Main Line Commodore User Group

Newsletter


January 2010 Issue 332

VILLANOVA UNIVERSITY, ST. AUGUSTINE, ROOM 110

MEETING STARTS - 09:30 -- JANUARY 9th


UPCOMING MEETING

ST. AUGUSTINE, ROOM 110

MAIN MEETING TOPIC: GET TO KNOW YOU

For January, we decided to take a bit of respite from our normal presentation and run an extended roundtable instead. The goal of the extended roundtable will be for the steering committee members to get a better insight into the computer technology leanings and related aspirations of the club's members. Are you the type that just wants reliable, inexpensive access to your email and browsing? Are you afraid to make online purchases or manage other online financial transactions? Or do you do more? Do you watch videos online and need a high speed connection to download large files? Do you manage large files, keep picture or movie albums, remotely access your home computer? Are you looking for other ways to use your computer?

Besides the good things you do with your computer, what things about computer usage irk you? Is your computer slow to do certain things? Does it fail more often than you would like? Does it lose network connectivity too often?

Hopefully, this discussion will help the steering committee with ideas for future meetings.

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ANNOUNCEMENTS & REMINDERS

1) If you are a member and did not attend the December 2009 meeting, then you likely missed out on getting one of the end of year 4GB SanaDisk Micro Cruzer USB flash drives with embedded U3 software as a Christmas gift. If so, and you would like one, contact John D to make arrangements to get yours. Hurry, because we have only one left for immediate delivery. Once it is gone, you will have to wait for us to order more.

2) Club membership entitles you to receive a hard copy of the newsletter and access to our email list server, which is run for the benefit of our members. Please do not hesitate to post club and computer related notices and problems to it. If we can't solve your problem remotely, we can be alerted to it ahead of the monthly meeting where more hands-on may help resolve your problem.

3) A few of the regular attendees usually partake of lunch at the Country Squire Diner in Broomall near the intersection of Routes 3 and 320, and recently at the Campus Corner Restaurant near the intersection of Routes 30 and 320 just off the Villanova University campus. So, after the meeting, why not join us? It's an opportunity to get more help and to discuss our common interests.

4) It's that time of year again -- Club Membership Renewal time. Please give your dues to our treasurer, John D, at the meeting or mail checks to his address as indicated on the back cover. Checks should be made payable to: MLCUG.

5) Help MLCUG go ``Green''. We issue this newsletter by both electronic means through our email list server and in hardcopy format. If you find yourself not reading the hardcopy, PLEASE inform John D, the editor, so that you will only receive the electronic version.

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LAST MONTH'S MEETING

Attendance: 16 people in all attended the meeting on Saturday, December 12th.

Main Meeting Round Table Q&A: Before we officially began last month's meeting, Frank M spoke to a few of us about a free Windows program called inSSIDer. ``inSSIDer'' is open source and is similar to NetStumbler and ViStumbler, but with a difference. It does a very nice job at providing and displaying a spectrum analysis chart so you can see the strength of signals on the different Wi-Fi channels. It will do separate scans for both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequencies if your hardware supports both frequency bands.

We officially began last month's meeting with our normal round of questions and announcements. Among the questions and announcements, Ed C mentioned he had learned how to better configure Windows Task Bar features and discussed his problems with disappearing Windows shares on his LAN, specifically his shared printer; Dewitt S wanted a better explanation and definitions of Twitter, BLOGs, and the FLIP camcorder; Layton explained how he was able to apply text to the back of photographic printer paper to make professional looking postcards for Christmas, showed us his new Verizon Droid, $300 Acer laptop from MicroCenter, Olympus E30 camera with various lens attachments, and portable Canon scanner; Wendy discussed the display problems she encountered with newly purchased monitors; Marty spoke about partition management software including Partition Magic, Easus, and Acronis Disk Manager; Ralph brought to our attention an email scam which tries to lure you into believing your Verizon account is unpaid and in jeopardy of being terminated unless you quickly get the account paid by linking to a Verizon looking website and asking for account and credit card info, and mentioned the problem he encountered with a DVD driver while trying to update one of his computers to Windows 7; and Peter W showed us his new Sansa Clip MP3 player and JVC gumy earbuds.

Main Meeting Program: As this was our Christmas party meeting, there was no big main meeting presentation. As in years past, we had raffle prizes and provided lunch. For raffle prizes, we had a FLIP UltraSD camcorder, a pack of CDROM discs (courtesy of Ted K), and a 50/50 drawing. The respective prize winners were Tom J, Nelson S and Nelson S. Yes, Nelson won 2 of the prizes!

4GB SanDisk Micro Cruzer Present I did briefly talk about the 4GB Sandisk Micro Cruzer retractable USB flash drive that all attending members received. This flash drive has 2GB more capacity than last year's gift and is much faster. In fact it is fast enough to support a Vista and Windows 7 feature called ReadyBoost which promises to speed up your computer especially if you are using low-end hardware and have about 1GB of RAM. Vista and Windows 7 running on high-end computers are not likely to see a boost in performance. In fact, they may see a decrease in performance.

In addition, this Sandisk Micro Cruzer includes U3 portable app technology for Windows and includes encryption capability to secure the data on the flash drive. The U3 portable apps launcher comes installed on its own partition on the Cruzer so it is not accidentally removed or deleted. This partition is formatted to act like a CDROM so it is a READ-ONLY partition. SanDisk provides a website with 3 different sets of instructions for the best way to remove the U3 partition and software if you decide you don't want this portable apps feature. The website instructions are at:

http://kb.sandisk.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/2550/page/2/r_id/101834

I reported that I had tried out some of the portable apps including Open Office and that Open Office seemed to work fine on my WinXP computer, but would not successfully launch for me when used with Vista. It also seemed that many of the U3 portable apps were much older versions. For example, FireFox and Open Office were relatively early 2.X versions whereas the current normal release of each of these apps is near to version 3.4.

Google Groups As Club Email List Server In addition to talking about the SanDisk Micro Cruzer present, we discussed the clubs goal of moving its email list service to Google Groups. This will not happen quickly as we will give users several months to make sure they have successfully made the transition.

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RELATED MEETING LINKS

I thought I would include a section on web links related to some of the subjects we discussed during our round table discussions and presentations. Hopefully, readers will find these links of value.

SanDisk Micro Cruzer Usage Q&A: http://kb.sandisk.com/app/answers/list/kw/usb%20flash%20drive/r_id/101834/search/1/session/L3NpZC9YdE5VU25Qag%3D%3D/sno/0

SanDisk Micro Cruzer Usage Videos: http://kb.sandisk.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/3170/kw/usb%20flash%20drive/r_id/101834

http://kb.sandisk.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/793/related/1/kw/usb%20flash%20drive/r_id/101834

Sansa Clip MP3 Player: http://www.sandisk.com/products/sansa-music-and-video-players/sandisk-sansa-clip-mp3-players.aspx

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SOFTWARE WORTH A LOOK

inSSIDer For Windows

References: http://www.metageek.net/products/inssider

inSSIDer is an award-winning free open-source Wi-Fi network scanner for Windows Vista and Windows XP. It works with both 32-bit and 64-bit versions. inSSIDer was discussed by Lifehacker and Tekzilla!

http://lifehacker.com/5061856/inssider-detects-wireless-networks

inSSIDer Requires .NET 2.0.

EASEUS Partition Master Home Edition

CNET Reference: http://download.cnet.com/Easeus-Partition-Master-Home-Edition/3000-2248_4-10863346.html

From Chengdu Yiwo Tech Development :

Free Partition Manager - EASEUS Partition Master Home Edition is a magic partition management freeware. With its help, you can resize/move, copy, create, delete, format, hide, and explore hard disk drive partitions. Use it to extend the system partition, have better disk space management, and resolve low disk space problems! The most attractive feature is it can resize/move partition without destroying data.

This free partition manager software works with hardware RAID and Windows 2000 / XP / Vista / Windows7 (Only 32-Bit) operating systems. It not only provides convenient user-interface to simplify your job but also enables you to configure and manage partitions of hard drive. Safely copy dynamic volume to basic disk with resizing this basic disk and extend NTFS system partition without reboot are available now. In addition, Disk & Partition copy is designed for protecting your data.

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WEB SERVICES

Verizon Call Assistant (VCA)

Reference: http://www22.verizon.com/ForyourHome/Registration/Reg/VCALogin.aspx?from=SAS&txtAppID=VCA&CMP=EML-TEM09001

This is a new FREE feature/service for Verizon customers. Software is currently available for Windows users and promised for Mac users. I consider this desktop software to be in the BETA phase. Not all menu items are functional.

What does it do? It's software that resides on your desktop as a sidebar and requires an Internet connection. It logs all Caller ID's to for a specific phone number (up to 5 phone numbers) and logs associated voice mail. Incoming Caller ID's pop up on screen momentarily when calls are received. Voice mail messages can be heard on your computer by clicking the appropriate links in the software. For voicemail, you can also configure the system to send an email notification. In addition, VCA can be used as a ``cloud'' based directory for your phone contacts.

Why is this of value? It can be used in place of caller ID. In addition, if you are away from the phone and don't have call forwarding turned on and have a computer Internet connection, you can easily monitor calls to the phone remotely.

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DIRECTIONS FOR ST. AUGUSTINE CENTER MEETING ROOM Meetings are in the St. Augustine Center at Villanova University. The regular monthly sessions meet in Room 110.

Enter from the ITHAN AVENUE main gate, then proceed to the upper level of the 2-level parking building adjacent to the St. Augustine Center, on the Ithan Avenue side of the building. NOTE: maps on our web page - http://micug.org/

 MLCUG Meetings 2010      Steering Committee Meetings
  January 9			January 13
  February 13			February 17
  March 13			March 17
EDITOR: John W. Deker, Jr. 2210 Lantern Lane, Lafayette Hill, PA 19444-2211 Produced with PowerSpec 8922a: 2.6GHz Pentium 4, 3GB RAM, 640GB HD cap, Brother HL-5250DN laser printer, CD-RW/DVD±R/RW drives, Windows XP Home OS, MS Office XP, Ghostscript 8.54 & Bullzip PDF Printer software
MLCUG LISTSERV:		for members only...
OUR WEB PAGE:		http://mlcug.org/
PUBLICITY:		Position OPEN!
VILLANOVA SPONSOR:	Prof. Frank Maloney, Dept. of Astronomy

MLCUG STEERING COMMITTEE;
PRESIDENT: John Deker 		610-828-7897	
TREASURER/SEC: John Deker 	610-828-7897	
WEBMASTER: Peter Whinnery 	610-284-5234	
AT LARGE:  Tom Johnson		610-896-2434	
AT LARGE:  Wendy Emery		215-765-3328
V.PRESIDENT: Al Gottlieb  	215-793-9725
DATABASE: Layton Fireng		610-688-2080
AT LARGE: Nelson Schrock	610-834-0117
AT LARGE: John Murphy		610-935-4398