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Notes for Computer Meeting December 22nd, 2004

Opening

Zoe Strohm opened the meeting and we had a fantastic party with the pastor and Ellen in attendance.

Content

We continued with New Year and Christmas themes:

Creating a Christmas Card in Word

We downloaded a template from Microsoft and edited with personal information.  The website is http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/templates/TC010127561033.aspx .  This was then printed on half fold card.

Seasonal Clip Art

I found and downloaded several pieces of clip art with a seasonal theme and used one of them to start a seasonal newsletter.  The website I downloaded the clip art from was: http://office.microsoft.com/clipart/results.aspx?Scope=MC,MM,MP,MS&PoleAssetID=MPj03995900000&Query=Holidays&Origin=HH011642151033&CTT=5 .

2005 Calendars

We downloaded some templates for 2005 calendars which can be edited in Microsoft Word, Excel or Powerpoint (templates for each piece of software).  The download site is

http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/templates/CT011371131033.aspx .  I downloaded a 2005 Calendar on which you could enter birthdays.

Faxes by internet

If you do not have a fax machine you can still send faxes from your computer or through a third party by e-mail.  I found a site which allows you to send a receive faxes through an assigned telephone number using you e-mail system.  A fax is simply a graphic file which can be included in an e-mail using the service company’s downloaded software.  This particular site allows you to try the system free for 30 days and after that you pay $9.95 per month for up to 40 faxes in a month – a lot cheaper than purchasing a fax machine and it works 24 hrs a day and automatically e-mails you incoming faxes.  Obviously you have to e-mail outgoing faxes to them to send to a telephone number.  The site is:  http://www.venali.com/office_marketplace/

Windows updates

Remember to keep you computer operating system up to date to maintain security by going to:   http://v5.windowsupdate.microsoft.com/v5consumer/default.aspx?ln=en-us or, if you are using Windows XP setting the “Automatic Updates” in “Control Panel” to automatically update your computer when new critical updates are available.  You should also be updating you anti virus and firewall software on a regular basis.  In Norton products simply click on “LiveUpdate” when you are connected to internet.

Anti-Spyware

We discussed the issue of spyware at a previous meeting.  Spyware is becoming a bigger problem than viruses and can significantly degrade the performance of your computer.  Earthlink, AOL and Yahoo have come out with their own anti spyware software which you can add to the toolbar of internet explorer for free.  It involves download a program from their website.  I downloaded the Yahoo tool bar addition the other day and they made it very easy to download and install from a link on their home page.

The Future

While we are not planning any future meetings, I am available for consultation over the telephone if you get into difficulty.  I have enjoyed working with you all and I appreciate the messages from each of you explaining how this group has helped you grow.

Notes for Computer Meeting December 8th, 2004

Opening

Lois Borgonovo opened the meeting.

Content

We spent the meeting reviewing issues with a Christmas theme.  We changed the background on the computer screen to a winter scene by right clicking on a blank part of the main Windows XP scene, clicking on ‘properties’ on the drop down menu which appears, and then clicking on appearance.  Scroll through the various options or click the “browse” button and go to “My Picutres”.  Select your favorite picture and use this as a background.  If you want to use the changing winter scene background I demonstrated, you should note that the link I put in the notes last year to access it on the Microsoft website, no longer appears to work.  It was a free download for personal use and therefore I believe I am free to make a copy of the program for you.  Bring a CD-R to the next meeting if you want a copy.

With the use of an internet connection and a word processor like Microsoft Word (or Word Perfect), go to the following Microsoft sites and download Christmas card templates, Christmas stationery templates and Christmas label templates to dress up your Christmas. Go to http://go.microsoft.com/?linkid=1413291 for cards and for labels go to http://go.microsoft.com/?linkid=1413292We then tried to create our own group Christmas card using Microsoft Word, a Microsoft background and a group photo.  We went through all the steps and printed both sides of a sheet of paper which formed a half fold card.  We went through the steps to create writing paper with a Christmas water mark on it.  We used the “Insert” menu item on a new Microsoft Word document, and selected “Picture” and “Clip Art”.  We found some bells in the library of clip art and inserted it into the document.  We dragged the corner of the image to increase its size to fill the page.  We clicked on and formatted the image so that text would print over the top of the picture.  Click on “Format”, “Picture” and “Picture”.  Run down the scroll bar under color and select “washout” or “gray scale” then click on the “layout” tab in the same window and select “behind text”.  This will allow you to type text over the top of the picture so it will appear as a water mark on the paper.  Have fun playing with seasonal tools on your computer!

Next Meeting

    The next meeting will be on December 22nd to finish out the year.

 

Notes for Computer Meeting November 10th, 2004

Opening

Zoe Strohm opened the meeting with poetry reading.

Content

Printer Maintenance

A couple of people have reported problems with printers so we reviewed a few tips for maintaining inkjet printers which are the most common in home computer setups.  We demonstrated this with a Hewlett Packard Deskjet. 

Electronic Cameras

We reviewed the options for transferring pictures from a camera to a computer for printing.  We examined the different types of storage media.  Many new computers are equipped with slots for inserting three different types of storage media found in cameras today – compact flash, smart media and Sony sticks.  These allow you to copy picture files directly to “My Pictures” using Windows Explorer which is part of Windows XP.  If you do not have this facility on your computer, you can buy an attachment to plug into a USB port which will handle different media.  We demonstrated transferring files from a compact flash card using a hardware attachment.  Most camera manufacturers supply a cable for transferring pictures using their own software which you install on your computer.  If you are doing this it is best to use a battery eliminator to power you camera rather than its own battery.  It is very easy to corrupt picture files if the battery is failing during the transfer.  Whichever technique you use, plan on storing the files in “My Pictures” so that you know where to find them.

Printing Photos

We have talked in the past about various programs for editing, printing and e-mailing photos in the past.  The camera manufacturers normally supply their own software to do this.  However you can print directly from Windows XP.  We demonstrated this in the class and printed four pictures on one 8.5 x 11 sheet of glossy photopaper.  Click on “Start” and “My Pictures”.  Single left click to highlight a picture to print.  Hold down “Ctrl” while you click if you want to select more than one picture to print on a page.  From the menu on the left hand side of the window, under “Picture Tasks”, select “Print Picture”.  A Microsoft Wizard will open up which takes you through the steps of selecting a format and picture size.  Remember to set the printer preferences to “photopaper” if you are using glossy or matt photopaper.

Next Meeting

    We will not meet on November 24th but will meet on December 8th and December 22nd to finish out the year.

 

Notes for Computer Meeting October 27th, 2004

Opening

Loretta Keener opened the meeting.

Content

Recordable CD Drive

We learned how to make an audio CD from recordings on your hard drive or from another CD.  The first step is to create recordings on your hard drive.  To copy tracks from an audio CD you simply place the audio CD in your CD drive and it should open a menu in Windows XP with several options on it.  You can either play it or copy it to your hard drive.  Select “Copy” and Windows Media Player.  Select “Copy from CD” on the menu listing on the left hand side and a list of the tracks on the CD will be displayed.  Place a check mark against the tracks you want copying and uncheck all the others.  Click on “Copy” on the top right hand of the screen and the process will begin.  The computer will copy the tracks to your “My Music” directory and they will appear in the playlist on Windows Media Player.  If you then want to copy audio tracks to a blank CD, click on “Copy to CD” on the left hand menu and select track by placing a check mark against them.  Put a blank CD-R or CD-RW disk in your recordable CD drive.  Click on “copy” on the top right hand of the window and copying will begin.  You will notice that each track is first converted and then copied so that it can be played in any audio CD player.  Windows stores music files in a special format on the computer and this format is not suitable for many audio players.  It therefore needs to make a conversion first.

Word Processing

We spent some time exploring the set up and use of Microsoft Word (also found in recent editions of Microsoft Works).  Before using Microsoft Word for generating a document, it is a good idea to set up the appearance of the Window you type your document in, to make it easy to use.  First select the format of the document using the tiny icon on the bottom left of the window in Microsoft Word.  Click on each icon in turn to see how the window changes.  You may need to type a few lines of text before you click on the window format.  I always use the third icon which displays the document as you will see it printed.  Then you need to set the task bars.  These are the list of icons at the top of the Window which allow you to format, file and print.  Click on “View”, “Toolbars” and select at least the first two items on the tool bars, “Standard” and “Formatting”.  Run your mouse over each icon in turn and a descriptive box will appear telling you what the icon is used for.  Finally, I also open “View”, “Task Pane”.  This puts a list of items on the right hand side of the screen which will allow you to access existing documents and templates.  We use the “task pane” in this lesson. 

If you are mainly going to be using Microsoft Word to type letters, create a template with your address and phone number in bold at the top of the page and save it as a template.  Click on “Save As” and after giving it a name, run the roll down bar on the second line under the name, in the save window, until it reads “*.dot”.  It will then show up in the “task pane” as an available template.  Click on the “template” line in the “task pane” and view each of the templates available in Microsoft Word including the memo template and the fax template.  These are preformatted documents with variable in which you can type over to create a document easily.  When you have finished creating your document as a template, be sure to select “save as” and give it a new name with a “.doc” extension to avoid overwriting your template. 

We reviewed each of the formatting tools on the tool bar in turn and learned how to inset paragraphs and create bullet lists.  We inserted clip art into our document using the “insert”, “picture” function.  If you always want to insert pictures into text and have the text flow around the picture,  go to “tools”, “options” and select edit.  In the window that appears select roll down the bar under “insert and paste pictures” and select “tight”. 

We experimented with the cut and paste tool to move text or replace it.  We then experimented with printing labels and envelopes using “tools”, “letters and mailings”, and “envelopes and labels”.  We created a whole sheet of labels with different names and addresses for use on Christmas cards.  Remember to buy sheets of labels which have an Avery reference number on them from the office store.  You can then simply enter the label number under “options” in the label window and Microsoft Word will automatically format to print correctly on the label sheet you have purchased.

Next Meeting

    The next meeting will be held on November 10th, 2004, and Zoe Strohm will handle the opening.  We will not meet on November 24th but will meet on December 8th and December 22nd to finish out the year.

Notes for Computer Meeting October 13th, 2004

Opening

Lila Biesinger opened the meeting.

Content

If you make a mistake use “System Restore”

In Windows XP and Me, system restore is the first thing to try if your computer suddenly start “acting up”.  If you browser suddenly stops working or the computer does not perform as you expect it to, system restore allows you to step back to settings that Windows was using before the change occurred.  This happens most frequently when you install a new piece of software and the computer does not work correctly after the installation.  The procedure for system restore is:

Microsoft Office Support

We reviewed this site and looked at the selection of document templates and clip art which can be downloaded.  It is also good for tips on computer maintenance and using the software.

Clip Art Online

We accessed the clip art database in the Microsoft Office support website and “cut and pasted” clip art into a Word document to make it look more attractive.

Tips for Managing Files

We spent some time creating subdirectories and moving files into them in “My Documents”.

Next Meeting

    The next meeting will be held on October 27th, 2004, and Loretter Keener will handle the opening.

Notes for Computer Meeting September 29th, 2004

Opening

Peter opened the meeting with a reading of Psalm 8.

Content

Microsoft’s “At Home” website

Microsoft Office Support

Windows XP Service Pack 2

Everyone who has Windows XP should install this upgrade.  It is free and can be downloaded automatically from the Windows Update website.  If you have automatic updates turned on in Windows, it will download in the background when you are connected to internet without you taking any action.  However you will need to initiate the install process by clicking on the Microsoft globe icon in the bottom right hand corner of the screen which indicates you have updates to install when you run your mouse pointer over it.

Next Meeting

    The next meeting will be held on October 13th, 2004. Lila Biesinger will handle the opening.  Loretta Keener will handle the opening on October 27th and Zoe Strohm will handle the opening on November 9th.

Notes for Computer Meeting May 19th, 2004

Opening

Lois opened the meeting.

Content

Zoe catalogued the problems she faced when her computer was infected with a virus on April 28th, 2004.  Here are some steps you need to take to protect yourself from this kind of attack:

Protecting your personal computer from information theft and viruses:

 

  1. It is true that many viruses exploit holes in the Microsoft operating system e.g. Windows XP.  The weaknesses are normally discovered by computer professionals concerned about security and they work with Microsoft to develop patches.  These patches are regularly released to computer users as downloads over internet.  You can either go to Microsoft’s update site (http://v4.windowsupdate.microsoft.com/en/default.asp ) and download and install critical updates manually or , if you have Windows XP, you have an update manager which automatically downloads critical updates for you and lets you know when they are available to install.  It is true that if everyone regularly updated their windows software with these free security fixes many of the troublesome viruses in circulation today could not spread.  Check for a globe with a Microsoft four square window element on it in the lower right hand side of your computer window.  Move you cursor over it and if it displays a sign which say “updates ready to install”, click on it and follow the simply installation instructions.
  2. Most viruses get onto you computer from internet.  Do not open attachments from sources that you do not recognize.  Even if the attachment comes from a friend, always click “Save it to Disk” and not “Open it”.  Open it from your “my documents” after you have saved it to disk.  This allows your virus software to scan it first.  Yahoo mail users have a facility to scan attachments for viruses before they download them from internet and so this avoids this risk.
  3. Do install an antivirus program and keep it up to date using the automatic update feature which works in the background when you are connected to internet.  Regularly check the virus software status window to make sure the virus definitions are recent.  They are normally issued at least once a week.
  4. Do install a firewall to limit access to your computer from internet particularly if you have a broadband internet connection (always on).  The same company which supplies your virus software will also supply your firewall software.  In Windows XP, a simply network firewall is included in the operating system.  If you do not have firewall software, turn this device on in windows using the steps at the bottom of this page.
  5. Do a complete computer scan for viruses at least once a week.  Most virus software allows you to do this automatically but clearly you have to have the computer turned on when the check is timed to occur so many people prefer to do this manually when they have the time to let the computer run for an hour to complete the scan.
  6. Regularly back up you computer to CD-R’s so that you can recover if attacked (see index of computer group subjects on the website)
  7. Closing the stable door after the horse has escaped is very painful where recent viruses are concerned.  While the virus software can remove viruses from infected computers, they cannot undo the damage and it is the damage which takes time to correct.  BE WARNED!!!
  8. Setting the Windows XP firewall (courtesy of the Windows XP help file):
  1. Open Network Connections
  2. Click the Dial-up, LAN or High-Speed Internet connection that you want to protect, and then, under Network Tasks, click Change settings of this connection.
  3. On the Advanced tab, under Internet Connection Firewall, select one of the following:
    • To enable Internet Connection Firewall (ICF), select the Protect my computer and network by limiting or preventing access to this computer from the Internet check box.
    • To disable Internet Connection Firewall, clear the Protect my computer and network by limiting or preventing access to this computer from the Internet check box.

Notes

 

Lois is still having problems downloading pictures from Yahoo Mail so I am including the process again in these notes for those who missed the original description.  In Yahoo Mail Inbox, messages with attachments have a paper clip symbol beside them.  When you open a message with a picture attached, it should display a “view” of the picture but if you try to print it out you will see all the rest of the webpage information on your print as well.  To print out or size a picture you first have to download it.  Alongside the view of the attached picture are two options 1) scan and download picture 2) save to my yahoo photos.  Click on the first option and software at Yahoo will proceed to scan the file.  Hopefully it will come up with a screen to say the file does not contain any viruses and on that screen is the bolded, underlined word “Download”.  Click on “Download” and you will get a window which asks you whether you want to open it or “Save it to disk”.  Always click on “Save it to disk” and enter a file name to assign the picture when asked.  For pictures, I recommend you save the picture in “My Pictures” which is a subdirectory of “My Documents”.  Once you have saved it you can open the file by clicking on the file name in “My Pictures”.  You can also mail to someone else as an attachment.

Next Meeting

    We will break for the summer and reconvene in September if there is sufficient interest in doing so.  Please e-mail me if you want to continue.

 

Notes for Computer Meeting May 5th, 2004

Opening

Winnie Eklund opened the meeting.

Content

If you have questions about your printer, such as which cartridge to buy, both Hewlett Packard (http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/siteHome?lc=en&cc=us&dlc=en ) and Epson (http://www.epson.com/cgi-bin/Store/support/supAdvice.jsp?BV_UseBVCookie=yes&noteoid=17615  ) have customer care pages to help you.  They also allow you to download new drivers for installing your printer if you have mislaid the original CD that came with the printer.

 

One of the features in Microsoft Office and also in Microsoft Works which the casual computer user rarely uses is the spreadsheet.  This is a very useful function and we spent sometime during the class understanding what you can do with spreadsheets and why the spreadsheet is a valuable tool.  We reviewed three applications and how to create them, a home inventory, a net worth statement and a checking account register.  Experiment with this program and let us know what you have used it for in the next class. 

Home Inventory -  Cecilia Smith    
     
Item Description Date Acquired Value
     
Living Room      
Couch Three seat leather 1988  $       500.00
TV Sony 25 inch 1995  $       300.00
Chair High back upholstered 1970  $       100.00
Desk Roll top oak 1950  $       400.00
     
Bedroom      
Twin Bed Slumberfast 1990  $       600.00
Chest 4 drawer oak 1950  $       100.00
     
Kitchen      
Microwave Sears 1995  $       700.00
Stove GE 1990  $       800.00
     
Total      $     3,500.00
     
     
Net Worth - Cecilia Smith  
 
Assets Total Value
 
Checking Account  $             2,000.00
House  $          800,000.00
Savings  $          100,000.00
Household contents  $             3,500.00
Automobile  $            10,000.00
Total  $          915,500.00
 
Liabilities  
 
Credit Card  $               (500.00)
Mortgage  $           (50,000.00)
Automobile Loan  $            (2,000.00)
Total  $           (52,500.00)
 
Net worth  $          863,000.00
Checking Account at Bank of America - Cecilia Smith      
           
Item Description Date Check # Debit Credit Balance
Starting Balance Deposit 1-Jan-04      $2,000.00  $2,000.00
PG&E Utilities 10-Jan-04 100  $ 100.00    $1,900.00
PacBell Phone 12-Feb-04 101  $   50.00    $1,850.00
Safeway Food 12-Feb-04 102  $ 150.00    $1,700.00
Long's Drugs 15-Feb-04 103  $ 100.00    $1,600.00
Pension Deposit 15-Feb-04      $2,000.00  $3,600.00
Cash ATM 16-Feb-04    $   60.00    $3,540.00
           

 

We took a look inside a Windows XP computer and learned how to handle the four most common problems with computer hardware.  We learned how to replace the battery and the power supply.  We also learned where to plug in additional memory.  All these job are relatively simple for a novice.  The fourth most common hardware problem is a filing disk drive.  Replacing the disk drive is more difficult and should only be attempted by a knowledgeable person or a repair shop.  However replacing either the disk drive or the power supply costs up to $300 at a repair shop, and the components themselves cost less than $100.

Next Meeting

The next meeting will be on May 19th, 2004, and Lila Biesinger will handle the opening.    We will then break for the summer and reconvene in September.

Notes for Computer Meeting April 21st, 2004

Opening

Lois Borgonovo opened the meeting.

Content

We spent some time reviewing the settings in Microsoft Internet Explorer, the most common web browser.  In particular we went through one procedure for stopping pop-up ads by changing the settings in Internet Explorer.  This was thoroughly covered in the notes of  March 25th but we did not have time to cover it in the meeting.  We explored other setting which might be useful in Microsoft Internet Explorer by clicking on “Tools” and “Internet Options”.  Under the general tab you can set your internet home page by either tying the address near the top of the window or navigating to the web page you would like to use as a home page and then clicking on “Use Current”.  This screen also allows you delete cookies and change the number of web addresses you keep for the most recent sites visited.  The “Security” and “Privacy” tabs allow you to customize the levels for your machine.  We used this to control pop-up ads by disabling “Active Scripting”.  The “Programs” tab allows you to set the mail program that you use so that you can access it from the icon on the browser menu.  We then looked at organizing the “Favorites” folder in Internet Explorer.  On the menu line, click on “Favorites” and “Organize Favorites”.  This allows you to create new folders to sort the sites which you frequently visit into folders and to delete sites from the favorites list.  You can also delete items from the favorites list by right clicking on the site name and clicking on “Delete” on the drop down menu which appears.

 

We reviewed the options for shortening messages which you want to forward to someone else.  The easiest route is to simply highlight the section of an e-mail which you are interested in forwarding, right clicking on the highlighted section and select “Copy”.  Start a new messages with the addressee and subject and then, with the cursor in the text section, right click and select “Paste”.  The message can then be sent in the normal way.

 

Zoe presented a proposal to send a consumables package to the troops in Iraq and we decided to collect goods in the next two weeks and send a package following the next meeting on 5th May, 2004.

Next Meeting

The next meeting will be on May 5th, 2004, and Winnie Eklund will handle the opening.  Lila Biesinger will handle the opening on 19th May.  We will then break for the summer and reconvene in September.

 

Notes for Computer Meeting April 7th , 2004

Opening

Loretta Keener opened the meeting.

Content

We discussed ways to speed up your PC by doing some housekeeping.  The first thing to attend to is your hard disk – your C:\ disk.  If it is more than 75% full you probably need to remove files and programs which are no longer necessary.  Click on “Start”, “My Computer”, right click on “Local Disk C:” and then select “Properties” with a left click.  Under the “General” tab a pie chart should display the capacity of your hard disk with the percent used and percent free space.  Right next to this is a button to click for “Disk Cleanup” which will scan your drive and display files suggested for deletion.  While you are there look under the “Tools” tab of the “Properties” window you accessed above and there is an option to defrag your hard disk.  You may want to come back to this after clearing out some of the old files and programs as it takes a long time to defrag a disk and the more you have on it the longer it takes.  This will not release any space but it will put the most frequently accessed programs and files together on the disk so that they load faster.  To delete excess files in “My Documents” use the “Windows Explorer” program we demonstrated four weeks ago.  To archive pictures which take up a lot of space, back up your extra files to a CD-R and then delete them from your hard disk once you know you have tested the CD-R to make sure you can retrieve them.  Check the index on this website for instructions on backing up to a CD-R.  

 The next space hogs to look at are programs you do not use.  Most recent programs include uninstall software on their installation CD and you can normally find this by clicking on “Start”, “Programs”, “program name” and then the uninstall tab.  If you cannot find an uninstall tab for your program click on “Start”, “Control Panel” and “Add or Remove Programs”.  The computer will display a list of all the programs on your computer with “change or remove” button on each one.  Select the program to remove and click on “remove”.  Make sure before you do this that this is really a program you no longer use.  Just because you do not recognize it does not mean that the computer does not need it to operate correctly.  I would therefore suggest you only remove programs which you have installed and no longer want.

 If you use internet a lot you may also want to look at removing pop up ads (see notes from March 24th) and removing programs (called Spyware) which are installed on your computer to keep track on the web sites you visit.  These programs arrive on your computer when you install new software and access certain websites.  They take time out of your browsing as they same data for accessing when you next go to that company’s website.  Some may be beneficial, such as Microsoft’s software for assessing which updates you have downloaded so that they can suggest new critical updates.  Most have very little benefit to you and are marketing tools for companies to recommend products to you.  I personally have a problem with these data mining programs as they are installed without permission and slow web browsing down.  They could also be used to access personal information you do not want to reveal.  We demonstrated a tool called “Spybot” which we downloaded from a site called www.safernetworking.org .  The download is free and allows you to scan your computer for such “Spyware” programs.  However you either have to remove the programs and files they create manually or register the program for a fee of $49.95 and the program will do it for you.  I understand there is discussion on legislation to stop websites and software companies using Spyware without your permission but there is much discussion around the definition of spyware and this legislation may never get passed into law.

 We spent the rest of the session exploring some of the options in “Control Panel” for customizing your computer to be more user friendly.  Try checking out some of these options by clicking on “Start” and “Control Panel”.  In particular check on the keyboard icon, which allows you to set up “sticky keys” and the mouse icon, which allows you to change the size of your mouse pointer, the double clicking speed and sets up a target to find your mouse pointer.  Other items on the control panel which we have discussed at previous meetings include the “Display” icon for changing the background and screen saver, and the “Power” icon which allows you set the time at which the computer hibernates to save power if it detects no keyboard activity.

Next Meeting

The next meeting will be on April 21st, 2004, and Lois Borgonovo will handle the opening.  Winnie Eklund will handle the opening on 4th May and Lila Biesinger will handle the opening on 18th May.  We will then break for the summer and reconvene in September.

 

Notes for Computer Meeting March 24th , 2004

Opening

Winnie Eklund opened the meeting.

Content

We did not get onto the main agenda for this meeting as there were a number of questions to handle and one member brought in a computer to trouble shoot.  This is fine as the main focus of these meetings is to work on the things which cause you trouble.

 

Two members brought in photographs on disks to find out how to print them.  Both contained *.jpg files (click on “Start” and “My Computer” to view contents in the floppy a:\ drive).  One of the disks had corrupted files which caused the viewer to lock up and therefore could not be printed.  In Windows XP there is a picture viewer which automatically displays *.jpg files when you click on them in “My Documents” or “My Computer”.  This viewer also allows you to print but gives you no option for editing or sizing.  *.jpg files will open in “Paint” (“Start”, “Programs”, “Accessories” and “Paint”) but again this program gives you limited options for printing.  The easiest way to size, edit and print photographs is to use one of the photoediting or graphics programs we have discussed.  PrintShop will allow you to do this but by far the easiest approach is to download Kodak Easyshare (see notes from March 10th, 2004) and use this to size, edit and print your photographs.  We demonstrated this with the file from one of the disks a member had brought in and showed that it can be used to print multiple pictures on the same sheet. 

 

We briefly reviewed how to create and name new folders in both Microsoft Outlook, Yahoo webmail and in Windows Explorer.

 

We hooked up one of the member’s computer to find out why it was not connecting to AOL.  We found that it dialed onto AOL with no problem and all the settings were correct.  However AOL rejected the account and we decided this was probably due to a misunderstanding on an account cancellation instruction.  The only way to remedy this is to call the ISP and ask them to reset the account.

 

There was a question about pop ads and how to get rid of them.  Most firewall software has a setting to remove pop ads.  Some ISP’s, such as AOL and Yahoo, also have software to stop pop up ads which can be accessed online through their “Setting” menu.  Pop up ads occur when you access particular websites and are controlled by active scripting in Internet Explorer.  You can disable active scripting in Internet Explorer but to do this for all sites will cause active scripts that you need on particular sites not to work.  For example if you access you bank or credit card records over the internet you will probably need active scripting to be working for the bank to identify you as you.  If you use Comcast for your broadband access you will find that they use active scripting to trouble shoot your account.  To disable active scripting for all sites, start Internet Explorer and go to the “Tools” menu item and “Internet Options”.  Click on the “Security” tab and then “Internet” and “Custom Level”.  Under “Active Scripting” in the “Scripting” section, click on “Disable” and then “OK” and OK”.  If you find out you have problems accessing particular sites which use active scripting to work, an alternative would be to list the sites you want to restrict.  For this you need the full web address of the site which you have have found causes you the most problems with pop up ads.  Click on “Restricted Sites” and then “Sites” under the “Security” tab.  Then click on “Add this Web site to the zone”, type in the full web address for the site that you want to restrict and then click on “Add”.  Repeat this for each site where you find pop-up ads are a nuisance.  Click “OK” and then click “Default Level” to set the Restricted Sites zone to “disable active scripting”.  Click “OK” again and go back to your nuisance site to see if it works.  We will demonstrate this in the next class as it is clearly a bit complicated.

Next Meeting

The next meeting will be on April 7th, 2004, and Loretta Keener will handle the opening.

 

Notes for Computer Meeting March 10th , 2004

Opening

Ruth Bunnell opened the meeting.

Content

We started out working with Windows Explorer to carry out basic file functions on the computer.  You can access Windows Explorer by clicking on “Start”, “Programs”, “Accessories” and “Windows Explorer”.  We learned about right clicking on the folder list on the left hand side of the Window to “Send” a folder to another drive.  During the process we used a Sandisk Cruzer USB storage device, brought by one of the members, to demonstrate backing up folders to a storage device.  We demonstrated how to expand folders by clicking on the + sign in front of the folder name to display sub folders and files.  We used Explorer to look at the contents of other drives on the system and to “Drag and drop” files from one folder to another.

 We reviewed the Kodak Easyshare software which I had downloaded from the Kodak webpage at the internet address http://www.kodak.com/eknec/PageQuerier.jhtml?pq-path=130/1465&pq-locale=en_US .  They require you “sign up” first but the download is free.  It takes quite a long time to download on a dial up connection but on broadband it is very quick and it installs itself .  It automatically scans your computer and makes an index of picture files on the computer which you can organize by date taken, title or whatever you prefer to use as a sort method.  It allows you to indicate “Favorites” which are displayed as thumbnail images at the beginning of the index.  We investigated each of the menu items on the top line including cropping images, adding special effects and burning a set of images onto a CD.  We demonstrated each of these and burned a CD of some of the images.  We also used the software for e-mailing images as an attachment to an Outlook Express message. 

Next Meeting

The next meeting will be on March 24th, 2004, and Ed Eklund will handle the opening.

 

Notes for Computer Meeting February 25th , 2004

Opening

Doris Duncan opened the meeting.

Content

Last time we looked at scanning pictures into an already open program such as Printshop or Microsoft Word.  Some programs do not allow you to import direct from a scanner.  However Windows XP makes this very easy.  Make sure your scanner is connected and turned on when you start up your computer before this operation.  Click on “Start” and then right click on “My Documents” or “My Pictures” if you have a picture.  A menu comes up and you need to left click on “Open”.  This opens up a folder view of “My Documents” or “My Pictures” which allows you to carry our various file tasks including “Get pictures from a scanner or camera”.  Put a picture or a document in your scanner and click on “Get pictures from a scanner or camera”.   A wizard opens which asks simple questions including what you want to name the file and what format you want.  Name your file and select JPEG format.  Click on “Scan” and a new folder with your file will appear in you folder view.  You can simply click on this to view it or use one of the other operators on the left side of the window to copy it, rename it or e-mail it.  Notice that the menus on the left hand side of the screen are context sensitive.  In other words, the menu will only list operations available for whatever you have highlighted.  If you want to create a new folder or get pictures from a scanner you need to click your mouse on white space in the window to make sure all the files and folders are deselected.

 

While we were in “My Documents” folder view we reviewed the process for creating a new folder and moving documents into.  From the same list of “File and Folder Tasks” we selected “New Folder” and a new folder immediately appears in the display with the name “New folder” highlighted.  Type in a unique name and the “New Folder” designation will be changed to your new name.  Individual files can now be “dragged and dropped” into the folder.  Single left click on a file and hold the left button down while you drag the icon over the new folder you have created.

 

At the last meeting we talked about how to insert pictures direct from a scanner or a file into a Word document.  This works for most word processors but not for WordPad, the simple word processor included with Windows XP.  WordPad only allows you to insert an “object” into your document and this means that the picture you try to insert will be saved as an icon in the document and not as a visible picture.  If you print the document out you will only see the icon but if you e-mail or it save it the picture can still be viewed by clicking on the icon while the document is on the screen.  WordPad can be accessed by clicking on “Start”, “Programs”, “Accessories” and “WordPad”.

 

Several people have asked about how to edit pictures.  If  you did not get software with your camera or installed on you new computer, Kodak offer their EasyShare software for download on their website at no charge.  The internet address is http://www.kodak.com/eknec/PageQuerier.jhtml?pq-path=130/1465&pq-locale=en_US .  They require you “sign up” first and when I tried it the sign up web page was not working.  I will try to download it before the next meeting and demonstrate it.

 

Zoe brought in an interesting article on “Removing Pop Up Ads”.  When pop up ads appears on your screen when you are on internet, they frequently remove tool bars on the screen so that you can only interact with the pop up ad.  To remove this nuisance hold the “Alt” key down and press F4.  The article also said that a pop up prevention program is available on the Google website for free.  I have not tried this.  Those of you who use AOL, Yahoo or some of the other major ISP’s already have tools available to you on their websites to do this.

 

We demonstrated how easy it is to e-mail documents or pictures from “My Documents” and from a Word Processor such as Microsoft Word.  Remember that you can only do this if you are using Microsoft’s Outlook or Outlook Express, as your mail program.  If you are using webmail you will first have to upload the picture.  In Yahoo you compose your webmail message and then click on “Attach Files”.  A window will open which allows you to browse through your files and select the correct one.  The process is automatic but does involve an extra step.  Similarly if you receive a picture by webmail, you will have to download it to your computer before you can print it or edit it.  In Yahoo, click on “Download” next to the picture display.

 

We had a question about reverse telephone number lookup on internet.  There are several websites you can use.  I use for this is http://www.switchboard.com/ which allows reverse number lookup from the main screen.  These websites only give limited information unless you subscribe to their service and, of course, they will not give information if a customer has asked to be de-listed from the telephone directory.

 

Another question involved removing the file history in Microsoft Word.  When clicking on “File” in Microsoft Word, a menu drops down.  At the end of this menu is files that you have recently accessed.  If you want to remove this you can change the settings in “Tools”, “Customize” and “Options”.  While you are there check out some of the other headings under “Tools”.  You can customize your word processing session the way you want it rather than accepting the Microsoft defaults. 

 

Next Meeting

The next meeting will be on March 10th, 2004, and Ruth Bunnell will handle the opening.

 

Notes for Computer Meeting February 11th , 2004

Opening

Lois Borgonovo opened the meeting.

Content

I demonstrated a device I had purchased during the week, which can be used for backing up valuable files and also for transferring files from an old computer to a new computer (discussion on January 28th).  Most computers sold since 1997 have USB ports and all new computers have USB ports.  If both your old computer and your new computer have USB ports a device like the “Cruzer mini” from Sandisk can make the job of swapping files simple.  This is a small memory unit that fits on a key chain that works just like another disk drive when you plug it into a USB.  It has software built in to install itself on your computer and is assigned a letter of the alphabet as a drive number just like your floppy drive.  It has a much higher capacity than a floppy disk however.  The one I demonstrated is 256MB which can handle a backup of most “My Documents” and “Settings” files discussed last week.  I bought mine for less than $50 at Costco.

 

We moved on to discussing scanners.  Windows XP works seamlessly with scanners and cameras.  My scanner installed itself when I plugged it into my XP computer.  Scanning images from within a program like Microsoft Word, using the “insert” menu is very simple.  We put a picture on the scanner bed which we wanted to insert in some text.  We started a new Word document with some typing and then clicked on “Insert” and “Picture” and “From Scanner or Camera”.  The scanner immediately ran the scan and inserted the image in the document at the cursor without any more input.  Insert a scanned image in Print Shop required a couple of extra steps but still was relatively easy following these instructions.  We opened Printshop and selected a half fold greeting card.  We place an image on the scanner bed and clicked on “Insert” from the main menu and “Picture” and “All files”.  The pop up window displayed a list of all the pictures on the computer with small thumbnail pictures of each.  We then selected “File”, “Digital Image” and “Acquire” from the pop up window menu and a window came up asking for some selections.  We selected “Web Quality” – to ensure a minimum size for e-mailing – and then “Preview” to see what it looked like.  We clicked “Scan” to transfer the image and entered a unique file name to file it in “My Pictures”.  We then navigated to the file name in the “My Pictures” directory and the picture was inserted in the card format in Print Shop. The image was sized to fit the card panel by clicking on the frame at one corner and dragging the image to a size that fits.  If you would like to bring photos or images which you would like to scan plus an empty CD-R, to the next class on January 25th, we will scan them for you so that you have electronic images to take home to e-mail or print on your own computers.

 

I am signed up for Hewlett-Packard’s free e-mail newsletter.  Like Microsoft, they run a very good website with seasonal offerings which can be accessed from their newsletter through hypertext links.  This week they had several formats for creating Valentine’s cards.  We accessed one of these and and printed out a half fold valentine card which we created from their project tools.  If you would like to subscribe to this newsletter, go to http://h30189.www3.hp.com/signUp.dyn and sign up to have it delivered to your mail box.

 

We handled several miscellaneous issues including developing a way to re-install deleted program icons to your desktop.  This is involves clicking on “Start”, “My Computer”, “C: drive” and “Program Files”.  Select the program of interest with a right click which brings up a menu.  Select “Send To” and “Desktop” and a shortcut will appear on your desktop.  This will not work if the program  has already been deleted from the computer, of course, but if the icon was simply removed by mistake or to clean up the desktop this is one way of restoring it.  You can also do the same thing by clicking on “Start” and “Programs” and then right clicking the program in the listing assuming that has not been removed.  We also investigate printing TIF image files from a floppy disk.  TIF files can be opened and printed from “Paint” which is found under the “Accessories” item in the program menu. 

Next Meeting

The next meeting will be on February 25th, 2004, and Doris Duncan will handle the opening..

 

Notes for Computer Meeting January 28th , 2004

Opening

Winnie Eklund opened the meeting.

Content

Two people in the group have recently bought new Windows XP computers and both needed to transfer settings and files from their old computers to their new computers.  It turns out that Microsoft XP has a little program installed which will do just that.  You access it by clicking on “Start”, “Accessories”, “System Tools” and “Transfer Files and Settings”.   This opens a Windows Wizard which guides you through a process in which you make a duplicate of the program, on a floppy disc, to run on your old computer.  There are several ways to hook the computers together to transfer settings and files.  If you only want to transfer settings or only have a few files you can use a floppy disc.  If both computers have network cards (most newer computers do) you can simply link the computers with a network cable available from a computer store.  If both computers have serial ports you can link them using a null serial cable available from a computer store.  Try it out.  The wizard is really simply to use.

I have had several questions on desktop images (the background you see when you first turn the computer on) and screen savers (moving images that appear when the monitor goes into idle mode).  You can use any digital pictures which you have taken yourself as a background image for your monitor screen or you can download from the impressive collection on internet.  I actually downloaded a “Winter Fun Pack” from the Microsoft Windows XP site and this included six winterscapes which cycle every 30 minutes as background.  The “Winter Fun Pack” can be downloaded, free, from the following web address http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/digitalphotography/downloads/winterfun.asp and it includes several music and digital video and photography products in addition to the desktop that we use here.  We saved the download to the “download directory which we created on the desktop to make it easy to find.  Once the download was complete we clicked on the download file to install the various function.  The changing desktop was one of these.  We followed the installation instructions and installed it on the computer.  It put an icon on the bottom right hand of the screen which opens a window to change the backdrop on the screen or to run a slide show of the various images involved. 

Changing the appearance of your screen in Microsoft XP is quite simple.  Right click your mouse while pointing to and empty section of your screen and select “properties” from the drop down menu that appears. A window opens at the top of which is five tabs.  Click on the one which says “Desktop” and view the list of options which are already installed to decorate your desktop.  If none of these satisfy you click on “Browse” in the window and navigate to “My Documents/My Pictures” and check to see if you already have pictures stored which you can use.  Click on the file name of a favorite image and then click “Apply” in the “Display Properties” window which you have on your screen.  Once windows has registered you image selection it will bring it up as a background when you next start up your computer.  Check out the other things that you can set under the “Display Properties” window you brought up to do this.  Not only can you set how long the screen will remain active without any keyboard action but you can also select one of several dynamic screen savers to decorate your computer screen when it is not in use.  Check out the screen savers included with the "Winter Fun Pack" which we downloaded at the beginning of the class.

The Winter Fun Pack also had a series of greeting card backgrounds for photos so we tried to use one of these backgrounds to create a poster.  We opened Print Shop 20 and selected the basic screen (or you could select a blank card format at this stage).  We opened the Winter Fun Pack software and then selected “Digital Photography” and then “Holiday Greeting Cards” from the menus which came up in the Winter Fun Pack window.  We  scrolled through the card formats until we found one we liked and then double clicked to get a larger size image.  One the row of icons below the picture we clicked on the icon which looks like a floppy disk (copy to icon) and copied the image to “My Documents/MyPictures”.   From the Print Shop menu we clicked on “Insert” and then “Import” and selected the card image from “My Documents/My Pictures”.  The card background showed up in the middle of the card format and we had to “stretch” it to fill the whole of the card.  We clicked on “Insert” and “Import” again and selected a photograph from our collection to insert on the card.  This time we used the “phototools” on the Print Shop menu to crop and orientate the photographic image on the card.   

I had a question about using a scanner to scan a photographic print and import it directly into a card format.  I will bring a scanner next time and we will experiment with this option.  If you have some favorite photographs which you want scanned into electronic images, bring them to the class and we will also demonstrate burning images onto CD’s and create CD’s for you to take home and use.

Next Meeting

The next meeting will be on February 11th, 2004, and Lois Borgonovo will handle the opening..

 

Notes for Computer Meeting December 17th , 2003

Opening

Lois Borgonovo opened the meeting.

Content

Someone at the last meeting asked me to go over inserting images in text and getting the text to flow round the image.  We started the meeting demonstrating this.  We had a full page of text in Microsoft Word which we want to insert an image.  The first step is to put your cursor at the point in the text you want to place the image.  Then click on “insert” and “picture”.  Click on “Clip Art” if you want one of the images that Microsoft supplies or alternatively click on “From File” if you have your own image you want to use.  We clicked on “Clip Art” and selected an image from the drop down menu.  In Word 2002 a search menu comes up which allows you to type in what kind of picture you want.  We typed in “Christmas” and selected an image of Father Christmas which appeared in the text, displacing the text downwards.  To size the image or to get the text to flow around it you need to first click on the image to select it.  A black single line box forms around the image.  Grabbing the sides with the mouse (hold left button down) or the corners you can stretch or size the image until you get the appearance you want.  When you clicked on the picture to select it a picture editing toolbar should have come up on the screen.  If it does not, right click on the picture and select “Show toolbar” from the menu which comes up.  Click on the icon with an image of a dog in a box in this menu and a drop down menu of various options for arranging the text comes up.  We selected “tight” and the text flowed around the picture.

 

For the rest of the session we explored Print Shop 20, a program for making cards and editing photos.  We started by making a quarter fold card with Print Shop’s material, as that is the easiest kind to print, as it all prints out on one side of the paper.  We then look at inserting photographs and editing photographs.  You can edit photographs direct from the main menu without going through the card making process but we decided to make a card with a cropped photo inside and added some text to it.  Try it out at home.  Print Shop 20 is a very cheap upgrade (about $20 mine cost me) and it is worth changing to if you have one of the very early versions of print shop as it contains a lot more material.

Next Meeting

The next meeting will be on January 28th, 2004, as we decided not to meet on New Year’s Eve and unfortunately I am out of town on January 14th.  Winnie Eklund will handle the opening.  We will also have our party on December 28th, 2003.  I wish you all a very Happy Christmas.

 

Notes for Computer Meeting December 3rd , 2003

Opening

Lila Biesinger opened the meeting.

Content

Christmas time is an opportunity to use the computer to print labels, cards and other decorations.  We spent much of the meeting downloading and printing labels and cards from Microsoft Word.  Seasonal formats are available on several sites but we used the ones displayed on Microsoft’s website which are in turn supplied by Avery Denison, the label manufacturer.  When you purchase labels or cards from the office store, note the Avery number on the top right hand side of the packet.  This is the reference you need to look for when scanning label and card formats on internet.  The reference number will ensure an accurate fit on the label or card when you print it.  You can find a listing of these formats at http://go.microsoft.com/?linkid=321011 .   Select an item which corresponds to the number on your label or card package and double click to preview it on the web.  Click on “Download Now” if you are satisfied with the selection.  The format will download and be displayed automatically in Microsoft Word on your computer.  (There are also formats for Word Perfect on www.avery.com ).  Before you do any editing I recommend you save the blank format in “My Documents” on you computer using the “Save” function.  When you have edited the document to include your personal information you can then click “Save As” and change the name of the file for the edited document.  During the class, we downloaded and printed invitations on postcards, gift labels, place cards for dinner and sticker decorations, as examples. 

 

            Lois brought in her holiday slides on a Wolf Camera CD.  At the next meeting we will install the software from the Wolf Camera CD and practice cropping, printing and e-mailing photographs.  We will also prepare greeting cards using Print Shop.

Next Meeting

The next meeting will be on December 17th and Lois Borgonovo will handle the opening.

 

Notes for Computer Meeting November 5th, 2003

Opening

Ruth Bunnell opened the meeting.

Content

This week we reviewed the multimedia functions of Windows XP following a question from one of the class members.  Windows Media is the media player packaged with Windows.  We started by experimenting with a DVD in the DVD drive.  As we closed the door on the DVD drive a window came up which asked us what we wanted to do and we clicked on “Play DVD”.  Windows Media player opened and the DVD started.  We could control the fast forward, start and stop from a software control on the bottom left of the screen.  We then tried a music CD in the same drive and again it asked what we wanted to do.  We clicked on “record” and a screen of files came up in Windows Media Player.  By checking the boxes in front of the tracks we indicated which tracks we wanted recording onto our hard disk and directed them to “My Documents/My Music”.  We then tried playing tracks directly from the hard drive using Windows Media Player.  It worked fine.  The volume can either be controlled with the slider control in Windows Media Player or by clicking on the round icon on the lower right hand side of the screen which brings up a screen of recording controls. 

 We then experimented with the “radio tuner” in Windows Media Player and accessed streaming audio by clicking on a favorite radio station.  We noticed that the audio takes some time to start on a dial up connection even using the 28K setting, and that the audio kept stopping while the download catches up.  A cable or DSL connection is a huge advantage with streaming audio and can handle streaming video.

 Finally we installed a Norton Personal Firewall on the computer to protect the computer against hackers taking over the machine and sending out unsolicited messages.  The installation was straightforward until we came to the setup.  Here you are required to indicate which programs on your machine, you want to be able to access internet.  This was a difficult operation as it is not always clear what the programs do.  One way we found to do this was to use the “Search” feature on Windows and determine what program a particular file works with.  In the first few days of using Norton Personal Firewall a Window will keep opening as another program tries to access internet and you have to choose whether to permit it or block and then check a box to say whether you want to be asked again.  In the initial setup it is usually save to “permit” the program to access internet as it is probably something which has been happening in the background anyway and is critical to the performance of you computer.  After a few days you will have run through all the routinely used programs and then you should consider blocking future program alerts from accessing internet.  We will complete this at the next meeting if anyone has any questions.

Next Meeting

The next meeting will be on November 19th and Lila Biesinger will handle the opening.

 

Notes for Computer Meeting October 22nd, 2003

Opening

Zoe Strohm opened the meeting with a poem and some sharing on trees.

Content

At the last meeting we looked at the differences between webmail and PC based e-mail.  On Lyman’s computer we reset his AOL dial up number and updated his settings to guard against pop up advertising and spam.  This week we looked at the some of the settings you can change in Microsoft Outlook Express and Yahoo to make life less frustrating.  In Microsoft Outlook Express you access the “Message Rules” by clicking on the menu item “Tools” and “Message Rules”.  There are options under “Mail” in this menu item to set message rules for incoming and outgoing messages.  For example you could add another folder to the list of folders you see when you open Outlook Express.  Try clicking on “Folders” and “New” and then add the folder “Computer Group”.  You can then use the “Message Rules” menu item above and check the box in 1) which says “when a message is received from”, in 2) click the box which says “move to the specified folder” and in 3) click on the hypertext and enter all the e-mail addresses of computer group members which should be filed under “computer group”.  If you want a particular piece of mail to be blocked from you inbox because it is offensive or is spam you can simply go to the menu item “messages” and click on “block sender” and the address of the sender will be added to your “blocked sender’s” list.  You can also edit this list and add or remove e-mail addresses by clicking on “Tools”, “Message Rules” and “Blocked Sender List”.  I recommend you do this with any spam before deleting it, to save yourself problems in future.  Microsoft Outlook has a similar feature which works slightly differently. 

 Yahoo has a more sophisticated spam blocker and a system for personalizing your mailbox, sorting mail into folders and blocking addresses.  Yahoo themselves put mail with multiple addressees into a bulk mail folder which you can empty every so often.  This feature can be customized by clicking on “Mail Options” and “Spam Protection”.  In the same “Mail Options” page you can “block addresses” and sort you mail into folders automatically using the “filters” option. 

 While we had a computer connection to internet we looked at some of the novel things you can find on internet these days. To access you simply press “Ctrl” and left click you mouse on the hypertext at the same time.  If this does not work you will have to “cut-and-paste” the site address into your web browser.  On the following site you can access interesting article on the Windows operating system and download the latest security fixes:

http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/expertzone/default.asp

We found the history of Allison Duncan’s racing career on this site:

http://www.allisonduncan.com/

My bird feeders constantly get attacked, emptied and broken by squirrels.  I found the following metal bird feeder which promptly closes up when a squirrel gets on it:

http://www.heritagefarms.biz/

I frequently need to look up people’s addresses or telephone number.  The following three sites allow you to do this for free.  Some of them even allow you to do a reverse look up of a telephone number which you might seen on your caller ID.

http://www.switchboard.com/

http://www.infospace.com/

http://www.anywho.com/

The Church website contains useful information and all of our computer notes.  Why note navigate to the computer notes page and book mark it in your browser.  Simply click on “Favorites” in the menu (“Bookmark” in Netscape) and then on “Add to Favorites”.  Type an identifying description into the window which comes up and “OK”.

http://www.1wellbrock.org/

At the last meeting Winnie asked about viewing some attached files she had received.  She sent me the files and they were corrupted *.pcx files.  You can view most picture files in a product called “Hijaak Image Manager” published by IMSI in San Rafael.  I found several places to buy this around $10 on the following site.

http://www.pricegrabber.com/search_getprod.php/masterid=529773/mode=looksmart/ut=43a95a79a3b2eff4

Next Meeting

The next meeting will be on November 5th and Ruth Bunnell will handle the opening.

 

Notes for Computer Group for 8th October, 2003

Opening

Loretta Keener opened the meeting with a devotional.

Content

In this meeting we set up an new dial up internet connection and discussed the differences between webmail and mail which you access with a mail program such as Outlook Express.   

We set up a new dial up connection on our Windows XP computer for the Church’s ISP.  All you need to have available is you account name and password, as originally supplied to you by your ISP.  If the ISP gave you a set up CD this is the easiest way of setting up a new account.  If you do not have a set up CD however you will need to do this manually.  We clicked on “Start” and “Connect to” and “Show all connections”.  In this window we clicked on “Create a new dial up account” and then simply answered the questions in the wizard that opens up.  When we had finished the computer immediately opened a dial up window and we entered our password to enable the connection.  Once connected we used internet explorer to navigate to sites like “Yahoo.com” for the rest of the class. 

Some but not all ISP’s allow you to access your mail through webmail and download it with Outlook Express.  The basic differences are:

Webmail

Can be accessed over internet from any computer anywhere simply by navigating to the website of the webmail provider and entering your account and password.  The advantage of webmail is that you never have to handle the mail on your computer if you do not want to and the webmail provider is responsible for virus scanning.  You can delete it, read it, forward it without transferring it to your computer.  However you need to be online when you are doing this.  If you want to print a message or work with an attached file such as a picture, you have to download it to your computer first.  You then need to be responsible for virus scanning of the downloaded document on your computer.

Outlook Express (or similar programs)

Your ISP supplies you with a POP3 account name and password and gives you settings for the incoming mail server and the outgoing mail server which you need to enter into the “Tools”, “Account” and “Add” option on Outlook Express.  Once this is done you can click on “Send and Receive” on the menu bar of “Outlook Express” and it will automatically send any mail you have created, including attachments, and download any mail that is waiting for you on the server.  Once this process is complete the copy of the mail on the server is deleted and you have it all on your computer.  This means you can disconnect from internet and read and reply to the mail at will.   

We investigated webmail using a Yahoo account.  This is free for message capacities up to 4 MB but you need an internet connection.  Lois wanted to review handling attachments on webmail.  I had sent a message to my Yahoo e-mail account, prior to the meeting, with an attached picture.  We opened the message in the “Inbox” on the Yahoo mail website site by clicking on the message.  The text was displayed along with a “View” of the picture.  There are three options displayed beside the picture:

We clicked on the first option and the pictured was scanned by Yahoo’s Norton Antivirus software.  Text was displayed saying “no virus threat was detected” and giving us the option to “Download Attachment”.  We clicked on “Download Attachment” and window came up which gave us the option to “Open” or “Save” the file to a suggested file name in “My Documents”.   If it does not show “My Documents” in the directory bar, roll the bar down and select “My Documents” from the options.  If you are willing to accept the proposed file name (assigned by the sender), click on “Save” and the file will download.  If you want to change the name to make it easier to find, overwrite the name and click on “Save”.  Depending on how big the file is and the speed of you internet connection this operation could take several minutes to complete.  Once you have downloaded the attachment file you can open in from my documents with two left clicks on the mouse.  You can also send it to other people by “inserting” it in an e-mail you are sending by Outlook Express or by “attaching” the file to a webmail message you are sending.  In Yahoo you can find the line for “attaching” files just below the subject line.  (Click on the browse feature and navigate to the file in “My Documents”). 

We also tried setting up “Outlook Express” for downloading mail messages.  In this case we set up the Church account in “Outlook Express” by selecting “Tools” and “Accounts”.  We clicked on “Add” and “Mail” in the window that opened up and set up a new account for Lanset Mail, answering the questions.  We used the account name and password and then entered “pop3.lanset.com” under “incoming mail server” and “smtp.lanset.com” under “outgoing mail server”.  It downloaded the new mail into the inbox but unfortunately it hung up downloading “Comcast mail”, which required the cable hookup I have at home.  It worked fine when I got home.  I should have deleted that account before synchronizing at the Church. 

We worked on Lyman’s computer during the class.  Lyman uses AOL for his mail.  The computer was dialing onto AOL using number in Nicasio and San Francisco so we changed the default dialup numbers to two in San Rafael and also a couple in Novato.  We also demonstrated the “Settings” and “Preferences” selection.  This enabled us to suppress pop up ads and disable the chat room function.  Another problem Lyman has was with the “Task Manager” function in Windows XP.  It did not seem to be working properly.  We accessed this by pressing “Ctrl-Alt-Del”.  The window which came up only displayed the active processes and did not display any of the “tab” options normally available.  The easiest way to correct this situation is to put in the “application recovery CD” which you receive with a new computer and reinstall the operating system.  This will overwrite any corrupt files and will take some time to complete.  Lyman did not have the recovery CD with him.  An alternative is to simply reinstall that particular file into the Windows directory.  I have made a copy of TASKMAN.EXE onto a floppy disk and will bring it to the next meeting for Lyman to install in C:\Windows .

Winnie had a question on opening attachments she had received in an e-mail.  She forwarded the e-mail to me and I found that the three attachments were actually *.pcx picture files but were only 1Kb each – very small for a picture file.  *.pcx do not open in internet explorer and require more sophisticated software.  They appeared to be normal width but only a very small height so there must be a problem with the transmission of these file or they have been corrupted.  Always ask friends to send pictures in *.jpg format as these will always open in internet explorer.  Some photo software uses specialized formats and you need the same piece of software on your computer to view images from this software.

I am happy to trouble shoot class members’ software problems or hardware problem if they bring their computer processor to the class.  To save disappointment call me beforehand to let me know you plan to do this. 

Next Meeting

22nd October.  Zoe Strohm will handle the opening on 22nd October.  Has anyone any requests for content?   

 

Notes for Computer Group for 24th September, 2003

Opening

Doris Duncan provided the opener and we met in Hutchison Hall.

Content

We continued our discussion on Windows XP and recent problems with virus attacks and went over the revised list of precautions to reduce the chances of computer malfunction for those who missed it last time:

 

  1. Backup regularly
  2. Install Antivirus software and update automatically
  3. Install Firewall software if operating with continuous cable or DSL link to internet
  4. Install uninterruptible power supply which runs your computer off a continuously charging battery
  5. Never tell windows to remember your password – keep a paper list
  6. Do not open an attachment unless you were expecting it, even from a friend – review recent history with viruses
  7. Set Microsoft Update to work automatically when you are connected to internet.
  8. Sign up for Microsoft e-mail newsletter and use the links to download software fixes and useful articles.  It is free.

 

We demonstrated the formatting of a CD and backing up “My Documents” on a regular basis.  CD’s have much more capacity than floppy disks and are the most logical way to back up your computer if you have a CD drive which allows you to write and read.  Most recent computers have these drives installed.  The process is, however, a little more complicated than backing up to floppy discs.  Floppy discs are normally already formatted when you buy them from the store and you can record files to them just like you would record audio to your tape recorder.  As such, you can delete and overwrite files on them many times until they physically wear out.  Basic CD’s are different in that there are several formats depending on what you are recording and the media is permanent. (CD-R’s only).  The process of recording them involves formatting and testing them for the type of use you will put them to (data or audio recording) and then literally “burning” the digital data on them with a laser.  When you buy blank CD-R’s you need to make sure they will handle the speed of you recording CD drive, indicated as 4X, 8X or higher multiples on you CD drive (check the hardware description of your computer).  You will need blanks that will handle at least the speed of your drive.  Most recent computers also handle CD-RW’s, rewritable discs, on which you can delete and overwrite files.  However the process still involves “burning” of the CD and is hence more complicated than simply recording to a magnetic floppy disc.  Fortunately, Windows XP includes a Wizard to take you through the process of formatting and “burning” a CD.  Windows 98 does not have this software and if you have a rewritable CD on a Windows 98 computer it will have add on software which walks you through the process.  I will only cover Windows XP here.

Before backing up your critical files to a CD’s you need to make sure all your critical files are stored in “My Documents” to simplify the process.  You do not normally need to back up all your Windows operating system and other software you have on your computer as you will normally have a “System Recovery Disk” in your files, which was supplied when the computer was new.  This disk enables you to reinstall any software that came on the computer when it was new.  You should also have retained any CD containing additional software that you have added since you bought the computer. 

To start the backup process, click on “Start”, “My Computer” and right click on the “My Documents” folder.  Select “Send To” and then the name of the drive which is a rewritable CD drive on you computer.  You will see a lot of activity which may take several minutes if you have a lot of files in “My Documents”.  The computer is backing up you files to temporary files on your hard disk, which are formatted for burning on your CD.  When it has finished a “balloon” will show on the icon bar on the bottom right of your screen with the words, “You have files ready to write to a CD”.  Insert your blank CD in the drive appropriate drive.  A dialog box will open that gives you various options.  Click on the one which says “open file on CD”.  A window should open automatically which shows the copy of your “My Documents” folder and a list of options on the left hand side of the window.  Click on the line which says “Write files to CD” and then follow the instructions.  Caution:  1) Make sure you put the blank CD in the rewritable drive and not the compact disk or DVD drive (I made that mistake in class) 2)  Do not be impatient.  If this is a new blank disk you are using it could take some time.  Wait for it to finish.  The wizard will clearly indicate when it has finished (I finished mine early in class as we were trying to end the meeting on time and it would not work when I got home).   You can repeat the process and add files to the disk up to the capacity of the disk (normally 700MB).  If you add a file which is already on the CD, such as an updated file, it will not overwrite the original as it does on a floppy disk, it will add an extra copy which can get confusing.  Check the dates on the files so you have the correct one.

We talked about the security of internet explorer, Windows and your e-mail software.  Lois circulated an article about an e-mail which purports to come from Microsoft and which talks about a security flaw and encourages you to click on an attached hyperlink to get an update.  Do not click on the hyperlink.  There are a number of spoof e-mails circulating which containing viruses or direct you to sites which download a virus onto your computer.  I have had one and Lois has had several.  Microsoft does not inform you of updates in e-mails which you have not requested.  If you want to be notified officially of updates and get other hints on using your Microsoft software, sign up for their monthly newsletter at http://go.microsoft.com/?linkid=233145 This newsletter has links to bona fide security updates and other tips on using software and is mailed once a month.  You need to register with an e-mail address and set a password that you can remember.  I find this newsletter very useful.  Lois also circulated advice to foil viruses (called worms) which use your address book to mail out copies of itself without your knowledge.  This involves entering a new address right at the beginning of your address book, which immediately goes to a site which does not exist and displays an alert to let you know you have a problem.   

 

The best way to protect yourself against these problems is to observe the list above.  In Windows XP you can set up a tool to automatically check for updates and install critical patches when you are connected to internet.  In earlier versions you can do this manually.  Some of the versions have a “Windows Update” tab on the “Start” button on the lower left of your screen.  If you do not have this button, click on the following hyperlink http://www.microsoft.com/windows98/downloads/corporate.asp for updates.  If you have never done this there may be a large number to download.  Most of them download quite quickly even on a dial up connection.      

 

We also briefly reviewed the virus and firewall software which I have installed.  I am not recommending this particularly over any other available software as I have not done a survey.  Class members wanted to know what I am using and I demonstrated it.  I apologize for not having time to answer all the questions in class.  If you can remember them, bring them to the next meeting and I will set aside more time for questions.

 

Next Meeting

8th October.  Loretta will handle the opening on 8th October and Zoe will handle the opening on 22nd October.  Has anyone any requests for content?   Lyman is bringing his computer so that we can trouble shoot his AOL and Task Manager problems.  We will also hook up a telephone line and demonstrate installing a dial up connection to internet.  I will also demonstrate again how to handle attachments to e-mail, both from webmail and from Microsoft Outlook Express.

 

Notes from Computer Group for 10th September, 2003

Opening

We reviewed summer activities, news of previous participants, preferences for venue, and fixed future openers and refreshments.  Doris Duncan will handle the opener for the meeting on September 24th and Loretta Keener will handle October 8th.  We met in Hutchison Hall for the first time to give us more space.  I installed a Windows XP computer with a large monitor to make it easier for people to see the screen.

Content

We reviewed installation of a Windows XP computer and some of the new features on the new operating system.  We discussed setting up the magnifier to make it easier to read text on the screen.  In Windows XP you do this by clicking on “Start”, “All Programs”, “Accessories”, “Accessibility” and “Magnifier”.  A two inch band opens at the top of the screen which follows where the cursor is pointing and magnifies the image.  This is an advantage for those who find reading the small text on the screen difficult.  We also discussed customizing the mouse performance to make it easier to see and easier to click.  Try “Start”, “Control Panel” and “Mouse” and then set the parameters in the various folder.  In particular we added a “ghost trail” to the cursor to make it easier to see, we changed the clicking speed to make it easier to double click on an icon and we changed the “click and drag” procedure to highlight text to a “click-drag-click” procedure.  We then reviewed the “System Restore” feature which allows you to step back in time and restore the settings on your computer at a time when it was working well and did not cause problems.  You can access this through “Start”, “Accessories”, “System tools” and “System Restore”.  I recommend that before doing anything major on your computer such as installing new software or a broadband connection, you go into “System Restore” and set a “Restore Point” which is a date and time when the computer is working well and you may want to step back to in future to undo any changes that have been made.

 

We talked about recent problems with virus attacks and revised the list of precautions to take to reduce the chances of computer malfunction:

  1. Backup regularly – we will demonstrate CD backup at the next meeting
  2. Install Antivirus software and update automatically
  3. Install Firewall software if operating with continuous cable or DSL link to internet
  4. Install uninterruptible power supply which runs your computer off a continuously charging battery
  5. Never tell windows to remember your password – keep a paper list
  6. Do not open an attachment (including hypertext links) unless you were expecting it, even from a friend – review recent history with viruses
  7. Set Microsoft Update to work automatically when you are connected to internet (Windows XP).  You can do a "one time" update by clicking on "Start" and "Windows Update" in Windows 98.
  8. Sign up for Microsoft Insider Update e-mail newsletter and use the links to download software fixes and useful articles.  It is free.

Next Meeting

24th September.  Doris will handle opening.  Any requests for content? 

Notes on Computer Meeting – 28th May 2003

Zoe Strohm opened the meeting and shared the following “Prayer of St. Teresa” with everyone.  I am reprinting it here with Zoe’s permission so everyone can use it:

 

Let nothing disturb you,

Let nothing affright you.

All things are passing,

God never changes.

Patient endurance

Attains all it strives for.

With God as your portion

Nothing is wanting:

God alone suffices.

 

We continued our discussion on word processing and then answered a couple of questions.  This is the last meeting until after the summer.  I am willing to repeat the course but I need you to inform me by e-mail or verbally if you are interested in continuing as we will be repeating much of the material we have already covered and with which many of you will be familiar. 

Simple Word Processing

If you are operating a Windows PC you should have a copy of WordPad installed in the “Windows Accessories” folder even if you do not have a word processing package installed.  WordPad is a simple Word Processing package which allows you to compose the kind of letters you may need to compose at home.  You can access this by clicking on “Start”, “Programs”, “Accessories” and “Wordpad”.   If you plan to regularly access this put an icon on your desktop to access it with one click.  To do this simply follow the above procedure but do not open the program with a left click of the mouse.  Instead use the right mouse button to bring up a menu and left click on “Copy”.  Press ESC to clear the screen and then right click again on a clear part of the main screen and left click on “Paste”.  This will put an icon for “WordPad” on your screen.  We covered most of the feature last week and so I will not repeat the notes.  However we looked additionally at how to set the print margins and preview the printed page without printing.  To do this you need to measure the paper width you are using and then click on “File” and “Page Setup”.  For paper which is any narrower than 8.5 inches, I suggest you consider reducing the left hand and right hand margin insets to, say, 1 inch or less.  When you have finished typing you letter, see what it looks like by clicking on “File” and “Print Preview”.  You may find that you need to space it down a bit to position it on the page more attractively.  You also may need to move your address block over and change the fonts to make it stand out more.  To do this to the address block, highlight the whole address with the left button on your mouse and then drag the “L” tab marker on the ruler bar at the beginning of the address to the point where you think it should be positioned.  A vertical dotted line will open under you cursor to show you where you are moving it to.  When you are satisfied with the appearance simply click on “Print”.  Remember to change the page size if you are using smaller paper, by clicking on “Properties” in the “Printer” window.  We also tried inserting clip art by copying and pasting from a collection of images put out by IMSI of San Rafael, on a CD I bought at Staples for $12.95.  Have fund using Word Pad.

Problem with Epson Printer

One member had a problem with lines across the page on a printout from an Epson 800 printer.  There could be several reasons for this but the individual had already tried cleaning the cartridge to no avail.  We looked up the product support page on internet for the Epson 800 at

http://www.epson.com/cgi-bin/Store/support/supDetail.jsp?BV_UseBVCookie=yes&oid=14388 and found that they had a new driver to download for a USB printer connection and Windows 98.  First you need to determine what you operating system it (Windows 98 or XP) and if your printer has a USB connection or a parallel connection.  (small plug or large plug in back on computer.) If it is a USB connection you can download the new driver from this web site.  Download to your desktop and then re-install your printer (start, settings, printers, add a new printer).  You probably need to disconnect the printer from the computer before you start this process.  Read your instruction manual for more information.  If this does not work go back to the webpage and look under “trouble shooting and FAQ’s” for your problem.

Problem with starting software on Kodak CD

One member had tried installing software from a Kodak CD of pictures on his computer operating Windows XP.  Normally the Kodak CD’s go into a slide show routine as soon as you put them in your CD player.  To actually install the software you need to ESC from the slide show and go to the main menu of the CD.  One of the options should be to do a full installation of the software.  It will involve agreeing to a license agreement and answering several questions.  Once installed you can find it by clicking on “Start”, “Programs” and “Kodak” and it should be on the sub menu that opens up.

Next Meeting

This is to be determined after the summer recess.  Please let me know if you want a re-run of the computer class.  I will set a date when I know the numbers.  Have a good summer.  Peter.

Notes on Computer Meeting – 14th May 2003

Doris Duncan opened the meeting.  We continued our discussion on e-mail during this meeting.  Our final meeting before the summer break, on 28th May, will be spent on finishing the Word Processing segment and clearing up outstanding issue people have.  So come prepared with questions.  Lois has kindly typed up an index of the all the notes we have generated during the past few years including those displayed on this page.  You can reach the index by clicking on the hypertext at the head of the page or here.

Managing your e-mail

Here are some tips for using your e-mail tools to make you life easier:

Managing Spam

I came across a good article on Microsoft’s website, written by the “Crabby Office Lady”.  I have included some of the points here.  If you want to read the whole article you can access it at http://office.microsoft.com/assistance/2002/articles/colnospam.aspx

Simple Word Processing

If you are operating a Windows PC you should have a copy of WordPad installed in the “Windows Accessories” folder even if you do not have a word processing package installed.  WordPad is a simple Word Processing package which allows you to compose the kind of letters you may need to compose at home.  You can access this by clicking on “Start”, “Programs”, “Accessories” and “Wordpad”.   You can either start typing straight away in the window that comes up or use some of the menu items to customize your text.  One thing you may want to do is set the tabs to, say, 4 inches to allow you to enter an address on the right hand side of the page.  Click on “Format” and “Tabs” type “4” into the window and click on “set” and “OK”.  You can reverse this by highlighting the “4” and clicking “clear” in the same window.  From the main menu you can select the font size and the type of font you need to customize your text.  Look through the other icons to see what they do.  The anticlockwise arrow is particularly useful as that allows you to reverse and action you have just completed.  Other icons allow you to copy and paste, to change the color of the text, to insert the date and time, to insert a picture (object), to print and to file the document under a unique file name in “My Documents”.  As you type text into the window you can also click on icons to bold it, to put it into italics, to center it or to right justify it.  The text format only spans 7 inches as it is intended for notepaper.  The default left and right hand insets are 1.25 inch so this only gives you 6 inches of line length to type in.  You can install notepaper in your printer but remember to reset the “printer properties” before you start printing to allow for the smaller paper. 

 

Next Meeting

May 28th , 2003, at 3:00 pm  Zoe Strohm will handle the opening.  This is the final meeting before the summer recess.

Notes on Computer Meeting – 30th April 2003

Lois Borgonovo opened the meeting.  We finished our discussion on cameras and editing/printing photographs by demonstrating a Kodak CD which was obtained when I submitted several films for developing at Wolf Camera. 

Photograph printing and editing from a photostore CD

Most photostore now offer prints on a CD when you carry in films for developing.  Kodak originally offered this system and many of the CD’s offered are Kodak CD’s.  We therefore used a Kodak CD to demonstrate this.  As soon as we put the CD in the CD-ROM a full screen slide show started automatically, displaying 77 images from three films.  Kodak also offers software installed on the CD for editing, printing and mailing.  We loaded the software by clicking on “Start”, “Run”, and M:\Setup\setup.exe.  “M” is the drive letter for the CD drive on the computer we were using.  If your computer uses a different letter designation for the CD-ROM, substitute that letter.  Alternatively hit the “Browse” button in the “Run” window and select the CD and file by a visual search.  The software immediately began to load and then started running automatically.  Thumbnail representations of all the slides were displayed and several options were offered on the first screen.  We clicked on an image to select it and then explored the options for cropping and printing.  Remember to set the printer “properties” to the type of paper you are using.  We used HP premium plus matte photographic paper and this was an option for our printer under properties.  We selected the 5x7 print option and printed out our cropped image.

Downloading picture images from Yahoo Web Mail

To answer a question, we went onto internet and navigated to yahoo.com.  As I had an e-mail account on yahoo.com (free for a 4 MB mailbox) I signed on and selected a message with an attached picture which I had uploaded earlier.  The picture is displayed on the screen but as this was a webmail access this picture is stored on yahoo’s server.  To download to your computer for printing, click on the hypertext “Download without scan” beside the image.  A screen opens which asks you whether you want to open the file or save it to disk.  Always click on save it to disk so that it will automatically be scanned by your virus software when you open it.  Another screen will come up asking where you want to store it.  Roll the option bar down to “My Documents” and click on save.  Alternatively you can save it in the subdirectory of “My Documents”, “My Pictures” if you want to separate pictures from other files.  You can view the image by simply clicking on the “My Documents” icon on the main screen (Click “Start” and “My Documents” in Windows XP) and the picture will be displayed in your editing software or in Microsoft Internet Explorer.  You can print from Microsoft Internet Explorer but you cannot edit from there.  You will need to purchase editing software or “cut and paste” the picture into Microsoft Word for editing.

Navigating Around E-mail Programs

While we were in the yahoo webmail program we looked at the various options for deleting files, printing sent messages, creating new folders and moving messages to other folders.  We then opened Outlook Express on the computer and looked at the various options in a PC based mail program.  We will continue this at the next meeting and also cover simply Word Processing in WordPad at the request of one of the group members.

Next Meeting

May 14th , 2003, at 3:00 pm  Doris Duncan will handle the opening.  The final meeting before the summer recess will be on May 28th and Zoe Strohm will handle the opening.

Notes on Computer Meeting – 16th April 2003

Lyman Frick opened the meeting.  We continued our discussion on cameras, and editing/printing photographs.  Last time we looked at home editing and printing and we generated a collage of photographs on an 8”x10” sheet, suitable for a scrap book.  This week we will explore an easier and cheaper option for the technically challenged!

Online photograph printing and editing

If you do not have a photographic editing package or an appropriate printer and want to experience the joys of editing your own photographs, online services are a good option.  We discussed using www.shutterfly.com several weeks ago and in this session we went into more detail and learned how to upload images, edit them, e-mail them and print them.  If you do not have an electronic camera you can do this equally well from a photographic CD.  You can also mail the film to Shutterfly and they will develop it and display the photographs online for you to edit, select and print them.  This avoids most of the headache in using the technology and allows you to get professionally made prints from snapshots which you have generated.  The first step is to go to www.shutterfly.com and they will put a “cookie” on your computer which allows you simply to upload photographs.  So establish an internet connection, open internet explorer and navigate to www.shutterfly.com .  You will need to register on the site so that your photographs are kept in a folder that only you can see.  The click on “Upload” and the process will start.  After a few minutes a window will open in Internet Explorer.  Open “my documents/my pictures” or use “my computer” to view pictures on a CD.  Reduce the size of the Window so that you can display both the Shutterfly window and your file list side by side.  Then simply “drag” and “drop” each picture file you want uploading and go go and do something else while the upload proceeds automatically.  Typically you will need to wait 4 minutes for a 400K picture at 56K modem speed.  Eventually all the pictures will be displayed by Shutterfly in thumbnail form and you can select each image in turn and size and edit it into your final photograph.  Shutterfly allows you to crop, to size, to add various borders and to take out “red eye”.  You then have three options.  You can order prints in a variety of sizes to be mailed to you (at a cost of course), you can select images for e-mailing to a friend or you can simply give a friend permission to view the whole folder on internet and order their own.  We demonstrated all these options in the class and e-mailed some photographs. 

Many photographic stores offer similar facilities in their stores whereby you can edit a picture on a terminal in the store and get a print in a folder to go.  The process is simple and they have expert staff to help you through the process the first time.  This is particularly effective for doing Christmas cards and other greeting card which are personalized with your own photos.

 Next Meeting

April 30th, 2003, at 3:00 pm  Lois Borgonovo will handle the opening.

Notes on Computer Meeting – 2nd April 2003

Ruth opened the meeting.  The following people volunteered openers for the next 4 weeks: 

Lyman Frick – 16th April, Lois Borgonovo – 30th April. 

In response to a question before the meeting I am devoting this meeting to digital cameras, how to connect them to your computer and a cautionary word on storing files and prints.

Digital Cameras

At an earlier meeting I showed a camera that I had received for my birthday and some family photos that I had taken with it.  I actually uploaded the photos to a website called  www.shutterfly.com and we viewed them on the website.  I have since received prints I ordered, back from this website and they all came out well.   I note that they use dye sublimation printers which give much more permanent images that inkjet printers.  US News and World Report ran an article entitled “Are Photos Finished?” in their March 24th, 2003, edition.  Statistics they show claim that 30% of US households now use digital cameras and sales of these cameras now eclipse those of film cameras.  However, they also claimed that virtually all the prints from these cameras in the amateur market are made on inkjet printers and herein lies a problem.  Prints made on inkjet printers do not have a long life unless you use the recommended photopaper and ink combination for your particular printer.  Display years ranged from 1 to 90 based on the type of paper and ink used.  Photo prints tend to have much better longevity and so do the negatives.  You may say that you can just reprint them from an electronic file when they expire but herein also lies a problem.  Most people do not store files on backup one time CD’s and the file formats are continuously changing (remember the cycle time of 4-5 years I mentioned last week?).  This means that you may not have the ability to display these files in the future unless you take steps now to effectively catalog and file them in an archive format on disks which themselves have more than 5 years longevity.

We tried installing software (successful) to display and edit electronic photographs.  We tried to install a camera to computer USB cable after first installing drivers, but were unable to do this successfully because of a missing file (I have since found this file and the system works fine!).  We therefore installed a card reader and took the memory card out of the camera and inserted it in the card reader.  We could successfully transfer photographs to the computer using this process.  The Sandisk drive we installed handled the memory media we had in the camera and had a USB connector, enabling us to connect and disconnect at will with the computer turned on.  We transferred some pictures and prepared a collage which we printed on an 8.5 x 11 inch sheet of photopaper.  (I will work on the issue on the non-performing camera connection before the next meeting and hopefully find out why it did not work).  For those who asked, the camera I used for the pictures is a Canon.Powershot S30.  It is a 3.2 megapixel camera (plenty of definition for e-mail pictures and snapshots) with a zoom feature.  While some of the controls are menu driven on the rear viewing screen, most of them are through pushbuttons on the camera body which makes it easier to change settings.  The pictures are saved on a compact flash card, which when inserted in a card reader attached to the computer, behaves just like an extra disk drive, allowing you to view pictures stored and move them to different drives and directories with the normal Windows editing commands.

Media for Digital Cameras

One of the most confusing issues around digital cameras for a novice, is that there are several different types of storage media which are not interchangeable.  These are either rotating or static media (memory).  Sony has marketed a line of cameras for some time which use the venerable floppy disk (rotating media) we have used in computers for some years.  While this is convenient because it means you can instantly view files on you computer, the limited storage capacity of the floppy limits the number of photos which can be stored on each disk and if you are using your camera on vacation this gets very inconvenient as it is unlikely you will be carrying your computer with you.  More recent cameras use recordable CD's for storage (rotating media) and a CD normally stores at 700MB which will take a lot of photos.  Rotating media cameras tend to be bulky.  Other cameras use static media which comes in three versions and multiple capacities.  The one I demonstrated is the compact flash card which was originally developed as a storage device for Pocket PC type handheld computers.  These devices come in capacities up to 1GB and probably more by now.  IBM have developed a rotating storage disk in the same package which will plug into a compact flash slot.  Two other types of media are also popular.  One is called a Smartmedia card and the other is a memory stick, developed by Sony for their portable devices, including cameras.  It is likely that more devices will come on the market in smaller physical sizes to fit small cameras and MP3 players.  This is all very confusing as normally a camera will only accept one format.  Be sure to ask when you buy a camera what format of storage media it uses as you are almost sure to want to buy a device with more capacity than the one which comes with the camera and you will need to buy the same format.  While the prices of each of these static formats are competitive for a given capacity e.g. 128MB, in discount stores, it is very easy to pick up the wrong one for your camera.  We also have no way of knowing whether they will all survive in the market place. 

Next Meeting

April 16th, 2003, at 3:00 pm.  Lyman Frick will handle the opening.

Notes on Computer Meeting – 19th March 2003

Ellen opened the meeting with lessons learned from geese flying in formation.  The following people volunteered openers for the next 6 weeks: 

Ruth Bunnell – 2nd April, Lyman Frick – 16th April, Lois Borgonovo – 30th April. 

In response to a number of questions before the meeting I decided to spend some time discussing why some comfort with computers is necessary to survive in a world that is increasingly requiring access to information by computer at the expense of personal contact.

Buying a Computer

I reviewed the history of my computer purchases over the last 23 years and the incompatibility of hardware and software that has occurred because of advances in technology.  In the space of 23 years we have gone through several types of storage media and hardware to read them, starting from audio tapes and proceeding through 5.25 inch floppy disk media, 1.44 MB small floppy disks, several versions of zip disks to current storage on CD-RW (rewritable CD’s).  This has occurred because of increase in program and data file size.  This has paralleled increases in computer speed and memory capacity which has encouraged software manufacturers to write more complex software.  The computer operating systems have evolved from several versions of DOS through several versions of Windows.  You can only buy hardware loaded with Windows XP currently if you want to purchase a PC rather than an Apple computer and manufacturers now make a floppy disk drive an optional addition.  Because of the increased storage capacity of the video DVD disks, DVD drives are commonly found on new computers.  I have just bought my fifth computer in 23 years suggesting a cycle time of 4-5 years before technical advances require upgrading. 

This all tells us that, before we buy a new computer, we have to look forward 5 years to understand what equipment we need to buy now.  Components that we now think we will not use may be essential in 5 years time.  I did not buy a top of the line computer in my recent purchase but I did look forward to where technology is likely to evolve in the next five years and what I would need to keep up with it.  I am sharing the specifications of my current computer: 

Sony PCV-RX861 (UC)

Processor – Intel Pentium 4  2.8 GHz (suggest Pentium 4 with speeds of 2GHz and above)

Internal memory – 512MB (memory is currently cheap.  You should have at least 256MB but the more you can put in now the better)

Hard Disk – 80GB (Minimum size suggested 20MB)

CD-RW drive (Rewritable CD drive – a necessity for backups)

DVD drive (can also read CD-ROM’s.  Not essential but it is likely it will be in future)

1.44MB floppy drive (now becoming obsolete but useful if you still have a stack of floppy disks you have files on which you will use)

Sony memory stick drive (installed on all Sony computers and useful if you have other Sony devices like a video camera, MP3 player or camera which use this format but not essential if you do not)

4 USB ports (essential for connecting all peripheral devices that you can buy now e.g. printers and scanners)

Parallel Port – (essential for older printers)

56K modem – (essential for internet access to upgrade software and get information and also for e-mail)

Sound card and speakers (essential if you want to take full advantage of the new interactive software such as Turbotax, or play CD’s and DVD’s)

Windows XP operating system (automatic on new PC’s) 

I overlooked the fact that Sony do not put serial ports on their new computers.  I needed one as my PocketPC interfaces with the computer through a serial port.  I had to retrofit an interface to the USB to get this to work and this was disproportionately expensive.  If you have the option to get a serial port I would suggest you take it if you have serial peripherals to hook to you computer. 

I installed an upgrade of Microsoft Office which I used on my old computer.  This is not essential for Word Processing.  Installations of products such as Microsoft Works (now including Microsoft Word) and Word Perfect are normally quite adequate for word processing.  Windows XP already contains Internet Explorer for web browsing and this contains Outlook Express which allows you to download mail.  Windows XP also includes Windows Media Player. 

I also installed Norton System Works to take care of virus infections and it has already proved very valuable in protecting my computer.   

While old monitors are normally compatible if you want to save the cost of a new monitor, the case has clearly been made for buying one of the new LCD flat screen monitors just on the power savings you are likely to achieve over several years.  I would recommend you buy a 17 inch monitor if you have trouble reading the screen like I do. 

Jacquie had looked up costs of computer systems on the Dell web site and she shared this information with the group.  I hope you find the above information useful in any decision to buy a computer. Let me know if I have missed anything out.

Peter

Next Meeting

April 2nd, 2003, at 3:00 pm.  Ruth Bunnell will handle the opening.

 

Notes on Computer Group Meeting – 5th March 2003

Lila opened the meeting.  We focused on installing a printer during the meeting and learning how to calibrate the printer and use the Windows printing software. 

Printers

Printers have gone through enormous technical improvements in the last few years.  Buying a new printer is one of the most cost effective ways of upgrading your computer system and expanding its utility.  The evolution of electronic cameras and scanners has led to big improvements in color printers.  Tractor feed printers have been relegated to business applications while ink jet and laser printers have evolved for home use.  For high volume black and white printing, a laser printer is the way to go as it is cheaper per copy and faster.  The technology works on the same principle as the photocopier.  However laser color printers are still quite expensive for home use.  Ink jet printers can be bought for $100 but are more expensive to operate per copy, particularly for intensive color printing.  However for low volume printing and variety of applications there is nothing to beat the initial cost effectiveness of the ink jet printer. 

Connection to computer

Since personal computers hit the home market, parallel 25 pin connectors were used to link the printer to your computer.  The cables are heavy and can only be installed while the computer is turned off.  With the advent of the USB protocol which first appeared in the Windows 98 operating system.  Now virtually all printers are equipped with USB connections.  USB connections can be made while the computer is running.  However care has to be taken to install the drivers for this type of printers before a connection is made.  USB connections can only be made if your computer is equipped with the small square USB sockets (most computers built from 1997 onwards) and is running Windows 98.

Installation of USB equipped printer

During the meeting we installed a Hewlett Packard 5550 inkjet printer on the accounts computer in the Church office.  The first step was to load the software and drivers from a CD packaged with the printer.  This included a computer based sequence of instructions for the installation of the printer.  We unpacked the printer and removed all the tape securing components.  Following the installation of the software we connected the power to the printer and the USB cable to the back of the printer and then to the computer.  As soon as the computer was hooked up to the printer, the computer recognized new hardware and specifically the Hewlett Packard 5550.  It went through a routine to install software without operator interference.  We loaded the ink jet cartridges and again the printer went through a routine to calibrate itself concluding with the printing of an image.  Older printers require this calibration step to be carried out manually each time a new color cartridge is installed.  Failure to calibrate the printer will reduce the quality of the prints and is particularly important when printing photographs, where precise color mixing is important for correct color rendition.

 

We will continue the study of printers at our next meeting and will focus on Windows controls for the print function.

Electronic Cameras and interfacing with the computer

Electronic cameras have developed rapidly in recent years and come down in price, making them very cost competitive with film cameras.  Cameras can also be linked to your computer with a USB connection and stunning prints can be made on a new inkjet printer.  We reviewed briefly the advantages of a digital camera and web based resources for storing and printing photographs for those who do not want to handle the printing of their own images.  In particular we reviewed a website called www.shutterfly.com which has a simple process for uploading images from your computer and editing and ordering prints.  We will continue this at our next meeting and install camera software and demonstrate printing from the camera.

Next Meeting

Our next meeting will be on 19th March and Ellen will do the opener.

 

Notes from the Computer Group – 5th February 2003

Zoe handled the opening and sharing time.

Common Problems

We spent the meeting fielding questions from participants and reviewing common problems people have with their computers.

The “View Command”

Some people are concerned that the what they are seeing on their screen, in a particular piece of software, has changed and they cannot see icons or menu items they used to see.  This is normally a result of a change in the “View” settings in all Microsoft products.  Views can also be changed under a menu item called “Options” in some software.  We explored this, first in Quicken and then in Microsoft Word.  In Quicken we changed the way transactions were listed in an account.  The default listing is by date.  By left clicking on the “Options” menu immediately above the first transaction line in an account window, we saw that we could change the way the transactions were listed to list by amount or payee.  Note where the check marks are in the menu listing.  Click on the desired listing item to change the selections.  In Microsoft Word we explored the “View” command which is located on the main menu at the top of the screen, next to “File” and “Edit”.  The default document appearance is in “Print Layout” which shows you what the document looks like when it is printed.  You can get the text to fill the screen from the left hand side by clicking on “Normal” layout.  We then investigated the tool bar options.  There is limited space on the tool bar so you need to select displays of icons which you regularly use in composing a document.  This would be the “Standard” and “Formatting” set of icons for most users.  If you are working with pictures or drawings you may want to select those icons for your tool bar as well.

Editing Tricks

In a previous session we learned the value of the clicking the “undo” icon – a circular anticlockwise arrow on the menu.  This allows you to step back through the key strokes you have made to “undo” mistakes.  An alternative to clicking on this icon is to hold down Ctrl and press Z.  We learned several other short cuts including using the Ctrl and arrow keys to navigate around a document.  Ctrl right arrow and left arrow lets you jump the cursor by word through the document.  Ctrl up arrow and down arrow let you jump to the beginning of a paragraph or to the end.  Similarly pressing Ctrl with the “Home” or “End” arrow allow you to navigate to the beginning or the end of a document.  To move a line of document to a new page, press Ctrl and Enter.  Enter alone moves a line down one row.

E-mail Tricks

One group participant lost all the e-mail she had received recently and found some e-mail which she thought she had deleted, in her inbox.  This was a problem which resulted from an accidental change of the “User” on a multiple user e-mail software.  As soon as we changed the user back to her rather than default, all her mail was restored.  To demonstrate the power of e-mail software and the different ways of displaying messages, we investigated Microsoft Outlook and the webmail service, Yahoo.  We demonstrated how to recover deleted e-mails from the “deleted” or “trash” folder and how to adjust the settings to automatically delete e-mail on exiting a program. 

“No Printer Present”

This message normally results from the fact that the computer is turned off, disconnected or you have a corrupt driver.  If you are sure that the printer is turned on, and that the cable is connected to the back of the computer try re-installing the printer using the “Add a Printer” function.  There is nothing wrong with installing the same printer twice.  Once you have installed the printer a second time simply select this new installation in your software from which you are trying to print or, alternatively, indicate in the “printer” window that this is the default printer.  Once it all works you can simply delete the old printer icon from the “printer” window.

Next Meeting

As I will be unable to make a meeting on 19th February, our next meeting will be March 5th 2003 at 3:00 pm.

 

Notes from the Computer Group – 8th January 2003

Peter handled the opening with a talk about the new year and the appearance of the daffodil to herald the transition into a new year and spring:

WHEN DAFFODILS BEGIN TO PEER

When daffodils begin to peer,

With heigh! The doxy, over the dale,

Why, then comes in the sweet o’ the year;

Fro the redblood reigns in the winter’s pale.

 

The white sheet bleaching on the hedge,

With heigh! The sweet birds, O, how they sing!

Doth set my pugging tooth on edge;

For a quart of ale is a dish for a king.

 

The lark, that tirra-lirra changes,

With heigh! With heigh! the thrush and the jay,

Are summer songs for me and my aunts,

While we lie tumbling in the hay.

From “The Winter’s Tale” by William Shakespeare

Word Processing

We continued our discussion on Word Processing by learning how to insert pictures, put text in columns and create tables in text.  We first started by turning a piece of text into newspaper columns.  Look for the double column icon on the icon bar.  If you cannot find it, left click on “Format” and select “Column”.  With your cursor at the beginning of a piece of text click on the double column icon and a panel of columns will be displayed below the icon.  Using your left mouse button highlight the number of columns you want your text into (two is normal for 8.5 x 11 paper).  The text will split into two columns on the page.  As you insert more text into the first column the overflow goes into the second column on the same page.  This is useful for newsletters.  

 

The icon we looked at next was the “Table” icon.  You can also access this function from the menu under “Table”, “Draw Table”.  Again an icon appears on the screen, which expands as you drag your mouse over it.  Decide on the number of columns and the number of rows you want in a table and then position your cursor in the text where the table is to go.  Click on the table icon and drag your mouse from the top left of the icon which appears until it expands to a group of (say) 3x12 boxes.  A table matrix appears in the text and you can start filling it in from the top left cell using the tab key to jump from one box to the next.  We generated a table listing the people who are going to take care of the opener for the next few weeks.  We changed the font size on the titles of the table and colored the background of the title line to make it stand out.  We clicked on “Table” and “Show Gridlines” so that each of the cells in the table would be outlined when the table was printed.  The default is no grid lines. 

 

We then tried to insert a picture within a piece of text and made the text to flow around the picture.  Microsoft kindly supplies a library of clip art pictures with Microsoft Word.  One of these was a daffodil so we inserted a daffodil in the text.  Put you cursor in the text where you want the picture inserted.  Left click on “Insert” on the menu bar followed by “Picture” and “Clip Art”.  (Instead of “Clip Art” you could click on “From File” and put in one of your own photographs which you have as an electronic file.)  The “Clip Art” library comes up and allows you to select a picture.  Click on the picture you want and click the icon which shows up beside it to insert it in the text.  Once in the text simply click on the picture to format it.  A series of square indicators show up around the picture and an icon bar appears.  Move you cursor over any of the squares around the picture and it changes to a double ended arrow which allows you to drag the picture – hold down the left button on the mouse – into any size or shape you want.  Just moving the mouse cursor over the picture gives you two double ended arrows at right angles to each other.  Dragging this symbol allows you to reposition the whole picture within the text.  Try using the menu bar as well.  You can lighten or darken the picture and also click on an icon which allows you flow the text around the picture or put behind or in front of the picture.  This menu only appears when you have the picture highlighted.

 

Next we tried putting frames around the text. Highlight the piece of text or title to be framed.  Select “Format” and “Borders and Shading” from the menu.  Click on the border and the sizing and color you want.  The finished product may not look quite the same in HTML but here it is:

People Responsible Opener 

Date

Function

Person

8th January

Computer Group

Peter

5th February

Computer Group

Zoe

19th February

Computer Group

Lila

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Desiderata

Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others,
even to the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter,
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble,
it's a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment, it is as perennial as the grass.
Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive him to be.
And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

"Desiderata" was written in 1927 by Max Ehrmann (1872-1945).

 

Next Meeting

As I will be unable to make a meeting on 22nd January, our next meeting will be February 5th 2003 at 3:00 pm.  This will be an open where I will field questions and try to demonstrate functions which you are having difficulty with.  Please come prepared with some questions to make this a productive meeting.

Notes from Computer Meeting – December 18th 2002

Opening

The opening was very ably handled by Loretta Keener.

Word Processing – Editing and Formatting

We reviewed the options in Microsoft Word for creating documents easily without having to spend time setting up formats.  We reviewed the “fill-in-the-blanks” document formats already created by Microsoft which you can access by clicking on “File” and “New” when you have opened Microsoft Word.  We created a facsimile and a letter using these prepared formats.  We also looked at a time saving way to improve the appearance of some text by adding headings and sub headings and by inserting bullets and numbering for paragraphs.  When you start typing in a new Word document you use the “Normal” font setting in Microsoft.  This uses a Times New Roman 12 point font.  By highlighting a piece of text which you want to be a heading or a subheading and then rolling down the icon bar which says “Normal” at the head of the page, you will be presented with three heading options.  Click on one of them and the piece of text will immediately change to the new font leaving the rest of your text in Times New Roman. 

 We then looked at “Cutting and Pasting” text from one document into a new document.  Helen actually wanted to create a folder containing pieces of text on her desk top.  The first step in this is to create a new folder on the desktop.  Right mouse click on any empty part of the desktop and select “New” followed by “Folder” with left mouse clicks.  This will put a folder icon on your desk top named “New Folder” in highlighted text.  You can change the name by simply typing and you new name will replace the highlighted text.  If you need to change it again, simply right mouse click on the folder and select “Rename”.  The next step is to open the document you want to copy from.  Highlight the piece of text you want to copy, right mouse click and select “Copy”.  (You can also click on “Edit” and “Copy” from the main menu if this is what you are used to). This puts the highlighted text on the computer clipboard and leaves the original text in place.  Select “File”, “New” and then “Blank Document” from the main menu.  Alternatively you can simply click on the “new page” icon on the task bar.  This icon looks like a white sheet of paper with the corner curled over.  Make sure you click on the new page so that the cursor flashes at the point you want to paste the text from the clipboard.  The right mouse click and select paste from the menu.   You will then see you selected text appear.  You can make multiple pastes onto the same document or you can create individual new documents for each paste and give them unique file names.  Make sure you save your document to the desktop if you want it to show up as an icon on the desktop.  To do this click on “File” and “Save” and then change the directory (the roll down bar at the top of the  window) to “Desktop” or your “New Folder” name which will also show up when you roll down the directory bar.  Also type in a discrete name which will allow you to recognize the document again.  If you have saved the document to the desktop and want to move it to your “New Folder” simply go back to the desktop (there is a desktop symbol on the left/bottom menu bar on you computer monitor to get there quickly), left click on your new document icon and, while holding the left button down, drag the icon over the “New Folder” icon and it will disappear into the folder.  Double click on the folder and you should see your new document in the window which opens up.  This is a useful technique for saving items which you may want to access quickly later without going through a number of key strokes.

 Hint: when you have a number of documents open in Microsoft Word, you can select which one is on top by clicking on “Window” and then the document name in the main menu.  You can also cycle through each of the documents in turn by using             “Alt Tab” (hold down the ALT key while you press the TAB key repeatedly).

Next Meeting

We will not meet on January 1st because the book group meeting is then.  Our next meeting will be January 8th .  Unfortunately I will not be able to make the following  meeting on January 22nd but will be here for the meeting on February 5th.  I wish you all a Happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year.

Notes from Computer Group on December 4th 2002

Opening

This was provided by Lois Borgonovo.

Attachments (Continued)

We continued our discussion on attachments and practiced on an e-mail containing four different types of attachments.  I have sent the attachments to you by e-mail to practice at home.

I have purposely left out the song we played as it is copyrighted and I am not sure of the legality of distributing copies. 

Basic Windows Commands

We briefly reviewed some of the basic Windows operations following questions from the group.  We started with learning how to delete files and icons.  Click on “My Documents” and review the icons for files stored there.  If you no longer need an item simply right mouse click on it and a menu will be displayed.  Left click on “Delete” on this menu.  You can highlight several items at once for deletion by holding down the CTRL key while you left click on each item in turn.  You can delete the highlighted item by simply pressing the DEL key on the keyboard or by right clicking on one of the items, to bring up the menu, followed by a left click on “Delete”. 

We learned how to use the Windows “Backup” program to back up directories and files from the hard disk to floppy discs.  We tried backing up “My Documents” to floppies.  If you want to try it you can access “Backup” by clicking on “Start”, “Programs”, “Accessories” and “System Tools”.  It proved to be a time consuming procedure and we demonstrated a much simpler procedure for individual files.  Right mouse clicking on any file, folder or icon will bring up a menu which contains a “Send To” function.  If you select this by left clicking it should come up with a list of the devices on your computer available for copying to.  A floppy disk is the most likely place you will want to “send” a file to and this will always make a second copy on an inserted floppy disk without erasing the original copy.  So this is a safe way to backup critical files you need to keep in case the computer crashes or the hard drive files.  If you have more exotic devices on your computer with more capacity, such as a Zip drive (100MB or 250M) or a re-writable CD drive, these will also be found on the right click menu.  Each of these devices will have their own programs to enable backups or copying and you should follow the screen instructions to complete the operation.  For a floppy disk file copy, you simply click on “send to” and then on “floppy disk” and it will prompt you to put a floppy disk in the A:\ drive position if you do not already have one there.  Remember that floppies only hold 1.44MB so do not try copying pictures as it will probably come up with a “disk full” window when the capacity is exceeded.  You can only use floppies for backing up small text files, icons and small picture files. 

We also learned how to transfer files to different directories by “dragging and dropping” the files between open directory windows. 

At our next meeting, on December 18th, we will expand on these simple procedures and also look at basic editing and formatting procedures in text documents. 

Notes from computer Group – 20th November 2002

Doris Duncan provided the opening.  We also organized the Christmas Party with other small groups to take place on 15th December at 5:30 pm at the Bland's.  Please sign up to bring a dish, on the list circulating.

Attachments (continued)

We did a review on attachments and demonstrated how to send and receive text files in “Rich Text Format”.  We went over again viewing PDF files with Adobe Acrobat which can be downloaded for free from the internet.

Virus Software

We did a review of the virus software we installed in the last class and learned how to accomplish a “Live Update” of virus definition files.  It is important that the update of your virus software, with new virus definition files, is carried out at least once per week, to ensure you are always protected against the most recent viruses.  I recommend to do a complete computer scan for viruses once a week as well.  You can schedule this to be carried out automically during a period when you are not using the computer, such as during the night.  Most virus software lets you set a regular time for this event.  I do mine every Friday night.

Setting up an internet account

While many people set up their internet accounts using CD’s which are distributed freely by organizations like MSN and AOL, you can save yourself a great deal of expense if you sign up with a local ISP and use the software already supplied with your Windows operating system.  Our Church ISP costs us just $120 per year compared with almost $300 per year with many of the national ISP’s.  All you need to know is how to create a dial up connections, how to configure your browser and how to configure your mail software.  These programs are already included in Windows 98 and later.  We demonstrated this by clicking on “Start”, “Settings”, “Dial up networking” and then “Make a new connection” sequentially.  You will need to contact your proposed ISP by phone and pay the first installment by credit card.  The ISP will give you settings to create the dial up connection and get online with your browser.  You can normally get the mail account settings and instructions of their website.  To “make a new connection” you will need to create a location based name for the connection e.g. Novato Connection and obtain from your ISP and account name and a password.  Once the account name has been issued it will remain in force as long as you pay the monthly charges.  You can change the password, at any time, either on the ISP’s website or over the phone.  You will also need a local dial up telephone number.  A call to the ISP will also give you this or you can simple look up the closest telephone node on the ISP’s website.  Armed with this information you can fill in the question boxes in the “Make a New Connection” Wizard.    Once you have a dial up connection icon established you then need to configure “Internet Explorer” to dial this connection whenever you click on the browser icon on your main screen.  To do this, click on the browser icon (normally a big “e” on the main screen) and when the browser opens click on “Tools” and “Internet Options” on the main menu of the browser window.  A window will open with tabs along the top.  As a minimum you must fill in a home page name under the general tab and a dial up connection name under the “Connection” tab.  Your “home page” is simply the web site you would prefer to open first whenever you go on to internet.  If you do not have a preference fill in http://www.1wellbrock.org to specify the Church website.  You can change it any time you want using the same process.  Under “the “Connection” tab fill the name you assigned to your location based dial up connection above e.g. “Novato connection” in my example.  You are now ready to go online.  Clicking on the internet explorer icon will automatically dial your ISP and display you home page.  You can now navigate to your ISP’s website and download instructions for setting up your mail account in “Outlook Express

Notes from Computer Group – 6th November 2002

The opening was organized by Winnie Eklund.

Internet (continued)

Purchasing over internet

Whether we like it or not we are increasingly going to have to do business over the internet if we want the best deals.  The airlines started it reducing commissions to travel agents and charging for paper tickets.  Many of the best travel deals are only available over internet.  Inevitably this will mean using a credit card to purchase.  We discussed some simple precautions which will make your shopping experience more pleasant.  The advantage of trading on internet is that the website you are making the purchase on can hand you directly to a bank or credit card company to make the payment by simply switching you to another website.  These website sites have to meet certain standard to become “Secure websites” and you can actually set the level of security you need in your web browser.  (click on “tools”, “internet options”, “security” from the main brower menu.)  Secure sites are addressed differently.  In the main address line where an address normally starts with http:// you will see https:// for secure sites.  You will also see a window pop up saying that you are going to a “secure” site.  Make sure you have reached a secure site before you enter any credit card information.  We demonstrated a purchase and a download by buying McAfee.com Virus Scan Online for the Church computer. Unfortunately it did not install properly because of a download error.  (remember not to pick up the phone while a download is in progress as errors are likely to occur).  You can download the software again with your purchase order number without repaying.

Those darned attachments and how to deal with them on e-mail

 The questions I am most frequently asked surround attachments to e-mails.  Attachments are files which may contain text, an internet address, music or a picture.  They are files created by a specific piece of software on the sender’s computer and therefore you need the same software on your computer to view them correctly.  If an attachment is a document created in Microsoft Word 2000 then you will need Microsoft Word 2000 to faithfully reproduce from the file.  If you are unable to view an attachment it is most likely because you do not have the program on your computer that the file was originally created in.  There are several things you can do to alleviate this without buying new software but you need the co-operation of the sender.  Most documents,  formatted as “Rich Text Format”, can be read by any word processing program, including WordPad which comes packaged with Windows 95 and later operating systems.  If you receive a text document which you cannot read, call the sender and ask them to send it in “Rich Text Format”.  In Microsoft Word you have the option to save documents in several formats including “Rich Text Format”.  While the document is on the screen, click on “File” and “Save As”.  Then roll down the bar under the field which asks you for the name and change it from “Word” to “Rich Text Format” and then click on “Save”.  Note that the file name now has the extension Filename.rft as opposed to Filename.doc.  Similarly for pictures, most graphics software will allow you to read JPG formats.  Get your friends to send their pictures as *.jpg files.  In “Paint” you can do this by clicking on “File” and “Save As”.  Roll down the “file type” field under the field containing the “file name” and select JPG format and then click on “Save”.  

Attachments can be viewed in Microsoft Outlook or Outlook Express simply by clicking on the attachment icon in the message.  In AOL I believe it comes up on a separate attachments box, which you need to click on.  When you first open up your mail software and look at a listing of messages in the inbox, mail items with attachments normally have a paper clip symbol next to them.  Click on the mail item to open it and then click on the icon to see the attachment.  A window will pop up which asks whether you want to open the item or save it to disk.  I always check the box which says “Save it to Disk”.  If you run virus software this will enable the software to check the attachment for viruses before opening it.  I recommend that you operate virus scanning software and always use the “Save to Disk” option.  The “Save to Disk” option normally saves the file in “My Documents”.  This is fine for keeping your attachments.  You may want to store your pictures in the “My Pictures” directory which is a subdirectory of “My Documents”.  “My Documents” is available from the main screen by clicking on the icon of that name.  Try clicking on it to see what you have in it and then also try clicking on “My Picture”..  You can click on the “Back” symbol on the “My Pictures” menu to get back to “My Documents”.  Any of the files in these directories can be viewed by double clicking on their icon.  This will normally open up the appropriate software for viewing that document.  If you have no special software installed to view these files it will default to “WordPad” for documents and “Paint” for pictures.  These programs are bundled with the Windows operating system.  AOL automatically saves downloaded attachments in a “download” subdirectory of the AOL directory.  It will probably be named something like C:\AOL/Download.  If you cannot find the attachment and you know what it was called try clicking on “Start”, “Find” and then enter the filename in the box which calls for it, select the C: drive and click on “Find”.

 We will go over this information in more detail at the next meeting on November 20th, 2002.

Notes from Computer Group - 23rd October 2002

The opening was organized by Ruth Bunnell.

Internet (continued)

Accessing Radio and other media

We started to look at the Windows Media Player which is supplied by Microsoft for free.  (download icon in text of 25th September 2002).  We learned how to access streaming media over internet and listen to real live radio programs from remote stations.  We learned how to set up a personal catalog of stations for quick access.  We also learned how to set up audio files for playing on the computer.

Getting documents

We learned how to access documents on the web and to read them with Acrobat Reader which can be downloaded free.  (The download icon is in the text of 25th September 2002).  We did some typical searches to illustrate.

Free software downloads

We demonstrated a software download and installation using the icons I created in the 25th September 2002 notes.

Notes from Computer Group – 9th October 2002

The opening was a reading from Matthew 5:13-16.

Internet

What is it and what can it be used for:

Internet basically refers to the system of interconnected computers sharing information and the protocol for identifying each computer and sending information from one to another.  While it was originally set up to share files and messages among research establishments it has rapidly expanded to be a source of information for the general public who can view information on computer generated websites using a browser.  Typical uses now include:

Ø      Messaging

Ø      Information research

Ø      Document transfer

Ø      File transfer including music, picture and video files

Ø      Software download

Ø      Tax filing

Ø      Shopping

Ø      Commerce

Ø      Bill payment

Ø      Investment

Ø      Live radio and television

Ø      Conferencing

Ø      Education

Address formats

Ø      IP address assigned to website servers permanently and to PC dial up connections each time you connect

Ø      Registry of names for websites on world wide web in the format www.name.extension.  Names are unique and extensions are normally com, edu, gov, net, org.

Ø      E-mail addresses are unique for an individual at a particular server address.  When you sign on with an ISP you are normally assigned a unique name on the ISP’s mail server e.g. peterbland@lanset.com which is the Church’s ISP account mail address.  Many ISP’s allow you to have more than one mail address on the server.  Aldersgate has registered several mail addresses in the format  1wellbrock_name@lanset .com 

Accessing Mail

While most people have used mail software to automatically download their mail from their ISP, many people are now using webmail as it is easier to set up, is normally free, it can be accessed from any computer connected to internet and equipped with a browser and someone else worries about security.  Webmail is different from regular e-mail in that you only view it on the computer and do not download it unless you want to.  This means that you can delete on the server and not have to worry about viruses unless you download.  If you use your own mail software to download your mail you will need to know from your ISP the address of the receiving mail server and the outgoing mail server.  They could be the same but they could also be different.  You will also need to enter you account name and your e-mail name plus passwords.  Again these could be the same but they could also be quite different.  We demonstrated entering this information into Outlook Express, the most commonly used mail program.  ISP’s may supply you a CD with the browser and mail access software on it and you can install it and be guided through setting up your account specifically for that ISP.  To set up a webmail account you simply choose a service such as Yahoo or MSN and go to their website and follow the instructions for setting up a webmail account.

File Transfer

This has been traditionally carried out by a program called a “File Transfer Protocol”,  which you run on your computer.  Again this requires accurate settings and knowing exactly where the file is or where you want to send it to on the computer you access.  Most people find this difficult and most mail program have a facility to “attach” files to a message.  You should note that when you are sending a file such as a document, a picture or a program, the person you are sending it to needs to have the software to read the file.  In the case of documents this causes great difficulty if you are sending a formatted document to someone who does not use the same version of document software as you are using.  The industry has tried to make this easier with picture and music files by coming up with standards for formats.

Fatal Exception Errors

If you have ever seen an error window come up on your screen (blue screen), like we did in this last computer class, and you want to do something about it, try the information contained in the following website http://www.hp.com/cposupport/personal_computing/support_doc/bph07150.html#P12_811

Notes from 25th September 2002

We opened the new season with a poem that Ruth Barstow had composed and read at our meeting a year ago, following September 11th, 2001:

 

MY GOD

Strange are the wanderings of my mind

Seeking an answer it cannot find

Here it runs and there it strolls

Near, but never so close it knows

 

It is stumped by the mystery of God

Trying to follow the path others have trod

But finding that knowledge clouds this trail

And leaves a moral weak and frail.

 

For years my mind has never been at peace

Oh, will its wanderings never cease

I think that I have found a way

But I’ll never know until the grave.

 

What does God mean to me?

He is the master of eternity

He gave man a mind with which to explain

The secrets He gave nature to store.

 

He set up the laws to control the earth

And then to man, He did give birth

By a process science calls evolution

Which seems to me the only solution.

 

I believe God Created man

But I can’t believe it was from sand.

I believe He started with a single cell

And gave it the life we know so well.

And when man had lived for many years

God sent His Son to calm the fears

That came to man from the mystery

That dwells in things he cannot see.

 

Christ gave to man an understanding

Of the Unseen who rules his living

He showed man His kindness, love, and mercy

And promised that life would eternally be.

 

He taught that man should be forever good

And obey God’s laws, if he only would.

For what happens to man by man is willed

He gains life and freedom or is forever stilled.

 

                                                                                    Ruth E. 1950

After a period of sharing and discussion of progress we welcomed some new members who are just starting out with a computer.  We shared some basic information about computing and how to find information on the internet and download useful programs.  In particular we talked about downloading Adobe Acrobat, a program that is commonly used for reading documents on the internet and printing them out in their original format.  This is particularly useful in tax season for printing out tax forms.  If you do not have Adobe Acrobat Reader on your computer I suggest you get it.  It is free!  Simply click on the following icon on a computer, which is set up to access internet, and follow the instructions: 

With free Acrobat Reader® software, you can view and print Adobe PDF files.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Get Acrobat Reader

 

Another download that we will be using in our meetings is Windows Media Player.  This is available for Windows 98, Windows Me, Windows XP and the Mac.  You need to carefully select which operating system you have on your computer when you download it as it is customized for a particular operating system.  Use the following hyperlink to get your copy.  Again it is free!  http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windowsmedia/download/default.asp

 We talked about getting photographic film pictures on CD as well as on prints.  Kodak CD and similar local photographic processor CD’s contain viewing and editing software which allows you to select, edit, print and e-mail.  We demonstrated this by loading software from a Kodak CD which contained three print film images.  We cropped, colorized, printed and e-mailed an image to demonstrate how easy it is.  Next time you have a film processed ask for a CD in addition to prints and try you hand at editing and e-mailing. 

Notes from 22nd May Meeting

Opening

Hebrew 12 vs. 1-13

Handling Junk Mail

The arrival of junk mail in your e-mail box on internet is just as frustrating as the junk mail we all get in our postal mailboxes.  However it is much easier to handle on e-mail.  There are basically three things you can do with junk mail:

  1. Delete it by cursoring down in the display of e-mail titles to junk mail or any other mail you do not recognize and hit the DEL key
  2. Unsubscribe with the junk mail sender by clicking on the “Unsubscribe” hyperlink which should appear at the bottom of all bona fide internet traders.  This will then automatically open up a mail window and you normally only have to type “unsubscribe” in the subject line and send it and you should automatically be unsubscribed.
  3. Put the address in your “Junk e-mail” list in Microsoft Outlook or your “Blocked Sender’s List” in Outlook Express.  In Microsoft Outlook you can simply highlight the message when you see it in a message list, click on “Actions” and “Junk e-mail” and it will automatically delete all messages from that address in future.  In Microsoft Outlook you need to highlight the sender’s address and right click and select “Copy”.  Then open the menu item “Tools”, “Message Rules”, “Blocked Sender list”and “Add”.  Right click in the window that comes up and select paste and then “OK”.  This should add you address to a list of senders which are prohibited from your mailbox and messages will be automatically deleted. 

 

Junk mailers are getting very clever and have developed tools which immediately take  you to a web site when you click on a message from them.  Trying to get out of this website may simply take you to another one.  The IJ reported on Sunday 19th May, that some junk mailers are using a tool which sets up their site as your default home page.  If you try to change it back the program in the junk mail over rides your changes.  Many of these junk mailers are from pornographic sites.

Windows Media Player

If you have not already installed a copy of Windows Media Player 7.1 on your computer, you can download it from the following website http://windowsupdate.microsoft.com/ .  It takes about 40 minutes so I downloaded it before the class and put it on a CD-ROM to demonstrate installation in the class.  Some of you had problems getting it to access radio programs over the internet so we went through a demonstration on setting up Windows Media Player to access your favorite programs.  To access radio programs, first connect to internet by using whatever method you use to go online.  Minimize the internet explorer window that comes up so that you can see the icons on your desk top.  Click on the icon to open Windows Media Player.  Click on “radio tuner” on the left hand side of the Media Player screen.  You will see three headings listed – featured radio stations, my radio stations and recently listened to radio stations.  Anyone of those you can expand by clicking on the icon to the right of the heading.  Try doing this with “featured radio stations” and trying clicking on some of them to hear them.  They will take some time to come up and you will see a message going across the bottom of the screen, above the play controls, indicating that the content is “buffering”.  If you are a little more ambitious, to the right of “Featured Radio Stations” you will see a heading labeled “Find More Stations”.  Click on this and it will allow you to find stations by name, by frequency, call sign or from a pick list.  Each one you click on will allow you to “Play”, to “Add to My Stations” and “Visit Website”.   If you are happy that you have found the one you want, click on “Add to My Stations” and then on “Return to My Stations” to view and listen to it.  Put a number of your favorites into “My Stations” and next time you log on you will be able to receive them as soon as you click on “Radio Tuner”.  Hint:  Not all of them will work, some will give broken audio, some will require you to register on a website before you can download audio, others will require you to go to their website and listen directly from there using their software.  Do not be discouraged.  There are plenty of options that will work. 

Next Meeting

We will take a break for the summer and reconvene September 11th at 3:00 pm.

Notes from Computer Group – 8th May 2002

Peter did the opening devotional on Proverbs 8:vs 32-36 

Virus Attack

Because several of us have been hit with a new computer virus/worm this week we spent the first part of the class discussing prevention of attacks and removing a virus when our computers have been infected.  This particular virus program (W32/KLEZ.H) is rated a number 4 on Symantec’s 5 point scale.  Details can be found at their website at http://securityresponse.symantec.com/avcenter/venc/data/w32.klez.h@mm.html .  There is also an article in the Marin Independent Journal of 6th May.  This virus is particularly vicious as it comes in a variable message from people you know.  It attaches itself to a random file on your computer, which it sends to names in your address book.  As with most attacks, it will not damage your computer unless you activate the executable files which is included as an attachment.  If you keep your virus program up to date with new definitions you will be protected against this virus as of April 17th.    

 

You can guard against attack by installing Norton Antivirus or McAfee Antivirus and other combined programs from these suppliers.  You need to update the program at least once a week by downloading virus definition files.  Most programs now allow you to do this automatically in the background when you are connected to internet.  When a mail message is received with a virus attached the program will be immediately activated and will open a window offering to fix it before you have had a chance to open the message.  If it cannot fix it, it will quarantine the message.  You can then open the full antivirus program and “manage” the quarantine directory.  This normally mean deleting all the files in the directory. 

 

If you do not have an antivirus program and are concerned that a message may contain a virus, simply use the up and down arrows (not the mouse) to move the highlighting down to the offending message and press the DEL key.  If you click on it with the mouse you could accidentally open it.  Always set your mail program to automatically delete the messages in the delete folder when you exit the program (in Microsoft products this is accomplished by checking a box in “Tools”, “Options”).  If are unfortunate enough to have activated the virus, Symantec provide a tool on their website to remove it and a lengthy list of instructions on how to do it manually.  However this is not for the faint hearted!

Problems Scanning Text

Some people have reported problems in trying to send a text document, which they only have in printed form (e.g. a newspaper article).  The safest  way to do this is to send text as an image (e.g. a Paint or JPEG file).  It will then transmit just like a fax.  The tendency is to agree with the scanning software discovery that it is text and try to send it to Microsoft Word.  The software tries to interpret the text as editable text and the software normally supplied with scanners does not do this very well unless the document is very clean.  It will require substantial editing before you can send it as an editable file and most people do not need this.

Scanning Images for Inserting in a Text Document

Scanners are cheap and the software has become much more user friendly in the last few years.  If you have a computer with Windows 98 on it you probably have a USB port, so buy a scanner with a USB cable.  You can plug and unplug the scanner while the computer is running and installation is normally fairly automatic.  Many come with buttons on the front so that you can chose, e-mail, print or copy right from the scanner and the software launches automatically.  After you have put the document on the scanner bed there are basically four steps: 1) start the scan 2) choose the output 3) size the scan 4) send the scan to whatever output device you have chosen (printer, e-mail, paint program).  We practiced this in our group session.

Printing Notes from this site

To print notes from this site simply open Microsoft Word or another word processor, minimize it, highlight the text you want to print in Internet Explorer (let click and drag mouse to end of document), right mouse click and select copy.  Maximize the Word processor and put you cursor in the top left corner.  Right click on the mouse and select paste.  The selected text will be placed in your word processor and can be printed from there.  This saves getting reams of paper and all sorts of color panels you do not want. 

Next and Last Meeting until September – 22nd May 2002 at 3:00 pm only

Notes from Computer Group – April 24th 2002

Jacquie did the opening.  We then continued our hands on study of the features in Microsoft Word.

Tables

Tables can be inserted into documents by positioning your cursor where you want the table to start and them clicking on the menu items, “Table”, “Insert” and “Table”.  A window will open up allowing you to select the number of columns and the number of rows using roll down bars.  If you are not sure of the column width you want to use, select “auto fit to contents” with one of the radio buttons in the window.  A small table will appear at the left of your screen and as you type in each of the boxes the table will expand to fit the contents.  Start by typing in the top left hand cell of the table and then proceed to the other cells by pressing the TAB key (use shift-TAB to go backwards)

Inserting Symbols

Sometimes we want to use characters which are not on the key board, such as a £ symbol for sterling currency as opposed to a $ sign which is on the keyboard.  Position your cursor where you need the character to go.  Click on “insert” and “symbol” and then click on the appropriate character when the chart of symbols opens up.  Click on the “insert” button and then the “close” button and the character will be inserted in your text.  We could not find the £ symbol on one of the computers while in class but it worked fine on Jacquie’s computer and on my home computer.  For some reason that symbol did not get loaded when we loaded Microsoft Word on the computer we were using in class.

Inserting Clip Art

Microsoft has a limited range of Clip Art for adding to text.  You can supplement this range by buying a CD of clip art at the office store.  For about $12.95 you can get a CD with over 25000 images which you can import into the clip art feature in Microsoft Word.  To insert clip art into text, first position your cursor where you want the clip art to appear and then click on “Insert”, “Picture” and “Clip Art”.  A window will open with a number of categories.  Clicking a category will open a number of clip art designs.  You can insert any one of these by clicking on it and then clicking on the “insert clip” icon which shows up when you select and image.  At the top of this clip art window you will also see a menu item which is labeled “import clips”.  Use this to select clip art items from a CD of clip art and import them into the Microsoft database one by one, for future use.  You can size the clip art by clicking on it and grabbing the corner of the frame which shows up round the image and dragging inwards to reduce size and outwards to increase size.  Click outside the box when you are happy with the size. 

 

Creating Text in Columns

If you are typing a newsletter it is sometimes useful and more professional to type in columns where text from one column flows into the next, as in a newspaper.  You can convert a piece of text into columns simply by highlighting it (position you cursor at the beginning and, while holding the left button mouse down, drag the cursor to the end) and clicking on “Format” and “Columns”.  As in the creation of tables, a window comes up which allows you to select the number of columns (normally no more than two in portrait mode).  The text should reorganize itself into columns and any editing you do will then push the text from one column into the next.  If you want to return to normal type after putting text into columns in a document you will need to add a section break at the end of the text which is in columns.  To do this, click on “insert”, “break” and click the “continuous” radio button.

Business

The next two meetings will be on May 8th and 22nd.  We will then break for the summer and reconvene in September.

Notes on Computer Group – 10th April 2002

Peter lead the opening devotional from Colossians 3 where Paul tells the Colossians to focus on Christ when the going gets rough.

Word Processing

We reviewed some of the basic principles of word processing and the advantages of the word processor over the typewriter.  We looked at the various document formats already prepared for you in Microsoft Word and at the wizard used to write letters.  To demonstrate the basics of word processing we set up a letter format for business and personal correspondence using Microsoft Word:

Ø      Layout

Ø      Formatting (fonts, paragraphing, titles)

Ø      Editing

Ø      Inserting variables

 We saved the letter as a document template so that we could bring it up again and simply add text to print a letter.

Using existing/new templates and wizards

From the main menu in Microsoft Word select “file” and “new”.  If you do not already have Microsoft Word running click on “start” and “new office documents”.  Both techniques will open a window with several tabs and icons suggesting document templates and wizards.  A template is simply a pre-formatted document in which you fill in your text and other variables.  A wizard is a small program which asks you some questions on content, and then creates the document for you.  If you do not often send faxes, for example, you may want to use one of Microsoft’s templates or their Wizard to create a fax and get a professional result.  In the class, we each created a personal letter template and saved it as a “document template” (Note: roll down the bar which displays  “Word document” in the “save” window and select the “document template” option.  When you select “file” and “new” now, your template will be displayed as an icon alongside all Microsoft’s templates.

Deleting templates you have created

As these templates are stored in a windows directory so they can be displayed along with the other Microsoft template you will not find them in “my documents”.  To delete a template you no longer want, select “start”, “find” and then fill in the name of the template e.g. “jacquie letter.*”.  (note: the “.*” at the end of the file name is what we call a wild card.  This saves entering then exact name.  We could also have entered “jacquie*.*” and the system will find every file with “jacquie” in the file name).  Make sure you have selected your “C:\” and then click “find now”.  The window will display all the files which have the name you entered.  Select the one you want to delete with a left mouse click and press “delete” on the keyboard.   

Formatting

While you can change fonts and size by clicking on “format” and “font”, you can save key stokes and time by clicking on the roll down bar on the item which says “normal” in the icon bar.  (Depending on the number of icons you selected for display through “view” this may be hidden if you have not used it before so try clicking on the “>>” at the end of the icon bar).  You will then see several levels of heading in suggested fonts and sizes.  Click on these in turn and see what happens.  The fonts will be displayed for one line of text only and then when you press “enter” it goes back to the “default font”.  These are always there for you.  You can change them or add to them if you do not like Microsoft’s suggestions using the normal process with the roll down bars on font or size.  I have used them throughout these notes and it saves a lot of time.  If you have already typed your document you simply highlight the sentence you want to “title” and click on the “normal” roll down bar and change it to the heading type that you want.  You can quickly format a document you have already typed and make it look professional.

Inserting Date and Time

There are two ways of doing this in a letter.  If you just want to put a one time date in your letter, position your cursor where you want the insert to occur, click on “insert” and “date and time”, select a format and click “OK”.  The program will insert it at the point where your cursor is in the document.  If you are creating a document template, as you are in paragraph 1, a more elegant approach is to position your cursor, click “insert” and “field”.  You can then select “Date and Time” in the left hand box and “Date” in the right hand box and click “OK”.  Although it will look the same, every time you bring up the template, when you have used this last technique, the current day’s date will be displayed, rather than the date when the template was created.

Inserting User Information

You can use the same technique as I described in the last paragraph to insert your name and address.  First make sure you have filled in your “name” and “address” in the “tools” and “options” window on the main menu.  You will find a tab in this window for “user information” allowing you to fill in name, address and initials.  Say you now want to fill in you address on a letter header.  Simply position your cursor in your new document, click “insert” and then “field” and select “user information” in the left hand box and “address” in the right hand box followed by “OK”.  You should be able to figure out from this how you could use this feature to sign your letter as well.

 Next Meeting

24th April at 2:00 pm and 3:00 pm.  Opening and sharing will be from 3:00 – 3:30 pm for the whole group.

Notes from Computer Group – 27th March 2002

Winnie and Ed opened the meeting with a devotional and sharing. 

Spreadsheets – Calculations

We discussed using the Excel spreadsheet to create tables of numbers where calculations are carried out automatically as you make entries.  Arithmetic formulae can be entered in a cell using normal arithmetic functions and cell address.  Each cell on a spreadsheet has an address.  In the following table the cell with an “x” in it has an address B3: 

 

A

B

C

D

1

4

5

8

=A1+B1-C1

2

6

9

5

=A2+B2-C2

3

 

x

 

 

 In column D we have entered an arithmetic formula to do a calculation.  In the spreadsheet this would be replaced by the answer.  When creating a spreadsheet you can achieve the same effect by start with a "=" in a spreadsheet cell and then moving the arrow keys to indicate the first cell in the equation, entering a "+" sign, using the arrow keys for the second cell, entering a "-" sign and then using the arrow keys to move to the final cell and pressing "enter".  You will see the addresses in the calculation cell change as you move the arrow key.  To save repeating the exercise in cell D2, you can simply copy D1 to D2.  The cell addresses will also change relative to the position of the new cell so it maintains the same calculation.

We used this process in two groups, to develop a checking account register to keep track of personal expenditures.  We used the formatting tools to print out a version with a header and a date.  I have a included an example below but you need to try this at home to get familiar with the tools.

Business

The next meeting will be on 10th April.  To allow more access to the computers in a confined space I am willing to start at 2:00 pm for a group working through 3:30 pm and at 3:00 pm for a group working through 4:30 pm.  We would use the period of overlap between 3:00 pm and 3:30 pm for our devotional and sharing time.

Notes from Computer Group Meeting – 13th March 2002

Leona started off the meeting with a devotional from Hebrew 13 vs.5 and following and a discussion about breast cancer.  We had a brief discussion about spreadsheets and creations in Paint and moved on to practical work.

Spreadsheets – Creating a telephone tree checklist

Aldersgate is planning a retreat in April and we needed a telephone tree check list to decide on the date that the majority of people can attend.  We created a list of names in a spreadsheet and then set up columns for telephone callers and three dates.  The idea was to format and print the lists and hand them to three or four callers who would make the contacts and put check marks in the table.  The whole table would then be assembled in the Church office by Jacquie.  The main tools we learned about were cell formatting, column width formatting, table formatting for printing.  If you have Excel 2000 you can see and example by clicking on the following icon.

 Once you have entered the data into the cells of the spreadsheet, highlight a row of cells or a column of cells to format (left click on the first cell in a series and drag the mouse across to the last cell while holding the left button down).  Click on “format” and “Cell” and then select the type of cell you need e.g. text, number, currency (# of decimals needed), format the font (type, size, color and bold or italic) and the background shading.  The formatting will be applied to all the cells you selected when you click “OK”.  Using the same process you can select a border to go round the title row.  You can either set the column width by selecting “format”, “column”, “width” and typing a width for a particular column you have highlighted (try “autofit” to make it easier), or you can simply move you mouse over the dividing line in the “column bar A,B,C….”, left clicking on it when the symbol changes to a “+” and dragging the bar to the appropriate width for the widest item you want to enter.  Remember you will need to print this out on a single sheet of paper so do not make it too wide otherwise it will lap over onto a second sheet.  

When you have finished formatting the columns and rows, you need to format the whole table if you plan to print it.  To do this highlight the whole area you would like to print (left click on the top left hand cell and drag the mouse diagonally to the bottom right hand corner while holding the left button down).  Select “format” and “cells” again and this time select “borders”.  Select an outline for each cell which is light enough not to be too obvious and heavy enough to allow you to follow across rows.  Select “file” and “page setup” to set the orientation of the sheet when you print it, “landscape” or “portrait”.  You can also enter a “custom header” and “custom footer” from this menu item.  There are three positions across the page you can insert headers and footers.  It is useful to put a title in a large font in the left hand section and the date, time and the file name in the right hand section.  These last two can be inserted simply by clicking the appropriate icon in the “custom header” or “custom footer” menu and Excel will automatically add them when it prints out a sheet.    Select “file” and “print preview” to view the sheet before you print it so that you can make adjustments to column width and font size to fit it on one page. 

(Hint: If you see “#####” in a number column you need to widen the column to display all the numbers or format the column to reduce the number of decimals)

If you want to put a short cut to a spreadsheet that you use regularly, on your desktop, try the following.  Click on "Start", "Documents" and then right click on the particular spreadsheet file name you want on your desk top and select "send to" and "desktop".  You should see an icon appear on the desktop.  clicking on this icon will start Excel and open the spreadsheet file you want to use.

Paint

Ellen shared a portfolio of pictures she had created using “Paint” in which she had developed some unusual effects.  We did not get very far into the use of Paint in the class and I think it would be useful if you could each try it and bring you questions on difficulties to the next class. 

Next Meeting

We will meet on 27th March at 3:00 pm at the Church.  I need to leave promptly at 4:30 pm as I have an appointment at 6:00 pm.  

 

Computer Group - 27th February

Zoe opened the meeting and led the sharing.  Thank you to all those who contributed cards, snacks and a pie to celebrate my birthday.

Office Applications - Spreadsheets and Word Processing

We reviewed applications for spreadsheets as opposed to word processing software.  If you have Microsoft Works and Microsoft Office on your computer you probably already have a spreadsheet application included.  We reviewed the features of spreadsheets and databases and constructed an address book database on a spreadsheet and a budget.  If you have Microsoft Excel, part of Microsoft Office, you can open the examples we constructed by clicking on the icons below:

Word processing program are used to enter simple text and can be used for reports, letters, records and other office applications not requiring arithmetic or sorting.  Tables can be constructed in word processing programs but normally they do not allow arithmetic and sorting, although the latest version of Microsoft Word allows you to do some of these things.  Spreadsheets are specifically designed to handle arithmetic and formulas and are based on the traditional ledger that accountants use.  Accountants normally want to add columns of figures and calculate things like compound interest involving the use of formulas.  Spreadsheets can also be used to develop databases where you may want to sort information into alphabetically order of some other logical basis such as largest to smallest, if numbers are involved.  Many of the commands used in word processing can also be used in spreadsheets so try constructing a spreadsheet at home and we will answer questions you have at next weeks class.

Paintbrush program in Windows

If you are interested in drawing or diagrams, try out the Paintbrush program which is installed with all copies of Windows.  There is a similar program on the Apple Mac.  We demonstrated in class how quick it is to construct and color a drawing from very simple tools.  Try it out at home and we will do more of this in the next class.

Next meeting – 13th March at the Church

 

Computer Group – 6th February 2002

Lila did the opening and then when had a session on the basics of computers to bring some of our new folk up to speed.  We opened up a computer and explored the components, discussed the input and output devices and looked at different media.  We covered the basics on a windows operating system and networking over the internet.  We split into two groups, each with a new member and then did some practical work on two computers to get the new folk used to interacting with a computer.

Copy a file from test disk to “My documents”

There are several ways to accomplish but they all start with double clicking on “My computer”, the icon which is normally found in the top left hand of your screen.  This displays all the storage devices available.  The floppy drive is normally labeled A:\ and double clicking on A:\ with a floppy disk in the drive, will display the contents of the floppy.  The easiest way to copy a file is to right click on the particular file you want to copy in the display of the contents of the A:\ drive, move your cursor down to “Send To” and left click on “My Documents”.  You can then click on the roll bar at the top of the window, and select “My Documents” in the C:\ drive to confirm that your file has been transferred.

Open a picture file and a “Word” document

With the contents of the A:\ dirve displayed on the screen double click on an icon which has a big W in it for Word.  This will immediately launch Microsoft Word and display the document in the file.  Similarly double click on the icon with a display of paint brushes in a jar, and it will immediately launch the Paintbrush application in Windows and display the picture content of the file.

Access internet and check Church mail account on www.lanset.com . Account name is “peterbland”

This was more tricky as it took some time for the Lanset page to download and display e-mail icon.  When it has downloaded, double clicking on the E-mail icon displays a sign in screen asking for account name (peterbland) and password.

Access www.kpix.com and www.1wellbrock.org and try out “hyperlinks” to other pages

This can be achieved by simply double clicking on the appropriate internet icon on the A:\ drive display.  The process launches Internet Explorer which automatically dials onto internet ( it may ask for the account name and password again if your computer is not set up to enter these automatically).  Navigating through the webpages on the website can then be accomplished by clicking on the “hyperlinks” (underlined blue text which contains navigations instructions).

Next meeting will be three weeks – 27th February 2002

(Note, I will be out of town on the 20th) Zoe will be handling the opening.

 

Computer Group – 23rd January 2002

 

Opening and sharing – 3 John 12-14

Understanding “two way street” of internet connections and what others can learn from you

As soon as you sign on to internet with your computer, information flows in two directions, from you to the ISP’s server and from the server to you.  Obviously you are only interested in what the internet sends to you.  The fact that you are supplying unknown information to someone else can be alarming.  Microsoft have developed a “sniffer” site which displays what other people can learn from your computer if they were so inclined.  You can access this site at http://www.microsoft.com/privacy/safe internet/sniffer/ .  The site will give you a description of the issue and allows you to display on your computer what they can read from your computer.  If you want to feels comfortable take a look at this.  This works with Microsoft Internet Explorer.  I have not tried it with Netscape.

Downloads of documents and data

We demonstrated how to download data and programs by downloading a copy of Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is free from the Adobe site.  This is a very useful piece of software as it allows you to read documents on websites, user manuals which come to you with software on CD-ROM as well as downloaded documents which contain formatted text in *.PDF format.  This is the most prevalent format used for sharing documents electronically.  The steps are:

 

Next we tried to download tax documents from the IRS and State of California.  You can read these documents if you have Adobe Acrobat Reader installed.  You can access them from the following sites: http://www.irs.gov/forms_pubs/index.html and from http://www.ftb.ca.gov/forms/index.html .  Try clicking on these sites and downloading a tax form you need or some instructions for filling forms out.  The state one even lets you fill out the form on the site and then download the completed form onto you printer.

Update downloads and free software

If you have virus checking software you will continually have to download “virus updates” as viruses are being discovered all the time.  Normally this is an automatic process when you are on internet but if it is not you will need to follow your virus software instructions to get updates.  In Symantec’s Norton Utilities/System Works/Anti-virus programs you do this by clicking on a button which says “LiveUpdate” and the process will run automatically.  Normally after one year from purchase, you need to pay a subscription to continue to receive updates.

 

You also need to update your operating system on a regular basis as the companies which publish the software are continually issuing new fixes to plug security holes and enable new functions on your computer.  Microsoft (Windows 98 second edition and later I believe) have a menu item which says “Windows Update” on the “Start” menu.  Clicking on this will scan you computer for the version and update already on there, and then dial onto internet and locate Microsoft’s update site.  The screen will show a number of products but the first should show “Critical Updates” and the box in front of it should be checked.  Clicking on the box which says “Download Now” will go through the process I have described above, automatically, including installation, and eventually shut down and restart your computer, if you do not do anything.  If you have earlier versions of operating systems you may have to do this manually by accessing the Microsoft site at www.microsoft.com and clicking on “downloads”, “download center”, “windows updates” and then “product updates”.  Microsoft will also give you the opportunity to download other software including “Windows Media Player” which we discussed in a previous session.  These programs are all free.

 

If you are interested in daily delivery of news to you computer in e-mail form, try going to the following site:  www.infobeat.com .  I have been using it for several years.  It was started by the San Jose Mercury but is now run by another concern.  It is free and it will bombard you with adverts but it is very good for getting the news headlines every day.  All you need to do is to submit your name and e-mail address on that website and check up to seven boxes of different types of news.  It will e-mail you the news headlines and give you a whole load of quick links to more detailed articles on each subject, which you can access automatically while you are connected to internet.  Try it out!

Our web page

Before the next meeting please look at our webpage at http://www.1wellbrock.org/computer_group.htm  and let me know how we could improve it.  I will put the notes on the webpage this time as an added incentive to look at it.
 

Next meeting 6th February – Lila will lead the opening and sharing.

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