December 17, 2011 Meeting

Now that that Christmas has passed it is time to catch up on things that didn’t get done, although it is a bit late for the hints from this meeting to help in your shopping.

Our club celebrated the season at our meeting on Saturday, December 17. We had 24 members and one guest, Vasil Hlinka, at our meeting.

As we have in the past, many members brought delicious baked items, candy, and chips to add to our usual bagels and coffee. We all enjoyed those tasty treats and thanks to everyone who brought something and set up and cleaned up afterwards.

Lon gave the group some highlights from the latest issue of PC World., , recommended by PC World is a techie shopper’s gold mine. They sell computers, cell phones, HDTVs, camcorders, digital cameras, and numerous other products. They offer free shipping on everything. Looking for a user manual for consumer electronics? Retrevo offers manuals for over 1,000 brands. Although it may be too late for your Christmas shopping, it is still worth a look.

A member of the group said an article in AARP pointed out a new scam. Thieves copy the identifying information on gift cards for sale in stores, then will periodically call the store to see if the card was activated and what balance is still on the card. With this information, the thief can shop on line and use up the balance on the card without the knowledge of the purchaser or the person gifted with the card. If you purchase a gift card, try to do it from a customer service area where cards are not on view and before purchasing be sure to check to see that the PIN number on the back is not openly visible and has not been tampered with.

It was recommended to disable Microsoft’s automatic updates. Instead, choose custom updates to block updates that are not needed; for example, if you are not using Outlook, you do not need the updates.

Part of the general discussion centered on the different versions of the Kindle, the eReader, and the benefits of the different features. The basic Kindle comes in two versions, the keyboard version and the touch screen version. There is also a Kindle Fire which has many more features than the other Kindles but at a higher price. The Fire is more like a SmartPhone and its main use is not reading books. Before purchasing, determine the purpose you have in mind and how you plan to use it. The reason for the purchase makes all the difference in which item to buy. If it is only to read ebooks, the Kindle Touch is recommended.

It is also possible to purchase Amazon ebooks as gifts for users of the Kindle.  Here is the link, .  In order to send the ebook gift you will need the receiver’s email address.

The next meeting will be on January 21.