News And The Internet

By Dave E

Originally published in EUG #67

Easily-Indexable Electron User

As Dave E has learned more about Javascript, several sections of Acorn Electron World have become 'neater'. Recently, we saw all of the Electron User and EUG software reviews given a makeover. However, the latest upgrade has surpassed all expectations.

Dave E has compiled catalogues of literally everything that ever appeared in the Electron User magazine. The resultant spreadsheet is colossal, and the results have been converted to catalogues which now head up the links over in the EU section. The spreadsheet itself has also been made available. Armed with this, and a little knowledge of Excel, you can find answers to practically anything about the Elk that you've ever wished to know...!

Dave E now plans to merge the EU and EUG spreadsheets and, when research will allow for it, build a search engine into the site to cross-reference them!

AABATRON's As Slippery As An Eel

Pesky piracy protection methods aside, there are few games that have proved as slippery to archive as Bevan Technology's Aabatron for the Electron, which is reviewed this issue. Finally (April 2007), a disc image of this missing game completes the Bevan catalogue after a tortious history which the fates seemed intent on stopping at every turn. Observe:

1984 - Aabatron released on tape only and advertised in mail order catalogues.
1992 - Aabatron on the list of games 'missing' from all collectors' catalogues.
2001 - An anonymous collector sends Dave M a case full of 'Boots C15 computer cassettes', one of which contains Aabatron (and One Last Game) pirated tape-to-tape style.
2002 - Dave M reports this to Dave E but regrettably the game contains copy protection so the tape cannot be converted to .uef format and made available on line. Dave M takes another copy tape-to-tape then sends the original donated cassette to Thomas Harte, who is busily creating ElectrEm at the time, in the hope that he can adapt MakeUEF to archive this missing game.
2003-2005 - Thomas Harte loses the Aabatron tape; the now only surviving copy is Dave M's backup, which he also misplaces. Dave E keeps reminding Dave M to look for it.
2006 - Dave M finds the further copy he made and sends it to Dave E. Dave E contacts Mr. Spock who believes it may be possible to crack it and transfer it to a disc image. Dave E copies this further copy and sends it to Mr. Spock. For some reason, when the tape arrives it has been completely blanked. Dave E sends a further copy.
2007 - Mr. Spock succeeds in creating a disc version of Aabatron and sends it via e-mail to Dave E to add to Acorn Electron World. For some reason, the e-mail never arrives. In April, Dave E enquires if Mr. Spock managed to crack Aabatron. Mr. Spock sends Dave E a physical disc containing the new disc version. On uploading it to the site, Dave E comments that this game has been a triple-whammy: very difficult to find, difficult to chase and difficult to finalise.

Branching Out Into The Territory Of The Beeb...

Perhaps inevitably, the outer parameters of Acorn Electron World are now being stretched to include games originally written for the BBC. This has been very noticeable over the previous months, especially due to the demise of (One annoucement we hoped never to have to make.).

With many programs published inside Acorn User, Acorn Computing and Home Computing Weekly already typed up and archived, Dave E of 'fastest fingers in the South' fame, has turned his attention to all the missing companion discs of The Micro User. Incredibly, no-one has yet built any site offering the entirety of the catalogue of these programs for the BBC. The best that was done was the straight tape-to-disc transfers over at Chris' former site.

With work on this project heavily underway, the catalogue on Acorn Electron World is set to swell over the coming weeks!