Minutes of the November Meeting

By Doug Mullis, Secretary, Tampa PC Users Group

Bob LaFave started the Windows SIG portion of our meeting at 6:35 pm. A member stated he had bought a music CD in Europe and could not get it to play. Steve Singer (our speaker for the evening) said that foreign CDs and DVDs are encrypted to play only in the zone intended. There are programs for decrypting CDs and DVDs so this is what will be necessary.

Bob showed us a device that accepts standard Stereo cable inputs and sends the signal to your PC through a USB connection. This allows you to store music on your hard drive or make CDs. There also is a turntable available with a USB connection.

At 6:50 pm, Bob turned the meeting over to Member at Large Mary Sheridan to conduct the business of presenting names of nominees for next year’s group officers. John Witmer has agreed to continue as President. Jim Purcell has agreed to be nominated for Member at Large. We need members to step forward to serve as Vice President, Secretary and/or Treasurer. Doug Mullis is willing to be nominated for Treasurer if someone else will be Secretary. Eddie Rodriquez has agreed to be our new “Greeter” at our meetings. Way to go, Eddie and Jim! Elections will be conducted at our December meeting.

Mary asked if we want to party at our December meeting. Smart Computing Magazine will make their annual presentation after our election of officers. If you want to party, please bring finger food or holiday desserts to share at our December 12th meeting. We will set up a table as was done in the past.

At 7:05 pm, Mary introduced our speakers, Steve and Pam Singer with RDI-Tampa. Steve is our local distributor of computer related devices and tells us the latest and what is coming. Pam keeps Steve on course and brings him back to earth when his enthusiasm gets him talking too fast.

Steve first reflected on statements made during the Windows SIG meeting relative to encrypted foreign media devices. There are several programs available for decrypting material from other countries. Some may already be on your computer. Find someone who knows how to use them.

Next, Steve told us about the BitTorrent’s web site for downloading audio, video, images, ebooks, games and software for FREE. You do have to become a member by paying either a flat or annual fee. According to Steve, you can earn credits by sharing materials you download with other members. Try http://www.BitTorrents.com for particulars.

Steve says there are wireless video extenders, which will connect your TVs or music system to your PC using Windows Media Center or D Links software. Antenna extenders can be attached to your wireless router and network cards to improve signal strength. New routers now come with multiple antennas for greater performance. Signal strength is increased by up to three times. The new 802.11n (NIMO) wireless performance standard will be out next year. Speeds and distance will increase substantially. This standard will apply to multiple antennae devices.

Wireless USB is coming, similar to Bluetooth but probably faster. Voice-over IP is an inexpensive way to talk by telephone over the Internet. Voice-over IP can save you lots of money in long distance charges. For $35 a year, you can get a local phone number for receiving incoming calls over the Internet. Or you can have Sip Phone (Gizmo Project) installed, which will give you multiple phone lines using the Internet. Steve can set you up if you are interested.

We now have a choice of Verizon FiOS or Bright House (Time Warner). FiOS is all digital and cheaper for the time being, but negotiate the best deal you can, as Verizon will deal to get your business. Make sure you don’t get short-changed on the number of TV channels you desire. FiOS does require a battery backup that you will be required to maintain.

Finally, Steve told us of motherboards he has to offer and distributed price sheets that not all got to see. Also Steve has rebuilt some past generation computers starting around $50. They may be as slow as 133 KHz, but they’re great for your Mom to surf the Internet.

Steve answered members’ questions and gave information on how to get free passes to new release movies and how to get cheap popcorn to boot.

No door prizes were raffled at this meeting because of the time. The meeting ended informally at about 8:40 pm. u