Our Next Meeting: Social Evening at the Brantham Bull.

This will be held on Wednesday January 23rd at 7:30 p.m. I hope as many of you as possible will be able to come. The menu is quite good and there is easy access to a good sized room.

More Information in a separate email

Our Last Meeting : Wednesday 19th December 2012
"Party and Gadgets Evening" All

This was a well attended and fun evening and everyone brought along several gadgets. This was accompanied by some tasty fare to keep us going! Thanks to everyone who brought food or bought drinks.

Naturally everyone was a bit nervous about who would go first since we all wanted to keep our gadgets hidden for as long as possible, or so it seemed!

The first to take the plunge was John who said that unfortunately what would have been his first gadget was lost in the post. This was La Pi which is a laptop cased version of the Raspberry Pi board provided with a screen and drive etc. It was sold by CJE and is based on a docking station for a Motorola mobile phone which you can plug into and get a portable computer. It has 2 USB sockets and a mini HDMI which was originally intended for the phone connection. It runs RISCOS and John wanted it as a backup for his aged RiscPC and as a portable computer to take on holidays. He would demonstrate it at a future meeting when it had arrived. It was put on the market by Motorola at too high a price and was then dropped by them. Paul was also expecting a Pi for Christmas so maybe we should have a Pi evening.

It may be possible to add WiFi later.

His second gadget was a set of ice grippers which you attach to your shoes during icy or snowy weather. They have Tungsten carbide spikes. He hasn't had a chance to try them out as they were a Christmas present from his son last year and we didn't get much in the way of snow.

His third gadget was a pair of magnifying supplementary lenses which are added to normal spectacles and can be flipped up and down on hinges in use. These are excellent for any close work shown here in the raised position.

The next to go was Paul who had brought an advanced design of "Mole" Wrench called a "Lockjaw". This can be set to give a self gripping action with an adjustable degree of force. It does not matter what size you need to grip as it self adjusts. Shown at bottom of the photo.

The same principle has also been used in the cramp shown in the top of the photo. Both are very useful when you need to grip several things at once. Bought via TV shopping.

Paul's second item was a specialised calculator which apart form normal use has many built in functions for calculating building and decorating quantities. For example : How many rolls of wallpaper are required when papering a room? How much paint is needed to paint the walls? How many bricks are need for building a wall? etc.

Next up was Andy - 'literally' flying a model helicopter. This caused a lot of excitement in the audience especially when invited to try it out. I must admit I wasn't very good at flying it and we had quite a few crashes... but great fun! He stressed it was important to get one made by SYMA since these were better made and included a gyro which made them "much" easier to fly. They include a charger cable which could either be plugged into the controller ( uses 6 AA batteries ) or else can be plugged into a USB socket or a mains plug charger with a USB socket - the best way. They are designed for indoor use only since the slightest breeze would send them off course. They use infra-red for control.

Peter then showed his gadgets , the first being a set of 4 remote wireless controlled sockets for mains equipment. These are useful for difficult to reach sockets although they need to be within range of the controller. (40m max. but generally in the same room. ) He particularly liked these because they were very easy and convenient to programme. You can programme each one as an individual ID or put any on the same number (1 - 4). There is also an overall control to turn all on or all off together irrespective of the programmed settings. It was also easy to reprogramme them to a different ID. They were on sale in Aldi for £17.99 before Christmas.

His second gadget was a USB powered vacuum cleaner for computers and monitors which had very soft plastic nozzle attachment for cleaning between the keys on keyboards and a brush attachment for screens and fans. It also incorporated a light so that you can see what you are doing. Purchased in France at a 2€ shop.

Peter's third gadget was a mystery object (initially), not the return of the pineapple cutter, but was finally revealed to be a mango cutter. Peter then showed how it would cut out the stone from the centre of a mango leaving it much simpler to cut away the flesh. We then were offered samples of mango to eat.

Then it was Gareth's turn and he brought a racing steering wheel for use with an iPod racing game. The iPod clips into the centre of the wheel as demonstrated here by a somewhat sheepish Gareth!

His second gadget was a modern release of the BigTrak toy. The original had problems with the circuit board breaking easily. This is slightly smaller than the original but is programmed in a similar way. We all enjoyed watching it drive around the floor and shoot its laser guns! You get moon craters and other extras to use it with.

The final presentation was made by Michael who produced the world's smallest USB flash drive. This incredible little device actually holds 16GB of data and is just about the size of the normal USB plug.

Shown here against a very small pound coin for comparison! His second gadget was a 2.5 to 3.5" mount for drives and a set of drive mounting brackets for fitting a small drive into a larger enclosure. He also had a Caddy equivalent for a CD drive. He also had a docking station for IDE 3.5" or laptop drive. Paul also mentioned a cable disc drive connector for USB.

His third gadget was a phone App called - "Torque " which uses a super mini bluetooth car scanner ELM327 (not shown). This will enable you to check on all the engine parameters in your car so that you can reach an early diagnosis of problems using the diagnostic socket available in many modern vehicles.

We also had an interesting discussion on Electric Solar power and how effective it was. Andy was gaining more than he was spending on electric power. You can benefit even if you move house because you can take your contract with you. or on the other hand it will increase the value of your property.

We also discussed the Windows 8 upgrade process following on from Michael's talk last month.

Upgrading from Windows 7 is probably the most straightforward as ti is only a small change. Upgrading from Vista and XP entails reinstall of application software afterwards although documents will be preserved. The most practical way seems to be to download the Windows 8 to a DVD. It can then be used on several machines (up to 5 allowed.)

It was quite an entertaining evening and I came away with an idea for a fun Christmas present.

Peter (in Gareth's absence )


A Happy New Year to Everyone.

Let's make this a bumper year for new platforms and devices.

ICENI Future programme

January 23rd Social evening -
At the Brantham Bull at 7:30 p.m. on the 23rd January
February 20th "Cloud computing" TBA
March 20th "RPC Emu" TBA
April 17th AGM + extras All
Emergency topic - "Slideshow" All

Meetings are now on the Third Wednesday of the month unless otherwise stated.

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.


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.


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)

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

Tea/coffee/biscuits usually available.

Visitors pay 2.00 GBP for the evening, which is deductible from the normal joining subscription if you decide to join at a later date.

See the Membership page of the website for more information:


St Andrews Computer Club (formerly Ipswich Computer Club and prior to that Mid-Suffolk Computer Users Group)

They have now moved to the St. Andrew's Computer Club at Britannia Road, Ipswich.

They have a full programme on the parish website

(http://www.ourstandrews.co.uk), We may be able to make new contact with them to arrange something in common.

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."

However many household insurance policies will include cover away from home often with no increase in premium. (Ed.)

Our Website and Email

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: iceni@woolridge.org.uk