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13 December 2008, 11:24

Community Live - LRUG and North London BCS

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El Rug, the logo of LRUG
El Rug, the logo of LRUG
This week, heise online UK's Community Live dropped in on the London Ruby Users Group and the North London branch of the British Computer Society.

London Ruby Users Group, shortened to LRUG but known to its friends as El Rug, had its monthly meeting on Monday the 8th of December, and as we like Ruby and Rails we went along. LRUG has been steadily growing, and regularly have to use the "overflow" venue provided by SkillsMatter, who host the user group. This month's LRUG meeting featured two talks, one on testing JavaScript and one on taking good ideas from other languages and bringing them to Ruby. Both talks were informative, though the latter was slightly hampered by problems with a novel presentation technique. The meeting, as tradition dictates, then adjourned to the very crowded pub.

The BCS, the professional society for the IT sector, are quite a formal organisation, but we went along to catch them "letting their hair down" as the North London branch held a "Geeks, Gadgets and Gizmos" evening. After the chairman removed his jacket and tie and donned his anorak, Jack Schofield of The Guardian introduced the evening by setting out what he thought were the most important gadgets of 2008. Then, ten volunteers presented five minute talks to explain why the gadget they had brought along was the best gadget of 2008. The winning gadget was a GPS based Cat Tracking system that allowed the presenter, Steve Kennedy, to find out where his cat spent the day. The winning presenter was Greg McCarroll, who presented his home built alarm clock system, which used Perl software to work out if the trains to work were delayed or cancelled and automatically give Greg more time in bed before setting the alarm off. Of the other presentations, we quite liked the open source Arduino microcontroller which had been turned into the Auduino synthesiser and the project to create simple USB quiz show buzzers by salvaging old keyboard controllers. This was a simple project, suitable for schoolchildren who could then use the buzzers with educational quiz software.

Are you part of a community that meets up regularly? Drop an email to heise online UK's Community Live and we could well come along to meet your community.


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