December 18, 2006
For our December meeting we will have
our annual Holiday Party! We will have a few tips & tricks
and then will open the meeting to a party with Hors d’Oeuvers and
For one of the tips, Barry Gordon will
demonstrate how to connect all those external devices that are currently
available to enhance our PC’s and laptops. For the second tip Barry
will demonstrate how to print labels using Word. This is very useful
for your home, small business, or club.
As always we will have plenty of other
activities at the meeting. We will have door prizes and a raffle
with some special give always!
Nov 20, 2006
Holiday Shopping The EBay Way
Presentation by Gerry Covaleski, An Accomplished eBay user
By now, you’ve probably heard of eBay even if you haven’t used it.
You may have seen our presentation last month on how to sell on eBay.
You’ve heard that some amazing buys can be made on eBay auctions.
And now you are ready to try your hand at bidding and buying on eBay.
But how’s it work? How can you get the best deals? How can you avoid
Our presenter and experienced eBay user, Gerry Covaleski, will show
us how to do our holiday shopping through the online auctions. She
will take us through the basics of analyzing active auctions to find
good ones. She will walk us through the steps of bidding on items
on eBay. And she will give tips on things to watch out for when buying
Whether you’ve bought on eBay before and
are looking for some tips to improve your chances of winning bids,
or have never been on eBay and are wanting step by step instructions,
you won’t want to miss this meeting!
Oct 16, 2006
Selling on eBay — The Easy Way!
Presentation by Mark Fortin, JenmarAuctions.com
You may not be as lucky as the owner of a rare baseball card that
sold on eBay for 1.2 million dollars (or maybe you will be!), but
you probably have some items around the house that you could put
on eBay to turn into cash. Or perhaps you have a small weekend craft
business or make jewelry on the side and want to know how to try
selling them on eBay. If so, you won’t want to miss this meeting.
Mark will walk us through the steps needed to sell those treasures.
He will also give some tips on how to get better exposure and improve
your chances of receiving good bids by the info you use and the layout
of your auction.
Mark Fortin gave an excellent overview of eBay to BPMUG some time
ago and after many requests for him to come back and give a more
in depth view of eBay, we’re delighted to have him coming in for
a full presentation at the October meeting on how to sell on eBay.
Mark’s company, JenmarAuctions.com, is a division of JENMAR International,
LLC, a New England based distributor of both consumer and commercial
products, spanning a range of personal, business and leisure interests
and needs. Mark Fortin is certified through eBay as a PowerSeller.
PowerSellers are eBay top sellers who sustain a consistent high volume
of monthly sales and a high level of total Feedback –with 98% or
better positive rating by other eBay users.
Sept 18, 2006
Lions and Tigers and MySpace, Oh My!
By Detective Jim Smith of CT State Police Computer Crimes Unit
MySpace.com is one of several free on-line social networking services
that let people create their own websites with information, pictures
and movies. MySpace.com was bought by Rupert Murdoch of News Corp.,
in 2003 for $580 million and is being built into a huge operation.
Many safeguards are in place to prevent harm to children. Users must
be at least 14 years old and Myspace hired a safety manager to help
monitor safe using. They also claim to have dedicated a third of
their workforce to policing the site 24 hours a day. They remove
anyone they determine is under their minimum 14-years-old age limit.
They remove any inappropriate images they find. And the company also
works with law enforcement agencies, to rid the on-line community
of pedophiles and other undesirables.
However, even with all of the safeguards, with over one and a half
billion hits each day, Myspace.com still attracts its share of problems
and very bad people. Pedophiles continue to lure underage girls with
an endless stream of deception, making it difficult for parents to
find out what is happening to their children and what to do about
it. Come to our September 18th meeting and get the latest information
on this controversial web site from Detective Jim Smith from CT State
Police Compute Crimes Unit.
July 17, 2006
Cleaning The Cobwebs From Your PC
By Members of BPMUG
is lots of talk about putting a spark back in our PC. Cleaning
the extraneous files. Defragging the hard drive. Updating the antivirus.
Removing unused programs. Exterminating the bugs. And even formatting
and starting over if necessary. A member recently challenged us
to stop talking and start doing! Show how to speed up a problematic
PC instead of just talking about it. So some of the members who
do a lot of talking will show instead of telling. Barry Gordon,
Jim Smith, Ben Gaman and Wally Pro are going to make the July meeting
a great opportunity for everyone to see how to bring a PC back
to life. They will take PC’s with assorted problems and demonstrate
some steps needed to breath life back into those tired PC’s.
June 19, 2006
The Insecurity Of Too Much Security
Presentation by by John Yearsley, General Manager for Mansfield,
CT Staples store.
What do we do to protect our computer from such problems? We install
an antivirus program to protect us from the viruses. But we’re told
that’s not enough. So we put a firewall on to keep the evil-doers
from entering our computer or sending out data to the world. Then
we are told those pesky pop-up ads are because of bugs called spyware.
So we get a spyware program or two to keep the pop-up ads from slowing
down our computer. Now we are starting to feel secure.
The antivirus program starts monitoring our email which slows it
down to a crawl on some days. The firewall starts watching for spyware
and checking up on our antivirus program. It loads updates which
slows our computer down while it installs in the background. Our
connection from our computer to the Internet keeps getting interrupted
and someone is blaming it on our firewall. Our browser won’t let
us sign up to buy a book on line because it doesn’t have the right
security patch. The firewall keeps asking us if we are sure we want
to allow programs to run. We aren’t sure so we let it load its programs.
on our browser. And we want to get our email without it running through
a sloooow filter so, with some reluctance, we disable the filters.
Our antivirus has expired and someone recommended another one so
we try to install a different antivirus program. Instead of feeling
secure and having a smooth operating computer, the system seems to
be going slower and slower… and we are feeling less and less secure.
Congratulations, we’ve just entered the security meltdown zone!
What can we do about it? Mark your calendar for 7 PM on June 19th
and come listen to John Yearsley talk to BPMUG about computer security
in a new way… how much is too much. With all the protection out
there, it is now time to find out how to keep our computer secure
without all the insecurity.
May 15, 2006
Presentation by Book Author,
Uitti who wrote the book “Keep Your Computer Alive” will
address problems even found in new computers, such as Spyware, pop-ups,
and the flood of Spam or unsolicited e-mails. During his presentation,
he will show illustrations drawn by cartoonist Ted Hudson, such as
the “Trojan Horse” and warding off the
vampires that threaten computers with the latest viruses.
Dan will provide a number of tips
and suggests on how each one of these problems could be avoided
or cured. As always, he will remind us to back up our files. Speaking
as an advocate, he believes that people need to become more familiar
with basic computer maintenance and strive to “Keep Your Computer Alive”.
While there are issues that only a computer specialist can solve,
regular maintenance by the owner can be rewarding and possibly
Dan’s book is available worldwide
since its publication in August of 2005.
April 17, 2006
Home & Small
Office Wireless Networking
Presentation by Barry Pilver of CompUSA
Now that Spring is finally arriving, do you see yourself sitting
out on your deck, surfing the web without wires? Perhaps lounging
in your hammock this summer with a wireless laptop? Printing to the
printer indoors without getting up and spilling your glass of ice
tea? Or more practically, would you like to be sitting at Starbucks
or in the airport connecting your laptop to the Internet? Or connect
your small office computers together without wires? Wireless communications
is showing rapid growth with last year revenues of around $12 billion
and by 2008 projected to be over $17 billion. With so many people
enjoying the benefits of wireless networks, it is time for us to
learn more about it.
BPMUG is pleased to have Barry Pilver of CompUSA coming to show
us all the stuff we need to go wireless. He will demystify the alphabet
soup of WAP, WEP, WPA and others and turn it into plain English.
He will bring in samples of all the equipment you need to get started.
And he will demonstrate how easy it is to hook up your own wireless
network and how to make it secure from outsiders.
March 20, 2006
What To Do If Your Computer Stops Computing
By Rob Gutman with Geeks On Call
With all the talk about how to keep your PC running, what happens
when it stops running anyway? How can you figure out what is wrong
with it? Do you know any basic troubleshooting steps to take? How
can you determine which component is causing the problem?
Rob Gutman of Geeks On Call will walk us through some basic troubleshooting
steps (did you check to make sure it is plugged in? Is your antivirus
protection updated?) and will then move on to stuff like “Did
your hard drive make a grinding noise just before it died” and
such. Geeks On Call respond to computer problems on a regular basis
and will be sharing some real life experiences for what to check
before seeking outside help.
February 20, 2006
Digital Photography — Making Good Photos
Look Even Better
By Dan & Dot Doll, Long Time
Photographers & Photoshop Users
Last month, BPMUG offered a presentation
on users likes and dislikes of a variety of digital cameras. For
this month’s presentation, we will have photography enthusiasts Dot
and Dan Doll talking about how to use computer software to enhance
and manipulate those digital photographs. They will show actual photographs
that they’ve taken and what you can do with a little bit of experience
and lots of curiosity. They will show you how to create composites
and montages and give you some other ideas of projects that you can
do with your image collections. They will demonstrate how you can
use these techniques whether you want to use a high-end software
package such as Adobe’s Photoshop or less expensive Adobe Elements
or other similar programs.
January 16, 2006
“Digital Cameras – The Good, Bad, & Pixelated”
At the January 16th meeting a panel
of BPMUG members will share which cameras they own and why they selected
that particular one. They will walk us through the good and bad points
of their camera, the resolution (and whether that is important),
where to buy it and what they spent on their camera. With a variety
of personal experiences we will get first hand information about
December 19, 2005
“Happy Holidays! Let’s Have A Party!”
For our holiday meeting on December 19th,
something special — A Holiday Party! We will have a few tips & tricks
and then will open the meeting to a party with Hors d’Oeuvers and desserts.
One of the tips we will present at the meeting will be how to print
envelopes using Word. If you have ever tried to print an envelope or
several of them using Word, there are some neat tricks that will make
it much easier. Paul Silversmith will guide us through the steps involved.
Another tip will be how to put a header on an Excel spreadsheet. Have
you ever tried to print a long spreadsheet only to find that your title
only appears on the top of page one? Steve Langford will show how to
use the “Custom Headers” feature of Excel to create headers
just the way you want
As always we will have plenty of other activities
at the meeting. We will have door prizes and a raffle with some special
November 21, 2005
PC Disasters, Mishaps, & Blunders
By Book Author, Peter Sideris
We’ve all had our share of PC disasters.
And we’ve all made our share of blunders. But at our November meeting
we will have book author, Peter Sideris tell us about his book appropriately
titled, “Surviving PC Disasters, Mishaps, & Blunders”.
Peter and his co-author, Jesse Torres, wrote about PC war stories,
tips, and real things that have happened to people as well as warning
of things that can happen if preventative steps aren’t taken.
Peter has worked in the computer field
for many years with a range of experiences that he shares in the book
from when he managed the Help Desk for Prudential Realty CT and currently
as a Systems Engineer for Swiss Reinsurance Company in Hartford. Peter
and co-author Jesse Torres use their years of experience to create
a book that has been reviewed in these terms: “If you’re not into
techie things, but want to keep your computer healthy–the book won’t
bore you. Quite the opposite, as the authors write with humor and down-to-earth
The table of contents indicates the wide
range of issues that the book covers: Theft and Loss; Hardware Disasters
and Mishaps; Software Disasters and Mishaps; Network Disasters and
Mishaps; Wireless Networking; Internet Fraud; Spam; Surviving Viruses;
Junkware: Malware, Adware, and Spyware; Email and Other Internet Hazards;
Travel Mishaps and Disasters; Power Adapters and Batteries; Backup
and Recovery; Digital Lifestyle Hazards; and Piracy. Each section has
plenty of good sound advice and easily understood tips.
Peter recalls the days when PC problems
were primarily hardware and software related. Today, with the onslaught
of the Internet, disasters can come from all different directions.
Peter will be ready to talk about what he sees as being common disasters,
mishaps, & blunders. He will share some of what they clearly highlight
in the book with a gray background as “Horror Stories”. And
he will do all this in basic understandable terms that avoid the technobabble
that only the geeky-est of geeks can appreciate.
October 17, 2005
Security, Organization, & Backups —
Problems and Solutions
Presented By Gene Barlow, User Group
Our October presentation will be by a
special guest coming in from Utah to share some of his vast knowledge
of computers, hard drives, and Internet security with us. Gene Barlow,
with User Group Relations (www.ugr.com)
is returning to visit BPMUG for the first time in several years and
you won’t want to miss this one of his many informative and entertaining
presentations. He will cover Internet security, organizing your access
to the Internet using Optimal Desktop Pro, and using the PC Magazine
award winner backup software, True Image to set up a backup schedule
that will work for you.
Use of the Internet has become a very important part of our lives today. We
spend hours on the Internet communicating with family and friends, managing
our finances, researching our ancestors, planning our vacations, and shopping
for things we need. While there is a lot of good we get from the Internet,
there is a dark side to the Internet that we may not be aware of. This session
will help you to understand what is going on behind the scenes while you
are using the Internet. Gene will show you the world of Hackers and how they
can take advantage of your computer and information. All of this happening
without your knowing that it is happening on your computer. Then Gene will
describe the many things you need to do to protect your computer from these
hackers. He will look at various protection options available to you and
how effective they are at keeping you safe. Internet Security is a major
problem today and one that you need to understand and know what you can do
to prevent serious problems. You owe it to yourself to attend this session.
We are living in the Information Age and actually have an “information
overload” to contend with. Finding information on the Internet or even
on our large gigabyte hard drives is becoming a real problem. The best way
to prevent this is by organizing your “Access Points” to the information.
A powerful tool to help you is Optimal Desktop Pro. Finding the information
you want on your screen can be done in three easy clicks of the mouse. Optimal
Desktop Pro uses Cabinets, Drawers, and Section. Gene will show you how to
set up and tailor your desktop using Drawers and Sections by name, icon or
color to make things easy to find and remember. Setting up and tailoring your
desktop makes using this product simple and fun to do.
Backing up your hard drive is possibly the most important thing you can do
with your computer. True Image by Acronis has received the Editors Choice
Award from PC Magazine 3 years in a row. With the new release of True Image,
you can make full backup images of your entire hard drive. You can also make
incremental backup images of any changes to your hard drive since the last
full or incremental backup to save time and space on your backup drive. To
these two standard methods of doing image backups, Acronis has added the
ability to do differential backup images. With differential backup images,
you initially create a full backup image as the basis for the differential
images. Then each time you make a differential backup image, it consolidates
all of the changes to the hard drive since the initial full backup image
was created. Hence, you only keep the full backup image and the most recent
differential backup image to rebuild your hard drive from. Using the incremental
backup approach, you need to keep the initial backup image and all incremental
images that follow it. Hence, differential backup images can save space on
your backup device. Is all this confusing? Come to the meeting and let Gene
help get you on the road to good backup habits.
Sept 19, 2005
Do You Practice “Smart Computing”?
Presented by Jen Clausen, Smart Computing User Group Program
Computers can sometimes present a cruel game of hide and seek. Smart
Computing magazine knows how you feel so ready or not here they come!
For our kick-off September meeting, Jen Clausen from Smart Computing
is on her way to visit your user group to guide you through Smart Computing
and put an end to the nerve racking games of computer hide and seek.
Smart Computing will walk you through the helpful and timely information
you can find each month in the magazine. They will also give a live
demonstration of SmartComputing.com to show how you can put these powerful
tools to work for you!
In addition, everyone can expect to receive a goodie bag complete
with Smart Computing, a guide to SmartComputing.com, Smart Computing
pens & mouse pads, and more! Great door prizes will be given away
at the meeting as well.
July 18, 2005
Everything You Want To Know About Printers
Presented by Barry Pilver, CompUSA
You know that piece of equipment that
sits on your desk that you take for granted until it stops printing?
There are a lot of printers on the market today and most are “priced
competitively low” (which is frequently a euphemism for “cheap”).
Because they are so low in price they sometimes tend to malfunction
from time to time. Have you ever noticed that your printer seems to
drink ink cartridges by the dozen even though you don’t do that much
printing? Ever wonder why that happens? Should you buy the bargain
no-name cartridge refills or even fill your own ink cartridges from
those do-it-yourself kits? Have you tried to figure out whether to
get an ink jet or laser printer and wondered about the differences
between them? Have you ever hooked up a printer only to have it print
out nonsense characters? Have you wondered if you should do more to
maintain your printer?
You won’t want to miss our upcoming BPMUG
meeting on July 18th when we will bring in some knowledgeable folks
from CompUSA to tell us everything we ever wondered about printers.
They will bring in some examples of the latest in printer technology
and will answer questions on how to be a smart shopper for printers
as well as how to get the most out of your present printer. For example,
did you know that by removing paper dust and other debris from the
interior with a can of compressed air periodically improves the ability
of your printer to feed pages — and that means less paper jams? Want
more tips? Have more questions?
June 20, 2005
LIFE FOR “RETIRED” COMPUTERS
Presented by Bill Barnes, Executive
Director of Geeks for Givers
20th, Bill Barnes, Founder & Executive
Director of Geeks
for Givers, will introduce his non-profit organization to our group.
Geeks for Givers takes retired PC’s that were built after 1998 with
Pentium III or greater processors, and 500 MB or larger hard drives,
and recycle these back into the community where there is a need for
them. They act as a bridge between the for-profit corporations wanting
to donate back to the community and those in the community in need.
Bill will discuss the new software they load on the wiped & formatted
hard drives. He will also discuss E-Waste disposal and the current
controversy surrounding it.
May 16, 2005
Computer Roots; Computerized Genealogy
Presented by Janet Pestey
In the same way that it helps us to know
that our computer files radiate out from the root directory, it is
also helpful for us to find out about our genealogy roots. Genealogy
is a hot topic. The US has always been an immigrant nation and many
of us are a blend of various races and nationalities. This lends itself
to us using the computer to research our roots.
Note: Due to last minute conflict, presenter
was unable to attend. Presentation was conducted by BPMUG members Mort
Fabricant & Gerry Covaleski and CompuUSA representative, Barry Pilver.
April 18, 2005
More About Buying and Selling on eBay
Mark E. Fortin
President of JENMAR International, LLC
Since eBay proclaims that 430,000 people
make their living today through eBay, you may want to be one of those
people making stacks of money on eBay. If so, you won’t want to miss
some more tips by Mark Fortin on buying and selling on eBay. If you
missed Mark’s popular presentation at the November meeting, he will
be back at our April 18th meeting to give a review of the basics before
going into some more great ideas for buying and selling on eBay.
Mark E. Fortin, President of JENMAR International,
LLC, a New England based distributor of both consumer and commercial
products will be giving the encore presentation on buying and selling
on eBay. And Mark Fortin should know about it — his company has created
a division, JenmarAuctions.com, which is rated as a PowerSeller by
eBay based on his company’s eBay sales record and positive feedback
Mark will talk about the steps you need
to know to start buying and selling on eBay. He will give more tips
on how to get higher bids when you sell items, what to look out for
when buying on eBay, and the importance of getting and giving good
feedback when you are on eBay. And if you have some treasures that
you want to sell but don’t want to do it yourself, Mark will also introduce
you to the easy way out — through services like JenmarAuctions.com
that take your treasured item, photograph it, sell it, package and
ship it, and then send you a check for your agreed upon share of the
March. 21, 2005
The Wonderful World of Internet Radio
Gary Lajoie, Executive Producer, CyberstationUSA
A student at University of Iowa is transfixed by some exotic sounds
of Jamaican Calypso music. An Irish-American steel worker listens to
the latest news on an Irish radio station while welding a beam in Texas.
A child in Korean listens to the striking sound of a Southern Gospel
station from Alabama. All this is possible due to the world of Internet
Radio. With the introduction of the Internet and its streaming audio
capabilities, there have never been more options for listeners. Now
the most obscure music can be heard via your computer as well as all
of today’s favorites! Amateur and professional talk show hosts are
reaching audiences worldwide!
CyberstationUSA’s Executive Producer, Gary Lajoie, is BPMUG’s guest
speaker at the February 21st meeting. CyberstationUSA has studio facilities
in Hartford, CT and Quincy, MA. Gary will explain what Internet radio
is, how it works (in non-technical terms!) and how you can tune in
to radio stations across the globe. For those interested, he will also
touch on how a person would set up their own Internet radio station
as well as how aspiring DJ’s can audition to use the professional broadcast
equipment available through CyberstationUSA.
As an added bonus, CyberstationUSA’s Hartford studio is located in
the same building as our meeting – New Park Office and Conference Center.
Although it would be a tight squeeze for us all to fit into one of
their soundproof broadcasting studio rooms, Gary has offered to stay
for a few minutes after the meeting to let those that are interested
go down the hall to take a peek at the facilities. More information
on CyberstationUSA can be found at their web site at www.cyberstationUSA.com.
Feb. 21, 2005
February meeting cancelled due to snow storm.
Jan. 17, 2005
Coping With Email Spam
Presentation by Jim Smith, Blarneystone,
It has been estimated that spam (unsolicited
bulk email) costs businesses $10 billion a year. Individual users also
lose over $50 a year in misplaced productivity. Spam has become a major
frustration for email users and it doesn’t appear that the increase
will be curtailed in the foreseeable future.
On January 17, Jim Smith, a commercial
web designer and web site host, will give a presentation on spam. Included
will be a basic background on spam, dispelling of some misconceptions,
and what can be done to curb the flow of spam. You will find out how
spammers take advantage of other peoples computers to do their dirty
work for them. View the hidden headers of an email message and learn
how to decipher those hidden addresses for forgeries. Learn what businesses
and individuals are doing to reduce the email flood created by spammers.
Also get some tips of your own on how to cope with the flood of spam
in your inbox. Dispel the myth that the problem is due to untouchable
foreign spammers; a recent study found an estimated 86% of spam originates
in the US. Find out why spams have so many typos; and how that improves
the chance of you viewing it. Find out why you should never follow
the link on a spam to be removed from their list. These tips and more
will be shared at this meeting.