We hold two types of meetings: Pizza Limes and Tech Meetings. A Pizza Lime™ is the name given to our monthly discussion forum which is usually held at Pizza Hut, Roxy Roundabout, Port of Spain. At the tech meeting, we have computers on site to demonstrate a particular type of hardware or software.
Meetings were held at the Brass Institute at 117A Henry Street, Port of Spain (next to Spectacula Forum), courtesy of Francis Pau.
The computers used for the meetings were provided by Pcw and/or Dev while refreshments were provided by Francis Pau and Raul Bermudez.
Thursday 24th February 2000
As one might guess, we ate lots of pizza and “ole talked” about computer technology.
Mr David John, director of Information Systems for Bayerische Landesbank, New York, NY, (visit his website at www.caribone.com), was in Trinidad at the time but was unable to attend. However, he arranged to have several copies of a report documenting global Y2K problems which occured within the first week of this year delivered to those members who attended the “meeting”.
The TTCS thanks Mr. David John for his valuable contribution.
Sunday 9th April 2000, 1pm – Installing GNU/Linux on a Win 98 machine
The meeting was a demonstration of how to install a second operating system on an existing Windows 9x machine using only freeware tools. The demonstration machine had:
- A 4Gb hard drive
- Windows 98 installed as the only operating system as one primary partition
- A fragmented file system
Dev did the following procedures:
- Defragged the hard drive (using the Windows 98 defrag software).
- Allocated space on the hard drive for Linux using the freeware tool
Partition Resizer. This allowed the existing Win98 partition to be re-sized without destroying the data stored on it.
- Installed Caldera’s OpenLinux 2.3.
- Configured LILO (the LInux LOader included with Linux) to enable the user to decide which OS to use when the machine is switched on (in this installation, Linux was the default boot OS).
Dev and Pcw also used Partition Resizer to help a new member successfully install Red Hat Linux v 6.1 on a Windows 98 machine.
Thursday 11th May 2000
The pizza was delicious as usual but this time around we were there to discuss the various proposed computer laws for Trinidad and Tobago.
Members and other interested persons were given brief overviews of the laws and their implications for citizens of Trinidad and Tobago. They were encouraged to obtain their own copies and let their comments be known on an email list that is collecting and forwarding comments about these bills.
Information about these proposed computer law bills is on our Computer Bills page.
Sunday 4th June 2000, 1pm – Internet security for home and business users
PREVENTION IS BETTER THAN CURE
This meeting focused on the various Internet security threats that may be encountered by both the home and business user.
Razor described the ways in which:
- viruses (email, macro, etc)
- trojan horse programs
- “spyware” and “adware” (programs that install themselves on your system and track your Internet activities without your knowledge and report to some central server/”homebase”)
- vulnerabilities in the Win 95/98 networking components
can compromise system security and even your privacy while your computer is connected to the Internet. The emphasis was on preventative measures that both home and business users can take to protect themselves from such breaches in security. Razor also gave demonstrations of:
- how to uninstall the Windows Scripting Host in Windows 98;
- what the Zone Alarm personal firewall software fromZone Labs looks like and how it works;
- where to find the Windows 95/98 networking components and how to modify/uninstall them to improve the security of your Internet connection.
- how the Shields Up web site at grc.com works and why everyone who uses the Internet should test their machine for security loopholes at this site.
- a known spyware program
The material presented in this meeting has been downloaded from our
Internet Security page.
Thursday 29th June 2000
There was no formal agenda for this meeting (except, of course, to eat pizza!) so members in attendance discussed various issues such as:
- The Napster vs RIAA issue; software and other intellectual property copyright issues;
- New cellular telephone based web browsers, MP3 players and who would use them
- The current state of international E-commerce and the lessons locals can learn (and in some cases the mistakes they should avoid) in order to benefit from it;
- Microsoft’s network computing strategy (microsoft.NET)
- The sudden closure of CECP (a veteran local computer company)
- Various internet access strategies e.g. caridirec’s satellite download services, cable modems, efreenet and local ISPs
- Gamecon 2000 – a Starcraft and Quake 3 multiplayer tournament organised by the Gaming Association of Trinindad and Tobago (GATT)
- The popularity of “retro-computing” e.g. many people are reviving or emulating Commodore 64, Amigas, DOS and arcade games
- The recent scandal in which Oracle hired private detectives to invesitigate lobby groups affiliated with Microsoft
- TSTT’s proposed rate change (25 cents per minute anywhere/anytime in Trinidad)
Sunday 23rd July 2000, 1 pm – LAN party
The TTCS had its first official “LAN party” at this meeting held at the Brass Institute, Port of Spain. We had three networked PCs running Quake 3 Arena and members in attendance (some of whom never played Quake before) were able to play “deathmatches” against one another and with additional bots. Equipment for this meeting were as follows:
- 3 PCs with 10/100Mb network cards (“NICS”) and AGP graphics cards
- 1 Ethernet 4 port hub
- 3 Cat-5 ethernet cables
- Network protcol: TCP/IP
The gaming was intense but in the end, Wayne emerged as the undefeated champ in the various death matches. Machines were provided by Dev, PCW and Wayne; hub and cabling provided by Dev.
Thursday 10th August 2000
Eating pizza and “ole talk” were on the agenda for the evening. Topics covered included:
- Internet security.
- The new breed of “spyware” based on the infamous Netzip Download Demon program.
- C and JAVA programming.
- The launch of linux.co.tt.
Members in attendance were also told about the Java Consortium, a group of local university graduates who program in JAVA to create both open source and custom projects.
Sunday 27th August 2000, 1:30 pm – BeOS Personal Edition v5
The focus of this meeting was the BeOS Personal Edition v5operating system from Be, Inc which is free for personal, non-commercial use.
Dev gave a brief history of Be, from its origins as an alternative to the MacOS to its rejection by Apple CEO Steve Jobs and ultimately as a GUI for the x86 platform (there are versions for both Win 9.x and GNU/Linux).
He then showed members how to install BeOS version 5 Personal edition on a Windows 98 machine (a Pentium II 266Mhz, 64MB RAM, 32X CDROM drive, 3Dfx Voodoo 3 video card, 100Mb Iomega IDE Zip drive) and demonstrated some applications.
BeOS has been designed for multimedia work and Dev highlighted this capability by simultaneously playing 2 MP3 files and 2 Quicktime (.mov) files DIRECTLY from the CDROM drive. There were no pauses, skips or slow downs in the music or the video. There was a brief discussion afterwards about the availability of both robust applications for BeOS and development tools for those programmers who wished to create programs for this OS.
Razor then provided an update for the 4th June internet security meeting. He recapped the topics covered at that meeting for those who were not there and then talked about the latest threat: the Netzip file download manager and its derivative spyware; the Java security flaw in Netscape Communicator (all platforms and all versions up to version 4.74); the new personal firewall product from Sybergen; the latest trojan/script based email threats.
Other topics discussed at this meeting: the disappearance of local computer company American Computer Express (ACE), the newly formed Webmaster Association of Trinidad and Tobago and on a lighter note, alternative computer case design.
Thursday 14th September 2000
The meeting began minutes after 6pm after the various introductions. Members in attendance held a lively discussion on the following topics:
- The advantages and disadvantages of computer networks and internet access in local primary schools.
- Can computers really “make kids smarter”? or is the money better spent in a more traditional manner? e.g. better training and pay for teachers, school repairs, better school transport etc
- The american court cases against both Napster andMP3.com
- Local copyright issues
- The disappearance of ACE (american computer express) and its impact (if any) on the local computer reseller market
- The release of Windows Me (released on the same day in the U.S) and the beta of Mac OS X
- Would the local telecom market benefit or suffer from the introduction of another telephone company?
- The advantages and disadvantages of the free StarOffice v5.1 and how StarOffice v5.2 to be made available under the GNU General Public License (GPL).
- The reasons why so many american dot com companies have failed or have yet to turn a profit and what lessons can be learned by locals to avoid such failure.
- The current and future possibilities for e-commerce in Trinidad and Tobago
- Violence in both computer and console video games and how these M rated games are being marketed to children
- The possible advantages of wireless communications in the local market
- What are the best sci-fi movies ever made 🙂
This meeting is certainly one for the record books: it ended at 9:30 pm!!
Thursday 12th October 2000
On the agenda for this meeting:
- The Computer Misuse Bill 2000 (which is now before Parliament!).
- The alleged “hacking” of a local bank.
- An update about the Infoline Intranet server.
The Computer Misuse Bill 2000 inspired the most discussion. See the Computer Bills page for the points/issues raised.
The second most popular topic on the night’s agenda was the the alleged hacking of a local bank. Members in attendance debated the technical aspects of the claim and concluded that the incident was more likely an “inside job” rather than some one obtaining confidential information via a dial-up connection.
Finally, members were updated on the status of the Infoline intranet server: the machine is up and running, content is being uploaded and the completed project will make its debut on at the next TTCS meeting on Sunday 22nd October 2000 at the Brass Institute.
Sunday 22nd October 2000 – Freeware image tools, short films, GNU/Linux intranet server
The first item on the agenda was a demonstration of the FREEWARE Windows 9x software used for the Trinbago Scenes section of the TTCS website.
- Irfanview, an image viewer/converter with basic editing facilities, free for personal use.
- Digital Camera Enhancer, which easily enhances and clean digital images.
- Pixaround, the stitching and VR creation program used to create the 360 VRs on the Trinbago Scenes page.
- JPEG Wizard, a tool for compressing JPEG (and other image formats) without losing quality like traditional compressing prgrams.
- Imageforge a freeware image editing program with features similar to the shareware Paint Shop Pro.
There was a short pause for refreshments and during that time we showed the two short independent films
- “Troops” (a Star Wars parody) and
- “Killer Bean 2” (Note: KB2 was created by Jeff Lew).
After the refreshments, it was time to debut the “new Infoline”. Dev and Pcw used a Windows PC to login over a null-modem cable and demonstrate the capabilities of Infoline, the new dial-in Intranet server which will replace the old BBS.
The GNU/Linux-based server (powered by Red Hat Linux version 6.2) supports many Internet-style features:
- web page server (using Apache)
- DNS (using BIND) (so you can enter URLs like infoline.org , ftp.infoline.org, etc )
- FTP (with resume capability so you can resume an aborted download)
- e-mail (standard POP3 and SMTP protocols)
- browser based public forums/message board (using PHP3, Postgres and Phorum)
Thursday 9th November 2000
This time around, members in attendance discussed the following topics:
- Microsoft being “hacked”.
- The First Citizen’s Bank (FCB) e-banking venture at https://www.fcb-e-bank.com which allows registered users to perform many traditional “counter” transactions online. A representative from FCB was present to answer questions.
- Electronic commerce, credit card use/misuse, local bank credit card policies and the future of e-commerce in Trinidad and Tobago.
- BMG’s parent company investing in Napster.
- The “Starworx”satellite download service being offered by Opus Networx.
- The Computer Misuse Bill issues which were raised at the ITPS breakfast seminar that was held on Tuesday 7th November 2000.
- The release of the Sony Playstation 2 and the impact it would have on both the local and foreign game markets.
- The recent closure of several popular “dot com” companies including Pets.com (remember the sock puppet??), mother nature.com and furniture.com.
Sunday 3rd December 2000, 2 pm – second LAN party
The second LAN party at the Brass Institute, Port of Spain. We had two networked PCs running Quake 3 Arena and members in attendance were able to play “deathmatches” against one another and with additional bots. The equipment used was the same used at the first LAN party.
Thursday 14th December 2000
This was the final Pizza Lime™ and the last official TTCS meeting for the year 2000.
Members focused on the following topics:
- TheScotiabank EScotia CardPoint Merchant Service which generally allows local merchants to authenticate and receive payments from credit cards over the internet.
- The proposed Trinidad and Tobago Tech park by TIDCO
The TTCS was fortunate to have in attendance, Simone Penco, a commercial manager for the EScotia CardPoint Merchant Service to explain :
- How the service works (from the time customers enter their credit card number on the secure website, to the processing and finally the acknowledgement that the credit card has been accepted).
- The various security requirements that businesses must have in place to ensure that both the customer and the merchant can have secure transactions at all times.
- Why Scotiabank decided to offer this service.
The TTCS was also fortunate to have in attendance Kevin Stewart, an Economic Development Officer from the Tourism and Industrial Development Corporation (TIDCO) to discuss matters related to the local techpark project.
He spoke about
- the reasons for establishing the park;
- what sort of investors TIDCO was hoping to attract to the project;
- what sort of industries were best suited for the park;
- what TIDCO and the government hope to achieve with the park (e.g. increased employment for citizens, transfer of technical knowledge; diversification of the economy).
Both guests held impromptu question and answer sessions which allowed members at the meeting to ask about material not covered in the general discussions.
It was yet another meeting for the records: it finished at 10 pm!