Our next meeting concerns backups, most likely on RISCOS, Linux, Windows, and the Mac. Backups are one of those things we should all do, but many of us don't, or do but don't know whether they work!!
At the next meeting hopefully we'll discuss and demo the various ways we backup our files protecting from failed hard drives or worse. It is hoped that everyone can join in at this meeting which will initially opened by Peter.
We may also see Peter's progress with his newly acquired second hand Iyonix and Gareth hopefully will update us on Ubuntu installation on the EeePC as described at the end of his report on the last meeting below.
Another interesting evening of Linux, this time with a twist as it was mainly conducted using 3 Asus Eee PCs, one model in a large family of small "netbooks". Peter, Gareth, and Paul have all invested in these devices, and were keen to show them off for the evening!
Paul and Gareth both brought along Eee PC 701 models. Which feature a small 7" 800x480 screen, 4GB of flash disk, and 512MB RAM. This model is equipped with a 900MHz Intel Celeron processor, although this is downclocked to 650MHz in normal use. Peter has invested in the newer Eee PC 900 model, which features 20GB storage, 1GB RAM and a larger 9" screen of a more useable 1024x600 resolution.
There are now newer models available using the Intel Atom processor at 1.GHz, which should have higher performance and potentially improved battery life.
All models run the same Operating System, in this case an Asus customised version of Xandros Linux with a simplified GUI aimed at web and education use.
Gareth commented that the larger screen in the newer models would be useful, but that there were tools such as FullerScreen for Firefox to make better use of the small screen.
Software updates are available over the Internet from Asus but the GUI does not support 3rd party updates. It is possible to add other Xandros and Debian packages via the command line for the adventurous, although this can cause issues with later official updates.
The Asus GUI is based on KDE, and has been made very simple to hopefully appeal to both general users and education where RM (Research Machines) sell a re branded version. However some of the software shows its UNIX/Linux roots and isn't that attractive, e.g. Pidgin the Instant Messaging client.
The Eee PC is aimed mainly at Web and Document production, and as such ships as standard with Mozilla Firefox (still only 2) and OpenOffice. It also features Pidgin for MSN, Yahoo Messenger (and more) and Mozilla Thunderbird for email. Adobe PDF reader is provided for PDF, and a number of audio/video utilities. In addition there is some educational software, and games.
The Eee PC has WiFi (Wireless-G) out of the box, but only the later models have bluetooth. 3 USB sockets for expansion, and an SD Card for extra internal flash storage space.
The main OS on the internal flash is read-only, so the device can be restored to factory defaults quickly as well an enhancing security.
There are many other makes and models of Netbooks now that are all broadly similar. Dell Mini 9, Acer and more.
There are a number of distributions of Linux available, of which Xandros is just one. Linux is just the basic kernel, each Linux distribution adds its own software on top of this. Xandros is itself based on Debian GNU/Linux, as is Ubuntu.
Paul has installed XAMPP on his Eee PC. This adds Apache, MySQL, PHP and Perl in one package making it ideal for web development and testing, and showed us a simple Wiki being hosted on the Eee PC.
Peter has only recently got his Eee PC but is interested in writing some of his own software and will be looking to install some compilers etc. in the future.
John was interested if RPCEmu was available and working. Gareth has been looking at this and it is available in source form for Linux, but there are currently no binary packages. We felt that it would probably be quite slow on the Celeron 701/900 Eee PCs but could perform quite well on the Atom powered machines.
After the interval we looked at the latest release of Ubuntu 8.04 Hardy Heron on a HP NC6400 laptop. Ubuntu is available as a Live CD, which can be tried without installing to the hard disk, the installer can be run from the live desktop to install. 8.04 is a long term support LTS release with 3 years support. The 8.10 release due late October (Intrepid Ibex) will feature newer packages, but only has 18-month support. This is the norm with Ubuntu mixing long term and short term releases giving the end user the choice which to run.
Ubuntu is Debian based, and is available in a number of "flavours":
Ubuntu - standard installation with the GNOME Desktop
Kubuntu - KDE desktop environment
Xubuntu - lightweight XFCE desktop more suitable to slower machines with less memory
Edubuntu - aimed at education
There is also a server version in addition to the standard desktop edition.
Ubuntu Eee is also available... and is tailor made for the Eee PC with support for the hardware, and a customised GUI more suitable for the lower resolution screens.
There is lots of software available for Ubuntu. The current 8.04 release has 25015 packages available to install online including web browsers, multimedia, compilers and development, editors and more.
The Live CD can be useful for rescuing PCs that wont boot including Windows.. you can also walk up and work at any PC, saving your data to a USB stick.
Gareth has since replaced the default Asus Linux with Ubuntu Eee to make more software and newer versions of software available and he will bring it along to the next meeting to demo. RPCEmu compiles and appears to run on this, and with a few more tweaks may be ready to demo next time.
Not much to report this month. Gareth and Peter are continuing with a joint effort on the Newsletter.
We have had a committee meeting this month to revise our programme. Some of the topics below may change .
|Storage & Backup
|Peter et al
|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