Friday, January 14, 2005

My (well, it was..) Spectrum Webring

I used to be a big Spectrumite, Speccy fan, or whatever you want to call anyone still playing about with the Sinclair Spectrum computers from the 1980s. I actually came to them quite late, my first one arrived one Christmas ('88?) after I'd begged and begged my parents (what a pain I must have been) for one.

I programmed them, played games on them long past the time any new ones were being released (god there were a lot of classics; some far more playable and more fun than a lot of games out now, just don't expect the same high resolution graphics and sound), and got involved in the "scene" - in particular with Demo's, going to shows and trying to write assembly language to push the machine to it's limits. Trying to show off what I could do with it. I marvelled at colours that shouldn't be there, sound samples stretching the poor sound chip way beyond any quoted abilities, and had many friends through it. Most of the rest of my website is all about Spectrums and my work with them, or about other people/groups in the 'scene'. I even wrote a 47kHz (I think?) sample player - limited to 4-bit output (in theory 5-ish the absolute maximum) only by the hardware.

There were many websites growing up covering all aspects - demos, games, technical, sounds, news, hardware,... I decided there was a need for a webring to link them and help the lesser known ones get an audience. So I created one using That was back in '98 if I remember rightly, and it was fun and gave me a good feeling administrating and keeping things in good order. But in recent years my motivation for Speccy stuff has waned (a crashed PC hard drive with my latest works on didn't help). The webring got taken over by someone else after I neglected it for too long, and I no longer have any real contact with any of my old friends from the scene.

But now, again, the webring has been left unadministered for a while and I get a mail from the system asking if I'd like to volunteer to look after it. To be honest I don't think it would be in the member's best interests for me to take it back, but I would like to hear from anyone with some spare time, and - more importantly, the inspiration/commitment to look after it regularly. It doesn't need a massive amount of work - say 30mins max every week or two depending on how much is going on, although you can put more effort into it than that if you want to do a really good job with writing to people, doing a newsletter every now and then like I used to, and explaining things / helping other ring sites or new members out.

Volunteers sign up via to adopt it. All I'd advise is that you have some interest and knowledge of Sinclair Spectrums and website design, maybe read the comp.sys.sinclair (usenet) newsgroup occasionally, and stick to a consistent and sensible criteria for accepting new sites / keeping the ring full of working sites. You can temporarily disable ones that haven't been working for a while (ignore temporary day-or-two downtime or web server temporary problems), make sure any new sites added actually have some worthwhile content that's not just duplicated elsewhere (ie. ripped from another site without any point) and make sure their links work to previous/next sites when you visit sites.

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