Chairmans Report 2008

The Javea Computer Club is now 24 years old and I note with some horror that I have been a member for 19 years and Chairman for the past 11. I am pleased to see that we have a core of members who have stood around as long as I have, and I would like to single out Vice Chairman Reg and Treasurer Richard who have served on the Committee for as long as I can remember (which isn't very long these days). However this AGM we bid farewell to two other long serving committee members: Derek Mawson, who has found a new career playing bowls, and Cyril Greaves, who has decided that it is time to retire and put his feet up. We also say goodbye to Bill Lloyd who has had to stand down for personal reasons. Our thanks to you all, for your help, service and support over the past several years. As far as membership as a whole is concerned, we lost a few - a slight fall from 580 to 537.

We did not spend much on equipment this year. We bought more flat screens, an A3 printer and another Epson flatbed scanner for transparencies and normal scans; we tried out a fingerprint recognition system which didn't do what we had hoped it would; and bought an RFID kit which we shall be investigating. Our major purchase was routers for the Club's Wireless network (see below).

Mondays as ever were busy Club Days. Tuesdays included help for beginners. This continued as the previous year but under Morris Gray's watchful eye. We also carried out some small group advanced tutorials on Digital imaging, Excel and word-processing . Our thanks to all volunteer tutors.

Tuesday is also when the Special Interest Groups meet. The most active groups are: Genealogy; Flight Simulation; Digital Imaging; Video Editing; Linux; Desktop Publishing and Hardware. Two new groups were set up last year: Crafting Greetings cards (Marjorie Jowett) and Apple Mac (Vic). The Hardware group refurbished a number of PCs for auction and sale to raise money for APASA (the abandoned dogs charity) which is the Club’s chosen Charity for this year (June to June). In December Mick Scarles had his hair cut to support this charity and we donated 400 Euros from our PC sales.

Thursdays have seen our usual array of talks. Topics included: Computing in the near future, Cloud Computing, Linux, Mobile computing, Browsers compared, Using on-line language tools, Linking video clips, Cool websites, Streaming and downloading video, and Backing up. We also ran two Computer Fairs to which local computer shops and service providers were invited.

The “Mesh” project to share Internet connections by long distance wireless was wound up. We were getting increased interference on the 2.4Ghz band, commercial enterprises were beginning to offer similar services and I for one was getting tired of administering the project. It was therefore time for us to stop. JCC Mesh clients were informed of the different options: to go with a telephone line based service provider, or another Wireless broadband provider. Lliberweb agreed to take over the JCC clients and change their equipment to a different technology at no extra cost. Many went for this option and now seem to be happy under new management.

The Club has made several administrative improvements. We added a second 3Mbit ADSL line because on Mondays there are sometimes over 40 laptops connected to the Internet as well as the Club's 13 PCs. We also changed the technology behind the Club's Wireless networks, using three Microtik routers to balance the load between the two ADSL lines, to cache frequent downloads and share the bandwidth between users. These routers were initially set up by Harold Krol of Computer Care and he has continued to provide technical advice at no extra cost to the Club. The software is highly configurable, powerful and complex, and I am pleased to thank Andreas Wernli for his diligence in getting to grips with the system, investigating its possibilities, troubleshooting and finally giving us the stable system we have today (well, for the last couple of weeks or so !)

The Club also changed its Web presence. We set up an on-line Message Board hosted by Proboards. People can post messages about pretty much anything here under different categories. So far: Total Topics: 325, Total Posts: 794 and Total Members 120. We advise all members to check out the site to pick up the latest news about the Club and computing (and residencias even). You do not need to be a member of the Club or message board to look, and anyone can join. The Club has also changed the nature of its website. Instead of being a traditional site, it is now a Wiki, which means that several different people can collaborate on editing it, and all the content is edited on the web, not on an individual's computer. Thanks to Morris for being a live wire in setting both the Message Board and the Wiki, and thanks to the various members who regularly contribute to both.

The Club's service of delivery of UK Computer magazines to Spain continues through David Dales Removals, subsidised by the Club. Our thanks to David Dales for their cooperation and to Jacki Pamflett and Bob Jarvis for collecting the magazines for us each week.

The only social activity undertaken this year was a coach trip to Valencia. In theory it was to visit Media Markt, but most folks ended up in El Cortes Ingles, Oceanografic or wandering around the City. Our Thanks to Reg for organising the trip so well.

As usual I must thank the non-Committee people who have helped out in various ways: Cynthia Cutts, Jaqui Bayliss, Carole Jardine and Elaine Wareham who do the cash desk; all our tutors and everyone who has helped anyone to solve a computer problem, or just been friendly to a new member over the past 12 months.

Finally : Thanks to my hard working Committee: - Reg Cutts, Richard Wareham, Ann Jones, Bill Lloyd, Morris Gray, John Jardine, Diane Wynne, David Reed, Peter Bayliss, Derek Mawson, Win Jones, Mike Easter, Scotty, Fredrik Wengelin, Vic Tattersall, Cyril Greaves, Rob Westlands and Huw Griffith.

Christine Betterton-Jones February 2009

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