This will be held later in the year as it has been difficult trying to arrange it this month due to sickness and happy events. If anyone has any suggestion on where they would like to go in the Springtime we can pursue it. Maybe we should make it a lunch on a Saturday instead.
We were a little down on people this year but still had quite a lot of gadgets to show. As usual we go around each presenting one gadget in turns. We had the traditional refreshments this year with mince pies from Gareth's Dad, Pigs in blankets crisps, Stolen bites and Lebkuchen.
As an introduction Michael presented his light box which can be set up for any messages required. He usually displayed LET THE GAMES BEGIN. A bit of a gimmick he admitted.
Peter then showed his ratchet screwdriver bit set, made by Magnusson and sold by Screwfix for £12.99. He admitted it was an impulse buy seen on their counter when buying other goods. What attracted him to it was the range of tool bits and the fact that the handle can be rotated to give much more leverage and operation in tight corners.
After this.Duncan produced his laser level unit, which in the photo is shown on his home made levelling platform which accommodates any tilt of the surface being used to support it. The levelling range is within about 5 degrees. What you can see in the photo is only the vertical beam which is also produced. it generates a "+" shaped output. his levelling platform made in wood has three screws and consists of a to plate standing on a bottom plate. Exaggeratedly like ">". The laser unit has a tripod bush underneath and cost about £60. Useful for lining up pictures or fence posts.
Now Gareth whetted our appetites with his camping cook bag. A Wunderbag. There are two main parts to this, the first being a large casserole pot with a lid and the second a very large insulated bag. You put your hot slow cooking ingredients into the pot and then encase it in the insulated bag. Because of the shape of the bag it may then be safely left on the floor of your camper van as you drive to your destination without fear of any spillages. It will keep hot for up to 5 hours. Once there you will then have an instant meal. Sounds good already.
Having had some sustenance from our mince pies, cheese straws, savoury crisps and lebkuchen we were now introduced to Peter's fitness gadget in the form of the TickRFit which is blood flow sensor using optical sensing and consists of an arm band worn just below the elbow and pressing on the inside of the arm. It is designed for anyone doing exercise and wanting to know their heart rate and calories burnt etc. It links with low energy bluetooth to your smart phone and will record continuously. A battery charge will last up to 30 hours they claim. The software can be downloaded free and the unit will work with applications from other manufacturers as well. It is designed for Gym use as well as outdoors and you can even swim with it as it is waterproof. Info from Wahoo. www.wahoofitness.com It costs around £60. The software can be set up for different uses e.g. Treadmill, Cycling, Running and TickR which is a cycling trainer on a rolling road which it will also link to at the same time. . If using it outdoors it will also track GPS at the same time. You can of course save the files if you want to, You need to add some personal data like your age and weight and it will then show the different heart rate zones for your exercise such as mine are Easy 0 - 118, Fat Burn 119 - 137, Cardio 138 - 151, Hard 152 - 173 and Peak 174 - 197. A younger person would have a higher range.
The next gadget which we had seen before was Michael's laptop cooler. Made by VOXON it has 6 fans and red LEDs showing when on. It is USB powered and has feet.
After this Gareth produced his second camping item which we had seen pictures of at the slide and video evening. This was his stove top oven. It could be used for grilling sausages using a griddle or meals like chicken and rice, pork fillets, thyme bread or cakes. It just sits on top of a gas burner and has a silicone liner, for easy cleaning and non-stick properties.
Peter said one of the drawbacks to a modern iPhone (8) was that there was no separate audio output socket so you have to use the lightning connector normally used for charging which means you can't listen to music or make phone calls using earphones if you need to recharge the phone. However on a flight on AerLingus he had spotted in the magazine a small adapter which enables both listening and charging shown here. Sold by Bitmore for 10, 9 on the flight www.bitmore.co.uk
Duncan then followed with his bendy camera tripod. Fotopro UFO2 shown here.
It can be bent into many shapes and even hooked over chairs etc. He had seen someone who had attached his camera to the sails of a windmill and filmed a video from a rotating windmill. He also had a bluetooth controller used with his smart phone which appears as a one button keyboard and allowed him to photograph by remote control.
Gareth followed this with his point to point wireless devices. These can be used out doors or in a large hall to provide an ethernet link up to 300Mb/s which is somewhat better than a powerline adapter at 30Mb/s. It is a Nanostation loco5AC made by Ubiquiti 5GHz WiFi unit. The two sides of the unit are shown here. You need one each end of the point-to-point link to give an encrypted directional transmission with a relatively narrow beam. It uses a different protocol to standard WiFi but it can see other networks around. Cost just over £40.
Then we moved onto Peter's new camera a Panasonic Lumix GX9 and he is still discovering all the things it can do. It is a hybrid micro 4/3 camera which can take a variety of lenses with a basic resolution of 20.5 Mpixel for stills and up to 4k HD video. The basic lens is a 12-60 mm zoom which is equivalent to 24 to 120 mm for a 35 mm format. It has 5 axis stabilization split between lens and camera body so even unstabilised lenses still have some stabilisation. Peter likes the Micro 4/3 format because it still provides resolution and low noise levels at the same time as making the camera and lenses much lighter to carry than a full frame camera. This camera also has both Bluetooth and WiFi connectivity and Peter was able to upload holiday shots to dropbox via his iPhone. The only downside with this camera is that battery life is very short compared to his older Lumix G. and where he used to be able to shoot two days with the G2 the GX9 probably is about 1.5 hours. So one needs more than one battery or else a power bank to recharge between sessions. Usefully you can recharge the battery in the camera from a USB socket or power bank. but he also has an external charger. Using the WiFi will discharge the battery even faster of course, but if you have the BT on you can make use of the GPS for each shot. It can also be used tethered from smart phone or tablet. It can take very fast shots and rapid sequences and also time-lapse photography. It can also be set up to take shots with variable focus planes so you can choose what is in focus after taking the shot! There is quite a complex menus structure to set the camera up and also a small paper manual to get you started and a more comprehensive online manual (c. 300 pages).
Duncan wanted to get GPS data with his camera shots but the camera does not have GPS. So he kept a logfile of the coords of every place he had photographed. So he invested in a Sports Logbook GPS device USB stick shown here.(£50) with an arm band. It has a motion detector and only records when you are moving. It assumes you are cycling. Synchronising camera and Logbook was tricky as the camera time was not quite accurate enough. It looks like serial port to Windows software. He is then able to add his GPS data to DigiKam files.
The last gadget was the machine power connector shown here from Michael. This unit by Sonoff works in a similar way to the Kesa Power connectors described by Peter at the IoT evening enabling remote control of home appliances over the internet.
These units are compatible with Alexa.
Quite a good batch of Gadgets. Thanks to everyone who came.
We'll soon be planning the next year's meetings if anyone would like to introduce a topic we would be delighted to accommodate them.
|ICENI Future programme 2020|
|Postponed till Spring||Winter Social Evening: Suggestions welcome.||All|
|February 19th||Chrome OS and Linux Apps.||All|
|March 18th||AI - Pattern recognition etc.||All|
|April 15th||Accounting Software||All|
|May 20th||AGM - Cloud Computing||All|
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.org.uk
Membership fee currently £15, visitors free.
"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.)