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DON’T SUFFER COMPUTER PROBLEMS BY YOURSELF — LOCAL ORGANIZATIONS HELP – The only thing worse than having computer, Internet, or other technology problems is suffering them alone. But take heart: local organizations called “user groups” let you meet friendly people to help cope with and even enjoy technology.
User groups run general meetings featuring wide-ranging topics from general technology (e.g., online safety, privacy, getting better search results) to specific technologies (password managers, favorite Windows/Apple/other utilities, care and feeding of personal network routers, etc.).
Group offerings also include newsletters, free-wheeling Q&A sessions, discounts on books and hardware and software, raffle prizes, email and web services, and online “virtual technology conferences.” Groups share the motto “users helping users.”
Though it’s easy to think that buying a computer is as simple as picking a microwave oven, groups offer assistance for this. People are often surprised by decisions involved, then enjoy tailoring a system to their unique needs.
As non-profit organizations, user groups provide community services such as judging science fairs and refurbishing used computers for deserving schools, organizations, and individuals.
User group membership provides a setting to make friends, socialize, and give and receive help. As a volunteer organization, a user group is like a credit union, in that the more effort people contribute, the more payback they and their community receive. I give advice and support in some areas and receive it in others. So my efforts are not an expense fo
r me, but a rewarding investment in myself and my community. Yours can be too.
User groups love new members and it’s easy to join, get to know people, and quickly feel like a long-time member. I’d hate to think about facing my computer without my fellow user group members beside me! And groups love volunteers; getting involved is personally rewarding, a way to serve the community, and the best introduction to a group’s technology resources.
DC-area’s leading consumer computer user groups:
http://www.patacs.org — Meets monthly in Fairfax, twice monthly in Arlington. Mostly focuses on Windows, with strong general component of smartphones tablets, Internet, apps, general technology, etc. And there’s a free-ranging discussion list for sharing resources/tips and active Q&A.
http://www.wap.org — Meets monthly alternating Fairfax/Montgomery, plus informal “users helping users“ gatherings. Mostly focuses on all-things Apple, with strong component of consumer issues, general tech how to and trends, networking, etc. Call 301-984-0300 (leave message) or email email@example.com with tech questions.
If you attend a meeting or join — mention that you saw this in Golden Gazette.
Exciting changes for DACS (Danbury Area Computer Society) were announced in February. It was announced they found an opportunity that allows them to continue providing monthly meetings with speakers on technical topics in a manner like what they currently offered. This will dramatically reduce their need for volunteers who must dedicate time and resources to DACS and believe this is the best way for everyone to continue enjoying the monthly meetings.
This was good news, in the face of the numerous difficulties they have been encountering: declining membership, members with busy schedules who no longer have time to volunteer, etc. (JT/sound familiar?).
They thought long and hard about how to proceed. They watched the growth of Danbury Hackerspace, a nearby organization that also has a technical focus and 501(c)3 tax status. It has grown quickly in the last few years. Mike Kaltschnee, a member and big supporter of DACS for more than 25 years, co-founded and operates Danbury Hackerspace and has agreed to take on the responsibility for continuing monthly meetings under the name DACS, but as a function under Danbury Hackerspace. This means the DACS name and monthly meetings can continue; he will select the speakers, publicize the meetings, and facilitate the DACS Meetup group. Some of the DACS board members will continue to participate, now as volunteers helping Mike with these tasks. DACS is looking forward to this new chapter in its life.
Mike reached out to APCUG in late-February with “What’s involved in staying in APCUG? I’ve been involved with DACS for over 25 years, but I’m new to running the group.” He was sent an e-mail letting him know about some of the most-used benefits as well as the link to Member Benefits on the website and the statement: APCUG is here to help.
“Notes on the DACS Transition to a Meetup
April 24, 2018
By Mike Kaltschnee
Co-founder Danbury Hackerspace
It’s great to be working with Jim Scheef (DACS pres) to transition DACS from a non-profit to a Meetup. Jim deserves a lot of credit for taking the transitional President job: be sure to thank him when you see him, along with the rest of the board for their service!
I was around for the early days of computer groups in the 80’s, and one of the greatest things about the meetings were the people I met, the connections I made. We want to continue this with a networking part of each meeting, where people can meet, learn, and share with others.
Another great part of user groups was the Special Interest Groups, or SIGs. We will continue the main DACS meetings at the Danbury Hospital, and also the remaining Special Interest Groups at the Danbury Hackerspace. We host a number of awesome Meetups at the Hackerspace, which are similar to SIGs, and many of them are free and open to the public.”
We also run events like the Danbury STEAM Fair that gets thousands of attendees, with classes on topics like 3D Design & Printing, Intellectual Property, Starting a Business, Crowdfunding, and more. You can see the schedule of events online at www.DanburyHackerspace.com/Calendar. Glad to see the Danbury group will live on – they are the Danbury Tech Meetup/JT
Danbury Area Computer Society (DACS)
Danbury Tech Meetup
CPUser GROUP IN PENNSYLVANIA HOLDS MEMBER RECRUITING EVENT
Just wanted to give a “BIG” shout out to all volunteers who helped with today’s event. We had some members who were recruiting for the first time and they did a fabulous job! Also thanks to Mike Ceschini and Ron Shirey for helping to set up the booth early this morning and to Gene Ceschini (Yes, our oldest member!!!) for helping to tear down the booth this evening. All-in-all, it was a great event as we collected another 30 names and emails to add to our email distribution list along with passing out dozens of flyers to other potential members. It is events like this that will help us to continue to grow the club membership so if you didn’t get a chance to help this time please consider helping the next time you are asked. Our next scheduled event will be on Nov. 5th in Natrona Heights. Once again thanks to all for a wonderful day!
HEWIE POPLOCK STARTS A VIRTUAL CHROMEBOOK SIG – Are your members interested in Chromebooks? Hewie (former APCUG Board Member and leader of the virtual Windows SIG offered by the Central Florida Computer Society) is starting a virtual Chromebook SIG. The SIG will be available live to groups and individual members, and will be recorded. If the TBD time of the live event is held when your group meets, you are welcome to use it for your general meeting. The meetings will be recorded and uploaded to YouTube; you will be able to access the recordings from the SIG website.
But, Hewie needs your help! In order to determine the best time for the live meeting, he would like those interested in the SIG to complete the survey at http://bit.ly/2sq7IJ2 . Final day and time will be sent to all interested groups, members, and those responding via the survey. Information will also be posted on the website – Chromebooks 4 Seniors.
Short video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ddr7vye4TUw
MEET THE HAWTHORNE WINDOWS USERS’ GROUP IN FLORIDA – Come learn how to take control of your computer. We often feel alone when we use our computers. We think our frustrations, our questions, and our needs are unique. Sometimes we think that we have dumb questions, or we don’t want to show our lack of knowledge or experience and, yet, that’s what we have to do to learn more.
Our computer club is full of people who want to share what they know. Sometimes that means we teach others how to use MS Office. Other times it means teaching how to use the Internet more effectively, how to use a photo editing program, how to take digital pictures, how to set up a home network, how to research your family tree, or how to use your computer to help in scrapbooking to mention just a few. The Hawthorne Computer Club can be as dynamic as its members want to be. The key to a successful computer club is to have active members – members who are willing to volunteer to help each other. Hope to see you at the next meeting which will be the first Wednesday in October.
Our History – We are growing! Another new activity for Hawthorne! The Hawthorne Computer Club was approved at the December 14th Council meeting and will report to the Education category. Mario Anton is the Chairman and Col. George Meuse is the Co-Chairman. The Computer Club meets the first and third Tuesday of every month at 7 p.m. in the Palm Room. Our purpose is to encourage and teach computer use. There are an estimated 30 participants.
The information above came from the Hawthorne Historical Society. It all took place back in December, 1995. There was a gentleman by the name of Don Hostetler, a Leesburg high school teacher, also known as the Computer Coach, who served as the instructor for our club.
Since the creation of the computer club we have come a long way with many great instructors along the way. Computer technology has grown so fast that it is hard to keep up with it today. We went from Windows 1.0, Windows 95, Windows 98, 2000, XP, Windows 7 Windows 8 and now we’re all the way up to Windows 10. We try to meet the needs of our members by sharing our knowledge. We have beginner, intermediate and advanced classes.
We meet the first and third Wednesday of the month in the Lime Room at the clubhouse. We also have workshops Friday afternoons in the Marina for new computer users.
Come join our Club and share your computer knowledge with us. Check the monthly Program Calendar and watch the drum and this web site for more information. http://hawthornewindowsusers.com/
CIPCUG (CHANNEL ISLANDS PCUG, CA) PODCASTS – CIPCUG has partnered with Mercury Broadcasting to host their podcasts. Tech Guru Toby Scott along with his side-kick, daughter Jes (AKA “The Coffee Princess”), answer your questions once a week. The podcasts are uploaded to the website (www.cipcug.org) every Tuesday at 7 AM and can be listened to any time after. Be aware that this is “radio,” not “TV.”
To ask a question, log onto the CIPCUG Facebook page (you have to be a member of Facebook) and post away. They try to answer all the questions during the week. Normally, they record Sunday afternoon and edit on Monday. If your question is posted before Saturday, there is an excellent chance it will be answered the following Tuesday. https://www.facebook.com/groups/cipcug/
If you don’t wish to join Facebook, you can post questions using the Comment or Corrections link at the bottom of every page on CIPCUG’s website. The actual podcasts are on Mercury Broadcasting’s site and there are links to them at http://cipcug.org/podcast.cfm — no Facebook account required.
At their February 8 meeting, SCV Computer Club attendees were asked for question(s) for Toby to answer on the podcast. President Judy Taylour sent the questions to Toby and they were answered during the February 14 and 21 podcasts. User Groups helping User Groups. February 14 podcast: “We were lucky enough to get questions from out of town! Here are some questions submitted from Santa Clarita Valley. On their website, they give a shout out to CIPCUG!” February 21 podcast: “Thanks again for the questions from the SCV Computer Club. Hope they continue to help out. Other computer clubs are welcome as well.”
Toby invites questions from all APCUG member groups.
THE COMPUTER CLUB OF HOT SPRINGS ARKANSAS OFFERS SCHOLARSHIPS – As part of their goal to be of service to their community, they have set up a scholarship fund for a qualified high-school student from either Jessieville, Fountain Lake, or Mountain Pine who plans to go on to college to study computer-related technology.
In 2016, they awarded scholarships to two Jessieville students for $750 each.
They are asking for donations to help them fund more scholarships in 2017. There will be a donation jar at their evening and breakfast meetings as well as at each of their classes. They are a 501(c)(3) organization, so donations are tax deductible.
Donations may be mailed payable to Computer Club of HSV, P.O. Box 8387, Hot Springs Village, AR 71910. Be sure to indicate it is a scholarship donation. If you need proof of donation for tax purposes, please let us know. http://www.cchsv.org
CHICAGO COMPUTER SOCIETY (ILLINOIS) AND POTOMAC AREA TECHNOLOGY AND COMPUTER SOCIETY (VIRGINIA) have reference pages on their websites where members (and visitors) can get Windows 10 tips and / or general tips. (I found the Robocall info in Jere’s Tips on the CCS website./JT)
EAST-CENTRAL OHIO TECHNOLOGY USERS CLUB STARTS NEW FIFTH FRIDAY FOCUS AND FUN MEETING – ECOTUC has started a new feature/activity for its members called Fifth Friday – Focus & Fun. With every few months having an extra Friday that’s not being used by the Windows or Linux Help Desks, we decided to see about having a topic that we can explore on a Friday afternoon and spend a little more time learning about it. Our FF-F&F begins at 1:00 p.m. and concludes around 3:30 p.m. or so. This will give some extra time for presentation, discussion, and questions vs. the time we have at our regular Monthly Meeting Programs. The topics will vary and depend on who volunteers to present on those Fridays and what they want to present. For the July FF, we had a presentation on the new Windows 10.
For the September FF, we will be focusing on “Backing Up Your Data.” This is something that many people talk about doing because it’s a good thing, but too many don’t follow through. With the major threat of the “crypto-virus” and “ransomware” locking up your files unless you pay, you’ll either have to fork out the large amount of money to get the “unlock key” (and maybe they will and maybe they will just take your money and run) to get your files back; or you have all your files backed up and could care less about paying any ransom. It’s your choice.
At this session, you will have a chance to discuss the whys, the whats, the hows, and the to wheres of data backups. You will have a chance to see how to do it the most simple, manual way for the most important files you have, and continue on with a few other presenters that will demonstrate some programs that will run in the background and do it for you. We are hoping to have this program available over Zoom for those members that are unable to attend in person.
This program is basically for members as it’s one of the benefits of membership. But if you have a friend or family member that isn’t a member, bring them and have them get signed up as a member before the program. The $24 they spend on learning about backing up could well save them HUNDREDS of dollars in the event they get hit by one of those viruses. And, along with this one program, they would also have access to future Fifth Friday programs, and all our other member benefits that make our membership dues come out to just about 6 ½ cents a day for all that we offer.
Read about how the September FF-F&F meeting turned out in the Q4 issue of Reports.
BIG BEAR COMPUTER CLUB CELEBRATES CHRISTMAS IN JULY – Holiday Cheer! This is always an exciting meeting with gifts for their members who attend, good food, prizes plus networking with each other. So… come and enjoy the celebration. Turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, gravy and deserts will be provided by the Computer Club. Members are asked to bring a complimentary side dish. This all takes place on July 12 at the Big Bear Senior Center – 1:30 pm.
The NORTHEAST OHIO PC CLUB also celebrates Christmas in July! They meet the next day on Wednesday, July 13 from 6:30 to 8:30 pm. Attendees have the chance to win a 10” Window 10 Notebook or 11 other door prizes and will enjoy Christmas cookies and coffee. First time Guests can get a years’ free membership to NEOPC. This is the third and final year Windows 10 will be their “Christmas” topic. The deadline for upgrading to Windows 10 is fast approaching. Bruce Brockman will discuss what he has learned in the three years he has been giving presentations on Windows 10. Some of the pros and cons will be discussed as well as some very useful tips and tricks. If you are a Windows user for your PC, as over 80% of the computers in the world currently are, you cannot miss this meeting.
VICTORIA COMPUTER CLUB fka BIG BLUE & COUSINS have several photoshoots scheduled this June. Their Photoshoot Walk was on June 7; they walked along Catherine to the Delta hotel’s Totem Point and returned along the waterfront Songhees walkway. The walk started at 4 pm and ended with
dinner & photo sharing at 5:30 pm at the Pub.
On June 11, they attended the official Grand Opening of Eagle Creek Village which featured a wild west-themed celebration with a free BBQ and live music. They had the opportunity to practice their food photography and other skills.
Their last photoshoot was on June 25 at the Photoshoot 7th Annual Summer So(u)lstice at Royal Oak Burial Park. There was music, poetry, and remembrance. Photo sharing followed at Broadmead’s Romeos. www.bbc.org
Thanks to Ken Beattie, Photoshoot Director, for two photos he took at the Annual Summer So(u)lstice.
PHILADELPHIA AREA COMPUTER SOCIETY CELEBRATES 40 YEARS! All paid-up members attending their anniversary celebration on June 18 will receive a nice gift. There will also be raffle prizes with several books, shirts, flash drives, etc.
Founded in 1976, PACS is one of the oldest formally organized, continuously operating computer users groups in the nation. You had to know a great deal about electronics; therefore, the first PACS members were generally engineers and ham radio operators. The engineers were mainly interested in using the microprocessor not as a computer, but as a simple electronic controller replacing dozens of discrete components. When a new job came along you didn’t build another controller; you simply reprogrammed the one you were using. The microprocessors were teamed with 1K or 4K memories. By today’s standards that’s nothing-too small to hold most languages, or even an operating system. But that didn’t bother the engineers; all they wanted was to open a valve for a little while, then close it, that sort of thing. The ham radio operators’ interest was fun and excitement. These groups showed up at the early PACS meetings, all dreaming of owning their own systems. Back then there were no special interest groups. There was only one interest: To build a computer!
At one meeting Rob Smith brought in his home brew computer! He designed and built the entire system; it wasn’t a kit. The audience was breathless as Rob, to better explain his system, pulled one part out, then another, and then pushed them back together-and the computer still worked!
SARASOTA TECHNOLOGY USER GROUP features Out Of The Past: What Was Happening in STUG 20 Years Ago This Month – April 1996 with a link to their April 1996 newsletter. www.thestug.org
Vinny La Bash was the president; this April he gave a presentation to the group on Developing a Core Portfolio with the help of your Computer.
Broderbund and Vox Systems were the March presenters; the April presentation was on StreetSmart®, the first on-line trading software that works in a Windows environment. It worked in conjunction with a Charles Schwab Brokerage account. 36 members joined during March. A survey by the Network Wizards Internet Domain showed the number of host computers as 9,472,000 – as of 2015 there are 3.2 billion. One of the articles was about: Starting in 1997, the Comdex/Spring and Spring Consumer Electronics Show (CES) will combine to from a “mega-show” held in Las Vegas. COMDEX ended in 2003. Reviews in the newsletter included: GoldMine for Windows 95, PowerDesk for Windows 95, Quarterdeck’s MagnaRAM2 – it can make your life a lot happier when Using Windows 95 or Windows 3.1x, CorelDraw 6 for Windows 95, and Operation Neptune for Windows.
SEMCO, the SouthEastern Michigan Computer Organization, Celebrates its 40th Anniversary at its general meeting on Sunday, April 10 from 1:30 to 6:00 pm.
They will be serving light refreshments and several presenters will be covering the history of the group, an overview of past and recent technology developments, and what the future may bring. Members will also be bringing in several vintage computer systems and demonstrating access to some platforms that were in use in the early days of the group.
SEMCO members are passionate on sharing their knowledge of what is possible now and what the future brings. The organization has been serving local computer and technology enthusiasts since the early days of personal computing and holds regular monthly discussions on interesting technology topics, including cyber security, leveraging open source software, strengths of Linux, Windows, and tablet operating systems, and more!
Please join them in their celebration!
Altair Engineering, Inc.
1820 E. Big Beaver Road
Troy, MI 48083
Please park and enter the Auditorium through the West entry door by the SEMCO signs.