Minutes of the May Meeting

By Jim Purcell, Secretary, Tampa PC Users Group

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Bob LaFave opened the Windows SIG at 6:40 pm. In response to a question on how to identify unknown or unusual sounds that you are getting from your computer, Bob explained how to identify the commands that generate sounds. He said that the only way that he knew to identify a sound was to go through each command that is marked to emit a sound until you hear the sound that you are trying to identify. Ed Cohen said that he was periodically having very poor performance and he could see that his hard drive was running constantly. Bob indicated that this was often caused by poorly-written software that does not release resources when you exit the program. If this is the case, it can usually be rectified by rebooting your machine. The Windows Task Manager provides some information on what is using the resources, but some of the things, such as updates running in the background, cannot be detected.

Todd Grubb mentioned getting a popup telling him that they had detected a Trojan on his computer with a message to click on a URL to have it removed. He learned that they want to sell a program that will remove the Trojan. This initiated a discussion of various scams involving certified checks passed to you to pay for merchandise that you are selling online. Even though the bank is perfectly willing to cash the check, you are liable when the bank may later find (after you have delivered the merchandise) that it is a bogus check.

William LaMartin relayed a problem with electronic picture frames. Sometimes the individual pictures loaded in the frame become distorted. The problem is usually solved by erasing and reloading the pictures. Bob suggested that you keep the pictures in a group on a flash drive so they can be quickly reloaded. He mentioned that there is a free Microsoft Flash Drive manager that helps manage various types of backups with flash drives.

Bob and Merle Nicholson discussed using PDF writers to copy web pages. The Scansoft program was mentioned as a reasonably-priced program that will do most of the things that the Adobe program will do. There are also several, with less features, that are free. They mentioned pdf 995 and .PrimoPDF.

John Witmer began the business part of the meeting at approximately 7:05 pm. He introduced the night’s presentation by TPCUG members Ed White, Ed Neugaard and Juan Romero. As covered below, they described a corporation that they have formed, “Elevate Tampa Bay Inc”. It is modeled on a similar program successfully implemented in Miami, FL, and was explained by Ed in an article in last month’s newsletter.

John advised that the program for June will be a presentation by the Verbatim company representative, featuring various Verbatim products. [Now moved to a later date]. The July program will be a presentation by Kevan Sheridan. The subject will be announced later. The August through October presentations will also be conducted by TPCUG members. John mentioned that some of the members’ dues are in arrears. He reminded everyone to look to see if the box is checked on their newsletters indicating that their dues have not been paid.

William LaMartin reported that the HTML online TPCUG Newsletters are now available in English, Spanish and French. He requested that members fluent in the French and Spanish languages review them for accuracy since they were translated by a computer program.

Ed White began his presentation with a discussion of the history of the Elevate Miami program. He said that he was first alerted to the Elevate Miami program while reading Microsoft web pages. He ran across a Microsoft press release from both Microsoft and the City of Miami as partners in the program. He was impressed with the extent of the program, which he said was probably one of the greatest training programs that he has ever seen. It is available in many languages, including English, Spanish, German, French and Japanese. In addition to the two TPCUG members mentioned above, Ed was accompanied by USF Professor Emeritus William Blount and by Ray Burris, who is a resident of the University Village retirement community and is active in current training programs at that facility.

Ed contacted Microsoft’s head of their Department of State and Local Governments, who spent a great deal of time discussing the program and then directed him to James E Osteen Jr., Assistant Director of Information Technology for the City of Miami. Ed contacted Mr. Osteen and then traveled to Miami. He got a royal welcome from Mr. Osteen and the City of Miami officials during his two-and-a-half-day visit. The program is off to a roaring start, as Ed and his crew already have 40 loaned laptop computers to start the program.

The meeting closed at 8:23 pm. u