Category Archives: 2011

Topics relating to the 2011 club meetings.

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.

August 20, 2011 Mtg., Presentation: Google Picasa, Paul Weeks, Presenter

At our Saturday August computer club meeting, Lon Hosford, President, welcomed everyone. Twenty-five members and three guests attended. Lon brought us up to date on the club’s functions and referred us to an article in PC Magazine on how to tune up XP, Vista and W7.

David Deutsch, http://www.synergisocial.com/, will present the September program on “Why Fear Social Media?” He will cover the history of how social media came about; how social media is different from everything else on the web; basic walk-through on using popular apps like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Yelp; address the issue of security in social media; and show a concrete example of how an organization can use social media to help them achieve their organizational objectives. His website is www.synergisocial.com. The site uses Flash Player.

The October meeting will be the club’s fall breakfast meeting to be held at the Country Griddle, 190 Center Street in Clinton. More information on this will be provided at the September meeting.

Perry Snyder brought up the problem that the Flash Player’s cookies cannot be cleaned by CC Cleaner. Flash Player stores cookies from the web sites you visit and that information is used to place ads on web sites that you visit of things that attracted your interest. There is a way to manage the cookies stored by Macromedia’s Flash Player. To protect your privacy and delete these Flash Player cookies, download the Flash Cookie Cleaner. This software allows you to select which cookies you want to delete, save those you need, schedule automated cleaning in the future and, best of all, it is free. Download the Flash Player Cookie Cleaner at http://www.flashcookiecleaner.com .

Q: A member said he was doing research on his computer and he received a message that he had a virus on his computer.  How can viruses be stopped?
A.: Keep virus definitions up to date. Have the anti-virus software update automatically daily or at least weekly. Set your anti-virus to update automatically rather than doing the updates manually.

Some members are afraid to order items from internet websites. But several members bought items from Amazon and found the site to be reliable. Some items were shipped directly from China and arrived quickly and in good condition. One time when an item was received damaged and the buyer reported the damage, the item was replaced quickly without a problem. Be sure to deal with reliable, well-known companies and web sites and you can be sure you will be satisfied with the results.

Presentation: Google Picasa, Paul Weeks, Presenter

Picasa is Google’s offering to manage digital photos. Since memory cards used by new digital cameras can now store thousands of pictures, it’s important to have a way to organize and manage these photos. The Picasa software can be downloaded free from Google and offers photo editing, facial recognition, albums, and much more.

After downloading the software, you will have to select where you want Picasa to look for your photos, such as on your computer, your external hard drive, flash drive, or elsewhere. These photos are then scanned by Picasa. Picasa can then categorize the people, after you identify who they are, and group them by individuals or groups. People are treated as an album and the pictures are sorted by date. Picasa does not move your pictures into Picasa; it is basically an index of where your photos are and helps you find them without having to search all the folders on your computer or elsewhere.

Geotagging on smart phones can tag the location of where the pictures were taken. This information gets sent along with the picture when it is loaded on a computer unless it is removed before loading to the computer or internet. So remove this data if you do not want others to be able to see it.

Picasa is very handy when you want to design photo gifts or put together group composites of certain people.

You can access his entire presentation though our Yahoo group messaging. The link to access his message in Yahoo Groups with his  presentation is http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/hunterdoncomputerclub/message/888

You can also link to his presentation here.  It uses Open Office Impress software. http://xa.yimg.com/kq/groups/12001552/920975708/name/GooglePicasa%20Presentation_modified_for%20HuntCompClub.odp

Thanks, Paul, for another very interesting presentation on how to use the features of Picasa.

July 16, 2011 Mtg., Presentation: Ubuntu, Bruce Arnold, Presenter

At the meeting on July 16, we had 26 members and 3 guests attending. Lon Hosford, President of the club, welcomed everyone. In a discussion with one of our guests, he said he was considering taking down our blog website and moving the blog to Facebook or Google Plus, which is a new Google service coming soon. More consideration will be given to these suggestions before a decision is made.

Upcoming presentations and events:
August, 2011: Paul Weeks — Google Picasa Photo Editing, organization and facial recognition software for individuals.

September, 2011: David Deutsch david@synergisocial.com – Why Fear Social Media?
The history of how social media came about; how social media is different from everything else on the web; basic walk-through on using popular apps like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Yelp; address the issue of security in social media, and show a concrete example of how an organization can use social media to help them achieve their organizational objectives. David will discuss Facebook Fan Pages more than anything else on Facebook to minimize overlap. His website is www.synergisocial.com. The site uses Flash Player.

October, 2011: Club Fall Breakfast, Location, Clinton Country Griddle

November, 2011: John Warsinski, Virtual Box, http://www.virtualbox.org This software allows additional operating systems to load and run on your computer.

December, 2011: Club holiday party

Bruce Arnold told the club about a new feature on the Google Chrome browser. He said Google placed a small microphone on the search bar. Clicking the microphone allows you to ask a question and search results for your question will appear. The new features also allow one to search by dragging and dropping a photo into an image search. For more information, go to this article, http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2387351,00.asp from PC Magazine. Although, I use the Chrome browser, I was not able to find the microphone on my search line, so perhaps there are other requirements before it shows up, such as new updates to the browser.

Bruce also made us aware that Google Picasa offers 1 GB of free storage for photos and videos. Photos under a certain size or videos under 15 minutes won’t count toward your storage limit. If you upload photos from Google Plus, it automatically resizes them so they won’t count towards your 1 GB, although this service can be used by invitation only.

Presentation: Ubuntu, Bruce Arnold, Presenter
Ubuntu is a free operating system and is in public domain. To easily provide the details for this presentation, Bruce provided a summary handout sheet about Ubuntu titled “Things I like about Ubuntu 11.04”. The handout gives general information about Ubuntu and details about how to download a disk image (.iso) and burn it to a disk and then how to install the program to your computer. To read or print out a copy of this Ubuntu handout, go to http://barnold.us and look for the name of the handout above on the website.

If you follow his instructions and install the software, you will have the equivalent of a $220 MS Windows 7 program and can use it on any number of computers since the program is free.

Ubuntu does not run Windows applications. It runs applications written for Ubuntu that are similar and are installed free with the default installation package. The apps can be used for word processing, music, email, photo editing, and many other applications. Although Ubuntu cannot use Windows software, most likely there is a free software app on Ubuntu that can accomplish the same job. It can read Word docs and is compatible with Windows 7.

The hardware requirements are much less than required to use Windows, so Ubuntu can be used on older computers. This is a great way to put an old computer to use without any cost. Printers will automatically find a driver or go to a list of printers on the computer and select your printer model and download the correct drivers.

It is best to use Ubuntu on a second computer rather than the same machine using Windows, but if you have a dual boot system, you can use both Ubuntu and Windows and can read files from both.

For questions, speak to Bruce through our group messaging on Yahoo, at the Senior Center when he is working there, or at our next club meeting.

March 19, 2011 Mtg., Presentation: Facebook, Turn On, Tune In or “Opt Out”, Scott Crabtree, Presenter

At the meeting on Saturday, Lon Hosford, President of the club, welcomed everyone. Twenty-five members attended and one guest. Lon reminded everyone to respect the hospital premises where we meet, especially when there are other events in progress. If we run into any problems, take them up with the hospital administration, but be respectful.

One member commented that he received an email supposedly from Evelyn Stewart. Someone hacked her email address book. He wanted everyone to take care when receiving emails supposedly from her since they may not be legitimate.

A discussion followed on how to contact club members. A suggestion was made that a list of members names and emails be prepared and a request be sent to our membership person if the information is needed so requests can be approved. More on this later

Q&A
Q. Is there a preferred way to back up my hard drive?
A. Cobian software is very efficient and can be scheduled to run every night. It can be used with an external hard drive or USB. It is a backup system for Windows. It is free, easy to use, and can be scheduled manually. For more information, go to http://download.cnet.com/Cobian-Backup/3000-2242_4-10071828.html .
Acronis is another Windows backup program for business and home use. Again, you can use an external hard drive or online backup. This software is not free, but one license will protect up to three computers. More information on this software can be found at http://www.acronis.com/homecomputing/products/backup-security/#benefits . Paragon is another software package for backing up your home or business computer. This can be used with Windows or a Mac. This software is not free. Your information can be backed up to an external hard drive or a bootable CD. More information can be found on http://www.paragon-software.com/products/home/ . Window Home Server is another solution to be used if you need to back up several computers. A router is needed to use this software. Information on this backup method can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/windows/products/winfamily/windowshomeserver/default.mspx . Also, Paul Weeks, a member of our club, gave a presentation on this topic back on January 26, 2010. A summary of his presentation can be found on our club website. Type in “Windows Home Server” in the Search Box on the main page and it will find Paul’s presentation.

Also, if you use Windows, be sure to activate the Backup and Restore Center by clicking on the Control Panel on your own computer and going to this selection. Under this area, you can also backup your computer to an external hard drive or to the internet. It also allows you to go back to a previous date and restore your computer to how it was configured at on that date.

Presentation: Facebook, Turn On, Tune In or “Opt Out”, Scott Crabtree, Presenter
Scott’s presentation gave an overview of Facebook, how it came to be, and its good and bad features.

While a student at Harvard, Mark Zuckerberg and others first developed “facemash”, which used pictures of Harvard students and compared them to one another. Although Harvard shut down this attempt, the concept was sold. Zuckerberg then launched a new concept, Thefacebook.com, to connect and socially network Harvard students. It grew and then was designed to service other university students, high school students, and others 13 years or older. This service continued to expand and the name was changed in 2005 to facebook.com when Zuckerberg bought the domain name.

Facebook has continued to grow and now is used all around the world. There are 600 million estimated users worldwide and 70% of users are located outside the U.S. Although offers were made to purchase Facebook, Zuckerberg refused all offers saying he wanted to keep Facebook independent. No IPO is under consideration either.

Facebook makes its money from banner ads, virtual goods, referral marketing, investors and other ways.

Facebook is free. Facebook requires a first and last name, a profile photo and your gender to sign up. When signing up, you need to choose your privacy settings which determines who will be able to read and access your information. The settings are very general and include “everyone”, “friends of friends”, and “friends only”. “Friends of Friends” is recommended by Facebook. It is better to use “Friends Only” and limit your exposure on the Internet. Under the Privacy Controls settings on Facebook, there are descriptions of what each category includes. Choose carefully. Also, be aware that at times when Facebook changes its structure or updates how it works this may change your privacy settings without your knowledge. It is incumbent on the user to be diligent and maintain the correct privacy settings.

Also, be aware that by clicking on a “like” button or even photo and video “tags” on web pages, you are allowing a relationship with others. You are giving information about yourself to those sites and advertisers. Identifiable data about you can be shared with third-party advertisers. What you “liked” will be added to your profile on Facebook under the Info tab so others can see what you liked and you will be able to see what others friends have recommended or “liked”.

Recently Facebook has become part of the news when it was used in the civil unrest in Egypt and to connect people and provide information during the recent earthquake in Japan. It also has aided police departments in finding criminals and has helped in spreading political information.

Some of the problems that have occurred when using Facebook are harassment, searches by employers or schools, identity theft, and predators. These situations can cause considerable harm to careless users. Using Facebook can create a false sense of security, builds trust in contacts and exposes our needs for belonging and self-esteem.

Once you have signed up on many of these social networks, it is very difficult to remove your personal information and close your account. A member suggested going to Google and typing in “How to cancel my Facebook account” to get the details and to follow them.

Be very careful how you use Facebook or other social networks. Have a strong password, assume that everything you put on the site will be permanently stored, and be careful of any pictures used so personal information about you is not identified. Don’t trust public internet access or unsecured WiFi and don’t use for anything personal. Make sure you know the privacy policies of web services and think carefully before you put anything on the site. Think who might read it and who will see it and the possible repercussions of your actions. There have been many cases where the information can and will be used against an individual in their employment, school, or with others when least expected.

Scott was not positive on the use of Facebook or any other social network site. The risks are great and the benefits are minor.

Thanks, Scott, for your information and cautions