Our Next Meeting: Wednesday 21st January 2009 Social Evening 7:30 p.m.
The Tower Hotel, Dovercourt.

This has been provisionally booked by Royal at the Tower Hotel, Main Road, Dovercourt, Harwich CO12 3PJ. 01255 504952.

Please note that I got the date wrong last time and it is a Wednesday and not a Friday.(PD)

An individual choice of menu is possible and individual payment is also acceptable. (Frank breathes a sigh of relief!) and there is ample parking and easy access and should be easy to find since it is on the main road.

Details of the menu will follow by email which will be forwarded by Peter.

We hope you will all be able to come.


Our Last Meeting: 3rd December - Gadgets and Party evening.

At our last meeting before Christmas we held an evening on gadgets together with some light refreshments and some festive chat. Thanks to all of you who provided festive food and nibbles for the evening and to everyone who brought along gadgets to demonstrate, this proved to be a fun evening.

Peter began the evening by demonstrating a number of devices used during his DIY at home.

First up, a live cable detector used for identifying live electrical cables when working around the home or on electrical devices. This device is able to work on various voltages of electrical equipment, and was able to detect the live 9.5 volt 2 amp power supply to the Eee PC and even to detect the power to the LCD back light in the Eee PC screen.

For his next gadget, Peter brought along an LED headlamp. This contained both white and red LEDs that were selectable, and produced a very bright light. The quoted runtime was upto 50 hours on 3 AAA batteries and Peter had bought this from B&Q for about £7. It had recently been useful for inspecting wiring & pipework under the floor while working at home.

Peter also brought along a small circular pipe cutter. Unlike the larger cutters with a handle, this was ideal for use in tight confined spaces and is a lot safer than using an electric jigsaw when there is water present!!

For his last gadget, Peter showed us a self-levelling laser beam. This device was useful for getting a straight line on a wall. It could be held against a wall, or hung on the wall, and the laser inside could self-level within an angle of ~10 degrees to provide a straight horizontal or vertical line. It could also be used in a fixed mode when the levelling was not required. This was quite a sophisticated device that cost about £20.

Next Gareth showed us his Oregan Scientific Helmet Cam. This is a small video camera that could record to an SD Card and was ruggedised for use in extreme sports such as snow boarding. Gareth actually bought this to use on track days in his kit car, although it also has various straps and mountings for attachment to helmets etc. A 2GB card stores about 1 hour of video, and with no moving parts or a screen the 2AA batteries could last many hours. Data transfer to a PC was via USB, and the camera can be plugged directly into a TV for playback. The resolution is not that high, at VGA 640x480, but it is ideal for taking clips for use on YouTube or your website. It was available for just under £100.

Once again Paul brought some interesting gadgets, although even he couldn't beat last years low cost gadget, the paper clip!!

Firstly Paul showed us another wind-up gadget, this year a wind-up torch. This also had a built in screwdriver that attached in front of the LEDs, enabling you to illuminate the work area. The various bits for the screwdriver were stored inside the body of the torch. This was £14 for 2.

Paul's second gadget was also a screwdriver, with a different twist. A number of drill bits were also supplied, and the handle could be extended and cranked to form a small but sturdy hand drill.

Frank brought a number of electronic gadgets to show, the first being a "plug-in power and energy monitor". This allowed you to monitor the power usage of a mains device plugged in, e.g. TVs, computers, set top boxes etc. This was very useful for showing the standby power usage of devices within the home particularly as many devices can use almost as much power on standby as they do when in use. We tested the Eee PC, the PSU for which used 24 watts when charging/running the Eee PC, but only 2 watts when unplugged from the laptop. This was available for £10 from Maplins.

Frank's second gadget was a PC to TV adaptor. Frank had tried using the S-Video out directly from his laptop, but had not got this to work. He then bought this device, which connects to the VGA port on the laptop, and then to the TV, using a USB port to provide power. This was then connected to the TV to provide the ability to play video from iPlayer on the TV at home.

Frank's third and final gadget was a USB - IDE/SATA adaptor. This allows you to connect a bare hard drive external to the machine to the USB port to use for backing up or copying data. This had been bought when a friend required data back off a hard disk when the original PC had been disposed of. It could also be used as a backup device with a suitable hard disk.

Michael brought along 2 gadgets. The first of which was a wireless keyboard with a laptop style trackpad. A small dongle plugged into the USB port provided the wireless interface which was 2,4 GHz RF. We tested this in the Eee PC and the key presses were still being detected when Gareth walked to the other end of the room. This would be ideal for a media PC used with a TV at home.

Our final gadget was a Notebook Cooler. Michael had brought this as his laptop is a large gaming laptop, with 2 hard disks and a dual core processor and ran quite warm. As its used mainly on a desk at home it could benefit from extra cooling. The cooler sat under the laptop, and contained a number of fans to increase airflow through the laptop. It was powered via the USB port, and was about £20.

This was a great evening with some good gadgets and a lot of discussion of the various devices demonstrated.


I hope you all had a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. I look forward to seeing you at our meetings going forward in 2009!


ICENI Future programme

January 21st (Provisional) Social evening at The Tower, Hotel Dovercourt All

We shall have a committee meeting this month to revise our programme. Please let us know if you have a topic you would like discussed or wish to give a talk on.

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. http://icenicomputerclub.users.btopenworld.com

The first visit is free and subsequent visits for non - members is £2·50. The membership fee is £20 due from the AGM date in April, but may be reduced for those joining late in the year.


Continuing our publicity for EAUG events - please see their Website for details of their next meeting.

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)

http://www.eaug.org.uk or 'phone one of the contacts on http://www.eaug.org.uk/ppl.htm

Mid- Suffolk Computer Users Group

For information on this group we have added a link here


Special Notice - Insurance

"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."

P.S. My insurance company have added my computer cover away from home with no extra premium required, yours might do the same.(Ed.)

Our Website and Email

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

http://icenicomputerclub.users.btopenworld.com as a virtual domain,

it can also be reached using http://www.btinternet.com/~icenicomputerclub

Email to: iceni@woolridge.org.uk