Four articles from Frank Jones (K2C). Starting with his account of Not The
Acorn User Show 2, then a bit about the 8BS website. A joyful message about a
bypass and finally a message about Bridge.
Though you own and I hope, use a BBC computer, you probably think that it
is inadequate when compared to an IBM compatible P.C. Well, you obviously
did not go to "Not The Acorn User Show 2 " at Jonathan Harston's place in
Sheffield. I did for the second time and I continue to be amazed at what
THE BBC CAN DO!!!!
It was my intention to arrive early Saturday with my friend Mick Reeves,
but calling for him en route at Hemmingbrough found him out of sorts and
not up to going. I enjoyed his company and the wonders of his PC for the
morning, and by lunchtime I was on my way to Sheffield.
I arrived to find seven or eight members there and four BBCs in action.
Though I was made welcome by Chris and Paul Clucas, the rest did not
exactly seem impressed with my arrival, all seeming to have problems with
their programs and appealing for help to anyone who would respond. One
wandered round the room, from computer to computer, hoping to understand
what the operator was up to and hoping with one's somewhat limited
knowledge that no appeal for assistance would be made!
I was lucky, I found an empty chair next to Andy Nelson. Andy is from
Ashington, Northumberland and he was spending the weekend at Sheffield.
Gradually Andy became aware of my presence and from what I could gather
he and Jonathan were working on the server that will give 8-Bit Software
it's own form of bulletin board, the EBTEL. It seems that they were
attacking the system to try and get the bugs out before we the members of
8-Bit are let loose upon it! My, those fingers did fly over the keyboard!
As I said I was lucky as Andy became more forthcoming and much was
explained to me. The server to be used was the best in the business and
from a firm to whom no query was too much trouble. Jonathan described it
as ' the complete opposite of Watford Electronics '! After a couple of
hours, Andy finished up by showing me a Bulletin Board he uses, complete
with E-Mail! My first experience of a BBC Bulletin Board - quite a
I decided to let Andy free himself of this somewhat deaf elderly chap and
moved over to make Jonathan's life a misery. He was in conversation with
an English member, the latter residing in Austria, profession a disc
jockey and who had come over for the show. After a bit of work on the
computer his problem seemed to have been solved.
The conversation that followed was full of admiration for the BBC, but of
course it was the converted talking to the converted, and after the
programs etc that I had seen that afternoon and the previous year, I can
only paraphrase a quote from Oliver Goldsmith.........
"And still I gazed, and still the wonder grew,
that one small computer could so many things do."
After three and a half hours I left, my enthusiasm aflame. In fact I have
not been able to look my PC in the eye since!
8-Bit Software Web Site.
There are a few things going for the BBC computer on Internet; all
mentioned by Chris in the editorial of the disc magazine. There is the BBC
mailing list which one can subscribe to. Subscribe? This is Internet
language for 'put your e-mail address on the list'. And, it costs nowt.
Seems to be dominated by a German called Richard Schmidt though our worthy
editor keeps chiming in with his two pennyworth.
Generally a subscriber throws up a query for example a problem with his
disc drive and within hours about four or five fellow enthusiasts have
sent the mailing lists either suggestions or cures. The same again some
guy looking for a BBC game of yesteryear...within 24 hours he is bombarded
with offers from all over the world.
An e-mail address indicates the country of origin and can betray the
interest of the holder. With reference to the latter,the following
sometimes appear in the address - ed . or ac., and usually stand for
education and for university. It surprises me reading the BBC Mailing list
and it's queries how many of the responses seem to originate from academic
institutions all over the world. I am inclined to think that we BBC
enthusiasts who are somewhat secretive about owning a PC are shown up by
our contemporaries overseas who as owners of a PC revel in their
enthusiasm for the BBC!
Anyway our Web site. This was designed by Chris using a Netscape program
and is very good. One is introduced to the members of his family
pictorially and who are nice enough to be a good recommendation to join
8-Bit and then comes the the arachnid...the what? Well it looks like a
very hairy spider of what proportions I can only guess. Side plate
proportions? Well now you know the secret details that are omitted from "I
am a Para Medic etc"!
One by scrolling the screen is given the opportunity to learn more about
8-Bit Software. I do not know how many megabytes the site takes up but
Chris has put tons of stuff into it. It really is attractive and I
certainly hope that it brings in a few new members.
I also feel that as Chris is using this medium to advertise 8-Bit
Software he should not be out of pocket on it. I do hope the club funds
are paying for it. Obviously I have no objections.
Frank Jones, K2C. "Carrwood", 21, Back Lane, Sowerby, THIRSK, N.
Yorks, YO7 1NQ
Responding to the request for one's brighter moments my most recent one
was in April on a very wet and windy day!
For the last two years I had been suffering from Angina; the chest pains
becoming very severe when walking any distance. Barely 50 yards was my
limit and yet I was little affected when doing any other physical action.
At the end of the second year my turn came up for a coronary by-pass,
successfully performed and no complications with the recovery. Walking
became no problem.
A few weeks after the op, horrible as it was weatherwise, I was out
walking my dog. Tackling a small hill in this terrible weather, with the
wind and the rain in my face I found myself striding manfully up it,
increasing my pace. The thrill that I felt knowing that my heart was now
near perfect, produced such exhilaration I felt terrific and with my face
so wet, I did not know whether I was laughing or crying with joy. To me,
it was wonderful!
Frank Jones K2C
Contract and Duplicate Bridge.
I thought I had better head this article with the game of BRIDGE's proper
title, just in case there is an abundance of Civil Engineers in 8-Bit's
membership that think at the sight of the word BRIDGE an article on the
stresses and strains involved in building a bridge is to follow. As one
who would rather play the game of BRIDGE than switch on his computer, I
have always felt a bit disappointed that there seemed to be only one
Contract Bridge program for the BBC and that was "Colossus 4 Bridge"
produced by CDS of Sheffield.
Imagine my delight when telling a fellow member of my interests, he
produced two more programs. One is called "Contract Bridge" and the other
"Black Queen". Compared to most PC progs for BRIDGE which tend to play
American systems, these two games for the BBC play a basic British system
known to most beginners and players and are pretty free of complicated
conventions. Of course with the memory available the graphics are not
terrific but a good game is played and scored.
Apparently a third program is known...this is called "Bridge Mentor II"
which is more of an instructional program and I understand that the screen
display is very neat. I would dearly like to get a copy of this
program...can anyone help?
Incidentally of the two games I have, I would recommend "Black Queen" and
should any member wish to have a copy I will be delighted to oblige.
Frank Jones, "Carrwood", 21, Back Lane, Sowerby, THIRSK, N.Yorks.
YO7 1NQ. 'phone 01845 522241