the life & times of 06-ALA01-0006180
The retro-computing scene is a strong one, very much alive today. This is true for all 8- and 16-bit home computers and the Electron, being one of the first amongst these, is no exception.
A good starting place for anything Acorn related is the large and friendly StarDot forum. Members here are very welcoming and happy to help out folks who are struggling to get old Acorn hardware or software working. The forum is a good place to keep up to date with what is happening in the Acorn hardware scene too; at the moment I am eagerly anticipating the arrival of a redesign that is happening there of the PRES AP5 interface. The amazing EUP interface with UPURS transfer suite was designed by Martin Barr from the forum. Retro Hardware is also to be found within StarDot. John Kortink's site is a good source of modern hardware and there is also RetroClinic to keep an eye on. Robert McMordie's site is a very comprehensive Acorn information resource.
It's not just hardware that is still being produced for the Electron though; the massive back catalogue from the heyday is being added to even today by the likes of Retro Software, who release titles under both Freeware and Commercial labels, not just as images for use in emulation but on actual disks and cassettes too.
Keep a watchful eye on websites such as Retro-Kit, Chris's Acorns, the Acorn Electron lives!, and make use of the excellent resources of sites such as StairwayToHell, g7jjf.com, BeebWiki, mdfs.net and 8-Bit Software (though this is mainly aimed at the BBC B & Master, there is some cross-compatibility with the Electron). The Centre for Computing History in Cambridge, UK is a vintage computing hub... I would love to visit one day.
Naturally, there is eBay if you are looking for an Electron; enough Elk hardware comes and goes there that you won't have to wait to find a machine that is guaranteed to be working for a good price. Watch out for the chancers who put bundles up for crazy money in the hope that someone will come along nostalgia-fuelled and spend more than they need to ;-) If you are looking for a more specialised vendor then CJE Micro's are well worth a look.
If you don't have a real Electron (and you don't have time to download an emulator), why not go and have a look at ElkJs - a browser based emulator that you can use straight away. Another good java emulator is JSBeeb, which also allows for emulation of floppies.
Of course, don't forget the musical aspects of the retro-scene!
Still not convinced about the changes Acorn Computers Ltd made to the world?
Without them, your mobile phone would be quite different; technology that comes from them - ARM processors (ARM Holdings PLC) - are in the majority of mobile phones today. The Raspberry Pi draws a lot from Acorn; the educational and schools concepts of the BBC B have been a strong influence I think.
The incredible Acorn Electron World DVD contains not only most of what was originally available but also the Public Domain software from the EUG disk based magazine (1991-2002), etc. Visit AEW and the sister site Every Game Going today!
The photograph to the left shows a 3D image created with some Public Domain software from BBC PD, archived on the AEW DVD. I'm still working my way through the PD available from here and there are some real gems amongst it!
Public Domain software was a big thing once, with new material appearing regularly often within disk-based magazines. These days, new PD is found within forums such as StarDot and sites like Retro Software.
A lot of people continue to work hard to produce software and hardware that we can use on the original machines and also to help modern machines work with the older tech. The BBC Micro Image Converter at the DFS Studios site is also a must-havel!
3D text created using 3DGRAPH a BBC PD proggy
An image digitised then converted using The BBC Image Converter by DFS Studios and sent across with UPURS
Believe it or not, the Elk is still being used for good today! Artwork created in AMX Art is used in this article by @AaronsLaw2017 to help spread awareness of the problems of the CFAA in the States. These laws affect all of us by association and we have a responsibilty to be aware of the changes that are coming for the Internet, internationally.