The Big Bear Computer Club Online Newsletter
— Volume 7 — Issue 10 — Bearly Bytes Online is Published on the First of Every Month —

October 2007

Holiday Party in November

Let's get in the spirit . . . Since our December 20th general meeting falls so close to Christmas, we are going DARK to let you prepare and celebrate your holidays. We will have our Holiday party on November 15th— the club will provide the Ham and Turkey while you folks can bring the trimmings i.e. mashed potatoes, biscuits, vegetables, desserts— you know the routine. Lets make it a fun night.

No PDF Edition of Bearly Bytes for October

Due to the hospitalization and recovery of Gordon West, our Bearly Bytes print edition editor, there was no October 2007 issue available for PDF download.

President’s Message

Yomar ClearyThe year seems to be passing us a little too fast as here it is October with Halloween and Christmas around the corner. Our September presenter was David Platt, author of the best-selling book, "Why Software Sucks… and What You Can Do About It". This was a webcast coming from Boston, Mass. It was a first for our Computer Club. It started a bit rocky with the audio but Rosemary quickly called David on her cell phone. His presentation came via her cell phone and microphone. Rosemary saved the day!

We have had a good year with good presenters and we are working on next year's presenters now. The November presenter will be Brad Jashinsky who will show us how Reimagine Memories can be a great program to preserve your memories. We are excited to have a presentation by Smart Computing scheduled for our February 2008 meeting. In March we will have the president of the Bear Valley Mac User Group, Jack Williams, show us how the Mac computers are becoming PC friendly. More to come.

At our November 15th general meeting, we are having a potluck Holiday party with all the trimmings. The Club will provide the Ham and Turkey while you folks will bring the trimmings. Since the December 20th general meeting falls so close to Christmas, we will go dark in December.

DON'T' FORGET NOVEMBER 15th PARTY TIME!

— Yomar Cleary

September Meeting Door Prize Winners

septdoorprize.jpg

Don Meline — X-Large Tee-Shirt by Migo
Karen Tangeman — Rainbow Mystery Game by Sugar Games
Raejean Danielson — 2007 Antivirus by Panda
Nancy Hinz — DVD Copy 4 by InterVideo
Karen Tangeman — 50/50 WINNER ($17.50)

BBCC Fundraiser at the 2007 Airshow

If you missed the Airshow you missed some GREAT helicopters and planes not to mention a very heavy downpour of hail mixed with huge drops of rain!!! But Kent Gale, Barbara Moore, and myself endured. We gave away a lot of information on the computer club to a lot of people. I can't believe how many people in the Big Bear Valley who still don't know that we have a computer club.

airshow-3.jpg

Fortunately a lot more people know now. I would like to applaud Kent for his wonderful conversation skills. Kent has been very instrumental in talking with a lot of people about our club. Thank-You Kent.

Once again Microsoft donated a program for us to use as a FREE drawing in our fundraiser. The program was a game called Flight Simulator X and boy was it a hit. We had many people sign-up for this drawing which gave us a chance to talk about the computer club. At our monthly board meeting Kent drew the winning ticket and the program couldn't have gone to a more avid Flight Simulator X fan!!! Microsoft would be proud.

airshow-2.jpg

The name of our winner is Alan Pitkin. Alan has a separate computer set up just for Flight Simulator. He has all the controls and foot pedals that are available with this program. He was so excited about winning the most current version and both Kent and I were excited for him. Here is a picture of Alan excepting the program from me and a picture of his Flight Simulator computer set-up although the picture doesn't do it justice. Congratulations Alan!!!

airshow-1.jpg

Wireless Networking Tips by Linksys

Wireless Networking Tip #1
Reduce interference on your wireless network

Since wireless networks use radio waves to transmit signals, it’s possible that typical household electronics-your microwave, cordless phone or even the baby monitor- can interfere with this signal. Make sure you move your wireless router away from those devices that use the same 2.4GHz frequency range.

Other causes of interference are brick and cinderblock walls, metal doors, metal frames around windows and doors, and metal filing cabinets.

Take these simple steps to reduce wireless interference:

  1. Move the router further away from the interfering device or object.
  2. If there is interference with a phone, you can change the channel of the phone or the Router so they use different channels. If there is still too much interference, you may have to buy a different phone system, operating at either 900MHz or 5GHz.
  3. Place the wireless router in a central location of your house, such as a family room or office.
  4. Arrange the desktop or laptop’s wireless antenna so that it points toward the wireless router.
  5. Avoid placing the antenna close to an outside wall (unless outside is where you want to be). If you want to connect while you’re outside, place the router near a window.
  6. Place your Access Point as high as possible. If your network goes through multiple floors, try to place the Access Point on the upper floor

Wireless Networking Tip #2
Change the channel on your wireless router

If you are experiencing frequent loss of connections on your wireless network, interference from another network using the same channel is the likely cause. If you and a neighbor both have a wireless network set at channel 6, then you may experience interference. Try changing to a different channel, either 1 or 11.

If your wireless signal is intermittent, then you are most likely experiencing 2.4 GHz interference. Before switching channels see Networking Tip #1 for easy ways to reduce or eliminate interference.

Here are some simple steps to take if you want to try switching channels:

  • First, be sure to have the latest firmware installed for your router. Firmware downloads are available at http://www.linksys.com/download.
  • Follow the instructions for your router model (see your User Guide or follow the link above) and change the channel to 1, 6, or 11. These are the best channels to use for wireless networking.
  • If you are still experiencing interference try switching the router to one of the other channels (2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10) until you find one that makes a good connection.

Wireless Networking Tip #3
Improve wireless router signal strength

Wireless signal strength depends on many environmental factors such as windows, walls, and furniture. Glass does not block the signal. Ideally, place the wireless router in the center of the area you want covered, with as little signal leaking outside the walls as possible.

A High Gain Antenna can increase the strength of outgoing signals and enhance the reception of incoming signals. This added signal strength and sensitivity not only extends the range of your wireless network, but also improves close-range communications reliability by reducing re-transmissions due to weak signal reception errors.

  • See Networking Tip #1 for easy ways to reduce or eliminate interference.
  • High Gain Antenna Kits have been developed to help increase the effective range of a Linksys home or small business wireless network. The antenna solutions include a High Gain Antenna Kit for TNC Connections (HGA7T) and a High Gain Antenna Kit for SMA Connections (HGA7S). Installation of a High Gain Antenna is easy. Just unscrew the current antenna(s) from your router, access point or bridge and attach the High Gain Antenna.

Wireless Networking Tip #4
Improve Wireless Range

Imagine the freedom to work and play from any room of your home or office, without deadspots. Surf the Web from your den. Play online-games in your living room. Or stream digital music from your kitchen. It’s all possible when you have more range.

Why Does Range Matter?

Range is the effective coverage area of your wireless network. Range is affected by your home's construction including windows and walls, and other wireless devices such as cordless phones and microwave ovens that may be near the router.

How to Increase Your Range.

Explore the Linksys line of range-enhancing products: Wireless-N. Wireless-N offers more range and is faster than standard wireless. It delivers up to four times the range, giving you more flexibility to work or play virtually anywhere in your home or around it: upstairs, downstairs or in the backyard by the pool.

Use the right adapter to get the best network performance.

To fully utilize the speed and range of Wireless-N, match your Router with the right Adapter. To upgrade a desktop PC consider the Linksys Wireless-N USB Adapter, which easily connects to a USB port and doesn't require opening the computer case. For notebooks, use the Linksys Wireless-N Notebook Adapter. Simply insert the Notebook Adapter into the PC Card slot and you’re "N-abled!"

September 2007 Membership Report

New and renewing members.

Welcome New Member
Stan Cross

Welcome Renewing Members
Mary Ann Boone
Kathy Ludecke
Dave Philipson

Discounts and Deals for BBCC Members

Special offers from O’Reilly, Peachpit, and Pearson.

O’Reilly News for User Group Members

Get 35% off from O’Reilly, No Starch, Paraglyph, PC Publishing, Pragmatic Bookshelf, Rocky Nook, SitePoint, or YoungJin books you purchase directly from O’Reilly.
Just use code “DSUG” when ordering online or by phone 800-998-9938.

Free ground shipping on orders of $29.95 or more. See details.

Did you know you can request a free book or PDF to review for your group? Ask your group leader for more information.

For book review writing tips and suggestions, go Here.

New Releases: Books, Short Cuts, and Rough Cuts:

· 3ds Max 9.0 (Young Jin)
· The Artist’s Guide to GIMP Effects (No Starch)
· The Book of Qt 4 (No Starch)
· Designing Web Navigation
· Dynamic Learning: Flash CS3 Professional
· FileMaker Pro 9: The Missing Manual
· Forbidden LEGO (No Starch)
· Google in Education
· Head First SQL
· iPhone: The Missing Manual
· JavaScript & DHTML Cookbook, Second Edition
· Learning PHP & MySQL, Second Edition
· The LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT Idea Book (No Starch)
· MAKE: Technology on Your Time Volume 11 ()
· Microsoft Project 2007: The Missing Manual
· The Nikon D200 Dbook (Hard Cover) (Rocky Nook)
· The Nikon D80 Dbook (Hard Cover) (Rocky Nook)
· Photoshop Lightroom Adventure
· Pragmatic Unit Testing in C# with NUnit, Second Edition (Pragmatic Bookshelf)
· Programming Collective Intelligence
· Security Power Tools
· SOA in Practice
· Visualizing Data: Rough Cuts Version
· Windows Vista Accelerated (Young Jin)

MAKE Magazine Subscriptions
The annual subscription price for four issues is $34.95. When you subscribe with this link, you’ll get a free issue–one plus four more for $34.95. So subscribe for yourself or friends with this great offer for UG Members: five volumes for the cost of four.
Subscribe at: http://www.makezine.com/go/ugsub

Craft Magazine Subscriptions
The annual subscription price for four issues is $34.95. When you subscribe with this link, you’ll get a free issue–the first one plus four more for $34.95. So subscribe for yourself or friends with this great offer for charter subscribers: five volumes for the cost of four.

DIY O’Reilly Gear
Create Your Own Calendar, Shirt, Notebook, Poster…In just three easy steps you can create one of a kind calendars, greeting cards, keychains, luggage tags, magnets, mousepads, mugs, notebooks, postcards, posters, shirts, hoodies, and stickers adorned with your favorite O’Reilly animals. Create yours now!
Subscribe at: http://www.craftzine.com/go/craftug


pearson.gif

Welcome to the Pearson Education User Group Program! Please pass along to your collegues/ UG members and share the news and promotions!The new program provides qualified user groups with product news, discounted prices on products, free review copies in exchange for reviews, marketing materials, and promotional giveaways. Housed on InformIT.com, the program represents Pearson Education imprints and well-known technology brands of Addison-Wesley Professional, Cisco Press, Exam Cram, IBM Press, Prentice Hall, Que Publishing, and Sams Publishing.
If you are receiving this initial email then your group has been qualified and registered in our program. Please ensure that your group’s information is accurate on your page of the site: www.informit.com/usergroups select “Find a User Group” and your state, and group name.News & Announcements

New site launch - check out www.informit.com - representing Addison-Wesley Professional, Cisco Press, Exam Cram, IBM Press, Prentice Hall, Que Publishing, and Sams Publishing and hear from Publisher Paul Boger directly.

Tell us what you think - Review A Pearson Product
Read a Pearson product lately and have something to say about it?
Besides posting the review on places like Amazon.com, BN.com and Bookpool.com, we’d love to hear your feedback in order to create the best possible products! Email the review to usergroups@informit.com with the subject “Book Review” and the product name in the subject line.

Subscribe to Technology Topic Focus Newsletters
Visit our newsletter page to subscribe to the topical or publishing imprint newsletters and learn about new products, articles, and promotions! This will be your monthly message regarding new products. Encourage your members to do the same.

Sign Up for This Quarterly Newsletter
Our new program will have a quarterly newsletter that leaders and members can subscribe to exclusively!
Look for more information about the newsletter in the future!

This Month’s Exclusive UG Contest - visit www.informit.com/usergroup to enter to win during the month of August!
The Pearson Education User Group Program offers a monthly contest to all current user group members. Each month a different prize pack on a specific technology topic will be available! Simply complete the registration form below to enter; one entry per person please.
Bookmark www.informit.com/usergroups and come back each month for your chance to win!

Pearson Education User Group Program Quarterly Newsletter

Welcome to the first Pearson Education User Group Program quarterly newsletter for official members. Please pass this along to your colleagues and share our news and offers.

The launch of our new user group program coincides with the launch of our online portal InformIT.com. InformIT is home to the world’s leading technology publishing imprints Addison-Wesley, Cisco Press, ExamCram, IBM Press, Prentice Hall, Que, and Sams. InformIT.com provides access to trusted and quality content and resources from the authors, creators, innovators, and leaders of technology. The Pearson Education User Group Program provides qualified user groups with product news, discounted prices on products, free review copies in exchange for reviews, marketing materials, and promotional giveaways. Focusing on a wide array of topics from security, operating systems, and web development to networking, open source, programming and more, our new program can arrange for authors to speak at group meetings and support attendance at your events. Visit www.informit.com/usergroupwelcome to take advantage of great offers and information.

Cisco User Groups visit www.ciscopress.com/usergroup for more information. Safari Rough Cuts-Get Online Access to Books as They’re Written The Rough Cuts service from Safari Books Online gives you exclusive access to an evolving manuscript that you can read online or download as a PDF and print. The initial version of a Rough Cuts book will not be fully edited, subjected to final technical review, or completely formatted. The Rough Cuts PDF is updated as the author and technical reviewers progress, so users have access to new versions as they are created. See all Rough Cuts.


peachpit.gif

Quite a lot has gone on since we were last in touch. Apple announced its new iLife ‘08 and iWork ‘08 suites, Adobe started shipping Adobe ColdFusion 8, the Peachpit Web site got a new facelift, and I took a few days off. Whew! We continue the trend with the announcement of this month’s new releases. For our digital video groups we have three new Apple Pro Training Series titles releasing covering Motion 3, Soundtrack Pro 2, and for advanced editing, Michael Wohl’s, The Craft of Editing with Final Cut Pro. Two Hands-On Training books for Dreamweaver CS3 and Flash CS3 written by the folks from lynda.com, will also release this month.

Be sure to check out the author seminars and various conferences coming up. There’s info on how to get a free Expo Pass to the upcoming Photoshop World in Las Vegas. Also, it’s not too late to submit one of your members to win a free three-day pass to our upcoming Web Design Conference, details below.

APPLE ANNOUNCED NEW iLIFE ‘08 AND iWORK ‘08 SUITES
On August 7th, Apple Announced its new iLife ‘08 and iWork ‘08 suites. iLife ‘08 enables you to discover new ways to enjoy photos, create movies, websites, and more. iLife ‘08 includes iPhoto ‘08, iMovie ‘08, .Mac Web Gallery, GarageBand, iWeb ‘08, and iDVD ‘08. Take the guided tour and read all about it Here.

iWork ‘08 ensures improved newsletters, smarter presentations, and now even spreadsheets. The applications in iWork ‘08 include Pages ‘08, Keynote ‘08, and Numbers ‘08. Read all about it Here.

We’ll have several books coming out in the next few months by some of your favorite authors like Jim Heid, Robin Williams, and John Tollett, so stay tuned for more news in our upcoming e-newsletters!

A NEW LOOK FOR PEACHPIT.COM
Have you browsed our Web site recently? Well we have a snazzy new look that you have to check out! We’ve improved our search capabilities, you can watch our podcasts live, download them or subscribe via RSS. So take some time, explore, post a comment to a blog post, and let us know what you think.
http://www.peachpit.com

ADOBE COLDFUSION 8 RELEASED
At the end of July the new Adobe ColdFusion 8 software started shipping. This is a must-have release for developers to create compelling internet applications that fit in today’s enterprise environment. If you are new to ColdFusion or a returning user you can download a 30 day trial Here.

Also stay tuned to our upcoming e-newsletters for announcements of our new releases for Adobe ColdFusion 8!

Product Review: Norton Ghost 12.0

kopolow.jpgBob Kopolow has been a computer consultant for 27 years specializing in PCs for personal or small business use. He is experienced in computer security, purchasing PCs for clients, and replacing or adding hardware or software. He is a volunteer to the BBCC Hotline and lives full-time in Big Bear Lake. He owns and operates Equinox Tech Systems. Here he reviews Norton Ghost 12.0

On the www.symantec.com website, they claim that Norton Ghost 12.0 does:

  • Full system backup and restore
  • File and folder backups
  • Incremental backups
  • Event-based backups
  • Advanced compression and encryption

ghost-1.gif

I found the installation of Norton Ghost 12.0 to be straightforward. My first backup went very well. I backed up my 6GB data hard drive to an external USB drive in 4.5 minutes (Genie backup took 14 minutes to do the same task). That's the fastest backup of this data I've seen so far in the backup programs I have reviewed.

I then backed up my entire C drive including Windows XP to the external USB drive. It took only 16 minutes to backup the entire drive. I previously thought of Norton Ghost as a drive imaging program only, but what I found out in using it is that it's a terrific general backup program. Backups can be scheduled to occur on certain days of the week (like Monday and Friday) or everday or even more than once a day. You can even schedule backups to occur every so many hours! Backups can be scheduled to run "unattended".

ghost-2.gif

Norton Ghost 12.0 has a very simple and effective way to recover files. If you want to recover an entire drive with a recovery point, you choose Tasks, Recover My Computer, and choose a recovery point to restore the drive. If you want to recover a single file or files, choose Tasks, Recover My Files, choose the file(s) to recover, and bingo it's back. You can recover the file to its original location or place it on the desktop in the recovered files folder. This works rapidly and perfectly. My complements to Symantec!

There is one more feature that I find absolutely necessary. Ghost 12.0 provides a way to completely recover your computer if the operating system will not load at all. It is called a Symantec Recovery Disk. If you BOOT from the Ghost 12.0 installation disk, the computer starts with an operating system found on the CD and allows you to recover your Windows or Vista operating system from a recovery point which you have previously saved using Ghost. This recovery system makes your disk files and operating system quite bullet proof! You can also scan for viruses or check the integrity of your hard disk from here. I love this feature!

I would recommend this as the easiest and fastest backup program I've reviewed so far. It is terrific for beginners through experts.

  • Operating Systems: Windows XP SP2 thru Vista
  • RAM required: 512RAM Recommended
  • Hard drive space: 160MB
  • Other specific requirements: 300 MHz processor or higher
  • CD or DVD drive
  • Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.0 or higher

workswith.gif

Retail price: $69.99

Technical Support (for product use)

Customer Service (for orders)

Club Member Product Review Program

tangeman.jpgThis month instead of listing a few review programs that are available I would like to inform you that any program you are interested in and would like to install on your computer is up for review. All you have to do is ask for it and review it. The program could be on landscaping, any kind of crafts, digital photos, video, any kind of home decorating, games, office & accounting programs, gift cards, label, & printshop programs, any program you are interested in having. All you have to do is let Karen Tangeman know which program you would like to review. I will then contact the vendor and it takes about 10 days to receive the program. Sometimes the vendor will grant the reviewer a license online and all the reviewer has to do is download the program. Reviews are not hard to write; in fact they are quite easy. You are given instructions on how to write a review plus I have many samples you can look at. Also if you need any help all you have to do is e-mail or call me. Writing a review is like telling someone about the new program you just received. You tell them what you like about the program, what you don't like, and how the program could be better, that's it. There's your review.

Karen Tangeman, Review Editor

Election of 2008 Officers

Election of the Big Bear Computer Club officers is coming right up, elections are in December. Carole Allen is on the Nominating Committee looking for members who want to become involved as an active board member. There are many positions available.

There is a job description book you can browse through on the various positions. It will be available at the October and November general meetings. Be part of the T.E.A.M. (Together Everyone can Accomplish More). The membership will vote on the executive board which consists of: President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, and 2 Directors-at-Large. The rest of the board is appointed. If interested in running for a board position, contact Carole at allenbnc@yahoo.com . Since we are dark in December, we will have the elections at the January 17, 2008 meeting.

Word Tip: Distributing Table Rows Evenly

word.gifWhen it is time to format a table, you may find that your overall table depth (height) is set the way you want it, but the rows within the table are not “just right.” For instance, you may want the rows to be the same height as each other without disturbing the overall width of the table.

Simply follow these directions if you are using Word 97:

  1. Make sure the insertion point is located somewhere within your table.
  2. Choose Distribute Rows Evenly from the Table menu.

The process is slightly different if you are using Word 2000, Word 2002, or Word 2003:

  1. Make sure the insertion point is located somewhere within your table.
  2. Choose AutoFit from the Table menu. Word displays a submenu.
  3. Choose Distribute Rows Evenly from the submenu.

The process is different, still, in Word 2007:

  1. Make sure the insertion point is located somewhere within your table.
  2. Choose the Layout tab on the ribbon.
  3. Click Distribute Rows in the Cell Size group.

Word changes the row heights to reflect your selection. You should note that if you are using the Tables and Borders toolbar, you could simply click your mouse on the Distribute Rows Evenly tool after you first position the insertion point in the table.

September 2007 General Meeting Notes

lloyd.jpgClub President Yomar Cleary welcomed all of the members. Kent introduced guests. Karen talked about the review program.

Karen introduced David Platt as the presenter. He authored the best-selling book, Why Software Sucks . . . and What You Can Do About It. David joined us via webcast from Boston, Mass. This was the first time that the club hosted a presenter in this way. He shared his ideas regarding software and what most people want from it.

Basically folks want web sites and computer programs that work and are easy to understand. People use a computer to achieve a goal, to do work or whatever. They don't use software because they want to learn how to use programs. They buy software because they need it in order to perform specific tasks on the computer. David contends that most software today doesn't work very well and is not easy to learn and use, with some exceptions, of course. He pointed out that Internet services and computer software companies ranked higher than used car dealers on the Better Business Bureau's top industry complaints list in 2006. David suggests that software designers get to know their users— people who are not necessarily geeks. Also, the Internet is so pervasive that millions of people use it today. Ten years ago there were very few web users in comparison. So, web sites also need to be designed to be user friendly. Folks want their computers, software and web sites to just work.

David showed us some good and bad examples of web sites and programs. He then gave us some suggestions of ways that users can force companies to make better software. Those include buying programs that work and don't buy the 'bad' ones. Secondly, communicate with companies and tell them what you like about their product. Also, give suggestions on how to make their stuff better. If you think of a feature that you would like to see on a web site, let the company know. Another way to communicate with companies is to let instruments tell. Perhaps join a customer experience program where your computer reports information to the manufacturer. Write a review of a product and post it on the sales web site. Read what people whom you trust say about products, before you buy. Publicly praise companies whose products work. Publicly complain to companies whose products don't work well. If consumers join together, we can nudge people to make better products.

After Rick's presentation, Jim led the RAM Session, answering members' questions. One member submitted a written question.

The door prizes were given out and we concluded another educational and enlightening evening.

— Rosemary Lloyd, Secretary

BBCC September 2007 Cash Flow Statement

0907cashflow.gif