Our Next Meeting:

7.30 p.m. Wednesday 21st April
Bourne Vale Social Club, Halifax Road, Ipswich IP2 8RE

1. Apologies for Absence

2. Minutes of the last meeting

3. Matters arising

4. Chairman's Report

5. Treasurer's Report

6. Election of Officers and Committee

7. AOB.


Minutes of the previous AGM will be attached separately to the email with this Newsletter.

Software Updates

After the formal business we will have some updates and demos of software including ILife, Photodesk 3.09, etc. If you have a new release of an app or tool please bring it along to share with us! It should as always be a good evening.

Our Last Meeting: Wednesday 17th March - Mac OS X "Snow Leopard" by Gareth

At our last meeting Gareth gave an overview session on Snow Leopard aka Mac OS X 10.6 the latest release of OS X which coincided with the launch of Windows 7. He began with the point that with a number of small exceptions the end user can see very little change over 10.5, rather there are significant changes under the hood to make Mac's more stable, improve performance and perhaps more importantly provide technologies to better utilise hardware in future machines, namely multi-core CPUs and graphics chipsets.

Due to the majority of changes being "under the hood" this upgrade although chargeable was priced under £30 in a bid to encourage rapid adoption.

Described as "refined, not reinvented" the User Interface is mostly unchanged over previous releases. Finder has however been completely rewritten using the Cocoa APIs meaning for the first time since 2001 and OS X 10.1 the finder is fully native (and 64bit) with no legacy code from Mac OS Classic. This has improved performance quite markedly over previous releases of Finder, but also has made it much more stable in operation.

Time Machine for backups has been improved with faster backups which again is a evolution rather than revolution of the backup tool.

Stacks which allow icons, be they files, folders, or apps to be grouped on the Dock have been refined due to user demand to better handle large numbers of icons.

Improvements have been made to sleep and wake-up, typically resulting in 2x faster wake from sleep, and while this has always been very reliable on the Mac compared to Windows it does seem even better now. Gareth did comment his experience on Windows 7 is also favourable in this regard now compared to XP.

Quicktime X new in Snow Leopard is a significant overhaul of the video player and incorporates numerous visual and performance enhancements developed for the iPhone. Squeezing the maximum performance out of the portable device has lead to major improvements in the desktop application too.

Due to the underlying UNIX roots of OS X improvements have been made to file sharing in Windows networks, by newer versions of the Samba software commonly used on Linux which provides OS X with its Windows networking support. All such tools in the "BSD layer" of OS X are updated in this newer version.

The main changes are all to be found "under the hood" however, and set the scene for the future. Of the main changes here the vast majority of the system applications are now fully 64bit. OS X has supported 64 bit addressing in the kernel and per application for a number of years, but it is the first time the major apps from Safari the browser, to Mail, iChat etc. have been 64 bit releases. Compared to Windows there is just one release of OS X for the desktop, which runs on 32 and 64 bit CPUs, and one price!

The next new core technology is "Grand Central Dispatch". This is an API built into the operating system to simplify programming for multi-core CPUs which is difficult to do well as a programmer. Computers are now near a wall for clock speed on a single thread, but are pushing performance ever higher with more CPU cores in the system, which needs applications to be able to process in parallel to extract that performance. GCD allows developers to create blocks of code be they to process a video, or do a complex image manipulation and hand them over to the system to schedule and run, rather than each application needing to handle its threads. The tools to develop for this are included with every Mac, as the compilers and IDE are free and included on the install discs. Many of the built in Apps now use this technology to improve performance, in particular Quicktime X.

Complementing GCD is OpenCL. This is an Apple language and APIs recently pushed through as a standard with Nvidia, AMD, Intel and many more in the industry on board. Graphics processors are now massively multicore, and have the power of a supercomputer from a decade ago, they are however notoriously difficult to programme for and harness due to limited memory, intruction sets and registers etc. OpenCL allow software developers to harness this massive processing power in their applications, be that complex financial modelling, or finding cures for disease using protein folding tools. Again developer tools are included in the standard IDE on Mac.

Finally there is one new user feature in Snow Leopard that is significant for business users, Mail.app, iCal and Contacts have been updated will full support for Microsoft Exchange 2007 servers, a feature which has been on many wish lists for a number of years. Using Exchange Web Services new in Exchange 2007 this is quite a leap in Exchange support for non-Windows platforms.



It is that time of the year again and the AGM is now upon us. Please make every effort to join us and support the club, the formal proceedings are necessary for us to continue running but should be short with plenty of time on the night for our discussions on new software and any topics you would like to suggest for the year.


ICENI Future programme

21 April AGM plus update on software
iLife,Photodesk 3.09 etc.
19 May "How to replace a Hard drives - Hardware Upgrades, etc." Michael
16 June "Broadband technologies" including SMTP email encryption
on Windows/Mac/Linux
21 July "Tips and tricks in Windows/Mac/Linux/RISC OS-
and what is the function of the Registry?"
18 August Social Evening - Venue TBA All
15 September Digital Photography and How to manage your photo collection Gareth et al
20 October Slide show evening All
17 November "How to rebuild a RISCOS machine."
-making one machine from parts of two Risc PCs.
Frank, Gareth
and Peter
15 December Gadgets and Party evening All
19 January Social Evening - Venue TBA All
16 February Gigabit Networking , USB2 & 3 All
16 March Linux update Gareth
20 April AGM plus Games 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. 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)

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

Ipswich Computer Club (formerly Mid-Suffolk Computer Users Group)

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.

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

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