Our Next Meeting: Wednesday 17th May 2017 -
RISCOS update - New !Impression - ARMX6 - Duncan et al

The ARMX6 uses the i.MX6 computer board. It comes from R-Comp and is available in one of two case designs. I bought the Tower version as the case was in stock. It runs Risc OS 5 and needs Aemulor for lots of software as the A9 processor is 32-bit only ( not 26-bit like the original ARM machines from Acorn).

I've also obtained the latest Impression-X and found that it looks rather familiar.

Compared to the Risc PC it seems very fast indeed.

The ARM6X is rather better organised than it was last month so I hope to bring it along. We shall have to see how it works with the projector.


Our Last Meeting: AGM Wednesday 19th April 2017 and IoT - Devices - All


The AGM will be formerly written for next year but as an informal report:-

The Minutes of the previous meeting were signed off as correct and Reports by the Chairman and Treasurer were both accepted. The election of Officers proceeded as in former years with no changes to the Committee everyone being re-elected so therefore we remain with:-

Chairman Gareth

Vice-Chairman Duncan

Secretary Peter

Treasurer Michael

Paul did not wish to be on the Committee this year as he finds it impossible to attend Committee meetings. ( Surnames hidden for security)

The only other significant change was an agreement to increase subscriptions to £12 per annum. The free visitor charge remains in place for another year.


The Internet of things - IoT

This is the first time we have had a discussion on this topic as it it relatively new and we sat around for a while trying to understand what would be included and perhaps what would not be included.

I've since looked it up as follows:-

"The internet of things is a system of interrelated computing devices, mechanical and digital machines, objects, animals or people that are provided with unique identifiers and the ability to transfer data over a network without requiring human-to human or human-to-computer interaction." [Definition from Whatis.com]

Now that would have helped a lot! I am intrigued by the inclusion of animals or people as I thought it was purely machines and also some of the things we thought of were still requiring human-to-computer interaction.(H-C)

I think the definition implies a certain level of autonomy and unique MAC addresses.

So we began with Gareth's Zoe car control where he can communicate to set the heater or air-con on or quiz it for battery charge status. We thought this was in but it requires H-C.

Michael has a Nest system which turns his central heating down when he goes out because it detects when he crosses the threshold. I think that is a better fit. He also can view his house alarm system.

Duncan controls his set top box remotely to set up programme recording.

Peter also uses YouView from his iPhone to get the real time programme guide and set up his set top box on BT Vision for programme recording. I think this is not really IoT. Anyone with a SMART meter has a Thing.

At this point Peter demonstrated a BBC microbit, which he had recently purchased, and gave a run down of the features and methods of programming it.

They are distributed in schools to every pupil and were designed by a consortium of computer hardware and software companies. They can be programmed easily from Windows PC, Mac, Android or Linux machines and will the run stand alone. The programmes can be developed and tested before download and some quite advanced features are present.

It consists of a small board powered by USB or 3.3V battery pack.

On board is a 32 bit ARM Cortex M0CPU with about 30kB of memory, various I/O ports and two switches labelled "A" and "B". There is also a reset switch on the back and a status LED. The board also includes a compass (to 1 degree) and an accelerometer so it can sense movement (shaking).

The display consists of a matrix of 25 LEDs in a 5x5 array and can be programmed as a scrolling display for text and numbers. There is a built in default programme which runs as soon as the battery power is connected. This displays several patterns on the LEDs and gives instructions to "press A" or "press B" or give a "shake". After this it goes into a small game of chase between two LEDs, one fixed and one moveable by tilting the board to hit the fixed LED. Duncan liked it!

A Low energy Bluetooth interface allows pairing with an iPhone (smart phone) and programs can be written on the phone and then downloaded to the microbit. Microbits can see each other if paired too.

The whole aim is to get children to learn programming. There are several programming options from Microsoft's graphical block editor, Touch Develop, Javascript to Micro-Python a version of Python 3. The editors are now in a second generation but the older ones can still be accessed. Programs written in the block editor can be converted to written code as well.

There are several URLs for info.

Have a look at http://microbit.org



for more info.

In a way these could be part of the IoT via the bluetooth networking and they can be interfaced through the edge connector or connected to the RPI3.

Great for kids.


An apology

On the Mac evening I referred to Anne's videos including underwater shots. I am afraid this was a figment of my imagination. I had not made sufficient notes and could gain nothing from the audio file and just could not remember what was shown and thought I had a recollection of snorkelling shots. I have already apologised to Anne and extend this to everyone else. I'll have to write these meetings up a bit sooner in future.

ICENI Future programme

We have now had a committee meeting and updated the future programme.

ICENI Future programme 2017/2018
May 17th RISCOS update - New !Impression - ARMX6 All
June 21st Security, AntiVirus, Ransomware, Botnets and Firewalls All
July 19th Windows update - The Creators update Michael
August 16th Summer Social Event - The Last Anchor , Ipswich -(Provisional)
September 20th Alternative software applications,
Model Railways, Amateur radio and Telescope control.
October 18th Linux /Ubuntu updates. Gareth et al
November 15th Slide/Video Evening All
December 20th Gadgets and Party Evening All
January 17th Winter Social Evening - The Wooden Fender, Ardleigh (Provisional)
February 21st Arduino/Raspberry Pi / BBC :Microbits All
March 21st Backup systems - Cloud/ CCTV, Acronis All
April 18th AGM - Virtual Reality and secure password storage All
May 16th Computer surgery evening 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.


Membership fee currently £10, visitors free.


We are continuing our publicity for EAUG events , however their website has not been updated for a years now. So if you wish to know information please phone one of their contacts.

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.

Their website has not been updated since 2011


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

Our website URL is


Email to: iceni@woolridge.org.uk

I am open to suggestions on what people would like to have included in the website. If anyone would like a copy of the CD of our old newsletters this could be arranged.