Windows 7, the next in the Windows line from Microsoft is now available to beta testers and scheduled for a launch late 2009. Designed as an evolution from Vista it features the Aero interface introduced with Vista, while claiming to offer the performance and stability more akin to XP and once again supporting lower end PC hardware in the form of the current "must have" Netbook's.
Michael and Gareth will be demonstrating the functionality and features present in the beta of Windows 7, both in 64bit and 32bit form, and on both native PC hardware and under VMWare (on the Mac of course - Gareth).
Discussion will include:
- Compatibility with Vista Drivers & devices
- Microsoft's Claim of being "Netbook Ready" and less resource hungry than Vista
- Changes from the Beta to the Release Candidate
- Versions Comparison
- Our Experiences (Good & Bad)
Join us for what we hope will be a fun and informative evening introducing the latest in the desktop line of Windows Operating Systems.
Our last meeting was an open house "computer surgery" allowing all who came to air their issues while we attempted to provide advice and solutions. The evening was enjoyable for all with a lot of lively cross discussion, which listening back to the audio recording made this write up quite challenging to produce!!
Billed as a cross platform evening for all manner of computer problems we did ultimately spend quite a lot of time on the subject of Virtual RiscPC under Vista, but more on that later.
Peter kicked off the evening with a query relating to Linux. He has joined the ranks within the club that use an Asus Eee PC for portable computing, and as a result is becoming reacquainted with UNIX (okay UNIX-like) operating systems as the Eee runs a modified version of Xandros Linux.
Peter asked the question - "There are many distributions of Linux, are they the same version of UNIX under the hood but with added libraries?" Paul responded that pretty much all of the distributions are using the same kernel sources, although their may be different compiled options. Most desktop distributions will be using the 2.6 kernel tree, while smaller distributions that fit on a floppy disk may still be on the 2.4 kernel series. Linux is just the kernel, all the tools on top form the environment and the specific distribution, e.g. the GNU tools, the X graphical display, OpenOffice, Firefox etc. The distributions package all this together and add their own look and feel. Most of the distributions available tend to be based either on RedHat or Debian, e.g. Ubuntu is based on Debian but made more user friendly for beginners, and uses newer code than the Debian stable. Fedora is the free release from RedHat, but there are others, Centos for example.
John asked which distribution would we recommend for a beginner to start playing with Linux. Due to the current popularity and the fact we all use it, Ubuntu would be high up the list. The Kubuntu variant using the KDE windowing system is more Windows like, but has the same main software as standard Ubuntu. There are also versions of Ubuntu customised for use on the small Netbooks.
Peter also asked how to add more software to his Eee PC. The standard software update application on the Eee can only install applications from Asus and is very limited. As the Eee's Linux is a modified version of Xandros, it is possible to add software from both Xandros and Debian quite easily, but this does not appear on the menus. Peter is also interested in writing his own software and having this available but needed to be able to add icons to the desktop. Paul has added software to his Eee before, and there is a tool that can be downloaded called EMEditor to customise the simple Eee PC desktop. There is also an expert mode to replace easy mode that gives you a more standard Linux look and feel.
[Peter looked up EMEditor after the meeting and found it was a Windows editor supporting Unicode.
He did discover the ASUSLauncher Advanced Editor written by Coyotee
http://forum.eeeuser.com/viewtopic.php?id=6986 which allows editing of the icons. Also http://blogs.techrepublic.com.com/opensouce/?p=244 has some useful info.] Peter also wanted to add modules to is Perl installation to run some third party software this seemed possible via http://www.CPAN.org website but later proved difficult. More later (Peter).
Peter also expressed an interest in installing Ubuntu to get the full range of software available and this may form a future topic.
Although not a query, Paul has got RPCEmu working on his Eee PC and briefly demo'ed it. He has managed to recover all the files from his defunct RiscPC by taking an image of the ADFS disks which mount and can be read in RPCEmu which he was unable to do on the A9Home or Virtual Acorn.
A good proportion of the evening was spent on John's ongoing saga with his new laptop and Virtual RiscPC. He has replaced his Microdigital Alpha with a new Toshiba laptop running Vista and has had issues getting everything working that Virtual Acorn have not yet fully resolved. After quite some work Virtual RiscPC and RISCOS 4.02 are generally working well on Vista, but there are issues when VRPC is first started up. There have also been some issues getting Select working, mainly modules not being read in PreDesk which needed manual copying, namely the battery monitor and the screen mode software.
On starting Virtual RiscPC the window appears but is white and unresponsive to input. Minimising and restoring this window gives a black screen with similar issues. Pressing Alt-Enter twice enters full screen mode and RISCOS appears and works normally. Restarting Virtual RiscPC works as expected until Vista is restarted.
Having Michael on hand with his knowledge of Vista we investigated the compatibility modes, firstly trying to run Virtual RiscPC in "XP Service Pack 2" mode, but this didn't resolve the issue. We also tried disabling the Aero user interface for this application, which runs it in a similar mode to XP, and while this proved promising it too had issues. These options gave John things to investigate further but could not fully resolve the problems.
John was also interested in trying the Windows version of RPCEmu, and we found the website for downloading and installing the RPCEmu Spoon Edition release for Windows. Unfortunately this version does not have networking support yet which limited its usefulness for now.
We are coming up to our AGM again, where does the time go? If anyone would be interested in joining the committee and in particular taking on the role of Treasurer or Secretary the please let the committee know.
Gareth has asked me to remind people about the IRC (Internet Relay Chat) sessions held on a Tuesday evening. I removed this form the Newsletter quite a while ago and and instead put it onto the website index page. Since it seemed a bit repetitious each month. However perhaps people don't go and look at the website to see whether anything has changed!
Well, the information has changed in that the sessions are now from 7:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. rather than 8 - 10 p.m. to allow Royal to get online earlier as he gets tired later on in the evening.
Why not join us online on a Tuesday evening from 7:30 p.m. till about 9:30 p.m. on our IRC channel, called "#Computer_Corner". You don't have to be on-line during the whole of this time.
You should find Audrey, one of our members, nickname "dogdaze" ready to welcome you. You can even send documents and files. Free software is available for RISC OS users. Email email@example.com for details.
Access to our server is from http://www.undernet.org port 6667
and join the #Computer_Corner. (Note the underscore)
Please let us know if you have a topic you would like discussed or wish to give a talk on; since we are always looking for new ideas and also some meetings are flexible with regard to date. If you would like to present a talk at any meeting it would be very useful to the committee to have a ready prepared talk in case someone is ill or has to be away at short notice on the date of a meeting. So here is our current list.
|March 18th||Windows 7 successor to Vista||Michael & Gareth|
|April 15th||AGM Plus some extra attractions TBA||All|
|May 20th||Slide show evening||All|
|June 17th||Anti Spyware, AntiVirus and Registry cleaners||Peter et al|
|August 19th (Prov.)||Social Evening TBA|
We are hoping to include some talks by outside speakers.
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. 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
For information on this group we have added a link here
"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.)
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: firstname.lastname@example.org