Minutes

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Minutes of the Computer & Technology Club Meeting – March 20, 2017

Jerry Rokoff, Secretary
Jerry Rokoff,
Secretary

The meeting was called to order at 7:05 pm by Sam Wexler, the club’s president. Sam spoke about the upcoming joint meeting with the Women’s Book Club, encouraging the audience to read the book, Dave Eggers’ “The Circle” prior to the meeting. Sam then had Jon Deng, our speaker for the evening, introduced.

Jon Deng, who spent about twenty years in the technical industry, left IBM to open his own company, Indagem Tech, LLC in Boca Raton. He has since filed two US patent applications for technology he developed and spoke to us about one of his products. His presentation was entitled, “Sensor Technology For Asset Management and Security Monitoring”.

Mr. Deng’s product offers Indoor Tracking of household assets. He first described how our current security system works: sensors on all our doors and windows that sets off an alarm when one detects motion. It also notifies the security company that monitors our system. We receive a phone call to determine if it’s a false alarm and, if unable to reach us, the security company alerts the police. We pay a monthly fee for this service.

He then contrasted our current system with Indagem’s security monitoring.  His product does not entail monthly fees and does not alert a security office. Its sensors are placed wherever we want them. Common examples of sensor locations could be in a closet or a drawer or inside a jewelry box. When the sensor detects motion, it alerts the user’s iPhone (notification) with the time and location of the sensor that sensed motion and this information is sent to the cloud.  If the camera, available with the sensor, is also purchased, a picture of the person causing the motion alert, is also captured.  This system could be used to monitor items at an elderly parent’s house – placing sensors on items that caregivers or housekeepers should not be accessing.   And with this system, the thief does not hear an alarm so has no reason to run if you have notified the police of a crime in progress.

Mr. Deng donated several products to our club. One was raffled off at the meeting and won by Ronni Hirschfield. Two units are being held for our January 2018 Giveaway. A camera and two sensors costs $100.

The meeting concluded at 8:30 p.m.
Eileen Lerner for Jerry Rokoff
Secretary

Minutes of the Computer & Technology Club Meeting – February 20, 2017

The meeting was called to order at 7:05 p.m. by Sam Wexler, the club’s president. The featured speaker for the evening, Mr. Norbert Gostischa, was then introduced, and he handled the usual Q&A session.

At 7:15 p.m., Mr. Gostischa began his presentation, entitled “Tips for Staying Safe Online and Preventing Identity Theft.” Mr. Gostischa is a representative of Avast Software, which acquired a majority stake in AVG Technologies in October, 2016. He pointed out that the latest release of Avast includes the best features of AVG, and the latest release of AVG includes the best features of Avast.

Mr. Gostischa’s presentation had a lot of new material when compared to the content of his presentation to the club in early 2016. Some of his new recommendations for staying safe online and programs to use for doing so were:

– Genealogy: go to www.familytreenow.com to delete information about you.
– Facebook: go to http://stalkscan.com/en, put in a name and see all of the information collected about this person.
– Protect your new router by making sure you have changed the default user name and password assigned by the manufacturer. Upgrade to WPA2 encryption.
– For banking and shopping, use a 2-step log-in process. This includes not only a user ID and password, but also a random code sent to your smart device which you then enter.
– Create a unique password and make frequent changes to it for every site you go on that requires a password.
– Public wi-fi networks: use a virtual private network (VPN) to encrypt sensitive data.
– Use Ninite to quickly and automatically install multiple popular applications or updates thereof for Windows.
– If you use Google’s Chrome browser, there is a clean-up tool found at:

https://dl.google.com/dl/softwareremovaltool/free-range/win/chrome.

– Avast’s free mobile security app for Android devices tests new apps, and the networks they are connected to, to determine if they are safe.
– Avast protects against all know ransomware (cryptolockers). Back-up your entire system (programs, operating system and data) while not connected to the internet.

The formal portion of his presentation concluded at 8:30 p.m. and was followed by a 20 minute Q&A session.

The meeting was adjourned at 8:50 p.m.
Jerry Rokoff
Secretary

Minutes of the Computer & Technology Club Meeting – January 16, 2017

The meeting was called to order at 7:15 p.m. by Sam Wexler, the club’s president. This meeting included the annual raffle held by the club and Sam immediately had our speaker for the evening, Mr. Earl Stewart, select the winning ticket for a laptop computer.

At 7:20 p.m., Mr. Stewart was formally introduced. He is the founder and owner of the Toyota dealership in North Palm Beach that bears his name. Mr. Stewart’s topic was “The Coming Revolution: Autonomous Vehicles”.

Mr. Stewart introduced his wife, Nancy, who discussed women as car buyers and the need for them to do research about the car they are interested in, be better negotiators and to employ certain strategies to get the best deal.

Mr. Stewart listed some important websites which provide vital information to prospective car buyers. Among them were: www.safecar.gov, www.gooddealerbaddealerlist.com, and www.ismycarrecalled.com. He discussed the merits of www.Truecar.com, which collects price data regarding sales of all cars made in your area during the past 90 days, so you can obtain the high, low and median prices paid.

Mr. Stewart talked at length about defective Takata airbags, which were installed in 40 models of cars during the period 2000 to 2015. He said that in a collision, the inflator and propellant devices may deploy improperly, sending metal fragments from the casing into the car’s occupants like an exploding hand grenade. Some manufacturers are voluntarily recalling vehicles with these defective airbags, but there is no law requiring this. Moreover, there is no fix because the inflator is not available. Even if there is no collision, Takata airbags have ammonium nitrate as the propellant, which degrades over time and can set off the airbag.

Rick Kearney, chief mechanic at Earl Stewart Toyota, discussed autonomous cars. He said that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has defined 6 levels of such vehicles:

0 – Driver retains complete control
1 – One system is computer controlled; cruise control, lane centering, etc.
2 – Two systems are computer controlled; steering and acceleration/deceleration. Tesla cars are at this level. At this level, the computer stands ready to assist the driver.
3 – The driver must be present but the computer controls all operation of the vehicle. Driver must be ready to take control and assist the computer in difficult situations.
4 – The computer controls the vehicle for the entire trip, aka fully autonomous.
5 – The computer’s control equals that of a human driver in any situation.

Mr. Kearney said that all car manufacturers are promising autonomous vehicles within five years. He said that Apple is working on software for autonomous cars and Google has a self-driving car project called “Waymo”. Lastly, he said that the potential for hacking of a car’s controls via its Bluetooth signals is real and cannot be ignored.

At 8:40, the raffle for all of the remaining prizes began. Every member in attendance received a free copy of Mr. Stewart’s book entitled  Confessions of a Recovering Car Dealer, and every household received a free 8 GB flash drive.

The meeting concluded at 9:05 p.m.
Jerry Rokoff
Secretary

Minutes of the Computer & Technology Club Meeting – December 19, 2016

The meeting was called to order at 7:00 p.m. by Sam Wexler, the club’s president. One of the two speakers for the evening’s presentation, entitled “Drones”, was then introduced. His name is Dr. Raul Salazar, and he is Director of Information Services for Alert5 International, LLC. Alert5 is based in Hollywood, Florida, and provides aerial services such as video, photography and thermal imaging using unmanned aerial vehicles (drones). Dr. Salazar handled the customary Q&A session and answered questions on a variety of technology-related subjects.

– At 7:15 p.m., Gary Bigel, a resident of Valencia Falls, gave an “Eyewitness to History” presentation about his experiences at Northrop Grumman when a prototype plane with wings that face forward was built and test flown. The airplane was the first to use digital computers to maintain stability.

– At 7:30 p.m., the evening’s primary presenter was introduced. Her name is Amanda Quevedo, and she is an Aviation Safety Technician for the Federal Aviation Administration, based in Miramar, Florida. She is the primary FAA contact in south Florida for questions about operating unmanned aircraft systems (drones).

– Ms. Quevedo devoted much of her presentation to discussing the existing rules for operating drones for recreational purposes vs. commercial purposes.

  1. Pilot requirements: none for recreational use; need Remote Pilot Airman Certificate and must pass TSA vetting for commercial use.
  2. Aircraft requirements: for recreational use, must be registered if over 55lbs. For commercial use, must also be registered, take-off weight (including fuel equipment and payload), must be less than 55 lbs. and must undergo pre-flight check to ensure safe operation. Weight and other exemptions can be obtained but the rules are more stringent.
  3. Operating rules: Location of operation: At least 5 miles from an airport unless prior notice given to airport and air traffic control. Must keep the aircraft in sight. For commercial use, must fly under 400 feet and only during the day, and speed cannot exceed 100 mph. To determine whether or not an airport is near where you intend to operate a drone, go to www.skyvector.com.
  4. Legal or regulatory basis: For recreational use, Public law 112-95, Section 336. For commercial use, Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulation.(14 CFR) Part 107.

– Question: is package delivery allowed under the small UAS rule (Part 107)? Answer: yes, as long as the flight is conducted within visual line-of-sight and as long as the aircraft with payload weighs less than 55 lbs. at takeoff.

– Question: If and when package delivery via larger drones flying without visual line-of-sight is allowed, how will the drone be guided? Answer: it will be guided using telemetry data from sensors aboard the drone, transmitted to a control room.

The FAA’s website for information about operating drones is www.faa.gov/uas.

The meeting adjourned at 8:45 p.m.
Jerry Rokoff
Secretary

Minutes of the Computer & Technology Club Meeting – November 21, 2016

The meeting was called to order at 7:00 p.m. by Sam Wexler, the club’s president.  Sam then led a brief question and answer session and listed the club’s events through February of 2017.

At 7:15 p.m., Ed Grumet took over the meeting to present his latest electronic gadgets.  There were three that he spoke about.

  • – Ed’s first topic was the Amazon Echo Dot, the 2nd generation version of Echo.  He showed a video which demonstrated some of the product’s capabilities. The Echo Dot’s list price of $49.99 is a fraction of the original version’s price, and yet it is superior. In size it is essentially 10 inches taken off the top of the original, and looks like a hockey puck. It has better far-field voice recognition and has a 3.5 mm audio output jack that facilitates connectivity to any speaker or to a bluetooth device.
  • – The second product was Mail Chime.  If you have a mailbox, you can know immediately when your mail has been delivered with this device. You mount a sensor on the inside of your mailbox’s door with double-sided tape and plug the receiver into any electric outlet in your home. When the mailbox door is opened, the receiver will beep four times and a bright red LED light will be visible. The device operates within a range of 300 feet and has volume control. The price is $37.95.
  • – The last device that Ed presented was the TaoTronics wireless portable rechargeable bluetooth speaker, offering superior sound, small size, and an attractive price of $39.99. With a quality headset, you can plug it into your seat on an airplane and not hear the roar of the engines, and you can walk around the plane and still listen. You can plug it into your television set and adjust the volume to the way you want it while another person can listen to the same television set at a different volume.

At 7:45 p.m., the second speaker of the evening, Buzz Van Ness, began his presentation of the $35,000 Model 3 Tesla electric-powered automobile scheduled to roll off the assembly line in late 2017. He showed pictures of the inside and outside of this new model car. He said that the car is viewed as a competitor to the BMW 320x. The Model 3 will have 4 doors and seat 5 adults and its steel construction will have a 5-star safety rating. It will have a very large display of the control panel and include 3rd generation battery technology, providing a range of 215 miles before recharge is required. In addition, the car will be equipped with autopilot hardware for total autonomous driving.

At 8:00 p.m., Adrienne Bergen, president of the Photography Club, spoke about some of her club’s planned events. That was followed by Sheila Bigel, who discussed her classes for Newbies. Sheila moved into Valencia Falls earlier this year and took over these classes from Eileen Lerner.  Lastly, Sam Wexler closed with a brief discussion of the possibility of setting up a virtual reality center.

The meeting adjourned at 8:15 p.m.
Jerry Rokoff
Secretary

Minutes of the Computer & Technology Club Meeting – October 25, 2016

The meeting was called to order at 7:10 p.m. by Sam Wexler, the club’s president.  Sam proceeded to discuss planned club events for most of the 2016/2017 season, including featured topics and speakers for meetings to be held during that period.

At 7:30 p.m., the featured speaker for the evening, Mr. Murji Rabadia, owner of AUM Computers, was introduced.  His topic was Windows 10 (Microsoft) and OS 10.12 Sierra (Macintosh).

For Windows 10, Mr. Rabadia discussed its most significant features:

  1. Modern user interface apps
  2. Enhanced windows snapping (maximizing or re-sizing by dragging to edge)
  3. View active apps on one screen
  4. Multiple desktops with easy switching capability
  5. Cortana – voice-controlled digital assistant (search the web, find facts, set alarms, etc.) You can also get an update history for Windows by typing those words in Cortana.
  6. Edge – very secure and fast browser – replaces Internet Explorer

Mr. Rabadia informed the membership that he would continue through 2017 the selected services discount pricing for paid-up members of our club. Specifically, for virus removal or a tune-up, AUM’s price to members will be $39.99 rather than $79.99. He will include an upgrade to Windows 10 without additional charge.

There was a brief discussion about anti-virus software, and he recommended Malware Bytes to protect against malware (either the free version or the fee version).  If you have the free version you must tell it to run, while the fee version protects your system automatically.  As far as ransomware is concerned, there is no protection other than being extremely careful about which emails you open.

For Mac OS 10.12 (Sierra), he listed its most significant features:

  1. Better security, performance, new programming
  2. Has Siri
  3. Universal clipboard (can copy & paste images, videos, and text across devices)
  4. Picture-in-picture
  5. Files automatically synch to iCloud
  6. Easy advanced search for photos (facial recognition and geo-location)
  7. Apple Pay
  8. Optimized storage (set recycle bin for automatic emptying to free up space on your hard drive)
  9. Tabs for apps instead of windows

The meeting was adjourned at 8:40 p.m.

Jerry Rokoff
Secretary

Minutes of the Computer & Technology Club Meeting – March 21, 2016

Delicious Italian cookies greeted attendees entering the Social Hall to celebrate the end of a successful season. The meeting was called to order shortly after 7:00pm by Sam Wexler, the club’s president. Sam discussed the success of the past season’s events and plans for the 2016/2017 season in the works. Sam conveyed his desire to hear from any members who have suggestions for next season’s agenda. The regular Q/A session followed.

The featured speaker for the evening, Abby Stokes, presenting How To Safely Surf The Internet & Find (Almost) Anything Online, was introduced by Eileen Lerner in Jerry Rokoff’s absence. Jerry had prepared an introduction of personal anecdotes about Abby and she displayed surprise and amusement at how much people can know about her thanks to the power of the internet.

Abby began her talk by reminding the audience how much personal information is on the internet about each of us, as had just been demonstrated by her introduction. She acknowledged the wonders of the internet but also explained that you want to use the internet wisely. That took her to her main topic, a clever scheme she devised to create a set of secure and easy-to-remember passwords for each site you visit.

To put Abby’s innovative method to use, start by creating a core password. It needs to include two numbers and two capital letters, to ensure it passes the various requirements for all websites. The core password also needs to be especially memorable for you but must not use personal information as family names or important dates. As an example, for someone who loves shoes, gr8Sh0eS (great shoes with two numbers and two capital letters) is a good core password.

Next, to accommodate all your websites having different passwords, you need one rule to use consistently to modify your core password. One example of a good rule is to use the first two letters of a website name (as ‘fa’ for facebook), placing the ‘f’ in front of your core password and the ‘a’ at the end. Your unique password for facebook.com is then fgr8Sh0esa. Applying this same rule to a second website, as instagram.com, creates igr8Sh0esn.

So if you’ve ever found yourself unable to sign onto a website due to a forgotten password, this scheme holds merit. The meeting adjourned around 8:30 pm and attendees gathered around Abby’s table to purchase her book or to ask her questions.

Eileen Lerner for Jerry Rokoff
Secretary

 

Minutes of the Computer & Technology Club Meeting – February 15, 2016

The meeting was called to order at 7:05 pm by Sam Wexler, the club’s president. For the next ten minutes, Sam discussed the scheduled events for the remainder of the 2015/2016 season.

At 7:15 pm, the featured speaker for the evening, Mr.Walter Puls, the founder and CEO of 3DChimera, located in Coral Gables, was introduced. The mission of his company is to empower organizations to unleash the potential of three dimensional tools to manufacture products better, faster and cheaper. The title of his presentation was “Up and Running with 3D Printing“.

Mr. Puls described 3D printing as additive manufacturing, as distinguished from traditional (subtractive) manufacturing which involves some materials being wasted or scrapped. 3D printing involves melting the raw material (called the filament, which might be plastic or some other material) and then depositing it layer-by-layer to conform to the three-dimensional model which has been programmed into the printer.

The model can be created by scanning the object to be re-created, or by designing the model using computer-aided design (CAD) software. He said the advantages of 3D printing also include rapid prototyping (e.g., in one day versus perhaps six weeks) as well as iterative design.

He stated that his company focuses in part on the education industry for which he believes that convincing students that they can make things will encourage them to pursue careers in either science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM).

Mr. Puls pointed out that the two principal businesses which make 3D printers and scanners are both owned by Israeli companies; viz. Stratasys and 3D Systems. He said that one of the industries where 3D printing can make a difference is the medical field, such as creating custom-fitted joint replacement hardware (insurance companies today won’t cover it because of the expense), or 3D scanned and color-coded images of the body to identify for surgeons exactly where cancerous cells are located. 3D printing can’t create organs of the human body because the technology as it currently exists cannot create the tiny capillaries that carry blood.

The meeting adjourned at 8:30 p.m. Plastic money clips created with a 3D printer were distributed to the audience.

Jerry Rokoff
Secretary

 

Minutes of the Computer & Technology Club Meeting – January 18, 2016

The meeting was called to order at 7:15 p.m. by Sam Wexler, the club’s president.  Sam immediately selected the winning ticket for the first raffle drawing of the evening, which was for a Dell 5000 series laptop computer. The winner was Tina Fischer.

At 7:23 p.m., the featured speaker for the evening, Norbert (Bob) Gostischa, was introduced. His presentation was entitled “Technology From A Different Perspective”.

Bob’s presentation began with a series of cartoons depicting how life has changed as a result of new technology, particularly as a result of the widespread use of the smartphone.

Mr. Gostischa then turned to serious subjects including identity theft. He recommended that if your identity is stolen, contact idtheftcenter.org, a non-profit organization which will help you recoup any funds stolen from you. He then proceeded to list eight signs that might indicate someone has stolen your identity. He pointed out that you can obtain one free credit report per year from each of the three big companies; viz. Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. Therefore, he suggested that you obtain a free report from a different one of these companies every four months.

Bob spoke about various Avast products including anti-virus, malwarebytes, MCShield, WinPatrol, Unchecky, Ccleaner, and GlassWire. He reminded everyone that if you replace your anti-virus program, you must uninstall the previously used program, and that you should use a special removal tool designed for that program to make sure you delete all facets of it wherever it might reside in your computer‘s files.

He said that tablets and smart phones also need virus protection, and that Avast had a free anti-virus program for Android-based devices but nothing of this nature for iOS-based devices. For the latter, Avast only has SecureMe which protects iOS devices from wi-fi hacking.

He said that more information about his presentation could be obtained from   http://goo.gl/5v4sIQ.

He concluded his presentation at 7:55 p.m., at which time the remainder of the prizes were raffled off. The lucky winners and their prizes included a second laptop won by Sheila Feingertz; a 40″ Samsung Smart TV won by Fred Suslak; two Amazon Echoes won by Cindy Mortlock and Linda Weinberg; a couple of solar wind flashlights for Paul Pollack and Marvin Leventhal; Power Pack battery chargers by Leonard Hock and Gloria Bruskin; FitBits by Joel Schram and Freda Asbury; selfie sticks by Alice Hallock and Richard Anapolsky; and Photoshop Elements by Harry Tabenken.

Minutes of the Computer & Technology Club Meeting – December 21, 2015

The meeting was called to order at 7:05 p.m. by Sam Wexler, the club’s president.  Sam immediately turned over the meeting to the two featured speakers for the evening, Chris and Jim Guld, to handle the customary Q&A session.

 At 7:20 p.m., Sam discussed the club’s events for the remainder of the 2015/2016 season.

At 7:30 p.m., the Gulds, whose business is called “Geeks on Tour”, were formally introduced and began their presentation, “All About Smart Phones & Tablets”.  They explained in basic terms how smart phones work, saying that voice communications depend on nearby cell towers to connect to telephone services while data communications depend on nearby cell towers, or wi-fi hot spots, to connect to the internet. Text messaging uses the voice connection service. Tablets are similar to smart phones but have larger screens and no phone for voice services. However, with an internet connection via wi-fi, they can be used to make calls via Skype, Google Hangouts, Facebook Messenger, and Apple Only Facetime

Their presentation included other topics such as Phone Calls & Multi-Tasking, Voice Navigation & Search, Camera & Photo Sharing, Weather Alerts, Installing & Uninstalling Apps, and Using Wi-Fi.  They explained how to determine which of the apps installed on your smart device uses the most data, which translates into money spent, depending on your service’s plan. Go to “Settings”, “Cellular Data” and for every app which you have allowed to use cellular data, you can see the usage in bytes. They further pointed out that if you are using wi-fi for a cellular connection, you are not using your data plan but rather the plan belonging to the person or entity who owns the wi-fi.

The meeting adjourned at 9:05 p.m.  An available handout provided an overview of the entire presentation.

Jerry Rokoff
Secretary

Minutes of the Computer & Technology Club Meeting – November 16, 2015

The meeting was called to order at 7:05 p.m. by Sam Wexler, the club’s president. He proceeded to describe the club’s program for the remainder of the 2015/2016 season.

At 7:25 p.m., the featured speaker for the evening, Murji Rabadia, owner of AUM Computers, was introduced. His formal presentation was entitled “Tech Support Scams”. He described the typical attempted scam as follows:

– You get a Microsoft-looking pop-up window telling you that your computer is infected by a virus. A telephone number to call is provided. You call that number and first they try to convince you they are really from Microsoft. To prove this to you, they might give you a number which they tell you identifies only your computer – but it actually is a number common among many computers.

– Once they have gained your confidence in their legitimacy, they ask you to give them remote access to your computer so they can purge the virus. They ask you to install a program on your computer that allows them to gain access, such as TeamViewer. TeamViewer, when installed, generates a partner ID and password, which the scammer asks you to provide to them.

– Once the scammer gains control of your computer, he or she changes your computer’s log-in password, which now only they know, and you are locked out of your computer. Now they demand money from you in order to be provided with the new log-in password. They also might threaten to delete your files if you don’t pay them their extortion money.

– You can check Google to see if any complaints have been filed against the telephone number they have provided. If not, you can file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission and contact Microsoft.

– Mr. Rabadia’s formal presentation ended at 7:50 p.m., and he then conducted a Q&A session on any computer-related topic. There were many questions about virus and malware protection and about backing up files.

The meeting concluded at 8:30 p.m.

Jerry Rokoff
Secretary

Minutes of the Computer & Technology Club Meeting – October 19, 2015

The meeting was called to order at 7:05 pm by Sam Wexler, the club’s president. Sam discussed some upcoming club events and the customary Q & A session.

At 7:15 pm, Ed Grumet, the first of the two featured speakers for the evening, was introduced. Ed is a Valencia Falls resident and he presented three exciting new products which he uses at his home:

  1. Echo, by Amazon. Echo is a voice command device that responds to the name ‘Alexa’. It is cylindrical in shape and 9.25 inches high. Upon request, it immediately delivers such things as news, weather, traffic reports, music and information. It can also control smart devices, as home appliances, lights and alarms and it also creates shopping and to-do lists. Echo installation requires the user to download the free Alexa app to their smartphone and also requires a wi-fi internet connection in order to work. It currently sells for $179.99.
  2. Ring is a video doorbell. It sends real-time notifications to your smartphone or tablet when someone is at your door. Ring requires a wireless internet (wi-fi) connection. It can operate by rechargeable battery or connect to your doorbell’s electric wires. It has a low battery warning and a battery level detector. It sends live video in high definition and audio to a downloaded free Ring app on your smart device, and you can talk to the person at your door through the built-in speaker on Ring. Ring can be triggered by motion outside your house and has a night-vision feature. You can subscribe to a cloud service to save the video and audio feeds. The product currently sells for $199.00. With Ring, ‘you are always home’.
  1. Canary is a complete home security system in a single device. It connects to your wi-fi and includes a 1080p HD camera, night vision, motion-activated video recording, audio recording, and sensors that monitor air quality including mold, temperature and humidity. It is controlled via your iPhone or Android device. You can obtain cloud storage for the video and audio feed. It currently sells for $199.00.

At 7:50 p.m., the second speaker, Buzz Van Ness, was introduced. Buzz is also a Valencia Falls resident and gave a presentation about his battery-powered Tesla automobile. He first discussed the evolution of automobiles from gas-powered to all-electric powered. He then highlighted many of the attributes of the Tesla, including instant torque, cloud-based and delivered upgrades, including auto park and auto pilot (roof camera and sensors around outside of car), perfect safety rating and top-rated car ever tested by Consumer Reports, no engine, only about 20 moving parts, 500,000 miles before first major service, 8-year warranty on the battery, 17 inch iPad-like control center, one foot driving except braking only to come to a complete stop.

At 8:25 p.m., Adrienne Bergen, Eileen Lerner and Sam Wexler spoke briefly about the plans for their respective workshops (photography, newbies and technology security).

The meeting adjourned at 8:35 p.m.

Jerry Rokoff
Secretary

Minutes of the Computer & Technology Club Meeting – March 16, 2015

The meeting was called to order at 7:05 p.m. by Sam Wexler, the club’s president.  Sam showed a two minute film about a new virus that encrypts everything on your computer. The sender of the virus promises to provide the decryption code if you pay a substantial fee, but that may be an empty promise. The only thing you can do to remove the virus is to have your hard drive totally cleaned; i.e., every file removed from it, and then have another copy of your operating system and other programs like your anti-virus re-installed. The only protections you have from this virus are to (1) not open any e-mail attachments if you do not know the sender, and (2) back-up your files frequently, and disconnect the back-up device when it’s not operational. A Q&A discussion on this subject followed the showing of the film.

At 7:20 pm, the featured speaker for the evening, Ms. Abby Stokes, was introduced.  She has written four separately titled books about computers and technology. She makes her primary living as a frequent lecturer on this topic and claims to have gotten 250,000 people to use computers who would not have otherwise done so.  Ms. Stokes had a slide presentation and spoke about a wide variety of subjects. She said that computer use causes dry eyes and suggested a method for keeping your eyes moist. She spoke about standing and bending over while using a smart phone, and that a 60 degree bend of your neck is equal to having a 60 pound weight on your spine.  Abby spoke about social networking and Facebook in particular. She advised users not to post anything, like personal information, on Facebook that you would not want to have on the front door of your home.  Abby had several handouts for the attendees, including a list of 100 free apps by category, a list of over 200 recommended websites by category, and a Grandparents Cheat Sheet for Staying in the Game.  Her e-mail address is Abby@AskAbbyStokes.com, and her website AskAbbyStokes.com is loaded with free information.  Her formal presentation ended at 8:15 pm and was followed by a Q&A session.

The meeting concluded at 8:30 pm after which 18 people purchased a copy of her latest book: “Is This Thing On?”.

Jerry Rokoff
Secretary

Minutes of the Computer & Technology Club Meeting – February 16, 2015

The meeting was called to order at 7:05 p.m. by Sam Wexler, the Club’s president. He announced that a record 199 people had signed up to attend the Club’s annual brunch on Sunday, March 1. He also announced that during the 2015/2016 season, the club will have a joint gathering with the VF Cinema Club to view the movie, “The Imitation Game”.

At 7:15 pm, the featured speaker for the evening, Mr. Don Resnick, was introduced.  He proceeded to lead the usual Q&A session and then segued into his presentation for the evening of ‘Security Exposures and Cures’.  Mr. Resnick spoke extensively about and demonstrated the use of a password manager to protect against unauthorized access to your accounts on various websites, such as those used for banking or shopping. The market leaders in password management tools are: 1Password, LastPass, Dashlane – which are available for a nominal annual fee, and RoboForm – which is free.

When you use a password manager like LastPass, it automatically generates a unique random password for each of your password-required websites, which you save for each. Those passwords are undecipherable. You then create a master password to protect your entire computer from hackers, and he recommended using something from your past like a name or event that no one else would know.

He talked about computer back-up and strongly recommended using an external hard drive for this purpose. He said that for $69, you can buy a one terabyte drive. Each back-up after the initial one only saves the changed files.

Mr. Resnick discussed mobile wallets such as ApplePay and Google Wallet. The principal benefit of both of these payment systems is that the merchant never gets your credit card number. Both of them depend on Near Field Communication (NFC) hardware, an antenna built into the smartphone. With an iPhone, you hold the phone over the merchant’s contact-less payment terminal and then place your finger over the ‘Pay with Touch ID’ fingerprint icon on your smartphone. The iPhone then authenticates your fingerprint and immediately processes the payment. A subtle vibration or beep confirms that payment was successfully made. For Google Wallet on a smartphone, you enter a special PIN.

Mr. Resnick spoke about app security and related permissions. He said that when downloading a new app, read the fine print to make sure you limit what you are allowing the app’s owner to give you. These could carry not only security exposures but also additional cost.

The meeting adjourned at 8:55 p.m.
Jerry Rokoff
Secretary

Minutes of the Computer & Technology Club Meeting – January 19, 2015

The meeting was called to order at 7:15 p.m. by Sam Wexler, the club’s president. The delayed start was due to the huge crowd (200+ members) who came for the annual ‘give-aways (between $2,000 and $3,000 in retail value).

After a few brief remarks by Sam, and the raffle drawing for one prize, the featured speaker for the evening, Mr. Murji Rabadia, was introduced. Mr. Rabadia is the owner of AUM Computers located in the Oriole Plaza in Delray Beach. His topic for the evening was Making the Fix Stick – Diagnosis, Intervention & Recheck.

Mr. Rabadia discussed a wide range of things that can damage or corrupt your computer or the files stored thereon. He listed such things as power outages causing improper shutdowns, missing dynamic link library files, memory leaks, dust, magnetic interference, sudden movement, heat.

Mr. Rabadia recommended (1) regular back-up of files and programs; (2) installing all operating system updates but having a back-up or restore point created before doing it ; (3) having multiple browsers installed in case one gets corrupted; (4) running a scan with an antivirus program at least once per month; (5) installing a strong standalone anti-malware program that doesn’t conflict with your antivirus program. He also suggested visiting his website; aumcomputers.net, to get recommendations about both fee and free programs that you should consider installing to keep your computer healthy.

At 8:10 p.m., Mr. Rabadia concluded his presentation and the Q & A session. He was then asked to pick the winning raffle tickets for the wide array of prizes to be given away. The big prizes were: Samsung 32″ Smart TV, Dell Laptop Computer, Nikon Coolpix P530 Camera, Paperwhite Kindle Reader (2), Roku Streaming Device, WD 2TB External Drive, Samsung Printer, APC UPS Power Supply (2), Solar Clock (2), Emergency flashlight (3) and a Weather Radio.

The meeting was adjourned at 8:40 p.m.

Jerry Rokoff
Secretary

Minutes of the Computer & Technology Club Meeting – December 15 2014

The meeting was called to order at 7:10 p.m. by Sam Wexler, the club’s president and he immediately launched the usual Q&A session on any technology topic of interest to the audience.

At 7:15 p.m., he spoke for ten minutes about upcoming club events, and at 7:25 pm, the featured speaker for the evening, Larry Bryan, CEO of Hubbley, was introduced.

The title of Mr. Bryan’s presentation was All Together Now With Hubbley. Hubbley is a free aggregated interface to an array of a user’s favorite digital applications, like email, social media, news bulletins, calendar, search, etc., similar to the dashboard of a car giving the driver multiple real-time displays. Hubbley delivers all of a user’s favorite applications, via the cloud, with bank-grade security using a single encrypted password. Moreover, a user can access the Hubbley interface anytime from anywhere.  Hubbley allows the user to create as many different dashboards as is desired, each with different content. If you use multiple social media, like Facebook, Twitter and Linked-In, you can merge all of the incoming posts from them into one stream, displayed chronologically. New posts to any application are highlighted to alert the user. Mr. Bryan said that the mobile version of Hubbley would be rolled out very soon, followed by the desktop and tablet versions. Hubbley is monetized from advertising revenue.

Mr. Bryan also spoke about another product he is bringing to market, an app using GPS data, to provide users instant information about restaurants within their specified radius offering discounts.

Mr. Bryan provided an unrelated but important piece of information to the audience.  If you have a smart phone and press *#06#, a long number will appear on your screen.  If your phone is ever lost or stolen, you should call the manufacturer, give them that number, and they can prevent anyone from ever using your phone even with a new SIM card.

The meeting adjourned at 8:15 p.m.
Jerry Rokoff
Secretary

Minutes of the Computer & Technology Club Meeting – November 17, 2014

The meeting was called to order at 7:08 p.m. by Sam Wexler, the club’s president and was followed by the usual Q&A session on any technology-related topic.

At 7:15 p.m., Sam discussed the recently announced 5-night cruise on the Celebrity Eclipse in January, 2016. This cruise will be a fund-raising event for any non-profit organization of the passenger’s choice.

At 7:20 p.m., he reviewed the upcoming club events for the remainder of 2014.

At 7:25 p.m., the featured speaker for the evening, Joseph Maltz, was introduced. Mr. Maltz’s topic was entitled ‘Adventures in Broadcasting’, and his presentation chronicled the highlights of his career as a television broadcast engineer for the American Broadcasting Company. Mr. Maltz devoted most of his presentation to the tragic events of the 1972 Munich Olympics, which he was assigned to handle for the ABC network.

At 7:55 p.m., Mr. Maltz concluded the formal part of his presentation and took questions for the audience.

At 8:05 p.m., he briefly touched on the topic of 3D printing, which is a process of making a 3-dimensional solid object from a digital file containing a model of the object. These solid objects can be made of different materials, such as metal and plastic, and advanced 3D printers are used today in industry.  Sam said there will be a 3D printing presentation and demo at the January 31 FACUG Technology Conference.

The meeting adjourned at 8:15 p.m.

Jerry Rokoff
Secretary

Minutes of the Computer & Technology Club Meeting  – October 20, 2014

The meeting was called to order at 7:10 p.m. by Sam Wexler, the club’s president. He announced that the Valencia Lakes Computer Club had disbanded, and that its former members had been invited to join the Valencia Falls club. Furthermore, many of those Valencia Lakes club members had accepted the invitation, and at least twenty of them were in attendance. Sam then discussed some of the highlights of the planned events on the club’s calendar for the season.

At 7:25 p.m., Sam introduced Adrienne Bergen, a member of the club’s board of directors, who also leads the Valencia Falls Photography Club. She presented and discussed how to create a collage with Picasa, which is free software from Google used to organize and edit digital photographs. She also spoke about how to create flyers and greeting cards which include photographs.

At 7:45 p.m., Sam introduced Paul Hirschman, another member of the club’s board. Paul spent about ten minutes discussing the iPad and Smart Devices workshops he runs. Non-Apple devices are also covered in his workshops.

Sam then briefly talked about security; i.e., protecting your personal information to prevent identity and/or asset theft. He announced a series of workshops to be held on this subject.

At 8:05 p.m., he introduced VF resident Ed Grumet as the final speaker for the evening. Ed is always an early user of new technology, and he discussed some of his new ‘toys’, including a home security camera system triggered by motion or sound, the remote control capabilities of the BlueLink system that came with his new Hyundai Genesis, and ‘4K’ screen resolution on the Samsung television set.

At 8:35 p.m., Sam gave away ten prizes to some of the attendees.
The meeting adjourned at 8:40 p.m.
Jerry Rokoff
Secretary

Minutes of the Computer & Technology Club Meeting – March 17, 2014

The meeting was called to order at 7:10 p.m. by Sam Wexler, the club’s president.  He briefly discussed the recently concluded Spring 2014 FACUG Technology Conference as well as the agenda for the first meeting of the 2014-2015 season (October).  Sam dispensed with the customary Q&A session to allow more time for the featured presentation for the evening: Security, Part I by Don Resnick.

Mr. Resnick is a resident of Bellaggio in Lake Worth, where he operates a business called “DrTechHelp”. It offers a variety of services including how to better utilize the technology products you own; advising you on which vendor’s product to buy; setting up your new product; and lastly, teaching you how to use it.

Mr. Resnick first discussed home security technology products which can remotely monitor your home and its various systems as well as adjust them via a smartphone.  These include offerings from Netgear (VueZone), Belkin (WeMo) and AT&T (Digital Life). He also discussed the SmartLock access control system and the Kwikset Kevo Bluetooth door lock system.

He then talked about Wi-Fi systems and pointed out that all modern routers have WPA2 security (Wi-Fi Protected Access security protocol and security certification program), which requires a password to join the network and encrypts all data sent between it and the device. He said that with Wi-Fi, the data you send is subject to being comprised, not the data you have stored.

Mr. Resnick briefly spoke about phishing emails, which contain links to websites containing malware, which in turn attempt to obtain things like usernames, passwords, credit card and bank account information. To thwart this most common form of attack on your personal information, always place your cursor on the link to see where it will take you if you click on it.

His final topic was password management tools such as LastPass, Dashlane, and 1Password.

The meeting adjourned at 8:30 p.m.
Jerry Rokoff
Secretary

 

Minutes of the Computer & Technology Club Meeting – February 23, 2014

This morning’s meeting, which included a brunch, had been postponed from December, 2013 due to a conflict with a Caribbean cruise sponsored by the club. Paid attendance for this meeting was 164, an all-time record for the VFC&TC.

The brunch portion of the meeting began at 9:50 a.m., and at 10:45 am Sam Wexler, the club’s president, opened the formal agenda with a 15-minute update of upcoming club events for the remainder of the 2013-2014 season.  The featured speaker for this meeting, Robert Fellman, a co-owner of PC Professor, was then introduced. The topic for his presentation was I Will Save You Money or Your Money Back for Brunch.

Mr. Fellman proceeded to discuss a number of actions people can take to save money:

  1. Reduce the deductible on your homeowner’s insurance from $1,000 to $2,000.
  2. Take advantage of buy one, get one (BOGO) offers from Publix. Walmart honors Publix offers. Publix honors other stores BOGO offers.
  3. If you buy a new windows computer, do not get Microsoft Office. Save $130 and download free MS Office-like software from Google, such as Data & Spread.
  4. Create an account at Upromise.com. Register up to 10 credit cards and receive cash credits from dining at select restaurants, making purchases at select stores, travel etc. The cash credits build a fund that must be used to pay for an educational purpose for yourself or anyone you choose.
  5. Use Kayak.com to find the best price for a hotel, then go to Priceline.com and bid between 40% to 50% of that price and you should be able to win the bid. You can’t pick the hotel you want, but the hotel will be in the area that you select.  Moreover, you can rely on Priceline.com’s rating system. For example, if you specify you want a 4-star hotel, you will get it.
  6. Tired of paying for books? Download books for free from the Palm Beach County library system.
  7. Try one or more of these apps to save: Grocery Pal (provides information on weekly sales at supermarkets, etc); SnipSnap (take photos of your coupons and when you walk into a store for which you have a coupon, it alerts you); Shop Kick (alerts you when you walk into a participating store and gives you reward points, called ‘kicks’, just for doing so as well as for making purchases).

The meeting adjourned at noon.
Jerry Rokoff
Secretary

Minutes of the Computer & Technology Club Meeting – February 17, 2014

The meeting convened at 7:05 p.m. Sam Wexler, the club’s president, spoke about club events scheduled for the remainder of the 2013-2014 season. He then discussed the special pricing arrangement the club has with AUM Computers and asked that any member with an issue about the service they receive to contact him rather than AUM.

The featured speaker for the evening was Mr. Murji Rabadia, the owner of AUM. Mr. Rabadia’s presentation for the evening was entitled Repairing Your PC or Mac, and he proceeded to discuss ways to speed up the performance of a computer:

1. Have anti-virus software installed. He recommended such free programs as AVG or AVAST, or McAfee which is provided free with AT&T Uverse. An anti-virus program tags every file as either ‘clean’ or ‘dirty’. Actually, a computer will run slower with anti-virus software installed, but the benefit of it far outweighs this.

2. Make sure you have more than 15% space available on your hard drive. He said you might want to replace the hard drive even if it is not broken. They have a life span of 3 to 5 years and if it dies, you might lose all of your data. He recommended replacing it with a solid-state hard drive which has no moving parts and which runs 10 to 20 times faster.

3. Have at least 8 gigabytes of RAM installed. Random Access Memory is the working space of the computer, and it is used for organizing data. The more RAM the computer has, the less stress on the hard drive.

4. Protect your computer from malware. He recommended such free programs as Spybot and Malware Bytes. The free versions operate to remove malware if it finds its way into your computer. The paid versions of these programs constantly check for the existence of malware. The AUM website has the correct links to these programs. Most malware is targeted at the Internet Explorer web browser, so he recommends either Firefox or Google as browsers.

Mr. Rabadia then spoke about some related topics, such as the importance of backing-up data using tools such as an external hard drive, or remote back-up via the internet using Carbonite or Mozy. He mentioned CCleaner, a free program for removing junk such as cookies. He said that you do not need to defragment a hard drive if you have Windows 7 or later installed. He also recommended using a back-up power supply (UPS) to keep your computer running during a brief power failure and to ensure the computer shuts down properly. He said if you leave your computer in sleep mode, it uses only 10% of the electricity it would use while running normally.

The meeting adjourned at 8:30 p.m.
Jerry Rokoff
Secretary

Minutes of the Computer & Technology Club Meeting – January 20, 2014

The meeting convened at 7:15 p.m. because of the extra time needed to process the large number of attendees present for the raffle drawings to be held that evening.  After a 5-minute review of upcoming club events by Sam Wexler, the club’s president, the featured speakers for the evening, Christine and Jim Guld, were introduced.

The Gulds operate a business called Geeks on Tour, traveling the country in their recreational vehicle and giving computer-related seminars at RV gatherings. This was their fourth visit to the club, having previously presented Facebook, Smart Phones, and Picasa. Their presentation for this evening was Technology for Travelers.

The Gulds showed a video explaining their business and then proceeded to talk about technology-related tools to assist in planning and enriching travel experiences. They spoke of creating a blog as a journal of travel to preserve memories.  For that purpose, they recommended using blogger.com which is a free, user-friendly application owned by Google.

If you are traveling and can’t get a wi-fi connection to get on the internet, and if you have an Android smart phone, there is a free wi-fi hotspot feature on those phones you can use for this purpose. In effect, you would always have a portable wi-fi connection.

The Gulds spoke about planning for travel, including the use of Microsoft’s Streets & Trips app, Rand McNally’s Maps app, and the Google Maps app. With the Google Maps app, you can place a star on your home base location.  When you are ready to return, the app gives you directions from your current location back to your home base location.

The Gulds briefly discussed the use of Google’s Picasa program for creating picture albums, and its tagging feature to be able to create albums without duplicating the picture.

At 8:35 pm the raffle drawings were held and the lucky winners were
– Steve Goldberg – DGL headset
– Bob Lieber – Seagate External Hard Drive
– Sel Brown – Samsung HDTV
– Ruth Grening – Toshiba laptop
– Sheila Feingertz – Mini iPad
– Richard Anapolsky – Western Digital Exteral Hard Drive

The meeting adjourned at 8:45 p.m.
Jerry Rokoff
Secretary

Minutes of the Computer & Technology Club Meeting – December 16, 2013

The meeting convened at 7:10 pm. Sam Wexler spoke for five minutes about upcoming club events and then invited Joyce Saltman, a Valencia Falls resident, to speak about her recent personal experience with Identity theft.  Her husband had accepted a telephone solicitation to improve their computer’s speed and allowed the solicitor remote access to their computer.  As a result, that person accessed their banking information and proceeded to transfer their money to another account.

At 7:25 p.m., the featured speaker for the evening, Norbert (“Bob”) Gostischa, an IT security expert, was introduced. His presentation was entitled “Protecting Yourself, Your Computer and Your Identity”. Mr. Gostischa works for Avast!, a company which makes security software for computers and cell phones. Avast! security software is the most widely used in the world. There is a free version that excludes a firewall and anti-spam protection.  Mr. Gostischa’s presentation gave advice on how to protect yourself, your computer and your identity. Some of these were:

  • Don’t be click happy
  • Use complex passwords involving upper and lower case letters and numbers
  • Be very cautious before installing new software
  • Disconnect your back-up device when not in use, and back-up when not on-line
  • Let the mouse hover over a link to see where it will take you if you were to click on it
  • Your smart phone is a small computer, and it needs the same protection as your desktop or laptop computer. Android phones are favorites for malware developers.

He talked about five online practices that make you more vulnerable to Identity theft, and listed eight signs that someone may have stolen your identity. If your identity is stolen, he said that www.idtheftcenter.org will help you free of charge.

For instructions on how to install Avast! and remove your current antivirus program, go to Mr. Gostischa’s instructions:  http://goo.gl/7AhRh. To learn more about Avast! antivirus, go to  www.avast.com.

The formal part of the presentation concluded at 8:20 p.m. and was followed by a
Q&A session led by Mr. Gostischa.

The meeting adjourned at 8:30 p.m.
Jerry Rokoff,
Secretary

Minutes of the Computer & Technology Club Meeting – November 18, 2013

The meeting was called to order by Sam Wexler, the club’s president.  Sam showed a short YouTube film which highlighted ten areas in which there have been recent major technological advances.  Sam also discussed the various events on the club’s calendar through February, 2014.

Adrienne Bergen, a member of the club’s board of directors, introduced the featured speaker for the evening, Rosemary Mulero of the Lighthouse for the Blind of the Palm Beaches. Her presentation was entitled Assistive Technology for the Visually Impaired.

Ms. Mulero discussed the mission of her organization, which is to help blind or visually impaired people find solutions to the daily living problems caused by their lack of vision and thereby lead a more satisfying life. For example, how can a blind person tell the denomination of paper money? One solution would be to ask the bank teller or a store cashier giving change to fold each denomination a different way. Another solution is a device that scans the currency and a voice tells you the information.  Alternatively, smart phone apps are available that identify various denominations.  How can a blind person differentiate a product from a supermarket?  There is a device that scans bar codes and a voice announces the name of the product.

Ms. Mulero discussed a number of other amazing technological solutions for everyday problems encountered by blind people. For example, at the push of a button, talking clocks. Devices that can identify colors and announce them. Talking calculators, compasses, computer programs that read to the user what is on the screen. Devices that scan text and read the information to you.

Lastly, Ms. Mulero talked about the counseling services and support groups that her organization provides.

The meeting adjourned at 8:15 p.m.
Jerry Rokoff
Secretary

 

Minutes of the Computer & Technology Club Meeting – October 21, 2013

The meeting was called to order at 7:00 p.m. by Sam Wexler, the club’s president. Sam conducted the customary Q&A session and shared plans for the upcoming season. Sam  introduced Marti Decker, a new member to the Board of Directors, who explained her position as liaison to other VF clubs to support the new initiative offered by the Computer and Technology club to assist community clubs with any needed technical services.

Plans of three workshops for the new season, next on the agenda, were presented by the workshop leaders.  Eileen Lerner introduced a new workshop starting in November that targets Computer Newbies and focuses on everyday computer uses.  Adrienne Bergen presented a 6-class series focused on Photoshop Elements for the Digital Software workshops running from October through December, and Paul Hirschman assured the group that the iStuff workshop will continue to present new apps, accessories, and useful tips for all iDevices.

Ed Grumet, a favorite and a regular for opening the Computer and Technology Club season, presented his newest toys.  He explained and demonstrated a CamRanger that wirelessly tethers a Nikon or Canon DSLR with an iPad so the iPad can control the camera and serve as a viewfinder via the iPad or iPhone screen.  He also showed special camera lenses for iPhones that further enhance their remarkable photographic capabilities.

The meeting ended around 8:30pm, and Ed remained to allow attendees a closer look at his latest toys.
Eileen Lerner for Jerry Rokoff, Secretary

 

Minutes of the Computer & Technology Club Meeting – March 18, 2013

The meeting was called to order at 7:00 p.m. by Sam Wexler, the club’s president. Sam immediately initiated the customary Q&A session. In this instance, however, the questions were solely on the topic of automobiles and the responders were Earl Stewart, owner of Earl Stewart Toyota in North Palm Beach, and Rick Kearney, Master Diagnostic Technician at that dealership.

At 7:30 p.m., Messrs. Stewart and Kearney began their formal presentation for the evening: “Using Automotive Technology to Extend the Driving Life of Seniors”. They spoke about various active and passive safety systems, including pre-collision air bag systems, blind spot monitors, rear cross-traffic alerts, parking assist, dynamic laser cruise control, automatic high beams, lane keep assist, etc.

At 8:00 p.m. they completed their formal presentation and resumed the Q&A. Among the interesting pieces of information brought out during this period was the fact that the average dealer profit on a new car is $1,500.00. Also, the website “truecar.com” is an excellent place to find out whether there are any manufacturer’s incentives or dealer cash rebates being offered on a particular car at a given time.

The meeting adjourned at 8:35 p.m.
Jerry Rokoff,
 Secretary

 

Minutes of the Computer & Technology Club Meeting – February 18, 2013

The meeting was called to order at 7:10 p.m. by Sam Wexler, the club’s president.  Following a ten-minute Q&A session on computer-related topics, Sam briefly summarized the prior month’s club events. He then discussed the club’s scheduled activities for the next thirty days, the principal one of which is the 2013 FACUG Technology Camp at Club Med scheduled for February 25 to Feb. 28.

At 7:30 p.m., the featured speakers for the evening, Chris and Jim Guld of “Geeks on Tour” were introduced. Their topic was “Facebook – It’s Not Just For Kids”.

Chris handled most of the presentation, assisted by Jim. She said there are a billion people worldwide who have a profile on this social network site called Facebook. Essentially, Facebook is a communication tool for people to find and connect with old friends and for businesses, organizations, etc. to communicate with customers, fans and members. Some people use Facebook as their primary means of communication, rather than email. Facebook is also the most widely used photo sharing site in the world.

To use Facebook, you must sign up for an account (at www.facebook.com), and one person can have only one account. Chris recommended that you use a unique password so that no one can get onto your profile page (formerly called “Wall”, now called “Timeline”) and pretend they are you by posting things.

The Friend finder on Facebook accesses your list of contacts from your email and then checks to see if any of them are members on Facebook. It then asks you if you want to “Add As Friend”. You can also search for someone using the Search box. If you find someone you want to be your “Friend” you click on “Add As Friend”. However, being Friends on Facebook requires both parties to confirm the friendship. You can also “Unfriend” someone.

The whole purpose of Facebook is sharing with your friends. Your can write whatever you want on your Status Update and then you specify who you want to share it with.

The meeting adjourned at 9:05 p.m.
Jerry Rokoff,
 Secretary

 

Minutes of the Computer & Technology Club Meeting – January 21, 2013

The meeting convened at 7:00 p.m. Sam Wexler, the club’s president, skipped the usual opening Q&A session given the fact that there were two featured presentations to be given about “What‘s New, What‘s Hot“ in technology for 2013.

After discussing upcoming club events, he turned the meeting over to Eileen Lerner, a member of the club’s Board of Directors, who spoke briefly about her planned Facebook workshop.

The first speaker for the evening was Murji Rabadia, owner of AUM Computers. For the benefit of those who had missed his presentation in November, he discussed the key points he had made at that time about protecting your computer. He then spoke primarily about tablets (small portable computers without separate keyboards) and smart telephones.

The second speaker was Matthew Roller, general manager of the Sound Advice showroom on Yamato Road in Boca Raton. He discussed emerging technologies in television, which include “OLED” (Organic Light-Emitting Diode). This technology, yet to be mass-produced, has a very fast refresh rate, very low energy output, extremely low black levels, and the highest contrast available.

During and at the conclusion of the meeting, various valuable merchandise was awarded as prizes in raffle drawings. The following people won the top prizes: Marlene Stanton (Apple iPad mini grand prize), Jason Doskow (1TB hard drive), Jules Katz (750MB hard drive donated by AUM Computers), Claire Altman (64GB flash drive) and Florence Brown (64GB flash drive). Every other member household won either an eBook or a stylus whose retail value was $10 – $15 so every household was a winner.

The meeting adjourned at 8:40 p.m.
Jerry Rokoff,
 Secretary

 

Minutes of the Computer & Technology Club Meeting – December 17, 2012

The meeting was called to order at 7:08 p.m. by Sam Wexler, the club’s president. He immediately turned the meeting over to our featured speaker for the evening, Dean Hoffmann, to handle the Q&A segment. Mr. Hoffmann is a computer consultant who retired from the Motorola Corporation after 28 years of service.

During the Q&A he talked about AirPrint, a component of Apple’s iOS version 4.2 or later. AirPrint permits any i-device running that operating system to print via a wireless local area network (wi-fi) directly to any AirPrint-compatible printer. The i-device does not require the installation of printer-specific drivers. To print, just select the AirPrint-enabled printer.

At 7:25 p.m., Sam Wexler spoke about upcoming club events, and at 7:35 turned over the meeting to Mr. Hoffmann for his featured presentation entitled “iStuff Apps”. One of the apps he spoke about was Dragon Dictation, an easy-to-use voice recognition application powered by Dragon Naturally Speaking. This app allows the user to speak and instantly see the resulting text, which could be an email message. Dragon Dictation runs on iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch as long as iOS version 4.0 or later is installed.

The speaker continued to talk about a variety of topics including apps.

The meeting adjourned at 9:05 p.m. but the speaker continued to answer personal questions for the next half hour.
Jerry Rokoff,
 Secretary

 

Minutes of the Computer & Technology Club Meeting – November 19, 2012

The meeting was called to order at 7:05 p.m. by Sam Wexler, the club’s president. He immediately gave the microphone to the evening’s featured speaker, Mr. Murji Rabadia, to conduct the normal Q&A session. Mr. Rabadia is the owner of AUM Computers, located in the Oriole Plaza shopping center in Delray Beach. AUM provides computer repair services including virus removal, data recovery, server set-up, web design, as well as computer training. In response to a question about computer freeze-up, he explained that this usually occurs either when there are too many programs running in the background or the computer’s hard drive is wearing out.

From 7:30 to 7:40 p.m., Sam spoke about upcoming club events including the planned FACUG Technology Conference Cruise on Royal Caribbean’s Independence of the Seas in December, 2013.

At 7:40 p.m., Mr. Rabadia resumed the Q&A session, and he expressed his view that in the not-too-distant future voice recognition would become much more prevalent (as opposed to keyboarding or touch screen) as the means to interact with a computer.

At 7:50 p.m. he began his presentation of “Repairing Your PC or MAC”. He discussed the most common problems he encounters. The first was computer viruses, and he stressed the importance of having anti-virus software installed, like Norton or McAfee. The scanning algorithms inherent in this software keep the hard drive “clean”. The second was anti-malware software, and he recommended “malwarebytes” for which there is a free version. This software warns the user about dangerous websites. The third is a crashed or erased hard drive. He said that the motor in laptop computers has a relatively short life because it is frequently running while not on a flat and motionless surface. This puts a lot of stress on the spindle. He strongly recommends backing-up important files, either with a separate drive or using cloud services such as Mozy or Carbonite.

The meeting adjourned at 8:10 p.m.
Jerry Rokoff,
 Secretary

 

Minutes of the Computer & Technology Club Meeting – Octobrt 15, 2012

The meeting was called to order at 7:05 p.m. by Sam Wexler, the club’s president, and the customary general Q&A session followed, which lasted 20 minutes.

Adrienne Bergen, a member of the Board of Directors and president of the Photography Club, then spoke for 15 minutes about transferring pictures from a camera to a computer or an iPad, and about establishing a logical filing system so that any particular photograph can be easily located at a future date. She also demonstrated Picasa, a free application from Google, which is used for organizing and editing digital photos.

Eileen Lerner, another member of the club’s Board of Directors, spoke for 15 minutes about creating greeting cards on a computer. To illustrate, she made the events for the season in the form of a cards and gave them out to the attendees.

Paul Hirschman, another member of the club’s Board of Directors, spoke for 20 minutes about iPad and iPhone helpful hints. He talked about such things as city-specific applications, Kayak, Priceline, and a compass. He notified the group that the “iStuff” workshop’s first meeting of the new season would be on October 18.

At 8:15, Ed Grumet, a resident of Valencia Falls, showed a video about the Chevrolet Volt and then discussed the many technological advances included in the automobile. While the manufacturer suggests that a driver will average 35 miles on a full battery charge, his experience is about 45 miles. The ambient temperature and the use of air conditioning will affect this number. It takes about 13 kilowatts to fully charge the battery.

The meeting adjourned at 8:50 p.m. However, the audience was invited to go outside for a viewing of the Volt’s features and a demonstration of its extremely quiet ride.

Jerry Rokoff,
 Secretary

 

Minutes of the Computer & Technology Club Meeting – March 19, 2012

This unusual morning meeting was called to order at 10:00 a.m. by Sam Wexler, the Club’s president.

After the customary Q&A session, the featured speakers for the meeting, Chris and Jim Guld, were introduced. The Gulds operate a business called “Geeks on Tour”. They travel the country in their recreational vehicle providing seminars on computer topics to RV gatherings. They also have a subscription-based website containing more than 200 tutorial videos, primarily for travelers who take digital photos, use maps and want to stay connected using the internet. At last month’s meeting, they presented the Picassa program to the membership.

The topic for this morning’s meeting was “Outsmarting Your SmartPhone”, with a focus on Motorola’s Droid. Sub-topics included:

  • system settings,
  • saving the battery,
  • using wi-fi if you have a limited data plan,
  • the Facebook app,
  • voice recognition,
  • voice dictation,
  • Google navigation,
  • camera settings and
  • Swype app for ease of keyboarding.

The meeting adjourned at 11:35 a.m.
Jerry Rokoff,
 Secretary

 

Minutes of the Computer & Technology Club Meeting – February 20, 2012

The meeting was called to order promptly at 7:00 p.m. by Sam Wexler, the club’s president. He immediately began the usual Q&A session and followed that with an update on upcoming club events.

At 7:20 p.m., the featured presenters for the evening, Chris and Jim Guld, were introduced. The Gulds operate a business called “Geeks on Tour”. They travel the country in their recreational vehicle providing seminars on computer topics to RV gatherings. They also have a subscription-based website containing more than 200 tutorial videos, primarily for travelers who take digital photos, use maps and want to stay connected using the internet.

Their topic was “Picasa” (Version 3.9), a free program from Google for organizing and editing digital photographs. They discussed and demonstrated such actions as:

  • importing photos and video
  • adding captions to facilitate later locating particular photos
  • searching
  • editing photographs, including cropping, straightening, and retouching
  • creating collages
  • sharing photos on the web

The formal part of their presentation ended at 8:35 p.m., which was followed by a raffle drawing for a textbook about Picasa.

After an additional Q&A session conducted by the Gulds, the meeting was adjourned at 8:45 p.m.
Jerry Rokoff,
 Secretary

 

Minutes of the Computer & Technology Club Meeting – January 16, 2012

The meeting was called to order at 7:05 p.m. by Sam Wexler, the club’s president. To handle the customary Q&A session, he turned the meeting over to the two featured speakers for the evening, Brian Lusk and Jay Bryant from the Best Buy store in Boynton Beach. Mr. Lusk is a computer and tablet specialist at that store, and Mr. Bryant is the supervisor of the video gaming department there.

At 7:30 p.m., Sam Wexler spoke about upcoming club events, focusing particularly on the 4-day technology cruise aboard the Norwegian Sky scheduled for departure on Monday, January 23.

At 7:45 p.m., Sam turned the meeting back over to Messrs. Lusk & Bryant for the formal portion of their presentations on television and computer technology.

During and at the conclusion of the meeting, raffle drawings were held for about $1,500.00 worth of prizes. The lucky winners were:

  • Audrey Weissman: GPS
  • Avraham Horowitz: headphones
  • Ida Lesser: back-up drive
  • Sharlene Hoberman: BlueRay player
  • Marvin Leventhal: camera
  • Susan Van Ness: 32” television set

The meeting adjourned at 8:40 p.m.
Jerry Rokoff,
 Secretary

 

Minutes of the Computer & Technology Club Meeting – December 19, 2011

The meeting was called to order at 7:05 p.m. by Sam Wexler, the club’s president.

After the usual Q&A session, Sam devoted 15 minutes to discussing upcoming club events over the next 60 days, as well as the status of a planned technology symposium to be held at the Club Med Resort in Port St. Lucie, Florida, in late February, 2013.

This meeting’s theme was a tribute to the late Steve Jobs, former CEO of Apple Computer, whose vision and genius were behind such revolutionary products as the iPod, iPad and the iPhone. The featured speaker, Dean Hoffmann, is a Motorola Corporation retiree who is now a computer technology consultant.

Mr. Hoffmann devoted a considerable portion of his presentation to the iPad, demonstrating some of its key features. He spoke about iOS, Apple’s mobile operating system, which now has been extended to support other Apple products such as the iPod Touch and the iPad. The user interface of iOS is based on the concept of direct manipulation and is very fluid. He said that iPad can do anything that Kindle, Amazon’s e-book reader, can do and in addition be a fully functional internet device.

Mr. Hoffmann explained that the iPad’s setting of “airplane mode” disables the radio (cellphone). The farther away from a cell tower that the device is forces it to maximize its power output to find the nearest tower, creating a possible hazard to an airplane’s electronic navigation systems.

He said that with an iPad, you could do work on your home computer from anywhere in the world.

He also demonstrated and discussed a number of the features of the iPhone, and the audience was enthralled by what they heard. Sam noted during the meeting that he would consider establishing a separate special interest group (SIG) for this product but for the rest of this season, it will be combined with the iPad SIG.

Mr. Hoffman answered many questions about the iPhone, and the meeting was adjourned at 8:40 p.m.
Jerry Rokoff,
 Secretary

 

Minutes of the Computer & Technology Club Meeting – December 4, 2011

This special annual meeting devoted to medical technology was called to order at 7:30 p.m. by Sam Wexler, the club’s president.

After 15 minutes of discussion by Sam of upcoming club events, the evening’s speaker, Dr. Avraham Belizon, was introduced. Dr. Belizon was accompanied by Lisa Cook, Senior Marketing Manager, and Maria Rosario-Feliciano, Physician Liaison, all of whom are employed by Delray Medical Center. Dr. Belizon is a specialist in colorectal surgery, and his topic was “Robotic Medical Technology”.

He pointed out that the use of a laparoscope was the first revolution in minimally invasive surgery; i.e., surgery that requires smaller incisions, and therefore results in less pain, less loss of blood, less scarring, and a faster recovery. The next revolution, which has now arrived, is the use of robots.

Dr. Belizon uses the da Vinci Robotic Surgical System to perform a number of surgeries. This $1.8 million device eliminates hand tremor, is more precise, and provides superior visualization via 3D high definition. Moreover, it has three arms available for use by the surgeon. Dr. Belizon showed pictures of the machine and how it could perfectly peel a grape.

Dr. Belizon discussed colorectal surgery and hemorrhoid surgery in some depth.

The meeting was adjourned at 8:35 p.m.
Jerry Rokoff,
 Secretary

 

Minutes of the Computer & Technology Club Meeting – November 21, 2011

The meeting was called to order at 7:05 p.m. by Sam Wexler, the club’s president.

Sam initiated the customary Q&A session on any technology-related subject, which lasted ten minutes.

Sam then discussed the club’s planned events for the next 60 days, and also updated the audience on the status of the negotiations with Club Med for a technology conference to be held at that Port St. Lucie, Florida resort in late February, 2013.

At 7:30 p.m., the evening’s featured speaker, Mr. Joseph Scondotto, was introduced. Mr. Scondotto is an Assistant Vice President, and Manager of the TD Bank branch located at 4975 Linton Blvd. in Delray Beach. His topic was “Technology in the Banking Industry”.

Mr. Scondotto gave an audio-visual presentation/demonstration of TD Bank’s on-line banking system. There were numerous questions and comments from the audience regarding the various advantages and risks associated with banking on-line.

The meeting was adjourned at 8:00 p.m.
Jerry Rokoff,
 Secretary

 

Minutes of the Computer & Technology Club Meeting – October 17, 2011

This meeting, the inaugural one for the 2011/2012 season, was called to order at 7:05 p.m. Sam Wexler, the club’s president, immediately launched the customary Q&A session.

Beginning at 7:20 p.m., and for 15 minutes thereafter, Sam Wexler discussed various upcoming club events. He also discussed the possibility of a FACUG Technology Conference at a nearby Club Med Resort in Port St. Lucie located an hour from Valencia Falls.

At 7:35 p.m., Jerry Rokoff, the club’s secretary, introduced the first speaker for the evening, David Rubin, who operates a business called “The Computer Doctor”. David spoke for about 25 minutes on the topic of “Cloud Computing”. The “cloud” is really shared computing resources, including storage, computing power, applications and on- line meetings. The “cloud” is accessible by anything that has internet access. By using “cloud” resources, you never have to back-up anything, buy software and keep it up-to-date, or worry about malware protection. You can encrypt your data and password-protect it for additional privacy security.

At approximately 8:05 p.m., Ed Grumet, a resident of Valencia Falls and the “guru of technology toys“, gave a 20-minute presentation primarily on the Apple iPad 2, which he called the most exciting device he had ever used. It comes in 16GB, 32GB & 64GB versions, and you can use either its built-in touch keypad or a snap-on keyboard that doubles as a cover for the device. You can buy various accessories for this device at such websites as www.lightinthebox.com or www.miniinthe box.com.

Ed talked about using something called “Slingbox Pro HD” which, when connected to the Uverse box in your home, allows you to watch television programs with virtually any audio/video device via the internet wherever you are that has high speed internet access.

The final presenter for the evening was Adrienne Bergen, a member of the club’s Board of Directors. She presented various tips for camera users to attain quality photographs. Among her suggestions were to always set up for the largest file size, to set up the camera to meter or read the light, choosing “center weighted” or “spot” settings, and to only use “optical zoom”; turn off “digital zoom”.

The meeting adjourned at 8:40 p.m.
Jerry Rokoff,
 Secretary

 

Minutes of the Computer & Technology Club Meeting – March 21, 2011

The meeting convened at 7:00 p.m. and Sam Wexler, the club’s president, immediately initiated the customary Q&A session, which lasted 25 minutes. This was followed by a ten minute update on the 3rd FACUG Technology Conference Cruise planned for January, 2011.

Adrienne Bergen, a member of the club’s board of directors and president of the Photography Club, then discussed an interesting website (www.TeachParentsTech.org) which she had discovered, and gave an brief report on upcoming Photography Club events.

At 7:35 p.m., Jerry Rokoff, also a member of the club’s board of directors, introduced the featured speaker for the evening, Mr. Fred Perry. Mr. Perry is the vice-president of Computer Learning Centers, a non-profit organization funded by IBM Corporation, the goal of which is to get senior citizens interested in using computers. There are two such Centers, one in Delray Beach and the other in Boynton Beach. The title of his presentation was “The Future of Computing is in the Clouds”.

Mr. Perry defined the meaning of the term “cloud computing” as: using the Internet to get access to someone else’s available computing resources, whether for running computer applications (software), obtaining information, data storage or merely for raw computing power. He cited a number of examples of how technology has evolved and continues to evolve to where the “clouds” are the source for these resources. A clear example is the TurboTax income tax return preparation software. Today, one can just log on to TurboTax.com, input the information, and when finished, the details are saved for the next year. One does not have to download, install, upgrade or store anything on one’s personal computer. The personal computer, he said, is coming full circle, having started out as a “dumb terminal” (no processing capability), evolving to having significant intrinsic processing power, to then being like a NetBook. Another example of “cloud” resources he cited was WolframAlpha.com, a computational knowledge engine website (as distinguished from a search engine which merely looks for textual matches and then gives you a list of various links). On WolframAlpha.com, one can ask a question in plain language and it will be answered.

Mr. Perry briefly traced the history of a variety of technologies, including the evolution of dialed hard-wired telephones into cell phones and then into “smart“ phones.

The meeting adjourned at 8:45 p.m.
Jerry Rokoff,
 Secretary

 

Minutes of the Computer & Technology Club Meeting – February 21, 2011

The meeting was called to order at 7:00 p.m. by Sam Wexler, the club’s president. Sam immediately launched the regular Q & A session which lasted 15 minutes.

At 7:25 p.m., after discussing a number of the club’s future events, he turned the meeting over to the featured speaker for the evening, Norbert (Bob) Gostischa, whose topic was “Protecting Yourself & Your Identity Online”.

Mr. Gostischa works for a company called Avast Software, which is based in Prague, Czech Republic. Avast developed and markets an anti-virus computer program called “avast!“ and it has received awards for detecting 100% of “in the wild” viruses. There are two versions; viz. Avast Free and Avast Pro (the latter for businesses and others who want and are willing to pay for additional features). Mr. Gostischa said that avast! is updated approximately every four hours and a human voice tell you when that is done. It has a function that instantly checks for viruses in any links contained in e-mails. Norton has similar function.

Mr. Gostischa noted that before you install a new anti-virus program, you should (a)download the removal file specific to the currently installed anti-virus software and then, (b)execute that removal program. Using the appropriate removal program insures that everything associated with the currently installed anti-virus program is removed.

Bob told the audience that the latest virus being used will encrypt your data, and then send you a pop-up message saying that if you pay $xxx you will receive the key to decrypt your files. This is extortion and a matter for our federal law enforcement authorities.

The speaker noted that avast! has anti-malware and anti-rootkit capability. Malware is short for malicious software which can secretly access your computer system without your knowledge and consent. Rootkit software is similar to malware in that it masks ongoing intrusion by subverting standard operating system functionality.

The meeting adjourned at 8:45 p.m.
Jerry Rokoff,
 Secretary

 

Minutes of the Computer & Technology Club Meeting – January 17, 2011

The meeting convened at 7:05 p.m. Sam Wexler, the club’s president, immediately turned the meeting over to the three representatives from the Boynton Beach Best Buy store to conduct a Q&A session with the over ninety people in attendance.

At 7:20 p.m. Sam Wexler discussed the Club’s upcoming events.

At 7:35 p.m. the first raffle was conducted, and Peter Hoberman was the winner of a Garmin GPS.

Jerry Rokoff, the club’s secretary, then introduced the three representatives from Best Buy, who were: Michael Cunningham, Jared Normile, and Sophia Miles.

Mr. Cunningham spoke about the latest devices coming onto the market, and about his company’s “Buy Back” program if you purchase a new computer.

Mr. Normile spoke about various new communication devices. He discussed a new broadband card that enables you to connect to the internet without having to depend on wi-fi availability. He said that Verizon’s 4G is the fastest internet speed available. He also discussed Magic Jack for internet connection and unlimited calling.

At 8:20 p.m., the last three raffles were held, and the winners were:

  • Laser Printer – Arnold Yablin
  • Internet Radio – Paul Pollack
  • Lenovo Laptop Computer – Richard Shulman

The meeting adjourned at 8:30 p.m.
Jerry Rokoff,
 Secretary

 

Minutes of the Computer & Technology Club Meeting – December 20, 2010

The meeting was called to order at 7:05 p.m. by Sam Wexler, the club’s president.

Sam conducted a brief Q&A session, followed by a review of upcoming club events. He then asked Jerry Rokoff, the club’s secretary, to introduce the evening’s featured speaker, Mr. Ira Slakter.

Mr. Slaker retired from a career in broadcasting and advertising, having worked for major media companies such as ABC, NBC, CBS, and The Hearst Corporation in various sales, marketing and management positions. He also founded a boutique ad agency. After retiring in 2000, he joined the Office of the Attorney General of the State of Florida as a volunteer in the Seniors vs. Crime project.

Mr. Slakter described his role at Seniors vs. Crime as a negotiator, mediator, persuader, and facilitator in assisting elderly people who have been victimized or otherwise taken advantage of by businesses or service providers. His agency has no legal authority, and any case determined to involve a criminal offense is turned over to the proper law enforcement agency for prosecution. If his agency cannot resolve a civil matter by negotiation, mediation or persuasion, they will advise victims whether civil proceedings are necessary to obtain satisfactory resolution. Any senior who feels they have been wronged can call (561- 865-1571) or visit their Delray Beach office (at 15127 Jog Road, Suite 203 located near the corner of Jog Road and Atlantic Avenue).

Mr. Slakter discussed identity theft and the many preventive steps a consumer can take to protect their financial identity. For example, review your credit report and your credit card, telephone and bank statements for irregularities. Also, never give your Social Security number to anyone unless you are certain who you are dealing with. Be on the alert for phishing scams which try to entice you into revealing personal information such as bank account numbers, credit card numbers and passwords.

Ira also spoke about Medicare and Medicaid fraud and abuse, investment fraud, and deceptions such as the pigeon drop and the lottery scam.

Mr. Slakter’s presentation concluded at 7:50 p.m., after which he proceeded to answer questions from the audience.

The meeting adjourned at 8:00 p.m.
Jerry Rokoff,
 Secretary

 

Minutes of the Computer & Technology Club Meeting – November 15, 2010

The meeting convened at 7:05 p.m.

The customary Q&A was followed by a discussion by Sam Wexler, the club’s president, of planned future club events. He also announced the proposed 2012 FACUG Technology Conference Cruise which will sail from the Port Of Miami to the Bahamas and back on January 23-27, 2012 if there was a critical mass of interest.

At 7:25, the featured speaker for the evening, Mr. James Larson, was introduced. Mr. Larson is one of five librarians assigned to the Hagen Ranch Road Branch Library. That library is part of the Palm Beach County library system, which in turn is an agency of the Board of Palm Beach County Commissioners.

Mr. Larson proceeded to discuss of all the services available through the library, and he delved into each of the main categories; viz., activities, special events, technology, and special services. Of particular interest to the audience was the information resources available via the official library website, www.pbclibrary.org, and the range of computer and internet classes offered via the local branch.

A brochure entitled “Library Services A – Z”, and a sample monthly newsletter issued by the Palm Beach County Library System, entitled “Happenings” were distributed.

The meeting adjourned at 8:15 p.m.
Jerry Rokoff,
 Secretary

 

Minutes of the Computer & Technology Club Meeting – October 18, 2010

The meeting was convened at 7:05 p.m. by Sam Wexler, the club’s president.

Nick Gorrin, son of Lillian and the late Allan Gorrin of Valencia Falls, was the first of three scheduled speakers for the evening. Mr. Gorrin has a sideline business of helping people to get their computers to run properly. He spoke about the common problems he encounters when he is called to someone’s home. The number one problem is a computer infected by a virus.

The second presenter was Adrienne Bergen of Valencia Falls, a member of the Club’s Board of Directors and President of the Photography Club, who spoke about “Taking Your Camera Beyond Automatic – Why Bother?” Her presentation focused on how to take better pictures, and she explained many of the camera settings that can make this possible.

The last of the speakers was Jason Doskow of Valencia Falls, who discussed “Getting What You Really Need From Wireless Technology”. He discussed the trends he envisions; i.e., that more & more people will opt for the convenience of a single, easily portable device that provides most if not all of the communication, information and entertainment functions they want. He, together with Ed Grumet of Valencia Falls, then answered many questions about AT&T U-verse, which is being installed in the community.

The meeting adjourned at 8:50 p.m.
Sincerely,
Jerry Rokoff, Secretary

 

Minutes of the Computer & Technology Club Meeting – Monday, March 15, 2010

The meeting convened at 7:05 p.m.

Sam Wexler, the club’s president, briefly discussed the array of prizes worth a total value of over $500.00 to be raffled off during the evening, and then led the usual Q&A. Following that, he reviewed the club’s upcoming events, including the planned 2011 FACUG Technology Conference Mexico Cruise aboard the Royal Caribbean cruise line’s Radiance of the Seas on January 27-31, 2011.

At 7:25 p.m., he introduced the featured speaker for the evening, Susan Brown, a resident of Valencia Falls, whose topic was “From Hitler’s Germany to Valencia Falls with Some Help From Technology.” With the use of Skype for voice, and webcams for live video, her relatives in South America and in various parts of the U.S. participated in the presentation. Susan related her family’s life in Germany after World War I, its eventual emigration to Colombia, and their integration into its culture, commerce and climate. Lastly, she recounted how she eventually came to live in the U.S. Her presentation was enriched by many family photographs from different periods in her life.

The presentation concluded at 8:30 p.m., and was followed by the raffle drawings.
Jerry Rokoff,
 Secretary

 

Minutes of the Computer & Technology Club Meeting – Monday, February 15, 2010

The meeting convened at 7:10 p.m., to allow time for the overflow crowd to find a seat.

Sam Wexler, the Club’s President, conducted the customary Q & A session, and at 7:20 he asked Jerry Rokoff, the Club’s Secretary, to introduce the featured speakers for the evening‘s presentation of “The Hobby Show at Valencia Falls”. The speakers were:

Doug Christensen, former President of the Palm Beach County Remote Control Association, the largest such organization in the U.S. with over 500 members.

George & Carol Stein, owners of G&C Hobbies, “An Old Fashioned Hobby Shop”, located at 1228 Hypoluxo Road, Lantana, FL 33462, ¼ mile east of I-95. They were accompanied by their daughter, Debbie. George Stein is a lifelong hobbyist, and his love of hobbies led him and his wife to start this business that has continually grown in size since its inception over 25 years ago.

Mr. Christensen talked about all of the activities that the PBC Remote Control Association has at its West Delray Regional Park facility, located on Atlantic Avenue west of State Road 7 (U.S. 441). The facility has a paved airstrip, as well as a lake for remote-controlled power boats. He talked about the various types of technology used to operate and control the airplanes and boats. He launched several remote-controlled airplanes and helicopters through the air in the Social Hall, much to the delight of the audience.

With the aid of a projector, he demonstrated a flight simulation program that is used to train people to operate the remote controlled planes.

George and Carol Stein displayed and talked about other hobby items of interest to the members, including various kits to build models, and even a wood-engraving kit that was popular when most of us were teens.

The meeting adjourned at 8:30 p.m.
Jerry Rokoff,
 Secretary

 

Minutes of the Computer & Technology Club Meeting – Monday, January 18, 2010

Due to a stream of late arriving people who needed to be cleared and given raffle tickets, Sam Wexler, the club’s president, delayed the start of the meeting until 7:10 p.m.

Sam immediately turned the meeting over to Daniel Blucker, an employee of the Best Buy store in Boynton Beach, and a member of its “Geek Squad“, and opened the meeting to questions exclusively on computing to be directed to Daniel.

With regard to Windows 7, he said that it was easier to use than Vista. He recommended Smart Wave as an external hard drive. He said that if you are using Microsoft Office 2007 and you want to open a Word file created with an older version of Word, you need a “compatibility patch”. Microsoft introduced a new file format for Word in 2007.

At 7:30 p.m., Sam discussed the club’s upcoming events, including the 2010 FACUG Technology Conference Bahamas cruise on the Norwegian Sky at the end of February.

At 7:35 p.m., the first raffle drawing, for a subscription to Smart Computing Magazine, was held, and the winner was Diana Cohn.

At 7:40 p.m., Sam turned the meeting back over to Daniel, who then, assisted by Rhiana Van Doren from Best Buy, began a presentation on the latest technology in various categories of products, including televisions, DVD players, E-Readers such as Kindle, SLR cameras, Net Books, Windows 7 and Apple’s Snow Leopard.

At 8:20 p.m., the raffle drawing for the remaining prizes was held. The winner of the I-Pod was Shelly Zwiebel; the winner of the GPS was Claire Brookmyer; the winner of the device to help locate your car was Jerome Jainchill and the winner of the upgrade to Windows 7 was Ann Cyr.

At 8:30 p.m., the floor was opened to questions for Daniel and the meeting adjourned at 8:45 p.m.
Jerry Rokoff,
 Secretary

 

Minutes of the Computer & Technology Club Meeting – Monday, December 21, 2009

The meeting was called to order at 7:05 p.m. by Sam Wexler, the club’s president.

Sam immediately turned over the meeting to Adrienne Bergen, a member of the club’s Board of Directors to answer a pre-submitted question about saving pictures on a computer. That was followed by a ten-minute general Q&A session which is a regular feature of these meetings.

Sam Wexler discussed the club’s upcoming events and then again turned over the meeting to Adrienne who presented the website “myfloridalicense.com”, where you can investigate contractors, restaurants and other businesses to ensure they are reputable.

At 7:30 p.m., Sam introduced the featured speaker for the evening, Ryan Walker, who is the founder and president of Gazelle Interactive, LLC. The title of his presentation was “How Google Makes All That Money By Giving It Away Free”. Mr. Walker began his career working for a company that was bought out by Google, Inc. He later worked for Microsoft Corporation before leaving to establish his own company.

Gazelle Interactive provides internet-based marketing services such as web page design, branding, logo creation, and in particular, search engine optimization (driving internet search-related traffic to small and medium-sized businesses to increase their sales and leads).

Ryan talked extensively about Google Analytics, which is a free service Google provides that generates detailed statistics about the visitors to a particular website, such as the number of views of a specific page, the number of times a particular file has been downloaded, the number of sales leads generated, etc.

He also talked about Google Adwords, which is Google’s main advertising product and the primary source (95%) of its revenue. Adwords offers both pay-per-click (PPC) and site-targeted advertising for both text and banner ads. Under PPC, advertisers specify the words that should trigger their ads and the maximum they are willing to pay per click. When someone uses those key words with Google’s search engine, ads (a.k.a. “creatives”) associated with those words are shown as “sponsored links” on the right side and sometimes above the main search results. The order of those listings depends on how much advertisers bid and the “quality score” of all ads shown for a given search. The quality score in turn is calculated from such things as historical click-through rates, etc. as determined by Google.

With Adwords site-targeted advertising, advertisers can specify keywords, topics and demographic targeting preferences, and Google then places ads on what they see as relevant websites within their content network. Advertisers bid on either a cost-per-click (CPC) or a cost-per-impression (CPI) basis. An impression is a single appearance of an ad on a web page. Each time an ad loads onto a user’s screen, the ad server counts that as an impression. If someone clicks on an ad (clicks through), the next thing that appears is called a landing page.

The meeting concluded at 8:35 p.m.
Jerry Rokoff,
 Secretary

 

Minutes of the Computer & Technology Club Seventh Annual Brunch

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The doors opened to the approximately 123 members and guests at 10:00 a.m.

At 10:50 a.m., Sam Wexler, the club’s president, after a few introductory remarks, introduced the speaker for the event, Robert Fellman, Director of PC Professor Computer Service, Training & Support, with locations in Boca Raton and West Palm Beach.

Mr. Fellman discussed 23 separate intriguing and informative websites which he recommended. A few of them were:

  • Froogle.com (best price on various merchandise);
  • Zillow.com (find out the value of a property);
  • Zabasearch.com (find people) and
  • Missingmoney.com (find unclaimed funds).

The meeting and the brunch concluded at noon.
Jerry Rokoff,
 Secretary

 

Minutes of the Computer & Technology Club Annual Medical Technology Meeting

Sunday, December 6, 2009

The meeting convened at 7:35 p.m. After a brief discussion of upcoming events, Sam Wexler, the club’s president, turned the meeting over to Jerry Rokoff, the club’s secretary, to introduce the feature speaker, Dr. Gabriel E. Velazquez.

Dr. Velazquez is the academic director of the Rand Eye Institute. His responsibilities are to research and teach the latest advancements in refractive surgical techniques. Originally from Colombia, South America, he received his undergraduate degree in pre-med from Dartmouth College, and his doctorate in medicine from Valle University in Cali, Colombia. He did his residency at the Barraquer Institute of Ophthalmology in Bogota, Colombia. He joined the Rand Eye Institute in 1998, and quickly became one of this country’s leading specialists in laser vision correction. Since then, he has designed and continually improved an international education program aimed at increasing awareness and understanding of vision correction procedures. He has written and published many scientific papers on the subjects of cataract and refractive surgery techniques.

Dr. Velazquez discussed the anatomy of the eye, eye injuries and prevention, and various eye diseases and treatments.

Jerry Rokoff,
 Secretary

 

Minutes of the Computer & Technology Club Meeting – Monday, November 16, 2009

The meeting was called to order at 7:05 p.m. by Sam Wexler, the Club’s president.

After the customary Q&A session which lasted ten minutes, Sam reviewed the Club’s upcoming events for the next 60 days, including the 2010 FACUG Technology Cruise to the Bahamas.

At 7:20 p.m., he introduced the meeting’s featured presenter, Tim Beckwith, IT Manager for Palm Beach International Airport, whose presentation was entitled “The Technology of Palm Beach International Airport”. Accompanying Mr. Beckwith was Cassandra Davis, Manager, Noise Abatement & Community Affairs for Palm Beach International Airport.

Mr. Beckwith outlined four main areas in which computers are used at PBIA, and discussed each area in depth:  Security, Finance, Customer Service, Airport Administration

Security was the area that was discussed in the greatest detail. He talked about access control, fingerprinting, badging, no fly selectee, fire monitoring (smoke, water, air), camera live recording, parking systems, lighting and network monitoring, arrival & departure information, bag claim screens, and the communications center. Most of these control systems are running Windows XP. There are approximately 100 cameras running 24/7 at the airport. The most recent thirty days of video is retained. The communications center is manned 24/7. With regard to cyber threats, PBIA has isolated various systems, installed multiple firewalls, and has eliminated systems access from the internet.

At 8:10 p.m., Mr. Beckwith concluded his formal presentation and took questions from the audience for the next twenty minutes.

At 8:30 p.m., Adrienne Bergen, a member of the Club’s Board of Directors and its Liaison to the Valencia Falls Photography Club, discussed the website of the month, www.couponcabin.com, immediately after which the meeting was adjourned.

Jerry Rokoff,
 Secretary

 

Minutes of the Computer & Technology Club Meeting – Monday, April 20, 2009

The meeting was called to order at 7:05 p.m. by Sam Wexler, the club’s president.

Sam introduced Paul Hirshman, the newest member of the club’s board of directors.

Adrienne Bergen, also a board member, discussed the website “idrivesafely.com”, on which anyone can take a defensive driving course or a traffic school course online. If you are taking the course to save money on your automobile insurance, you can have your completion certificate on the day after you finish the course.

Richard Davidson, yet another board member, discussed the planned spring and fall courses in Excel that he will teach. These courses, given in one-hour segments over a six-week period, will use Excel for Dummies as the reference book. Assuming that at least 4 people sign-up to take the spring course, it will begin on Tuesday night, April 28, in the business center.

Sam Wexler then discussed the planned joint APCUG/FACUG cruise to the Bahamas from Friday, February 26 to Monday, March 1, 2010. He said that if you live in Valencia Falls you must be a member of the Valencia Falls Computer & Technology Club to participate. During the cruise, the joint organization’s 2010 technology conference will be held.

The price of the cruise will be very reasonable, and round-trip bus service is planned from Valencia Falls to and from the Miami port. The cruise line is Norwegian, and the ship is the Norwegian Sky.

At 7:40 p.m., Sam opened the floor to the customary Q&A session, and the meeting adjourned at 8:10 p.m.
Jerry Rokoff,
 Secretary

 

Minutes of the Computer & Technology Club Meeting – Monday, February 16, 2009

The meeting was called to order at 7:05 p.m. by Sam Wexler, the club’s president. Sam immediately began the usual Q&A session, followed by a short discussion of the club’s events for the remainder of the 2008/2009 season.

At 7:15 p.m., Adrienne Bergen, a member of the club’s board of directors, gave a brief talk about websites where you can view recent episodes of your favorite television programs you may have missed. Those websites are Fancast.com, Joost.com, and Hulu.com.

At 7:20 p.m., Jerry Rokoff, another member of the club’s board of directors, introduced the three representatives from Comcast Corporation, who were the evening’s featured speakers. They had come to talk to the club and to our community about their company’s offerings and plans for the future, including content, pricing and maintenance. These representatives were:

  • Steve Hirsch, Bulk Property Account Executive, who covers certain assigned large developments in Palm Beach County, including Valencia Falls
  • Andrew Bisaccia, also a Bulk Property Account Executive, responsible for certain other large developments in Palm Beach County
  • Santo Listro, Bulk Property Account Executive, who covers certain large apartment developments in Broward County

Comcast has provided cable service to Broward County for many years, and during that time has had employees assigned as Bulk Property Account Executives, covering large developments. Only within the past year, however, has Comcast created and filled similar positions for Palm Beach County. The position of Bulk Property Account Executive has two primary roles: (a) sell additional services and products to their assigned communities, and (b) act as a customer relations or goodwill representative to their assigned communities.

A video provided by Comcast was then shown, lasting approximately 6 minutes, which discussed the features of their three offerings: television, telephone, and internet service. Following that, Mr. Hirsch responded to numerous questions from the audience, members of which lined up near the front of the social hall to do so. Most questions pertained to service problems, particularly availability and reliability. On the matter of our community’s contract with Comcast, which expires within the next two years, Mr. Hirsch said that it is the responsibility of the Commercial Development department of Comcast to negotiate that.

The meeting adjourned at 8:20 p.m.; however, the speakers stayed to provide advice and offer assistance to homeowners who had special problems which they had been unable to get resolved with Comcast’s Customer Service department.

Jerry Rokoff,
 Secretary

 

Minutes of the Computer & Technology Club Meeting – Monday, January 19, 2009

The meeting was called to order at 7:10 p.m. by Sam Wexler, the club’s president. The delayed starting time was due to the need to distribute raffle tickets to the large turnout. Sam then turned the meeting over to the two featured presenters for the evening to handle the customary computing and technology-related Q&A.

Those presenters were: Shane Sandford, Customer Assistant Supervisor at the Best Buy Co. store in Boynton Beach and Kathryn Merlino, Customer Assistant at the same store.

At the conclusion of the Q&A (7:25 p.m.), Sam Wexler then updated the audience regarding the club’s planned events for the remainder of the season.

At 7:35 p.m., Sam conducted the first of three planned raffle drawings – this one for a free one-year subscription to Smart Computing magazine. The winner was Albert Blaize.

Adrienne Bergen, a member of the club’s board of directors, then discussed two websites of interest to the community. One was moneysavercouponsonline.com, where you can obtain free store coupons.

At 7:40 p.m., our featured presenters took over the meeting to talk about “Technology 2009: What’s New/What’s Hot?”

There was substantial discussion and interchange with the audience regarding LCD vs. plasma televisions. LCDs come in smaller screen sizes and are less affected by glare from ambient lighting. Plasma televisions have better, more natural color, and are faster to change color. The risk of burn-in (for plasma) or so-called pixel-lock (for LCD) is minimal.

The next major topic was Blu-Ray vs. HD DVDs. Blu-Ray is now the de facto standard, and actually can enhance images and deliver a true high-definition picture.

In connection with mobile telephones, it was noted that Best Buy now has its own line of phones, and you can also purchase the iPhone from them. It was also noted that air cards allow you to connect a laptop computer to the internet wherever you are.

With regard to digital cameras, new offerings include those that are waterproof, in case you want to take photographs underwater.

New GPS (global positioning system) products come with larger screens and have more features, such as voice prompts and voice recognition to tell the system what your destination is, rather than having to key in that information.

The last topic was PC versus MAC. MACs have a more user-friendly interface, less risk of viral infections, premium technology, and are less likely to need memory upgrades. Moreover, they are now capable of running windows applications as well. Their principal drawback is price.

At 8:15 p.m., the presenters conducted a general Q&A which lasted 15 minutes. This was followed by the final two raffle drawings. The first, for an iPod Shuffle, was won by David Nathan, and the second, for a Samsung 22-inch LCD TV, was won by Rhoda Jaslow.

The formal portion of the meeting concluded at 8:40 p.m. Mr. Sandford then demonstrated a future technology in television called Organic Light-Emitting Diode, which will deliver substantially better picture quality than today’s offerings.

Jerry Rokoff,
 Secretary

 

Minutes of the Computer & Technology Club Meeting – Monday, December 15, 2008

The meeting was called to order at 7:05 p.m. by Sam Wexler, the club’s president, who then initiated the customary Q & A session. This was followed by Sam reviewing the club’s planned activities for the next 30 days.

At 7:20 p.m. Sam introduced the featured speaker for the evening, Alan Rosen, owner of Sand & C Travel, a Boynton Beach travel agency which he operates with his wife Cathy. Sand & C Travel has been in operation for 15 years and is one of the largest independent full-service travel agencies in South Florida. His agency is a member of Vacation.com, the largest travel agency group in the U.S., which gives them access to special rates with hundreds of travel suppliers. His topic for the evening was “Travel 2009 & the Internet as your World Passport”.

Mr. Rosen first displayed and discussed the many features of his company’s website, “www.sandctravel.com”. He then discussed travel insurance and why he believes it is essential. He focused in particular on making sure the underwriter is reputable and financially strong, and on the need for substantial coverage for emergencies requiring medical evacuation.

He said that while you can use the Internet to book a trip and probably save 2 to 3%, if you are going to spend many thousands of dollars on that trip, it makes more sense to use the services of someone who has the knowledge and experience to ensure that your trip is thoroughly enjoyable and special.

He discussed fuel surcharges levied by cruise lines and the fact that all of the major lines have recently eliminated these surcharges because of the significant decline in the price of oil.

He talked about day trips or excursions while on a cruise, and the flexibility, scope and substantially lower price for taking such a trip with a private operator rather than with an operator sponsored by the cruise line. For example, if you don’t want to spend time in a particular place, you tell the driver and he takes you elsewhere. Mr. Rosen cautioned, however, that you should thoroughly check out the company beforehand, including whether they are a major company, licensed, and insured.

Also on the subject of cruises, he said that as a rule you should book early to get the cabin and dining time you want. Royal Caribbean & Celebrity Cruise Lines are the only two which give you price protection should a last-minute promotion be offered that you would otherwise have qualified for had you not booked early. In other words, they will give you the benefit of the reduced price.

At 7:40 p.m., Mr. Rosen concluded his formal presentation and opened the floor to questions.

The meeting adjourned at 8:20 p.m., but Mr. Rosen remained to answer additional questions.
Jerry Rokoff,
 Secretary

 

Minutes of the Computer & Technology Club Sixth Annual Brunch Meeting
Sunday, December 14, 2008

The doors opened at 8:45 a.m. and a delicious brunch catered by the Valencia Falls café operator ensued.

At 9:55 a.m., Sam Wexler, the club’s president, discussed the club’s upcoming events. He then announced that Richard Davidson has accepted an invitation to join the club’s board of directors as Education Director. Richard will be teaching classes on such applications as Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint.

At 10:10 a.m., Sam introduced the featured speaker for the meeting, Rob Fellman, a co- owner of PC Professor, a West Palm Beach-based business offering both computer training and service. The topic of his presentation was “PC vs. MAC”, and Mr. Fellman proceeded over the next 35 minutes to discuss the pros and cons of each.

Mr. Fellman’s key conclusions were:

  • Apple’s Mac computers have shown themselves to be superior in terms of reliability
  • Apple’s Mac computers come with faster processor chips
  • Apple’s Mac computers come with much larger RAM
  • Apple’s Mac computers come with far superior screen resolution
  • Apple’s Mac computers have a much lower risk of getting viruses because hackers are more likely to attack computers that are the biggest sellers (Apple has only about 8% market share)
  • PCs (by IBM and other manufacturers) are much lower in price, the reason being that they come with slower processing speed, smaller RAM, and less screen resolution (PCs cost one-half to one-third the price of a Mac).

At 10:45, Mr. Fellman opened the floor to questions.

The brunch meeting was adjourned at 11:00 a.m.
Jerry Rokoff,
 Secretary

 

Minutes of the Computer & Technology Club Special Meeting
Sunday, December 7, 2008

This special meeting on the topic of “Keeping Your Mind Sharp” was called to order at 7:35 p.m. on Sunday. Sam Wexler, the club’s president, introduced the evening’s speaker, Dr. Denise Sparks, a clinical psychologist and Director of the Louis & Anne Green Memory & Wellness Center at Florida Atlantic University. Dr. Sparks has a master’s degree from Columbia University, a Ph. D from Utah State University, and completed her internship at Tulane University Medical School.

Dr. Sparks was accompanied by and aided during her presentation by her assistant, Anna Lisa Curtis.

Dr. Sparks first defined a technical term that relates to the brain’s function, and to good brain health: “dendrites”, which are the branched projections of a neuron that conduct electrochemical stimulation received from other neural cells in the brain. Dendrites are vital to the communication of nerve cells from the brain to the rest of the body. Ideally, a human’s brain will continue to grow or the density of dendrites over the course of his or her life will decrease. In this case a dense brain is good.

She explained that as human’s age, the brain atrophies, the effect of which is a slowing of memory retention and a lengthening of the time it takes to process information. This is normal. Dementia refers to abnormal changes in the brain, i.e.; 2 or 3 of the following clinical symptoms: short-term memory loss, diminution of reasoning, judgment, language skills, and visual/spacial skills.

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia. At age 75, 15% of the population may expect to have Alzheimer’s, and at age 85, 35% to 50% may expect to have it. Plaques or tangles develop in the brain’s cells and cause them to die. While age is the number one risk factor, genetics also play a role.

Warning signs of dementia include:

  • short term memory loss
  • problems with abstract thinking
  • problems with language
  • changes in mood and behavior
  • disorientation as to time or place
  • loss of initiative
  • difficulty performing familiar tasks
  • changes in personality
  • poor or decreased judgment

What can you do to keep your mind sharp? Dr. Sparks listed the following:

  • support your diminished senses, e.g., wear your glasses and hearing aids
  • eliminate distractions
  • allow adequate time for whatever you need to do
  • use your optimum-functioning time of day to accomplish things; usually morning
  • drink decaffeinated coffee
  • control blood pressure, cholesterol
  • eat heart-healthy things, as these as also good for the brain; e.g., whole grains, anti- oxidants, fruits, vegetables, seeds, oils
  • exercise regularly – burning more calories increases blood flow to the brain; aids sleep
  • engage in cognitive stimulation, e.g., do puzzles, play different games, read the newspaper, study a language, pursue hobbies, be socially active
  • manage stress (some stress is good, as it helps us perform at peak); practice deep breathing, meditation, yoga

Dr. Sparks said that when you learn something new, you strengthen your dendrites and the density thereof to help develop a cognitive reserve.

At 8:30 p.m., Dr. Sparks concluded her formal presentation, which was followed by a ten-minute Q&A session.

The meeting was adjourned at 8:40 p.m., with Dr. Sparks remaining to answer questions.
Jerry Rokoff
, Secretary

 

Minutes of the Computer & Technology Club Meeting – Monday, November 17, 2008

The meeting was called to order at 7:00 p.m. by Sam Wexler, the club’s president. He immediately turned the meeting over to the evening’s featured speaker, Barry Schein, from the Ritz Camera store in Pompano Beack, Broward County to conduct the customary Q&A session. Since the evening’s featured presentation was “Making Pictures; Not Taking Pictures”, the Q&A, which lasted 20 minutes, was confined to the subject of photography.

Barry then turned the meeting back over to Sam, who proceeded to display and discuss an external floppy disk drive that allows a user to load 3 ½” floppy disks onto a computer that does not have a built-in drive for such storage media. The device sells for between $10 and $15, has more than 200 for sale on eBay alone and plugs into a USB port on the system unit or tower.

Over the next five minutes, Sam proceeded to provide an overview of the club’s events scheduled for the next month, including meetings, classes and the annual brunch. He also announced a new practice for the club; i.e., any former member of the VF HOA Board will be given a one-year free membership in the club for every 2-year term at they served in recognition of their service to the entire community.

Sam then turned the meeting over to Adrienne Bergen, the club’s Liaison to the VF Photography Club, who, for education purposes, defined the terms “macro” and “desaturation” for the audience. A “macro”, in a photography context, is a camera setting or a separate lens, which allows the camera to clearly photograph very small things. “Desaturation” refers to removing the color from a picture. Then, as a lead-in to the evening’s featured presentation by Mr. Schein, she displayed a number of photographs that illustrated a variety of poor picture-taking.

At 7:40 p.m., Mr. Schein began his presentation, which concentrated on basic things one should know about taking pictures.

He spoke about practicing taking pictures to make sure you are doing the correct things, before the time comes when you want to photograph important events.

He also noted how important it is to look through the view-finder to preview what the photograph will encompass.

He spoke about bright light coming from the background, and the technique of putting on the flash to balance the ambient light, foreground and background.

He talked about blurred pictures, and the need to increase the shutter speed.

Concerning saving pictures on your computer, he advised getting an external hard drive, but recommended never leaving that drive connected when you are not using it, for two reasons: (1) the risk of contamination from a computer virus, and (2) the risk of damage from a power surge.

Mr. Schein then answered a number of questions from the attendees.

The meeting was adjourned at 8:37 p.m.

Sincerely,
Jerry Rokoff, Secretary

 

 

Minutes of the Computer & Technology Club Meeting – Monday, October 20, 2008

The meeting was called to order at 7:08 p.m. by Sam Wexler, the club’s president. Sam made two announcements:

1. Fred Hirschman had been named as the liaison to MAC users, and by virtue of that appointment, had become a member of the club’s board of directors. This was particularly significant since 25% of users in Valencia Falls who responded to the September survey said they either use Macintosh computers today or will within the next 12 months (vs. 8% to 10% worldwide). Fred plans to send periodic e-mail bulletins to Mac users containing hints and tips, and other important information. To recive them, send Sam your e-mail address and he will make sure you are added to the distribution list.

2. This meeting was being broadcast (televised), live, to all residents of Valencia Falls anywhere in the world, via the internet. This was a precedent for any event ever held in the community. In addition to being broadcast, the video & audio was being archived for later viewing. The only requirement to receive the broadcast or view the archived event is high-speed internet service.

Instructions for receiving the broadcast had been disseminated to the community in advance. (Twelve people from Valencia Falls viewed the meeting live, some from as far away as 2,000 miles in Rhode Island.)

Sam introduced the two featured speakers for the evening: Earl Stewart, owner of the Earl Stewart Toyota dealership in North Palm Beach, which has one of the highest volume of sales of hybrids in the U.S. He is known as a maverick in the industry for his efforts advocating the elimination of the “dealer fee” as an unfair trade practice. The “dealer fee” is a hidden charge when you go to buy a car, usually disclosed only at the point when you are ready to sign for the purchase. Mr. Stewart has a weekly radio show providing advice about cars on Saturday mornings from 9 – 10 on AM 960. His wife, Nancy, Vice President of Special Projects at the dealership, accompanied him.

The second speaker was Rick Kearney, an expert in hybrid automotive technology and a Toyota Certified Master Diagnostic Technician, the highest level for such skills, at Earl Stewart’s dealership. Mr. Kearney instructs firefighters and first-responders to collisions how to handle the hybrids, as they present special challenges because their voltage can be lethal.

They each began discussing various automotive topics which were followed by Q & A. Mr. Kearney gave many examples of how computers can control much of a car’s operation, including in a collision whether or not to deploy airbags and at what force. During highway driving, lasers can sense the distance between your car and the one in front, and can adjust the interval to a desired setting. Pre-collision systems use sonar (radio waves) to alert the car to increase the tension of the seat belts and will deploy the air bags a millisecond sooner, which can reduce injuries. Rain-sensing windshield wipers start-up when light is refracted (bent) by a raindrop falling on a section of the windshield on which a camera is focused.

There was a lot of discussion regarding hybrids. The Toyota Prius runs on an electric motor at all times. It has a generator that will charge the battery while you drive. Its internal combustion engine is only there to produce electricity. In contrast, the Chevrolet Volt, to be introduced by General Motors in 2010, requires the owner to plug-in the car to an electric outlet to recharge the battery.

Mr. Kearney and Mr. Stewart talked about a variety of other subjects, including hydrogen-powered fuel cells, how to increase gas mileage, nitrogen gas in tires, and how, in perhaps ten years, using a variety of technology, cars will be able to drive themselves.

The meeting adjourned at 8:30 p.m.
Jerry Rokoff,
 Secretary

 

 

Minutes of the Computer Club Meeting – Monday, March 17, 2008

The meeting was called to order at 7:00 p.m. by Sam Wexler, the club’s president.

After a brief Q&A session, Sam announced that the club will change its name to the “Valencia Falls Computer & Technology Club”, effective in October when the new season begins.

Sam listed the remaining events for the 2007/2008 season, all of which are classes. He said that there will be informal meetings during the remainder of the spring and summer, on the third Monday of each month, merely providing a forum for members to gather and discuss any computer or technology-related topic.

He then demonstrated Skype, which, together with a connection to the Internet, allows anyone to call anywhere in the world at minimal or even no cost. The process for obtaining this capability is simple – you set up an account on Skype.com, which costs $15.00 for 5 months ($.10 per day) only if you wish to call a land-line phone and free if you go through Skype on another PC. You then download the free software and follow the directions. If someone you intend to call has Skype, the call will be free. There is an online directory of Skype users on that website. If both you and the person you are calling have an add-on camera plugged into the USB port, such as one from Logitech, or a built-in camera on the display, you can also see each other during the call.

Avram Horowitz, a Valencia Falls resident, discussed and demonstrated the website at Bridgebase.com, which is known as Bridge Base Online. Thousands of people around the world are playing bridge on this site at any point in time. There are players at all skill levels, and you can select the level at which you want to play. The site also contains a large library of information about playing bridge, from which someone can learn how to play. You must first choose an ID and a password, and then download the requisite software onto your computer.

Adrienne Bergen, another Valencia Falls resident, and a club board member, demonstrated Picasa, a program that allows you to easily and effectively crop, sharpen, brighten and otherwise enhance your computer-archived photographs.

Howard Gleichenhaus, also a Valencia Falls resident, demonstrated the power of Photoshop Elements, a more sophisticated program for editing photographs. He began with a photograph of a sports team from which one player’s picture had been omitted because the person was not available when the picture was taken. He was able to insert that person’s picture into the back row of the team’s photo by first extracting the picture of the person in front, inserting the missing person‘s picture, and then re-inserting the front person’s picture. The result was a “seamless“ integration.

The meeting adjourned at 8:55 p.m.
Jerry Rokoff,
 Secretary

 

Minutes of the Computer Club Meeting – Monday, February 18, 2008

The meeting was called to order at 7:00 p.m. by Sam Wexler, the club’s president. Following a 15-minute question and answer session, and a 10-minute review by Sam of upcoming club events, he introduced and turned the meeting over to the featured speaker for the evening, Ms. Lindsay Albers, Marketing Representative from Smart Computing magazine.

Lindsay proceeded to provide the audience with an outline of the main features of every issue of the magazine, which she pointed out is for computer users of all levels:

  • cover story
  • hardware and software reviews
  • Windows tips and tricks
  • quick studies (tutorials on various software applications, color-coded by skill level)
  • web tips
  • technical support, including FAQs and general information on trouble shooting.

She then discussed the smartcomputing.com website, which magazine subscribers can access. On that website, users can actually read four other publications in addition to Smart Computing, viz.,

  • PC Today (for information about laptops, PDAs, cell phones);
  • First Glimpse (for consumer electronics);
  • Reference Series and
  • Computer Power User (for the very technical).

There are over 29,000 articles on their website. In addition to these magazines, there is a Q&A Board, which is a 24/7 user-to-user facility to obtain answers to questions from other users. There is a Technical Support Center, which has the following reference features:

  • error messages
  • solutions knowledge base
  • basic troubleshooting
  • security and privacy
  • back-up and data recovery
  • preventive and regular maintenance
  • networking and communications
  • how to install somrthing
  • device driver education
  • computing dictionary and encyclopedia
  • manufacturing technical support index and
  • there is a free computer technical support hotline available to all subscribers, located in Nebraska.

In concluding her presentation, Lindsay said that subscriptions cost $29 for 1 year, $48 for 2 years and $64 for 3 years. A web-access-only 1-year subscription costs $17.

Sam Wexler conducted a raffle for various items donated by the magazine, including a free one-year subscription.

The meeting adjourned at 8:15 p.m., after which a number of members signed up for subscriptions.
Jerry Rokoff,
 Secretary

 

 

Minutes of the Computer Club Meeting – Monday, January 21, 2008

The meeting was called to order by Sam Wexler, the club’s president, at 7:05 p.m. For the customary Q&A session, Sam turned the meeting over to the two featured speakers for the evening, Shane Sandford and Nick Giacomino, both supervisors from the Best Buy store in Boynton Beach, Florida. Shane is currently the Magnolia home theater supervisor, and Nick is the computer supervisor. At Best Buy, supervisors have rotational assignments to various departments to gain expertise in many areas.

At the conclusion of the 20-minute Q&A period, Sam Wexler devoted 10 minutes to discussing upcoming club events. He then held the first of the evening’s raffle drawings, this time for a 1-year subscription to Smart Computing Magazine.

Sam then returned the microphone to Shane & Nick, who together gave a presentation on the most popular new products offered at their store.

On the topic of television, they talked about “D-Day”, or the day in February, 2009, when all broadcasters will switch from analog to digital signals. If you have at least basic cable service, you will be able to receive digital signals, regardless of the age of your TV set. If you use an antenna, you will need a coverter box to convert the signals back to analog. Regarding high-definition (HD) signals, to receive such broadcasts from other than the major networks, you need a set-top box.

Regarding video recording and playback, they discussed the differences, and the pros and cons, of Blu-ray and HD DVD, competing next-generation optical disk formats. Today’s DVDs only support standard definition (SD) video, and also have limited storage capacity. They rely on a red laser to read and write data. Blu-ray and HD DVD use a blue-violet laser which has a shorter wavelength and therefore can focus the laser spot with greater precision, producing greater resolution as well as storage capacity. Blu-ray has broad support from the major movie studios, as a successor to DVD format. HD DVD has far fewer supporters, so there will be far fewer companies providing players for this format.

They additionally discussed Skype, a voice-over internet protocol (VOIP) which enables you to talk to someone else who has Skype, anywhere in the world, free. Calling rates to talk, via Skype, to someone who is using either a cell phone or a land line are extremely low. Video is also available via Skype.

Other very popular items briefly mentioned were global positioning systems (GPS), WII interactive gaming, wireless networking, and MP3 players.

The last items on the evening’s agenda were the raffle drawings. Only new members of the club were eligible for the drawing to win an Apple IPod Nano. Continuing club members were eligible to win a Panasonic Lumix Digital Camera. Two members went home very happy with their prizes!

The meeting adjourned at 8:35 p.m.
Jerry Rokoff,
 Secretary

 

 

Minutes of the Computer Club Meeting – Monday, December 17, 2007

Sam Wexler, the club‘s president, called the meeting to order at 7:10 p.m. After a 10 minute Q&A session followed by a 10 minute review of upcoming club events, he introduced the featured speaker for the evening, Detective Cass Collins, assigned to the computer crimes unit of the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s office. He also introduced Cindy Marlow of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

Detective Collins, assisted by Ms. Marlow, then gave a presentation on “The Internet & Your Children”.

They pointed out that children are trusting, curious and eager to explore cyberspace, but there are sexual predators who try to use the internet to exploit children’s naivete. In fact, statistics show that one in five children is solicited online by such predators. Teenagers are particularly at risk because they are more likely to participate in online discussions regarding companionship, relationships and sexual activity. Also at high risk are those children who don’t have friends or who are alienated from their parents. These children use the internet to find the attention and relationships that they lack from elsewhere. Detective Collins talked about “grooming”, a term which refers to sending sexual material to children to make them feel that it is a normal thing.

Detective Collins talked about things that parents should do to prevent their children from being victimized by sexual predators:

  • locate the computer in a common room, not in the child’s bedroom
  • use a software application that restricts (blocks) access to inappropriate material. You can find a directory of these filtering programs at http://kids.getnetwise.org/tools.
  • monitor e-mails (netwire.org is an application that does this – you select the properties you want to know about), or share an e-mail account with your child
  • set up rules for your children as to which websites they can visit, and monitor the records thereof; set up rules as to who they can communicate with online, and how much time they can spend online
  • make sure that your child does not put his or her name, age, address, telephone number or photograph on the internet via, for example, a user profile, a blog

Detective Collins pointed out that it is a violation of a Florida statute to entice a child. In her work, she goes online in an undercover capacity, pretending to be a 13 to 15-year old girl, in an effort to catch sexual predators. The predator’s objective, she pointed out, is to entice the child to run away from home to have a sexual liaison.

The meeting adjourned at 8:45 p.m.
Jerry Rokoff,
 Secretary

 

 

Minutes of the Computer Club Brunch Meeting – Sunday, December 9, 2007

The 5th annual brunch began at 10:00 a.m. and there were approximately 100 club members in attendance.

At 10:50 a.m., Sam Wexler, the club’s president, began the formal part of the gathering by discussing upcoming club events as well as the process for obtaining the maximum number of free raffle tickets for the January 21 drawing to win a digital camera, an iPod and other prizes.

At 11:00 a.m., he introduced and turned the meeting over to Sophia Dang, a systems integrator with the Palm Beach County Information Systems Services Department. Her presentation was “Palm Beach County Online”, and her Powerpoint presentation was augmented by linking via laptop computer to the county’s website, pbcgov.com. She showed the audience how, from the pbcgov.com homepage, you can find information such as:

  • volunteer opportunities at approximately 20 different county organizations
  • how to check if a contractor has a valid license
  • how to check whether or not there have been complaints against a particular business, and the disposition of those complaints by the PBC Consumer Affairs Division
  • how to obtain a building permit
  • the property records of any county property owner, revealing market value, taxable value, taxes paid, historical sales prices, lot size, and even an aerial view of that property (with zoom capability)
  • bus or train schedules
  • a list of merchandise for sale at the County Gift Store, where you can buy, for example, clothing, umbrellas, and leatherette bags with the county logo

The meeting adjourned at 11:40 a.m.
Jerry Rokoff,
 Secretary

 

 

Minutes of the Computer Club Special Meeting – Thursday, December 6, 2007

The meeting was called to order at 7:05 p.m. by Sam Wexler, the club’s president, who spoke for 15 minutes about the nature and scope of the club’s activities. He explained that the club is really about technology, not just computing, and aims to keep its members informed about the latest advances in knowledge and how those advances have been applied to enrich our lives in such areas as communications, information and medicine.

He briefly turned the meeting over to Arlene Goldman, a VF resident, who spoke about the “Safe Return Program”, a topic very germane to the evening’s topic of dementia, and “Using Technology to Search for the Cure”.

Sam then introduced the featured speaker, Dr. Peter J. Holland, a prominent board-certified psychiatrist specializing in geriatrics. Dr. Holland has been in private practice in the Boca Raton area for mote than 25 years, and also runs a clinical trials program at Florida Atlantic University. He has been recognized by election to the “Best Doctors in America” and in 1996 was named a Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association. Dr. Holland’s primary areas of research are dementia, depression, anxiety and sleep disorders and headache/migraine problems.

Dr. Holland stated that the number one risk factor for Alzheimer’s Disease is age, because more and more people are living longer as a result of the development of drugs for other diseases that otherwise would have shortened life spans. He said that Alzheimer’s Disease usually manifests itself in both memory impairment and at least one of the following:

  • aphasia: diminution of the ability to use or comprehend words
  • apraxia: diminution of the ability to execute coordinated movements
  • agnosia: diminution of the ability to recognize familiar objects or stimuli

He talked about new technology that can detect the existence of Alzheimer’s Disease; i.e, a PET (Positron Emission Tomography) scan. This scan measures brain activity, and augments the information revealed by MRI and CT scans.

Dr. Holland noted that there are two causes of dementia:

  • Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Cardiovascular Disease, e.g., high blood pressure, blood flow

He spoke about the problems of side-effects of many medications, and how a skin patch would solve many of the gastrointestinal problems. In this regard, he discussed his clinical trials with the Exelon Patch for Alzheimer‘s patients.

Dr. Holland outlined his current study of agomelatine, a medication being investigated for its effectiveness, safety and tolerability in treating Depression. One of the keys points he made during the presentation was how important it is to detect dementia early, because there are drugs that can slow further brain cell damage.

Dr. Holland’s formal presentation ended at 8:10 p.m., and was followed by a Q&A session.

The meeting adjourned at 8:25 p.m.
Jerry Rokoff,
 Secretary

 

 

Minutes of the Computer Club Meeting – Monday, November 19, 2007

The meeting was called to order at 7:05 p.m. by Sam Wexler, the club’s president. After a 5-minute Q&A session, Sam discussed the results of the invitation-only mini- brunch held by the club on Sunday, Nov. 11. He stated that the brunch attendees were used as a “focus group” to either validate the club‘s direction, or suggest changes to make it better. One change they suggested was to have afternoon meetings, starting at 4:00 p.m. Accordingly, the club will experiment with that starting on February 12, a special meeting to talk about Apple MAC operating systems versus Windows. This meeting is directed at current Windows PC users who are considering going to a Mac but do not know what to do or even if they should do it. Sam then proceeded to review the highlights of the club’s planned meetings and functions for the remainder of the season.

At 7:25 p.m., he turned the meeting over to Elaine Cohen, a VF resident, for a 5-minute special presentation on the Hadassah-sponsored “Safe Return” program, under which people who are memory-impaired can receive identity bracelets in case they get lost.

Sam then introduced Dr. Steven Hacker, an area dermatologist who in 2004 founded a business called PassportMD. Dr. Hacker explained that his business was aimed at helping people better manage their healthcare, by creating an on-line repository of their medical records retrievable via password any time or any where. While this offering was originally conceived for people traveling, it has been expanded to include storing copies of living wills, and important files such as insurance policy information in case a fire, hurricane or other natural disaster strikes your home (a virtual safe deposit box).

PassportMD’s standard plan is free, enabling someone to create a Personal Health Record in PDF format containing medical records, etc. at no charge. Their premium package, $39.95 for a single user, further provides the ability to electronically request, receive and organize records from your physician. You just provide the contact information to PassportMD, and the authorization. You also get a subscription to the Harvard Health Letter, and you can authorize the system to call you at user-designated dates and times to remind you to take medications.

At the conclusion of Dr. Hacker’s presentation and the ensuing Q&A, a drawing was held for several 2008 calendars/planners.

The meeting adjourned at 8:20 p.m.
Jerry Rokoff,
 Secretary

 

 

Minutes of the Computer Club Meeting – Monday, October 15, 2007

The meeting began promptly at 7:00 p.m. with the club’s president, Sam Wexler, introducing David Rubin, an entrepreneur who lives in Polo Trace and who operates a computer repair business called “The Computer Doctor”. Sam turned the meeting over to Mr. Rubin to field questions from the audience during the customary question and answer session.

At 7:15 p.m., Sam discussed the club-related activities he had been involved in over the summer, and then briefly noted the major club events scheduled to take place over the next 90 days. There are over 40 planned events for the full fall/winter season of 2007/2008.

Dave Rubin began his prepared presentation at 7:30 p.m. The key points he made during his presentation were as follows:

There are things you can do to speed up your computer. If your hard drive (C drive) is 90% full, your computer’s speed is definitely being affected. 1. To remedy this, one thing you can do is disk cleanup. Via Control Panel, click on Programs—Accessories—System Tools—Disk Cleanup. Check the files you want to delete, such as Temporary Internet Files, the Recycle Bin, etc. If you have had your computer for years and have never purged these files, you will undoubtedly be stunned by their accumulated size. 
2. Another thing you can do is disk defragmentation. Files and programs are stored randomly on your hard drive. The process of defragmenting results in related files and frequently used programs being stored in places where they can be accessed faster. Once again, go through System Tools to accomplish this task.

The process of booting your computer is perhaps being slowed by programs that are activated during this process but which you do not need to be running. To identify such programs, he recommended an application called “Start-Up Cop” which is obtainable free from the Ziff-Davis website. This application will list all of the programs that start-up during your computer’s booting process, and when you click on a listed item, it will take you to a website that explains the function of that item. Once you identify those that should not be running during start-up, disable but do not delete them, as they may be important to the computer’s operation. Microsoft’s MS Config on XP also lists all of the programs which start-up during the booting process, but it does not provide a mechanism to explain what each does.

When available random access memory (RAM) is low, the computer uses the hard drive to swap information. You should add RAM if necessary, but you will have to open your system unit to do this. You can also replace your hard drive with one having larger capacity. You will need to transfer your data and programs, and Dave recommended either Acronis True Image, Norton Ghost, or Disk Image to accomplish this.

Anti-virus software can slow your computer so make sure it is configured properly by carefully answering the questions during the setup process. Such software checks your e-mail and files for viruses or worms. He cautioned never to have more than one anti-virus software installed on your computer.

The last subject Dave spoke about was Windows Vista. There are four editions: home basic, home premium, business, and ultimate. He recommended home premium for users such as those in the audience. While Vista has a more attractive interface than Windows XP, as well as more data security features and runs faster, there are no major breakthroughs, and upgrading to Vista brings with it major software and hardware issues.

The meeting adjourned at 8:20 p.m., after the audience almost unanimously raised their hand in response to Sam’s question: “how many of you learned at least one thing tonight?”

Jerry Rokoff,
 Secretary

 

 

Minutes of the Computer Club Meeting – Monday, April 16, 2007

The meeting convened at 7:05 p.m. with the customary Q&A session. The questions asked concerned VISTA (the new operating system from Microsoft), the pros and cons of turning off your computer when not using it and how to increase the speed of USB ports.

Sam Wexler, the Club’s president, briefly discussed the plans for various Club events. Although the Club will not meet during May, there will be regular monthly meetings thereafter for the rest of the year. He announced that the featured presentation for the Club’s premiere event of the year, the annual Brunch held on December 9th, will be “Palm Beach County Online”. The expectation is that everyone will be astounded by the nature and scope of the information captured on various county websites.

The evening’s featured presentation, “Internet Security in Plain English”, given by Sam, began at 7:30 p.m. He talked about how to protect against spyware, with software such as Spysweeper, Defender or Trend Micro. He discussed the dangers of spam, including viruses and phishing, and how to avoid and block such things. In case of theft of your laptop, he elaborated on ways to protect the personal information you might have stored thereon. An attendee mentioned that putting password protection into the “Bios” (basic Instruction set) of the computer prevents any unauthorized person from gaining access to the contents.

At the conclusion of his presentation, a raffle was held and several lucky attendees won thumb drives and Microsoft mouse pads.

The meeting adjourned at 8:30 p.m.
Jerry Rokoff,
 Secretary

 

 

Minutes of the Computer Club Meeting – Monday, March 19, 2007

The meeting convened at 7:05 p.m.

Sam Wexler, the Club’s President, moderated a 15-minute Q&A session.

Sam then proceeded to discuss various upcoming Club events, including classes for various levels of computer users, special interest group (SIG) meetings, and possible featured presentations for future regular meetings.

At 7:40 p.m., Sam turned the meeting over to Fred Hirschman, a resident of Valencia Falls. Fred’s topic was how to download music from iTunes. iTunes is a program from Apple Computer used for playing and organizing digital music and video files. Fred demonstrated the use of the program and how to purchase the music, and then answered questions from the audience.

At 8:00 p.m., after Fred’s presentation, Sam turned the meeting over to Howard Gleichenhaus, another Valencia Falls resident, who presented and demonstrated how to create professional-looking photo albums over the Internet. To demonstrate this, he showed the audience another application from Apple Computer, called iPhoto, which is designed to manage digital photographs and enable the user to create stylized, personalized albums with different themes. The user chooses the photographs to be included from his or her library of stored pictures. Howard concluded by responding to various questions from the audience. He pointed out that instead of using iPhoto, you could do the same thing using www.shutterfly.com.

At 8:25 p.m., Sam turned the meeting over to Adrienne Bergen, another Valencia Falls resident, whose topic was how to write stories for your grandchildren using images and words. She demonstrated this by using some pictures and cartoon images obtained from Google Images, as well as digitally-stored family photographs, and she showed how to tie all of this together with the word processing program from Microsoft.

At 8:45, Sam Wexler distributed raffle tickets to the audience, and drawings were held for various computer and computer-related merchandise.

The meeting adjourned at 8:55 p.m.
Jerry Rokoff,
 Secretary

 

 

Minutes of the Computer Club Meeting – Monday, February 19, 2007

The meeting convened at 7:05 p.m. Sam Wexler, the Club’s President, presided over a Q&A session on any computer-related topic of interest to the audience. He then reviewed the Club’s planned events over the next 60 days.

At 7:25 p.m., Sam turned the meeting over to Jerry Rokoff, who then introduced Claire Pickman, a travel agent who resides in Valencia Falls, as the first featured speaker on the evening’s topic of “Travel 2007 & the Internet as your World Passport”. Claire has been in the travel business for 29 years and is now a home-based agent affiliated with the Jerry Allen agency located in Aventura.

Claire discussed and demonstrated four websites that she favors for getting the lowest fares: www.epassengercare.net; www.airfarewatchdog.com; www.cruisecompare.com., and her favorite: www.farecompare.com. The latter sends alerts on lower fares that become available on pre-selected from/to pairs. In discussing travel insurance, she advised not to purchase it from the travel company itself but rather from an outside vendor. She said that Medicare will not cover visits to a cruise ship’s doctor. She also said that if you get sick in a foreign country, contact the U.S. embassy or consulate to obtain the names of English-speaking physicians.

Jerry then introduced the evening’s last featured speaker, Donna Perelman, who is also a travel agent residing in Valencia Falls. Donna began her career in the travel industry as a writer, and has been a travel agent for the past 17 years. She is presently an outside agent for Sea & Shore Travel of North Palm Beach, which specializes in cruises.

Donna distributed a one-page handout entitled “Checklist for Packing”, a very detailed list of things that travelers should take with them. She then explained the rationale for taking many of these items.

After Donna’ presentation, she and Claire formed a panel, and took questions from the audience for approximately 45 minutes. Questions covered virtually every facet of travel, including various types of vacations and destinations.

The meeting adjourned at 9:00 p.m.
Jerry Rokoff,
 Secretary

 

Minutes of the Computer Club Special Meeting – Thursday, February 15, 2007

The special meeting convened at 7:00 p.m. Sam Wexler briefly discussed some of the Club’s planned events over the next 60 days, and then explained the background for this special meeting. Several months ago, the Club’s membership indicated a desire to have a presentation on the features of Google which have been added to that search engine over the past year. Since the planning for the regular Club meetings through April, 2007, had already been finalized, this special Thursday night meeting was added.

Sam then introduced Rob Fellman, Director of PC Professor, a Boca Raton-based company which provides formal training in the use of computers, and turned the meeting over to him.

The Google Professor, as we call him, began by saying that Google is constantly evolving, and has increased its market share from 45% to nearly 60% in the past year.

Among the new features of Google he discussed were:

www.researchbuzz.org/wp/tools/cookin-with-google/ – If you have some food items in your refrigerator that you want to use, but you don’t know what to make with them, you go to this website, type in these items as ingredients, select from a drop-down list of various kinds of recipes, and it will give one or more recipes with those ingredients.

At the Google home page, it you type in a street address, including city and state, a map of that location and the surrounding area will appear. If you want directions to that address, type in the starting point address and it will give you those directions.

Also at the Google home page, if you merely type in a UPS or Fedex tracking number, it will tell you where you package is without going into the UPS or Fedex website. Similarly, if you merely type in the trading symbol for a stock, it will give you the latest price as well as a chart of that stock’s performance.

Google always has a lot of new features under development. If you want a “peek” at what they are working on, click on “More” on the far right side of Google’s home page, then click on “Even More”, and then click on “Labs”.

To search the world-wide web for proper names, he reminded everyone to surround those names with quotes. Furthermore, to refine those searches, he pointed out that you should use “Advanced Search”. Lastly, if you want a dictionary definition of a word, merely type: “define (word)”.

To get the best price that the world-wide web has to offer on an item, click on “More” on the far right side of the Google home page and select Froogle. You are now in Froogle.com. Type in the name of the product or item. Froogle.com has advanced options like sorting by vendor and price.

Finally, he refreshed our recollection of the website called “aneyeforaneye.com”. For this website, the login ID is “no”, and the password is “privacy”. Once you gain access, it will give you personal information about someone or some legal entity of your choosing. .

Prior to adjourning, Sam Wexler announced the winners of the Google stock price prediction contest. Third prize, 1% of the closing price of Google that day, $461.47 went to Mel Stark. Second prize,5% of the closing price of Google that day, went to Frances Schamarock. First prize, 10% of the closing price of Google that day, went to Mel Stark’s wife, Carole.

The meeting adjourned at 8:25 p.m.
Jerry Rokoff,
 Secretary

 

Minutes of the Computer Club Meeting – Monday, January 15, 2007

The meeting convened at 7:05 pm.  Sam Wexler, the Club’s President, immediately introduced the evening’s featured presenters – Bryan Cohane, General Sales Manager of the CompUSA store in Deerfield Beach, and senior employee of that store Michael Lahusky. He then turned the meeting over to them to handle the customary Q & A period.

At 7:30 p.m., Sam briefly spoke about upcoming Club events, including meetings, classes and the Google price contest with cash prizes. Two application programs donated by CompUSA, Turbotax Deluxe and Microsoft OneCare, were then respectively awarded to two raffle drawing winners.

At 7:45 p.m., Sam turned the meeting back over to the featured speakers, who then took turns discussing a variety of topics including:

  • iPhones, a new product soon to be introduced by Apple
  • ipods
  • ITV, another new product soon to be released for sale by Apple
  • Thumb drives with Skype
  • Microsoft OneCare (which provides automatic services such as backup, on a predefined user schedule).
  • VISTA, the new operating system from Microsoft to be released on January 30. This new system marks the biggest change by Microsoft since Windows 95. It was recommended that users wishing to acquire VISTA first obtain Windows VISTA Adviser which will diagnose your system and tell you what software you need to change to be able to install and use the new operating system.

At the conclusion of their presentation/discussion, Mr. Cohane announced that if anyone from Valencia Falls wants to purchase something from CompUSA’s Deerfield Beach store, the store will give that person the corporate discounted price on any non- sale-priced item. Just go to the service desk and inform the employee that you are a Valencia Falls resident.

At 8:35 p.m., the final raffle drawings began, with Turbotax Federal & State and another copy of Microsoft OneCare being given out.

With the large audience eagerly awaiting the raffle for the $950 HP laptop computer, the drawing was held and the lucky winner claimed her prize.

The meeting adjourned at 8:45 p.m.
Jerry Rokoff,
 Secretary

 

 

Minutes of the Computer Club Meeting – Monday, December 18, 2006

The meeting convened at 7:05 p.m. After a 20-minute question and answer period, and a 10-minute preview of upcoming Club events by Sam Wexler, the Club’s President, Sam introduced the featured speaker for the evening, Philip Nadel. Mr. Nadel is the chief executive officer of GulfstreamInternet.com, a Boca Raton-based Internet conglomerate.

Mr. Nadel began his career in a family-owned business of marketing via direct mail. In 1999, eight years after that business was sold, he started a new business of direct response marketing via the Internet. His business model included three main elements:

  • It should offer free items to consumers
  • It should be advertising-supported
  • It should have some kind of rewards program, like a frequent flyer program, but with instant “gratification”

His initial offering was called “Phonehog.com. Originally targeted at college students, it offers free long-distance telephone time in exchange for subscribers to the website taking some action with respect to the advertisers, such as subscribing to a periodical, joining something, entering a sweepstakes, or buying merchandise. This is the modus operandi for all of the conglomerate’s web sites. Members of Phonehog.com receive phone cards and depending on what actions they take, get commensurate rewards in the form of free minutes added to their card. Today, this website has over 6 million members, with the demographics being predominantly people over 60 as well as college students. The fact that many cell phone calling plans now offer unlimited usage is clearly a challenge to the future success of this website, according to him.

His second website offering was and still is MPFree.com. This website offers free music downloads from ITunes, which is owned by Apple Computer, in exchange for its subscribers taking some actions with respect to its advertisers, just as with Phonehog.com.

The company’s third website is IPodSweepstakes.com. Its premise is for subscribers to earn points towards winning a free IPod. Since its inception, they have given away between 6 and 8 thousand IPods.

The fourth website in the conglomerate’s portfolio is called SatelliteSweeps.com. The model is the same as the others, but the “prize” is a free radio receiver for Sirius or XM Satellite Radio transmissions.

Their fifth website offering is called 100tunes.com. Every day they give away 100 free music downloads to one lucky person.

The last of their websites is called CellRewards.com, where subscribers can win free ring tones for cell phones (to identify each caller with a unique tune), as well as games and entertainment for these devices.

Mr. Nadel explained that his advertisers (over 150 of them) have agreed not to sell or distribute the e-mail address of any of his sites’ subscribers. Furthermore, when you subscribe to one of his company’s sites, it is “double opt-in”, meaning that you must confirm that you have joined. He does not want anyone to receive e-mails from his advertisers if they do not definitely want them. You can easily unsubscribe to any of his sites, and when you do, you will not receive any further solicitations.

Mr. Nadel wants to begin marketing direct to cell phone users, via text messaging, instead of via e-mail, because the latter either might be inadvertently deleted by a spam blocker or it might be deleted by the addressee without reading it. He said that many calling plans include receiving a certain amount of free text messages each month, and he wants to capitalize on that.

GulfstreamInternet.com advertises its websites on Google and Yahoo, for example. Every time someone clicks through to one of their sites, Gulfstream pays.

He suggested that in general, when you subscribe to various sites, (not his), you use a second e-mail address which you can get from hotmail or gmail, for example. That way any spam would be delivered to your alternate e-mail address.

As far as future challenges to the success of his business are concerned, there is always new competition, as barriers to entry are low. Furthermore, there is the challenge of new technology. For example, when Microsoft came out with Zune, there was a concern that its music format was incompatible with his MPFree.com software.

The meeting adjourned at 8:25 p.m.
Jerry Rokoff,
 Secretary

 

Minutes of the Computer Club Brunch Meeting – Sunday, December 10, 2006

The Club‘s “signature” event of the year, a sold-out buffet brunch coupled with an outside speaker, was held on Sunday morning, December 10, beginning at 10:00 a.m. After the meal, at approximately 11:00 a.m., Sam Wexler, the Club’s President, introduced the featured speaker, Rob Fellman, one of the owners of PC Professor, a company which provides training in the use of various computer applications.

Mr. Fellman’s presentation was entitled “Free Merchandise via the Internet”. He first cautioned that while there are many websites which offer free merchandise, many of those sites want your personal information, such as your income, your interests, your spending habits, information about your mortgage, your cars, etc., so they can sell that information. He suggested several things in this regard:

  • Set up a separate e-mail account, such as gmail from Google, to prevent receiving spam at your regular e- mail address,
  • use an alias and
  • don’t give your real home address unless you must.

He advised to stay away from offers that seem too good to be true. He also cautioned that while websites such as OnlineRewardCenter.com and ProductTestPanel.com are legitimate, they are impossible to reach by telephone, so if you have filled out surveys or tested products in the expectation that you will receive a product as a reward for your efforts, and you never received it, you might be out of luck.

The websites he mentioned where you can obtain free things were:

  • Download.com. You can get free software (such as AVG for virus protection, SpySweeper for spyware protection) and free training. This is a very reputable site and you should not get a virus from any downloads.
  • Coolsavings.com. You can get free coupons, samples, promotions.
  • Royalsweeps.com offers gift certificates if you fill out lots of surveys.
  • Verybestcoffee.com offers certificates for free coffee if you fill out surveys.
  • AnEyeForAnEye.com. This website allows you to search public records within the State of Florida, such as information from the various county clerks; e.g., complaints about contractors, court records, etc. Use Username: No and Password: Privacy to gain access.
  • Findcash.com. The website can tell you whether you, a family member or relative has unclaimed money or property anywhere in the U.S. that can be recovered. Use Login: 1234 and Password: 4321. Click on “Paid Member”, as the website is prohibited from charging a membership fee.

The presentation and the event itself concluded at 12:30 p.m.
Jerry Rokoff,
 Secretary

 

Minutes of the Computer Club Meeting – Monday, November 20, 2006

The meeting convened at 7:10 p.m.

Sam Wexler, the Club’s President, opened the floor for a 15-minute Q & A session on any computing-related topic.

Sam then reviewed some of the highlights of upcoming Club events over the next 90 days, such as the annual brunch scheduled for Sunday, December 10; the regular December meeting on Monday, December 18, at which we will get an entrepreneur’s insights into the inner workings of a highly successful internet-based business; and the regular January meeting on Monday, January 15, at which representatives from CompUSA will update us on the latest computer products, and at which a new laptop computer will be raffled off.

Our featured presentation for the evening, “Running Windows Programs on a Mac”, was shared by Barry Lukoff and Scott MacDonald, senior employees of the Apple Store at the Wellington Green Mall:

Mr. Lukoff discussed how Apple has always been an innovator in computing. For example, they were first with the mouse, first with the 3 ½ inch floppy disk, first with a built-in CD drive.

The currrent operating system on the Mac is OS X (Ten), now up to Version 4.0, known as Tiger. Version 5.0, code named Leopard, will be released in the spring of 2007 and is expected to be an upgrade for $129.00. It will include such new features as iChat for video chatting, and Time Machine for finding and restoring lost files.

The advantages of Mac, as listed by Mr. Lukoff, are:

  1. ease of use
  2. elegance of hardware (no tower, everything is built into the monitor)
  3. expandability
  4. horsepower (now uses Intel Core 2 Duo, Intel’s fastest available chip)
  5. reliability
  6. security (built on the Unix operating system, applications cannot modify the operating system’s files without the user’s permission)
  7. the included software, such as iPhoto, iVideo
  8. backwards compatibility

Mr. MacDonald discussed the ability to run Windows XP on a Mac. Windows runs the same way as it does on a PC. You can boot Windows from the start, or in parallel with Mac OS X. It is particularly advantageous to have Windows on Mac because if someone sends you a Windows file, e.g., an Excel (.xls) file, some of the formatting may not “translate” to the Apple’s equivalent program.

The advantages of buying at an Apple Store are: free workshops and classes, in- house repairs, genius bar, talk Mac, and Pro Care ($99).

At the conclusion of the meeting, an Apple iPod, donated by the Apple Store in Wellington Green, was raffled off to a lucky member of the Club in attendance.

The meeting adjourned at 9:15 p.m.
Jerry Rokoff, Secretary

 

Minutes of the Computer Club Meeting – Monday, October 16, 2006


Since October was designated as National Cyber Security Awareness Month, the Computer Club’s new season started with Ian Katz, business writer for the Sun-Sentinel presenting True Stories from the Shady Side of Technology. Everybody knows that schemes such as identity theft and phishing, which are designed to ‘relieve’ us of our assets, are part of a major growth industry known as fraud. However, most people still refuse to believe that it could happen to them. Ian Katz related to us a series of true stories about these crimes whose victims may have been our family members, our friends or our neighbors. The opening of our new season was a revealing and riveting presentation that should encourage and guide us to take the necessary steps to avoid becoming victims ourselves. At the conclusion, the speaker was available to answer questions. Prior to the main presentation there was be our usual Q&A session where several in the room asked computer-related questions thst were answered. This was be followed by mini-updates on Digital Photography, eBay, Genealogy and information on future classes.

The meeting adjourned at 8:30 p.m.
Sam Wexler for Jerry Rokoff
, Secretary

 

Minutes of the Computer Club Meeting – Monday, April 17, 2006


The meeting convened at 7:05 p.m.  Sam Wexler, the Club’s President, presided over a 20-minute Q&A session on any computing-related topic. He then briefed the members in attendance on the Club’s many interesting and informative topics for meetings, classes and special interest groups planned for the remainder of 2006 and into early 2007.

Sam was the evening’s featured speaker, and his subject was “Phishing & Other Web Scams”. He categorized web scams into four categories:

Hoaxes: for example, phony giveaways, people in need (with fake photos as “proof”)

Spam: you can avoid receiving this “junk” mail by using filters. He cautioned that you should never respond to these e-mails, because it validates your address to the sender.

“The 419” or “Nigerian Scam”: this scam involves someone asking you to send money for some purpose, and promises you’ll get more in return.

Phishing: this scam involves tricking you into divulging confidential information such as a PIN, a password, your Social Security number, or a credit card number. It works like this: you receive an e-mail that appears to be from a legitimate source, like a well-known, respected company which you may have done business with in the past. The e-mail’s sender asks you to click on an embedded link to their website, where you are prompted to provide information of the types listed above to properly identify yourself for some false purpose. 
Sam recommends that before you click on such a link, place the cursor over that link to see where it really will take you. Then independently determine whether that link matches the real web address for that company. He also recommends that you look for suspicious signs that the e-mail might be a scam, such as the “from” address, spelling and grammatical errors, and whether or not it is addressed impersonally rather than to your name. 
Finally, he advises that you use common sense before providing personal information; e.g., ask yourself if you have an account with the company or if you are involved with the organization which purports to be the sender of the e-mail.

The meeting adjourned at 8:10 p.m.
Jerry Rokoff
, Secretary

 

Minutes of the Computer Club Meeting – Monday, March 20, 2006


The meeting convened at 7:05 p.m.  Sam Wexler, the Club’s President, presided over a ten-minute question and answer session on any computing-related subject.

Sam reviewed the Club’s planned program (meetings and classes) for the remainder of the year, and into early 2007. He announced that there will be informal gatherings (no speakers) for the May and June meetings, and that the Club subsequently would go on hiatus until October.

Sam then introduced the featured speaker for the evening, Gene Barlow, as well as his wife, Linda. Mr. Barlow heads a consulting firm, User Group Relations, based in St. George, Utah, and travels around the U.S. meeting with over 100 user groups per year. Early in his career he was President of the Apple Computing User Group. He worked for IBM Corporation for 34 years and was on the team, based in Delray Beach (corner of Linton and Congress) which developed the IBM Personal Computer. Today he represents eight vendors and eighteen products, and publishes a monthly newsletter which is free to user group members.

The first segment of Mr. Barlow’s presentation focused on internet security. He pointed out that when you are connected to the internet, everyone on the internet is connected to you. He recommended four things:

  • virus protection – you need anti-virus software which frequently updates its definitions to thwart the constant barrage of new threats being released
  • spyware/hacker protection, against such things as key logger tools
  • firewall – (Windows XP includes a firewall to prevent hackers from getting into your computer, but you need a bi-directional firewall to prevent hackers who do gain access to your computer from using it to transmit)
  • software/security patches – you should frequently go onto Microsoft’s website, under security patches, and download the latest protections

He stated that products which address these security threats fall into three categories:

  • free – these offer minimum protection, are usually in the beta test stage, have a minimal list of definitions which are updated infrequently, and are intended to promote a fee offering.
  • end user products – these are fee offerings that provide good protection
  • enterprise products – these products are for businesses, and provide excellent protection. Norton has an enterprise version of its anti-virus software.

Mr. Barlow then demonstrated and discussed several of the products he sells, including Acronis Privacy Expert Suite for spyware/hacker protection, and WhiteCanyon MySecurityVault Pro for finding and eliminating unprotected personal data, and for protecting passwords. 
The second segment of Mr. Barlow’s presentation covered backing-up your computer, in case the hard drive fails for some reason. He recommended two things:

  • an external hard drive, which costs in the range of $60 to $100, to back-up everything, including your operating system.
  • utility software, such as Acronis True Image, which not only backs-up each partition separately and compresses the data, but has an “incremental” feature which stores only the changes made since the last time you backed-up your data. While you can back-up without the utility software, these features clearly provide added value.

 

A raffle was held and one lucky member won a copy of MySecurityVault Pro.

The meeting adjourned at 8:45 p.m. At a table in the rear of the room, Linda Barlow took orders from a number of members for various of the software they sell. Many took advantage of the special package deal consisting of Acronis True Image, Acronis Privacy Expert Suite, and WhiteCanyon MySecurityVault Pro, which together list for $105.00, but as a package sold for $59.00. To order any of these products at special user group prices, you can go to www.usergroupstore.com, which is a secure site.

Jerry Rokoff
, Secretary

 

Minutes of the Computer Club Meeting – Monday, February 20, 2006


Sam Wexler, the Club’s President, called the meeting to order at 7:05 p.m. Every attendee received a package containing the March, 2006 issue of Smart Computing magazine as well as a guide to their website, www.smartcomputing.com.

First, he introduced the evening’s guest speakers, Jen Clausen and Ashley Finter, employees of that magazine. Jen is a User Group Representative and Ashley is a Copy Editor, and both are based in Lincoln, Nebraska, where their company has its headquarters. Jen’s job is to travel around the United States, speaking to groups of subscribers and potential subscribers.

Before turning the meeting over to them, Sam led the customary Q&A session, which lasted ten minutes, and then proceeded to discuss many of the Club’s planned events for the next twelve months.

Jen Clausen then presented an overview of everything Smart Computing magazine has to offer. The combination of this monthly periodical and their website, which they call “The Ultimate Computing Resource”, delivers one of the most comprehensive packages of information and resources in the industry for the benefit of computer users.

A. The magazine – She listed some of the highlights, viz: monthly cover story; “Software Reviews”; “Windows Tips & Tricks”; “Quick Studies”, which are articles color coded to denote suitability for different user skill levels; “Plugged In”, which are articles about different internet websites to visit; “Tech Support”, which includes sections on “What To Do When”, “Fast Fixes”, “Q&A/FAQs”, and “Action Editor” if you need help.

B. The website – you must be a subscriber to the magazine to access most of the information contained therein, which includes over 25,000 articles from various sister publications. There is a search engine to aid in quickly finding what you are looking for. When you find it, you can save it in a folder; i.e., create a personal library on their server. There is a Q&A Board where you can post a question and get an answer from another subscriber, and you can enter a key word to find out if a particular question has ever been answered. There is also a directory of the best websites by category, and a computing dictionary & encyclopedia.

In summary, she listed the top ten reasons why someone should subscribe to Smart Computing:

  • 10. Risk-free subscription – if you are not satisfied, you can get a refund for the remaining months.
  • 9. The magazine will not release any information about their subscribers – a strict policy of privacy.
  • 8. Very restricted advertising – only ten pages per issue.
  • 7. The user group program
  • 6. The interactive Q&A Board on the website
  • 5. Local (U.S.) customer service
  • 4. Plain English writing
  • 3. The ability to create your personal library
  • 2. 4 magazines for the price of 1 (1-year $29; 2-years $48; 3-years $64; website- only $17). You can subscribe in the User Group section of their website by finding the Valencia Falls Computer Club in a drop-down list.
  • 1. Free technical support by calling a toll-free number

A raffle was held. Three lucky Club members won a set of magazines in an attractive case and two others won a free 1-year subscription to Smart Computing.

The meeting was adjourned at 8:30 p.m.
Jerry Rokoff
, Secretary

 

Minutes of the Computer Club Meeting – Monday, January 16, 2006


The meeting convened at 7:05PM. Membership cards for 2006 were distributed to each paid-up member upon arrival, as was a raffle ticket.

Sam Wexler, the club’s president, normally begins each meeting by leading a brief question and answer session. However, for this meeting, he delegated that responsibility to the two keynote speakers whom he then introduced; i.e., Bryan Cohane, General Sales Manager of the CompUSA store in Deerfield Beach, Florida, and Michael Lahusky, lead technician in that same store. Furthermore, since these two speakers have such extraordinary knowledge and experience in the computer field, Sam allowed the Q&A period to continue for thirty minutes to allow as many questions from the audience as possible to be answered. Questions regarding e-mail problems and DVDs predominated.

Sam then listed and briefly discussed various upcoming club events, including classes and special interest group (SIG) meetings. He said that representatives from Smart Computing magazine will be the featured presenters at the next regular monthly meeting (February 20). Lastly, he asked the audience if anyone was interested in attending a class on “spreadsheets”, whether Excel, Lotus123 or Quattro Pro. Based on a show of hands, there was substantial interest shown.

Sam turned the meeting over to the two presenters from CompUSA, who then discussed and answered questions on a wide range of topics including: the importance of backing-up files, devices to accomplish that, and the cost and likelihood of being able to retrieve non-backed-up data if your hard drive “crashes”, voice over internet protocol (VOIP); anti-virus and anti-spyware software; printers; etc. Mr. Cohane pointed out that the primary differences between various brand-name computers, such as Dell, IBM, Compaq, Sony, etc. are the warranty period and the quality and extent of free customer support provided, not the hardware itself, since these companies all use parts made by the same companies.

After a raffle drawing for various computer software and accessories donated by CompUSA was completed, the meeting was adjourned by Sam at 8:45 p.m.

Jerry Rokoff
, Secretary

 

Minutes of the Computer Club Third Annual Brunch
Sunday, December 11, 2005


There were 98 people registered for the brunch and 90 actually came which was the exact number guaranteed to the on-site caterer Shep Simon. The brunch consisted of bagels, lox, tuna fish, egg salad plus cakes, cookies, coffee and tea. The cost was $2/2005 & 2006 member, $5/2005 or 2006 member and $10/non-member. 
After the brunch Rob Fellman from PC Professor gave a presentation on “What Most People Don’t Know About Google”. The following are some of Google functions presented as recorded by Adrienne Bergen:

If you want to make sure your search shows what you are looking for rather than all the information about any of the words in your request, just put quotes around the words you want to search for. For example Nikon Cameras will get results for Nikon and for Cameras but if you do “Nikon Cameras” or even just “Nikon Cameras, you will get the results you are looking for.

You can put a Fed Ex or UPS tracking number in the Google search bar and locate your package without go to their websites.

Math problems put into the search bar will be calculated.

Conversions can be put into the search bar.

Froogle: if you put exactly what you want to purchase, including model number, in the search bar, and hit Froogle you will get a list of prices for the item from different sources.

Check out all the things under “More” near the end of the search bar.

Looking to get news alerts on something you are interested in, you can set up to get just what you are looking for “as it happens” and even have an email alert sent to your cell phone!

Many catalogs can be found under catalogs.

Google Earth lets you see a satellite view of anyplace on earth.

I’m Feeling Lucky takes you directly to the website you are asking about.

Need images for a project? Click on Images right above the search bar. You will get another search bar. Enter what you are looking for and click and you will get photos and line drawings you can copy and paste into a document, or save as an image in your picture files.

Click on Language Tools at the end of the search bar and you can use this page to translate up to 250 characters into another language.

The brunch ended at 12:15PM.

 

Minutes of the Computer Club Meeting – Monday, November 21, 2005


The meeting convened at 7:00 p.m. This was the first joint meeting with the Valencia Falls Investment Club.

Sam Wexler, the club’s president, began the meeting with a 15-minute open floor question and answer session on several computer-related topics. He was asked to put the name of his backup program online which is True Image by Acronis. Following that, he briefly discussed the club’s calendar of upcoming events. With regard to the annual brunch scheduled for Sunday, December 11 at 10:00 a.m. in the social hall, he urged everyone who has not yet paid to do so as soon as possible. The caterer has to be informed of the number of attendees by December 7. There will be an outside professional speaker at the brunch, presenting “What Most People Don’t Know About Google”.

The topic for the regular December club meeting (the 19th) will be “On-Line Banking”, presented by a local executive from the Bank of America. Sub-topics will include: funds transfer, bill paying, privacy protection, internet security and criminal activity encountered by the bank, including methods of detection and actions taken.

Sam announced that the topic for the January 16th meeting will be the latest technology in computer and computer-related products. Bryan Cohane, the General Sales Manager for CompUSA at Deerfield Beach and several employees will present “2006: What’s New/What’s Hot”, where they will discuss the newest products, the latest new functions and features for existing products and will identify which are the best in each category as well as which are the best value.

Sam then turned the meeting over to David Feinberg, the president of the VF Investment Club, who briefly explained that the focus of their club is investments and financial issues of interest to retirees. They meet on the last Monday of each month. David then introduced the featured speaker for the evening, Howard Spielberg of Fidelity Brokerage Services, whose topic was “Investment Planning: The Internet As Your Research Passport”.

Mr. Spielberg devoted the evening to presenting the wealth of information available to investors on the Fidelity website, fidelity.com. By clicking on the Research tab, you can, for example, choose an economic sector of interest and further narrow the search by selecting various stock criteria such as dividend yield, revenue, P/E ratio, Beta, etc. (or bond criteria). You can also link via that website to other sites that provide such things as synopses of various companies, statistics, charts, breaking news, etc. After his presentation he responded to numerous questions from the meeting attendees.

The meeting adjourned at 8:25 p.m.
Jerry Rokoff
, Club Secretary

 

Minutes of the Computer Club Meeting – Monday, October 24, 2005


On this day Hurricane Wilma visited our community and blew away many things including power, telephone, trees and our meeting. The presentation “On-Line Banking” has been rescheduled for our December meeting. 

Minutes of the Computer Club Meeting – Monday, March 21, 2005
The meeting convened at 7:05 p.m.

Sam Wexler, the Club’s President, presided over a 10 minute Q & A session. During that session, a member recommend the website “cnet.com” as a place to obtain free anti-spyware and anti-advertising software such as Spybot and Ad-Aware, respectively.

Sam outlined the schedule for the Club’s meetings for the remainder of the year:

no meeting in April

informal meetings in May and June

hiatus for July through September

meeting in October on the 4th Monday of the month (the 24th), subject “On-Line Banking”

November’s meeting returns to the regular third Monday of the month slot. The featured presentation will concern the use of computers to do investment research.

The annual brunch will take place on Sunday, December 11, with the featured presentation on “Computer Arts and Science”.

The evening’s featured presentation was “Vacation Planning – The Internet As Your World Passport”. Jerry Rokoff introduced the speaker, Peter Friedman, Luxury Travel Specialist for Unique Travel of Palm Beach, Inc. Mr. Friedman’s office is located in the Boca Ray Plaza, near Poppies Restaurant, on the southeast corner of Linton Blvd. and Military Trail. Mr. Friedman is listed as one of the top 125 super travel agents in the United States, according to Travel & Leisure Magazine.

Mr. Friedman discussed when and when not to make travel reservations via the internet. For domestic air travel, and for hotels rated up to three stars, he recommended using the internet to make the reservation. For all international travel, and for hotels rated four stars or better, he recommended not using the internet, because you will not get the best price in the case of airlines, or the best value in the case of hotels. Whenever you do use the internet to make reservations, he advised that you make sure the website is reputable, to avoid being a victim of fraud. He further cautioned that a website might have been reputable in the past, but may not be reputable now.

He distinguished between websites which are aggregators vs. online agencies. Aggregators are travel-themed sites that function like Google, acting as search tools or referral services to airlines, hotels, car rentals, or to online agencies. Bookings generally cannot be made on such sites. Examples are Kayak, SideStep, Farechase, Cheapflights, Cheaphotels, and Mobissimo. Online agencies, where you can make bookings, include such sites as Orbitz, Expedia, and Travelocity.

Mr. Friedman also recommended using the internet for basic research, but cautioned that provider websites, such as hotels, are trying to promote themselves. He suggested that sites such as Frommer or Fodor, which charge a fee, are far more reliable. He strongly suggested doing research via the internet on prices, and then taking that information to a travel agent to see if you can get a better price or a better overall value for your money, i.e., including amenities.

Peter discussed the added value of using travel agents, particularly for high-end or luxury travel. Travel agencies such as his are affiliated with consortiums (in his agency’s case, Virtuoso, which was demonstrated to the group) that can provide lower prices and added amenities not otherwise available, such as upgraded hotel rooms, priority admissions at attractions, reservations at restaurants, the most highly knowledgeable tour guides, tours not generally available, etc.

He answered many questions about various tour companies, cruise lines, and travel destinations. The “hot” destinations now are China and South Africa.

There were also many questions about airline mileage awards. He said that airlines generally reserve about 4 seats per flight in each class for award travel including upgrades. He recommended using a credit card that allows you to obtain mileage awards through multiple airlines (in case one goes out of business) and to book your award travel as early as possible (preferably 330 days in advance).

The meeting adjourned at 8:40 p.m.
Jerry Rokoff, Secretary

 

Minutes of the Computer Club Meeting – Monday, February 21, 2005


The meeting convened at 7:05 pm. 
 Sam Wexler, the Club’s President, introduced Michael Lahusky, who works in the Technical Services Dept. of CompUSA in Deerfield Beach, FL. Mr. Lahusky informed the Club that its members will be entitled to up to a 10% discount on non- sale merchandise at any of CompUSA’s Florida stores. (At the conclusion of the meeting, discount cards were distributed to each Club member in attendance.)

Following a question and answer session, Sam Wexler briefly discussed some of the results of the recent on-line survey which was sent to all Club members. He said that the number one topic that members wanted to hear about was “PC hints and tips”, followed by number two, “digital photography”.

Sam reminded everyone that the topic for the March meeting (the 21st) will be “Vacation Planning: The Internet As Your World Passport”. The speaker will be Peter Friedman, Luxury Travel Specialist for Unique Travel of Palm Beach, Inc., who works in their Delray Beach office. 
  Sam noted that the featured presentation for the October meeting will be “On-Line Banking & Security”, presented by someone from the Bank of America. He also stated that the November meeting will be held in conjunction with the VF Investment Club.

The featured presentation of the evening was “Safe Computing”, presented by Sumner Feinstein, a former executive vice-president of the Borden Company who now operates a computer tune-up business in the area. Mr. Feinstein discussed what he characterized as the “dark side” of computing; that is, programs (computer code) created either with malicious intent (to harm other people‘s computers), or with the intent to obtain other people’s personal information (to steal someone’s identity and ultimately their money). He provided examples of each type: (1) malicious viruses such as “worms” that invade and use e-mail addresses, and “zombies” that are designed to overload a particular website and shut it down; (2) larcenous viruses such as “phishes” that trick users into providing personal information, or trick users by telling them to answer “no” if they decline to receive something, when a “no” answer really means “yes”, and “spyware” that monitors a user’s keystrokes to obtain information such as names, addresses, bank account numbers and passwords. Mr. Feinstein advised not to open e-mail attachments, regardless of whether or not you know the sender. He recommended doing a virus scan on any free software you receive, before you install it. He further recommended installing free anti-spyware software such as Spybot and Ad-Aware. He discussed spam, or unsolicited e-mail which he said comprises 80% of all e-mail. He advised not to respond to spam, as it will confirm that your e-mail address is valid, and will result in your receiving even more such spam. 
Mr. Feinstein recommended everyone have a software firewall installed on their computer. Firewalls prevent hackers from communicating with someone else’s computer by making it “invisible”. He said that Microsoft’s Windows XP Service Pack 2 has a built-in firewall, and recommended that everyone using XP install this Service Pack. However, he said that if you are using dial-up internet service, you should obtain the free diskette from Microsoft rather than directly downloading the Pack, to prevent problems with your computer.

He advised everyone to back-up their computers frequently, and further recommended using a flash drive for this purpose. He concluded his presentation with a brief discussion of computer art, and displayed several examples of such artwork he had created. He said that he uses a variety of graphics/painting software programs to do this artwork, and prints it on high quality watercolor paper, using a large format professional ink-jet printer.

The meeting adjourned at 8:50 p.m.
Jerry Rokoff, Secretary

 

Minutes of the Computer Club Meeting – Monday, January 24, 2005


This special meeting, unusual in the fact that it occurred in the afternoon and was the second such meeting within a calendar month, began at 1:35 p.m. 
Sam Wexler, after briefly mentioning several upcoming events of the Club, introduced the featured presenter, David Whittle, who writes for Smart Computing magazine, has written a book entitled “Cyberspace: The Human Dimension”, and who is a consultant to many companies, including Intel Corporation. He has been named by Working Woman Magazine as “one of America’s most original technological thinkers”. Mr. Whittle’s presentation was entitled:”Whittle’s Picks for the Digital Home – Quality Technologies & Products Anyone Can Use”. 
Mr. Whittle discussed and demonstrated four software products that he believes are the best values in their class.

  • 3D-Album Picture Pro – Allows the user to manipulate digital photos and turn them into slide shows, adding stylistic effects such as background, picture transparency, music, narration, titles, etc. It’s ability to do three dimensional manipulation sets it apart from other such movie editing programs.
  • muvee autoProducer, Version 3 – Allows the user the manipulate home movies, edit them, change styles, in many cases automatically. You can include photos in the movie production.
  • PhotoVista Panorama, Version 3.0 – It joins a series of overlapping still photos taken of all of the arc segments of a 360 degree view and creates a single seamless panoramic photograph in three dimensions. It’s perfect for a view of real estate, or when traveling to convey the view from a scenic peak.
  • ActivePDF Composer – Allows the user to create Portable Document Format (PDF) files (a standard for the sharing of documents) that someone else with Adobe Acrobat reader software can view. This would include not only text, but also pictures, maps, etc.

After Mr. Whittle answered a series of questions from the audience, and some merchandise was raffled off, the meeting was adjourned at 2:40 p.m.

Jerry Rokoff, Secretary

 

Minutes of the Computer Club Meeting – Monday, January 17, 2005


The meeting convened at 7:10 p.m.  Sam Wexler, the Club’s President, began the meeting with a Q & A session.  He then briefly discussed the Club’s upcoming events in January and February; viz.:

  • eBay SIG formation meeting of 1/20; second meeting 2/17
  • Ritz Camera class – “Beyond Digital Photography” – 1/21
  • Special second meeting of January – 1/24 – “Whittle’s Picks for the Digital Home – Quality Technologies and Products Anyone Can Use”
  • Computer novice/intermediate classes – 1/25 & 2/24
  • Apple (MacIntosh) users SIG formation meeting of 1/31; second meeting 2/28
  • Genealogy SIG – 2/3
  • Digital Photography SIG – 2/9
  • February Club meeting – “Safe Computing” – 2/21. The focus will be on protecting against computer viruses and thwarting hackers.

Jerry Rokoff, the Club’s Secretary, announced that the theme for March’s meeting (3/21) will be “Vacation Planning – The Internet As Your World Passport”. A full-time professional in the travel industry will discuss how to use the Internet to obtain the best prices and widest selection for airfares, hotels and auto rentals. In this regard he will talk about the advantages and disadvantages of aggregators vs. online agencies, which websites to use and why. He’ll also discuss bargain and “hot” destinations for 2005.

The featured presentation of the evening was “Pinnacle Systems Presents: How to Easily Make a Movie Masterpiece”. The speaker was Anthony Martorina, who owns a movie production company in Chicago. He demonstrated the use of Pinnacle Studio, Version 9, which retails for as low as $79, but is one of the most powerful, easy-to-use video editors. He explained that video can be transferred from a digital camera to a computer via a “firewire” connected to the fast USB2 port. If the video is in analog form; e.g., from a VCR or an 8mm camera, a “movie box” would be used to convert the video to digital form. After capturing the video into a computer, the next step is editing. There are two types: “storyboard” and “timeline”. Both involve dragging and dropping video or still pictures, but timeline editing can create a professional looking video. For example, you can shorten or lengthen the video, add audio, titles, backgrounds, pan and zoom to seemingly bring still picture to life, reduce background noise from audio, correct background color deficiencies, stabilize jumpy video, insert a picture within a picture, and create the look of old film by adding scratches and noise.

At the conclusion of the presentation, copies of Studio Version 9 and Studio Plus Version 9 were raffled off, as was a 1-year subscription to Smart Computing Magazine.

The meeting adjourned at 9:00 p.m.
Jerry Rokoff, Secretary

 

Minutes of the Adelphia Expo – Thursday, November 18, 2004


The Expo started at 7:10 p.m. and Sam Wexler, President of the Computer Club, chaired the event. 
Representatives from Adelphia Cable Company and Apple Computer Company demonstrated and discussed various current product offerings from their respective companies, as well as emerging technologies:

from Adelphia: videoconferencing, using web-cams (must have broadband or high-speed internet service as a pre-requisite); high-definition television (need a high-definition or digital-ready television set plus a high-definition cable TV converter); digital video recording (DVR) for watching programs when you want, recording one program and watching another, pause and re-wind for instant replay. They discussed the soon-to-be-available telephone service via the internet, called Voice over Internet Protocol (VOIP).

from Apple: I-Tunes, to access a music library Management representatives from Adelphia responded to various questions from the audience regarding problems such as missed service appointments and difficulties in reaching customer service and the lack of responsiveness to Valencia Falls’ requests to re-negotiate our bulk service contract (67% of the south Florida population lives in communities which have bulk service contracts with their cable providers). 
A variety of merchandise donated by these companies was raffled during the meeting; in fact, by the end of the meeting nearly one-half of the more than 175 people in attendance received something.

The meeting adjourned at 8:30 p.m.
Jerry Rokoff, Secretary

 

Minutes of the Computer Club Meeting – Monday, November 15, 2004


The meeting convened at 7:10 p.m. Following a question and answer session, Sam Wexler, the club’s president, reviewed the calendar of upcoming events. These include the following: 
* November 18 – “Adelphia Expo”, where technical, sales and management employees of Adelphia will discuss & demonstrate the company’s current products and services and give us a glimpse of their future offerings. A representative from Apple Computer will also attend and demonstrate many of their products. 
* November 22 & January 24 – Computer classes for both novice and intermediate users plus a Q&A session. 
* December 12 – The second annual club’s brunch, featuring a presentation on the “Digital Home of the Future” 
* Genealogy activities – Special Interest Group (SIG) meetings on December 2 and January 6 
* Digital Photography activities – SIG meetings on December 8 and January 12; PhotoShop Elements class on December 20; classes taught by Ritz Camera on January 5 (Basic), January 14 (Beyond Digital Photography), January 21 (PhotoShop 1), and January 28 (PhotoShop 2) 
Sam asked for volunteers to perform various tasks that arise from time to time. If more people participate, the Club will be that much more effective.

Sam noted that he receives several requests per week from software and hardware development companies, asking us to test their products. Sam would like to form a sub-group who would test selected products and report their findings to the developers. The benefits would include receiving free copies as well as improving our standing and thus being able to draw more prestigious outside speakers to our meetings.

The Club will be releasing its annual survey in late November, asking members what topics they would like to hear about in future meetings and classes.

The principal speaker of the evening was Robert Blum, who owns a consignment store in Delray Beach (southwest corner of Atlantic and Military) called eWay. He puts all of his merchandise for sale on eBay, the online marketplace where there are 40 to 60 million items listed for sale each month. He demonstrated how potential buyers can search eBay to find merchandise they are interested in, and how to determine if the seller is reputable (based on cumulative ratings given by buyers). He discussed reserve pricing, proxy bids, detecting shills who deliberately drive up the price to benefit the seller, snipers (who jump into the bidding in the last few seconds to win the bid), the duration of bidding, and the need to be alert to shipping costs which are in addition to the price of the merchandise. Mr. Blum’s company handles all of the details necessary to successfully sell merchandise on the internet, including digital photography (a picture is definitely worth a thousand words), textual descriptions, answering e-mailed questions from potential buyers, packing & shipping, and obtaining payment (via PayPal or other means).

The meeting adjourned at 8:50 p.m.
Jerry Rokoff, Secretary

 

Minutes of the Computer Club Meeting (Digital Camera Expo)
Monday, October 18, 2004


The formal portion of the meeting was preceded by the start of the Digital Camera Expo. This camera show was jointly sponsored by the VF Photography and Computer Clubs. At tables around the room were displayed various digital cameras, as well as laptop computers showing examples of pictures taken with these cameras by members of the Photography Club. These members answered questions about the cameras each had brought with them. Various models of Canon, Nikon, Olympus and Sony cameras were on display. Barry Schein from the Ritz Camera store in Pompano Beach (10th Street) provided expert advice to the attendees. He told the group that Ritz Camera provides free classes on the basic use of digital cameras as well as on PhotoShop Elements 1 and 2.

Sam Wexler, President of the Computer Club, began the formal part of the meeting at 7:15 p.m., and announced the following calendar of future events: 
* October 25: Computer Novice Class 
* November 4: Genealogy Special Interest Group (SIG) meeting – Gene Stearn briefly discussed this upcoming meeting to be held at 7:00 p.m. in the Arts & Crafts Room. 
* November 10: Digital Photography SIG – Adrienne Bergen briefly discussed this planned inaugural meeting of the group, to be held at 7:30 p.m. in the Business Center. Sam Wexler announced that Adrienne had accepted an offer to join the Board of Directors of the Computer Club as liaison to the Photography Club. 
* November 15: eBay – At the next Meeting of the Computer Club, the world’s online marketplace, eBay, will be presented by Robert Blum who runs eWay, a company supplying a service that does all the steps involved in selling items on eBay up to and including wrapping and shipping. He will give a general overview of the eBay process followed by a hands-on demo and then look at some actual auctions. 
* November 18: Adelphia Expo, at which there will be speakers from Adelphia and other companion companies whose product and service offerings complement those of Adelphia. There will be demonstrations of such things as high-definition TV, high-speed internet service, cameras for video-conferencing and monitoring, digital video recorders, etc. Martin McClancy of Adelphia briefly spoke about this planned event at which he will be one of the presenters. 
* November 22: Computer Novice Class 
* December 2: Genealogy SIG 
* December 8: Digital Photography SIG 
* December 12: The 2nd Annual Computer Club Brunch, at which there will be a presentation of “The Digital Home of the Future”. Speakers from Adelphia and other companies will augment this Intel-provided presentation package. 
* December 20: PhotoShop Elements Class

Sam Wexler said we need volunteers. It is difficult or perhaps impossible to do everything discussed at the meeting plus events coming down the road with just our five Board members. We need volunteers to help with your Computer Club or the quality of the programs will suffer. Please leave your name in the Computer Club folder or send an email to: vfcc@ariesmart.com. 
Prior to the resumption of the evening’s Digital Camera Expo, T-shirts from Microsoft and a 1-year subscription to Smart Computing Magazine were raffled. 
The formal portion of the meeting concluded at 8:15 p.m.and the audience spent the rest of the time talking about digital cameras at the tables.

Jerry Rokoff, Secretary

 

Minutes of the Computer Club Meeting – Monday, March 15, 2004


The meeting convened at 7:05 p.m.  Sam Wexler, Club President, brought the membership up-to-date on the following topics:

Meeting of the Florida Association of Computer User Groups (FACUG)
Sam represented the Club at their recent annual conference in Orlando. While there, Sam was elected a member of their Board. Sam is trying to get a representative from among Microsoft, Adobe, JASC or Intel to speak to our Club, or to a meeting of Computer Clubs from multiple Valencia communities.

Computer Classes
The 4th class for novices was held on March 11, and there were classes on Photoshop Elements 2.0 held on February 24 and on March 2. These classes were well attended and received very good evaluations from the participants.

Sam stated that the Club intends to purchase a multi-media projector to use for classes and demonstrations held outside of the Social Hall, e.g., in the Arts & Crafts room or in a classroom. While the Social Hall has such equipment installed, the hall is usually reserved for various events.

Computer Club Newsletter
Sam stated that he wanted to initiate a newsletter for the Club, which would be distributed by e-mail on an irregular schedule based on the number of inputs he receives from the membership. He encouraged members to submit information; e.g., hints and tips, that might be useful or of interest to other members.

He announced that the next meeting would be on April 19th, and would feature multiple mini-presentations and a discussion of the new website.

The principal topic for the evening was “Using Computers to Publish The View from The Falls”.
The first presenter was Howard Gleichenhaus, the editor. Howard does most of the writing of The View. He writes both an opinion piece and an article covering a community event that occurred during the month. He receives inputs from various Club leaders via e-mail, including their calendar of events for the month. Howard then introduced Karen Rosenblatt, who does the layout of The View. Karen uses various software to accomplish this, including Quark Express, Photoshop, Illustrator, Word, Excel and Adobe. Karen creates the document on a CD and on hard copy, and from there it goes to proofreading, which is done by Arnold Schaffer, the production manager. Stan Berman is the publisher of The View, and handles the advertising. He said that in 2003, they collected $10,000 in ad revenue, which was more than three times the cost to publish. This surplus has been turned over to the HOA. Lastly, we heard from Cynthia Martin, the owner of Lion Press, whose company prints The View. She receives the final version on disk and loads it onto Lion’s own computer, checks the layout to ensure nothing has been cut-off, and reformats the document for printing. After printing is complete, the final step is to collate and insert any flyers to be included. The View is scheduled for availability on the first of every month. There was much discussion from the membership in attendance about the sometimes lateness of the periodical and about calendar errors. Suggestions were given to remedy these problems.

Both a demo version of PrintShop Pro and a full version of FlipAlbum Suite 4.0 were given to two lucky winners of the free raffle.

The meeting adjourned at 8:25 p.m.
Jerry Rokoff, Secretary

 

Minutes of the Computer Club Meeting – Monday, February 16, 2004


The meeting convened at 7:00 p.m. Following a 15-minute general Q&A session, Sam Wexler, the Club’s President, discussed the following Club activities:

Class for computer novices – scheduled for the evening of March 11

Photoshop Elements 2.0 class – two classes scheduled – Feb. 24 and March 2, both 6:30 to 9 p.m.

The Club is considering purchasing a multi-media projector later this year, to facilitate various presentations.

Wireless Internet access in Social Hall – this is now completed, and the Computer Club paid for the required router. If an amplifier is needed it will fund that as well.

Audio-visual support – a number of Club members have volunteered to be trained

PCs in the Computer Room – an outside consultant has been retained to fix and maintain these computers. These computers have now been “rehabilitated”.

Florida Association of Computer User Groups (FACUG) – Sam will represent the Club at their spring conference during the first weekend of March.

Digital photography – Sam spoke about a card reader that facilitates the transfer of picture files from a digital camera to a PC. It plugs into the USB port of a computer and costs about $20.00. It makes connecting the camera to the PC unnecessary.

Photography Club – Sam noted that on March 7, from 9 to 4, anyone can display their photographs in the Arts & Crafts room of the Social Hall. Prizes will be awarded.

The next meeting of the Club will feature a presentation on “The View”; viz. how it is prepared for publication and is printed. The responsible VF staff and a representative from Lyons Press will be the presenters. Marcy Gunn, a representative of Sandhills Publishing Company of Lincoln, Nebraska, presented the computer magazines published by her company, of which there are five; viz., Smart Computing, PC Novice, PC Today, CPU (Computer Power User), and CE (Consumer Electronics) Tips. She distributed complimentary copies of the March issue of Smart Computing, which included a mouse pad. When you subscribe to any of their magazines (12 issues for $29.00), you get, among other things, free on-line access to the other four. Their magazines rely on subscription income rather than on advertising, and they are very selective about their limited advertisers. She reviewed in detail the structure of Smart Computing and the intent of each section. She emphasized the magazine is written in plain English and its goal is to improve PC productivity for every level of user. When you subscribe to one of these magazines you get unlimited access to their 18,000 archived articles, Q&A board (where answers to questions are usually provided within 3 hours, and you are notified by e-mail when an answer is given), chat room, and dictionaries. At the conclusion of her presentation, two computer dictionary sets and one 1-year free subscription were awarded to raffle winners. 
Serendipitously, Richard Davidson (and Jason Doskow) gave the membership a preview of the new VF website. Richard showed the content and organization of the site, and explained how initial registration is being done.

The meeting adjourned at 9:20 p.m.
Jerry Rokoff, Secretary

 

Minutes of the Computer Club Meeting – Monday, January 19, 2004


The meeting convened at 7 PM.  Sam Wexler, club president, opened the meeting with a 15-minute Q&A session from the membership. AOL, Adelphia and EarthLink service has been slow lately suggesting all service is slow for unknown reasons. Sam then discussed many club activities.

A third novice computer user class will be given on February 3rd.

Photoshop Elements 2.0 class is scheduled for February 24th. There are 40 people signed up and we may need to have two or three sessions of the first class to bring everyone up to speed.

Everyone in the room said classes should be for VF Computer Club members only.

Good things are coming from Adelphia but nothing concrete yet.

HDTV is working correctly. If your HDTV is not working correctly it was installed incorrectly and you should call Adelphia.

New VF website should be available in March and trainers are needed for the rollout class. The VFCC was asked for volunteers. The first class will teach the teachers.

A/V people are needed for the Social Hall and the VFCC was asked for volunteers. Need ladies for Hadassah, Womens Club, Cancer Research and other clubs. Training will be in a week or two.

The Social Hall needs a wireless connection for our Feb 16th meeting and for the website training sessions. Adelphia is working on it.

PCs and printer in the Business Center need to be fixed. We have a proposal from a person who can fix but it needs to be approved by the BOD since the BOD has the responsibility and therefore the accountability of everything in the Business Center. The question was asked if we wanted a professional for a fee or VF resident for free to work on the PCs. The audience was asked for volunteers but there was none. The computer room needs some controls and supervision. An open computer area is needed for novices. Maybe make computers password accessible. During the day there are usually 2-3 people in the room but no one knows how many people use the business center. The VFCC donated a bulletin board for the Business Center but it was given back to us.

Florida Association of Computer User Groups (FACUG) is the largest group of its kind in Florida and we are members. Their Spring Conference will be in March in Orlando. President Sam Wexler and his wife Phyllis will attend representing the VFCC.

Our next meeting in February will have a presentation by Smart Computing Magazine. They will be giving away freebies and free magazines.

In March the presentation will be “Using Computers to Publish the View”. Three VF residents plus the publisher (Lion’s Press) will talk.

The VFCC received FlipAlbum Suite 4.0 from the manufacturer with the request we give it to a club member. The internet says this product lists for $80. Since many members were on the cruise and Smart Computer Magazine would have some giveaways in February, the free raffle for FlipAlbum would be at the March meeting.

We now have more than 100 members and expect to reach 110-125 members by February 1st.

The Technical Problem Solution Center (TPSC) was set up as a place of last resort. When nothing else works, send an email to tpsc@ariesmart.com and maybe you will get an answer.

The VFCC donated a bulletin board for the Business Center.. It would be used only for HOA BOD approved flyer. Bulletin board was rejected.

Internet Security: Sam got e-mail saying something wrong with his EBAY account. It asked for ID, password, SS # and a lot of other personal data. Sam knew it was not “real” as it went to an old e-mail address. He also got 2 similar e-mails from “Citibank”. Sam feels someone in our community will “get burned” this year.

Genealogy: Sam has access to data on all the Jewish cemeteries in Dutchess County, NY and talked about how a genealogist would handle a query.

Kiddie Pool Survey: Competer Club is not associated with this survey.

The 2004 club dues are do at this time. Today’s future presentation was “Improving PC Performance” by Dave Rubin of The Computer Doctors.

Things to Do to Speed up your Computer
Some yourself
Some may need help
Some need an expert

Easiest things for Windows Computers Only
If hard drive is 90% full – HD platters – searches for area where data is stored
Eliminate unused programs or programs not used in a long time.
Start – Control Panel – Add/Remove Programs – WHEN IN DOUBT DON’T REMOVE

Disk Clean-Up (98, ME, XP) – Cookies, history of web sites visited
Start –Accessories – System Tools, Disk Clean-Up- Downloaded Program Files.

Disk Defragment – Info (files, programs randomly stored. Places related and frequently used programs so can be accessed faster (Organizes)
Start – Accessories – System Tools – Disk Defragmenter. Can take a few hours or overnight.

If you have Norton Smart Drive it also does Disk Defrag.

Speed Up boot Process – If you are comfortable with BIOS ((Basic Input Output System) you can
change the order of hard drive to the 1st boot device.
Remove the floppy drive as 1st boot, floppy seek, skip memory check
need to get into CMOS,( use Dell F2, Compaq F10 function keys)

Eliminate Programs you don’t need
In the background – hour glass, takes up RAM
Control Alt, Delete shows what is running.
Start Programs , Start-up, highlight and delete
Startup Cop. Be careful not to eliminate necessary programs
You can disable not delete. If a problem then can enable again

Add RAM
Most cost effective way to speed up
128 RAM costs $30. Need right kind
Synch or non sync. Have to open machine
May need to be installed singly or in pairs
If doing graphics need at least 256 RAM.

Add a 2nd larger , faster hard drive
Install 7200 rpm – $about $179.
Unplug, attach cable, can handle 2 hard drives
Master operating system
Add new programs to new hard drive
Backup C drive to new drive
Using GHOST – gives an exact image

Change Motherboard/CPU – needs a lot of skill

Buy a new computer!

Taking old hard drive and install into new machine

What can slow you down?
Antivirus – checks incoming mail
Norton Internet Security – spam control, also has firewall. (windows XP has firewall).
Disable outbound e-mail, Check or schedule virus can during the night

DSL – Cable modem need firewall. New cable modems disconnect via a button.

Backup Software – Works as You’re working. Problem it backups to the hard drive. It should backup to a different drive ie zip drive.

If use windows XE – get a router (NAT) – will get false reading can share same high speed cable.

Norton Internet Security has antivenins software.

Zone Alarm – Kept popping up
Black Ice – Also has firewall

Defragging laptop – first do full scandisk

Most companies list set up menu or CMOS for booth order
Can destroy RAM or Hard drive, Before touching machine should ground self first.

Go to web to find upgrades for Win 95 to WIN XP for old software programs.
The 13 charts from the presentation are below. If you have a dial-up connection, give it a few minutes to read in.

The meeting adjourned at 8:45 p.m.
Gail Katz substituting for Jerry Rokoff, Secretary

 

Major survey results from December, 2003 Brunch 


* All speakers (Internet Security, Adelphia and Computer Club) were rated at the top part of the scale by more than 90% of those polled.
* All (100%) of responses said they would go (probably = 30%; definitely = 70%) to the brunch next year. 
* People want the brunch on Sunday next year.
* The only negative comment in the survey was some said the Internet Security talk was a little too long (but the audience kept answering questions to extend the Q&A). 
Other surveys 
* All but two gave Adelphia’s plan high marks
* All but two gave the Club’s dues structure high marks.
* Rob Lopicola’s presentation was generally well received with 80% high marks.

 

Minutes of the Computer Club Meeting – Monday, December 15, 2003

The meeting convened at 7:05 p.m. and began with a Q & A session on any computer topic, which lasted about 15 minutes. 
Sam Wexler, the Club’s President, briefly discussed the Club’s brunch which took place on the previous Saturday morning (December 13). Eighty people attended that event, at which Det. Curt Adams from the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office spoke about computer-based crime against property, such as identity theft, credit card fraud and bank fraud, and morals crimes against persons. Sam stated that a post- brunch survey of attendees taken via Zoomerang showed that the brunch was well- received, and, accordingly, the Club will repeat the event on Sunday, December 5, 2004.

Sam said the Club now has over 100 members, which will make it easier to attract speakers to future meetings and other Club events. It might also enable the members to get discounts on computer equipment and supplies. 
A member suggested that the Club sponsor classes on computer literacy, and Sam responded that if there were enough people interested in such classes, the Club would accommodate them. He encouraged those interested to contact him in this regard.

Grandchildren’s Day(s) are December 23 and 26, and Club member Adrienne Bergen has graciously offered to digitize and load onto a CD all pictures taken by anyone during those two days and then give the resultant CD to the grandparents at no cost. She can be reached at 498-3174. 
The next meeting of the Club will be on Monday evening, January 19, at which there will be a speaker on the topic of “Improving PC Performance”.

The principal speaker for the evening was Rob Lopicola, meteorologist for local NBC- TV affiliate WPTV. Mr. Lopicola regaled the audience with stories of how he became a weatherman and found his way to Florida. He then spoke about the history of major hurricanes to hit the state. He told us that good weather almost always precedes a hurricane strike, which deceives people into thinking the storm will miss their area. He said that the Gulf Stream has a strong influence over the path of hurricanes, and that is why the Outer Banks of North Carolina get hit so often. For the same reason, the coastal area from Jupiter to Jacksonville has a minimal threat of being hit, while from Palm Beach to Miami the threat is much greater. Hurricanes also follow the path of least resistance, so other weather systems have a significant effect on the direction these storms take. He spoke about other weather phenomena such as tornadoes, water spouts and microbursts. The latter he defined as a very localized and very rapid down-draft of air that slams into the ground and can cause major destruction. He talked about atmospheric pressure which, at sea level, is 14.72 lbs. per square inch. He said that when there are distinct changes in this pressure, as occurs when a major storm approaches, the human body has to adjust and people often feel pain in their joints or areas which have been injured when that occurs. 
Mr. Lopicola conducted a drawing for 4 96-disc capacity CD organizers which had been donated to the Club and four members were lucky winners.

The meeting adjourned at 8:50 p.m.
Jerry Rokoff, Secretary

 

Minutes of the Computer Club First Annual Brunch – Saturday, December 13, 2003


There were 80 people registered for the brunch and 75 actually came which was the exact number guaranteed to the on-site caterer Artie. The brunch consisted of bagels, lox, tuna fish, egg salad plus cakes, cookies, coffee and tea. The cost was $5/member and $10/non-member.

After the brunch Detective Curtis Adams from the Advanced Technologies Crimes department of the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office gave a presentation on “Internet Security & Technology-Based Crime”. 
 Martin McClancy from Adelphia followed with a short Q&A session on the new products available in Valencia Falls. 
The brunch ended at 12:15PM.

 



Minutes of the Computer Club Meeting – Monday, November 17, 2003


The meeting convened at 7:05 pm. Club President Sam Wexler presided over a general question and answer session which lasted approximately 15 minutes. Sam made the following announcements regarding upcoming Club events and meetings: 
* December 13: Saturday, 10 a.m. to noon, a special gathering, featuring a brunch and a speaker from the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s office talking about “Internet Security & Technology-Based Crime”. The cost will be $5.00 for members; $10.00 for non-members, and will take place in the Social Hall. Reservations should be made by placing a check payable to the Valencia Falls Computer Club, along with your name and telephone number, in the Club’s folder at the Clubhouse by December 9th. 
* December 15: Monday, 7 p.m., the regular monthly Club meeting, featuring Rob Lopicola, a meteorologist on WPTV, a local NBC affiliate. Mr. Lopicola will discuss the use of computer technology in weather forecasting. 
* January 19: Monday, 7 p.m., the regular monthly meeting, at which the prime topic for presentation and discussion will be “Improving PC Performance”. * February 16: Monday, 7 p.m., the regular monthly meeting, at which a representative from “Smart Computing” magazine will give a presentation and is expected to have some free software to distribute to members.

Sam turned the meeting over to Martin McClancy of Adelphia Cable Company, who then gave an insight into his company’s future objectives and plans. He said that Adelphia is trying to become a more customer-friendly, responsive company, giving customers what they want rather than what Adelphia thinks they need. Furthermore, they are looking at ways to allow internet users to convert from AOL to Adelphia without losing anything, including retaining their address book
.  HDTV service from Adelphia will be available within the next 60 days. Customers with digital cable boxes will be able to trade them in for HDTV set- top boxes and will pay about $9.00/month more. By the end of the first quarter of 2004, many more TV channels will be broadcasting in HDTV.
  Adelphia is going to offer “wi-fi” cordless telephone internet access. You will be able to connect to the internet, without being hard-wired to a modem, within a limited range.
  The price of Powerlink high speed internet access will be coming down dramatically in the near term, possibly to as low as $19.95/month.
* Adelphia is considering offering a TiVo-like device in 2004. This “replay TV” or personal digital video recorder would cost less than TiVo but have somewhat less function. 

Adelphia is going to use the Valencia Falls community to ascertain what customers need and want in the way of products and services. This information will be collected and synthesized by a 4-person Advisory Council comprised of community members.

The next speaker was Adrienne Bergen, who discussed her experiences in creating videoconferencing, using a web-cam, which is a camera that sits on top of your computer and plugs into the USB port. Her family out-of-state installed a matching configuration, and, using Logitech software, the results were very good, she said. You get approximately a 4″ square picture with excellent quality. While videoconferencing works with “dial-up” internet service, you get better results with high-speed service.

The last speaker was Richard Davidson who presented “Computer Maintenance” and distributed hand-outs providing detailed instructions on how to do disk clean-up, as well as run “Scan Disk” and “Defrag Disk” for various operating systems. Richard said that by running “disk clean-up”, you will eliminate what Microsoft identifies as not needed in your computer’s hard drive. It will define this in terms on how many temporary files and related bytes of information can be deleted. Performing a disk clean-up will permit your computer to run faster. Scan Disk reads your computer’s directory, like a table of contents, and determines if there is a related file for each listing. If not, it deletes the directory entry and re-orders it. This process further enhances your computer’s performance. Defrag Disk eliminates wasted memory space by closing unneeded gaps.

The meeting adjourned at 8:45 p.m.
Jerry Rokoff, Secretary

 

Minutes of the Computer Club Meeting – Monday, October 20, 2003


The meeting convened at 7:10 p.m.  Sam Wexler, club president, opened the meeting with a Q & A session from the membership. He then announced that the club would hold a brunch on Saturday morning, December 13th, from 10 to 12, featuring a presentation by someone from the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Department on the topic of “Internet Security & Technology-Based Crime”. The cost will be $5.00 for members; $10.00 for non- members.

Sam gave a report from the recent FACUG Conference. He reported that our members can become beta testers for newly developed software. Contact him if interested.

Sam then gave updates on the subjects of genealogy and viruses. He also discussed web-cam technology, including its capabilities and the cost of equipment.

At the next meeting, November 17th, we will have a series of mini-presentations, including web-cams, disk clean-up, de-fragging, and scan-disk.

The featured speaker for the evening, Eileen von Husen, then gave a presentation on “Connecting to the Internet”.

Dial-up: our community’s telephone lines have two wires, one for analog transmission and a second for digital transmission, called a Digital Subscriber Line (DSL). While the analog wire has a limitation of about 56 KB/second, the digital line can transmit up to 1.4 MB/second. DSL makes unnecessary a second telephone line dedicated to your computer.

Broadband is a connection to the internet via the cable company, and costs about $40 to $50 per month. With either DSL or broadband, you have a live connection to the internet all the time; therefore, you need a firewall to prevent unwanted access to your computer. While Windows XP has a built-in firewall, she recommends Norton or McAfee firewalls be installed. To use DSL or broadband you need at least 128 MG of RAM. You also need a modem for any kind of dial-up service.

BellSouth provides DSL via its phone lines, but you can also obtain it via such companies as Earthlink or SBC/Yahoo, who lease Bell South’s lines.

The meeting adjourned at 8:25 p.m.
Jerry Rokoff, Secretary

 

Minutes of the Computer Club Meeting – Monday, June 23, 2003


The meeting convened at 7:05 p.m.  Sam Wexler, Club President, opened the meeting with several announcements. First, he said there will be a speaker at the October meeting who will present the subject “Connecting to the Internet” (e.g., via dial-up, satellite, DSL, etc.). Second, he said that the Club, in the fall, intends to once again hold classes for neophyte computers users if there is enough interest in our community for them. These classes could accommodate as many of 10 to 12 people.

Sam then presented and led a discussion of “what to do if your printer will not print”, based on his own experience. With participation from the members in attendance, a list was made of everything that should be done or checked to resolve this problem. This list included checking for a paper jam, loose or depleted printer cartridge, printer door ajar, check if item is in the print queue, run a printer test page, check electrical connections, logoff and logon. Sam tried all of these and could not solve his problem; however, when he went into the control panel, removed the print driver, and then re- installed it, the problem disappeared.

Sam Bellin gave a presentation on how to keep your computer running at an optimum level. He spoke about running “scan-disk” to remove errors in your files, and “scan- frag” to compact your files and thereby help your computer run faster. A member mentioned that there is a program called “window washer” which can remove unneeded history as well as “cookies”.

Bill Byrne gave a presentation about “creating and displaying photos on the Internet”. He first discussed how to create your own website, as a prelude to doing this. He then presented and distributed a step-by-step guide (see below) to placing your own photographs on this personal website.

Sam Wexler asked the members in attendance if any of them would volunteer to give a short presentation on any computer-related topic at the next meeting, tentatively in July. No one volunteered and if no one does so via e-mail to the Club’s website, then the Club will take a hiatus until October.

The meeting adjourned at 8:20 p.m.
Jerry Rokoff, Secretary

 

Minutes of the Computer Club Meeting – Monday, May 19, 2003


The meeting convened at 7:00 PM with Les Margolis, Club Vice-President presiding. 
Les discussed his hope that the meeting would be highly interactive and asked for the members’ input about the general format of future meetings. Various members expressed the following views: 
1. We should have a segment where we break up into interest groups, and using laptop computers as demonstration tools (which many members acknowledged they own), focus on whatever training, problem solving, etc. is of interest to each group. A common theme is being able to get advice in solving problems which members encounter in using their computers. 
2. They want to see demonstrations of how to do different tasks with various applications, projected from a computer screen onto the large screen in the Social Hall. To that end we discussed the Club’s possible acquisition of a new or second-hand computer. One member agreed to investigate the latter. 
Jerry Rokoff, Secretary, reviewed the minutes of the last meeting. 
Jerry then presented and led a discussion of a wide range of topics, viz: 
1. The key features of the new HP OfficeJet 5110 and 6110 multi-function printers (prints, scans, copies, faxes). 
2. Macros, which in computer parlance is a shortcut method to execute a string of frequently used consecutive keystrokes and/or mouse movements. 
3. Creating accented characters using MS Word, for those users who create text in foreign languages. There was also discussion of how to accomplish this using WordPerfect. Copies of each presentation were distributed. 
4. How to print only what you want to print when using the Internet. A member recommended the program “Snag It” for this purpose. 
5. The Google internet search engine, and some of the algorithms it uses to rank various sites and to maintain its own vitality. 
Flori Tochterman, Treasurer, gave the financial report. 
Flori then presented and led a discussion of the benefits of using spreadsheets for various tasks. 
Les Margolis then presented and led a discussion of various internet sites he has discovered which he feels are very interesting, informative and useful. He distributed copies of his presentation. 
Les asked the members what topics they would like to discuss at the next meeting, which is scheduled for June 23, the 4th Monday in June. (Our meetings normally occur on the 3rd Monday of the month.) Nothing specific was mentioned by the members. He left the subject open, saying it was “to be announced”.

The meeting adjourned at 8:30 p.m.
Jerry Rokoff, Secretary

Minutes of the Computer Club Meeting – Monday, March 17, 2003


The meeting convened at 7:05 P.M.  There was a lively Q&A session during which various computer-related questions were asked and responded to.

Sam Wexler, Club President, announced that the next meeting would be held on May 19, the April meeting being cancelled due to conflict with religious holidays. He also stated that a decision on holding meetings over the summer would be determined at the May meeting, based on attendance and projections thereof.

The main topic for the evening was “Digital Video – a Basic Guide to Using Digital Editing Software”. The speaker was Andrew M. Ryff, son-in-law of Eileen Lerner, a VF resident. Mr. Ryff is a middle school teacher in Coconut Creek.

The first step is to import the digital video footage from your DVD camera into your computer. This can be done with a direct wire connection. You could also import, for example, VHS tape footage, but you would need an intermediate piece of hardware to first convert it to digital format.

Editing, by adding music, titles, effects and transitions between clips, can easily be done. If you have an Apple Computer, editing software includes “I Movie”, “Final Cut Pro”, and Adobe “Premiere”. For IBM compatibles, there is “Avid Camera”, MS “Movie Maker” and Pinnacle “Studio 8” . All of these retail for under $100.

Mr. Ryff demonstrated the use of “I Movie” on his Apple Mac. He had taken movies of our VF Clubhouse, and proceeded to show examples of how to edit them, such as deleting frames from clips, adding a widening circle to open a film clip, making the film appear to be aged, or adding a lightening bolt into a clip. He said you could add audio, such as voice or music, from a library you might have previously loaded into your computer. All of the editing is basically done by “drag and drop” with your computer’s mouse.

The meeting adjourned at 7:55 P.M., as many members were anxious to return home to see President Bush’s 8:00 P.M. address to the nation. Mr. Ryff graciously remained to answer questions from the meeting attendees.

Jerry Rokoff, Secretary

 

Minutes of the Computer Club Meeting – Monday, February 17, 2003


The meeting convened at 7:05 p.m.  There was a 10-minute session during which a number of general computer-related questions were asked by various attendees and responses given.

Sam Wexler, Club President, mentioned there is now a dedicated website for the VFCC, which has an address of www.ariesmart.com/vfcc. The minutes of each meeting will be posted there.

Sam said the Computer Club is willing to hold a free class for its members on any computer-related subject, as long as there are enough people interested to warrant it.

The digital photography special interest group (SIG) will have a meeting on Monday night, Feb. 24, at 8 p.m. in the Computer Room. The group needs two of its members to volunteer to be co-chairs.

Sam noted there will be a class covering all aspects of the VF website on Saturday, March 1, to be conducted by Jason Doskow. The time and location is yet to be announced.

At the next meeting of the VF Computer Club, the main topic will be digital movies, i.e., creating DVDs and how to manipulate movie images with your computer. The meeting will take place on March 17 at 7 p.m. in the Social Hall.

Les Margolis, Club Vice-President, introduced the featured presenters for the evening. They were Marvin Hamburg and his wife, Natalie. Mr. Hamburg is President of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Palm Beach County. Mr. Hamburg, assisted by his wife, discussed how he conducted his personal quest for his family’s genealogy, the problems he encountered along the way, and the things that were of value in this search. His presentation used a series of transparencies which were shown via overhead projector on the video screen. Each attendee received a list of preferred websites for finding information about ancestry, as well as a list of recommended books on Jewish genealogy. He noted that the Internet was a very useful resource in his search, as were things like birth, death and marriage certificates, passports, ship manifests, gravestones, newspapers and census data.

Sam asked the membership if there was interest in having a special interest group on Genealogy and approximately ten people raised their hands. He then said he would schedule an organizational meeting shortly.

The meeting adjourned at 8:15 p.m.
Jerry Rokoff, Secretary

 

Minutes of the Computer Club Meeting – Monday, January 20, 2003


The meeting convened at 7:10 p.m.  Club President Sam Wexler opened the meeting with a Q&A session. There were a number of comments and questions about the VF website. Jason Doskow, the VF webmaster, responded to these. He urged website users to avoid replying via the website to questions or comments not of general interest to all residents; instead, he suggested that replies be directed, via external e-mail, only to the person who posted the initial question or comment.

Sam Wexler asked each member of the Club’s Board of Directors to introduce themselves.

Surveys were distributed to each member in attendance to determine computer-related skills and interests. The results will be compiled and reviewed at the next meeting.

Many attendees signed up at the meeting for the free class covering using the Internet and sending e-mail. The class is to be held on Monday evening, January 27, at 7:00 p.m. in the Clubhouse Business Center.

Sam Wexler announced that at the next Club meeting, February 17, the main topic will be “Genealogy”; i.e., using a computer to trace your family’s “roots”.

A show of hands indicated that a number of people are interested in having a special interest group (SIG) on the subject of digital photography. He asked each of those persons to send an e-mail to the Computer Club’s website, indicating their interest. That website is distinct from the VF website.

The evening’s main topic, “Using the Computer to Process Digital Artwork”, was presented by Bob Schwartzman. Mr. Schwartzman teaches “Basic Photoshop” at the Loggers Run school in Boca Raton. It was obvious that the club members were fascinated by the various demonstrations he made of creating and manipulating pictures and portraits using Photoshop 7. Mr. Schwartzman pointed out that not only does Adobe have the Photoshop application (for about $700), but also a much less expensive program which is nearly as functional, called Elements (for about $50). He stated that any image in digital format, e.g., input into a computer via scanner or digital camera, can be altered using these applications. He cautioned, however, that images which are not in focus cannot be made sharper with this software.

The meeting adjourned at 8:50 p.m.
Jerry Rokoff, Secretary

Send E-mail to VFCC Secretary Jerry Rokoff ljrokoff@cs.com with questions or comments about the minutes.