At our next meeting Gareth will aim to give an overview of the features of OS X the Mac Operating System together with some of the new features in Snow Leopard, the recently updated OS for Macs.
Many of the changes are under the hood and aim to improve performance and ease development with more powerful processors and graphics cards in the future, but nevertheless this is a worthwhile upgrade for Mac users.
We should also have time to introduce the BSD roots of OSX and demonstrate some of the features that make OS X easy to use with a comparison to Windows 7 which Michael introduced last month.
Michael began the evening by setting up the 2 machines needed to demonstrate the features of Windows 7. The first machine was his own laptop running Windows 7 Professional, which was linked via a Sky Broadband router to Dick's laptop running Windows 7 Home Premium edition.
One of the laptops detected a new network and allowed you to select whether this was a trusted home network where file sharing etc. is allowed or a public network where the firewall needs to be more restricted.
The main talk began with an overview of the versions of Windows 7:
Starter - aimed at Netbooks and other low powered devices.
Home Premium - the typical installation for a home laptop. No disk encryption or network backups and no XP mode.
Professional - home power users and many business users. This version supports XP mode and network backups.
Ultimate - Similar to Professional but also with disk encryption support.
Enterprise - Bitlocker disk encryption and only available via Enterprise licencing.
Media Centre is no longer an edition in its own right. Home Premium, Professional and Ultimate all include the Media Centre software.
Home Premium and above are also available in 32 bit, and 64 bit versions where the 64 bit version is required to support more than 4 GigaBytes of RAM.
Michael also ran through the various upgrade uptions to Windows 7. There is no direct upgrade path from XP to 7, that is you must upgrade to Vista first and then to Windows 7 in order to upgrade and preserve your installed files and applications. The other option is to purchase Windows 7, backup your files and do a clean installation of 7. If you wish to upgrade to a 64 bit version of Windows 7 from 32 bit Vista for example there is also no direct upgrade and a reinstall is the only option.
Next we had a demo of the user interface and features of Windows 7 which uses the Aero interface many people have seen in Vista, but with a number of new features.
Clicking the taskbar icon of a running application provides a live preview of the application's open windows. Right clicking on the icon gives recent files / favourites for that application. Applications can also be "pinned" to the taskbar. This provides both a quick launch icon, but also when the app is running with multiple windows they nest from this icon, saving space on the taskbar.
Grabbing a window with the mouse and shaking minimises all windows except the current application. Dragging a window to the top of the screen maximises the window. Dragging a window to the left edge of the screen snaps it to 50% screen width aligned left, similarly dragging to the right snaps the window to full screen height and the right 50% of the screen. This is useful for setting up 2 documents side by side and is a feature I used to type up my notes for this Newsletter - Gareth.
Michael also showed us the Library or Libraries in Windows 7. This feature presents similar files / folders e.g. Pictures, Documents and pulls them together in a single view while they may be in multiple locations on the computer.
The Action Centre allows for configuring security settings including the level of alerts from User Account Control (UAC), Windows Defender for anti-spyware and more, and also warns if security software such as anti-virus is insufficient.
Home Groups have been added as a easy way of creating simple home networks and sharing files. This is a new feature for Windows 7 and significantly simplifies Windows Networking for home users. On the evening we were able to run the simple wizard to create a new Home Group on Michael's laptop with an autogenerated password to be used on other machines to join the group. Also within the wizard we were able to select what files/folders we wanted to be shared. Moving to Dick's laptop we were able to "Join a Home Group" and the wizard found the new group on Michael's machine. We were able to enter the shared password, select our own files to share, and within seconds both machines could access the shared files.
To round off our evening we took a look at the "XP Mode" available to Windows 7 Professional and above. This is an optional download and is quite large to download - 600+ MegaBytes and combines a customised version of Virtual PC with a fully licenced disk image and installation of XP. Once installed XP can be started from the Start Menu and runs either within a window as a full XP desktop, or via app integration individual XP apps can be run in their own window like a normal application, and started individually from the Windows 7 start menu. As installed the XP Virtual Machine is allocated 512MB of RAM, but this can be adjusted if required.
Michael managed to cram a lot of demonstrations of Windows 7 and its features into the evening and it was fun and informative. Despite already using Windows 7 at work I learned some new things about the user interface!
April will soon be upon us and will as usual be time for our AGM. Please do contact a member Peter, Michael or myself if you are interested in joining the Committee and helping to run the club. I encourage as many as possible to attend the AGM both to show your support, and to influence the club's activites for next year!
|Mac OSX update "Snow Leopard"
|AGM plus update on software
iLife,Photodesk 3.09 etc.
|"How to replace a Hard drives - Hardware Upgrades, etc."
|"Broadband technologies" including SMTP email encryption
|"Tips and tricks in Windows/Mac/Linux/RISC OS-
and what is the function of the Registry?"
|Social Evening - Venue TBA
|Digital Photography and How to manage your photo collection
|Gareth et al
|Slide show evening
|"How to rebuild a RISCOS machine."
-making one machine from parts of two Risc PCs.
|Gadgets and Party evening
|Social Evening - Venue TBA
|Gigabit Networking , USB2 & 3
|AGM plus Games
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.
There is now a full list of meetings up to the end of the year on their website.
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:
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)
For information on this group we have added a link here
http://www.ipswichcc.co.uk They have now a brand new website although they don't have a link from their old website.
"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