at 1pm in Horsham, joining Sussex Linux User Group for the first Sussex meeting of the year.
Sussex are planning/have expressed interest in:
Please contact me via the Sussex list to request a particular topic. At the moment a few of us travel up to various Surrey locations on the second Saturday of each month for the Surrey LUG "BringABox" meeting, to Horsham on the last Thursday of every month for the Sussex LUG "moot", and to anywhere else that seems promising. Even as far afield as Southampton to join HantsLUG.
However, I would be more than pleased to arrange a local get-together.
We meant to attend Broadoaks Social Club, which would have been our first time at Portsmouth LUG, but in the end there were not enough of us to make the long drive viable.
We attended every Sussex LUG and several Surrey LUGs. Highlights from Surrey included a talk on the human genome and folding, Bitcoin and a tutorial on how to get Qemu/Virtbox running.
At the Sussex meetings we sat about fixing stuff, which was at least useful and I learned a few things.
Sat 12th: The annual Surrey BBQ took place - the weather was fine. Someone brought in a very ancient, very heavy laptop as a conversation piece, which was still in good working order. It was as big as a suitcase with robust hinges, built to last. The day was very relaxing and a lot of photographs were taken.
The highlight from Sussex LUG was a talk on OpenStack and Docker by a Red Hat employee, which was well attended. We learned how to set it up and run it, and a little bit about Git.
Highlights from Surrey: We had a visitor from Exeter LUG who spoke about Linux Code Clubs for kids and brought in his young daughter to tell us about the one she goes to. The kids get the loan of a Linux laptop to practise with until the next Club.
A blind member gave an accessibility talk, which was very interesting. He has a braille strip in front of his keyboard, and spoke about screen readers, orca in particular.
Saturday 11th: Peter took Malcolm and me to the Surrey LUG meeting at the Red Hat offices in Farnborough, where we were treated to an informatics discourse on the exciting field of DNA analysis. Jan Kim talked for an hour before lunch and was begged for another hour after lunch, such was the interest level.
Afterwards, those that needed help with hardware or software issues got it. Desmond helped me locate online drivers for a new mini USB wifi dongle. The Surrey meetings are definitely the place to go for help. The social aspect takes place over Lunch, which was again at the Hungry Horse a few minutes walk away.
These were busy months. We had three meetings in November and one in December. Notes will follow in a few weeks' time.
None of us made it to join Surrey LUG this month.
And there was no Sussex meeting either, because the last Thursday fell on Halloween Day. We had a talk arranged but a couple of members had family celebrations and only two others had actually signed up, so I arranged to postpone until 14th November.
However, I found a goldmine of videos on bash scripting here: Kris Occhipinti aka metalx1000 Youtube videos - there are approx. 300 bash tutorials among his uploads. and I'm working through them one at a time. They are very clear and I highly recommend them.
Saturday 14th: We returned to the Reigate Hub for another Surrey
meeting. This was the last ever meeting to be held at this venue so Jay
also hosted a second sale / give-away of equipment. I came away with a
tower PC which Jay expertly repaired and loaded with Debian Wheezy for
me. This will be my new virtualization machine. Unfortunately my own
64-bit amd quad core doesn't do virtualization, so this one will come
in very handy.
Thursday 26th: The Sussex meeting went ahead without me :-( as Gerry
was away on holiday. There was no formal talk but the usual
Linux-themed discussions and bits and pieces.
Saturday 10th: Jay Bennie hosted the Surrey meet up at the Reigate
Hub. With multiple little rooms there was a lot going on. We had a
couple of mini talks.
Thursday 29th: Attended the Sussex moot and spent an enjoyable
evening chatting and surfing.
Saturday 13th: This was the annual Surrey Summer BBQ hosted by John, which all the regular Sussex members missed this year.
Thursday 25th: Eight of us present to listen to Gavin's talk on introducing Linux, open source software and programming to schools, followed by a discussion of our future plans. A very interesting evening.
During this month I spent much time improving my skills on Blender, Inkscape, Eclipse, Python, PHP, ImageMagick and Synfig.
Saturday 8th: Peter took me to the Reigate Hub for an excellent day hosted by Jay Bennie. Straight off we were treated to a comprehensive talk on routers and network security, including wireless, so very timely for me. Jay went into how to mitigate intrusion attacks and keep segments of the network safe, as well as how to configure a computer to reduce holes. The venue is an excellent one with a medium sized room for the talks and several smaller rooms on the same floor where members can work together on projects. This was my first time at this venue and my first Surrey LUG meeting since February.
On my return home, I used the infomation gleaned to reconfigure the wireless setup and added a Cisco 5505 series network router to my wish list, as recommended by Jay (starting at approx £200).
From the beginning of May I switched over from wired to wireless
Internet connectivity. This proved quite a challenge. Eventually, after
a lot of trial and error, we decided to go for two wireless modem
routers daisy chained together: the primary one to serve the whole
house and a second one hanging off to serve just my desktop and laptop.
Both had WPA2 encryption but were configured differently. By prefeence
I would rather have the benefit of a network router.
Thursday 30th: I couldn't make the Sussex moot and it looks like few others could. Down to two members: worst in our history. We really need to promote. Oh, and get some talks organised :-]
Thursday 25th: The Sussex Moot met up for shoulder surfing and Linux chat. I spent most of it working on one of my own projects.
Saturday 9th: Unfortunately work commitments kept me from the Surrey
LUG. Peter had an empty car. I've been working on video creation. I
missed some good talks:
> Cassette to digital conversion - Peter Clark
> Introducing people to Linux - John Washington
> Hackspaces and Codeclub - Jay Bennie
> MPD - Dan Patynski
Thursday 28th: The Sussex Moot met up for shoulder surfing and Linux chat.
Saturday 9th: Peter and I went to the Redhat offices in Farnborough, Hampshire, joining Surrey and Hampshire Linux User Groups. Presentations included two by Alan Pope: Graphing home power usage with currentcost and Linux and Securely storing and syncing your text notes using Free software. I gave a short live demo on using Shutter, however my laptop refused to work with their projector, so Dominic kindly lent me his; not every aspect of Shutter worked correctly :-( namely taking full screen screenshots. Could have been because he was running several vm's at the time, which were "stealing" my mouse clicks.
Saturday Thursday 28th: I couldn't get to the February Sussex LUG moot but apparently it went well.
Thursday 17th: The folks at Surrey LUG had their first pub meet of the year at the King's Head in Guildford. Half the group went to the one on Castle Street and the other half, who were going by the address posted on the Surrey website, turned up at the one on Kings Road :-)
Thursday 31st: A new member, John, joined us for the first Sussex LUG moot of the year. I demonstrated Shutter's ability to take multiple screenshots of a video: you set the co-ordinates and frame size and tell it where to save the shots, which it names by increments of 1 added to any base name you enter. It also displays the shots as thumbnails like a file manager and allows you to annotate and draw on them like slides. Very useful software. I also planned to install PlayOnLinux and download Kindle ForPC into it. However, I had to have a lot of help. Conclusion: although this is simple to accomplish on Debian Squeeze, which I have at home, it needs command line knowledge on Mageia. We had trouble with Python dependencies, and even once installed and running, KindleForPC did not work quite as expected. The problem is that the PlayOnLinux developers don't have a Mageia-specific package, whereas they do have separate ones for Debian, Fedora and one or two others. I thoroughly recommend PlayOnLinux if you need KindleForPC.
Saturday 8th: We didn't go to Surrey LUG and there's never a Sussex meeting in December, so a bit of a thin month.
Saturday 10th: No-one from our group attended Surrey LUG this month
Thursday 29th: I gave a live demonstration and presentation to Sussex LUG of using Inkscape to make greeting cards. I provided templates for two ways of folding the card and included how to create a designer's logo on the back of the card.
Saturday 13th: Only Alex and I went to Red Hat for the Surrey LUG. Dominic gave a talk on "KVM, libvirt and friends" which was well attended and packed with applicable info. I gave a very brief impromptu demo of KindleForPC, solely in order to get help on one aspect of it: namely that the text on the menus was all missing, which apparently is not uncommon. It wasn't solved, unfortunately.
Thursday 30th: There was no talk at the Sussex LUG this month but we had demos of two sub-A5 notebook/tablets. Gavin's little laptop was an EPC (No, not an Eee PC) which for its size was quite powerful and Keith's little tablet cost about £50 from Amazon and was paired with a tiny keyboard and leather case that doubled as a stand. Almost everyone wanted both.
Saturday 8th: We missed the September Surrey LUG but apparently they got a good demo of a Paspberry Pi.
Thursday 30th: Dominic gave a talk on "Linux as a hacking platform" covering such elements as the history of unix, explanations of why many things that may have baffled us over the years are the way they are, why this makes Linux an awesome place to program, and ways to use it to get stuff done. We installed git and vim and followed along with the examples.
Saturday 11th: We were lucky to get another visit to Juniper Hall, near Box Hill in Surrey. Talks this month included two on the new Google OS and a showing of a dedicated Google box. I got help on how to install a different version of Firefox side by side with my existing version, which I'm writing up into a tutorial.
Thursday 30th: Gerry, Alex and I went the Sussex LUG meeting joining just two others (holiday season I suppose) but it was a fun evening. As two of us had the same laptop we did a side-by-side comparison on two Ubuntu live disks: one with the native Unity and the other compiled with Gnome 3. As a result, I believe Peter confirmed his intention to stick with Suse :-)
EGLUG has been running non-stop and we've been around to meetings every month. The year included a music presentation on Muse, a photography talk, cloud talks, many other talks, numerous instances of help and tips and a lot of exciting new device demonstrations.
Saturday 10th: Unfortunately no-one from here made it over to Addlestone for Surrey LUG's all-day meeting and I haven't heard what they got up to.
Saturday 6th: Thanks go to Peter for driving Will and me over to Nokia in Farnborough, Hampshire for the Surrey LUG all-day meeting. This was Will's first Surrey visit and got the thumbs up. We had a busy time and the usual pub lunch.
Thursday 25th: Gerry took Will and me to Horsham for the Sussex LUG meeting. As I'd been working on document manipulation using regexp in grep and sed commands, I prepared a Practical Workshop on Grep and Sed RegExp. Tutorial printouts, cheatsheets and digital versions of everything meant everyone could follow along on their laptops. My analysis file and resource list can be found at the link above.
Saturday 9th: John W's Summer barbecue in Woking. Unfortunately I wasn't able to attend this year, but I understand the usual interest and amazement was shown in the now-annual sauce offerings :-)
Thursday 28th: Sussex LUG in Horsham. I had no transport this month and, it being holiday, the meeting was down to four - the evening was still a success.
Saturday 11th: Malcolm drove us over to Addlestone in Surrey for an all-day meeting hosted by Sirius, joining Surrey Linux User Group for a joint Sussex/Surrey meeting. After a wonderfully sunny pub lunch I got an excellent talk-through on LTSP approaches.
Thursday 30th: Sussex LUG in Horsham. I was not able to attend but Gerry still had a car full. One of these, Will, was a completely new member :-) I caught up with a couple of them afterwards and it turned out they enjoyed a good evening talking Linux.
Saturday 14th: Peter drove us all down to the Nokia venue in Farnborough, Hampshire to join Surrey LUG. Some good talks.
Thursday 26th: Sussex LUG in Horsham. Dominic gave us an insightful talk on "Linux as a developer's environment". Excellent attendance, including new member Paul, from Rustington LUG, introduced by Frank. I took away lots of little commands, and especially enjoyed the demo of the screen command. I'll be using the caption facility regularly from now on - found out how to edit .screenrc to make coloured, tabbed captions at the foot of the console, numbered so as to switch easily between them.
Saturday 9th: Malcolm chauffeured us over to the Red Hat venue in Farnborough, Hampshire to join Surrey LUG. More great talks and picked up some useful tips networking between talks. Usual panoramic views of the airfield next to the building.
Thursday 28th: Sussex LUG in Horsham. Gerry drove three of us there. Good turnout. Because Gavin was giving his talk on "Introducing free software to beginners in computing". He told us how he approached the challenge of delivering a course of Linux tuition to a group of new computer users in the older age group. He knew they would have no interest whatever in the name "Linux" and even less in the idea of having freedom to modify open source code :-) So he just gave them the tools to "get the job done" and only at the end of the course introduced the freedom aspect, at which point they were ready for it. That course was successful and he enjoyed delivering it, having custom written it himself. It was for a local authority adult education programme and the premise was accessibility for all income brackets.
Tuesday 8th: Caught the train down to Brighton to see Richard Stallman talk at Sussex University. Copyright vs Community in the Age of Computer Networks. Met up with Steve D and a crowd of Sussex LUGgers. Well worth the three hour journey back to East Grinstead, arriving back at 00:45 in the morning !! (Thanks to Steve for waiting with me at Lewes, where we whiled away the time at the local pub :) RMS is very definite about his aims and talks fluently with a logical train of thought. I bought his book to read. The audio of the talk is available and I recommend a listen. The link to the .ogg file is a few paragraphs below the main image - save the file to your local drive to listen; it's a good recording quality. The rest of the page is discussion, also worth a read.
Saturday 12th: Surrey held their monthly all-day meeting in Addlestone, hosted by Sirius. Our group couldn't make it, which was disappointing, as the highlight was a thin client challenge: a member brought along 8 IGEL thin clients with 1GB RAM and 1GB transcend flash card. The boxes have a linux boot loader that supports linux clients and Igel provide a server component that can be downloaded to remotely manage the desktop. Michael's proposal: I'll bring along the boxes, a network switch and a power board and hand these over to you creatives - and see who can come up with something cool. That could be hacking the existing system or loading a new distro or making the box in to an appliance of some kind - anything you want. Coolest response: Setting up your laptop as wired gateway to the wireless network. Much more detail about the day on the Surrey LUG mailing list, with a tiny summary on the March Bring-A-Box page.
Thursday 31st: Meeting at Horsham with the Sussex Linux User Group. Main highlight for me was getting help from Alex with the --exclude-from argument for rsync - my .gvfs file had been causing me problems. Basically just give up and use multiple --exclude args for each file to be skipped :-] Another member brought his newly purchased small machine in for help with network connectivity. We also got a Scribus mini talk from Frank, who was visiting from Rustington LUG. Other than that, the usual general chit-chat.
Thursday 3rd: Linux & Open Source Expo at the Barbican. This event was held over two days: Wed 2nd & Thurs 3rd. I attended with Desmond on Thursday. The Linux Expo piggy-backed onto the Cloud Expo, but was nonetheless well worth attending and we spent the entire day there. Debian, Ubuntu and OpenIndiana distros were represented and there were stands manned by reps from Drupal, iPXE and LPI as well as individuals gathered in the .Org village willing to chat and answer questions. Around the hall were Red Hat, Linux IT, Rackspace and other familiar and not so familiar names. Not so well promoted the last couple of years: I predict next year will see an improvement in turnout.
Saturday 12th: Surrey held their monthly all-day meeting at Farnborough, hosted by Nokia. Plenty of talks: goo.gl URL shortener, phoronix test suite how-to, Oracle Linux 5 update and GetiPlayer. Informally, I heard about Catchup TV and members recommended the DeskCube D500 as a small, quiet, high spec box (£312 + VAT from dnuk.com, who give good support) and the Zerox Phaser A4 colour laser printer (£600). Thanks to Robert L for the Debian 6.0 disc - this is just released and it's going on my quad core :-) I love Debian :-)
Thursday 24th: Sussex LUG met up in Horsham. Owing to half term, we were but three. But as we were all database techies, we accepted Gerry's coding challenge for the evening. The task was to take an input of personnel with their start and finish times and code a report to count the total number of personnel working in each hour of the day. I took the SQL programming route while Alex chose web programming (while first installing and configuring MySQL to set up the data input).
Saturday 15th: Malcolm drove three of us to Addlestone, where the first Surrey LUG meeting of the year was being hosted by Sirius. A full day of learning and chatting with benefits too numerous to list in full, but including live demos of Greasemonkey, Firebug and DOM Inspector, and talk on data disk rescue. We were shown a wifi antenna or horn, which for £15/20 from Maplins provides a longer aerial and is for use with a USB wifi dongal with unscewablke aerial. However, I was particularly struck by seeing an XCore86 Edubook. This laptop is the same size and weight as an Eee PC but is produced by Gecko. It's upgradeable and low power and amazingly runs off 8 standard AA size cells! This last feature means you don't carry a brick round with you; the trefoil lead plugs straight into the back of the laptop. Nor does the laptop have a fan, so runs quietly. Worth checking out.
Thursday 27th: Sussex LUG welcomed a new member and also welcomed an existing member back into the area, last seen a couple of years ago. After our usual half hour over drinks and pub food we adjourned to the meeting room and kicked off with a talk on Create Space, Amazon's self-publishing, print-on-demand service. Once your PDF is uploaded and approved (and a small fee paid), it gets listed on Amazon, which means Amazon will process the order, print, pack and ship. You can order copies at a good price, so this would be a good solution if you wanted to provide a text book for a course. We took as our example a hypothetical 300-page book on Java. (Note the pricing is all in dollars.) Our Java book worked out at US$7.50 to order it ourselves. We calculated that the lowest possible selling price, just to break even after Amazon and CreateSpace fees and commissions, would be US$9.49, leaving us 9 cents profit. Setting the price at a more realistic $19.99 yielded US$8.49 profit, but we thought the market could bear a much better price still. Supposing you believe the title might sell multiple copies, there's an option to pay an up front fee of US$39 for the Pro Plan (then after the first year, this fee is just $5.00 annually). This automatically gives a more favourable deal. Our Java book would then cost us only US$4.45 to order ourselves, and would give a US$3.14 profit if the price were to be set at US$9.49 or US$11.54 profit at a price of $19.99. So, if you're planning a Java course for twelve delegates, Pro Plan would get you a very reasonably priced, professionally bound text book. And any copies sold via Amazon would be a nice little bonus :-)
Saturday 12th: Drove Alex over to Farnborough, Hampshire, to join Surrey and Hampshire Linux User Groups for a joint meeting. We all brought party food and made even more of a social occasion of it than usual. We were shown the Kindle - the E-Ink is remarkably clear to read, even with small fonts. Images show up in greyscale[*] and are crystal clear but large images take several seconds to render. It's a good tool for reading PDFs and eBooks. There was still a lot else going on, with demos and other talks. Not forgetting that our hosts, Nokia, were clearing out a room of odd, mis-matched furniture and I got a very useful tall, double-shelved unit, which Freaky and Alex flat-packed for me and stowed away in my car. Thanks to Alex for coming round the next day to re-assemble it for me.
As usual, no December moot at Sussex LUG.
My good friend Peter diverted to East Grinstead and Felbridge to pick up myself and Alex so we could attend the Surrey and Hants joint LUG meeting, this month hosted at Red Hat in Farnbororugh. This was the first time any of the three of us had been to this venue. There was a record turnout. We had several talks, including live demonstrations of a Guruplug, PiTiVi video editing and OpenSimulator "Second Life". This last was of interest because the Surrey LUG world has been created for virtual meetings. We were shown how to move around the world and how to group up at the "venue" to get two-way sound for conversations. A geeks' quiz was also run in which I scored 5 points :)
Thursday 25th: Drove to and from the Sussex LUG moot on my own for the first time in years. There were four of us this time, including a new member. We had a good chat and surfed some sites. Gerry received help to get his onboard keyboard working on his tablet, so that he could twist the screen round to cover the keyboard and use the device properly as a tablet.
Full day of activity with the joint Surrey/Hants LUG in Farnborough, Hampshire. Just two of us from Sussex this time. Watched the unboxing of an ASRock Ion 330 Home Theatre machine and subsequent installation of Ubuntu 10.04. I did a simultaneous installation of Debian 5.0.4 on my full size laptop and Netbubtu 10.04 on my Eee PC 900. Both were trouble-free. Finished up with some shoulder-surfing of interesting sites and utilities used by other group members. Very well worth the journey.
Thursday 28th: Missed the Horsham moot as my car was in need of work. Yet to find out what they got up to.
Saturday 11th: Alex and I drove up to Redhill for Surrey's first all-day meeting in a pub, as no other venue was available. The pub was the Venture Inn in Reigate, which had given us prior permission as a group. There were 7 present, three of whom were Sussex LUG members. (At the presentation-type venues there would normally be up to 7 from Sussex alone.) We all finally got to meet Jan, who turned up for his first LUG meet ever (having been an active member of the list for years). Even with 7 we buried the pub tables under our laptops, plus a tower belonging to Sussex member Malcolm and a monitor loaned by Richard. Malcolm got his tower installed and I showed off my new Eee PC 900, which I acquired from a work colleague purely because of its light weight. Everyone had a good time and the Thai cuisine turned out to be first rate.
Thursday 30th: Attended a talk at Sussex LUG, Horsham on Open GIS. 11 attendees. The presenter, Saber, has worked on projects for clients requiring the integration of data and mapping. We were taken through various mapping tools and methods and given several real-life practical applications, such as the relief effort in Haiti and flooding probability by the Nile. It was an interesting talk, well illustrated and clearly explained.
Saturday 14th: Surrey meeting held at Juniper Hall again, a spacious, well equipped venue with lovely grounds. Alex planned to go by train but decided against. Being on holiday I stayed away. Reluctantly, because the main topic was announced as PXE boot, a topic of great interest. It attracted a good audience and afterwards generated a long thread on the Surrey list archive for August. There were plenty of other talks besides, and some competent fixing of issues.
Thursday 26th: Sussex LUG at Horsham. Nine of us. Pretty good for the month of August. One item we had was an impromptu demo of the Coppermine photo gallery installation, configuration and usage. This sparked a hunt for info on ImageMagick, uncovering its associated name "Composite" and command "display". That's a neat little programme.
Saturday 17th: Great day with Surrey LUG at Juniper Hall, a field studies centre in a village near Dorking. Presentation on LVM striping vs. mirroring; presentation and live demo on SSH tunneling; and case study on Virtual Private Server.
I received a personal tour around the centre's LTSP system, getting a demo of spreadsheets and Google Earth on the students' clients in the downstairs lab and the same thing on the teachers' faster Eee PCs upstairs, to show the difference in performance. The lab PCs were noticeably slower in logging on and in processing the considerable quantities of data consumed by Google Earth, but there was no appreciable difference with the spreadsheets. I was then shown the LTSP server: 4-slot disk array, first disk mirrored onto second, the other two slots currently empty; and saw some of the work it does. Very comprehensive tour.
Thursday 29th: Met up for the monthly Sussex LUG moot. We were in the more luxurious room this time and got busy with the usual problem solving. Malcolm was looking to dual boot a laptop but XP proved tricky to resize. In the end they took it off and went fully Ubuntu.
Saturday 12th: Marvelous summer barbecue hosted by John. A couple of dozen people turned up armed with equipment and food and we all had a great time. Also supplied on-site support for John's wife's Impress issue without moving from our deck chairs. To finish off, some hardy souls inspected John's garage and one took apart a shell of a server he's had for many years and stashed it all in his car. Great entertainment value for the rest of us :-)
Wednesday 16th: Took the train up to the Oracle city office in London for an Open Solaris talk on ZFS. Sadly the advertised talk on Virtual Box was canceled. Met Desmond there and we had a look at his new software on his Eee pc.
Thursday 24th: Attended the Sussex LUG meeting. Alex, Gavin, Frank, Gerry, Simon, Colin and myself. Colin brought along an ancient laptop almost as big as a desktop and one group had some fun with that. An open university Linux course was also discussed, as one of the members has been studying it with good results.
Saturday 15th: Roy joined Alex, Antony and me to drive over to Farnborough for the Surrey LUG all-day meeting. As usual, my car was loaded up with more gear coming back than going, as free stuff changed hands. The biggest talk this month was on Python (actually morphed into a workshop). I continued with my LTSP setup. Bonus trick: learned how to connect to the wireless Internet from the command line. Usual pub lunch, sitting outside, usual group projects, more-than-usual free stuff.
Thursday 27th: Attended the Sussex LUG meeting with Alex. Gavin was back and gave two mini talks. The first was on DropBox. Gavin had compiled it from source and started using it, explaining how easy it was to synchronize and use, and how to restrict folder sharing so different friends could see what he wanted them to see and nothing else. Gerry gave us a verdict on how it behaved on his server, using up resources, which was a useful insight. And another member revealed he had downloaded it quite recently to try out. Gavin then gave an amusing demonstration of a program called Golly Game of Life, which I'd never heard of. He showed us some videos from the Internet and finished up with a couple of live demos.
Saturday 10th: Alex, Antony and I went to the Surrey meeting at Farnborough. Very popular, well illustrated talk on Digital Image Forensics - a whirlwind tour of tools and techniques, all explained very clearly, with all questions answered at the end. Followed by short talk on crowd sourcing - building up a map by hundreds of people driving, cycling and walking around, carrying tracking equipment - quite large areas have now been completed. Usual pub lunch. Usual group chats and mini demos.
Thursday 29th: Sussex LUG moot in Horsham. Our venue has raised the entrance fee from £2 to £3, but members are still attending. I gave a talk on MonoDevelop and C# followed by a live demo of the fish feast game from Paul Hudson's Coding Academy (a special Linux Format edition).
Saturday 13th: Alex and I went to the Surrey meeting at an Addlestone venue. Excellent presentation equipment and we had several talks, including one on Firefox add-ons. I got the latest Mandriva disk from Desmond and installed it the same night. Booted and logged in in under ten seconds. Will now use it as one of my main distros.
Thursday 25th: Two of us went to the Sussex LUG. Good attendance. I led a "10 Tips (actually 14) in 10 Minutes" session, to which was added 7 more by three of the others. Lasted nearly two hours with lively discussion and demos and, surprisingly, no-one asked for a beer break...
Zilch. For various reasons such as lack of transport or snow. I took over as Attendance List manager for Sussex LUG end of February.
Saturday 10th: Four to Farnborough. Topics included: A very good, very simple, illustrated talk by John on Networking absolute basics (ethernet, IP, TCP layers & packets) with an easy-to-follow Wireshark demo, Other talks included GitHub, What's new in Ubuntu 9.10 and the Drupal Views module. Chris gave an engrossing talk on Arquido - open source hardware for anyone interested in creating interactive objects or environments - handing round actual circuit boards and showing robot models.
Thursday 29th: Horsham, joining Sussex Linux User Group for the monthly meeting. Two presentations: 1) How to give a talk; 2) Frank's experiences in setting up and running the 100-strong East Preston Silver Surfers Computer Club.
Saturday 12th: Four of us went to Farnborough for the Surrey all-day meeting. Talks included a quick comparison between browser speeds, Nokia Sports Tracker and how to contibute to OpenStreetMap using Potlatch, CloudMade API and ImageMagick. Followed by brainstorming on a new LUG web design. Plus the usual free-for-all activities.
Thursday 24th: Horsham moot with Alex and Andrew. Seven of us, including a new attendee, Davy. Talked about a new programme of future talks, including getting up a MythTV talk and how to create a talk and set up a new group, then discussed how to relaunch our Sussex web site.
Thursday 27th: drove Alex and Andrew to the Horsham moot. Just five of us this time, as the SLUG automatic reminder didn't fire. We still enjoyed a chat, mainly about TV area coverage, MythTV and Freeview. We also compared personal websites.
Gerry drove us to Horsham again. Slightly larger group this month. Again, no talk, but plans made.
My old friend Peter was kind enough to divert to East Grinstead to take Alex and me to join Surrey LUG for a special summer BBQ.
Gerry drove us to Horsham. Just a small group gathered this month. No talk, just chat.
The others attended the Horsham meetings while I was out of action.
Day out in London with Dennis (Surrey LUG), ending up at the monthly LOSUG meeting, a monthly event for London Open Solaris users.
May have attended the Horsham meeting.
We attended various Horsham meetings, including a fun talk on audio apps such as Audacity. This featured a stylophone (remember them from way back?) which was plugged into the computer and then the notes that were played appeared on a stave for editing.
The various Surrey meetings included much socialising, debugging and a slide show of a member's visit at an overseas event.
I attended a few LOSUG (London Open Solaris) events, including MySQL, PostgreSQL, VirtualBox and DTrace
On the second Saturday three of us attended the Surrey LUG meeting at Guildford University. Just two short talks: one explained the Linux file system and the other showed how to troubleshoot various parts of the system. Other than that, just informal hacking*.
[* For those new to computing, the term "hacking" is applied to workarounds and getting things done, whereas "cracking" is the activity of trying to break systems. So hacking is friendly - and often done in groups.]
On the 12th I made a special trip down to Sussex University at Falmer to attend a British Computer Society evening. The speaker successfully showed us how to build an online conference booking system in an hour using Grails. Grails is a scripting language leveraging Java and is extremely simple to learn to use. You can build a basic application extremely quickly, then learn how to apply customisation if and as you need it. It runs in the Eclipse environment. As you start building the application it automatically creates the tables in its own built-in database. Or you can put in more effort and use an external database. A great framework, well worth looking into.
On Thursday 27th March 2008 at 7pm, we joined Sussex Linux User Group in Horsham for a social evening.
The Sussex LUG held a "Top Ten Tips in Ten Minutes" session. We like these. Each participant has the chance to present their own top ten tips to the group. Mine included use of DSL (Damn Small Linux) to make use of old hardware and remastering Knoppix or Fedora with all your favourite settings.
The largest number of people turned up at the end of January for Steve's talk and demo of the VI editor. This took place at the Sussex LUG meeting in Horsham on the last Thursday. Steve went through all his favourite commands to manipulate text in a file, bring in text from other files, move lines around, replace strings and all sorts of tricks. Slides available. Richie showed off a VI mug covered with common commands and shortcuts and was inundated with orders - even at £16 a pop :)
Might have been a quiet month this month. There's never a Sussex LUG meeting in December.
However, to make up for this Alex and I drove down to see what Brighton LUG get up to in the Evening Star by the station. First Wednesday in December. About eight of them showed up, two with handheld devices running two different versions of Linux. I had a go at trying to master Graffiti, the handwriting tool. I _finally_ managed to write my name and a word or two on one of the devices and turned to the other one. This had Graffiti2, with different strokes for the letters, and I had another go. It's okay once you get used to it and can work out faster than using the tiny on-screen keyboard. Then we fought over an Eee PC. Beautiful. A good evening with lots of chat and techie discussion.
On the second Saturday the usual three of us planned to attend the all-day Surrey meeting in Guildford, in particular for a scheduled talk on Drupal, the content management system. I have a strong interest in this. Unfortunately they had to cancel at short notice, so we arranged to drive to Guildford anyway and join Jim to go to the HantsLUG meeting in Southampton. This was a great success, with an excellent talk and demo by Jim on "First impressions of the Asus 701 Eee Pc and Xandros Linux". I also got a personal impromptu demonstration of another Eee PC using a 3G equivalent mobile internet dongle. The owner pulled up a map page showing UK coverage and explained that your choice of product should depend on whichever location you needed to access the Internet from. Speedwise, it seemed passable. There was also a brief look at an Intel Classmate. Finally, I had all my questions regarding boot sequence answered by Hugo, who spent some time explaining and diagramming it for me in a way I could understand. Thanks, Hugo.
A fun talk and demo, Life Without X, happened at the end of the month. "X" is the name for the graphics element of the system: the part that gives you the windowing environment. Without it, there's only the stark black terminal. But Gavin showed exactly how much productivity you can get out of a terminal. This included a terminal spreadsheet, SC, which displays cells in a grid and allows you to move around the cells and edit them, inserting the usual formulae. He explained how he deliberately tried to use it without looking at the manual and found it reasonably intuitive.
I traveled back to Guildford with two other EGLUG members for another all-day LUG meeting. This time we were introduced to PHP frameworks. One advantage of a framework is that whenever patches are applied to a language by its development team, application developers further down the chain need only upgrade their framework and all "holes" are instantly and automatically remedied. Thus, your app is kept more secure. We were shown CodeIgnite and Seagull. Easy! As has become customary, we retired to the campus bar afterwards (photo at foot of page).
At the end of the month we went to Horsham for a comprehensive, highly successful live demonstration on cable networking and subnets, including a selection of software necessary to maintain, secure and monitor it all.
Three of us joined with the combined Surrey and Hants LUGs at Guildford for an all-day meeting, where among other things I joined in a GIMP group and watched the configuration of a graphics tablet. I enjoyed a programming talk: Introduction to Perl: The friendly programming language, which revolved around the libraries and framework. At the end of the meeting I ended up with a pirate's treasure chest!
We then traveled to Horsham for the end-of-month talk on Why Software Should be Free, followed by an impromptu live demonstration of an Ubuntu installation on a brand new desktop PC. This included configuring the screen resolution on a brand new TFT screen and a valiant (but ultimately unsuccessful) attempt to get the new member's wireless card to connect to the Internet. We were hampered, absurdly, by not a single one of us having a cross-over* cable with us :(
* A cross-over cable allows two PCs to connect together. In Simon's case, he could then have connected to the Internet via someone else's machine and downloaded the exact wireless card driver to match his hardware configuration. Moral: always carry a cross-over cable ...
No East Grinstead meeting :-(
LUGMaster moving house :-( going on holiday :-) and coming back to a protracted BT fault :-(
We still all drove down to the Horsham LUG meeting in these months, though, as every month so far. These evenings are always eventful and worthwhile - I usually have a spare place in my car for anyone who would like to join us.
Networking was the requested topic, but as the requester was unwell and could not attend, this topic has been postponed. Instead, we just messed around with Ubuntu on laptops.
After finally coming up with a popular topic for this month, I managed two meetings on Thursday 24th and Tuesday 29th May. These were two workshops at members' homes on setting up Asterisk, the Internet telephony system. We were well armed with equipment, books and magazines. Between us we also had two sip phones, a Sipura 3000 and a SipGate account. After session one we agreed to settle on TrixBox as the Asterisk front end. This runs on CentOS and was a walkover to install. The main fun and games was in configuring the X100P FXO PCI card to talk over the Internet, a feat still in progress as I write. Consequently we are in need of session number three...
The April presentation was one week later than normal on Thursday 19th. It differed from all the others in that it was intentionally aimed at users who had no previous experience of Linux. The theme was 'New Life for Old Hardware', presented by myself. The main goal of the evening was to show how to install Linux where there is no CD-ROM. I took along a PII desktop and 7 laptops: 1 P4, 4 PIIIs, 2 PIIs and even a PI, plus installation equipment alternatives: USB external hard drive, CD-ROM and floppy drives. The slide show was created and shown on a PII 400MHz desktop with 320MB RAM. I stressed that memory is an important factor in basic computing, more so than processing power. I handed round a laptop hard drive and its connector and pointed out how to connect them properly and explained all the other equipment. I gave a live installation demonstration using the swapped hard drive method, as this involves no software changes at all. The P4 laptop was the installer machine and a CD-less PIII 128MB RAM laptop was the target machine. One of the attendees then had a go with perfect success. At the end, I showed some of the different software programmes and let the participants loose. There are various flavours of Linux and the one I recommended for 128MB RAM machines was Xubuntu, whereas for even older machines I recommended Damn Small Linux (DSL)
Thursday 8th March 2007. We had an interesting talk and practical demonstration on configuring wireless ADSL routers. This was given by guest speaker Desmond from the Surrey Linux User Group. One of the participants brought along a "troublesome" network card and Desmond went through a diagnostic procedure. Desmond managed to make it work, but it was eventually decided that it wasn't fully supported under Linux and a list of better supported cards was then produced. We also learned exactly how to configure the router itself, including full NAT, enabling the wireless feature and most importantly, securing the wireless feature.
Thursday 8th February 2007. This month's presentation was Joy of X: How to configure the X windowing system and what you can do with it. Our guest speaker was Steve from the Sussex Linux User Group who has had a lot of practice on setting up X. He took us through the technical steps, explaining the theory as he went, and ended up with a couple of practical demonstrations. The best part was being shown how to control one machine from another machine. I was successfully able to get this working afterwards on my home PCs.
Thursday 11th January 2007. Social evening at the pub round the corner to discuss Linux issues.
Thursday 14th December 2006. Distro Frenzy: looking at some different distros and trying out some installations. I brought along some CDs to try out. This was the first ever meeting of EGLUG. We had a go installing Ubuntu, Kubuntu and Edubuntu, plus SuSE and a couple of others.