December 15, 2008
Holiday Party & Meeting
It’s that magical time of year when
we celebrate the fun of Holidays. For our December 15 meeting, we
will have brief tips by one of our members. Paul Silversmith has
offered to show us how to clean up those emails of >>>> marks
and other tags when emails are forwarded multiple times. Also Paul
will show how to only print a portion of a website without getting
the entire 15 pages with it. After getting our tips (and some time
for questions), we will celebrate the holidays with all the goodies
brought by the members.
November 17, 2008
Routing Intruders Away From Your PC
Presentation by Computer Specialist, Lee Seidman
Routers are frequently thought of as a connector between your PC
and the Internet. In fact, in June of this year we had a program
by Lee Seidman on just that. Many people asked for more details on
the basics of routers and how they can protect a PC from computer
break-ins. So Lee has agreed to come back to simplify the use of
routers and to explain how to use a router to add a layer of security.
Mark your calendar for November 17 and bring a friend along for some
basics on routers and to have some fun. Then stay for a while after
for some networking and some free snacks provided by Wally and
October 20, 2008
Why We Like Our Digital Cameras
Presentation by a panel of BPMUG camera buffs
The world of cameras is evolving constantly and is very different
from just a few years ago. We used to develop photos — now we download
them. We used to use a darkroom to enhance photos, now we use our
computers with software to accomplish those results. With technology
moving forward rapidly, we see all kinds of digital cameras on the
We will have a panel of
experienced BPMUG members bring in their cameras and tell us what
they like about them. This is also an opportunity to find out any
short-comings of these cameras. We will get to see a nice high-end
camera but mostly we will get to find out which “every-day” cameras
are good and why. We will get some tips on what features to look
for in a good camera and what to do to get the best results. This
will be an interesting presentation with these seasoned photographers.
September 15, 2008
Speed-up, Clean-up, and Maintain Your PC
Presentation by Jim Smith, Book Author & BPMUG President
It is time to tune-up our
PC’s for a long winter of computing. BPMUG computer user group
will sponsor a free demonstration on how to tune-up, clean out, and
gain control of your computer. We will demonstrate a bunch of ways
that you can speed it up and clean out some of the clutter that might
be slowing it down. We will even open the computer case
and show you how to clean the insides as well as how to add memory
and some other enhancements. We will even pass out some “cheat
sheets” so you can follow along and see how we do it all. At
the end of the evening, you’ll be able to take the sheets home
and put some life back into your own PC.
Vacation! No meeting in August.
July 21, 2008
Open Office — An Alternative to Microsoft’s
Presentation by Jim Smith, BPMUG
Open Office is a free alternative to
Microsoft’s Office Suite. With Microsoft’s standard 2007 Office package
retailing at $399.95, a free suite for the office sounds too good
to be true. To get a free alternative to Excel, PowerPoint, Word
and Outlook is very tempting but what are the pros and cons of using
Open Office? How complicated is it to install? How secure is it?
Does it have spyware or bugs in it? Can Word Documents and Excel
spreadsheets be used in Open Office? Come to our July 21st meeting
and get all of your questions answered.
Open Office (www.openoffice.org)
is both a product and an open–source project. It has been in
existence for almost eight years, having its beginning with Stardivision
in Germany. The mission of the project is to create a leading international
office suite that will run on all major platforms and provide access
to all functionality and data. This project is sponsored by Sun Microsystems
with other big-name contributors such as Novell, Redhat, Redflag,
CH2000, IBM, and Google. Over 450,000 people have contributed to
this office suite.
and BPMUG President, Jim Smith, will demonstrate Open Office and
many of its features. He will give details that will help you decide
whether or not to change over to the Open Office suite. And the price
of the meeting is the same as the price of Open Office – free!
June 16, 2008
Drive The Superhighway While Using No
Presentation by Lee Seidman, Certified
Are you tired of having a slow dial-up
internet connection while others talk about their fast connection?
Do you have DSL but want to learn about connecting it without being
inundated with jargon?
BPMUG is bringing in one of our newest
members — a certified computer specialist and teacher — Lee Seidman,
to cut through the jargon for us. Lee understands that getting a
router to work even after you have the DSL line put in is sometimes
tricky. Lee will offer his knowledge and some easy tips on how to
do this smoothly.
May 19, 2008
Genealogy – What’s New…
With What’s Old?
By Richard Roberts, Head of CT State
Library’s History & Genealogy Unit
If we dig deep enough, we will find
amazing information about our roots. We can do this
in the comfort of our own home with our own computer or at our State
Library in the vast History & Genealogy section.
BPMUG has invited the library head,
Richard Roberts, to be our presenter for our May 19th meeting. Richard
will be giving us some great references to begin or continue our
search. He has agreed to share some websites where we can get started.
And if you visit the State Library (www.cslib.org/handg.htm),
the staff will help you devise and outline search strategies; use
catalogs, indexes, and research guides to identify and locate pertinent
library and archival resources; use the collections and more.
April 21, 2008
Digital Photography Tips
By BPMUG member, Bruce Metzger
It is time to learn more about how to
use your digital camera for upcoming vacations and family gatherings!
You can take plenty of great photos but then what? Who wouldn’t want
to share photos? But what
is the best way to transfer that great image from your camera to
your PC? And to resize it so it doesn’t
take forever to send via email. Digital photography can be fun and
Bruce will show how to make it even more fun! Bruce will give a variety
of photo tips and share his secrets on how to enjoy a digital camera
and how to get the most out of those photos you’ve taken.
March 17, 2008
By Dan Henry — Dan Henry Technology Support
Professional computer consultant Dan Henry of Dan Henry Technology
Support will be coming in to talk about computer follies. Dan has
an easy way of explaining away computer mysteries in everyday language.
This lighthearted presentation will cover everything from the reason
putting your laptop with your checked luggage is a bad idea, to why
H.P’s off -shore support says new printers are out of warranty, and
why your daily back-up job may not really help, and lots more. Dan
will share stories of his 14 years of supporting homes and businesses
for PC problems. His hope is to help us sidestep many common follies
and avoid obvious problems.
February 18, 2008
Back To Basics — Practicing
By Jim Smith, Owner of Blarneystone Internet Services
Jim Smith will cover the ABC of securing
your PC and how you can easily and cheaply protect your PC from outside
(and inside) invasions. Jim will unravel the mystery behind various
terms such as firewall, spyware, viruses, worms, and more. Jim will
discuss various ways that your PC can be compromised and ways to
prevent those break-ins. Key to protecting your computer is by having
strong password protection. Jim will offer tips on how to create
and remember strong passwords without listing them on a post-it note
on the front of your monitor. In his business, Jim is required to
keep hundreds of passwords for clients and he will share some tips
on how he keeps track of those passwords safely using one of the
password managers, RoboForm. Jim will show how to use a program like
RoboForm to also save info like credit card numbers and how to safely
and easily use that information in completing on-line forms.
January 21, 2008
Clean Out All of The Debris in Your PC
John Yearsley, General Manager at Staples
John Yearsley will come in to teach us
how to bring our computer back to “the
way it was”. He will show how to wipe our hard drive (after
a careful backup of course!), and how to start over with a new fresh
installation of our operating system. He will show how to install
all of those programs that we use regularly and how to configure
Why would you do this? You get rid
of all those lingering temporary files. It completely defragments
your hard drive. Any hidden spyware bugs are wiped away. Your registry
gets cleaned of all those lost listings. It clears out all the lingering
files from programs that were installed and then deleted. You are
starting with a fresh new copy of your software. And that’s a great
December 17, 2007
For our December 17 meeting we had
our December tradition — A Holiday Party! One of our members
shared a tip and then we opened the meeting to a party
with Hors d’Oeuvers and desserts. For the tip, Barry Gordon
demonstrated how to print labels using Word. This is very useful
for your home, small business, or club. After Barry’s tip, we celebrated
the holiday season with door prizes and a raffle with some special
November 19, 2007
How To Be Safe While Doing Your Holiday Shopping On-line
Officer Rob Riccobon from the West Hartford
It’s getting close to the holiday season and it’s time
to think about that special someone who deserves a gift. What better
way to shop than on-line with the whole world at your fingertips.
No long lines. No need to park far away and fight through the crowded
holiday shoppers. Just select the goodies, add them to your shopping
cart, and finally pull out your credit card and complete your purchase.
It’s so easy, there’s no reason to give this a second
At our Nov. 19th meeting, Officer Rob
Riccobon from the West Hartford Police department will give us some
tips for a happy and safe on-line holiday shopping experience. Shopping
on line can be fun if you do it safely. Officer
Riccobon will give tips on how to stay safe on the Internet.
October 15, 2007
Quarter Century Celebration
BPMUG is celebrating a quarter
century of our computer users helping other computer users. That’s
cause for celebration! This will be a fun meeting while we take a
brief look back to what life was like in 1982 with those old computers.
We have invited some of our founding members to tell us all about
the fun they had tinkering and different BPMUG was then vs. now.
Thanks to many dedicated volunteers over the past 25 years we have
thrived and now it’s time to celebrate! After our “fireside
chat” with founding members, and
questions from the audience, we will have our 25th anniversary party
with cake and punch.
September 17, 2007
Speed-up, Clean-up, and Maintain Your
Presentation by Jim Smith
Summer vacations are winding down and
it is time to crank up your PC for a long winter of computing. At
the September 17th meeting, we will show you how to gain control
of your computer. We will demonstrate a bunch of ways that you can
speed it up and clean out some of the clutter that is slowing it
down. We will even pass out some “cheat sheets” so you
can follow along and see how we do it. Beginners are encouraged to
attend this meeting. At the end of the evening, you’ll be able
to take your cheat sheet home and put some life back into your own
PC. This meeting will be led by the entertaining
and educational past President of BPMUG, Jim Smith.
Vacation! No meeting in August.
July 16, 2007
Make A Splash with your Summer Vacation
Presentation by Dot & Dan Doll
and Barry Gordon
It is Summer and time for vacations
and having fun with digital photography. For those of you who have
seen Dan and Dot Doll’s recent digital photos, you know our July
meeting will be a big splash! Dot and Dan Doll, BPMUG members and
enthusiastic digital photographers, will dazzle us with wonderful
underwater digital photographs they have taken. They will share techniques
on how they took their photos as well as some tips on how they digitally
enhanced the photos. We have paired them up with BPMUG’s Photo SIG
host, Barry Gordon, who will give us the highlights of Adobe Elements
and give us some ideas on how to enhance our own vacation photos.
Summer means fun and what better way to remember all the good times
than great photos!
June 18, 2007
How Much Security is Just Right
By John Yearsley, General
Manager, Staples in Mansfield, CT
know that the Internet — in addition to being a wonderful and helpful
tool — has become a breeding ground for criminals, thieves, and
others wishing harm to us or our data. It is estimated that in 2004,
hackers bilked the computer world out of several hundred million
dollars. Total related damage done to the world economy exceeds tens
of billions of dollars annually.
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. We want to buy on-line so we reluctantly
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.
Come listen to John Yearsley talk to
BPMUG about computer security in a new way… how much is not enough,
too much, and just right. With all the protection out there, it is
now time to find out how to keep our computer secure without slowing
it to a crawl.
May 21, 2007
Everything You Want To Know About Backing Up Your Hard Drive
By Shane Schmidt of Pexagon Technology
Shane Schmidt is the
Technical Marketing Manager for Pexagon Technology which is a manufacturer
of personal storage devices. Shane will be answering many questions
we have about hard drive back-ups — and more specifically he will
cover what is a back-up, why it’s important, how often, and
different types. He will use statistics that speak to the failure
rates of hard drives as well as bringing in some products to show
us the different types of back up and back up devices available.
The bad old days of backing up to a stack
of floppy disks is gone! Pexagon manufactures the Store-It™ Thumb
Drive where one little tiny thumb size drive can hold well over two-thousand
floppies worth of data!. These are available in 14 colors and laser
engraved with 2 lines of text or a company logo. They’ve also got
portable Store-It hard drives that fit in your pocket and those hold
more data than eighty thousand floppies (160GB). Or they have their
desktop Store-It ™ hard
drive (up to 500GB). That can hold data from over 350,000 floppy
disks which is even more floppy disks than AOL sent us over the years
(and we got a LOT of those!). With the low cost of disk storage today,
there should be no reason not to back up those valuable documents
on your hard drive.
April 16, 2007
Viva la Vista!
Presentation by Vista guru, Carl Lyons
Forbes Magazine, in an article titled, “Microsoft Vista:
Not ‘People Ready'” critically says, “The new programs
are phenomenally complex, with scores of buttons and pull-down
menus and myriad connections among various applications.” PC
Magazine kindly states, “The new OS is far more than Windows
XP with a pretty new face. Many aspects of Vista are substantive
improve-ments: stronger security, better built-in apps, networking
enhancements, parental controls, –and DirectX 10 graphics support,
to name just a few.” But elsewhere in the PC Magazine a review
summarizes, “Vista offers a lot of improvements over Windows
XP, but most of them are conveniences rather than essentials.”
So what’s the real story on Vista? Why
not find out for yourself? Barry Pilver from CompUSA has made arrangements
to have Vista guru, Carl Lyons, attend our April 16th meeting and
show us a detailed overview of the product.
March 19, 2007
It Was A Starry Night In March…
Presentation by Jason Archer, Planetarium Director at the Children’s
Museum in W.Hartford
As a kid, did you ever look up at the skies and wonder what was
there? Were you fortunate enough to peer through a telescope and
dream of unlocking some of the secrets of the universe? Now with
help from computers, stargazing is easier and more fun than ever.
Galileo would be astounded to see how advanced this technology has
become. Come to the March 19th meeting and you can be astounded as
BPMUG’s March meeting will be led by the enthusiastic director of
the Planetarium at the Children’s Museum in West Hartford,
Jason Archer. He will guide us through the skies and stars with three
wonderful software programs: Starry Night, The Sky, and Celestia.
Bring your wildest imagination of the universe to this meeting and
prepare to be dazzled!
February 19, 2007
Jump On-Line With A Free Personal Web Page
Presentation by Jim Smith of Blarneystone Internet Services
Have you ever wanted to build your own
personal web site? Something to let you share photos, links, and
hobbies? Or with information about your family or friends? Long time
BPMUG member, Jim Smith, will be our presenter for the February 19th
meeting. Jim will discuss some of the options you have available
to get you started. For example, through your Internet Service Provider,
it is likely that you can get a free personal Web site with your
subscription. They typically have a basic editor as well for building
your site. Gone are the days when complicated programming skills
or knowledge of HTML are needed to build your site.
Jim will show some of the options that are out there for you to
get started. He will demonstrate a couple of the free programs being
offered. He will talk about various options that you can use in your
web site. Whether you want to learn what a blog is and how to set
one up, or just want to share some family photos or to announce your
upcoming family gathering, don’t miss this meeting. There will be
plenty of time at the end to answer your questions.
Jim has his own company, Blarneystone,
LLC and has been designing web sites for businesses for 13 years.
In 2000, he wrote a book, “How To Start a Home-Based Web Design Business” and
the third edition was just shipped to book stores last month. He
has agreed to stay after and sign books for aspiring web designers.
January 15, 2007
Cool Tools and Hot Gadgets for 2007
By Barry Pilver of CompUSA
The holidays are over and it is time to see what is new for 2007.
For BPMUG’s January 15th meeting, Barry Pilver will show some of
the new and “hot” gadgets for 2007 that are coming
out. Want to watch TV on your phone? Well it’s coming! Don’t
miss out on all this fun at this exciting meeting. Bring a friend
and they can drool over some of these neat goodies. When your kids
or grandkids start showing off their latest techie stuff, you will
be able to show off your knowledge and impress them too! So come
and enjoy our meeting and have some snacks provided by Wally and