Category Archives: 2010

Topics relating to the 2010 club meetings.

December 18, 2010 Meeting, Presentation, Oscilloscope Demo, Glynn Gillette, Presenter

Although this overview of the December club meeting is very late, I thought, better late than never. This meeting was our holiday celebration and many people brought delicious baked goods, cookies, deviled eggs, and fruit for all to enjoy, and this was in addition to our usual bagels and coffee. What a wonderful treat for all to share. Thanks to all who brought something and to those who set up the treats and cleaned up afterwards.

First, please note that upcoming meetings in 2011 will be held in the auditorium at the Hunterdon Medical Center as we have in the past.

A discussion took place about eReaders to find out what our members thought and what experiences they had with digital readers. Some commented that although paper books are easier to use, the Kindle was good to have. It has good visibility and portability and can connect through WiFi to Amazon free. EBooks can be purchased on Amazon and downloaded to the Kindle.

The iPad allows connection to the internet and has better legibility. The Kindle is smaller and lighter and a wide variety of books are available for it and some are free.

There are two distinctive readers at this time. One is a computer screen that is backlit and has graphics; the second is electronic paper with no backlight and is in black and white.

There is software to convert eBooks from one reader to another.

eBooks are available at the county library that can be downloaded, converted, and sent to your Kindle or eReader.

A member also discussed a problem he had when paying bills on line. When trying to pay his bills on line he found that his bank account had been closed. After investigating into the problem with his bank he found that electronic payments and deposits don’t count as activity on the account. His account was noted as dormant and it became inactive and his electronic bill payments did not go through.   He found that deposits over $1 were required to be made to the account on a regular basis to keep it active on bank records. Once that was done, his account was reinstated and he was able to continue paying bills on line. His experience was helpful to all of us to make us aware that we need to understand our bank’s requirements as we use internet transactions more and more.

Presentation: A Fun Voice and Vision Oscilloscope Demo, by Glynn Gillette

Glynn has been kind enough to share his broad knowledge of electricity and his past experiences with the club. This time he brought in an oscilloscope to show us and to explain its use. Much of his talk was about Tesla who worked with Thomas Edison. Tesla worked on the development of alternating current against the wishes of Edison who preferred direct current. It became a big disagreement between the two as to which was better, AC or DC.

The oscilloscope is a testing instrument that is used to diagnose problems in telephone switching systems, relay systems, and electronic systems. It traces out the voltage and displays it on a screen. With the use of this oscilloscope, problems in the electrical relay could be found and corrected. Thank you to Glynn who explained the background and history of Tesla and his work with alternating electrical current and described how the oscilloscope works.  He brought one from home to show us and to demonstrate how it is used.

November 11, 2010, Presentation: Google Analytics, Lon Hosford, Presenter

The computer club meeting held on November 20 was well attended. We also had one new member, Kerry Riggio, and three visitors, Pat Rasmussen, Paul Barbeto and Ken Powell at the meeting. Welcome to them and we hope you’ll return.

Lon Hosford, the club president, said that the Christmas meeting will be held on December 18 and in the Board Room. There won’t be an official presentation on that date.

Q&A
Q: I tried to copy a DVD to a USB but it didn’t seem to work. Is there a way to tell if the DVD is copyrighted or protected before going through the whole process of trying to copy it?
A: Try to load the DVD on your computer to test it to see if it loads and then try copying it to your USB. Try transferring the files on the DVD to the computer. It that works, it will work on your USB.

Q: I would like to put my LP recording onto a USB. How can I do this?
A. Try using Audacity free software. Audacity is a digital audio editor and recording application. It supports uncompressed audio and can record and play sounds and import and export WAV and MP3 files. You can read more about this and download the software at http://download.cnet.com/Audacity/3000-2170_4-10058117.html

Another free software to help you record music is MP3myMP3. With this software you can record streaming audio from the internet, microphone or any other source for that matter. It works directly with your system’s sound card, so if you can hear it, you can record it. Find out how to use MP3myMP3 at wikiHow at http://www.wikihow.com/Use-MP3myMP3-to-Get-Free-MP3-Songs . You can download the software at http://download.cnet.com/MP3-My-MP3-Recorder/3000-2170_4-10369269.html

Q: When I print from my computer, I lose the edges of the page. How can I remedy this?
A: Printers have dead space and margins that limit the print area. One solution is to install CutePdf software. CutePdf Writer is the free version. Download the free software from  http://www.cutepdf.com/products/cutepdf/writer.asp .  Once your file is converted to a PDF, print it from your computer. For instructions on how to print, go to eHow at http://www.ehow.com/how_7158099_print-cutepdf.html .   A Pdf document can be attached to an email and sent to others.
Presentation: Google Analytics, Lon Hosford, Presenter
Google Analytics is free software provided by Google to help understand and evaluate traffic to your website and its effectiveness. It helps you understand how internet users find your site, how they navigate through it and how they become customers. It allows you to track who is reaching your landing page and what traffic is directed to your goal page.

The software’s Dashboard screen gives a summary of the website. It lists categories that can be investigated to see where clicks are coming from and how long the person stays on the page. There is a flexible graphing tool that summarizes your results and then you can drill down deeper in the various categories for more detail. The content tab allows a drill down on what people did, where they landed, and content by title.

Information is available on the number of visitors to the site, how many unique viewers, time on the page, the bounce rate, how many exited from the site, return visits and what pages they visited. It also provides a geographic look on your site visitors, whether they are from the U.S. or international by city.

All of this information and much more assist the site owners to improve the site by selecting words that drive the visitor to the right goal page created as part of the marketing plan of the site’s owner. The objective of using the software is to provide very detailed information on who is coming to the website and to help convert site visitors to customers. For more detail and a tour of Google Analytics go to http://www.google.com/analytics/index.html .

It is startling to realize just how much information about the individual is tracked when that person clicks onto websites and reads content or clicks through pages. This software is a foundation to providing marketers with your interests, usage, location and even information about what type of browsers, service providers and search engines you use. Thanks, Lon, for opening our eyes and providing this excellent presentation to us.

October 16, 2010 Mtg., Presentation: Google Chrome, Suketu Shah, Presenter

On October 16 the club met in the auditorium at the Hunterdon Medical Center in Flemington. Lon Hosford announced that the November meeting will be held in the Board Room and not the auditorium.

Paul Glattstein asked that anyone who has pictures taken during the meetings to forward the pictures to him so he can put them on the club website.

Lon said that the software for the club website has been upgraded which will make it easier to post messages and to block unwanted hackers.

The club also thanks Don Columbo for obtaining speakers for our meetings for the last several months. It is greatly appreciated and has provided our group with current information. The program for November will be Google Analytics, presented by Lon Hosford.

Bill Miller of the Hunterdon County Library announced a new program to assist in job searches and to help those interested in completing  job applications for job opportunities that may be available. Through a grant from the Bill and Linda Gates Foundation, Connecting Nations, a consortium of NJ community colleges will develop on-line in-library training at Hunterdon headquarters library.

Q&A
Q: Recently there was a loss of power in my house. When it came back on, it caused unusual problems with the lights and computers. Full power not coming on caused the computer to not fully boot several times until the computer was inoperable. Shutting off the main power control helped.
A: Sometimes the power returns with less power than normal. The safest way to protect your computer is in BIOS to tell your computer not to restart after a shut down from a lack of power.

Q: I recently got a screen on my computer that said there was a virus in my computer.
A. This is spam that announces that there is a virus in the computer. It is usually a Brand X window that says you have a virus. If the message is not coming from the anti-virus software that you have on your computer, ignore it.

Presentation: Google Chrome, Suketu Shah, Presenter
Suketu gave high praise to Google Chrome. He said it is simple to use, starts quickly, is very fast, loads pages in a snap, and has a lot of add-ons that can help do numerous activities. One can search and navigate in the same box and it comes with good security.

Here are some of the great features and application add-ons available:
• Gmail, an email program that one can use with Outlook Express and other email programs.
• A calendar that one can set for reminders and that can be shared with others. One does not need Chrome to view the calendar.
• Google Documents which can replace MS Word and Excel. One can also download word and excel documents, share them, and work on them with others after giving them permission to view and update the files.
• Google Chat which allows one to use voice and video to chat on line.
• An add-on to Translate web pages into a preferred language
• Browsing in incognito mode which prevents visits to websites from being recorded on your computer.
• A series of tabs at the top can be used for additional copies of Chrome or to open many different web sites. If one tab is frozen, other tabs are unaffected.
• Docs PDF which automatically previews PowerPoint presentations, PDFs and other documents to see if there are any viruses or problems.
• Google Dictionary which provides definitions of words.
• Google Voice add-on through which one can get one number for all your phones, and is not dependant on the physical phone one is using. The number can be dialed from your computer screen. It allows one to manage all your phones and select which phones ring based on who is calling. One can also block certain numbers from getting through. All calls in U.S. are free. Calls to foreign countries are charged at a reasonable rate.
• Google Picasa allows one to upload pictures and share them with others on your computer. This add-on has considerable storage capacity.

Google Tips and Tricks
• Use the “wrench” icon at the right top of the Google page for options to open new tabs, new windows or an incognito window; to find tools; to edit, print, or see history or download; among other options.
• To restore and cycle through tabs, use Cntl+Sft+T to reopen or restore tabs.
• To improve memory usage, close down all tabs but one and then reopen.

Suketu said he prefers Google Chrome for all its many features and applications, only some of which are listed above. Chrome is free and all the add-ons and features are also free.

This was a great presentation by Suketu and made me aware of a lot of features and add-ons in Chrome that I am not using. These add-ons need to be added to one’s account, but instructions can be found by Goggling the name of the add-on. Although there are many good browsers available, this one offers a lot. Another benefit is that it is not tied to any internet service provider which allows one to continue using the browser if one changes service providers and not lose previous email messages.

Thanks, Suketu, for all the information.

September 18, 2010 – Annual Club Breakfast

The club held its third annual club breakfast at the Country Griddle in Clinton. A large group of club members and some guests attended and everyone there enjoyed a delicious breakfast, whether it was eggs, potatoes, and toast; pancakes and bacon; or another selection.

It was a great opportunity to spend some time getting to know the other members. Lively conversations took place around the tables sharing opinions and views on current events and computer topics.

No presentation was given. It was strictly a social event enjoyed by all. A few pictures of the breakfast were taken. Look for them posted on our club’s picture site on Picasa. Details will be posted later.

The next club meeting will be held on October 16 at 9:00 AM at our usual place, the Hunterdon Medical Center. The presentation will be “An Introduction to Google Chrome and Google Open Source Program Offerings”. The presenter will be Suketu Shah who previously gave this presentation at the Flemington Senior Center