8 Bit A Diary of the Big Event. Day one: Thursday 21st April 1994. Here I am at the Acorn User Show havingjust trailed the vast majority of the 8BS hardware over to Harrogate. We (Gill, Peter and myself) arrived at the event about 1100 and parked up at the goods entrance. Quite handily, the stand that 8BS had been allocated was right next to this entrance. I carted all of the gear into the hall and assembled all of the wires. You don't realise how much of the stuff there is until you unship it from the table (or tea trolley) that you usually work on do you? After the whole kit and caboodle had be de-spaghettied into a reasonable looking array of Beebs etc I plugged inand switched on..... DISASTER! Nothing worked, the LEDs on the adaptors glowed, but none of the familiar bee..beep's emanated from the computers. All of that careful preparation and planning over several months had come to nothing. I grabbed a passing electrician who apparently was on his way to lunch, he undid the sockets, jammed a screwdriver in, wiggled it about and said "try that then", I did..Nothing happened. He cleared off to lunch leaving me panicking in a corner.After a while another electrician wandered by and did something similar to the sockets, this time he must have poked the screw driver in a bit further, because 8BS came to life with a series of familiar beeps after he haddone. At about one o'clock my little helper my son Peter was dragged away by his mother to create havoc somewhere else. Frank Jones turned up with an extremelywelcome flask of coffee. We sat and supped that. Afterwards Frank started climbing all over the tables sticking up the posters. By the time he had finished, Frank had managed to place posters all over the place, including some that we were not too sure that they should be, anyhow, as I write this, they are still there. Along popped a gentleman from the AcornUser bearing a large quantity of discs.I vaguely recognised them as being a batch of 50 that I posted off to him many moons ago. 8BS has now the entire set of Acorn User cover discs from July1984 to April 1994. As you read this they may or may not be in the catalogue. If they are not, I am sure that if you write and ask, I shall sendwhatever you want off to you. 5pm and Frank had to clear off home to appease the wife. I was busy making up more posters for Frank to plaster around when Brian Kersakely of Topologika Software on the stand opposite 8BS wandered across for a chat. During the conversation he happened to mention that a lot of schools are asking for Archi software conversions to BBC. Anyone out there fancy having a go at this? A Diary of the Big Event. Day Two: Friday 22nd April 1994. Finally the day arrives! After all the careful planning, preparation, begging,grovelling and lost hours sleep, the whole thing is going to be put to the test. I arrived at the hall at 0800 hours to be just about the first there. Started getting all of the discs out and re-arranging the posters once more. Frank Jones turned up just before opening at 1000 hours. The doors opened, a trickle of people gradually wandered down to the far end where the 8BS stand was. Nothing at all! No one appeared to be bothered about the 8 bit machines, all wandered by. Mick Reeves turned up and Frank startedaccosting unsuspecting passing people in the aisle. Eventually he managed to strike up a conversation with one. I meanwhile had been busy preparing discs and printing out handouts, posters etc. Before long Frank was aiming people at me and propelling them headlong into myclutches. Suddenly I was aware that I was in full swing giving people the sales patter that so many times previously I have given out over the telephone. Discs and money started changing hands and the whole thing clicked into gear. Looking back now at the first day of the exhibition (it is now 0858 on the second), it all seems a bit of a blur. I remember lots of people offering to send their broken Beebs to me, so watchthis space, it looks very much like 8BSis going to be supplying second hand spares shortly so that you can all keepyour beebs going for that little bit longer. Some gentlemen from CCL4 (the Hull based bulletin board famous for its music) wandered in. Hopefully there maybe developments in the library from this. Watch this space... The one thing that I will not do is to harass people into joining 8BS. I prefer 8BS to sell itself. Yes, by all means thrust a floppy into their hand and extract a bit of cash, but the actual signing up must be done in a measured manner. I think that this is the only way to get members that will stay with us like you lot have. One visitor was Peter Davy who had to queue to have a word with me (just likemy wife Gill and little lad Peter. I think that I even tried to flog Gill the latest issue at one stage). I discovered later that another member had been at the stand but couldn't get in to have a word, that's how busy it was. Who were you? Right, it's 0910 now and I must get on with preparing for today which I reckonmay be even more busy. A Diary of the Big Event. Day Three: Saturday 24th April 1994. WoW! Saturday was an absolutely amazingday. It started off quietly the same asFriday. I was expecting Mick Needham toturn up to help in the morning and Daniel Shimmin to augment the helpers in the late morning to afternoon. As it happened, Mick had a catastrophe with his car and arrived very late. As a result Gill had to stay and help out on the stand for most of the morning toguard the equipment. In fact she provedto be quite effective at directing customers at me. The show was very busy I mean it was HEAVING with people and the 8BS stand was packed with people most of the time. Mick turned up with several boxes of hardware with the intention of pluggingthem into a computer and showing it off. The stand was so busy that there was neither the room or the time to actually set up. People were using both the Compact and BBC B to look at the latest issue, Superior Software games and discs from the pool. The latest issue and catalogue disc were selling like hot cakes. Then, who should turn up but both Duncan Webster and Daniel Shimmin, things were really hotting up. Watch this space for a once only event, a picture of the meeting of the past two and existing editor of your favourite disc based magazine.
NOTE.... Later addition. The photos of
the show have come out quite well, but
getting them digitised isn't proving
too great a success. Any volunteers to
have a go? For now, anyone that wants
to see a selection of these piccies,
please send an SAE and 10p. I will nip
down the library and photostat a load
onto an A3 sheet for you.
At least 4 other 8BS members turned up during the day and at one stage the rest of the public stood no chance of getting in because of the merry band of8BS members. I was dashing around trying to catch up with the disc supplyand record of what had gone out. No chance, the number of discs issued willbe a rough estimate worked out from howmany I came with and how many go back to 8BS HQ at the end of today (Sunday 0906 hours at the moment). The bring and buy box seems to have been a success. There has been loads ofstuff brought by members and stacks bought too, a nice boost for the funds.
NOTE.... Later addition. Including a
bunch of keys! See 6EE's message.
The organisation of the show has been very good. Only one complaint about it.It is VERY hot and muggy in the hall, Ireckon that this is to get the public in and out of the hall as quickly as possible to maximise profits! Good job I am only wearing the 8BS T shirt (and jeans of course). Speaking of which, were you lucky enough to receive the ADFS version that featured the T shirt ad last issue? If not there is probablyone on all versions of this issue anyway. Yours for just over 11 quid. Cheap at twice the price. Go on, show your support for 8BS! Any how, Stephan Richardson has just turned up to help and is in the processof bringing in a load of goodies for meto look at, so cheerio until tomorrow morning when I shall be back home telling you how today went. A Diary of the Big Event. Day Four: Sunday 24th April 1994. Well, in fact today is Tuesday the 26th, but this is the first chance thatI have had to get back to writing this diary. Nearly back to normal now, just a load of discs to get into the library. Fortunately (for me, not for the organisers of the show) Sunday was a quiet day. D-PJ also turned up to help.We sold a few discs (about 60-70) and had a chat with a few people. The day was a pleasant relief from the previoushectic two days. Gill managed to chat up a car park marshall and got us an early position in the queue to bring vehicles to the hall to load up. In fact we were piling stuff into the camper just after 5pm. 8BS HQ about 8pm. To a great pile of post! This justabout used up the rest of the 5.25" discs. I had taken 257 5.25"discs with me. There are 30 left as I write this (500 in the wardrobe though so don't panic!). We shifted around 90-100 3.5" discs as well. This represents approximately 150 8BS issue 34s and 150TBI-00s sold. Thanks to all the members that generously donated to the bring and buybox. The actually came back with more in it. Have a look in the ads section to see what's there. Show accounts: Insurance................£45 aargh Posters/stickers.........£15 Petrol (inc preparation).£44 Accommodation............£150 Taken at show............£300.10p Members signing on at the show: 7 I did not encourage joining at the show. Membership WILL increase dramatically before this issue goes out. Maybe... Lost sleep: Approximately 5 million hours. Camper : A bit grubby. See you there next year?