Desert Island Books

By Frank Jones

Originally published in EUG #15

Thank you for your letter of the 12th of June advising me as an Electron User Group member that you have taken over the chair. May I congratulate you on your bravery and wish you the best of luck in trying to hold the group together. Being a member has given me a lot of pleasure; my only regret was joining just before the disk version of the magazine came in. [Why? - Gus]

I admire your ambitions for the group and hope that the members will support you. Whilst it has not been said, I have the feeling that the group membership has suffered over the last year probably because of the uncertainty over whether or not it would continue (and stalwart members upgrading, etc). With this thought in mind, this contributing when wanting a disk, do you not think an annual subscription would be better?

I paid for what I thought at the time was a year's issues and notice on my address label that I have one more issue to come. In your letter, you appeal to members to renew their subscriptions. Am I not alone in paying for a year in advance? I prefer it. Are you going to promote an annual sub in your changes?

There was a questionnaire on joining EUG so I imagine that Will has passed all this over to you so you will know my interests. I am something of a dabbler. Probably rating average in knowledge for the group.

When the opportunity presents itself, I go around Car Boot Sales and there is the occasional Electron for sale ... Cheapest I've seen was £4.00 and a nice one with a Plus 1 and a few bits and pieces at £15.00. There is always a lot of Sinclair and Commodore stuff. Games are always tapes. I recently bought a book for 10p called CHOOSING YOUR HOME COMPUTER, edited by Jonathan Hilton, published in 1984, which I found very enjoyable.

The book is 270 pages, hardback, A4 size and colour abounds. It features: Sinclair Spectrum * Tandy * Commodore * Dragon * Atari * BBC Model B * Sinclair QL * Electron.

On the Electron, it describes it as a robust and well-designed machine, documentation excellent. Of course, the writer bemoans the lack of Mode 7, but rates it above average and when 'some serious expansion facilities, such as disk drives, are available, the Electron will certainly become a justifiably popular machine'. There are two pages of such with exploded colour diagrams. The rest of the book covers pretty well everything: BASIC language, programs, sorts, machine code. It really is very good, especially for 10p!

Another book I have always been indebted to is Eric Deeson's Easy Programming For The Electron. This book I bought at a stall at one of the Manchester Electron User shows around 1988 and I paid £1.00 for it. I worked my way through it and at one time had every example on disk of the programs given. It really is an excellent book and amusingly presented.

So you will gather these are the books I would like to have on a desert island. That is, if I had an Electron computer there.

I have submitted this letter, written in View, in case you are desperate for material to include in EUG #15. You can edit it as you please.

Once again, I hope you achieve your ambitions for the group.

Frank Jones, EUG #15