Retro computing day – June 2016

Some pictures from SoSLUG’s retro day, held Saturday, 18th June at TAP. The day started around noon, and was intended to be a hands on fun day,
playing with computers and consoles from the 1980s and 90s. Entry was free, and all comers were welcome, and if possible invited to participate, by bringing whatever’s in their loft
such as any retro machines, manuals, disks, tapes, games etc. from this era.

The event was well attended, with visitors coming from as far afield as Cambridge and Frinton, and all ages were represented.
Some having grown up with the technology, but the event was primarily intended as an opportunity for younger visitors
to see just how far computing has progressed in 30 years.


Just for comparison some retro pie stations + controllers were also on hand. They still use Turtle graphics,
which was developed by Seymour Papert in the late 1960s, to support his version of the turtle robot.
The robot turtle had pen attached to its body, and when placed on the a sheet of paper
(the back of old wallpaper was good for this), would then trace out it movements based on commands from the user’s workstation.

It’s simple commands still make it an easy introduction to programming for children today.


Keeping the robot tradition alive, some modern day robot’s were also on display. This one, with just two wheels, was self balancing.


Smaller robots were used to demonstrate their mobility. Balloons were attached to the robot, along with a pin. The aim was to burst the opposing robot’s balloon.
Great fun requiring a lot skill and concentration.


IMG_6993a IMG_7006a

Robot designer sharing his experience with a SoSLUG member.


The games consoles on display were, Nintendo Entertainment System, Sega Master System, Megadrive, Super Nintendo,
N64, PlayStation 1 & 2, Dreamcast, Sega Saturn, Neo Geo, etc!

Games were initially stored on ordinary audio cassettes, hard drives came later. Even the early computers,
such as the Apple II, initially used audio tapes, as these were readily available to the hobbyist community.


On perhaps a slightly more serious level, the computers on show were, Commodore 64, BBC Micro, Commodore PC, Amiga 1200, iMac G3,
486 DOS machine, and an Apple II(ish)!

Well actually the latter was an ITT 2020 (shown below), a variant of an Apple II computer, which is a part of our local history. It was
the first Apple computer to be built in the Europe under license, at the ITT Consumer Products Division in Basildon.

For the technically minded, the BBC Micro, and Apple computers used a 6502 microprocessor with a clock speed of 1MHz.
The maximum amount of RAM that could be fitted to the Apple II was a whooping 48KiloBytes. Most machines where programmed with (very basic) Basic,
but by fitting a language card, the Apple could also be programmed using the Pascal programming language. For a long time after, this was the language used
to teach programming, as it’s rigid syntax was intended to promote, good programming habits.


The Apple I, it’s predecessor can be seen in the Science Museum, along with other memorabilia of that age, such as the Moon lander.

Author: Alan Campion - Page reference: 5434
Last modified: Alan Campion - 2016-06-20

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Happy birthday Linux!

Happy Birthday Linux!

It may surprise many new users to the Linux scene, that Linux celebrates it’s 20thbirthday this year.

As this video demonstrates, you can see it’s considerable achievements over that time.

The date of Linux’s birthday remains open to conjecture. Was it when it was first conceived by it’s creator, Linus Torvalds, or when version 0.01 was shared with a few friends, or when version 0.02 was first publicly released? I’ll leave you to decide.

But in the meantime; Happy Birthday Linux and here’s to the next 20 years.

Author: paul - Page reference: 2866
Last modified: paul - 2017-02-15

Categories: Events

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Raspberry Jam

Southend Raspberry Jam #3 – Saturday 16th August 10am – 5pm


We are holding our third Southend Raspberry Jam on Saturday 16th August from 10am – 5pm at the Tickfield Centre, Southend.

There will be talks, show and tell, workshops, videos, robots, flashing leds and lots of fun.

Book Tickets



Item – Lecture Room 1



Item – Lecture Room 2


10:45 – 11:15 Exploring Networks via Raspberry Pi Verena Hermann 10:55 – 11:25 Using GitHub Tom Keene
12:00 – 12:30 IoT (Internet of Things) Platforms Edmund DSouza 12:10 – 12:40 Quadcopters Dave Black
13:45 – 14:15 Interactive Media Graham Harwood 13:55 – 14:25 Medical Electronics Ed Bye
15:00 – 15:30 Pygame & Python GPIO Andy C. Knight 15:10 – 15:40 Mindio – Mind Control Ji Hu
16:15 – 16:45 Intro to Arduino & Laser Text Matt Booker 16:25 – 16:55 Minecraft: Pi Edition (Python) Andy C. Knight

Workshops and Exhibits, running all day:

  • Richard D: Build a Cat5 Ethernet Cable
  • Edmund D: Solder Booth
  • Ray E: Solder Electronics Workshop
  • Si Ye: Tooth Data Project
  • Ji Hu: Arduino: Mind Control
  • Derek S: Sonic Pi 2 – programming made easy, learn via the fun of sound
  • Scratch, by our young local expert
  • Mark T and others: Robot Arms – controlled with web interface and accelerometer
  • Matt B: Arduino Laser Text & Electronics
  • Laura T: Pinnochion & PiGlow
  • Andy C. K: Capacitive Distance Sensing 2 – as an input
  • Romilly Cocking: C3Pi Robot
  • Tony S: Motor Controllers
  • Love Southend: HTML and CSS style sheets
  • MyPiFi Traffic Lights
  • Careers mobile phone app
  • Average Man vs Pi (only 10:00 – 12:30): Temperature board, PiTFT, Homemade LED PCB, RaspBMC with Android remote and more
  • Python GPIO and Scratch GPIO: learn the ways to control electronics from your Pi


Win a Raspberry Pi B+ Ultimate Kit! (Kindly donated by
Plus an assortment of other prizes such as LED board.
Raffle Tickets £1 and will be drawn @ 4:00pm Saturday 16th August

Also, everyone who attends shall be given a free ModMyPi sticker!

Join the Mailing List

Click here to be informed of details of this and future events.
Watch this space and follow us on @SouthendRpiJams and @soslug for further details.


All ages and abilities welcome. No Pi required.

If you have a Pi or laptop or smartphone, then bring it along.

Wifi internet access

If you would like to demo your projects, hold a talk or workshop or sell you goods, we would love to meet you. Please contact us at



tickfield.png Tickfield Centre.jpg
Tickfield Centre
Tickfield Industrial Estate
Tickfield Avenue
Southend, Essex
Nearest rail station: Prittlewell
Nearest bus stop: Blue Boar, Victoria Ave

Update: Here are some posts about our successful event from the blogosphere:

Author: Derek Shaw - Page reference: 853
Last modified: Alan Campion - 2015-01-22

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Open Electronics Day

OpenElectronics Day – Saturday 31st May 10am – 4pm


OpenElectronics day on soldering, simple electronics, robots, raspberry pi, talks at Temporary Arts Project, Southend with Chelmsford Makerspace and Southend Techmeet.

Join us at TAP for a day of Open Electronics:

  • Come along and try your hand at soldering
  • Discover how to use LEDs to create patterns
  • Pick up ideas for your own building projects
  • Dip into our demo programme of robotics and other building projects
  • Listen to what’s hot, new and exciting in Raspberry Pi and Arduino groups
  • Meet other makers, share tips and hints, pick up ideas for your own projects

SoSLUG, Chelmsford Maker Space and Southend Techmeet’s interactive day celebrates all things Open Source and Electronic with a range of demonstrations and talks alongside a full programme of exhibits and activities.

All free of charge! Why not come and see what you can do?

  • Create light shows with Raspberry Pi/Arduino and learn how to control fans, lights, etc in your house through this amazing little computer
  • Make your own, permanent circuitry with our soldering workshops – your components will never fall off again
  • Discover intriguing new Breadboard and Vero Board making projects
  • Basic robotics with PiBOT and Sparkfun
  • LED Cubes: make your own patterns and timing in 3D – or make your Cube respond to sounds, music, light levels or buttons – all programmed by you
  • Banana keyboards – or jelly babies, apples, toys – anything, in fact! Learn how to programme a Raspberry or Arduino to “sense” when a human is touching something, using our natural electric conductivity and use that as a keyboard
  • Speaking to a Brick Wall? Discover how electronics and conductive paint can make your walls respond to movement with sound, music, light patterns or images.

  • SpokePOV: Use LEDs to create designs and patterns on bicycle wheels, and take away some ideas to customise your bike

Talks and demonstrations about robotics, ranging from the large to small, showcasing Raspberry Pi/Arduino and modular synthesizers and music-making

Author: Derek Shaw - Page reference: 850
Last modified: Derek Shaw - 2015-01-20

Categories: Events

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Press Cuttings

Quote from Ria

On Saturday, I paid a visit to Southend’s TAP (Temporary Art Project) building for the Southend Raspberry Pi Jam. The event was held by SOSlug (Southend-on-Sea Linux User Group) and was to celebrate the second birthday of the Raspberry Pi. I would definitely have said that it was a child-friendly event for children of all ages from 6 to 96, though the robots might have either scared or intrigued anyone over the age of 97 half to death). There were lots of little ones running around, enthusiastically wowing at the adults who knew what Minecraft was! : o

To read the review in full please visit this link..

Love Southend Press Review

Author: Derek Shaw - Page reference: 2089
Last modified: Alan Campion - 2015-01-22

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Number of comments: 0