The Javea Computer Club is now 23 years old. For the first time our membership fell over the year from 650 to around 550. This could be related to the fact that beginners’ courses are now run as small group affairs, rather than taking up the whole room….or perhaps PCs have been around long enough and are now so easy to use that people do not need help any more? Perhaps members who previously joined just to use our broadband connection, now have their own at home?…….perhaps our Club is at last returning to be what it started as: a group of computer enthusiasts who want to learn about computing in general.
As regards equipment, we bought a lot this year. Four new computers have been built by Vic and the Hardware group. These have been installed with different flavours of Windows Vista, including Vista Ultimate 64 bit. We have a range of flat screen monitors, with ever increasing screen areas and more wide screens. We also branched out and bought a beautiful Apple Mac. We now have a printer able to print on CDs and DVDs and a brand new DLP projector which gives a much brighter image than the old one.
Mondays as ever were busy Club Days. Tuesdays are now devoted to Special Interest Groups. The most active groups are: Genealogy; Flight Simulation; Digital Imaging; Video Editing; Linux; Desktop Publishing; Long Distance Wireless Networking and Hardware. The Special Interest groups received continued financial support from the Club in the form of the purchase of specialised software, hardware and magazine subscriptions. The Hardware group has been busy building some of our new PCs as well as refurbishing old ones for auction and sale to raise money for “Cancer Care Javea” which is the Club’s chosen Charity for this year (June to June). To date, we have raised over 1000 Euros from the sale of old computer bits and pieces. Our thanks to all who have donated their old kit, and contributed to this fund raising.
The Beginners’ course is changing with the times. Early last year we tried small group lessons, but now feel that formal courses are no longer necessary. With the use of self teaching aids, online help and one to one tuition we are trying a different approach. Once members have gained confidence and an understanding of the basics they can hone their skills by joining a special interest group. We also carried out some small group advanced tutorials on scanning, Excel and wordprocessing . Our thanks to all volunteer tutors.
Thursdays have seen our usual array of talks from members and guest speakers. Topics included Freeware, Vista, Google, Social Networking, computing in the near future, video editing, image editing, Wikipedia, Photostory, voice diagnosis using computers, and Wireless Internet. We also ran two Computer Fairs to which local computer shops and service providers were invited.
Club activities were totally disrupted for a couple of weeks by the flooding in October. I would like to extend my personal thanks to all members who gave their time and effort in the several cleanups (there were three!). We had the foresight to raise equipment off the ground after the first inundation and were lucky (and showed initiative) in rescuing flooded equipment. We used hairdryers and members took equipment home to dismantle and dry it. It was a case of “all hands on deck”, and the Club survived the crisis having lost only the A3 printer and one drive in our CD duplicator, plus our old network server and keyboards. Well done team!
The “Mesh” project to share Internet connections by long distance wireless continues, though we are hoping gradually to wind this down as Telefonica improves its reach of ADSL and commercial service providers move in to cover the need. Last year we made a surplus of income over expenditure of 2977.08 Euros which will be used for shared equipment. We had five uplink hosts and 74 clients. I would particularly like to thank Fredrik Wengelin, Ron and Gwen Rickett, Leif Christensen, Peter Bayliss, Andreas Wernli and Jim English for their work and cooperation in running this project. Also thanks to Harold Krol of Computer Care for his invaluable technical help.
There have been several administrative changes. We changed our bank from CAM to Bancaja (to get better service), and changed the Club’s ADSL connection from Ya to Telefonica (same reason, and to save money). The switch from Ya meant moving our Club website to a new host, and this coincided with the launch of a new web page design created by webmaster, Diane Wynne. Thanks to Diane, and apologies for any inconvenience in the switch over. 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 for collecting the magazines for us each week.
As usual I must thank the non-Committee people who have helped out in various ways: Cynthia Cutts, Jaqui Bayliss 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.