Summary of TTCS Meetings held in 2003

We hold two types of meetings : Pizza Limes and Tech Meetings. A Pizza Lime is the name given to our monthly discussion forum which is usually held at Pizza Hut, Roxy Roundabout, Port of Spain on the second Wednesday of the month. The tech meeting is when we have computers on site to demonstrate a particular type of hardware or software.

Contents

Saturday 11th January 2003, 1pm – discussion of topic “Open Source/Free Software in TnT”

The meeting was to discuss the topic “Open Source/Free Software in Trinidad and Tobago; where it is now, and where it will be in the future”.

This was to gather material to assist Taran Rampersad for an upcoming magazine article about this topic. See http://groups.yahoo.com/group/TTLUG/message/5619 for his post about this.

Wednesday January 15th, 2003

Topics for discussion:

  • the launch of Broadband internet access from the Cable Company of Trinidad and Tobago (CCTT) called Fiberline
  • the announcements from Apple at Macworld 2003

Wednesday 29th January 2003

Topics for discussion

  • our upcoming pizza lime at Pizza Hut, La Romain on Saturday 22nd February 2003
  • promoting free and open source (FOSS) software to local secondary schools.
  • future topics for Tech workshops for this year

Saturday 15th February 2003 : “Using Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) for webpage design”

Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) allows you to separate the styling (e.g fonts, colors, spacing, positioning) of webpages from its actual content, thereby simplifying webpage authoring and website maintenance.

Saturday 22nd February 2003, 1-3pm

Our second South Pizza Lime will be held at Pizza Hut, La Romain (near Gulf City) from 1 to 3pm.

Wednesday March 12th 2003

List of topics discussed:

Wednesday March 26th 2003

List of topics discussed:

  • the recent Industrial Court case in Trinidad where an employee lost his job for sending an “inappropriate” email.
  • draft guidelines for creating focus groups within the TTCS
  • GSM in TnT (supposed to be launched by TSTT on the 25th March 2003)

Wednesday April 9th 2003

List of topics discussed:

  • draft guidelines for creating focus groups within the TTCS

Saturday 26th April 2003

List of topics discussed:

Saturday 10th May 2003 from 1pm – “computer recycling”

This meeting was to disucss a request by Stephen Abiraj for assistance for setting up computers for a village council community centre. The dicussion focused on

  • the possibilites of recycling donated computers (the village council would approach companies)
  • the type of operating systems to be installed, (we discussed several possible Linux distros suited for low-end PCs)
  • what software should be installed given certain hardware configurations (e.g a Pentium-class machine with 32MB would not run OpenOffice.org; Abi-Word would be suitable.

It was decided that a room at the village council community centre would have to be cleaned up and secured before attempting to put computers there. It was agreed that when this room is in a state to receive computers, more tech meetings would be held.

Wednesday 14th May 2003

List of topics discussed:

Saturday 24th May 2003

List of topics discussed:

Wednesday 28th May 2003

List of topics discussed:

Saturday June 7th 2003 – “FLOS Caribbean conference booth prepations”

This meeting was to discuss preparations for the TTCS booth at the FLOS Caribbean conference on the 26th and 27th of June, 2003.

See the TTCS report on FLOS Caribbean 2003 for more details.

Wednesday June 11th 2003

List of topics discussed:

Saturday June 14th 2003 – “FLOS Caribbean conference booth preparations”

This meeting was to discuss preparations for the TTCS booth at the FLOS Caribbean conference on the 26th and 27th of June, 2003.

See the TTCS report on FLOS Caribbean 2003 for more details.

Saturday June 21st 2003 – “FLOS Caribbean conference booth preparations”

This meeting was to discuss preparations for the TTCS booth at the FLOS Caribbean conference on the 26th and 27th of June, 2003.

See the TTCS report on FLOS Caribbean 2003 for more details.

Saturday July 5th, 2003

List of topics discussed:

Thursday July 10th, 2003

List of topics discussed:

Saturday July 23rd, 2003

List of topics discussed:

Saturday August 9th, 2003 – “Introduction to Wi-Fi”

See summary of “Introduction to Wi-Fi” for November 29, 2003

Wednesday August 13th 2003

List of topics discussed:

Saturday 23rd August 2003

Similiar topics to Wednesday August 13th 2003 and also:

Wednesday 27th August 2003

List of topics discussed:

Wednesday 10th September 2003

List of topics discussed:

Saturday 13th September 2003 – “Automating Windows Software Installations”

Usually installing a Windows OS and its applications is time consuming. Automating the install of Windows and various Windows applications saves a great deal of time.

Dev showed the following :

  • demonstrated how to customise the Windows98SE OEM install. First, on a PC withWin98SE installed the way you want it, copy theWin98 directory from the CD to the hard drive. Next, install and run two tools on the Windows98SE CD :
    • Batch98 which creates a MSBATCH.INF file which contains the answers typically asked during the Windows 98SE install.
    • InfInst which is used to add updated hardware drivers to the Windows 98SE install directory on the hard drive. You should use this at least for network adapters

    This customised Win98SE directory is then burnt on a CD-RW so that it can be used to install on a new machine. Also shown was how to automate the changing of the MSBATCH.INF file for those parameters which change from PC to PC (such as the Product Key, IP address and user name)

  • demonstrated the customWin9x boot floppy created using a custombootdisk batch file (will be uploaded soon) which can automatically
    • delete all partitions on the hard drive, create new partitions (a primary C: drive and an extended D: drive), reboot the machine and format the new partitions. This was done using Free FDISK.
    • detect whether there is a Win98 directory on the CD-RW in the CD-ROM drive and would install Win98
    • remain in the A: drive and still boot from the hard drive so that Win98 can continue installing when the Win98 install reboots the machine three times during the install.

    In fact, once the option from the boot menu of the floppy is selected to delete all partitions and create new ones, no further interaction is needed to install Win98SE OEM version. You can leave the PC and come back to the Win98 user logon screen.

  • how to automate the install of Windows applications (e.g OpenOffice, Mozilla) via batch files and using the freeware tool AutoIt v2.64, which (quoted from the AutoIt website) “…is a simple tool that can simulate key presses, mouse movements and window commands (maximize, minimize, wait for, etc.) in order to automate any windows based task (or even windowed DOS tasks).”

Wednesday 24th September 2003

Our first meeting at Pizza Hut, Valsayn was scheduled from 7 to 9pm at Pizza Hut, Valsayn was shortened due to a mixup by Pizza Hut and started at 8pm.

Topics discussed :

Saturday 27th September 2003 – TTCS/TTLUG installfest

The meeting was held in conjunction with the Trinidad and Tobago Linux Users Group (TTLUG) ; the TTlUG would install Linux distros ; the TTCS would install open source software for Windows.

Wednesday October 8th, 2003

Topics discussed :

Saturday 11th October 2003 – Assembling your own PC

Dev showed the various parts that make up a PC (motherboard, CPU, memory, video card, hard drive, floppy drive, CD-ROM drive, network card, case), and then assembled those parts to make a functional PC.

Saturday October 18th, 2003

Wednesday October 29th, 2003

Topics discussed :

  • Apple releasing MacOS X 10.3 Panther and iTunes for Windows

Saturday 8th November 2003 – TTCS/TTLUG installfest

The meeting was held in conjunction with the Trinidad and Tobago Linux Users Group (TTLUG) ; the TTlUG would install Linux distros ; the TTCS would install open source software for Windows.

Wednesday November 12th 2003

Topics discussed:

Wednesday November 26th 2003

Saturday 29th November 2003 – “Introduction to Wi-Fi”

Members voted on which past tech meeting for the year they wanted to have on this day and “Introduction to Wi-Fi” received the most votes.

Dev talked about 802.11 and the variants (802.11a, 802.11b and 802.11g), and showed the two key components of a Wi-Fi network, a D-Link Wi-Fi router (Model DI-614+) and a D-Link PCI Wi-Fi networking card (DWL-520). The cost of the router and PCI card? About $1000 TT.

The Mac laptop and the Windows machine connected to the D-Link Wi-Fi router and people were shown how you can configure the Wi-Fi router using your browser.

To demonstrate that the Wi-Fi connection worked, the Mac laptop ran the Apache web server and the Windows machine was able to acesss the Mac laptop via a browser.

After moving the laptop around the meeting facility to test the signal strength between the laptop and the Wi-Fi router, the speed of the Wi-Fi connection between the Mac laptop and the Windows PC was tested.

This was done by having the Windows PC download a large file via http from the Mac laptop. The speed obtained was 250Kbytes/second.

The test was repeated but with the Mac laptop directly connected to the router via ethernet cable instead. The speed obtained was 500Kbytes/second.

An good series of articles on Wireless Networking can be found at ExtremeTech.

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