May Meeting Thursday 28th – at the Cock Hotel

25 05 2015

Meeting Thursday 28th of May Cock hotel 7pm for 7.30pm

Lee has had to cancel his database talk for this week- having a young family, it’s a very understandable happening and we’ll return to Lee later in the year!

So – we are looking to have  a minutes each in the room on:

  • “what I use Linux/BSD/*.OS for”

AND/OR

  • “What I would like to use it  for?”

Newbies and ex-newbies can all find out what the kind of interests and skills the LUG has got/wants – and even give some suggestions and ideas out.





Meeting review for April 30th 2015

7 05 2015

Another activity this month – Roger Harris followed on his previous talk about how he’s using various systems to control all sorts of things around his home with a talk that focus in on the basics of making It talk to things. This is a long report – but it deserves to be.

Firstly a big thanks to Roger for doing this – I asked him to do it (and he showed the evidence, email screenshot to start with!) so those of us who were interested by the big picture given in his last talk and wanted to know where to start…  wondered what do you do to get going.

Roger used an example of an Arduino, some goodies to connect up and a simple presentation. He started by showing an Arduino around – told us the various connectors and talked about the kind of things you can connect to them.  He switched the screen to the programming interface, talked us through various sections of it and then worked through the led-flasher program, compiled it and uploaded it to the Arduino – the led flashed. So we have a blinking equivalent of  ‘Hello world’ – he showed the variables that could be tweaked to alter the on or off time – demonstrating how blinking speed choice could give a dimming effect on the led – because leds don’t dim.  (some one is going to pick me up on that I’m sure – I’ve been out of the electronics trade since 1997, that’s my excuse.)

Now Roger moved on – showed connecting an input, e.g. a switch up to the Arduino and programming it to react on switching – then in fine tutor fashion mixed the two programs up  – now we could switch the led on and off.

The theory is that once have input and output controls we can begin to do more stuff with them – Roger demonstrated how the Arduino could  be used to control another switch eg a relay – so now – we can use the Arduino to talk to some heavy duty gear while staying safely staying low voltage and tiny current itself. He had 4 relays clicking away and  this is where things got more complicated – Roger had introduced timing elements into the program – so now he could do useful stuff.

He had the relays clicking timing by a program – and each relay could be connected to things like – water heaters, curtain closers, switching power source types (solar/wind/etc) – all dependant on what the input was doing. for example  – eg a temperature sensor on the input and, for example, a fan to control the flow of warm air into a room.  Now bolt more of other various things to control on – soon your house can scare visitors who don’t know it takes care of itself!

To finish Roger showed us I2C devices connected and told us how they extended the ability of the Arduino to control numbers of device from the physical limits by the one per pin-pair sensors demonstrated before. He showed how a program worked and explained addressing the devices – he had a program that listed connected I2C’s – then extracted one from the socket – it disapeared from listing on-screen, then replaced it – and it was re-added back into the circuit.

 

All great food for thought – again thanks Roger, your easy going style, managing to get so much over despite creating sporadic conversations as people realised what can be done. Then returning to the talk taking us to the next level of complication – at the end we were realising that many things got bolted together to make something very useful indeed.

Dave

Photos  from the evening

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Meeting March 27th 2015 Computing the New Curriculum

14 04 2015

Many thanks to Bruce Nightingale for delivering an excellent talk on the new and improved computing curriculum that will be soon delivered to school children in the UK. The talk touched on the technology but also the problems in  understanding the aims and delivering them successfully, teaching the teacher and maintaining momentum in an environment which isn’t always conducive. Fifteen members turned up as well  making it one of our best turnouts at a recent monthly event.20150326_201839SMALLER





Meeting 26th February 2015 – chip sarnies pie & Pi

23 02 2015

Meeting 26/02/15 Thursday at The Cock Hotel Wellington 7pm for 7.30pm

Roger Harris  has been kindly volunteered to give us a brief talk on his Raspberry Pi Empire.

Our meetings are held in a back room of the pub away from the noise of the very busy real ale bars. We have the room on the basis that most of us will buy a meal. This is  organised early on in the evening and is a fresh pile of chips and bread and also an excellent pork pie (each). It’s not compulsary but helps us keep access to this room (there is a small outlay for this).

Do come along, we welcome visitors and potential new members!

Find your way here!





Raspberry Pi LIPO battery Pack Endurance Test

1 01 2015

It seems to be a regular question “how long will my Raspberry Pi last with battery XYZ?”, obviously the answer is “it depends” but really what kind of answer is that.

To give an indicative answer I decided to try it for my self with a standard Raspberry Pi model B and a 10AH LiPo Battery pack from Seed Studio.

Nothing fancy here just the RPI in near idle state running a clock to allow the time lapse camera to keep track of the elapsed time.

The raspberry Pi was running at around 350ma which I thought was quite low but maybe the latest Rasbian 24/12/14 has some power management foo included, also the network wasn’t in use and this can be a bit of a power hog.

Any way the final result was very nearly 17 Hours which I think is quite impressive …what do you think?





Maximising your Opportunities with Open Source-Report

18 11 2014

Big turnout for Open Source computing event at College

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We worked with  British Computing Society and Shropshire Linux Users Group and Telford College for an evening of talks and debates by employers who use Open Source coding to be succeed. It was hosted by Telford College, courtesy of Head of Computing Sue Burke.

4 employers were invited who took turns presenting how they use Open Source and debated with the 60 people who came along, the future and advantages of programming in this way.

Chris Ellis of Transitiv Technologies described that the value of Open Source was to programmers so they  could share ideas and feed back into society methods of programming. These can be used without having to spend time inventing something that has been already done. This was followed by Sam Pearson of LinuxIT who described how it supported freedom and how licensing of original authored work was handled and protected.

 Hollie Whittles of Fraggle Works then described how she ran a company that developed websites based on Open Source systems and enthusiastically described how support is handled, especially that it could be anywhere by anyone in the world – where bugs and problems have a global groups of people working to fix any problems as they surface. The last employer was Ed Bedell of Genovo who described how many of the core systems in the world are Open Source at the centre and how they work with Microsoft programs – His company was able thrive using the best of both worlds.

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 Around 25 or more College Higher Education Computing course students came along and took time to sit and listen to the talks and after take part in the debates with employers –  Also some networking and learning what happens in the ‘real world’ of running a company.

 The evening wound down with groups continuing the discussions in corridors and the College car park after the end. John Alexander of our group said “we were extremely pleased with the attendance for the evening, one the employers drove up from Bristol and a lot of valuable networking was done. We hope to work with the College and BCS Shropshire again to help show the value of working together, in an age of fear, uncertainty and doubt”

 The event was very positive and all took something away from it – it shown how the LUG can make things happen event without the aid of money!





OSCAR The iPad Screen for the Rest of Us!!

26 10 2014

A few months ago on Kickstarter I spotted OSCAR a device which allowed you to put an iPad screen on to a conventional PC with a Displayport adapter.

Rather than some proprietary signalling the iPad panel supports Displayport directly and you could just wire it up to a cable if everything wasn’t just so small also there is a small problem of power and control as well.

This is where the OSCAR board comes in it has connectors for the Displayport 12V input and the iPad flat flex connector as well as basic control buttons. The onboard arduino can be reprogrammed via the micro USB but I think that most will stick with stock functionality.

About a month ago my order from Oscar arrived, it had both the PCB and an iPad panel for £110. I didn’t buy the plastics as I wanted to do that my self.

Any way here’s my unboxing ..Enjoy!

The quality is amazing BTW .








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