Category Archives: 2008

Topics relating to the 2008 club meetings.

November 15, 2008 – Presentation: Genealogy by Carol Myers

Lon Hosford, President, told the club members pictures taken during past club meetings or events are now available for members to view.  He thanked Paul Glattstein for making this possible by putting the pictures on the web site http://picasaweb.google.com/hccphoto10 Pics.  The photos are set up by the date the photo was taken.  Check it out to see past and current members of the club.

If you have photos that were taken at club meetings or events that you would like added to the site, just send them to Paul at hccphoto10@gmail.com .  Please include comments for each photo and where and when they were taken and the names of the people in the picture.  Paul will add them to the directory.  Last names of club members will be omitted since the site is public.  If you have any questions or comments about this, you can contact Paul Glattstein at any HCC meeting or email the question to hccphoto10@gmail.com .

The December 13 meeting will be a holiday party and will be held at the Hunterdon Medical Center as usual.  The party will be held in the back room as last year.  Bring something to share if you wish.  The Q&A will still be held.

This year it was suggested and approved that members bring in a small, inexpensive gift to be given out when the 50/50 is held.  Those that don’t bring a gift don’t have to take a gift.

The club presentation schedule through April, 2009, is also available on the HCC website.

Q&A
Q:  Google Docs, what is it?

A:  There are versions of software that can be used for presentations word documents, spreadsheets and forms are available in Google Docs.  You can collaborate right on the website.  You can use Google Chat for instant messaging.  You do not need Excel to use Google Docs, but you can import to Google Docs.  It is very useful, but not as powerful as MS Office.  The software does have a locking ability and a read-only ability.  Video conferencing is now also available and it is free.  We are planning to have presentations to the club on these topics in the future.

Q:  Many people are getting rid of their telephone land line.  How do you get an internet connection if you only have a cell phone?

A:  There may be bare wire DSL available through Embarq.  You may also be able to use a cable connection and FIOS.  There is also a Magic Jack that can be purchased for $20 a year.

Q:  I have a 3-year old laptop and the power cord is frayed.  Is it possible to buy a jack for it?

A:  You possibly can get a new jack at RadioShack.  You could also try some epoxy to glue it back together.  Also you can try getting a multimeter to see whether it is the jack or the power supply.

Q:  I am using Vista Home Premium.  The computer goes into sleep mode and I can’t get it out and then I have to shut it down to reboot.  Sometimes it will reboot on its own.

What can I do?

A:  Avoid the sleep mode and turn off the computer when not using it.  Closing the lid of a laptop does not put it into sleep mode and it will restore itself properly. You can also reinstall the software from the hard drive.

Presentation:  Genealogy, Carol Myer
Carol Myer has long been working on her family’s genealogy and has found many resources, websites, and even forms that she shared with the club members.  Researching and documenting your family’s genealogy and history will satisfy your curiosity about family members, where they were born, where they lived, how many children were in the family, who they married and when they died.  You can use this information to learn about your family’s history; to track down members of the family in the local area; create gifts for your family, children and grandchildren; and possibly even find out about medical problems in your background.
Carol Myer has long been working on her family’s genealogy and has found many resources, websites, and even forms that she shared with the club members.  Researching and documenting your family’s genealogy and history will satisfy your curiosity about family members, where they were born, where they lived, how many children were in the family, who they married and when they died.  You can use this information to learn about your family’s history; to track down members of the family in the local area; create gifts for your family, children and grandchildren; and possibly even find out about medical problems in your background.  Carol suggested that the Hunterdon County Library offers a wonderful resource by providing access to Ancestry Plus, Heritage Plus and several other websites.  Free access to Ancestry Plus is available through the computers at the Hunterdon County Library, and the North County and the South County branches.  Heritage Plus can be used from your home computer.  Both websites require you to enter the bar code from your Hunterdon County library card.
The first stop when researching your family history is to access the Census records.  These records contain a lot of detailed information about the person; such as, date of birth, nationality, were they naturalized, did they speak English, among other details.
The Social Security Death Index (SSDI); Family Search, managed by the Mormon Church, http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/ , http://www.cyndislist.com/ ; http://www.genealogy.com/index_n.html ; www.ristenbatt.com/genealogy ; http://www.usgenweb.com/ ; http://www.genhomepage.com/ are among many other helpful genealogy websites Carol recommended.
When researching data from your family’s history, one of the biggest problems is keeping the information organized so it doesn’t become overwhelming and can quickly be found and compared to other information.  From her experience, Carol had the following suggestions:
·         Include the source of the information on your records so you will know where it was found,

·         If you are using a book, copy the cover of the book and the page number where the information was found;

·         List the person’s name and birth date to be able to distinguish family members with the same or similar names;

·         Use a printed form to initially document the information on each family member

·         Prepare a form in Word and transfer the information from the paper record into a file on Word.  Use a separate form for each person and save the file with their name and birth date.

·         Scan all photos and documents and save on your computer.

·         Create a page for each family to list each family’s members.

Family Tree Maker software enables you to create a family tree, but it is best to create and save all your information on paper and Word forms first and then transfer the date to Family Tree Maker if you wish.  Family Tree Maker can crash and you can lose all your information and will have to start over again.
Carol did a great job of providing some incentive and guidance on how to research our family history and members.  Thanks, Carol, for this very informative and intriguing topic.

OCTOBER 18, 2008 – PRESENTATION – SAFE SURFING BY PERRY SNYDER

Lon Hosford, President of the HCC, thanked John Warsinski for his work in organizing the 20th Anniversary celebration of HCC last month.  The gathering was very successful and cost a reasonable $385.  Lon posted pictures from the meeting on the HCC web site as part of the article about the celebration.  Check out the pictures to see who was there.  Since our breakfast meeting was so enjoyable, the club plans to repeat this for future anniversary and Christmas meetings.

Anyone who wants to be in the Yahoo group to receive club messages please contact John Gbur.  He will add your name to the club roster.  A Yahoo ID may be needed to access the site.  New members joining the club should get a Yahoo ID so they can be added to the club list and get the club’s messages.

Lon discussed the fact that nominations for club officers are usually made in September, but this was not done last month.  We were having too much fun talking about the early days of the club.  A nomination was made from the floor to keep the same officers currently in office for the coming year.  The nomination for the current officers to continue in the same office next year was approved.

Q&A
Q:  Is anyone using Gmail and how is it?

A:  Gmail has a lot of good features, lots of storage, an excellent spam filter, public and private calendars, an ability to search messages for a sender if you can’t remember the name, files archived and stored with labels for future reference, and much more.

Q:  I’ve been getting Java updates.  Can I delete the older messages with the updates in them?

A:  If the updates are cumulative, you may not be able to delete the earlier messages because it may affect the software.  Another member indicated he had been deleting the old Java updates and has not had a problem.  You can try CCleaner which may help clean up the old files.

Q.  When using Firefox and I want to close one window, the software wants to close all  the windows.  What can I do?

A:  Can only run one version of Firefox at a time.  Use tabs instead of opening a second copy of Firefox.  To close a tab on a window, you only need to click the “x” on the tab.  The other tabs will remain open.

Q:  Sometimes when using Firefox, it will open a window but will not allow you to use the “back” arrow to go to an earlier page.

A:  Sometimes it will take you to another tab page in the same screen of Firefox.  You can click the “down” arrow on the back tab and select the page you want to return to.  Can also use the Alt-R or the Alt-L arrows.  This will help you get off the page and back to where you want to go.

Presentation:  “Safe Surfing” by Perry Snyder
Safe surfing is a way to avoid giving away your identity while doing on-line banking or surfing Internet web sites.  Below are Perry’s tips for protecting you and your computer.

1.  Prepare for computer failure:

a.  Record essential information for computer usage, such as online account URLS, usernames, and passwords.  Do not rely on browser histories and/or password managers without a hard or soft copy of account information.

b.  Add essential sites to favorites or bookmarks.  Do not rely on your browser history.  Many items will be cleaned periodically by utility programs.

c.  Back up your email and email addresses.  Learn how to import and export your email address book.

Turn off Javascript.  Also, go to the Privacy option on your computer and uncheck “accept cookies”.  Be sure to write down the web sites you visit frequently.

2.  Obtain external peripherals to back up your data; e.g., flash drives, USB external drives, etc.  Learn how to use your back up software before your system crashes.

3.  Obtain hardware and software to deal with prevention of malware problems, such as a router; software firewall; malware cleaner; spybot search and destroy; host file manager; antivirus software, like Avast, Avira, AVG; history/cache/cookie cleaners, like CCleaner, and Cleanup Now!; sysinternal utilities, like autoruns, tcpview, and procexp.

4.  Consider using portable applications to make moving to your next computer easier; such as OpenOffice, Thunderbird and Firefox.

5.  Browser triage.

To get free software you can depend on, go to www.techsupportalert.com   The site is Gizmo’s tech support and offers many options for cleanup and tuning, home and office, multimedia, and more.

Another excellent site to go to is http://www.malwarebytes.org/ .  This site is dedicated to fighting malware and has developed a variety of tools that can identify and remove malicious software from your computer.  This is one of the few sites that can get rid of certain types of very malicious software.  .

Other recommended software that can be used to check on the security of your system are:

Spinrite.  Spinrite 6 can be found on http://www.grc.com/ .  This software is for hard drive data recovery.  You can also get your computer’s IP address from this website.

PC Health Plan.  This is spyware removal software designed to remove spyware, adware, and other dangerous software from your computer.  You can also get a free test of your computer on this site.  It can be found at http://www.pchealthplan.com/ .  4/6/2009 This entry was removed at the request of Perry Snyder. Perry does not recommend using the pchealthplan.com site. – ALH

Avast! is complete antivirus protection for your computer.  It is free for the home user.  It automatically detects and eliminates all types of viruses, worms, and all kinds of threats.  It will scan your computer before it even opens IE.  Find it at http://www.avast.com/ .ARIN.  This is the American Registry for Internet Numbers and can be found at www.arin.net .  ARIN provides services related to the technical coordination and management of Internet number resources.  This is the place to go to do a reverse IP lookup.

CCleaner.  This software cleans temporary files and is a registry cleaner for IE, Firefox, Opera, and Windows.  It is especially good to use this software to clean your computer after uninstalling programs.  The advanced registry cleaner removes ActiveX controls. ActiveX has the most power to affect your computer and malware can use it to invade your system. CCleaner can be found at http://www.ccleaner.com/ .

AutoRuns.  AutoRuns shows you what programs are configured to run during system bootup.  These programs include ones in your startup folder.  You will be amazed to see how many programs start up automatically when you bootup your system.  You can download this software free at the Microsoft TechNet website.

TCPView  This software will show you a detailed listing of all the TCP connections on your system and will resolve all IP addresses to their domain name.  You can get for information about this software at TCPView for Windows .

Portable Apps  Also consider going to the PortableApps.com and downloading the portable freeware from that site to your computer.  It’s open source software that anyone can use.  It is safer because it doesn’t leave any personal information behind on the computer.

Thanks to Perry, we have a lot of new things to consider and try on our computers to protect our privacy and safety when surfing the Internet.  Thanks you, Perry, for a great presentation.

August 16, 2008 Mtg – Presentation: Your PC on a USB – REVISED TO ADD VIDEOS 10/20/08

Lon Hosford, President of the HCC, opened the meeting with two items of new business.

  • Bill Smyth of Flemington, NJ, came to the club meeting to ask for support for his new proposal.  He submitted a proposal to the National Coordinator of Information Technology with a plan to use a person’s zip code to obtain that person’s emergency room hospital records from anywhere in the world.  This would greatly benefit travelers or others around the country or internationally when help is needed.  Anyone who wishes to support this effort should contact Bill at bill.smyth@patmedia.net.
  • In September the club will mark its 20th anniversary.  In celebration, club members and former members are invited to breakfast at Perkins Restaurant on Rt. 202, Flemington.  No presentation will be given after breakfast, but some activities are planned.  Please RSVP to John Warsinski at john@thecomputerfox.com.
  • The facility where our meetings are held has begun blocking access to certain websites which will hamper presenters from using those websites as part of their presentations.  The club will have to investigate to find solutions to this problem.

Q&A
Q:  I thought Vista would be able to access any USB memory stick/flash drive as additional memory, but that has not worked.

A:  Ready Boost needs to be authorized in order to use it.  A Vista window will pop up with a list of options.  The Ready Boost option needs to be selected in order for Vista to use the USB memory stick/flash drive as extra memory.

Q:  While searching on Google, an ad popped up that blocked the entire screen and prevented access to any controls to close the ad or even close the computer.

A:  New features are constantly being added to browsers to block those pop up ads from appearing.  In Firefox, under “Properties/Privacy”, check off “No pop ups”.  You must have Firefox 3 for this to work.  In Internet Explorer, under “Internet Options/Security”, the security level can be adjusted for higher security to stop pop ups.

Q:  I forgot my Vista administrator password.  I had the ISO boot disk which had a utility to recover the password which saved the situation.

A:  Be sure to write down all passwords.  If you are a home user, you may want to use the same password for all sites when the password meets the criteria of the site; for example, the number of characters required or whether numbers must be included.  You may also want to consider using the same answers to all security questions too to keep things uncomplicated.

Q:  I’ve been trying to locate the address of someone in another country.  Can I do so through the Internet?

A:  On the Internet, access the local white pages in the phone book from that country.

Presentation:  Your PC on a USB –  Peter Czerwinski

Peter Czerwinski gave a great presentation on how to use something as simple and inexpensive as a USB flash drive (also called a thumb drive) when traveling to access the Internet and use your favorite software and files.  It is easy to set up and carry the USB flash drive in your pocket or purse while away from home to use on another computer.

Most people just use their USB flash drive for storing information or pictures, but you can do a lot more than that.  The new USB flash drives are now fast enough to run programs for your computer through portable apps (portable applications).  For example, Firefox comes in a portable apps version.  When portable apps are copied to your USB flash drive, it is easy to carry it with you and plug it into an available computer and have access to all the programs you regularly use.  Nothing is left on the host computer when you close down all the programs and remove the USB flash drive from the host computer.

If there is another version of the same software on the host computer you are using, you will have to close down the other version before you can use your portable apps version.

The input/output capability of the newest USB flash drives is fairly fast, but you are sacrificing some speed for portable convenience.  The slower speed is noticeable when first starting on the computer, but it is not noticeable when you continue working.  Your home computer does not need to be on when using portable apps and either Vista or XP can be used.

When purchasing a new USB flash drive for this purpose, buy at least a 15 mbps (megabits per second) to read and 25 mbps to write.  Make sure the drive you buy specifies USB 2.0 or higher speed.  A recommended brand is SanDisk U3.

To get the portable apps, go to www.portableapps.com   for open source apps.  Also go to www.youtube.com and search for portable apps videos for more detailed information.  More information is also available by reading the article “Carry a PC in your Pocket”, in the February, 2008, issue of PC World on the Internet at  www.pcworld.com .

In order to get the portable apps onto your USB flash drive, go to www.portableapps.com and download the suite of portable apps from the Internet onto your home computer.  When you access it on your computer, it will ask where you want to download it to.  Insert your USB flash drive into your home computer and download the portable apps onto your USB flash drive.  A variety of portable apps are available on the menu, such as an Internet browser and word processor, and more can be downloaded as needed.

After using the USB flash drive with your portable apps on another computer, be sure to shut down each program before removing the USB flash drive from the computer.

Problems to consider –

  • Sometimes libraries may have blocked usage of the USB port on their computers.  Solution:  Go to another library or an Internet café.
  • It is not easy to sync the USB flash drive with your home computer.

Peter completed his excellent presentation by showing the club a video he made of his vacation using ProShow Gold.

April 19, 2008 Mtg. – Presentation: Post a Video on You Tube by John Gbur


The HCC meeting began with Lon Hosford, President, opening a discussion of New Club Business. The club members were concerned primarily with how well the club monitors blog commentary coming through the club’s Group’s mail box on Yahoo.

Lon said that the commentary is open, but members should not send anything political, religious, sexual, or otherwise inappropriate to the club’s email list. Monitoring can be done by having all emails going to a club monitor who will have to approve it before it is released to the club members. Monitoring of email messages will be instituted if any inappropriate emails are received in the future.

Moving on, Lon read an article on a proposed crack down on the use of broadband. In summary, it stated that Internet users may have to pay for their high use of broadband. Some Internet providers are trying to restrain usage with tier pricing. Because of individuals high use of broadband, it is slowing down the Internet. In order to restrain broadband usage, Internet providers, such as Comcast and others, are contemplating a usage payment plan.

Q&A

Q: How does the protocol work on the Internet so that the packet gets marked to show when it is forwarded to the next node?

A: Warrior of the Net web site, http://www.warriorsofthe.net , can be accessed on the Internet to explain how it is forwarded. There is a very interesting video on that site that gives a detailed explanation. Click on the link included above to see the video.

Q. How can you determine the speed of your router?

A. Broadbandreports.com, http://www.dslreports.com , can give information about the speed of the transmission of your messages. You can access this site as a free member. Click on the web site link given above, go to Tools, Speed Tests, select what part of the country you want to review, and the web site will analyze the traffic speed for you. Or, you can check the Embarq web site if you use Embarq for information. Other sites that may be helpful are Speakeasy.com, http://www.speakeasy.com , or Lookingglass.com. You can also call the provider of your Internet service to have them check your speeds.

Q. AVG did not find a virus on my computer, but another software program did. What is the problem with AVG?

A: There may be a difference in the programs. You need more than one program to catch all viruses. The AVG free version downloads updates only once a day. There may be a delay in discovering the problem or new viruses.

Q. Sometimes when opening a web site a red notice window appears that says this is a dangerous site. What is happening?

A: This may be a result of a security setting on the computer. Vista will pop up these windows, especially if it recognizes a message as part of a mass mailing.

Peter Czerwinski came across a solution that he wanted to share with the club. Peter did not want to invest in a lap top, but he wanted the ability to have access to the programs and files on his computer when he was away from home. An article in the May, 2008, issue of PC World, page 112, “Carry a Portable Computer in Your Pocket” gave him the answer. The article suggested using a high speed USB flash drive which could be used in any computer. Go to Google and type in “portable apps” to find the web site, or click www.portableapps.com, which is the link here. From this web site you can download the free portable applications software onto your flash drive. When using it on another computer, a menu will open that allows you to use your own programs. It is ready to go, using your own programs, and leaves no personal data behind on any computer you use.

Presentation: The Scope, Evaluation and Operation of the YouTube Web Site– John Gbur
Keeping in touch with family members and friends becomes even easier with the use of You Tube. You Tube allows you to share home videos with family and friends over the Internet. Although there are several steps in the process, it is simple to do and free.

  • Begin by taking video with your digital camera.
  • Then transfer the video from your camera to your computer or laptop by using the appropriate USB cord. When the camera is connected to the computer, go to “My Computer” on your computer menu and select “camera” and then select the “mvi” file which is your video.
  • Copy the “mvi” video file to the “My Videos” file on your computer. Then disconnect your camera from the computer.
  • Click on “My Videos”, select your video file and play it to be sure it has loaded correctly onto your computer.
  • Go to http://www.youtube.com/ and log in.
  • Upload the file from your computer to You Tube, following the directions.
  • Click on “My Videos” on You Tube and your video will be processed and uploaded. You can choose to make the video available as public or private, which will restrict viewers. You can share the video with the viewers you choose by choosing individuals from your contact list.

That’s all there is to it. Although there is a limit on how large the video can be, it is a terrific way to share family videos or other informational videos you take with a large or small audience.

This was a excellent presentation, John, and gives us lots of ideas and opportunities to share with our family and friends. Thanks for a great job.