As only David had come with anything to share, we rambled round a wide range of topics.
Nick, who was with us for the first time since 2015, showed us the ThinkPad he had bought for £80 on eBay and told us that he had moved on from SkyBet to Leeds University Department of Engineering where there is a lot of Linux, mostly CentOS and using Puppet, and a wide range of computing resources up to an HPC cluster which is used by, among others, the European Space Agency.
Darren shared some of the problems which had appeared on the Open University TU100 My digital life forums relating to the SenseSense programming language which the Open University have developed from Scratch for use with mature students. Darren himself had had a problem because his 64-bit OS was just that; it had no 32-bit libraries.
Roger who hails from South Yorkshire and had stopped by on a return journey from Sutton Bank shared his experiences of using Linux with the PICkit and PIC microcontroller.
David S did a presentation on configuration management or how to make sure that everything you need is set up as you want it to be whether on one or on a thousand devices.
As no-one had prepared anything specially for the meeting and David S was occupied trying to get Adobe Flash to work on John W’s computer, we chatted among ourselves with Brian and Ash sharing their experiences of Manchester BarCamp. The arrangements had been better this year with half a dozen lecture rooms available. Brian had given his IoT talk which he had tried out on us the previous month and they had enjoyed sessions on Hacker Packet Radio and Git.
Brian gave a demonstration of live messaging between ‘things’ using MQTT in which members were encouraged to participate; this involved installing Mosquitto, a message ‘broker’ for MQTT, and then connecting to the temporary wi-fi network which Brian had set up.
John H announced that David C was moving back to the area after his wife had obtained a job in Leeds.
John showed his Intel Compute Stick; unfortunately, we did not have a female HDMI connector to enable it to be demonstrated.
Darren described the on-going saga of trying to get Slackware 14.2 running with LVM where he had made progress but not found a complete solution.
John H shared a video he had made of a student presentation on prototyping in 1987; students had been divided into groups of four to research a topic and his group had decided to present their results by way of a series of sketches. At the time development mostly involved COBOL and programming only started after the requirements had been fully specified which normally meant that, by the time the program was delivered, things had moved on and the program no longer met the needs of the organisation. The proposed solution was prototyping of a model of the program to get user feedback before embarking on the programming or building the entire application by prototyping through a series of iterations in much the same way as free and open source software is now developed.
John H talked about the background to and the work of Claude Shannon, the centenary of whose birth fell on 30 April 2016.