Village News
ISSUE 57 September 1996

ACORN ARENA

Over the past few months, Clive Carmock, the Acorn Arena editor, has been finding it more and more difficult to keep the Arena going due to pressure of other commitments. About this time, Mayor Vic, complete in press-gang attire, just happened to be chatting to villager Fred Grieve one evening. After the Vic's conviviality wore off and Fred woke up, he found himself sub-editing Acorn Arena ... or so legend has it.

Fred's story is far more down-to-earth (to be polite) - indeed some would say downright boring!

IN THE STOX

I suppose it's fair to say that I am totally boring! I am middle-aged happily married to Linda, and have two boys; Andrew, aged 15 and Russell, aged 13. I have always listed my interests as music and computers - not necessarily in that order. When I stopped playing as a semi-professional musician about eight years ago, my two hobbies merged as I got into MIDI and I suppose it was then that I first started writing occasional articles for the computer press.

Recent correspondence on Acorn Arena about the falling price of computer memory and how financially accessible larger SIMMs had become set me reminiscing.

Very early in the 1980's I decided to buy my first computer. This was shortly after the BBC Model B was announced. For those who cannot remember this award-winning machine, it had an incredible 32K (yes K!) of RAM and came with tape as its only backing store. As it wasn't supplied with a monitor, the next couple of years were spent peering at a 12" portable TV screen and saving anything worthwhile to tape - audio cassette tape that is! I spent a lot of time programming that machine as computer magazines in the mid-80s always carried plenty of program listings.

With BBC BASIC under my belt and by now comfortable in 6502 assembler, I even managed to write lots of programs, including a very poor Viewdata editor! Before I sold my trusty Model B, I upgraded it by adding a DFS and an external 5.25" disc drive and have been poking about inside computers ever since.

Around about 1984, I won a BT competition for which the first prize was a modem and one year's subscription to Prestel. After a brief look at Micronet I joined and rapidly became hooked on comms. I now realise that this was very shrewd of BT (the prize, not my winning it!) as I have been on-line ever since and they've more than got their money back through my increased telephone bills! Incidentally the dumb modem I won was capable of achieving the dizzy speeds 1200bps when receiving Viewdata and could only send at 75bps. How times have changed.

I suppose that my first work to be published on a Viewdata system was for Micronet and appeared on the Atari 16/32 group in the mid-80s. Our own Tony Goodman was sub- editing 16/32 in those days and despite using work from people like myself, soon became editor. Like Tony, I joined SV when BT, in a rush of blood to the head, closed Micronet. I often wonder how many other Villagers were in Micronet.

Several computers and modems later, I am now sub-editing Acorn Arena on a Risc PC which has 16Mb DRAM and 2Mb VRAM. The local copy of the Acorn Arena database occupies almost 2.5Mb on my hard drive. My old 32K BBC Model B pales into insignificance against the Risc PC but they do have something in common; because BBC BASIC is still sold with every Acorn computer, I can still run these old programs I wrote all these years ago - if I could find that cassette tape recorder ... As I said, how times have changed!

THE REPORTER

The Reporter is a new magazine on Silicon Village which contains information on a broad range of topics, ranging from Daily News, Editorial, Features and Leisure.

The Reporter is edited by David Walker, who has been a regular Silicon Village user for over a year now. David is 22 years old and lives near Darlington in the North East of England. David’s interest in on-line services began when he was 15, at school when he used campus 2000 and discovered Micronet and Prestel, which he used regularly until it closed.

For more information on David, Key #800703403# on Silicon Village for his personal profile.

Over the course of the next few months, he is hoping to extend The Reporter area to cover a music area, (Pop, Rock and Chart music mainly) as well as other features and reports. Don’t forget The Reporter is updated daily, so now you have even less excuse not to log on daily. So don’t forget *REP# or *800703# to look at The Reporter. Updates are daily and are archived for those who log on less frequently.

We are pleased to announce that Mary Topcrotch of London has been selected from visitors to our SVDEMO database as the September winner of a free month full subscription to SV.

You can earn yourself a fiver if you recommend a friend and they subsequently join.

Key *ENROL for Enrol-A-Friend and earn a fiver.

FREE WEB SPACE

If you missed last months Silicon Village Newsletter we announced the launch of the Silicon Village Web Site. Here is a reminder of what was said.

As a big thank you to all our villagers who have continued to support us, for those with internet accounts and able to edit in HTML, we are offering 1 megabyte of free Web space in the Gallery area of SVWeb to all existing Villagers. The SV Web Gallery is intended to be running in the same way as the existing Gallery on the SV Viewdata.

You need a Web Browser, HTML Editor (Hotdog or Hotmetal recommended) and FTP facilities. These are readily obtainable on the WWW as freeware or shareware and we can advise you where to find them.

If you are interested, then please mailbox Zara on 219998704,
e-mail: Glynis@zarabeth.demon.co.uk.

A directory will be set up in your name, with a route from: www.silicon.village.co.uk/gallery and you will be provided with a username and password to enable secure FTP transfer of your pages to SVWeb.

We will publish any other relevant information in Cyber Beach.

Key *GALLERY for Village Gallery

Key *BEACH for Cyber Beach

 

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