News And The Internet

By Dave E

Originally published in EUG #47

Club Extension

Logo of the Association of Acorn User Groups (AAUG)

As you will note from the appearance of a big acorn on the menu screen, the Electron User Group (EUG) is now a full member of the 'Association of Acorn User Groups (AAUG) entitling all our members to discounts off products for new machines made by Acorn.

This also benefits EUG by increasing its exposure in the electronic sense - it now appears on the AAUG web site as a link and, if viable, it also means EUG could take a free seat at any local Acorn shows. Visit AAUG's home page at

Acorn 2 PC - The Ultimate Upgrade

There's fantastic news for Electron enthusiasts this month with the development of a full Acorn Electron emulator for the PC. And as if this wasn't enough to tempt anyone Elk-'keen' but prioritising their desktop space for an indispensible PC, the emulator files will be offered completely free!

The man behind this ingenuity is Bryan McPhail - and he claims to have been able to emulate a standard Electron in just one month! A diary of his progress (Heavy reading with its littering of acronyms and jargon!) is regularly maintained on The BBC Lives! web site and is already attracting a lot of interest. At December 1999, the page featured screenshots from the emulated Electron games Chess, Danger UXB, Felix In The Factory and Positron.

Those unconvinced that there will be any positive advantage in playing their old Micro Power favourites using a PC keyboard instead of an Electron one should also consider this - a PC may take longer to boot up than it takes to make the coffee but a few clicks of the mouse to load the emulator and you will have access to any game stored on the PC hard drive without needing to switch disks or tapes. And instantly!

Yes, the emulator comes equipped with options allowing the user the choice of loading games at once or in "real" time (for that true 'retro' feeling!) but by either method those Data? and Block? messages will be eliminated!

Although the project has been hampered by everything from the author going to America and back to tapes physically snapping during emulation, the standard Electron that was the pride of many an Eighties' family will soon be available for download in a PC ".zip" file. Games will follow, as indeed will a Plus 1 Electron, a Plus 3 Electron, a Turbo Electron and a 64K Electron, in similar ".zip" format.

To download the emulator, all you will need is a PC connected to the Internet (Which allows you to save on the hard drive, students! - Ed), the utility "WinZip" which allows you to 'unzip' the ".zip" file, and you can then copy the different components that comprise the emulator to the PC hard drive for execution.

Your PC will then 'become' an Electron. You will be able to change mode, play music, write programs, save them and load them - all exactly as you would on the real thing!

The emulator thing itself is also for real this time and you can e-mail the author of the best development for the PC (and indeed, the millennium) ever at

Retro BBC

As if we haven't had enough news about the Internet to send us weak at the knees at the new possibilities in the Electron's world, yet another site is out there for discovery at

This BBC site is noteable for a number of reasons. The first is that, despite Superior Software's continued control of their software's copyright, this site offers all of their games for download. Of course, you need a BBC emulator to play them.

The second is that it also carries those Superior Software products that never made it to release (Some of which were detailed in EUG #45) for download. Particularly interesting is that it holds JEREMY GOES JUMPING, applauded by Richard Hanson in a recent article, as well as the incomplete Xlcr and VTOL.

Finally, it also contains an invaluable and illustrated by example guide to hacking your way past the disk protection of commercial BBC disks or files. Note the links to other Acorn sites too.