RMS Surrey

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RMS Surrey
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Information and Communications Technology

The group discusses all aspects of Personal Computing as well as Information and Communication Technology, and organises presentations of interest to members.

Meetings are held at Newdigate Village Hall (Click for Scalable Map), Kingsland, Newdigate, RH5 5DA (OS Ref TQ195422) and are normally on the THIRD Wednesday of the month. The meetings generally start at 10.30 following coffee and biscuits. For actual dates see list below. Visitors are welcome to our meetings. After the meetings there is an opportunity to have lunch at the local hostelry - The Six Bells. A menu for pre-ordering lunch is circulated during the meeting.

Some pictures of a meeting can be found on the Gallery page.


Membership is currently £5 a year. Click here for Application form (PDF) download.


Click here for Newsletters from current and past years.
The newsletters contain reports of the last month's meeting, topics discussed, interesting information and Leslie's Puzzle page.

Current programme

Note that members are welcome at the RMS meetings in East Horsley - click here for the programme.

October 18th How far to the Moon?
On several of the Moon missions, arrays of retroreflectors were carefully positioned and left on the Moon’s surface with the expectation that it would be possible to conduct Earth-based experiments using them. The talk describes the technically very challenging measurements which have been made and data accumulated over the years.
Chris Rosenberg
November 15th Epson Printers The latest technology for home printing combined with digital imaging; printing problems and solutions coupled with information on the latest Epson products. Stefan Monkhouse of Epson
December 20th Smart Phones and Tablets Members' experiences The Members
January 17th Open Forum TBC The Members
February 21st Bayesian Inference
Reverend Thomas Bayes (1701-1761) was an English vicar with an interest in statistical analysis. His work on inverse probability, moving from effect to cause, was only published after his death. Bayes' theorem plays a huge role in all our lives - even though most people are completely unaware of it. For example it is used for -
  • filtering out junk mail,
  • recognising objects in Google's self driving car,
  • was the basis of cracking the German Naval Enigma cypher in WWII
Even so the theorem was highly controversial for over two centuries, only recently becoming widely accepted. It was rejected by eminent statisticians, including Sir Ronald Fisher "the father" of modern statistical analysis.
In the talk some of the history of the theorem and several examples of its use will be presented."
John Holcroft
March 21st TBA
April 18th TBA
May 16th AGM

Past programme

Note that Newsletters contain detailed reports of past meetings.

September 20th Minix Another version of Linux, its history and evolution. John Hale
August 16th Open Forum Email programs and Browsers members' experience and problems; Also bulk email methods e.g. Mailchimp. The Members
July 19th The history of computers How did we get where we are? Tony Barnes
June 21st Windows 10 privacy and Tracking and the WannaCry hacking attack Guy Meakin
May 17th Ladies Lunch following Painshill the history of a landscape. Graham Dash
April 19th AGM followed by Digital photograph formats and processing. Peter Dulley
March 15th Newtonian Gravity: a history and simulation
  • History of the evolution of man's ideas on the solar system and beyond
  • The contributions of Copernicus, Keppler and Newton
  • The three body problem
  • How to simulate motion under gravity in a multi-body scheme
  • 3-D simulator demonstration with various scenarios
John Holcroft
February 15th Linux An alternative operating system Chris Rosenberg
January 18th The Raspberry PI Experiences of use [by grandchildren] The Members

December 14th Open Forum with discussion on the computer magazines that members read. Mince pies etc. provided as required by the season. The Members
November 16th Magnaflux Universe Clive told us about his controversial theory that the Sun is electrically positive and the planets are electrically negative. The sun emits positive ions and the planets receive them, balancing the universe. Clive Stevens
October 19th The Arduino micro-controller, its programming and applications. John Holcroft
September 21st Navigating light aircraft Part 2
The Navaids - navigating by using radio beacons of different generations, and the instruments to help.
David Bradshaw
August 17th Time
An extension of the talk by John Chambers in February. During Chris's time at the NPL the values of the Metre and the Speed of Light were reviewed and changed. Chris told us about the core values which are the basis of measurements today.
Chris Rosenberg
July 20th The £100 computer
The starting point was an article in Personal Computer World in 2008 on building a PC for £99. In view of the current low cost of some processors and motherboards, can this be equalled in 2016? Apparently not, but maybe for below £120.
John Hale
June 15th Open Forum - Mostly Windows 10
(Talk on Linux postponed)
The members
May 18th Ladies Lunch following presentation 'Appearing on Countdown'. Priscilla Munday
April 20th AGM followed by a presentation on Navigating light aircraft Part 1.. This part concentrated on calculating and submitting a flight plan. David Bradshaw
March 16th Radar Recording using early Video Tape recorders followed by Video Cassette recorders. Seb Welford
February 17th TIME John is a self-confessed 'time freak'' and after 26 years at BBC Engineering Research to 'get behind the pips' he was Head of the Time Service at the NPL from 1993-1999. As well as the day-to-day task of keeping time, he delved into some aspects of the calendar. So it's leap seconds and leap days in a leap year, with a touch of relativity. John Chambers
January 20th Windows 10 Experience after using it for several months. The members
December 16th 'How the DVB-T broadcast radio-wave signal is derived from a bitstream'. Chris Rosenberg
November 18th Digital cameras Comparison of different forms of digital cameras including Smart phones and Digital SLR cameras. Ron Everitt & the members
October 21st Global Supply Chains
These rely heavily on computers and big data; an important topic that is rarely addressed.
Brian Arthur
September 16th A Programming Language developed in the 1960s by IBM's Kenneth Iverson.
An account of the famous (infamous) language "A.P.L." This has been made possible because John has obtained a free A.P.L. interpreter that runs under WINDOWS 32 bit and 64 bit operating systems at least up to WINDOWS 7. He demonstrated a few of its many very powerful functions, all accessible from a toolbar. The interpreter is obtainable from Nars2000 APL.
John Steel
July 15th Helping the Handicapped
access services for TV (subtitles and audio description) and the need for them. The talk included a couple of video clips with sound. David stepped in at the last minute!
David Bradshaw
June 17th The ISS
Ray talked about his interest in the International Space Station and presented a number of videos of the launch of the Soyuz rocket and life on the space station. The videos (which are available on Youtube) are accessible via his Web site.
Ray Brown
May 20th Ladies lunch in Six Bells following Family internet searching - Using Ancestry.co.uk to further your research Guy Meakin & Andrew Farrier
April 15th Annual General Meeting 2015 + Smart Meters.
Click here for the minutes of the 2014 AGM and
here for the Agenda for the 2015 AGM.
The committee
March 18th "My contribution to The BBC Microcomputer Project and other stories" - mainly "other stories" - a light-hearted look at my career with the BBC. Charles Hope
February 18th Early radars
Chain Home - Chain Home and the technology involved. See full report in the March newsletter.
Peter Dulley
January 21st A simple Access database handling names, addresses, phone numbers (Land line and Mobile), Christmas cards, address labels, lists, and much else besides. The talk illustrated it, but demonstrated how easy it is to set up, its robustness and flexibility.
Also a brief demonstration of the password manager for coping with the large number of passwords and pin numbers that we seem to accumulate over the years that need keeping in a secure environment. This would be a follow on from the talk John gave a while ago (November 21st 2012, newsletter December 2012) on passwords and security. The particular P/W manager, STEGANOS, is but one of many but it is easy to use and most importantly, very robust.
John Steel
November 19th Digital TV and Radio recent developments David Godddard & David Bradshaw
October 15th Radar principles and examples Seb Welford
September 17th The Legacy of Seymour Cray
or …….towards a history of Supercomputing [1970s, 1980s & 1990s]. Seymour Cray is the father of Supercomputing. When CDC ran into financial difficulties in the late 1960s, development funds for his CDC 8600 became scarce. When Seymour Cray was told the project would have to be put "on hold" in 1972, he left to form his own company, Cray Research Inc. This resulted in the Cray-1, a most successful supercomputer and “The world's most expensive love-seat”. And a whole lot more……
Geoff Balls
August 20th Genealogy - Internet aided searching continued Paul Sedgwick
July 16th Genealogy - Internet aided searching Paul Sedgwick
June 18th How we view electricity We were all taught that an electric current is made up of a flow of electrons but as AC electricity can move at the speed of light this is not physically possible. Clive Stevens
May 21st Ladies Lunch after talk on Growing up with a famous Uncle
Reminiscences on early life with Benjamin Britten, with pictures and music.
Seb Welford
April 16th AGM and open forum with observations on Windows 8 and the UEFI; also a look at ISO/EEC80000/13 Seb Welford and Chris Rosenberg
March 19th Open Forum The Members
February 19th The Raspberry PI experiences continued. Also a look at the BIOS replacement - UEFI. Tony Barnes & Chris Rosenberg
January 15th The demise of Windows XP support and its implications Seb Welford and others
December 18th Open Forum with Mince Pies with topic The Raspberry Pi - initial experience Chris Rosenberg
November 20th Restoring a computer system following hardware failure followed by an open forum Guy Meakin
October 16th Commercial Computing: LEO - How Lyons produced one of the first large commercial computers. Geoff Cooper
September 18th The History of the Global Positioning System - its principles of operation, with the problems of obtaining support and funding, with its subsequent history, and that of rival systems. It is not in itself a navigation system – it only tells you where you are, your velocity and the time of day. Alan Thomas
August 21st Open Forum The Members
July 17th The (failed) NHS IT system - NPfIT - In 2001 the Department of Health embarked on a major IT investment for the NHS in England. This was the NHS National Programme for Information Technology or NPfIT. The motivation was based upon the twin beliefs that (1) the NHS was an organisation that had not made the best use of Information Technology and that savings would be possible; and that (2) centrally held electronic patient records would be a smart way of improving patient safety and improve the efficiency of communications. 10 years on and the Health Minister (the ever popular Andrew Lansley), scrapped NPfIT in 2012. How did this happen? What lessons can be learned from this major programme failure? Geoff Balls
June 19th Presentation on email - its evolution to today's protocols Tony Barnes
May 15th Ladies Lunch with Guide Dogs presentation in the Village Hall before lunch in the 6 Bells. We also showed a clip of a dog-cam to show the capabilities of a dog. Liz Meakin
April 17th AGM + Open Forum with overview of the Windows Registry. The Committee + Chris Rosenberg
March 20th Networks Chaired discussion Seb Welford
February 20th Making MS Access 2010 and Excel work together A Case Study Jan Spencer
January 16th Search Engines How Google works - the maths behind the performance. Chris Rosenberg
December 19th EGM and Open Forum with Mince Pies The new constitution was available to members and was confirmed. The Members
November 21st Passwords and Security John Steel
October 17th Computer Security - chaired discussion Part 2 - External (beyond the firewall) Guy Meakin
September 19th Computer Security - chaired discussion Part 1 - Internal (inside the firewall) Guy Meakin
August 15th Open Forum with suggested topic ‘The Cloud’ The Members
July 18th Domestic (heating) Control Systems, A "Madam" with unpredictable tendencies - 7th July 1951 - Alan Turing Ron Everitt
June 20 TV interfaces Where they came from, and HDMI details David Bradshaw
May 16th Ladies Lunch with Pictures of Scotland The Committee and Peter Dulley
April 18th AGM and open forum The Committee
March 21st The CPU The beating heart of the computer Seb Welford
February 15th Making Presentations and using PowerPoint Brian Arthur
January 18th Web Site Creation Jan Spencer
November 16 Spreadsheets (continued)
Chris showed us more things that can be done with spreadsheets, especially using Office 2010.
Chris Rosenberg
October 19th Network Encryption Guy Meakin
September 21st Photon to JPEG
The talk followed the path of the subject information arriving as visible light at a camera lens to its ultimate destination stored as a compressed image file. The stages of processing was described in terms of the various technologies employed and the underlying physics and mathematics.
Chris Rosenberg
July 20th Spreadsheets
Seb discussed the basics of spreadsheets and what they can be used for. He used examples and showed how to avoid basic errors.
David then demonstrated a spreadsheet that displayed the polar diagram of a radio transmitter using information downloaded from the Ofcom web site.
Seb Welford and others
June 15th Gimp (Graphics in Linux)
This is a pixel based image manipulation programme similar to Adobe Photoshop and Corel Photo-Paint.
Don described his limited experience of using Gimp during the past year and showed what he has managed to do achieve in the form of before and after results from several photographs. Don followed this by demonstrating how the various results were obtained.
Don Andrews
May 18th Ladies Lunch with talk on New Zealand
The meeting was in the Six Bells pub.
Tony Barnes
April 20th AGM & Open Forum The Committee
March 16th Tables in Word, Excel & Access Leslie Haddow
February 16th Computer Communication by Numbers
An exploratory and explanatory walk through the world of DHCP, MAC addresses, Ethernet frames, ports and all those other things you keep hearing about but haven't a clue what they mean.
Chris Rosenberg
January 19th Digital Terrestrial Television
This presentation looked at the technology and network behind digital terrestrial television. This included an overview of the MPEG compression and COFDM modulation techniques as well as a description of the network itself. It concluded by giving a glimpse of some of the significant challenges involved in digital switchover, which started in Cumbria in October 2007 and is due to complete in 2012.
Keith joined the transmission division of the BBC as a Technical Operator in 1973. Following a five year spell in Operations and Maintenance he transferred to the projects division, where he has effectively remained ever since, progressing to his current role of Principal Technologist. Arqiva is the ultimate result of past privatisations of the transmission divisions of the BBC and IBA. Keith has worked in many fields, specialising particularly in digital technology. Having played a significant role in the development of the UK DAB transmitter network he went on to act as the Technical Manager for his company’s roll-out of the UK DTT network in 1998. He subsequently acted as the Technical Manager for the re-launch of the UK digital TV network as Freeview. Keith represents Arqiva on many industry bodies, in particular the UK DTG and DVB.
Keith Hayler, CEng MIET, Principal Technologist, Arqiva Warwick, UK