Main Line Commodore User Group

Newsletter


March 2010 Issue 334

VILLANOVA UNIVERSITY, ST. AUGUSTINE, ROOM 210

MEETING STARTS - 09:30 -- MARCH 13th


UPCOMING MEETING

NOTE: IN ROOM 210 !!!

MAIN MEETING TOPIC: BITTORRENT

For March, Peter will lead us on a look at BitTorrent technology -- what it is, why you might use a BitTorrent client, how it works, related legal issues and possibly some related history, and some of the various clients that are available. We'll also take a look at some of the associated configuration settings, terminology, and possibly bandwidth issues.

If you would like to do a little bit of research into BitTorrent prior to the meeting, be sure to take a look at the Wikipedia site at:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BitTorrent_%28protocol%29

It contains a lot of basic information about the BitTorrent technology. If what you read causes you to have questions, be sure to ask Peter for further clarification at the meeting.

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ANNOUNCEMENTS & REMINDERS

1) 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.

2) 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.

3) 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: 11 people in all attended the meeting on Saturday, February 13th.

Main Meeting Round Table Q&A: We began last month's meeting with our normal round of questions and announcements. Among the questions and announcements, Tom J asked about tax software features; Don W was having issues with Pop-Ups and didn't realize besides the Pop-Up blockers that most modern browsers include that there was also a Pop-Up blocker in the Google Toolbar he was using with his browser; Marty C is in the midst of viewing and possibly digitally processing old 35mm slides (it was recommended that he use the lower capacity carousels so the slides would not as likely hang up while using a projector for viewing); Pat S was getting FiOS installed and running additional Ethernet cabling and needed to acquire a switch for one end of his Ethernet run, and he sought help for a Dell with Windows XP and SP3 that was having a shutdown problem and wondered why he was having to pay for an Apple iTouch update; Layton mentioned his problems with getting Zone Alarm working with Windows 7 (since very few members are running Windows 7 and none in combination with Zone Alarm there were no helpful suggestions) and getting Quicken to access the Internet on one of his computers; John M showed us a USB battery charger and spoke of the potential problem of having all his ``eggs in one basket'' when he experienced a FiOS outage during the recent bad winter weather; Wendy wanted to know if she could safely move certain files off her full C: drive to another partition; Peter spoke about sources of computing related info including sources like Digg.Com and Reddit.Com, and also spoke about the negative buzz on the recently released Google Buzz social networking endeavor and had us take a look at DaringFireBall.Net; Rich T took us into a discussion of FiOS vs Comcast's Xfinity rebranded service, heavy battery usage on a camera with image stabilization, Apple Airport, and his laptop with an internal DVD drive problem; and John D showed us the new Boxee Beta release with revised interface and media focus.

Main Meeting Program: For February, the Steering Committee thought we had a reasonably good presentation topic, but with 20/20 hind sight, the SlipStreaming topic was worth knowing about, but of VERY limited use to most members. There were 2 reasons for this. First and most important, most members don't have access to a copy of an original Microsoft Windows setup/install disc. And even if they do, the need to use a SlipStreamed disc is rare. Most Windows users are satisfied to rebuild their OS from their computer manufacturer's supplied recovery software as the need arises. The only other time a SlipStreamed disc would seem of value is when you might run System File Checker (SFC).

We briefly covered what SFC is during the presentation and you can find more info on the web including these 2 web sites:

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/310747

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/System_File_Checker

There are many sites on the web where you can find instructions on how to create a slipstreamed disc. The meeting presentation focused on a few sites for Windows XP and Vista. The following sites were presented as examples:

* For Windows XP o http://www.howtohaven.com/system/slipstream-xp-service-pack-3.shtml o http://www.howtohaven.com/system/createwindowssetupdisk.shtml * For Vista o http://www.vistax64.com/tutorials/230249-sliptream-vista-sp2.html

For summary notes in of the presentation, a PDF should be available on the club website by the time this newsletter is published. The club website is at:

http://mlcug.org/

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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 and interest.

Comcast's Xfinity service * http://blog.comcast.com/2009/12/fancast-xfinity-tv-national-beta-launch-a-guide-to-get-started.html * http://www.xfinity.com

Google Toolbar Features (REF: Popup Blocker) http://www.google.com/toolbar/ie/features.html

Google Buzz http://www.google.com/buzz

Reddit -- the Google Buzz controversy http://www.reddit.com/search?q=google+buzz

DaringFireBall -- the Google Buzz controversy http://daringfireball.net/search?q=google+buzz

Digg -- a source of tech related info http://digg.com/technology

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SOFTWARE WORTH A LOOK

ZoneAlarm (FREE Windows Firewall) http://download.cnet.com/ZoneAlarm/3000-10435_4-10039884.html

``An effective and easy-to-use firewall program, ZoneAlarm does a great job of keeping your PC safe from a variety of threats. ZoneAlarm uses a simple wizard to make configuring a firewall, which seems like a daunting task to many computer users, incredibly easy.'' _____

WinDirStat (Windows, FREE) * http://sourceforge.net/projects/windirstat/ * http://download.cnet.com/WinDirStat/3000-2248_4-10614593.html

This is a repeat promotional from 2 years ago when the club included it on the Christmas disc. However, when one of our members mentioned at this month's meeting that they were having disk space limitation problems, I thought it appropriate to re-list this software as a reminder of a useful utility.

``WinDirStat is a disk usage statistics viewer and cleanup tool for Microsoft Windows (all current variants). WinDirStat reads the whole directory tree once and then presents it in three useful views: the directory list, which resembles the tree view of the Windows Explorer but is sorted by file/subtree size; the treemap, which shows the whole contents of the directory tree straight away; and the extension list, which serves as a legend and shows statistics about the file types.''

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HARDWARE WORTH A LOOK

Recently, my brother took a ski vacation with his family at Lake Tahoe. He had an older Canon Powershot with him for taking pictures. He happened to be down near the lake when he dropped and damaged the camera among the boulders and rocks, losing the pictures he had already taken during the trip. Needless to say, he was disappointed at the loss. He also desired to find a replacement for the camera immediately and wound up at Best Buy where he came upon the ~$200+ Canon - PowerShot 12.1-Megapixel Digital ELPH Camera series of cameras.

This camera caught his attention with its HD camcorder mode and included image stabilization. Wanting to shoot HD video of his young daughters skiing and snowboarding while he was on a snowboard traveling down the slope, image stabilization was extremely important to him. He had been disappointed with the HD Flip I had given him at Christmas, and I now own it.

The Canon Powershot ELPH proved very effective at taking relatively stable videos during his ski vacation and I can vouch for that. Because of the stabilization feature and its slight increase in price over an equivalent Flip camcorder, I strongly suggest it is VERY competitive with a HD Flip camcorders. Take a look at the Canon ELPH specs and compare.

Product Features

* 12.1-megapixel CCD Captures high-resolution images up to 4224 x 2816 pixels.

* 3x optical/4x digital/12x total zoom Through a Canon zoom lens for precise zooming and accuracy.

* 2.5" PureColor II LCD screen With Real Image optical viewfinder for clear previews and playback.

* Canon's DIGIC 4 imaging processor Provides improved picture quality, fast processing speed and accurate autofocus, auto exposure, auto red-eye correction and auto white balance.

* Optical image stabilization Minimizes shake and vibration distortion for crisp images.

* Face detection technology Automatically sets the focus, exposure and flash for improved portraits.

* Shooting modes Include portrait, foliage, sunset, snow, beach, fireworks, aquarium, underwater, indoor, kids & pets, night snapshot, color accent, color swap, digital macro, stitch assist and movie for the right settings every time.

* 9-point through-the-lens (TTL) autofocus For hassle-free, clear close ups.

* High ISO sensitivity Up to ISO 1600 ensures clear, vibrant image captures in areas with minimal light.

* White balance controls Include auto, daylight, cloudy, tungsten, fluorescent, fluorescent H and custom to achieve natural tones under different lighting conditions.

* Built-in flash Auto, flash-on, flash-off, FE lock and slow synchro modes.

* Movie mode Shoots high-definition 1280 x 720 videos at 30fps.

* Memory card slot Supports Secure Digital, Secure Digital High Capacity, MultiMediaCard, MultiMediaCard Plus and High Capacity MultiMediaCard Plus formats (media not included).

* USB 2.0 interface and HDMI mini outputs For an easy connection to your computer or HDTV.

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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 March 13 March 17 April 10 April 14 May 8 May 12

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