Category Archives: Carmella Vowinkel

February 18, 2012 Mtg., Presentation: Microsoft Fix It, by Bruce Arnold

At the first meeting of the club for 2012, we had 26 members attending, all interested in getting back to learning more about our computers and the new, useful products and software out there to make our lives easier.

A member talked about her new iPad which she received for Christmas and had found very useful.  Some of the best features are the email capabilities, FaceTime to connect and talk visually with others, the Kindle application download to purchase and read books from Amazon or the Overdrive application to download free books from our local Hunterdon County Library, the camera for pictures and videos, and many other capabilities. Bruce recommended using Calibre software, http://calibre-ebook.com/, to find and read free books on any reader.

Thanks were given to Paul Glattstein for keeping up the membership list and doing name tags for each meeting. Paul suggested putting out a list of members names, but will wait to hear from the members as to whether or not to proceed with this. If no list is prepared, we can communicate with our members through our Yahoo group site.

Barbara Middleton is unable to continue taking care of the bagels and coffee set up before each meeting, so there will be a rolling group of members to do this. Whoever arrives first at the meeting will check to be sure the coffee and bagels are set up. If not, that person is to go back to the cafeteria in the hospital to ask for our coffee set up for the meeting. If there are no bagels, that person will go to the bagel shop at the front of the hospital and purchase one and a half dozen assorted bagels and cream cheese and pay the cost of them. The person will be reimbursed by the club treasurer at the meeting.

Presentation: Microsoft Fix-It Center, Bruce Arnold, Presenter

Bruce introduced us to a new solution from Microsoft, Microsoft Fix It. You can find it at www.microsoft.com/fixit .   On the home page of this new software, you can select the Windows product with which you are having trouble and then select the type of problem you are having. The software will run and then display solutions it has found.   The “Solutions Center” of the software provides you with an opportunity to type in the name of the product you are having trouble with. Answer any questions that appear on follow up screens in order to help the Fix It Center diagnose the problem. Trust the software since it is from Microsoft and allow it to download the fix. Accept any legal contracts that appear. This software will diagnose the problem and automatically fix it and than ask if the problem has been fixed. If the problem has not been fixed, start the process over and choose different selections to get to the solution needed.

If it is not an Internet connection on the computer that needs fixing, go to http://fixitcenter.support.microsoft.com/Portal . You will then be able to download the Fixit software to your hard drive. During installation you will see a Troubleshoorters screen that you can use to select areas where you may be having trouble. Try this software first when you have problems. It most likely will correct your problem and save you a trip to the repair store.

Thanks, Bruce, for making us aware of this new aid to help us when we have trouble with our computers.

The next meeting will be held on March 17.

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. Retrevo.com, http://shop.retrevo.com/ , 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, http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html/ref=hp_200375750_content?nodeId=200375750#content .  In order to send the ebook gift you will need the receiver’s email address.

The next meeting will be on January 21.

November 19, 2011 Mtg., Presentation: Virtual Machine by John Warsinski

At the club meeting on November 19, Lon Hosford told the group that the Hunterdon Medical Center approved our request for our meetings to be held there on the third Saturday of every month through 2012. In addition, a few Saturday afternoon meetings have also been approved. It is possible a webmaster meeting will be held on one of the special days. Twenty-eight members and one guest attended this meeting.

The December club meeting will be a holiday party to which members can bring food or snacks to share. Also bring canned goods which will be collected and brought to a local food bank.

The topic for the January meeting presentation will be DNA on the Internet and Databases to be presented by Paul Weeks.

In the discussion that followed it was mentioned that Adobe Systems has introduced a cloud service and new design tools to be used on touch screens and tablets. The new tools are primarily intended for artists, photographers and Web developers. All of the tools will be available either alone or in a bundle. For a monthly subscription, you will have access to always up-to-date versions of all of a group of products in the Adobe Creative Suite Master Collection, Touch Apps, and Adobe’s Digital Publishing Suite, in addition to other services. They will also offer stand-alone versions of their products.

Presentation: What Makes a Computer – Hardware and Software – a Virtual Machine – John Warsinski, Presenter

A “virtual machine” is a separate operating system installation which can be set up on your computer through various software programs. This virtual machine will co-exist on your computer with your current operating system. The virtual machine is completely isolated and functions separately from your main operating system. In fact more than one virtual machine can be set up on your computer each using different operating systems and different apps.

Oracle Software has an open source version of virtual machine software called VirtualBox. VirtualBox runs a variety of “guest operating systems” such as Win XP Home, Solaris, Mac OS, Linux, Windows 7, and Vista, but will not run Vista Home. For detailed information about VirtualBox and software downloads, go to https://www.virtualbox.org/ or http://www.oracle.com/technetwork/server-storage/virtualbox/downloads/index.html

You can download the software from either site to your computer and run it. Then press the “New” button to start building the machine. Use the VirtualBox wizard to guide you in specifying the size of the new virtual machine’s hard drive. When you have the virtual machine up and running, install the Extension Pack. In the installation you will need to name the new machine and chose which kind of OS you want to use. You will need to specify how much memory to use from the memory on your computer. It is best to use the default size specified by the installation wizard. When installing the operating system you must use an official MS installation disk.

After the virtual machine is completely installed, it can be used in the same way as any other hard drive with its own applications and data. It will run on the top of your other system. It is completely a software operation separated from your regular hard drive.

The virtual machine is portable by copying and moving it to a different computer. It will save all the information saved on that virtual machine. It does not matter if the OS on the other computer is different, it will work on the hard drive of that computer. You can also access the Internet on virtual machine. In virtual machine you can clone another virtual machine for use for different applications.

Vmware Player is another program that is similar to Virtual Machine to create a new virtual machine on your computer. For more information about this software, go to http://www.vmware.com/products/player/ Vm Player is free, but you need an official copy of the operating system you wish to use to install Vm Player. All programs are working in memory so you must use a computer with lots of memory available.

Thanks, John, for explaining this new way of expanding the use of a computer for separate purposes simply by installing a virtual machine.

October 15 Mtg., Breakfast at Country Griddle

The club held its fourth annual club breakfast at the Clinton Country Griddle in Clinton. Our membership continues to grow and 27 members attended. The group enjoyed socializing with the other members and talking at length about their jobs, the computer experiences and general social and news topics. A few pictures were taken at the breakfast by the members. Look for the pictures posted on our Picasa photo site.

While at the breakfast, Perry Snyder shared some information on add-ons for the FireFox browser to stop ads showing up while browsing the internet. Ghostery, 2.3.1. identifies and allows you to block the 3rd parties web bugs that are hidden. Others he recommends are Adblock Plus 1.2.2., and Adblock Plus: Element Hiding Helper 1.0.6, which helps you create element hiding rules for Adblock Plus to fight the text ads. For more information on these add-ons, look for Perry at our next meeting.

The next club meeting will be held on Saturday, November 19, at our usual place, the Hunterdon Medical Center. A presentation is scheduled to be given by John Warsinski.