Alice first introduced the Star Wars API which claims to have ‘All the Star Wars data you’ve ever wanted’ and gives you a chance to try out with claim and then the Beyond PNR presentation which takes you through the ways in which data is handled by the airline industry and the governments who want to know who is travelling where. (Click to advance the slideshow.)
Alice brought in a North Paw haptic compass which he passed round. Worn on the ankle, it contains eight mobile vibrators each of which is turned on when it is the nearest one to north enabling the wearer gradually to learn the direction of north.
Alice talked about the past three years working for a company which supplies a lot of entertainment. Every evening they get a spike for ‘Game of thrones’ as people log in and a double spike for football matches where people leave during the interval.
It is over 25 years since Richard Stallman set up the Free Software Foundation and Intel commissioned Michael Tiemann to write the first open source software and less than 25 years since Linus Torvalds issued the first version of Linux and Berkeley Systems Department issued the first version of Unix to run on PCs. Yet today, these operating systems dominate computing in super computers, space exploration, scientific computing, digital televisions, smartphones and Internet services and are gradually being taken up by motor vehicle manufacturers and the creators of household equipment and gadgets. Only on the desktop and in medical devices has free and open source software not made significant inroads.
After a period of general chat Brian talked about his visit to the BarCamp Manchester where he had given two talks and heard an interesting talk about building a house with straw bales; it needs to be rendered with lime and have stakes to support it.
After we had cut the cake John did a review of 2013–2014 suggesting, among other things, that people who had not already done so should take a look at the IT Stuff website.
This led into a discussion of security, passwords and the iCloud breach.
Businesses have lots of Customer Relations Management software to choose from; the voluntary sector has one, tailored for the needs of voluntary organisations from the outset. Unlike most similar software, it is not a free-standing program but runs as an extension to Drupal (for which it was originally designed), Joomla or Wordpress. Moreover, you can select the components of CiviCRM that you need. So you don’t have to burden yourself installing features that you are never likely to need.
John H summarised his experiences of the Linux Foundation LFSx101: Introduction to Linux course.
David C reminded people not to forget that the function keys on their devices sometimes control whether hardware is or is not available for use.
Brian warned people that the permissions relating to SD cards have changed in KitKat.
IT Stuff now has its own dedicated website where you can find full details of recent programmes.
David S celebrated Slackware’s 21st birthday with a slide presentation in which he pointed out that, among other things, it:
- has maintained more of BSD’s traditions
- continues to flourish without a major backer
- is simple to install — all dependencies in the core distro have been satisfied
- is compiled for reliability
- has a Core Team, mostly of volunteers
- has support provided by LinuxQuestions.org
- has community repositories hosted on SlackBuilds.org
- has a documentation project.