At our next meeting we will take a look at the latest developments in Social Media in an evening open to all to show any sites we use or to ask questions and highlight concerns with the push towards so much being public online.
We'll discuss some of the usual suspects such as Facebook and Google+ but also dive a little more into services such as WhatsApp and Telegram that seem to have begun taking over from SMS/MMS on mobiles with certain user and age groups.
AGM ICENI COMPUTER CLUB
This is a brief report of the AGM which will be presented formally before the next AGM. This report includes the Chairman's report, Treasurer's report and election results.
Meeting started at 8:10
Gareth, Peter, Duncan, Paul and Michael. Apology for absence had been received from John.
Copies had been circulated and were read in silence. They were approved, proposed by Gareth and seconded by Paul. They were signed by the Chairman.
The only matter arising was that at the previous AGM the future of Bourne Vale Social Club had been in doubt which would have meant finding another meeting venue. As far as we know a rescue plan was found and the future is now secured.
Also read in silence.
Following our last AGM in April 2014 I provided a short overview of the latest release of Ubuntu, 14.04 codenamed Trusty Tahr, a Long Term Support release with 5 years support on both desktop and server.
In May Michael and I gave an overview of Google and their ever expanding pool of applications and web services including Mail, Docs, video in the form of Youtube, picture hosting in the form of Picassa and more. Michael also rounded off the evening showing the then new Chromecast device for streaming content from PCs and phones/tablets to your TV wirelessly using a small HDMI dongle.
June saw us revisit backups with an overview of the various tools available for Linux, Mac and Windows PCs. With a wide variety of tools from simple to the more sophisticated it was interesting to see how people choose to approach this, from simply syncing to a NAS or remote storage through the full gamut to encrypted full and incremental backups.
July saw the welcome return of RISCOS as a topic taking a look at the ongoing efforts in porting to new platforms, in this case the Raspberry Pi. John had his LaPi laptop solution present, and I had also recently flashed a RISCOS image to an SD Card for the Pi and gave a walk through a minimal new install. This later image had a more stable SDFS and I have been storing files and applications on the SD card without any issues.
In August we had our customary Summer Social Evening, venturing for the first time to the Treble Tile in West Bergholt where a good evening was had by all with wonderful food and our own private dining room in the pub. One I certainly hope we'll return to again!
For the September meeting Peter gave us an introduction to Arduino systems and programming giving a demo using a light sensor on his own system, but also showing some videos of innovative uses of Arduino, including a 2 wheel robot that used Arduino boards and gyroscopes to self balance.
October saw us return to our slideshow evening, first instigated many years ago now to show off our then new projector. Anne joined us for the evening where we took a look a pictures and video from our many travels and adventures over the last year. November saw us take another look at Video Editing on our various platforms with Peter showing off 2 pieces of software he uses on the Mac instead of iMovie, both of which were also available on Windows, and one even on Android. Along the way we hopefully found a 3rd party application that could replace some of the functionality Anne lost when iDVD was discontinued. Gareth rounded off the evening with a look at a beta release of Pitivi, a video editing tool for Linux.
December was of course our Gadgets Evening, where we brought along and showed all manner of gadgets and tools while enjoying some seasonal nibbles.
Our New Year Social Evening in January saw us try another new venue, the Wooden Fender near Colchester which proved so popular we intend to return there in August!
In February I gave an overview of all that is new in the Mac world with a run through OS X Yosemite showing the evolution of the Apple Operating System as it further blurs the line between conventional desktops and mobile devices.
Rounding out our club year in March Michael provided the counter balance to the previous meeting with an overview of developments in the Windows world showing us the Technical Preview of Windows 10, hopefully to be released in final shipped form later in the year and again showing the convergence of one Operating System across desktops, laptops and into the phone and tablet space.
We recently held a Committee Meeting to discuss a provisional programme for the year ahead which you'll have seen in the Newsletter, as ever if you have something you'd like to present or a topic of interest you would like to see us take a look at together as group do let us know as we'll do our best to accommodate it.
Finally my thanks to everyone for continuing to attend and contribute to our meetings over the course of the year and I look forward to the next 12 months.
The Chairman's report was agreed by General Consent to be a very detailed and accurate account of the club's year and approval proposed by Peter and seconded by Michael.
ICENI Treasurer's Report AGM Wednesday 15th April 2015
When I took over as Treasurer there were some initial obstacles which we needed to resolve following the absence of a Treasurer from the club and loss of the club cheque book. Since the last AGM we've now resolved the issue with only having Peter as a single signatory and we now have four signatories for the club bank account in myself, Peter, Gareth and Duncan. We also have a new chequebook for the club bank account and are able to now pay the room hire directly from the club account which requires two of the four signatories.
While the chequebook and signatory situation was being resolved some liability had built up and the club owned Peter £147.50 and myself £22.50. However Following the recent committee meeting last month the liability to Peter and myself has now been paid back. The total bank balance is now £152.85 with no money being held in cash. As there have been no external visitors guest expenses the only cost over the last 12 months has been the £75 for the 10 months of room hire.
It was decided at the last committees meeting that we purchase a VGA to HDMI adaptor to allow flexibility to use HDMI devices with the projector however this is low cost (about £20) and Gareth is going to look into this. I feel the account balance is now at a sensible amount and consideration to reinstate a membership fee should be taken to cover the upcoming year's room hire.
Here follows the Account balance sheet.
The accounts were approved by General Consent as an accurate statement of the club's financial position and their adoption proposed by Paul and seconded by Gareth.
Election of Officers:
As in previous year's since all were willing to stand again in the same posts and there being no further nominations Paul proposed the Committee be re-elected en bloc and this was approved by General Consent. Hence the posts are still
1. Following on from the Treasurer's comment on membership fees we had a discussion and it was decided by General Consent to resume subscriptions at £10 per member but still allow visitors to come free. For the record Peter, Paul, Gareth and Duncan paid £10 each on the spot.
The meeting ended at 8:38 p.m.
Following the AGM we spent the remainder of the evening looking at apps we find useful, and while not billed as such this was predominantly on mobile devices, perhaps reflecting the move to having useful tools with us when out and about on smartphone and tablet style devices.
Gareth had planned to bring along a HD webcam to assist the demos but at the last minute was unable to borrow the device. As a backup plan and as a useful app in it's own right he installed "IP Webcam" for Android on his phone which wirelessly streamed the video feed from his phone camera to a laptop for us to see others mobile apps via our projector.
The IP webcam software had various settings to configure the quality of still and video encoding, and also to enable motion and sound triggered recording with the option to save locally to the device storage as a simple CCTV type device. Access from a remote PC was via a web interface where settings could be adjusted as well as watching the live feed and triggering or retrieving recorded content. After demoing the app and it's features we settled down to use it to project other people's devices and applications.
Peter was first up to demo apps on his iPhone starting with the Stocks app that he finds useful for tracking share prices, showing us the BT share price and history as an example while being somewhat thwarted by the poor signal for internet access in our venue.
Next up Peter showed us BigMagnify using the iPhone as a magnifying glass and also the Calculator app which initially looked very simple but if you rotate the phone becomes scientific, something found completely by accident as is often the way with mobile apps which frequently lack any user guide or built in help.
Measures was an app with various built in functions. Peter showed us the compass, magnetic field, sound level metering, metronome, stop watch, seismometer, plumb line, and ruler portions of the app. He recently used the sound level app in the local cinema as it seemed uncomfortably loud, something a number of us have noticed.
Peter then showed us the Sleep Talk app, a sound triggered recording system designed to detect and record snoring, sleep talking etc. although Peter found it seemed to miss the start of events.
Lastly Peter also showed a Night Sky app where you point your phone or tablet up into the night sky and it overlays the stars and constellations onto the view, something we also tried out for real in the car park at the end of the evening.
Moving on Michael showed us an app for Android, Windows and Mac called Send Anywhere used for transferring files and in the Android case apps between devices. File transfer was setup in a similar way to bluetooth pairing, with a 6 digit code generated and displayed on the sending device needing to be entered on the receiving device to initiate the transfer.
Michael also recently starting using an app from his network provider Three to make phone calls and send/receive text messages using his mobile number but over WiFi rather than the 3G network. This has proved useful in areas with poor or no mobile reception but where access to WiFi was available e.g. via a public or private hotspot, allowing calls and SMS messages to be delivered using the WiFi network.
Similar apps are available for most of the main networks, Gareth had tried this with O2 using their TuGo app but found it somewhat annoying as the phone would ring but then the app would also ring at times. However he did install it on his tablet without 3G access and found that useful at times to use inclusive minutes and SMS allowance on a device that could not otherwise access such services.
Michael commented that EE are looking to introduce this via a different route with a number of the latest flagship phones able to do this at the hardware level without additional apps. This should resolve the issue of the app and phone colliding for incoming calls, but of course may require a new phone.
Another useful utility Michael found was called Signal, and could give connection and signal details and stats not just for WiFi networks but also the 3G connection. Gareth, Paul and Michael had all also used the WiFi Analyzer app in the past for doing more detailed surveying of available wireless networks for work.
Finally Michael mentioned the BT WiFi and Sky Cloud apps for automatically connecting to hotspots without having to manually sign in, which a number of us also used.
Rounding out the evening Gareth showed the RaceChrono app for Android that he uses when doing track events. It had a very basic user interface in capture mode but contained a database of most circuits (including somewhat surprisingly the occasional track laid out at RAF Woodbridge) and in conjunction with a bluetooth GPS receiver could be used for capturing times and lap information overlaid for viewing later overlaid on a Google Map view. The external GPS receiver is required as mobile phones typically refresh once per second which isn't accurate enough for timing whereas external devices can sample at 5Hz.
Gareth had not purchased any of the add-ons to the free app to provide analysis, merely using it to capture the data and then export as a CSV file for upload to a website offering analysis and comparison with other enthusiasts.
Following our Committee meeting we now have the new programme for 2015/2016. As usual meeting may be swapped around or changed as circumstances dictate. There were a few other topics considered for example software used by Radio Amateurs, Model Railways and Machine language translation. All of these need a bit more research before being included.
|ICENI Future programme 2015/2016|
|May 20th||Social Media||All|
|June 17th||The Ubuntu Phone and its development||Gareth|
- HDMI over Cat 6 and CCTV
|August 26th||Summer Social Evening
- Wooden Fender, Colchester
( Provisionally Booked\)
|September 16th||Computer Surgery||All|
|October 21st||Arduino - Raspberry Pi
|Peter. Duncan and John|
|November 18th||Slide / Video Evening||All|
|December 16th||Gadgets and Party Evening||All|
|January 20th||Winter Social Evening - Venue TBA||All|
|February 17th||Free Software||All|
|March 16th||Accounting Software||Peter et al|
|April 20th||AGM +MS Office 2016 and
Our meetings are held at the Bourne Vale Social Club, Halifax Road, Ipswich IP2 8RE , for a map and other details please see the website.
Membership fee currently £10, visitors free.
We are continuing our publicity for EAUG events , however their website has not been updated for a year now. So if you wish to know information please phone one of their contacts.
Meetings are at the Great Baddow Village Hall, on the second Tuesday of the month
opening at 7:30 p.m. for a start at 7:45 - 8:00 p.m.
For directions see below (note the new web addresses)
Drinks usually available.
See the Membership page of the website for more information:
"ICENI does not have any Insurance cover for computers or other equipment so please be advised that you bring machines to the club at your own risk."
However many household insurance policies will include cover away from home often with no increase in premium. (Ed.)
Our website has had to be moved since BT is no longer giving free hosting to customers and Peter was running the old website on his account. So Gareth has been fortunate to register a web address of our own and has generously hosted it on his own woolridge domain. All our old website data has been ported to the new site and a redirection placed on the old address. The old site will disappear some time soon.
If anyone would like a copy of the CD of our old newsletters this could be arranged.
I am open to suggestions on what people would like to have included in the website.
Our website URL is
Email to: firstname.lastname@example.org