm pretty sure there will be people out there who would love to see and play it! I am also trying to get the author of Repton 4 and Cyroid-X to do the same.

As for EUG #58. What happened? I !BOOTed the disc and it gave me two fireworks, caused the Beeb to emit a loud whine and them gave me some gobbledegook about the 1MHz processor and the motherboard! When I bypassed the !BOOT, it went through a couple of pages of menus and articles then told me "No Room at line 5". It won't even tell me what's at line 5! Does it have anything to do with PAGE being at &2200? Or the three variables in the !BOOT file?

I will probably want to start backtracking and picking up the issues prior to my subscription starting. I'm pretty sure it commenced with EUG #51 but cannot recall. I certainly have some more you sent me as freebie discs (#46 and #50) but other than that, please advise me what numbers it would be ok for you to duplicate on, and how much per disc etc, and I'll get the ball rolling.

Anyways, all the best and really sorry this is happening. I'm gutted actually. I've only been a member for about six issues!!!!!!!

Kevin Etheridge

AND...

I just got the latest issue of the Electron User Group disc which I thought was good, but I see you have decided to give it up. I think this is a shame as it is the last thing going for the 8-bit Acorn range. I hope you may reconsider and I think many other subscribers would agree. Perhaps you should just do one every three or even six months. I hope still to contribute and am working on some reviews at the moment. Or perhaps you may get somebody else to take it over. Perhaps Chris from the 8BS website?

Anyway I hope you will think again.

James Watson

I've put these two short letters from the minority together as they symbolise the complete lack of reaction from the majority. The acquiescence has astonished even me; if "many other" subscribers do agree that EUG should continue then I would expect more. Sadly, it seems that nothing short of the hand of God roasting every PC in the world would be enough to wean people back towards the delights of 8-bit programming so the death sentence remains upon EUG's head.

More subscribers and more submissions have been what EUG has needed since conception but it is a cumulative requirement. If there were more subscribers then the magazine could certainly continue right past EUG #100 on archive material alone. When subscription rates were at their height (120 at EUG #49!), all the money flooding in made me feel a bit guilty when publishing material available elsewhere. Perhaps new readers (many of them collectors) didn't renew their subscription payments because they saw EUG only as a medium for recycling old stuff! If so, even if thirty or so new subscribers joined tomorrow, I'd have no confidence in continuing the magazine without submissions from them!

The idea of a quarterly or even yearly EUG is not without its merits and indeed I considered reducing the frequency of the magazine before making EUG #58's "big announcement". I rejected it because there would be no incentive for people to submit their programs to EUG (rather than a large PD library like 8BS), no identifiable subscribers and its eventual closure from lack of interest would be inevitable.

I don't think it is worth putting the idea of taking over the mag to anybody, least of all Chris Richardson (whose own User Group went defunct for the same reasons a long time ago. I couldn't even interest Chris in a free subscription in return for a few words about each EUG on his website!) - the current fall-out rate will see EUG hit a readership in single figures by EUG #61! Quite a disheartening product to invest time and work in. Especially considering all other User Groups have now failed too.

Regarding the celebratory fireworks that open EUG #58, it seems that there was originally a problem with this demo if PAGE could not be set successfully to &E00 on your machine. The author, Chris Dewhurst, has now altered the source code so the demo is assembled higher in memory, correcting the error you describe. Anyone with a similar compatibility problem should write to EUG and ask for a free replacement EUG #58 disc. You will receive your own complimentary copy with this issue.

Every EUG disc from #0 to #59 is now available (except EUG #6) from EUG HQ for £1.30 per disc. Simply send a cheque and covering letter/order form (printed from the EUG website) stating which issues and format you require.

Dave E