Category Archives: 2009

Topics relating to the 2009 club meetings.

November 21, 2009, Presentation: The Effective Use of MS PowerPoint in Set Up of Presentations, Presenter: Scott Crabtree

Lon Hosford, President, said that the By Laws of the club call for an election of officers for the coming year. The floor was opened for nominations. No nominations were made so the current officers will continue in their current positions. The business portion of the meeting was closed.

The December meeting is a holiday meeting and will be held in the big board meeting room at the hospital. There will be a Q&A, refreshments, and an opportunity to share thoughts and ideas with club members.

Bruce Arnold described the Ubuntu operating system. People who liked Unix wanted to create a similar operating system and Ubuntu is the result. Ubuntu is a free operating system for your desktop or laptop and contains all the applications you need, a web browser, office suite, media apps, instant messaging and more. Ubuntu is an open-source alternative to Windows and Office. The latest version, 9.10, has just been released. Go to http://www.ubuntu.com/ to find out more about this operating system. You can run Ubuntu and Windows on the same machine. A menu is presented so you can select which operating system you want to use. You can even run a version of Ubuntu from a flash drive or burn Ubuntu to a CD and work from that.

John Gbur mentioned that Microsoft has released Microsoft Security Essentials, which is new, free antimalware software. It is available for Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7. The program can be downloaded from http://www.microsoft.com/Security_Essentials/. This can be used as an alternative to AVG. Both should not be installed on your computer at the same time.

AVG 9 has been released and there is a screen that comes up recommending installation by Dec. 1. When it is first downloaded and installed, it does a full scan of your system. Free AVG 9 is recommended and is very good. If you miss the deadline just download AVG 9 from the Cnet website at this link: http://download.cnet.com/AVG-Anti-Virus-Free-Edition/3000-2239_4-10320142.html . You will have to uninstall any other antivirus software you may have on your computer before you install AVG. If you had Norton on your computer, it may not completely uninstall. Go to the Norton web site link http://service1.symantec.com/Support/tsgeninfo.nsf/docid/2005033108162039 to get the Norton Removal Tool software to uninstall any remaining parts of Norton if your AVG installation fails because of Norton.

Combofix is free software that is also recommended to remove malware. Combofix was designed to scan a computer for known malware, spyware as well as other combinations of spyware and remove them. You can read more information about this software on the web site link http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/combofix/how-to-use-combofix.

Malwarebytes was also recommended as a friendly program to remove malware. Your computer is always at risk of becoming infected with viruses, dialers, spyware and malware that are constantly evolving and becoming harder to remove. Go to the following web site for more information: http://www.malwarebytes.org/mbam.php. There is a free version available and a more extensive version for sale.

Q&A
Q: If you are working on the computer and a screen pops up and says it can’t do its thing, what does that mean?
A: It may mean you don’t have space on your hard drive. You may not be able to run it. Use 50% usage of your hard drive as a guide to when to clean out unused programs to free up hard drive space. Bring up Task Manager. It will show you what you have running and what resources are available. The performance of your computer can be seen on Task Manager in graphic format. If it shows too much usage, you must add more virtual memory. The amount of virtual memory on your machine can be changed.

Presentation: The Effective Use of MS PowerPoint in set up of Presentations, Presenter: Scott Crabtree

PowerPoint is one of the classes taught at the Senior Center in Flemington. This software is available from MS and MAC OS in various versions. PowerPoint now has multimedia features for images, video and sound. The PowerPoint format can be used on a multimedia projector, computer monitor, or overhead projector and can be used to produce handouts. The presentation can also be uploaded to the web and viewed right on your computer screen.

• Plan ahead. Your presentation will take longer to deliver than anticipated. Check the room where you will give your presentation in advance to be sure it is properly equipped. If not, decide what you need to get to make the presentation work.
• Design your presentation to fit the purpose of the talk; informational, persuasive or entertainment.
• Know your audience. Consider that your audience may have disabilities, both hearing and visual. Adjust your slide content’s size and colors.
• Know your materials. Use brief bullet points and don’t read the slides. Rehearse your talk so you can talk extemporaneously.
• Know your equipment. Bring a copy of your presentation on a CD or USB drive. Plug your laptop into an electrical outlet. Don’t rely on the computer’s battery.
• Set up your computer for ease of access to the presentation. Save it to the desktop.
• Text fonts. Stick to common fonts; such as Ariel. Or use a different common sans serif font in a large size. Avoid using italics and use all capital letters sparingly.
• Text colors. Use high contrast colors for background and text.
• Use original graphics. Thousands of graphics are available free from Microsoft. But respect intellectual property and don’t use someone else’s graphics.
• Use high resolution photos and compatible formats; i.e., jpg, tiff, or gif.
• Use video sparingly. Link the video file to the PowerPoint file and use compatible files; i.e., avi, mpg, wmv. Put all the video clips in the same file and put the presentation and video files together on a CD or USB drive so they travel together.
• Use audio compatible formats; i.e., wav, mp3, wma.
• Use sound reinforcements, not the laptop speakers. Use a dedicated public address system or a “boom box” into which you can get a cord to plug into your computer for better sound. You can get by using desktop speakers plugged into your computer.
• Disable “Sound Schemes”, but leave the computer output unmuted. Position microphones behind your speakers.
• Animations and Transitions. These are best for entertainment presentations. Use sparingly or not at all.
• Use a laser pointer.
• Improvise. If the computer you must use to give your presentation does not have PowerPoint software, you can try to access www.microsoft.com/downloads/en/default.aspx to be able to show the presentation. You can also try the OpenOffice software Impress to prepare or run the presentation. This can be obtained at www.openoffice.org. Or use a scanner or digital camera to add the slides to your computer for the presentation.

Thank you, Scott, for a comprehensive talk on PowerPoint that provides great guidelines for a successful presentation.

October 17, 2009 mtg., Annual Breakfast

A cheery group of about 30 members of the club arrived at the Clinton Country Griddle for the annual breakfast meeting. It was an unseasonably cold, rainy day, but it didn’t dampen our spirits. Everyone arrived with a hearty appetite, looking for hot coffee and tea.

The group took over a private dining room and had to spread out over one very long table and a large round one. Everyone busied themselves with the menu and most people chose the recommended special, the Good Morning Country, which consisted of two eggs, sausage, bacon, and pancakes, or hash browns and toast. As the many varied dishes began to arrive, conversation became hot and heavy. On my right, several members were deep in conversation about the latest computer software; on my left, the conversation got into all the best places to eat in the county. It was hard to keep up!

The waiters worked hard to keep everyone happy and the coffee pot filled. The members were sharing their toast with their neighbors and comparing breakfast dishes and how the eggs were cooked. One person even had a thick waffle loaded with 5 inches of whipped cream and he even asked for ice cream on top of that! But no one was counting calories. Another woman had a waffle loaded with cream and bananas. What happened to the healthy fruit that we always say we want for breakfast at the meetings at the Medical Center?

John Warsinski was prepared to give a presentation, but he didn’t. He couldn’t get anyone’s attention; they were all wrapped up in conversation. Instead he grabbed one of our needy members who is always wondering how to do things on the computer and getting into trouble because they don’t work. He explained and showed her how to direct emails from different servers to download all in one place. No more need to check for email in several different places if using different email addresses. He will be talking about this to the rest of the group in a future meeting.

We all got to know each other better, learned a few things, and had a great time. Thanks to the club for providing this fun breakfast for us and to John Warsinski for setting it up.

July 2009 Meeting: Balloons, Bibles and Photo Story 3

By Alonzo (Lon) Hosford
The Hunterdon Computer Club is one of a few computer clubs that holds meetings in the summer months as well as monthly all year long.

The summer of 2009 is turning out to be no different.

PRESENTATIONS
This meeting had two presenters, Bruce Arnold and Don Colombo, both members in good standing in the club. As well both volunteer their time to the Hunderdon Senior center as instructors.

Bruce provided two topics. His first topic was a software program he devised  to help students at the senior center with hand coordination using a computer mouse. Bruce noted in his work at the Senior Center folks new to computers often had a difficult time clicking and double clicking the mouse without also moving their hands.

Bruce wrote the program in C++ he calls the “Balloons Program” that randomly draws circles or, more affectionately, balloons of various sizes and colors on the computer screen. One balloon on the screen randomly shows an ‘X’. The user’s of the program then need to click or double click on the ‘X’. If they are successful the balloon is removed and an ‘X’ is randomly placed on a remaining balloon. To pass the test all balloons need to be removed in less than one minute.

As part of the presentation on the “Balloons Program”, Bruce outlined the C++ program code and what it needed to do to make the program work. He did that in a way you did not need to know programming but with the raw source code in view. The “Balloons Program” can be downloaded at www.barnold.us/Balloons.

Bruce’s second topic was on a Bible program that shows Bible verse, lets you search them and compare two or more of them line by line. Bruce collaborated on this program with the Minister Gary Rose of Florida who had already digitized the Bibles into an Access database.

Bruce designed the www.CompositeBible.com web site for Minister Rose. Bruce ported the Access database to the free MySQL database popular on web hosting services. Bruce showed the software components: HTML, PHP and MySQL and how they produced the pages we see on the web. He made the point that no one typed in the Bible text you see on the pages, rather it is dynamically selected from the database by the PHP language and the PHP language then makes the HTML. HTML is what a web browser uses to show a page.

The www.CompositeBible.com site also offers magnificent pictures taken by the Hubble Telescope, an audio Bible, and many choir sung religious hymns.

Bruce also explained about Amazon.com’s Kindle: Amazon’s 6″ Wireless Reading Device (Latest Generation) and that www.CompositeBible.com Bibles are available on Kindle.

Don Colombo provided a super mini presentation on his use of Photo Story 3. Don outlined the steps to use the program and then demonstrated a presentation he made on recent trips into Peru. Don’s daring exploits in the trip and the pictures of the people in those areas quickly overshadowed the Photo Story program features he masterfully integrated to give us all a real treat.

Q&A

1. Google Operating System. I introduced the news that Google was planning its own operating system. Google Chrome is being used to run some “Net” books and this spurred Google into  a plan to develop that into a full operating system. Don Colombo added to the discussion about his “Net” book and experiences. A cartoon view of Google Chrome. A starting point for learning more.

2. Cell phone data services. The use of data services from cell phone companies was discussed. Bruce Arnold clarified the distinction between a wireless data connection and cell phone data service connection for internet. Wireless connections need an ISP and a nearby, within 100 or so feet, router to connect. Cell phone data service internet uses cell towers. Your computer needs an “Air Card” to connect with cell phone data service internet. Each cell phone carrier requires its own “Air Card”.

Don Columbo pointed out the data speed is about what you get with basic internet DSL and in general is not speedy but adequate. I pointed out the last time I looked at Verizon data service plans, their terms of service had a monthly metered amount.

3. Firefox upgraded slowing down browsing. A question was raised about the upgrading of FireFox on a Windows Vista machine resulted in slower web browsing. The suggested test was to temporarily disable all the “Add ons” in Firefox and note if there are any improvements in speed. If there are, then enable them one at a time to see which might cause the loss of speed.

Some thoughts included that too many add-ons might be the problem as well.

I pointed out I had a similar problem Internet Explorer 8 updated on a Windows XP machine. IE 8 would no longer load a page when connected to the Internet although Firefox on the same computer would. I mentioned to get around this problem was through the Control Panel. However rechecking later found it is not. Go to Programs->Accessories->Systems Tools->”Internet Explorer – No Plugins” to start IE without plugins. This solved the problem. I have yet to investigate the offending plugin but the only one I remember installing is XMarks.  [8/3/09 Update: I found that there was a FoxMarksDLLBHO Class that once disabled allowed the ususual launch of IE. However I had to disable all plugins and use a lot of trial and error. In the process the Flash Player plugin was removed just from disabling. I reinstalled it from the Flash site.]
CLUB BUSINESS

1. The club has rescheduled the breakfast for the October meeting. It was tentatively scheduled for August, however the Hospital has a lot of programs running for October and it could help them and us. The location is tentatively set for the Country Griddle in Clinton, New Jersey. Check back to see the official posting on the meetings page.

2. Paul Glattstein updated everyone on the official club picture site and should contact him  and email any pictures you want posted. You can also access the site from this site’s Photos tab.

3. I pointed out that I set up a Youtube account for the club, but no Videos, so if you want a Video posted, get it to me so we can encode and post it. Glynn Gillette asked about recording club topics. I suggested any good quality camera that can pickup voice could be tried or just record voice. As soon I get a video posted, I will add the link to our Photos page.

4. Scott Crabtree pointed out that the Senior Center has newer programs designed for smaller classes and provided a hard copy of the July schedule. As well Scott outlined the free student eligibility is a Hunterdon resident and 60 years old. Volunteers can be under 60 and there is some cross training flexibility for volunteers who do not meet the requirements to help expand the teacher resources.