Our next meeting is for everyone to get involved in looking at Internet applications. We will have our 3G link available for the evening, and hopefully will be able to look at a number of aspects of the Web, including the so called Web 1.0 and Web 2.0 methodologies for creating and interacting with websites.
It is intended to be a fun, "hands on" evening, so please come along armed with some sites and experiences of your own to demonstrate, or perhaps some issues you would like to discuss or try and resolve.
Some examples we hope to show on the evening include the ever popular Ebay auctions site, the Flickr online photo sharing site, various Google applications (search, gmail, maps....) and more!
We will have an internet connected Linux machine with Firefox available to use, but if you have a device that can be networked you should be able to connect if you need to demonstrate a specific platform!
Our last meeting was quite a packed evening looking at wireless networking, and was very hands on with quite a number of devices connected during the evening. At one point I counted 5 devices connected to test out a 3G internet connection, plus numerous Bluteooth exchanges during the evening!! (Gareth)
The evening began with an overview of Wireless LAN. As we were testing a 3G internet connection the conventional slides were replaced with Wikipedia pages downloaded live for the evening. For this event a MacBook was used as a router to share the 3G data connection to other devices using a Wireless LAN link.
Wireless LAN originated from Hawaii in 1970 in the form of ALOHAnet which was used to connect a number of academic computing systems together without phone lines. It was not until around 2000 however that consumer devices began to be made available, famously when Apple Computers showed a laptop accessing the internet at a developer show, without any wires.
Wireless LANs share the 2.4Ghz spectrum with DECT phones, bluetooth devices, garage door openers and are susceptible to interference from microwaves, which can all contribute to poor signal and low throughput difficulties. There are also a finite number of channels available, which in crowded streets and public places can be an issue with reliability and performance.
A number of Wireless LAN standards exist, with varying levels of specified and real world performance. The original 802.11b standard had a specified maximum speed of 11Mbps, but in practice only 4-5Mbps was attained. Similarly for the current 802.11g, 54Mbps is specified and approximately 19Mpbs is generally achievable. These real world figures seemed generally accurate to that achieved by those of us that use Wireless at work or at home.
The future 802.11n which is currently a draft specifies a maximum throughput of 248Mbps although in reality this is likely to be around 74. This is comparable to a Fast Ethernet cable though, and would be a welcome speed increase. This is to be achieved using newer modulation techniques and multiple antennas.
Our internet access for the evening was via a 3G data modem. This small USB device contains a SIM Card and the data portions of a 3G mobile phone. Depending on the network and signal strength, speeds of between 384kbps and potentially 7.2Mbps are attainable using HSDPA (High Speed Downlink Packet Access). The network we used typically allows 1.4 to 3.6Mbps connections, comparable to home broadband, although actual throughput is often less.
Our attempts to play YouTube clips were relatively successful with some buffering and stuttering, but the connection proved too slow on the night for BBC iPlayer. With a higher mobile signal strength this should be possible however.
We also touched briefly on Bluetooth, the short range and relatively low speed standard for sharing files, and network access between portable devices. It can also be used for audio both hands free kits and cordless headphones. Of some of the modern issues with Bluetooth we discussed BlueJacking. This is essentially targetted advertising (or spam) sent to phones with unprotected bluetooth enabled while you are walking about. Typically used to sending special offers from stores, it is not that common yet but watch this space!!
Bluetooth 3.0, a future extension to bluetooth aims to add a high speed data rate over a few metres. This would allow wireless connection of hard disks, cameras and other devices that currently use a USB or Firewire cable to connect and transfer data without plugging in lots of wires.
Following a refreshment break those of us present connected a number of PCs and devices to the internet over the 3G link. While slow at times it was generally useable, and I am sure will be useful to us at future meetings! To prove the drivers for the 3G USB modem are built-in and no downloads are needed, we plugged it into Peter's Windows XP PC, where it was detected and he was able to connect.
There was quite some interest in the small ASUS EEE PCs owned by Gareth and Paul... but more on those devices at our Linux evening later in the year!!
Not a lot to say this month. We had a committee meeting to sort out our social evening and financial matters. We are open to suggestions on a venue in the North Essex or Ipswich area; particularly if they have a menu choice and accept individual bills. Perhaps I could remind those of you who have not yet paid your subscriptions yet this year that they were due from the AGM in April.
We have had a committee meeting this month to revise our programme. Some of the topics below may change .
|Internet Applications Ebay, Web 2.0 , Flikr etc.
|Social Evening Venue TBA
|MS Office 2007, Office 2008 for Mac
|Linux Evening (provisional)
|Storage & Backup
|Gadgets and Party evening
Talks with Visiting speakers are shown in Red. We will give more details as soon as they are confirmed.
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."
P.S. My insurance company have added my computer cover away from home with no extra premium required, yours might do the same.(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: email@example.com