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Midlands User Group 18 September 2010

Venue - Methodist Church Hall, Blackwell, Bromsgrove B60 1BL

Our guest speaker on Saturday was Chris Hall demonstrating and talking about his Beagleboard Project

13 of the usual suspects attended

Robin's Notes on the Demo

The talk showed just how committed Chris is to furthering RISC OS, since he ordered his Board from the USA at a premium price compared to what will be the cost in the UK in the next few months. He had managed to get RISC OS working only a day or so before the presentation.

The board is supplied with a Linux OS, but with facilities for loading a different one, which in this case was a download of a very recent version of RISC OS. He has found that several applications work easily, but that one, Artworks, has some issues that will require some changes to be made by Martin Weurthner, (or possibly hardware changes on the Beagleboard?).

His system, that is the OS and applications were accessed or loaded from a 16Gb memory stick. The board uses some interface sockets that are not (yet?) in widespread use, so, for example, the board could not export anything to our projector. Also, connections to some memory devices required some unusual connections. The hard disc he had mounted in the case he'd made could not yet be used with RISC OS.

Nevertheless it seem clear that this new hardware will be of interest to quite a number of people over the coming year or so. At present it is suitable for enthusiasts only, since it is nowhere near being at the state of running "out of the box".

I thought that the audience was pretty impressed with the device, and when a much faster processor becomes available (next year?) more people will be interested. As an asdic I wondered about the embedded processor market.

John proposed a show of thanks to Chris, and he was indeed well applauded. After the talk the "normal business" of MUG was addressed.

Other business

John asked for volunteers to take over at least part of the tasks he's been doing, with a large input from Doug, for some time now. Specifically the arranging of the content of meetings was mentioned, but there was no eager response. Also making arrangements for future shows seemed to be something that required a leading light.

Nevertheless we decided to go ahead with early preparation. Specifically, Stuart must be contacted regarding availability of the Kenilworth venue, and Graham was asked to do this. Robin stated that MUG had not yet received a request from Stuart for cash to pay this year's rental cost which he has presumably paid! Has he forgotten?

The programme for the next several MUG meetings was the next item. John had asked by email for suggestions for today's meeting, but received none, and so Chris' out-of-the-blue offer to show the Beagleboard was a godsend.

Future Meetings

Doug offered to talk about Messenger Pro and I received an offer of some help in this. This is now scheduled for the next (Nov) meeting.

Stephen Readoffered to talk about music software (not Sibelius, since although he uses it he does not have a RISC OS version). This would probably be in January.

Someone suggested asking David Highton (sp?) for a presentation (subject??) but in this case we would need to offer to pay travel expenses from the south coast. Ipresume that we are talking March for this item.

The May meeting would probably be concerned with Show preparation, but "Wakefield" also occupies that bit of the calendar.

Then July would be the Show month, bringing us up to September 2011.