See below for reports on classes.

               See the Greentrees Village web site to learn more about the park's people and activities. 
 Gary Smith is the Greentrees Facebook administrator.
                       Jep Norwood teaches a Greentrees computer class on the third Wednesday of the month.
 His web site: Computer Lessons.

2018 Greentrees Village Computer Club Officerss

President: Steve Lyon

Vice Presidents: Gene Fisher, Jim Fleming

Treasurer:  vacant 

Secretary: Gary Smith

Advertising Coordinator: Jay Musson

Computer Club Elects Longtime Member Gene Fisher to Lead in 2019

Dec. 5, 2018. – Longtime computer club member Gene Fisher was elected today to serve as the Greentrees Computer Club's

president for 2019.  Outgoing president Steve Lyon presided over today's business meeting, which also saw the election of Sue Lindelof as club treasurer and Dari Johnson as club secretary. Jay Musson agreed to serve another year as advertising coordinator for the club.


Pat Miller began today's meeting by reading the minutes taken by outgoing secretary Gary Smith of the business meeting of Dec. 6, 2017. After noting that the acceptance of the minutes was unanimous, president Steve Lyon reported that the club treasury showed a balance of $3,057. He also concurred with members who felt that electing a club vice president was not something that required immediate action.


The club decided to donate $2,000 toward the purchase of a new sound system for Greentrees. The current system, everyone agreed, is not only outdated but inadequate when the recreation hall is used for meetings and special events. Also approved by the membership were bonuses for park employees, for park manger Louis Deshofy and for Jep Norwood, who conducts a monthly computer class for Greentrees men and women.


Steve, who for most of the year acted as the club's treasurer as well as its president, presented the proposed budget for 2019, which, he said, was not a lot different from this year's budget. Total income minus expenditures, he estimated, would leave the club a balance of $1120. If club members determine that they need money for expenditures under $200, said Steve, a business meeting is not necessary.


Add. Today's get-together  was the computer club's last meeting of the year except for Jep Norwood's Dec. 19 class.  -- Before adjourning, club members thanked Steve Lyon for his leadership during the past year. They also thanked Steve for a special treat that he today brought and handed out to members--a batch of home made brownies.


Nov. 23, 2018. -- Tis the season to be wary, that time of the year when computer users buy presents online for  friends and loved ones. It's also the time when bad guys crank up their computers and step up their efforts to steal personal information from the good guys. Brian Krebs , a one-time Washington Post investigative reporter, has for the past several years authored a security blog. A recent entry is called "How to Shop Online Like a Security Pro," which online shoppers might profit from reading and heeding.


Latest Windows 10 Update Now Safe to Download and Install--Jep

Nov. 21, 2018 – Jep Norwood told computer club members this morning that downloading and installing Microsoft's latest update for Windows 10 can take a few hours. "One day it's safe to unload the update," said Jep,

"but a few days later, Microsoft decides that putting the update on your computer could mess it up." At the moment, he said, the update is safe to download and install. Instructions and cautions can be found on Jep's Greentrees page site.


 If you have trouble using touch pads, said Jep, you can turn the touch pad features off. Then you won't have to worry about inadvertently resting your hand or wrist on the pad and turning on something you'd rather have off. Something else Jep suggests users turn off--the apps you are currently working with.


One club member told Jep that she was having a hard time turning off her computer, a desktop.  Jep's advice: hold in the on/off button until you can feel the device turning itself off. A mere tap on the on/off button won't do the job, he said.  He also suggested that passwords not be used. "Lose your computer password and you're screwed," he said.


People with Windows 7 should start thinking of putting Windows 10 on their computers, said Jep. Microsoft will stop issuing security updates for Windows 7 by the end of next year, he said. His fee for installing Windows 10 on a desktop or laptop is $150. To make an appointment to take a computer to Jep's in Florence, call 541-991-7668. Jep's wife Brenda or an answering machine will take your message, he said.


New officers for the computer club will be elected at the Dec. 5 meeting, according to Steve Lyon, club president. Jep's next class will be on Dec. 19. 



Protect Privacy with a Virtual Private Network, Class Told

Nov. 7, 2018. -- Computer security is often center stage in computer club classes led by club president Steve Lyon,

and this morning he didn't disappoint as he introduced class members to virtual private networks. A virtual private network (VPN), Steve pointed out, is a technology that creates a safe and encrypted connection over a less secure network, such as the Internet. The technology for VPNs was developed as a way to allow remote users and branch offices to securely access corporate applications and other resources.

One of the biggest dangers of using your laptop or tablet on a public network (eating a Big Mac at McDonald's, sitting in a doctor's waiting room) is that the device and the data it contains are also accessible to people who like to snoop. If, however, you have a virtual private network (VPN), your messages cannot be read by strangers. People who use their computers to interact with their bank, or stockbroker, can feel protected if, when connecting to their bank or broker, they do so over a VPN.

People who do a lot of traveling and want their email and other data sent exclusively to one person or place are often frequent VPN users.  A Google search will offer several sites on how to create and connect to a VPN. has detailed information.  CNet has a list   of VPNs rated by users. 


Computer Club Members Learn How to Research Ancestors

Oct. 24, 2018 –  A large group of Greentrees men and women this morning crowded  into the All-Purpose Room

where the computer club holds its meetings and listened to Kevin Mittge, the local library's adult services librarian, explain how to go about finding out information about one's relatives. He handed out a sheet listing some of the  Internet sites he uses when, for example, he is looking for the grave sites of distant relatives. His favorite apps include, Google Maps, Google Earth (works only in Chrome browser), Earthpoint, FindAGrave and BLM General Land Office Record Search.


You can also search, he said, by using an address, a place name, or latitude and longitude coordinates on both Google Maps and  Google Earth. He explained how he took photographs of grave sites that he found during a search. Use the computer's Print Screen key, he said, and save the image in a file on your computer. -- Still another source about deceased persons is the Death Index on the Social Security web site.


Information about relatives can also be found on death certificates, which are issued by states and often contain such matters as cause of death and burial site. Every state has  control over data listed on death certificates, said Kevin. Someone mentioned that not all information listed on a death certificate is accurate, a pronouncement with which Kevin concurred. Copies of Oregon death certificates can be obtained from the state's archives., which Kevin considers a necessity when researching one's relatives, is not free. However, he said, the library in Florence subscribes to the site and anyone with a library card (free) can use the web site in the library at no charge. Google Earth is available to anyone with a computer and an Internet connection. People may download and install Google Earth at no cost on any computer, he said, which means that the site will then be available even when one is not connected online.


Notes.  Club member Debra Wright , who volunteers at the Florence library with people researching their ancestry, announced that help is available at no cost from 11a.m. to 3 p.m. at the library every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday. -- Melissa Fisher treated everyone present at today's meeting to home-made oatmeal-chocolate chip cookies. -- Next Wednesday, Halloween, the computer club has no program scheduled. An appropriate time, one member suggested, to spend the day--and night--haunting old cemeteries.  


Jep Emphasizes Backing Up, Warns About Windows 10 

Oct. 17, 2018 -- Everyone with a computer should have a folder on the desktop where the user can put documents, pictures and music, Jep Norwood told Greentrees computer club members in his monthly class this morning. Having all this information in one folder, he said, makes backing up one's computer a more-or-less simple task. What bothers Jep, however, is that many of the people to whom he shows how to back up a computer seem incapable of reading. "The instructions for backing up are right there (," he said. "All you've got to do is copy the files in your backup folder then paste them into an external storage device. This you can set aside (i.e., not connected to the Internet) and, know that your data is secure and only a click away from instant recall."


Most people with computers, said Jep, have programs (i.e., applications or apps) that they have paid for. Every app, he said, has a serial number that has to be used when downloading and installing the app into one's computer. So, he said, everyone buying  a new app or device should write down the serial number and store it in a safe place. It's okay to make a computer file of devices' serial numbers, he said, as long as they're written down somewhere. Don't forget that if you have a laptop, its serial number will undoubtedly be on the bottom, he said, and you can, after a few years of dragging it back and fourth on a desk, wear away the serial number before you realize what you're doing.  


One thing people running Windows 10 should not do, at least not yet, said Je0p is try to download and install Microsoft's 1809 update, the second of the year's updates and the successor of 1803. "Don't go to Updates and try to download and install 1809 before you hear from me," he cautioned club members. Things don't always work the way they are supposed to, he said. When it is safe to install 1809, Jep promised he would put the information on his web site as soon as he was convinced that the download would be safe one.


Before installing any new app, said Jep, make sure to run Malwarebytes and Superantispyware first. Downloading and installing Windows update 1809, he said, might take two to three hours. It would be  good idea to follow the installation instructions, he said, especially paying heed to the admonition not to stop the installation or prematurely turn off one's computer. He reminded everyone running the Windows 10 operating system that Microsoft will, in years ahead, add two yearly updates.


More from Jep.  --CCleaners seems to be working okay lately although some users complain about getting their passwords and serial numbers deleted while using the app. -- HTML files are replacing Java and Adobe Flash. -- People who rely upon wireless router connections while using their computer at home can expect about a fifty percent reduction in speed. (In other words, when at home use your wired connection when computing.) -- Charter rents routers out for about $5 a month and they are generally reliable. 


Don't Hang On, Nothing Lasts Forever but the Earth and Sky 

Oct. 10, 2018. Look at the headline above. If you think it sounds like a line from a song, you're right.. Forty years ago a group called Kansas recorded this Kerry Livgren song called "Dust in the Wind."  It was, at the time, one of the most popular songs on the Top Ten Charts. (It never made Number One but did get to Number Eight.)


Look at the headline again. If the computer club cannot, in two months, find people who will volunteer to serve as an officer in the club next year (president, vice president, treasurer, secretary), perhaps the next time anybody hears "Dust in the Wind" sung will be at the funeral of the computer club. In today's class, chaired by Gene Fisher, club president Steve Lyon reported that, thus far, nobody has stepped forward to help run the club in 2019.  Election of club officers and approval of the budget are scheduled for Dec. 5.


Most of today's class touched upon ways to attract Greentrees men and women to attend the weekly classes. There is no charge. Once a month, Jep Norwood, who has been working with computers much of his life, comes in and answers any questions club members have. (How does one become a club member? Just show up.)


Perhaps the computer club has outlived its usefulness, suggested one club member this morning. Maybe the computer club should change its name to the Greentrees Technology Club since the majority of people in the park use their tablets and smart phones as often as they do their desktops and laptops.


Wrap-up. "Don't hang on, nothing lasts forever but the earth and sky. All we are is dust in the wind."  Well, maybe. By the end of today's class, however, everybody seemed to agree that the computer club was worth preserving. And, at last count, they were all still hanging on.   (For those who have forgotten the song.)



Computer Club Members Debate Security, Phone    s, Carriers 

Oct. 3, 2018. –A small yet spirited group of veteran computer club members  met this morning with club president Steve Lyon and explored a variety of topics. When one club member mentioned that he was thinking of buying a new cell phone, several of his fellow members offered their opinions about which type of phone they would buy--an Android or an Apple smart phone. The most popular phone agreed upon was the iPhone. Choosing a carrier, however, was a topic that elicited varying opinions. (Among today's smart phone users, AT&T was the number one choice.)


All of today's members had personal computers, as opposed to Apple devices. One of these days, said Steve, Microsoft will be releasing the second of its two large, yearly security updates for Windows 10. These, he said, will negate Microsoft's  necessity of creating new operating systems every year. Most members have switched to the Windows 10 operating system and those who still run Windows 7 were reminded that they have only a little over a year to install Windows 10 if they want to keep their computers safe.


Also in today's class were discussions of the optimum locations for icons. Some members kept icons for frequently used applications on the taskbar at the bottom of the monitor screen. One member likes her icons strung vertically along the screen's right side. "I like using a mouse," she said, "and I'm right-handed so having the icons on the right side of the screen makes sense to me."


 Members talked about applications that they liked and often used. One member said one his favorites sites was Flipboard,  which gathers and presents news from a variety of sources. Flipboard has both Android and Apple apps. A popular web site among computer club members is USA Today, which presents the news in a non-partisan way. -- Steve reminded members that they will elect club officers for 2019 at this year's Dec. 5 meeting. 


Apple Introduces New Operating System, Adds New iPhones
Sept. 26, 2018. -- Microsoft is not the only computer technology company that updates its operating systems, club members were reminded this morning when Richard Cortezzo, the club's Apple guru, currently living in Arizona, chatted, via FaceTime with several hardcore Apple enthusiasts in the club. Under the guidance of Gene Fisher, long an Apple products user, Richard pointed out that Apple had recently offered all of its users a new operating system, iOS12, which, he said, is supposed to make iPads and iPods work better as well as assuring folks using them and other Apple devices that improved computer security would be strengthened.


Much of today's class was devoted to explorations of Apple iPhones. Within the past few weeks, Apple has come out with both the iPhone XS (about a thousand dollars) and the iPhone XS Max (a few hundred dollars more). User reviews of the new iPhones will be appearing on the Internet within the next few months, as technophiles start grabbing up the phones and recording their likes and dislikes of the new devices. Most Internet web sites, however, have already reviewed the XS and the XS Max and the reviews are positive.


In October, Apple will start offering another new smart phone, the iPhone XR, whose price is listed at $749. The case on the XR will be made of aluminum instead of stainless steel, which wraps around the XS and  the XS Max. Plus, the XR will have only one camera instead of two, which are on the XS and the XS Max. Battery life for the XR, however, is reportedly as good as it is for the iPhone XS and the iPhone XS Max.


Smart phone owners have a choice of carriers. Richard Cortezzo has Consumer Cellular and said he is pleased with their service (about $40 a month) whether he is in Florence or down in Arizona. Carrier fees depend upon the plans users choose. Computer club members present today use a variety of carriers and expressed satisfaction with their carrier's service. Richard's iPhone 5 has, he said, the basic iPhone apps as well other applications he has added, e.g. eBay, USA Today, HP Smart, Underground Weather (free, available through iTunes), CNET, and Consumer Reports, among others.


How often do people charge their iPhones?  Whenever they need charging, most replied. One club member said he was a frequent user of his iPhone and charged it when he went to bed at night. He also said that he carried his phone in a front pocket that had no keys that might scratch up the phone's screen. 


Pay Attention to Processor When Buying New Computer-- Jep
Sept. 19, 2018 – Jep Norwood told computer club members this morning what to look for when they decide it's time for a new desktop or laptop. "Make sure your new computer has at least an i5 processor and 8 gigs of RAM," he advised. New and faster processors will cost you a bit more, he said, as will several gigs more of RAM. Whatever computer you decide on, said Jep, you'll be given a choice about how large you want your hard drive to be. The Internet keeps getting larger and larger, he said, which means we have to make a few decisions before we buy. Unless one is an Apple fan, chances are good that one's new computer will  be a PC and have a variety of features.

On his website  Jep explains where to find a USB-C port and why we will probably want such a port. (It's good for charging devices frequently used as well as a connection to the computer one is currently working with.)  Farther on down the page he reviews features one can find on laptops made by Dell. If he were buying a new laptop, he said, he'd look for one under $600.

One club member expressed disappointment when using Microsoft's Word application. Jep noted that in the near future Word will undoubtedly be available only on a pay-per-month basis with the cost depending on which features of the program the user most often uses. He suggested  that those unhappy with Word should download and try Libre, which, he said, is free. One way to get Libre, he said, is to go to the Ninite  site and put a check mark in the space for Libre. Ninite not only downloads programs but keeps them updated. 

More Advice. Microsoft still hasn't decided, said Jep, whether Windows 10 is the last operating system it will build or whether Windows 10 users can keep up with security issues of Win10 by periodically downloading security updates. Some of the Win10 updates are "massive" said Jep and suggested people downloading the operating system's updates not get discouraged. -- Jep does not like Norton products and warned against their use. -- He also cautioned that changing ink cartridges in printers that cost less than a hundred dollars could prevent the devices from working properly. Use only genuine cartridges in your printers, he said. One club member, partial to Canon printers, suggested Atlex  as a source for ink and toner cartridges.

Still More Advice.  Social Security will not telephone you, said Jep. Nor will Microsoft. Be wary when you hear the word "computer" spoken by the person calling you. Hang up. If anyone doubts that bad guys are out to get your money, your name, your social security number, and your passwords, go to Google and do a search. The results might be disheartening but they will be instructive. 


Streaming TV Explained, Examined in Today's Computer Class

Sept. 5, 2018. --  It's not easy understanding this whole business of streaming TV. According to Wikipedia, "Streaming television is the digital distribution of television content, such as TV shows, as streaming video delivered over the Internet." In this morning's computer class, club president Steve Lyon spent the hour explaining streaming TV and showing everyone some of the devices one can use on a smart TV to turn it into a streaming device. Several club members present today had streaming devices and told their fellow members both the good and less pleasant aspects of their devices. 

What's the best service? Which device or devices do I need? Said Steve, "No two services are alike, so if you're interested you're going to have to do some exploring." He suggested PC Magazine's web site as well as the sites for CNET and other popular computer sources. One member, admitting to lack of knowledge on the subject of streaming suggested fellow members just beginning their investigation might profit from the Tech for Luddites site..


Smart TVs make it simple if connected to the Internet, said Steve, and noted that most TVs sold today--except for the cheapest models--are smart TVs. Several factors are at play, he said, when one enters into an agreement on streaming. Some ISPs offer various bundles at varying prices. It's probably wise when considering providers to ask yourself if there are other devices in your home that use some of the bandwidth allotted in the agreement one has with one's provider.


Steve suggested several online sources for information about streaming TV. Among them: Consumer Reports ; Wikipedia List of Streaming Media Devices ; PC Magazine Best Video Streaming Services of 2018 .  A Google search will turn up dozens more sites on streaming. 


Members Debate Future of Greentrees Village Computer Club 
Aug. 29, 2018. –   The Greentrees computer club will have a new president next year. Who that will be won't be determined until December, when the club elects its officers for the coming year (2019). Steve Lyon, this year's president, and Gene Fisher, who chaired this morning's get-together, asked their fellow club members to either volunteer to fill one of the club's offices (president, vice president, secretary, treasurer) or help persuade someone they know to take on one of the positions.


In today's class, a few of the members, citing flagging attendance at recent meetings, proposed doing away with the club, a suggestion that brought a strenuous objection from Gene and other longtime members. Gene volunteered to take on the job of club treasurer even though he admitted to being a "snowbird." Another veteran member lamented, "No computer club! What am I supposed to do Wednesday mornings?"  


Today's other business. Gene called everyone's attention to Pinterest, one of his favorite websites. It's sort of like Google search, he said, but its main purpose is to provide a way to assemble information about a hobby or a personal project. Another good site for cataloging information about a specific topic, said Gene, is iBook, which can be used by both Apple and PC users. -- Pat Miller noted that she is meticulous about keeping track of the manuals for the products she buys by using either the manufacturer's website or Google's search feature. The results, she said, she kept on her computer. 


Greentrees Computer Club Members Meet, Greet and Eat Pizza 

Aug. 22, 2018. -- Old friendships were rekindled this morning as the Greentrees Village computer club got together for a combined pizza party and swap meet. 

 Veteran club members introduced themselves to the club's recent newcomers as club president Steve Lyon made sure everyone present had a chance to help themselves to generous servings of gourmet pizza, fruit salad and chocolate éclairs.  Beverages ranged from bottled water to a variety of colas to beer.


Gene Fisher, a longtime club member, undertook the responsibility of collecting and displaying several tables laden with electronic equipment that members donated for the swap meet that ran concurrently with the pizza party. Gene's wife Melissa, who helped plan today's festivities, was, unfortunately, busy over in Eugene for the day. Before the gathering broke up, Steve Lyon invited everyone to contribute suggestions for upcoming computer classes. In turn, all of today's pizza lovers thanked Steve, Gene, Melissa and others for making this year's festivities a time to remember. 


Jep Norwood -- Greentrees Village Computer Club Answer Man 
Aug. 15, 2018.  – Computer users never seem to run out of questions to ask about their devices, operating systems or applications. Fortunately for Greentrees computer club members, Jep Norwood shows up on the third Wednesday of every month to answer the questions that are baffling the men and women looking for answers. In this morning's computer club class, Jep not only answered questions but added some observations he has made over the past month or so as he went about his business of repairing computers.
One discovery, he said, halfway surprised him: Windows 10 must be open if you want to run your computer in safe mode.
Jep still likes Microsoft's Windows 10 operating system but thinks it not that much better than Windows 7, whose days are numbered. (After 2020, Microsoft will no longer update Windows 7.) Sometimes, he said, when one is trying to reach a banking web site, one's computer will slow down to almost a crawl.  The reason for this, according to Jep, is that Windows 10 almost always is updating its operating system and when these updates download onto one's computer, it slows the device down. At times like this, he said, it's up to the user: try a different browser or just download and install whatever updates Microsoft thinks we need.
Be careful when using CCleaner, Jep warned. "And whatever you do, don't check the Avast box." Once Avast gets on a computer, said Jep, it's hard to get off. -- When searching for a program you think you just have to have on your computer, he said, beware of the first half dozen or so Google sites offered. "Chances are good they contain stuff that you do not want on your computer." -- Something  else to avoid, according to Jep: Microsoft Authenticator app. (More here.)
Like a few club members, Jep was disappointed by the passing of Picasa, a photo editing and cataloging application that Google has now stopped updating and supporting. Someone suggested that there were still several ways of emailing photographs. Whichever photo editing application one uses, said Jep, the key to keeping track of photos is labeling (often called tagging, in photospeak) every picture as soon as it is downloaded from one's camera to one's computer. Picasa made it easy for photographers to crop and edit pictures, arrange them in folders and email them with a couple of simple clicks. Photographers today have a wide choice of photo editing programs, with most of them capable of emailing photos.

Next Wednesday (Aug. 22) is the date set for the club's annual pizza party and equipment swap meet. Club president Steve Lyon encouraged folks with things they don't, or can't use, to bring them next Wednesday. 


Veteran Computer Club Members Get Together, Swap Ideas 
Aug. 8, 2018. -- A small yet enthusiastic group of veteran computer users got together  this morning under the leadership of club president Steve Lyon, who said that a scheduling mix-up might have led some Greentrees folks to believe that no computer club  meeting was slated for today. Half a dozen club members did meet, however, and spent the hour helping each other and explaining why certain web
sites or computer applications were their favorites.


Dari Johnson, who said that her iPhone sometimes interrupted her evening's sleep with messages from Facebook, followed along as Steve and other iPhone users showed Dari how to get a good night's sleep with no interruptions. Jay Musson said he often began his day by watching the USA news site, then explained why he liked an app called Flipboard, which brings together news and other information and presents it in a magazine format. Everett Collier said that one of his favorite Internet sites was Numbers, primarily an Apple site devoted to whatever it is one wants to do with numbers. Jim Fleming surprised everyone by noting that he often began his day by putting his computing devices aside and just carrying on with the day's activities.


Club president Steve Lyon--who confessed to favoring Microsoft apps for his personal computing--reminded everyone that the Greentrees office will notify them, via email, of street paving, water line excavations and other repair work in the park if they will put their name and email address in the space provided on the club's web site. .  



Outwitting Criminals No Easy Matter Says Steve Lyon 
Aug. 1, 2018. –How can you tell if the person you're dealing with is honest? If he's holding a gun pointed at your heart and yelling, "Your money or your life!" you can be pretty sure the fellow is a criminal. These days, however, criminals aren't that obvious when they try to steal your money. Many of them you undoubtedly run into every day when you get out your computer, connect to the Internet, do a little surfing. and check your email. So, how do you tell the good guys from the bad guys?


It's not always easy and in a two-page handout entitled "Information Security" that computer club president Steve Lyon wrote and in this morning's computer class handed out to his fellow club members, Steve suggested that whatever else computer users do they should be cautious. What computer criminals want from you--besides your money-- is personal information, said Steve. With this information the bad guys find it relatively easy to break into personal accounts that provide them with the information needed to do everything from hacking into and stealing from banking accounts to broadcasting personal details of one's private life, which can sometimes lead to extortion schemes.


To keep your computer safe, Steve said, keep your operating system software up to date and turn on your firewall. If you have to leave your computer on where there is the possibility of others seeing what you've been working on, he said, get a program that will lock the screen for a specified time. Don't attach backup devices to your computer until you are ready to use them. Occasionally check to see if the applications you frequently use are up to date. When you're on the Internet, said Steve, make sure you know where you're going. If you're on a social media site, keep your profile private.


Make sure, Steve said, that your shopping and banking sites have URLs that start with HTTPS (the S stands for secure). If you have a relatively new computer, he said, you'll probably have the Windows 10 operating system on it and Windows 10 has a built-in anti-virus program called Defender. Folks with Windows 7 computers have until 2020 to update their machines to Windows 10 before Microsoft stops supplying Win7 security updates.


Steve listed several social media cautions, e.g. Do not post personal contact or financial information. Do not put anything onto a social media page that you don't want others to see or share. If you're going to be away from your home for a few days, don't advertise it to would-be burglars. -- Re passwords: the longer the better. Keep your passwords written down in an address book that is easily accessible. Don't use the same password for all the sites you visit.


To sum up: Beware of phishing scams. Look for misspellings, bad grammar and punctuation or other errors. Do not click on links from senders you don't recognize and trust. Above all, said Steve: "Be very cautious."  


Club Sets August 22 Date for Annual Pizza Party and Swap Meet
July 25, 2018. – Melissa Fisher volunteered this morning to host the computer club's annual swap meet and pizza party, set for Wednesday, August 22.  Melissa and husband Gene have been doing this several years now and every get-together, said one club member,  seems to exceed that of the previous year's party when it comes to abundance and tastiness of the food. Members with computer-related devices that no longer work or are no longer wanted may be dropped off at Gene's house here in Greentrees.  


Gene brought with him to class today a USB drive on which there was a program called Xtra-PC, which contains a download of the Linux operating system plus instructions for installing the device's contents on one's computer. Although Linux may be downloaded at no cost onto most any older computer, said Gene, the basic version if Xtra-PC costs $34.99 The manufacturer's web site offers other versions of the program.


Much of today's class time was devoted to installing Xtra-PC. Gary Berry, an ex colleague of Gene Fisher, explained to the owner of an almost defunct laptop computer how Xtra-PC could be downloaded and installed. Gary noted that he is not fond of using the "cloud" for backing up but, rather stores his data on an SD card. "They used to be expensive," he said, "but now you can pick up an SD card with a terabyte of storage for about $99." Can Xtra-PC be used on an Apple computer? "Yes, " said Richard Cortezzo, the club's Apple guru. "You just need an adapter."  Another club member noted that Linux was a free download and suggested folks thinking of using the Xtra-PC stick first  read over the reviews of the device on C-Net and other computer sites.  


Need a New Computer? Get Yourself a Dell, Suggests Jep 

July 18, 2018. – Your old computer is eight or nine years old  and occasionally acting up, which means it's time to get yourself a new one.

But which brand? Fortunately, the Greentrees computer club  has for the past dozen years been blessed with the guidance of someone who has known and used just about every make of computer one can think of. That person is, of course, the club's computer guru Jep Norwood, who every month teaches a class for the club and answers any and all questions relating to computing. "Which computer would I suggest someone buy today?" Jep asked, and answered with "a Dell." Not that other brands are bad, he said in this morning's class, it's just that Dells "have so much less crap," on them compared to other brands.


If you're getting a new computer and want to access the Internet, said Jep, you'll need to make sure your new computer has a browser, an application that connects to Internet sites and puts them on your computer. To do this, he said, you will probably want to have the Windows 10 operating system on your machine. The best ISP (Internet Service Provider) in Florence, Jep said, is Spectrum, which provides its customers with a router. The router, he said, allows someone with, say, a laptop, to sit in an easy chair or at a table and pick up the wireless signal put out by the router.


When buying a new computer, said Jep, make sure you don't get the Windows 10S operating system ("The S stands for stupid."). Dell computers come with MacAfee antivirus programs, he said but added that they can be removed. Defender is the best antivirus app and comes with Windows 10, he said, adding that Windows 10 will, in the future, not be replaced with Windows 11, 12, etc, but will, rather, be updated twice a year by Microsoft. The best place to buy a new Dell, suggested Jep, would probably be Costco, Best Buy, or some other large retail store. (One club member said he had just found out that Costco is, for the moment, adding another full year to warranties.)


More. In other business this morning, Jep suggested that folks with computers slow to load should look at the Start Up tab in msconfig and remove programs that are slowing down one's computer. How fast should download speeds be? For Greentrees folks, connection speeds should be in the lower or mid 60s, he said. He cautioned about believing most of the TV advertising promising increased download speeds.


Still More. Asked why he wouldn't recommend an Apple computer, Jep emphasized he had nothing against Apple products. Unfortunately, he said, Eugene is the only place a Florence computer owner can go to have an Apple machine repaired. -- As for the reason photos cannot be sent via Gmail in Picasa, he had no definitive answer but said that Google will one day come up with the answer and make it possible for the Gmail feature in Picasa to again work as it once did. 


Home Security Now Available for As Low as Twenty Dollars

July 11, 2018. -- Gene Fisher and Richard Cortezzo  told computer club members this morning how, for an absurdly low price, they can

keep an eye on their homes while they are away. How?  With a Wyze camera, a small cube-shaped camera that sits on a desk or attaches to a wall and records in wide-angle video and audio the comings and goings in a room.  The cost? $20, noted Gene, who brought his Wyze cam's basic version with him to class. Richard paid a few more dollars and has an advanced version of the camera.


Using an app supplied by the camera maker, the viewer can, using a smart phone, configure the camera in a variety of modes. Gene started off today's class by showing a YouTube video introducing the Wyze camera. A second video  illustrated how to set up the camera and install the app. Storage space on the camera can be expanded by using an SD card that fits into a slot in the cube.


The majority of the web sites in Google that reviewed the wyze camera were enthusiastic about the device. A few reviewers questioned how the Wyze cam enterprise could prosper since it does not charge a daily, weekly, monthly or yearly fee to use its product. "Pay your one-time $20 or $30 dollars and you're set," said one computer site reviewer and suggested that if the company is to survive it might, in the future, be forced to charge at least a small fee. For those interested in how the camera came into being, this link  to Wyze Labs explains the thinking behind the birth of the Wyze camera.


 Some of the camera's features that appealed to club members today: You can not only listen to the camera using the supplied app but can talk to it. "Sparky, you know you're not allowed to drink water from the toilet!" Amazon's  Wyze page lists camera accessories. A Google search will turn up reviews, both enthusiastic and some less so, of the Wyze camera, which is made in China.


In other computer activities this morning, Richard Cortezzo, showed a fellow club member how to transfer iPhone photos onto a laptop computer, at the same time ensuring that the photos also remain on the camera. 


Apple Lovers Get Preview of New Operating System 
June 27, 2018. -- Richard Cortezzo, Greentrees computer club resident Apple products expert, this morning gave his fellow club members a preview of an upcoming operating system designed for iPads and iPhones. The new system, iOS 12, came out in a beta version two days ago and is a free download. The full version is expected to be released sometime this fall, most probably in September.


Before downloading and installing the Beta version of iOS 12, said Richard, it would be a good idea to first back up one's iPad or iPhone. This suggestion was echoed by several computer related web sites reviewing iOS 12,  The Verge  lists most of the new features of iOS 12 (A Google search will turn up more reviews of the operating system.)


One new feature of the new operating system is the ability to accommodate 32 people on FaceTime in one session. Another feature, bound to be popular, is the ability to create Memojis, personal avatars of one's self that can go a long way of spicing up a conversation.  


 In other matters relating to Apple products, Richard noted that Apple will fix MacBook keyboards that have keys that stick. One club member told everyone about his latest encounter with someone he suspected of a scam. He said he didn't get suspicious until he was asked for his social security number and other personal information.


Time Running Out for Windows 7 Security Updates, Warns Jep  

June 20, 2018. Jep Norwood reminded members of the computer club this morning that Microsoft's  Windows 10 spring update should bynow be installed on their Windows 10 machines. There will also be a fall update, said Jep, then starting next year, there'll be no more Windows 10 versions, only two yearly updates. People with Windows 7 and earlier versions of the operating system should give serious thought about putting Windows 10 on their machines. Jep said he would put Windows 10 on a Windows 7 desktop or laptop and charge $100 for each machine. After Dec. 31, 2019,  Microsoft will stop issuing security updates for Windows 7 computers. 

On Jep's Computer Lessons  web site is an icon  for an application called Ninite, which lets the computer user download and install several apps at the same time. "Whatever you do," warned Jep, "don't put Avast on your computer."  It'll ruin your computer," he said, "and it's a bear to take off." There is an Avast removal program, he noted, but added that it does not always work as advertised. Ninite is, however, a good place to get the free version of Malwarebytes.  

How often do you need  a new operating system on your desktop or laptop? About every eight years, suggested Jep. "After eight years, most operating systems start getting  "hinkey," he said and added that it was probably heat that leads to the breakdown of most computers. -- Some things to stay away from, according to Jep:  "Norton," lamented Jep. "It's the worst." He is also no fan of programs that automatically back up data. "Get some spyware while you're web surfing," he said, "and, if you use an automatic back up program, it's on your computer forever." 

More from Jep.  Be wary about signing up for a Microsoft account; they just want your money. -- Stay way from the Dark Web unless you know what you are doing. It's a refuge for scammers and other ne'er-do-wells. -- Check out the folders in Jep's Backup Program.    -- Spyware slows down your computer. -- Remember: "This stuff doesn't always work, and it's not your fault."



Gene Fisher Welcomes Questions in Today's Class

June 13, 2018. – Longtime club vice president Gene Fisher not only welcomed questions from fellow club members at this morning's get-together but suggested solutions to many of the problems that were perplexing both club veterans and newcomers. If someone has a question, said Gene, "Google it." He showed one club member, a relatively newcomer to Florence, how to go about finding a restaurant that serves Mexican food. A Google search turned up half a dozen Florence restaurants featuring Mexican cuisine.

One club member reminded everyone that yesterday was the second Tuesday of the month or, as Microsoft aficionados call it, "Patch Tuesday." (Also called Update Tuesday.)  He also called everyone's attention to the expiration of security updates for Windows 7. Starting in January of 2020, he said, most PC computer users will want to have Windows 10 on their machines. People with Windows 7--and older versions of Windows--he said will stop getting updates for their devices. This, said Gene, will put them at risk for malware, viruses and ransom ware. 


Club Members Go on Guided Tour of Wireless Communications

June 6, 2018 – Steve Lyon this morning took his fellow computer club members on an guided tour of Wireless Communication, a subject

with a dizzying array of acronyms (WAN, MAN, LAN, PAN) and easily confused terminology (Got a bad Bluetooth device? No, a dentist can't fix it). Along the way, the class learned that Wi-Fi  does not mean wireless fidelity but rather: "Wi-Fi (wifi) is the name of a popular wireless networking technology that provides users with wireless high-speed Internet and network connections." Source


Using a handout and  charts projected onto the club's screen, Steve spelled out how the various wireless communication types worked.  The Wide Area Network (WAN), he noted, is used by cellular systems such as phone companies; seen as LTE on most modern phones. A Metropolitan Area Network (MAN) covers a city, e.g. Portland, or a large campus such as the University of Oregon.


Most computer users have heard of and use a Local Area Network (LAN), which encompasses a building of larger area, or Wi-Fi. and generally requires a router. In Greentrees, said Steve, there are LAN networks in the multi-purpose room where the computer club holds its meetings, and in the coffee room. Still another network is the Personal Area Network (PAN), where communications are generally within the reach of a person, Bluetooth for example. If you have a wireless mouse that you are using with your laptop, Steve said, you also have a small Bluetooth device that plugs into one of the ports on your computer and, using Bluetooth technology, enables the wireless mouse to connect to your computer. 

Routers and modems also came under discussion in today's class. About a month ago, the F.B.I. issued a warning  that thieves were using malware to steal information from popular routers. Reboot your router, suggested the F.B.I. --  One club member showed the device he uses to open the door of his car. He also said that he sometimes used his smart phone to turn up (or turn down) the thermostat that he has in his house in California.


Jep Proposes Plan to Punish Persistent Phone Pests
May 16, 2018. – Have trouble connecting with your favorite web sites yesterday? If Spectrum (aka Charter) is your Internet service provider, Jep Norwood told today's computer club class, chances are good that you had some connectivity breakdowns. In a perfect world, we'd put in our URL and almost instantly be transported to our online destination, said Jep. Until that day comes, he cautioned, just be prepared to put up with an occasional glitch. Or two.

No matter which browser you use, said Jep, chances are that it won't sometime work, e.g. when trying to connect to your bank's website to check up on your finances. Truth be known, Jep said, every browser has some kind of problem, which means that if your current browser can't do the job you want it to do then try a different browser. After many years working with computers, Jep's dictum about computers has not changed: "Nothing is always working the way it should."

Windows Spring Creators Update, Jep told the class, is no more. It's got a new name, he said: it is now Windows 10 April Update, and either has already been downloaded onto your computer or is download ready. It's a "huge, massive" update, he said, and will take over an hour to download. This is Microsoft's Windows 10 version number 1803, he said, and will be installed on your computer "whether you want it or not."

More. To those folks who get confused trying to keep up with the latest Microsoft Windows operating system designations, Jep had good news. "There isn't going to be a Windows 11--or 12 or 13, for that matter." In the future, he said, Microsoft will issue two big updates every year. --  Jep is not enamored with touch screens and said that most of the monitors that he used with touch screens were so dirty that reading the screens was often difficult. -- To one class member bedeviled with frequent phone calls from a persistent advertiser, he suggested putting the caller on the federal no-call list. If someone is driving you batty on the phone, Jep's solution: get yourself a loud whistle and the next time the pest calls, let out a blast with the whistle.


May 3, 2018. -- If you use Twitter, it might be a good idea to change your password. More information at KrebsonSecurity

Jep Norwood Full of  Reminders, Suggestions, Cautions

April 18, 2018. – Jep Norwood began his monthly Greentrees Computer Club class this morning with a reminder to club members that

while installing an ad blocker program on one's computer might seem like a good idea, all it has done when Jep has put such an app on his computer is to slow it down. To remove bits and pieces of data that slow a computer down, Jep recommend using the geek uninstaller program, a link to which he has here  on his website. Updating the program about once a year, he said, is sufficient to keep it running efficiently.


Another program many people think they need is the latest version of WinZip, said Jep. "If I worked on your computer," he said, "I would have installed a good, free version of WinZip on your computer and there's no need for you to have the latest pricey version of the program." -- Something else PC computer owners would be better off living without, he said, is anything put out by Apple. And, if you have an Apple, you should not be loading up your computer with Microsoft applications.


Several years ago, Jep said, he applied to Apple for permission to set himself up as a certified Apple repair facility in Florence. Apple replied, he said, that if anyone needed help with their Apple product, Eugene wasn't that far away from Florence. The over-100 mile Florence-Eugene-Florence round trip may not sound like a huge inconvenience, said Jep, but a couple of round trips can take out of the day a chunk of time that could be more profitably spent working at one's home shop


More from Jep. -- Spring Creators update from Microsoft has been postponed. And when it arrives, he said, it won't allow Windows 10 users to use safe mode. -- One reason Internet access in homes slows down is because of rusty cable connections underneath the dwelling. When you call Spectrum to get someone to crawl under your home to check connections, said Jep, ask for Nathan, whose technical expertise has been commended by computer club members. For jobs that Jep said his age might prevent him from doing (crawling through tight spaces), he recommended Full Spectrum.


Still more.  Ransom ware has diminished lately on personal computers, said Jep. However, it's still a major headache for businesses that will often pay big bucks to get stolen data back. -- Computer users can get themselves locked out of a machine if they twice enter an incorrect activation code number. -- Don't leave your computer hooked up to a backup device; download a virus on your computer and it will automatically go into your backup device. -- Can you open Spam email? Yes but do not open attachments. 


Facebook Co-Founder Zuckerberg Spars with Congress

April 11, 2018. -- Watched anything interesting on TV lately?  We spent an hour or two watching Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook,testifying before a bipartisan Congressional panel and trying to explain how it came to be that millions of Facebook users discovered that personal details of their lives had been harvested from Facebook pages by people who then sold the information to Internet advertisers or to political operatives. We watched only sporadically and came away with a few observations.


 First, anything to do with the Internet is complicated and will probably become more so in the future. Second, we were surprised to learn that the senators and representatives who questioned Zuckerberg seemed  upset that personal information about almost everybody was appearing online and available to anyone with a computer with an Internet connection. When a Congressman asked Zuckerberg how Facebook made money, Zuckerberg replied: "From advertising." Facebook sells its users' information to advertisers.  


Brian Krebs, a one-time investigative reporter for the Washington Post who for the last several years has had his own website dedicated to computer security, is perplexed that Facebook users choose to reveal to anyone with a Facebook connection--it costs nothing to join--the most intimate and often embarrassing details about their lives. There are 230 million Facebook users in the U.S. as of January 2018. The U.S. is second only to India, which has 250 million users. (China blocks access to Facebook.) There are 2 billion active monthly Facebook users worldwide. How many Facebook users are there on other planets? We probably won't ever find out because we earthlings are just too busy filling our Facebook pages with personal information that few people--with the exception of ourselves--care to read. 


Crime Wave Blamed on Phone Booth Shortage for Superman

April 4, 2018. -- Looking for someone to feel sorry for?  How about Clark Kent. Born on Krypton, raised by foster parents in Smallville, Kansas, Kent is a mild-mannered reporter for the Daily Planet in Metropolis where, should there be skulduggery afoot, he is magically transformed into red and blue clad crime fighter called Superman, who swoops down upon the miscreants and gives them their comeuppance. 

So why do we need to feel sorry for Clark Kent? Because he needs a place to change out of his everyday clothing and into his Superman costume. Years ago, when he first started working in Metropolis, he would duck into a phone booth, perform a few sartorial contortions, then emerge as the Superman every American boy and girl cheered for as the Man of Steel wreaked havoc on Lex Luthor and his ilk-- morally depraved villains somehow reminiscent of a few prominent people of today. 

So what's Clark Kent's trouble? Why should we feel sorry for him? Because he no longer has a place to change from his everyday clothing into his Superman costume. Because there are no phone booths left in America. Kent could, of course, go into one of those Unisex rest rooms favored by "progressive" or "enlightened" enterprises, but once Kent, or Superman, was spotted emerging from the room, there would, invariably, be an instant clamor from some women's (or men's) pressure group. 

What happened to the phone booth? Cell phones did them in. In today's computer club class presided over by club president Steve Lyon, only one member in the class admitted that he had neither a regular cell phone nor a smart phone. He did confess that at one time a few years ago he had an inexpensive cell phone but threw it away after years of trying to understand how it worked. A self-confessed Luddite, he swore he'd never have a more complicated phone than the wired phone he now has at home. 

Those members in today's class with smart phones huddled and swapped hints on the use of their devices. Prices for cell phones today range from a thousand dollars for the iPhone X (Ten) to a hundred dollars for a refurbished iPhone SE. Carriers such as AT&T, Verizon and Consumer Cellular charge varying amounts that are dependent upon several factors, e.g. data storage space, calling areas, coverage.

April 4, 2018. -- More on cell phones.  Most of the people in today's computer club class pooh-poohed one  club member's warning that cell phones might be giving off radiation that causes some types of cancers. The Scientific American article referenced below might change some minds. Or not. Following is the Scientific American article link. 


Big Windows 10 Update Coming Next Month Says Jep
March 21, 2018. – April brings showers that help flowers bloom in May. April to computer users this year, said Jep Norwood this morning in his monthly class--today mostly on Windows 10--is scheduled by Microsoft to deliver Spring Creators Update. According to Microsoft, this latest big update should take no more than 30 minutes to install. If your computer is relatively old, said Jep, be prepared to spend more than half an hour downloading and installing Spring Creators Update.


Part of the new update,  said Jep, is called Controlled Folder Access, which, if actuated, can stop any software from installing on your computer. But, said Jep, once you turn on Controlled Folder Access, you can't do things with your computer that you routinely do, e.g. download a picture of your grandchildren. If you're scared that you'll become the victim of ransom ware, Jep suggested you activate the program. Otherwise, he said, the best protection against having someone stealing your data and refusing to return it is to back up your computer. Jep's web site  illustrates how to do this.


Another caution from Jep: Once you start downloading an app (e.g., an update), don't turn off your computer. Another caveat: Don't buy a computer with Windows 10S on it because if you do you'll be restricted to using only apps sold at the Windows 10 store. Still another caution: Before downloading what is advertised as free versions of software, read installing instructions carefully. "If bad things happen to you on the Internet," said Jep, "you're the one who did it." Sometime, he said, you might get a scary  message on your screen. Stop what you're doing, said Jep, and press your computer's on/off button and hold it in for several seconds. This usually solves your problem, he said.


Turning to computer accessories, Jep said that  anyone with a printer that cost less than $100 shouldn't expect more than two year's service from the device. One way to ruin a printer, he said, is to grab hold of a sheet of paper stuck in the printer and give it a good yank. Another printer killer, he said, is to just let the printer sit and rarely use it. Use printer inks made for the printer you have, Jep recommended.. 


Members Look at Features of Microsoft's Windows 10  
March 7, 2018. --  This site has the URL for a YouTube video called How to Clear Cache in Windows 10. Which prompts one to ask the question: Why do I want to clear the cache in my Windows 10 computer?  Google has the answer: when a computer is loaded down with bits and pieces of recently visited websites, chances are good that the computer will slow down and nobody likes a pokey computer. In this morning's computer class, club president Steve Lyon gave his fellow club members a handout entitled How to Clear Cache in Windows 10, which, he said, he recently received from Gary Smith, the club's secretary . To make directions in the Windows printout easier to follow, Steve wrote down the steps one should follow to clear one's computer of the cache that is responsible for slowing down the machine. 

After reminding everyone that backing up one's computer is not difficult, Steve demonstrated how he did his backup then brought up Jep Norwood's Back Up  on Jep's Computer Lessons website. Pat Miller then passed out to every member three handouts. The first, Remove Sleep from the Start Menu. "If your Start menu in Windows 10 contains the Sleep option and you do not use it," said Pat, "you can remove it." She then reviewed the settings for removing Sleep. 

Pat's second handout was Retaining Searches in Windows 10. As she put it: "When you enter a search and then click one result, the search windows closes. To check another result, you have to start all over again. Fortunately there's a way around this perplexing problem." Pat then proceeded to show how this difficulty could be resolved. 

Her final handout, Emojis in Windows 10 spelled out in detail how to configure one's computer so that one's email can be enlivened with emogi. This Verge article is on the inventor of emoji

More on emoji in this Wikipedia article. 


Feb. 21, 2018. Today's notes on Jep's class were compiled by computer club president Steve Lyon.

  • It was a typical Jep Norwood class this morning what with Jep answering questions and reminding club members of things they should and shouldn't do on their computers.
  • He reminded us that we should have easy access links to both Windows Settings and Control Panel.  They do many of the same things, but are just different enough that both are needed.
  • Jep has a link on his Elk’s webpage for Greentrees that takes the user to an article about Windows Troubleshooting.  He also pointed out users might consider going to Windows Settings/Update & Security/Troubleshooting if problems seem to be happening.  This doesn’t always work.
  • He also said not to give the Windows program your email address and password as it then gets bundled together and nearly impossible to separate later.

  • Likewise, he recommends to NOT have a power-on password.
  • Jep again reminded us that we need to perform backups on a regular basis.
  • Thumb drives that say they are 32 gigabytes will not hold 32 gigabytes of data as there is always overhead allocated to the device.  And this is true for all memory devices.
  • Speaking of thumb drives, he explained again the difference between USB 2 and USB 3.   USB 3 is about 10 times faster and is denoted by blue plastic in the connector.  They are interconnectable, but only when both sides are blue will the real speed take place.



Feb. 7, 2018. --  Greentrees resident Mardi Wetmore this morning  led a class of computer users interested in finding more ways to generate interest in the Internet among the park's men and women. At present, Mardi is the web master for the two sites that Greentrees has on the Internet. One site   was originally created by former club president Collette Bailey. The second, newer site, said Mardi, will contain information of particular interest only to Greentrees residents. For example, the community website will contain  Forum, Marketplace, and Blog tabs, all of which Mardi said she will shortly start working on. 


Questions About  Pads, Pods, Tablets? Gene Fisher Has the Answers

Jan. 31, 2018. –   Several members of the computer club have both a desktop and a laptop computer. A few have also treated themselves to an additional iPad or iPod. One member of the club, however, not only has these gadgets but also owns a Kindle, a smart phone and the latest tablets and is willing, indeed anxious, to impart his knowledge of these digital devices to his fellow computer club members. That person, of course, is Gene Fisher,  long-time member of the club and presently one of its co-vice presidents.


In this morning's class, Gene handed out a printout of the page from his latest blog, which outlined the topics he attempted to cover in the time allotted to him. To those who came without a digital device, Gene lent out iPads, Kindles, and various  tablets along with brief instructions on how to use them. One of Gene's favorite methods for collecting and cataloging related web sites (e.g. repairing GM motor homes--one of his many hobbies) is Pinterest, where one can find and plan projects.


Turning to books, Gene showed how to use one's computer to find books both old and recent, many of

them free (books whose copyright has expired are generally free) while the latest best sellers are available, at varying prices, on Amazon, iTunes and other book sellers. For those searching for manuals for household products, Gene suggested Googling the device name to reach the manufacturer or the publisher of the device's manual.


The last item on today's agenda was a brief tour of the club's computer lab. Club president Steve Lyon pointed out that the equipment in the lab is available for use by any computer club member. All one has to do, said Steve, is sign out the lab key in the Greentrees office, use the lab, then return the key to the office.


Jan. 29, 2018. -- The following warning is from KrebsonSecurity "Today, Jan. 29, is officially the first day of the 2018 tax-filing season, also known as the day fraudsters start requesting phony tax refunds in the names of identity theft victims. Want to minimize the chances of getting hit by tax refund fraud this year? File your taxes before the bad guys can!"

Jep Back for Another Year of Answering Questions

Jan. 17 , 2018. – Jep Norwood, the Greentrees Computer Club's longtime guru, was on hand again this morning, answering members' questions and dispensing advice on a variety of subjects. To those who don't like the idea of Cortana, Microsoft's virtual assistant created for Windows 10, listening to every word one utters, Jep has two suggestions--either ignore it or live with it. On his website  he spells out the steps one needs to go through to disable or eliminate Cortana.

Cortana is similar to Siri, said Jep, which is "no surprise" since Microsoft has of late  been stepping up its Windows 10 operating system to resemble Apple. -- Every now and then one of Jep's clients complains that the computer he or she has won't continue loading when it is turned on. Jep's solution: unplug the computer and hold in the Start button for 30 seconds, which drains the machine's capacitors. If the balky machine is a laptop, said Jep, remove the battery and then hold in the Start button. 

More Jep. The Edge browser can now open PDF files. -- After a "clean install"  of Windows 10, several apps need to be loaded manually, said Jep and added that he will one day soon make available a list of all the programs that do not automatically get installed. -- After installing Windows 10, create a shortcut to Control Panel and put it on your desktop. -- Four big Windows 10 updates are looming, said Jep, and the sooner they are downloaded and installed the easier and faster computing will be. -- Whenever you create a new password, write it down along with the phone number of the website where you got the program.


 Computers Need A Rest Now and Then -- Steve Lyon

Jan. 3, 2018. –  Greentrees Computer Club' s new president, Steve Lyon, today suggested that maybe the best way to begin computing in 2018 would be to unplug everything connected to one's computer and then wait five minutes. Then, he said, the fun of computer use and maintenance can begin. Nobody would think of buying a motor vehicle then never checking to see that it's running as efficiently as possible, said Steve. "Same thing with computers."  In this morning's class, he handed out a detailed checklist of things that can be done to make sure one's desktop or laptop is running at its optimal potential. 

The first item on Steve's checklist is Disk Cleanup, a program designed to free up disk space on one's hard drive. (More on Disk Cleanup here.) Next, said Steve, you might want to defrag your hard disk. Then, he said, open up Task Manager (There are various
says of doing this, including simultaneously pressing Ctrl+Alt+Del) In the Startup tab in Task Manager are listed the programs that start when you fire up your computer. If your computer seems to lag when you turn it on, chances are good, said Steve, that you are loading programs that you don't need or want. Just disable them and your computer won't take as long to begin doing its job. 

Steve emphasized that the programs he uses to maintain his computer aren't necessarily the ones other people use. Most of the people in today's class run CCleaner, he noted. To those who don't have CCleaner and want to download it--it's free-"just make sure you don't check the small box that would also put Avast on your computer." Jep Norwood has more than once warned that once Avast is on a computer that it's hard to get it off. As for one's antivirus, Windows Defender seems to be popular and does a good job, said Steve, who also suggested running Malwarebytes and Superantispyware regularly.  

One operation often neglected, he said, is backing up. When Steve backs up his laptop he first makes sure that he is not connected to the Internet by cable or Wi-Fi. This assures that he is not, inadvertently, backing up data that might be infected with malware. For more on backing up Windows 7 or 10, see Jep Norwood's Computer Lessons Backup. -- More from Steve: Uninstall applications using Control Panel; then use CCleaner and Disk Cleanup. -- Use compressed air with caution when cleaning the insides of your computer. -- A copy of Steve's Computer Maintenance checklist can be obtained at any computer club class. Steve's handout is below.


Jep's Last 2017 Class Ends with Advice, Warnings

Dec. 20, 2017 -- Jep Norwood began his last Greentrees computer club class of 2017  today with a warning about CC Cleaners. "It's still a great program," he said, "but people who download it often download Avast at the same time." Avast doesn't always work right, Jep said, "and it's a pain to get off your computer." How does it get on a computer? Carelessness, said Jep. "Just be careful when you download a new program to make sure that you're not also downloading lots of stuff that you don't want and don't need."

Lots of people think their computers need more powerful graphics cards (video cards) when they start using their computers to play games, said Jep. Not so, he said. "Most computers made today have graphics cards that will do just fine." Besides, he added, new cards are expensive. If you've got to have the best computer components, he said, get yourself a new processor rather than worry about whether the graphics card is slowing down your game playing.


Club secretary Gary Smith told everyone today how he replaced his dead pixel riddled laptop screen

with a new screen. After ruling out how much a new laptop would cost, he went online and found a screen that would fit his old laptop, where an ever-growing array of dead pixels was preventing him from enjoying a full-screen presentation of  photos and other graphics. After making sure the laptop was unplugged and the battery was removed, he carefully followed the directions that came with the new screen. The replacement job, he said, took about three hours and cost about a hundred dollars, only a fraction of the cost of a new laptop.  One of the hardest parts of replacing the screen, he said, was making some delicate connections between the laptop's camera and the wires and pins that had to be inserted. By the time Gary had finished describing how he got his old laptop refurbished with a new screen, some club members were besieging him for estimates to replace their old laptop screens.


More Jep. It's not an easy thing to do, putting a new screen on an old laptop, said Jep, who admitted he had done it no more than three times. "It's just not worth it," he said and admired the job Gary had done. One great source for do-it-yourselfers, he said, is YouTube. You name it, said Jep, and YouTube has a video on it. -- He reminded everyone to keep up their updates. -- When someone mentioned the dark web, Jep said that he'd prepare a class on the subject and talk about it one day. -- Jep will install Windows 10 on a Windows 7 desktop or laptop for $100. His price for a computer's annual checkup is  $67.50.  

Dec. 17, 2017. -- The  
California Department of Public Health has issued a warning about  the possible dangers of cell phone use by both children and adults. An excerpt from the report
: "Cell phone use in the U.S. has increased dramatically in recent years. About 95 percent of Americans own a cell phone, and 12 percent rely on their smartphones for everyday Internet access. In addition, the average age when children get their first phone is now just 10 years old, and a majority of young people keep their phones on or near them most of the day and while they sleep."
Computer Club Elects Steve Lyon as 2018 President
Dec. 6, 2017. – A healthy turnout of computer club members today chose Steve Lyon to lead them during the
coming year. Current president Collette Bailey presided over this morning's business meeting, which included secretary Gary Smith presenting the minutes of the club's two previous business meetings and treasurer Connie Goddard's detailing the expenditures proposed for 2018. Collette thanked everyone who had helped make 2017 a memorable year for the club and presided over the election of next year's officers: Steve Lyon, president; Co vice presidents Jim Fleming and Gene Fisher (who attended the meeting via Skype); Lea Rudd, treasurer; Gary Smith, secretary; Jay Musson, coordinator of advertising.

The club voted to add modest increases to gifts given annually to Greentrees Village employees, Jep Norwood, the Siuslaw library, and others who have assisted the club in a variety of ways. It also voted to buy a new computer for the coffee room, where, according to Gene Fisher, one of the computers is so old that it can barely function.  For several years, Gene has checked the computers in the coffee room as well as in the club's computer lab to make sure they are virus and malware free.

Jep Spends Morning Answering Members'  Questions
Nov. 15. 2017. – Jep Norwood, the computer club's long-time guru, spent most of his monthly class time this morning answering questions from club members. He called attention to an old favorite app called Belarc Advisor, which is a free download from File Hippo The website's description of the program: "Belarc Advisor is fast, easy to use, and gives you a surprisingly informative report of what makes up your computer system. It gathers information regarding things like any software installation, video card, CPU, RAM, software updates, as well as motherboard and network information. Where this application really shines though, is gathering software license information. It can find the correct product keys or serial numbers for your installed applications."

To those who are still undecided as to whether Internet Explorer or Chrome is the better browser, Jep suggested that Chrome would be the better choice. -- If constant advertising drives you crazy every time you surf the Internet, said Jep, you can always pay Google $48 and surf ad free. Ads are especially annoying when watching a video on YouTube, he said, and noted that many people feel it's worth spending $48 so they can get through a video without being constantly besieged with advertising.


Notes. -- Ever notice those little beeps when you turn on your computer? They're part of your computer's beep code, said Jep, and noted that every computer maker has its unique beep code. A Google search will find what your computer is trying to say, Jep said. -- Ever wonder why your computer keeps going slower and slower? Maybe it's the machine's fan, said Jep, and noted how more than once he has found a computer's fan clogged with dust and lint. Whether you have a desktop or laptop, he said, make sure you periodically vacuum out or blow out the insides of your computer. That fan has to turn to keep the computer at its optimum temperature.


More Notes. --  Every computer needs to be backed up, said Jep but then cautioned against using the backup program that comes with a new computer. "They just don't work," he said and showed everyone how to go to his website and follow backup instructions. How often you should back up your computer depends on the amount of data you put on it, said Jep. And the size of the thumb drive or external hard drive you use when backing up depends on how often you choose to back up your data.


Still more. -- If you have Picasa on your computer, said Jep, you can still use it but don't be surprised if some of the program's features disappear. Picasa, which Google no longer updates and has, in fact, retired, can still be downloaded from some websites in England, one club member pointed out. -- Write down passwords, said Jep. Memory going? Get passwords tattooed on your arm. Might be cheaper than having to reload your computer ($185). 

Nov. 4, 2017. --  Apple's iPhone X is the hottest item in the world of technology and millions of people throughout the world can't wait to get their hands on one. Prices range from a thousand dollars to about $1400 for an iPhone X with 256 Gigs of storage. Then there's the no-plug-in plate on which you can lay your phone to charge it. Then there are a dozen more accessories you don't want to live without if you want to be the envy of your friends. While you're basking in their adulation you might want to know how Alexander Graham Bell came up with the idea of a phone you could not only talk into but hear what the caller was saying. We found this Washington Post article fascinating.
Club Veterans Offer Advice, Tips in Today's Class
Nov. 1, 2017. – No matter how long someone has been using a computer, there always seems to be something
new to learn, and at this morning's computer club class, club president Collette Bailey and vice president Steve Lyon answered as many questions as they could about Windows computers, especially Windows software. Although only a few members have so far downloaded and installed Windows 10 latest update--Fall Creators Update--everyone with Windows 10 said they looked forward to installing the latest update even though they realized the process will take at least three hours before their Windows 10 operating system is fully functional.


Collette showed how she could quickly insert a paragraph or two into individual email messages while at the same time keeping the same paragraph or two from going to other email recipients. "You can always copy and paste," said Collette, but she prefers using a copy text app she found through Google. She also likes an old program called Yankee Clipper that she said she once got from Jep Norwood. Although Collette has Windows 10 on her computer at home, she said she gave her desktop a Windows 7 look to make getting around easier, especially after using Chrome, which replaced the Internet Explorer browser that she had on her Windows 7 machine.


Steve Lyon, who has installed Windows 10 on his computer, showed everyone how the layout of the Windows 10 menus differs from the menu arrangement in Windows 7. Several members had questions about email, mostly gmail, and  kept Collette and Steve busy explaining the difference between archiving an email and putting it in an appropriate folder in one's email program.


Collette reminded everyone that if they didn't know how to do something that there was always YouTube with its videos. To keep track of her notes, she uses AllMyNotes Organizer Free Edition. For those who want something new in photo editing, she suggested two free programs: Topaz Studio and ON1 Effects 10.5. 

Jep Introduces Microsoft Latest Update to Windows 10
Oct. 18, 2017. -- No sooner does Microsoft introduce a new operating system--Windows 10 is the latest--than its users, especially its critics, point out what they perceive as the system's flaws. This, in turn, spurs Microsoft to reexamine its system and, sometimes, to issue an update. In today's computer club class, Jep Norwood  showed club members some of the new features they would get when they downloaded Windows 10 Fall Creators Update onto their computers. Installing Fall Creators Update, said Jep, will take at least three hours to download and install, which, he said, would mean that the computer being loaded won't be able to do much of anything until the update is installed and running. Jep advised that the computer being updated have all of its programs up to date before the latest Windows 10 operating system is installed.

Which website maker to use is often a question prospective blog or website creators puzzle over. There are, said Jep, several apps available for creating websites but the one he would recommend to most people would be Wix.

Jep's choice of Wix is echoed by PC Magazine. Wix doesn't assume that its users know computer code and offers users several choices when it comes to formats. It also has several payment plans. The average Wix blog or website, said Jep, would probably cost about $100  year. Wix's biggest competition is Wordpress, which, like Wix, is popular.


More from Jep. Whenever you're working with a site that wants a password, be sure to write down the password. If you forget easily, get a tattoo. -- Before installing new apps, make sure your programs are up to date. -- When buying stuff online, use a credit card rather than a debit card. Credit card theft can be recovered; debit card losses no. -- Do not check your credit too often else you'll start getting ads for things you've looked at. -- Use your spyware and malware programs regularly. Jep's website is here.


 Dongle Streams Media onto Television Screen
Oct. 7, 2015. -- Looking for an inexpensive device that wirelessly connects your computer, phone or tablet to your
television set so that you can broadcast streaming media onto your TV screen? Maybe what you're looking for is a Google's
Chromecast dongle that sells for about $35, suggested Gary Smith this morning as he showed his fellow computer club members how to hook up and use the device. "The Chromecast dongle plugs into an HDMI port on your TV," said Gary, "and accepts  directions from either your computer, your smartphone or your tablet."


To use the Chromecast dongle, said Gary, you'll need a 2.4FHz Wi-Fi network and an Android or iOS smartphone, tablet or computer running the Chrome browser. "The faster your Internet connection," he said, "the better your performance will be, especially with Netflix."


When you use your phone or tablet to direct Chromecast to cast Internet material, the phone or tablet then becomes your remote control for Pause, Play or Stop, Gary said. Since the dongle is doing the broadcasting work, your phone or tablet is then free to take calls or do other work while the dongle streams the movie or media to the TV, he said.


On one of the handouts Gary gave members today are brief descriptions of devices similar to Chromecast. He said he owned an Amazon Fire TV Stick and liked it. "If I had to choose between the TV Fire Stick and the Chromecast dongle," he said,"I'd go with the Fire Stick." He mentioned Roku 3 ($97), a full-featured streaming device with a

good reputation but said he had not used it. Apple TV and Apple Air Play, also streaming devices,  he said, "integrate extremely well with the iPhone, iPad table and Mac computer."


Gary, in a handout, listed several links to YouTube videos about Chromecast. He suggested anyone with an interest in learning more about  Chromecast might want to search on Google and YouTube.


Sad news. Computer club members were saddened today to learn of the recent passing of Josephine "Josee" Tom, a longtime club member.

Members Learn to Digitize Old Records, Cassettes

Sept. 27, 2017. --  Club President Collette Bailey showed her fellow computer club members this morning how to

transfer music from a cassette or phonograph record onto an SD or USB flash card. Using a device from Boytone, she took a cassette of blue grass music, inserted it into the appropriate slot, adjusted the settings on the front of the device, then, after inserting a SD card into the SD slot, pressed play and recorded the music onto the SD card. She then inserted the SD card into her computer and downloaded the music into a file. Collette repeated the procedure, this time copying music from an LP record onto a USB card, which she then downloaded onto her computer.

Newer cars today, Collette noted, have a USB slot on their radios, which means that it's not necessary to put the music onto a computer before using it on one's car radio. The Boytone device she used in today's demonstration cost about $60, she said. Other models are available and the device, which also has an am/fm radio, is available online or in retail outlets such as Wal-Mart and Best Buy. Don't like the way the music sounds once it's recorded onto the USB or SD card? Try using Audacity,  a free, open source audio editor and recorder, she suggested.

Intrusive Videos Continue to Irk Greentrees Web Surfers
Sept. 20, 2017. – Jep Norwood had both good and bad news for computer users in this morning's Greentrees computer
club class. The bad news: more and more web sites these days are booby-trapped with suddenly-out-of-the-blue videos that come blasting out of one's computer. Jep's good news? There is one reliable way to stop these intrusive videos and that is to turn off your computer's speakers. Either turn down the volume completely, said Jep, or turn it low so that you can barely hear it and then if it's something you need to hear. turn up the volume. Jep's web site  has several recommendations for permanently removing these intrusive videos but, he said, he cannot guarantee that they will work as advertised.


Also on Jep's web page  is a discussion of CCleaners. "Trouble in CCleaners comes about only with 32-bit computers." Most Greentrees computer users, said Jep, don't have to worry. He showed everyone how, in Control Panel/System, to determine whether one had a 32 or a 64 bit computer. -- Be careful when exploring your computer's Registry, said Jep. Messing with it is "brain surgery."


Equifax, one of three major credit reporting agencies, has revealed in the Atlantic that highly sensitive personal and financial information for around 143 million U.S. consumers was compromised in a cybersecurity breach that began in late spring. According to KrebsOnSecurity  the number is probably closer to 200 million. Jep's web site has more on the breach here.


 More.  Putting an icon for a program is not the easiest thing to do in Windows 10. -- The Viper security app tries to do so much on your computer that it almost shuts it down. Don't use it. -- Viruses aren't the problem they once were. Today, ransom ware  and malware is where the damage is being done. --- Chrome is the best browser but Edge is a close second. -- Gmail account full? Get yourself a new email. Be wary when giving someone your email address. -- Adobe's Flash will be gone in a year or two.  


 Snowbird Moderators Offer Help Before Heading South

Sept. 13, 2017. -- Gene Fisher and Richard Cortezzo, two of the computer club's popular summertime workshop

moderators, were back at work again this morning helping PC and Apple users. Today's class, they said, will be their last until next May. Gene showed his fellow PC users how to determine which programs will load when someone starts up a computer. "In the Run box type in msconfig then open the Startup tab  and check the apps you want to run when you start up your computer." He also pointed out that Jep Norwood's Computer Lessons website lists the security apps that all PC users should have on their machines.


Richard Cortezzo fielded questions about Apple's latest iPhones--iPhone X (pronounced Ten, not ecks), iPhone 8, and iPhone 8 Plus. All three come with either 64G or 256GB storage. The 64GB iPhone X costs $999, the 256GB version $1149. The iPhone 8's are a few hundred dollars cheaper. All three phones can be charged by laying the phone onto a Qi pad (pronounced chee). The iPhone 8 can be ordered in a week or two. The iPhone X can't be ordered until Oct. 27 with deliveries beginning in November. "Just think," exclaimed one computer club member,  "the iPhone is only ten years old!"


One club member entertained the class, Jeopardy style, this morning by asking questions he said he thought the average Greentrees computer club member should know the answers to. A few of his questions: What percent raise will Social Security recipients get in 2018? (2%) -- In the equation e equals mc squared, what does c stand for? (The speed of light.) -- What was the name of the American 18th century Presbyterian minister who invented something that he hoped would diminish man's sinful, lustful nature? (Sylvester Graham, hence graham crackers.)
Club Members Treated to Apple iPhone Tips and Tricks
Sept. 6, 2017. – "Mr. Watson, come here. I want to see you." The words, by now immortal, were uttered by  Alexander Graham 
Bell in 1876 to his assistant, Thomas Watson, who was in a nearby room and on the receiving end of a contraption that would, and did, change history--the telephone. In this morning's computer club class, Steve Lyon, using his iPhone SE, treated his fellow club members to a presentation he called "Apple iPhone Tips and Tricks."  Those who came to class with their iPhones followed along as Steve, guided by a two-page handout that he gave everyone, illustrated on the club's screen many of the features of his iPhone.


One of the most important things one can do, said Steve, is keep one's operating system up to date, something that can be accomplished either by using iTunes or going into Settings and selecting Software Update. Also important is the phone's security, he said, and discussed using a Passcode. Backups, he noted, can be encrypted and, if one wishes, the Find My Phone app can be activated.


Most of the club members with cell phones charge them during the night while they are sleeping. Most phones,

said Steve, come with settings that let one see how much battery power is left on one's phone. You can also, he said, regulate the brightness of the phone's screen. As for managing one's data, he said that most people he knows use WiFi wherever possible and are cautious around open networks that anyone can access.


"Hey Siri!" Steve said he is still in the process of discovering all the things the iPhone's Siri can do. One of his favorite uses for Siri is using its Timer. He also uses Siri for simple math. -- Steve's iPhone SE has both a front and rear facing camera. (Google Photos automatically backs up one's pictures.) -- Need an uninterrupted sleep or nap? Steve showed how to use the Do Not Disturb feature in Settings. Don't want to receive calls from certain people? The iPhone can block them.


More Tips. Turn the phone's power off now and then to clear memory. -- Take screenshots with Power and Home buttons. "I find holding the Power then tapping Home works best." -- Something not level or straight? Use the Bubble Level in Compass. -- Talk instead of type. Tap the microphone/dictate icon to speak when texting/emailing. -- Get the Apple Support app for assistance.  


Greentrees Users Warned About Fraudulent Email 

Aug. 30, 2017. –  This morning's computer class got off to an unusual start when a Greentrees resident on his way to a meeting dropped by the class long enough to warn everyone about a scam email, purportedly from United Parcel Service, that asked for information which, if submitted, would have given the email sender control over the victim's

computer.  Suspicious, the fellow called UPS and was told that the message he had received did not come from UPS and undoubtedly was a scam. A Google search for "UPS scams"  turned up several sites warning computer users about efforts to use UPS as a cover to defraud people, especially those who had recently used the delivery service. A UPS site  warns of fraudulent email schemes  that are popular lately and also spells out what the company will and will not request from those who use it.


 Gene Fisher and Richard Cortezzo told members in this morning's class that there seems to be no end to the efforts of bad guys to separate unsuspecting computer users from their money. Apple products, said Richard, appear to be less involved in illegal money-making schemes than are Windows machines. Gene showed everyone the security applications that every Windows user should have and suggested if the apps weren't in one's Toolbox on the desktop that they could be found at the beginning of Jep Norwood's Computer Lessons web site.  Gene suggested using Ninite to keep one's apps updated while Richard said that his Apple apps were updated automatically.


Richard Cortezzo, Gene Fisher Focus on Phones, Tablets
Aug. 23, 2017. – Richard Cortezzo, Gene Fisher and a small but spirited group of Greentrees folks met this morning for a class where Apple and Android smart phone problems got hashed out. Richard, who with his wife spends his winters in a small community about thirty miles south of Tucson, Arizona, showed club members how he found Simutek, a full-fledged Apple store and repair facility in Tucson whose web site, said Richard, offers tips to Apple users no matter where they might live. Should Richard's Apple devices fail while he is in Florence, he pointed out that a relatively new Apple repair business,  Florence Tech Solutions, on  Old Town's Bay Street opened recently. One club member noted that Full Spectrum Computers and Coast Computer Services also advertise that they repair Apple products.


Richard reminded everyone that if they lose something, e.g. their keys, technology in the form of the Tile can come to their rescue. For about $35 a year, said Richard, you can buy a small Tile packed with Bluetooth technology, attach it to your keys--or anything else--then synch it to your phone. If you lose your keys, just press the appropriate icon on your phone and, if the lost article connected to the Tile is within about 100 feet, you will hear an audible signal. For more on the device. Maybe one of these days we'll see Richard in one of the Tile's instructional videos. "I lost my keys one day after shopping  and couldn't imagine where they might be," he said. "Then I remembered I had attached a Tile to the keys so I took out my phone, pressed the Tile icon and heard something. There were my keys, in the bottom of the shopping bag."


Gene Fisher showed everyone how he made good use of the Print Screen feature on his tablet and on his computer. One of the times that Print Screen comes in especially handy, said Gene, is when he is working on his motor home and trying to follow the schematic of a device he is working on in the vehicle. After going to the device manufacturer's web site and finding the desired schematic, he clicks on Print Screen then, in an image editing program, crops the screen capture and prints it out. Once everything is printed out, he said, it's easier to work on. Gene also sometimes uses Print Screen to make a digital record of something that he has just bought online.


Jep Norwood Offers Advice,Tips to Club Members
Aug. 16, 2017. – Jep Norwood was full of advice, cautions and tips this morning in his monthly Greentrees computer club class. He said he's been noticing that a few Windows 7 users have been having difficulty upgrading their computers and laptops to Windows 10, Microsoft's newest operating system. That's probably because the BIOS of some Windows 7 machines needs updating, something that can be remedied, he said, by going to Google and updating one's BIOS so that Windows 10 can be downloaded and installed.

There are times, said Jep, when you've got to know what version of Windows 10, or Windows 7, for that matter, you're running in order to install some software. To get the version number, he said, click on the keyboard's  Windows icon plus the letter R, This will bring up the run box. Type in the word  winver, then press enter and you'll see which version of Windows you have.

One of Jep's favorite sites is Ninite, a web site where a computer user with a new machine can install and update several applications without going through the trouble of opening apps individually. Ninite is free and usually has the latest versions of the programs and the programs' updates. For more on the app, see this site.


More from Jep.    To those wondering how to activate the "Hey, Cortana"  voice in Windows 10, similar to Siri in Apple products, he suggested a Google search. -- His web site, he pointed out, is not a tutorial, only a "fun site" where one can go to look at the latest programs that he finds interesting and instructive. -- Adobe Flash is going way; by 2020, it will be gone. --Make sure you have all four browsers on your computer: Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox, and Edge. They are all free and you never know when one of them can help you.


Fiber optics is coming to Florence but installing it necessitates lots of digging to bury the cable, so it won't be available here in Greentrees for quite a while. -- Don't check AVG for your anti virus program; it's close to impossible to take off your computer once it's on. -- Router not working? Unplug it, wait a bit then turn it back on. The programs that should  be on every computer are the ones first listed in Computer Lessons.


Aug. 9, 2017. -- The computer club this morning held its annual pizza party and swap meet.  

 Club Newcomer No Stranger to Craigslist Buying/Selling

Aug. 2, 2017. – Barbara Lorell may be a relative newcomer to Greentrees but she is no stranger to Craigslist, the

popular online site where people can sell and buy almost anything. In this morning's computer class, Barbara passed out a two-page handout with just about everything one could want to know about Craigslist, then, using a computer and the club's screen, showed how she goes about buying or selling merchandise. Housing, rentals, job search, cars and trucks, RVs, photographic equipment-- if it's something that can be bought or sold--chances are good that Craigslist has it listed.


Folks in Florence who want to sell something often confine themselves to the Oregon Coast section in Craigslist.  Except for ads for jobs in some cities and apartment listings by brokers, Craigslist use is free. (For the history of Craigslist, see the Wikipedia entry.) "When posting ads," said Barbara, "you don't have to set up an account but it makes it a bit easier if you use the site often."


Your ad will appear on Craigslist 30 days, she pointed out. After that, the ad will be deleted. Unless, she said, you wish to renew it. If you want to be successful selling, she said, "Take good pictures." As for price, she said she likes to start a little high, which leaves room to negotiate. "For your contact information," she said, "you can use their anonymous email, which will be forwarded to you." Some people don't like to list their phone number on an ad but, she said, she always has.


She had one caution: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. She listed a few of the scams dishonest people use to try to bilk Craigslist users. "Don't accept a personal check from anyone," she warned. Barbara noted that her biggest purchase on Craigslist was an RV and she explained how she met the seller and gave him a cashier's check. His bank called her bank to verify that her bank had sufficient money in her account to cover the cashier's check. "It was a little scary," she said, "but the transaction went off without a hitch."
Computer Club Votes to  Donate for Wireless Services
July 26. 2017. -- The Greentrees Computer Club voted unanimously at a business meeting this morning to donate $1020 to Greentrees Village to help defray this year's cost of bringing wireless to the RV park, the multipurpose room and the computer club lab. Steve Lyon, who is the club's advertising coordinator and one of its vice presidents, presided over today's meeting.  

After the business meeting, Richard Cortezzo, Gene Fisher and Gary Smith demonstrated how someone with a mobile device such as an iPad or an Android phone could wirelessly print using the club's new HP Wi-Fi enabled printer, which is available for anyone to use. -- One club member showed everyone a small package she recently received in the mail that contained a CD and urged the recipient to email personal information such as her social security number and bank account number to the package's sender. Sounds like someone is out phishing, said several club members.


Jep Offers Advice and Tips in Monthly Computer Class

July 19, 2017. – Jep Norwood held forth on a variety of topics this morning in his monthly Greentrees Computer

Club class.  Before delving into Windows issues, he told one club member who said he was thinking of putting the Linux operating system onto his computer that "Linux is for real users," and might take a bit more time, patience and knowledge in the downloading and installing process than were someone putting, say, Windows 10 on a laptop or desktop. Turning to Microsoft's Windows 10, he noted that Creators Update takes about two and a half hours to  download and install. If you don't install the update yourself, said Jep, Windows 10 will do it for you and there's nothing you can do about it. Microsoft will stop issuing updates for Windows 7 in 2020, he said and suggested those with Windows 7 update to Windows 10. This he will do for a laptop or a desktop for $100, he said and noted that Microsoft charges $20 more than this.


When you do put Windows 10 on your Windows 7 computer, said Jep, make sure that you do not have the Windows 10S version of the operating system. If you do put the Windows 10S version on your computer, Jep warned, you will then be prevented from running non Microsoft programs. Don't let an offer to buy Windows 10S  cheaper than the regular version beguile you into putting the 10S version onto your computer, Jep said.


 Put all four popular browsers (Edge, Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox) onto your computer, suggested Jep. There are times when one of the browsers won't work so it's handy to have another browser available. -- Malware continues being a major problem, he said, with ransomware every day stealing thousands--if not millions--of dollars from computer users. Most of the ransomware problems Jep has seen have been on computers owned by businesses. Only occasionally, he said, has he run into a non-business person losing money via ransomware scams. A relatively new program, Cybereason purports to prevent ransomware from infecting one's computer, said Jep. The app needs to be updated every three or four days, he said. The best protection against ransomware, said Jep, is backing up one's computer.  


Club Secretary Gary Smith told his fellow club members how he was almost deceived  into revealing on a cleverly-disguised malware site his log-in name, password and account number to his bank. The page looked authentic and messages on the page had no spelling errors, he said. It wasn't until he realized that the only box on the page that could be filled in was the one asking for personal information that he realized he was in the presence of a would-be scammer. His take-away from the experience: Be very careful when someone or some site asks for your personal information. (Gary admitted he was, that day, a bit distracted, having just picked up a Samsung Galaxy Note 5 phone on  EBay.) 


More from Jep. Money stolen from illicit use of your debit card cannot be reclaimed. -- Do not click on sites that say you need new drivers. If an app needs a new driver, the manufacturer will let Microsoft know and the latter will test it then issue it through Windows Updates. --  Don't put your computer into Hibernate mode; sometimes it won't wake up. -- Turn off your computer at night then turn it on in the morning. That way you clear your RAM. -- Don't use MyWay. It will foul up your computer. If you install it by accident, go to Control Panel and uninstall it.


Members Get A Look at New Printer in Workshop
July 12, 2017. --  Workshop time. A full house of club members this morning saw samples of prints produced by the computer club's latest acquisition--a new HP color printer capable of turning out 8x10 prints. Gene Fisher and Richard Cortezzo, who purchased the printer and set it up, showed how to configure it so it can print on both sides of a sheet of paper.

Backing Up Is Easy to Do --If You Can Remember to Do It
July 5, 2017. –  Question: What's something that people with phones, tablets, laptops and desktops should be doing regularly but sometimes fail to do?  The answer: They should be backing up their data and their pictures. In this morning's computer class, Gene Fisher and Richard Cortezzo  told their fellow club members  how they backed up their devices (Richard backs up his data in three places) then offered advice on programs made for backing up. Gene noted that he backs up his photographs in Google Photos, a free program which, once installed, automatically backs up one's pictures and arranges them by date taken.


Steve Lyon reminded members who have a backup program turned on all the time that they have no control over what goes onto their backup device. Before backing up his computer, Steve disconnects both the land line or cable to his computer  then disables his Wi-Fi signal. That way, he said, he is sure not to download anything that could harm his computer. -- One member noted that Jep Norwood has backup instructions on his web site. -- Most of today's members said they used external hard drives when backing up their devices. A Western Digital Passport 1TB external hard drive costs $55 from Amazon, about the same amount charged by B&H Photo and other big retailers.



 Computer Clubbers Come Together Today in Workshop
June 28, 2017. – The following photos are from this morning's computer club workshop, where Gene Fisher and Richard Cortezzo answered questions on a myriad of topics. Gene showed everyone how to get to his blog. Richard showed off his latest iPad, this one with a 9.7 inch screen and a price tag of $329 if bought from the Apple store.
Stay Away from Windows 10s, Jep Cautions Club
June 21, 2017. – Jep Norwood warned  computer club members this morning not to install Windows 10s onto their computers unless they want to limit their downloads only to Microsoft applications from the Windows  App Store. Microsoft sells some of its computers for hard-to-believe low prices, he said. and added that if the unwary buyer is not careful he or she will end up with a computer with a limited range of installation possibilities. "Stay away from Windows 10s," said Jep. He also suggested in today's class that club members refrain from downloading Windows 10 beta updates. "There's a reason for the beta designation," said Jep. "It means the update has not yet been thoroughly tested."

 Google's Picasa has been for many years one of the most popular photo editing programs. It lets the photographer crop and straighten images, remove spots and blemishes, correct the image's color and white balance, sharpen and add saturation, add a frame, then makes it easy to select an image and send it off by email. By using tags and folders, the photographer can keep track of all one's images.  Why Google stopped supporting Picasa has been a mystery to its users until Jep today said he had heard the reason Google stopped support was that reconfiguring the app for Windows 10 was too difficult and costly. He pointed out that Picasa, which is free, can still be downloaded and installed on computers and that it can even be put onto a flash drive.


Jep reminded everyone that it would be a good idea if they had all four major browsers (Edge, Internet Explorer, Google Chrome and Firefox) on their computers. "Sometimes one of the browsers doesn't work right so you might want to try a different one." Another favorite app with Jep is Complete Internet Repair, which, he said, solves most of the problems he has when working on a malfunctioning computer. The program can also be found on Jep's Computer Lessons. Still another app Jep recently discovered--and likes--is PDFill, which allows the user to manipulate PDF files. It can be downloaded from his web site.


Advice.  Write down your passwords, suggested Jep. You never know when you'll need them. -- If you keep losing your Internet connection, call up your internet service provider and complain. One reason for off-again-on-again connections, said Jep, is that the cable connections under your house have rusted and need replacing. ISP techs don't relish crawling under houses, he said, so it's easier for them to keep putting off an inspection of the cable under your house that brings you your Internet connection. But if you keep getting knocked off line, keep after your ISP until they come to your place and fix the problem.


Snowbirds Return to Greentrees with Helpful Hints

June 14, 2017. – Apple aficionado Richard Cortezzo explored with his fellow computer club members this morning

the most and least-prominent features of iPhones and Apple tablets such as the iPad and iPod. Several club members with phones and tablets discovered how to reset their devices, something that Richard suggested they do every so often. He also showed everyone how to back up the data on their devices, either through an external hard drive or via Apple's iCloud. For those with questions about their devices or apps, he recommended they go to manualslib and download the desired manuals.


Assisting Richard this morning was Gene Fisher, who wandered around during the class aiding people who needed help. A handout from Gene, taken from his blog, listed the topics of today's class. Gene also pointed out that all of one's photos are now automatically put by Google into Google Photos, which is free unless the picture taker insists on having all of  their photos saved at the highest resolution possible, in which instance Google charges varying amounts.


Notes. Microsoft last night released several Windows security updates, which, a few club members today noted they had this morning already downloaded and installed on their computers. Microsoft issues security updates on the second Tuesday of the month, or, as Windows users call it, Patch Tuesday. -- Apple recently announced that the new iMac Pro will ship in December of this year. The basic model will cost $5000. --  One club member today expressed a desire for workshops where she and her fellow club members could feel free to ask questions, however naive, without eliciting mournful sighs from the group's longtime computer users. Even the club's old grumps thought this was a good idea.   


Club Learns How to Sync E-books and Tablets

June 7, 2017. –  There seems to be no end to the variety of electronic devices available to  people who

prefer reading off a screen as opposed to turning pages in a book. Nor is there a shortage of web sites offering books in digital form waiting for people to download and enjoy reading. But there's a looming predicament here: what if the tablet does not recognize the format of the e-book one has downloaded?


This problem so upset an Indian man named Kovid Goyal, a computer genius (he began coding at age 7), that he wrote a software program called Calibre while a student at CalTech  It's free and open-sourced, which means anyone can tweak it. Although the program is free, Goyal provides on the app's site a Donations button.


Why have Calibre on a computer? Gary Smith, the club's secretary, in this morning's class showed and told his fellow club members why he liked the program. Some of his reasons for liking Calibre: It saves him time managing his e-book collection. He can use it everywhere and with anything. It can convert e-books with unusual formatting into more commonly used formats that he can read on his tablet. He can store books on his computer then transfer e-books from his computer to his tablet.


Further, he pointed out, Calibre now allows the reader to get news from a variety of sources, e.g. The New York Times and The Economist. A Google search will reveal several sources of e-books, some of which can be downloaded for free while others, usually more recently published, cost varying prices. At the beginning of his presentation today, Gary played a short video  by Kovid Goyal, Calibre's inventor, explaining the basics of the program. More on the program here at Wikipedia. For information about Goyal, click here.  


Biggest Computer Problem Now Ransomware--Jep

May 17, 2017. –  What's the worst thing that can happen to your computer? According to Jep

Norwood, the answer is ransomware. It's an even bigger problem than computer viruses, he said this morning at his monthly computer class at Greentrees.  You turn on your computer one morning, said Jep, and if you're unlucky you get a screen announcing that there is no way to get your files back unless you send money in the form of (untraceable) Bit Coins to an (untraceable) email address. Not only are the criminals who try to extort money bad guys, said Jep, they are often liars since people who pay the ransoms end up most of the time not only losing money but all of the data on their computer. There's hardly such a thing anymore as an honest criminal, lamented one club member.


The people who run ransomware schemes, said Jep, generally choose as their victims institutions, e.g. hospitals, that cannot afford to lose all of the data they have on their patients or clients. In cases involving hospitals and other large enterprises, the ransom demanded is often in the thousands of dollars. Individual computer owners aren't worth the criminals' effort, Jep said, and may be asked for a small amount, e.g, $300, for the return of one's data. If you make up your mind not to pay any ransom, warned Jep, just be prepared to reload your computer or pay someone to reload it for you.


According to Jep, the only protection against ransomware is to keep your computer backed up. Then, if you lose all of your files, you can, after reloading your computer, go to your backup folder and reinstall its contents onto your computer. Jep is disinclined to believe the deluge of anti-ransomware program advertising on TV as of late. His best advice to avoid ransomware--as well as computer viruses and malware--is to be wary of downloading email attachments from sources you're not sure of. Clicking on links in emails sites that don't look just right can also do your computer harm, said Jep.


Tips. There's only one good way to turn off a computer, said Jep. Just follow the correct procedure and don't rig your computer up with switches that, when misused, can harm your machine's power supply. Check in your screen's lower right corner to make sure the time is correct. -- His advice to desperate folks whose computers won't shut down in the usual way: "Press the Power button and hold it in until the computer stops." Jep's web site has frequent reports on ransomware.  


More. Microsoft has issued a security update regarding ransomware to XP users. -- You might want to back up your files to "the cloud," said Jep. If you use an external hard drive for backing up, it could get stolen or lost should your house catch fire. --Write down your passwords and remember that even your email program has a password. --Your Windows 7 has a serial number. Write it down because you'll need it when you put Windows 10 on your computer. -- Jep likes the Home version of Windows 10 better than the Pro version. -- His pronouncement on computing today: "Everything is getting more complicated.  But not necessarily better."  

Quicken Helps Many Members Manage Money
May 10, 2017. –  Ever wonder what percent of your income you pay out every month for rent, for
groceries, for utilities? Having a hard time keeping track of your stocks, bonds and other investments? Tired of using a calculator or relying on your knowledge of 4th grade math to balance your check book? Have any indication of your net worth? The answers might come a little easier if you could use a personal finance management tool that will help you in all matters relating to your money.


One of the most popular such programs is Quicken, which computer club member--and co-vice president--Steve Lyon has been using for the past 16 years. In this morning's computer class, Steve showed fellow members how he took care of his finances using Quicken. The program has several editions; the more complex the program the higher the price. The program's Rental Property Manager costs$154.99; the starter edition is $29.99. This Quicken site  lists its various editions and prices. A Mac version of Quicken is available for $65.


Steve gets a new version of Quicken about every three years and said he kept up with Quicken's updates. Using Quicken, said Steve, it's possible to have several checking or savings accounts with a bank. Quicken users can also open accounts at their brokerage firms. He does not worry about getting hacked, he said, because when he goes online in his Quicken program it is only for a short time.


"Quicken can be a simple or complex as you want it to be," said Steve. "Once you get comfortable with the Quicken interface, which might take a little time and patience, you'll find it easy to use," he added. He then projected onto the club's large screen an account that he had prepared to illustrate some of the things the program can do. Want to transfer funds from one account to another? Want to reconcile your checking account? Want to create a budget, make a pie chart, even print checks? Not a problem, said Steve, once you have had some experience using Quicken.

May 9, 2017. -- Squash those bugs. Today is Patch Tuesday, the second Tuesday of the month and the day when Adobe and Microsoft both issued updates to fix critical security vulnerabilities in their software. According to Brian Krebs, at krebsonsecurity,  "Microsoft actually released an emergency update yesterday to fix a dangerous flaw present in most of Microsoft’s anti-malware technology that’s being called the worst Windows bug in recent memory. Separately, Adobe has a new version of its Flash Player software available that squashes at least seven nasty bugs."
Club Members Learn How to Search for Ancestors

May 3, 2017. – Everybody now living on earth will one day be gone. Whether they will be remembered will

depend on people like Kevin Mittge, the Adult Services Librarian for the Siuslaw Public Library District and who, this morning, told computer club members how to go about finding information about their ancestors. Mittge has been looking up people's ancestry--including his own--for several years, and is currently the president of the Siuslaw Genealogy Organization, which holds its meetings at the Florence library.


His main source of information is, which bills itself as the world's largest online history resource. What does it cost to join One club member suggested looking at the site from time to time to see if it is offering reduced fees.  One recent addition to the site is Ancestry DNA which, for $99, will tell you your ethnic makeup.


Other sources that Mittge often uses: Family Search (free), FindAGrave (free), and Google (also free). Still other sources he likes: Chronicling America (free), various state historical newspaper sites (e.g. Historic Oregon Newspapers, free). Also: Genealogy Bank and, both of which are pay sites.

Said Mittge: "I use Google for identifying place names and locating their counties, to locate addresses on a map, to search for state historic newspaper sites, to search for individuals, living and dead, to search for family history sites, to search for state archives and historical society sites with possible online records, and everything else that comes to mind."


Folks who want to write about their ancestors so that relatives and others interested can easily access the information might want to create their own blog, said Mittge. His Robbins Roots blog, made in WordPress, costs about $30 a year, he said. Library patrons can access at the library for nothing, he added.

Windows 10 Users Get New Update--Like It Or Not

April 19, 2017 – Ready or not, Windows 10 users are getting an offer they cannot refuse, Jep Norwood told computer club members in this morning's class. The "offer" is Creators Update, which Microsoft started rolling out about a week ago as it continues to add new features to its Windows 10 operating system. Unlike many updates, however, said Jep, Creators Update will be installed on all Windows 10 computers whether the users want it or not. He doesn't think much of the update's features but, at least, he noted, it is free. To learn what Creators Update contains, Jep suggested looking at PCWorld's review  of the update.


A few club members who have installed Creators Update complained that the new update has caused

their computers to act strangely or even, sometimes, to hang up. As far as Jep is concerned, Creators Update is "totally worthless," but, he said, as long as Windows 10 users are going to have it on their computers, they might want to look at it (or reviews of it) and see if it has anything of interest.


Tips. --  You need only one antivirus program on your computer, said Jep, and that is Windows Defender. Most PC problems these days, he said, don't come from viruses but from malware and ransomware. One source of bad stuff, he cautioned, comes from downloading email attachments. -- Advice to a club member who, when he opens his Windows 7 Updates site, keeps getting offered Silverlight: "Just ignore it." Flash and Siliverlight are used less and less, he said, -- Use System Restore only as a last resort, Jep said and recounted some of the bad things that have happened when some of his clients got into trouble by using System Restore. 


Members Learn How to Get Music from Internet
April 5, 2017. –  Computer club members kept Steve Lyon busy this morning answering questions about how he goes about downloading  music from the Internet onto his computer and other devices. One of his primary music sources is iTunes, a media management application created by Apple but can be used to manage and play both audio and video files on either a Mac or Windows computer. A Google search for iTunes will bring up download sites for both Apple and Microsoft versions of the application.

Not only will iTunes manage one's music, podcasts, books and movies, said Steve, but it can be used to copy CDs to one's computer or to back up a new iPhone. He also uses iTunes to play podcasts, where he can choose which programs he wants to watch or listen to. At the iTunes Store, he said, he can buy not only music but movies, TV shows, and books.


Pandora (Pandora Radio), which Steve keeps on his iPhone, is similar to Spotify. Listeners can give a thumbs-up or thumbs-down rating to versions of songs they choose to listen to. More on Pandora is here. In a two-page handout given to members before today's class began, Steve laid out the basics for those interested in Internet radio alternative sites and radio talk shows.


Notes. One club member who likes classical music suggested those with similar taste might want to listen to KWAX, the University of Oregon radio station (91.5 KWVZ) that transmits its programming to the Florence area. KWAX can also be played on one's computer. -- Pat Miller reminded everyone that an important update to Windows 10 is due April 11. It can be installed automatically or by the computer user, said Pat.


Handicapped Can Enjoy Using Computers, Too--Jep
March 15, 2017. -- There's no reason a handicapped person cannot enjoy using a computer, Jep
Norwood told Greentrees computer club members this morning in his monthly class.  In fact, said Jep, Microsoft will let a handicapped user download, for free, Windows 10, its latest operating system. Microsoft does not demand proof that the Windows 7 or 8 user upgrading to Windows 10 is, indeed, handicapped. The free download is available here.  How long the offer will last is something that Microsoft will determine. What type of handicap qualifies a person for a free copy of Windows 10 is up to the individual taking advantage of Microsoft's offer. A good source on information about handicaps and computers is on this Wikipedia site.

Tips.  Once your new operating system is working properly, said Jep, run a disk cleanup. The version of Windows that you replaced, e.g. Win 7 or 8, is supposed to go away after 30 days but doesn't always do so, he said. -- Folks who are wondering about upgrading their computers but aren't sure about their present computer's specs might want to run -- People who are buying a new laptop would be wise not to get the cheapest machine. Spend a few more dollars, said Jep, and get a laptop with an I-5 processor. (Difficult remembering I-5? Visualize Interstate 5 that runs through Eugene and down into California.) If you intend to edit a lot of videos, said Jep, you'll probably want a computer with an I-7 processor.

More tips. Be careful when you're surfing the Internet, said Jep. If you're not paying attention you'll load your computer up with scamware. Be especially wary of sites or ads for drivers. If one of your apps needs a driver, Jep said, the app maker will let Microsoft know and any necessary updates will be part of Windows Updates, the second-Tuesday-of-the-month site that it's safe to download from. -- Stay away from "free" antivirus programs you see advertised. Some of them, he said, are almost impossible to get rid of once they're on your computer. -- Geek Uninstaller is the app Jep said he used most of the time when he wants to take something off a computer. "Use Force Removal rather than Uninstall." It works much better than the uninstall feature in Control Panel, he said.

Wide Choice of Games Available for Computers
March 8, 2017. –  The days have long gone when about the only computer game available was
solitaire. Today, a PC or Apple computer user has a choice of thousands of games. The Polygon web site estimated, three years ago,  a list of computer games ran to 43,806 entries. In this morning's computer class, club president Collette Bailey showed her fellow club members some of the types of computer games available, some free, some costing money. Collette brought with her to class today her new Windows 10 computer, and, using the room's big screen, showed everyone a few of her favorite games. One  of them (Heroes of Might and Magic), she said, she has been playing for 25 years.

She likes to download the games she uses onto her computer and then play them offline. Be careful downloading the games, she cautioned, otherwise you'll end up with a desktop full of icons advertising various products. Some of the games, she noted, come with built-in advertising, which, she said, can be a minor inconvenience but a small price to pay for the

pleasure of playing the game. In a handout she listed the different types of games computer users can access e.g. hidden object games, time management games, role playing games, real-time strategy, turn-based strategy. and others.
Where do you find games on the Internet? One site that Collette has found reputable is Giveaway of the Day, where, on Saturdays and Sundays, free games are given away. She also likes My Play City, which is free and no account is needed. On the AARP site one can play online in a small window, plus it's free. Also free is GameTop. The Gog site is not free, she said, but "adjusted to play on Windows 7 and 10."
Sites that she does not recommend include Gamehouse, which lets one play for a while but then asks for money. On the Big Fish Games site, you have to make an account, enter your credit card information, then subscribe; you can then get discounted games. On the Pogo site, said Collette, you  must open an account or pay a monthly fee to access their games.

There's More Than One Way to Do It in Windows 10

March 1, 2017. – Computer club members running Windows 10 on their computers learned one thing

for sure in this morning's class taught by Steve Lyon, one of the club's co vice presidents. That one thing? "There's more than one way to do something when you're using Windows 10," said Steve, who has been using Windows 10, Microsoft's latest operating system, since it replaced Windows 7 in 2014. Last year he installed the Anniversary update to Windows 10 so that now his version is the latest one available. After reminding everyone that not everyone's Windows 10 desktop is going to look the same, he projected onto the club's big screen his desktop, where he has only three icons. Most of his frequently used programs, he said, he keeps in a task bar on the lower left hand side of the desktop. On the lower right are his system icons, e.g. battery power indicator, audio level adjustments, Internet connections, etc.


Although he has three browsers on his computer--Edge (Windows 10 default), Internet Explorer, and Chrome--he uses Google's Chrome most of the time. Most of his applications are from Microsoft, which, he said, he had been using for many years and was therefore familiar with. Putting Windows 10 onto his Windows 7 computer was not a problem, he said. For security he uses Kaspersky Internet Security.  If he wants no record made of his site visit activity, he uses Chrome's incognito mode. (Incognito will not stop other sources from seeing what sites one has visited, including one's Internet service provider or the websites one visits.)


When Steve wants to back up his data, he uses a 1 terabyte external hard drive. He agrees with Jep that backing up while one's computer is running is not a good idea. Before backing up, he puts his computer in Airplane mode and disconnects it from the Internet. The app he uses to back up, he said, involves no copying and pasting.  -- Before encouraging his fellow Windows 10 users to explore their operating system, Steve touched briefly on Storage Management and Apps and Games. "Just remember, there's more than one way to do things in this operating system," he said. -- His presentation today was transmitted, via Skype, to co vice president Gene Fisher in California and to club secretary Gary Smith in Salem.  
Anti-Ransomware App Now Part of Malwarebytes

Feb. 15, 2017. – Jep Norwood told computer club members this morning that they were lucky that

Microsoft didn't offer its regular security second-Tuesday-of-the-month updates to folks running Windows 10 on their computers. Someone at Microsoft discovered at the last minute that the proposed updates for February would have done lots of damage, said Jep, "so Microsoft cancelled the updates." He said that as far as he knew, Microsoft will continue offering security updates again starting next month.


One of Jep's favorite apps is Malwarebytes, which now has a ransom ware component. Until recently, said Jep, PC users could download an anti-Ransomware program from Malwarebytes. Unfortunately, he said, the Malwarebytes app now includes ransom ware protection but Malwarebytes is no longer free. For more on Malwarebytes, see Jep's ComputerLessons web site. On the site is a short video that Malwarebytes users should look at, he said.


Also on Jep's site are apps that he said he uses to fix computers. To download tech support programs, click on Techsupportall. Another favorite fix-it site is MajorGeeks . It's especially useful when someone can't get an Internet connection. (The usual remedy: unplug the router, wait a bit, then plug it back in.)


More. Don't worry too much about email passwords. If someone hacks your email account, he said, they're after your address book. Bad guys sell these addresses to other bad guys, who often use them to put Spam on computers. -- Worry about passwords, he said, only if you absolutely cannot afford to have information made public. Forget your password? Got a bad memory? Jep reminded everyone that Florence has a tattoo parlor.


Still more.  Jep said he had four browsers on his computers: Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox and Edge. Why so many? "Because they all, from time to time, do something stupid." --  If you have the old version of WinZip on your computer. keep it. "It's much better than the latest WinZip app." -- Keep your applications updated. -- One of the worst places to pick up bloatware on your computer, he said, was from weather sites. NOAA weather is here.

Class Project--Setting up a Windows 10 Computer
Feb. 8, 2017. – If you're a computer user, there comes a time in your PC's life when it gives up the ghost and decides to compute no more. This happened to one Greentrees resident recently but, lucky for her, one of her good friends in the park is Collette Bailey, president of the computer club. Collette helped her friend order a new computer, a basic Dell desktop Model 3250 with 8 GB of RAM. The new computer came with the Windows 10 operating system, as do all new PCs these days. (Microsoft support for Windows 7 will expire in 2020. Windows 10 will cost from $119 to $199, depending upon which version one chooses.)
With the help of class members who already have Windows 10 installed on their computers, Collette projected onto the screen the set-up instructions that came with the new Dell. In Control Panel/Programs, she uninstalled much of the bloatware that comes with the purchase of almost all new devices. She added several programs: Chrome (the favorite browser of several folks), Ninite (another favorite with Win 10 users), and Picasa, which, though no longer supported by Google, can still be downloaded and used to both view photos and send photos via email.
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Members Learn How to Download Audio Books
Feb. 1, 2017. –  Club secretary Gary Smith lives in both Greentrees and in Salem, a two and a half
hour drive away from each other. To help pass the time as he travels from one place to the other, he listens in his Ford Explorer to audio books that he downloads, at no cost, from the Siuslaw public library. In this morning's computer class, Gary gave his fellow club members a handout and then, using a laptop and the club's screen showed how he goes about downloading an ebook that he wants to hear onto a thumb drive that he can plug into the audio system of his Explorer.


Best way to start, he said, is to download OverDrive , which will bring one in a click or two to the Oregon Digital Library Consortium and the Siuslaw Public Library District. The Library2go web site lists ebooks one can reserve or, if available at the moment, one can download and put onto a thumb drive. Before going to this site, said Gary, you have to have a library card and a PIN number, both of which must be obtained, in person, at the library. The card must be renewed every year.


Once you have signed in to open an account, you can tweak it; e.g., you can refuse to have the system automatically download into your account books that you have put on hold but are now available. The only drawback to checking that box, one club member noted, is that you are now at the bottom of the list asking for that book. Once downloaded, a book may be kept up to 21 days.


In his handout, Gary noted: "My wife's vehicle doesn't accept thumb drives so I burn the mp3 files to a CD and she's able to listen that way. Most modern CD players will play mp3 audio files."  


Jan. 31, 2017. -- It's that time of the year when you start thinking of what you're going to do with your income tax refund from the IRS. It's also that time of the year when thieves, using stolen data about you, are busy filing, under your name and using all the correct personal information about you, a tax form with the IRS and directing the refund be sent to a bank account owned by the scammer. When you finally get around to sending in your tax refund request--after all you have until April 15 to file--you're told by the IRS that you have already been sent your refund. Brian Krebs, a one-time investigative reporter for the Washington Post and for the past several years owner of KrebsonSecurity has advice on how to thwart these Internet bad guys.

Hardcore Computer Clubbers Defy Wind and Rain

Jan. 18, 2017. –  Another rainy, windy day in Florence didn't deter hardcore Greentrees computer club

members from getting together in the All Purpose room of the park's Rec Hall for Jep Norwood's monthly class. Also on hand today were two newcomers--Carol Barron and Ellen Bloomquist. Jep began today's class by reminding everyone that he is always in the process of adding new material to his Computer Lessons web site. Taking his cue from the rain beating against the room's windows, he said that he has noticed such weather was often associated with the inability to connect with the Internet.


The usual remedy to reestablishing an Internet connection, said Jep, is to unplug one's router, wait ten seconds, then plug it in again. If this doesn't work, he said, he has found a program that does the reconnecting problem and, in a day or two, will put it on his Computer Lessons web site.


Someone, somewhere is always scheming  how to separate computer users from their money, warned Jep, and the latest way is through ransomware. His web site has a section devoted to ransomware--how to know when you get it and what you can do once someone kidnaps your computer's data and promises to return it only if you pay them money, often in the form of Bitcoins, which cannot be traced. Read about Bitcoins here.


How do you avoid becoming a victim of ransomware? The best way, said Jep, is getting into the habit of backing up. Once your data is stolen, he said, there is no guarantee you'll ever see it again, even if you pay the ransom. Jep said that if he reloads a computer, the charge is $185 and, he said, there is no way to recover one's data.


Tips. Every computer should have four browsers: Edge, Internet Explorer, Chrome, and Firefox. For one reason or another, said Jep, one or two of these browsers often won't allow one to connect to one's bank. His suggestion: try a different browser. -- If you're talking to someone on the phone about your computer--and you didn't initiate the call--you are talking to a scammer, said Jep. -- Google has the best search engine, he said. It's better than Microsoft's Bing.

Club Braves Snow and Ice to Hold Workshop
Jan. 4, 2017. –  Half a dozen stalwart computer club members braved icy and snowy streets this morning to meet with club president Collette Bailey in a workshop that ranged from playing trivia games to editing a short video one club member made earlier today of his snow-covered home. Club secretary Gary Smith told everyone how he orders audio books from the Siuslaw library using a program called OverDrive, which lets anyone with a library card  and a computer check out an ebook for 14 days. Gary said he often listens to audio books on the drive between his Florence home and Salem, where he and his wife also have a residence.
Dec. 30, 2016. -- Look! Up in the air! It's a bird! It's a plane! No, it's an Amazon warehouse hovering high above our heads just waiting for one of us to email in an order so that the floating warehouse can package it up and attach it to a drone that will soar down and deliver it to us. Fantastical? Perhaps, but Amazon has been awarded a patent for what it calls  an "airborne fulfillment center." Will it work out? Most tech sites are taking a wait-and-see attitude. One, Gizmodo, has already made up its mind.

Dec. 23, 2016. -- Tis the season to be robbed by bad guys threatening to make your computer files disappear unless you pay them x-amount of dollars. Brian Krebs, a one-time investigative reporter for the Washington Post and for the past seven years author of KrebsOnSecurity, has just published an article called "Before You Pay That Ransomware Demand." Scary, but interesting, reading.
Jep Winds Up Another Year With Greentrees
Dec. 21, 2016. – Jep Norwood, the Greentrees Computer Club's favorite guru, wound up another year of instruction this morning by handing out advice and answering members' questions on a variety of subjects.  Before talking about Malwarebytes ("Still free but a colossal pain in the butt to set up"), Jep's favorite indispensable security program, he put in a plug for Full Spectrum Computers here in Florence. There are times, he admitted, when setting up a network or running wires under structures involves lots of bending and stretching, something that he said he was, as the years went by, less and less inclined to enjoy doing.


As for Malwarebytes, Jep noted that the program recently upgraded to Premium version 3.0. for $39.99 a year (25% discount for two years). It is one program, said Jep, that he would recommend computer users buy especially because, among other features, it stops ransom ware attacks. He said that he has yet to study the Premium version thoroughly but when he does he will put a link on his Computer Lessons web site with recommendations as to how it should be used. He showed club members a short video that highlighted the advantages of Malwarebytes Premium 3.0 and said that the video would soon be available on his web site.


Jep will reload a computer for $185, he said. Putting Windows 7 back on a computer, however, is something that takes hours for security updates to download and install. "If your Windows 7 machine quits on you," he said, "I'd recommend you put Windows 10 on it." -- If you have a hard drive for backup, he said, don't leave it running. He again cautioned against using programs one sees advertised on TV.


Tips. One club member noted that his Windows 7 computer was now taking about 20 seconds, rather than two minutes, to shut down. Probably an update, said Jep. -- If your computer is slowing down, he said, it might be a good idea to put MSconfig in the search box on the lower left then look in the Start Up tab to see which programs run once you turn on your computer. -- MS Security Essentials and Malwarebytes will run at the same time and won't conflict with each other. -- If you use Skype, make sure it is on or you won't be able to get a call.  


Dec. 20, 2016. -- Today's Google Search page has a link to a short video that explains how a five-year-old lost Indian boy fell asleep on a train that, when he awoke many hours later, was in Calcutta, one of India's largest cities. He had no money, no food, no place to sleep and wasn't even sure of the name of his hometown, by now hundreds of miles away. Eventually he was adopted by an Australian couple from Tasmania. For the next 20 years he lived with his adoptive parents, went off to a university to study business, and then, without telling anyone, began to wonder if he could ever find his birth mother and the Indian village where he once lived.


The reason he did find the village was because of Google Earth, which was not available when he was lost. How he used his memory and Google Earth to find his birthplace is described in this Vanity Fair magazine article. Google Earth had been downloaded over a billion times and is free. More on Google Earth is here.  


Computer Club Adds New Co Vice President

Dec. 7, 2016. – The Greentrees Village Computer Club will have two vice presidents in

2017. At this morning's business meeting chaired by club president Collette Bailey, Steve Lyon was chosen to serve as co vice president along with veteran Gene Fisher. Collette will continue next year as president while Gary Smith and Connie Goddard will serve as club secretary and treasurer respectively. Rita Cadagin will continue as the club's advertising coordinator.


Minutes from business meetings of Sept. 7, 2016 and Dec. 2, 2015 were read, discussed and approved. Treasurer Connie Goddard announced that the club presently had $2898 on hand and then presented the 2017 budget, which was discussed and approved by the membership. Collette suggested setting aside money for gifts to those who over the past year have been especially helpful to the computer club, a proposal that was unanimously approved.


Much of the meeting was devoted to discussing a photo contest to be sponsored by the computer club. Collette proposed setting aside $500 in prize money, to be handed out to three contest winners at the annual meeting of Greentrees Village. She invited computer club members to send her suggestions about the photo contest, e.g. who would be eligible to compete, who would serve on a judging panel, what size should the pictures be, how voting on the pictures would proceed. Although all of the details of the contest were unresolved, the club voted to approve Collette's motion to establish a photo contest for 2017.

Members Learn to Put Old Music on New Devices

Nov. 30, 2016. – Club President Collette Bailey showed her fellow computer club

members this morning how to transfer music from a cassette or phonograph record
onto a USB flash drive. Using a device from
she took an Elvis cassette, inserted it into the appropriate slot, adjusted the settings on the front of the device, then, after inserting a USB drive into the USB slot, pressed play and recorded the Elvis cassette music onto the USB drive. She then inserted the USB drive into a computer and downloaded the music into a file. Collette repeated the procedure, copying music from an LP record onto a USB drive, which she downloaded onto her computer.

 Newer cars today, Collette noted, have a USB slot on their radios, which means that it's not necessary to put the music onto a computer before using it on one's car radio. The Boytone device she used in today's demonstration cost about $60, she said. Other models are available and the device, which also has an am/fm radio, is available online or in retail outlets such as Wal-Mart and Best Buy. Don't like the way the music sounds once it's recorded onto the USB drive--or SD card? Try using Audacity,   a free, open source audio editor and recorder.

Before club members left today, Collette reminded them of next Wednesday's computer club business meeting. Club officers will be elected for 2017 and other club business will be discussed and voted on.   

Put Linux on Your Old Computer Suggests Jep
Nov. 16, 2016. -- So you just bought yourself a new desktop or laptop computer--say a PC with the Windows
10 operating system on it--and you're not sure what to do with your old computer. Jep Norwood, who for years has been teaching Greentrees computer club members, has a suggestion: put Linux on your old computer.  "If the old machine has at least one gig of RAM and a 32-bit processor, chances are good that you can put the Linux operating system onto your old computer," he said.  Jep's web site features a video and other help for those who want to install Linux Mint onto their computers.


What's so special about Linux? First of all, it's free. Another great feature of Linux, said Jep, is that one has to put in a password before installing anything on it, which, he said, discourages hackers. In this morning's computer class, Jep removed an older version of Linux (17) and installed Mint 18. This entailed downloading  Mint 18 from the Internet, creating .ISO files, then installing them onto the "new" computer.


Before getting into the particulars of installing Linux Mint, however, Jep emphasized the importance of backing up one's computer before beginning the Mint installation process. All of your programs--as well as all of your files-- from the "old" computer will be gone once the "new" computer has Linux installed on it. (Jep's web site has instructions for backing up.) Also on his web site is a list of fifty free programs that do the work of proprietary programs.


Notes.  Will Linux install on an Apple computer? Yes, said Jep. --There's no need for programs like Security Essentials on a Linux computer, said Jep, especially because one needs a password before installing anything onto a Linux machine. -- Want to know more about Linux? -- Microsoft recently joined the Linux Foundation. A former Microsoft CEO once called Linux a cancer.  


Workshop Stresses Updates and Backup of Data
Nov. 9, 2016. – Richard Cortezzo headed up a workshop  this morning that emphasized the importance of security, whether one uses Apple or Microsoft software products and devices. Using an iPad to illustrate, he showed how go to Settings and download updates to one's applications. He reminded people with iPhones and other smart phones that apps on them also need updating. It would be a good idea to enable automatic updates on your devices, he said. He also stressed the importance of backing up the material users put on their computers, tablets and phones.

Club Members Exchange Favorite Web Sites

Nov. 2, 2016. – Collette Bailey this morning presided over a show-and-tell session of the computer club. Before getting down to the business of showing and telling,

Collette, the  club's new president, introduced Greentrees resident Sharon Davis, who offered to give to anyone interested a laser printer and some printer cartridges that she has no longer uses. Sharon lives at Space 11 here in Greentrees.  

Before club members began swapping some of their favorite web sites, Richard Jones and Jim and Pat Fleming passed around 2017 calendars they recently made using the Lulu web site. Richard's calendar featured photographs of flowers and scenic vistas from his travels in the US. and Europe. Jim and Pat used photos of family members. The cost of making the calendars averaged about ten dollars apiece.   

Collette showed everyone the language program she uses when she wants to brush up on her French. It's called Duolingo  and, according to Collette, it's free. She also likes Khan Academy, which offers free courses in math, science, computer programming, art, history and other subjects. Another site popular with Collette and Richard Cortezzo--the club's Apple guru--is Ted, which offers brief (15-20 minute) talks on a variety of subjects.  

Jim and Pat Fleming  use zap2it when they want to see what programs are on their TV. They and others use FantasticFiction  when they want to know when the next book by one of their favorite authors will be published. Folks who like a classical music station playing in the background on their radio while they're at home or on the road can tune in to KWAX. Although the station uses U. of Oregon facilities, none of its financial support comes from the university but rather from listeners' contributions.  

Paying too much for prescriptions? Several club members suggested Rita Cadagin especially likes the prescription prices at Costco. For those folks with questions about computers, Pat Miller suggested they might want to try the web site of Leo Notenboom, She also recommended TenForums to people with concerns about Windows 10. -- Looking for your hometown newspaper? Chances are good you'll find it on Newslink, which also has links to newspapers all over the world. 


Before thanking everyone for their web site suggestions, Collette said that since the Greentrees board of directors didn't seem interested in putting up prize money for a photo contest open to all Greentrees residents, that the computer club might want to think of donating money. She also announced that because Apple products are becoming more popular with Greentrees people, Richard Cortezzo will next Wednesday answer questions about Apple devices and how they--and other computers and tablets--can be made safer. If anyone spots Richard around the park accompanied by some little green men, chances are that Richard first met them while surfing one of his favorite web sites: SETI.  


Oct. 31, 2016. -- For those who would like to try out Linux before committing to it, the computer lab has two computers, a laptop and a desktop, with Linux on them. Any Greentrees resident may go to the office, sign out for a key to the lab, then use any of the computers. Users are asked to follow instructions while using the machines, e.g. when finished, turn off the monitor but not the computer.


Jep Hands Out Advice, Tips in Today's Class

Oct. 19, 2016. – Jep Norwood warned computer club members in this morning's class

that none of the popular browsers work correctly all of the time. Because of this, he said, it would be a good idea for everyone to load Firefox, Chrome, Internet Explorer, and Edge onto one's computer. He cited one of his clients inability to connect with a bank web site. Switching the browser to Chrome solved the problem, he said.


Jep spent the rest of the time this morning answering questions and passing along tips. One popular question he said he gets is whether someone should buy a desktop or a laptop. The advantage of owning a desktop, he said, is that parts can  be replaced if they go bad. Not so, he said, with a laptop. "If it fails you might as well throw the whole thing out." When buying a new computer, he said, think of the Interstate that runs through Eugene--I-5. "That's the Intel processor you should buy for best performance, I-5." A computer with an I-3 processor will work, he said, but it will be "a little sluggish."


When setting up a computer, said Jep, disable as many add-ons as you can.
"They just slow down the computer. Anything running while the computer is on will slow it down. " – He pointed out that Windows 10 does not have Media Player any more, though Media Player Classic can be found on the Filehippo web site. Windows 10 users now have an app called Groove, which is a free download. VLC is still another app available though Jep said he doesn't like it because it puts orange and white cones all over his computer.


Before coming to class this morning, Jep said he made an emergency call at the home of one Greentrees club member whose computer stopped working. Fortunately, said Jep, he had run across the same problem in the past when there had been thunderstorms in the Florence area. A capacitator in the computer sometimes gets overcharged because of an electrical surge, he said. His fix: unplug the computer and then, after plugging it back on, hold in the start button. "It's amazing how often this takes care of the problem." Before doing something similar to a laptop, he said, it would be a good idea to first remove the laptop's battery.


Tips.  Make sure your computer's clock is correct. This can easily be overlooked but may be the reason your computer isn't working correctly. -- Be prepared to get varying results when you run computer speed tests.  – Folks who have only recently bought a new computer should install the free programs Jep has on his web site.


More Tips.  Microsoft Security Essentials, which is free, will work as good as any antivirus program you can buy. -- Half of the stuff on the Net runs off Java, which needs periodic updating. --  Read carefully when installing a new program or you will get a new home page or some program you do not want.

Club Throws Pizza Party to Honor Members
Oct. 5, 2016. – The Greentrees Village Computer Club today saluted club members who over the past year have contributed to the club's success with a pizza, soda and beer party. Honored were: Pat Miller for 5 ½ years as club president. Jack Branson for 5 ½ years as advertising coordinator; Gene Fisher, club vice president, and Connie Goddard, treasurer, for many faithful years of service; Gary Smith for assuming the duties of club secretary; Richard Cortezzo for helping the club’s Apple device users; Rita Cadagin and Richard Schultz for coordinating newsletter advertising; Collette Bailey for volunteering to become the club’s president—for the second time.

Apple Enthusiasts Review Latest Updates
Sept. 28, 2016. – Apple guru Richard Cortezzo told today's class of Apple enthusiasts that they would be wise to back up their iPads and iPhones before installing Apple's latest operating system--IOS 10. The advice resonated with one club member who admitted losing photographs on her iPhone because she had neglected to back them up before downloading IOS 10, which Apple calls Sierra.


Using both his iPad and iPhone, Richard showed how to go to Settings/General and install IOS 10. While in Settings he pointed out the Reset button, which if activated, would return the iPad or iPhone to their original settings. (If you plan on giving your device to someone, he suggested you might want to erase all of your settings and data.) If you find yourself with a diminishing amount of storage, he said, you can buy more from the Apple store. He also demonstrated Apple's voice-activated feature called Siri. It may take a couple of tries to get Siri accustomed to your voice, he noted.


For people who occasionally wonder where they mislaid their keys, Richard suggested a product called Tile, which can help an iPad or iPhone user find lost items such as keys. The $25 Tile can be stuck on or tied to any object you want to keep track of, he said. When you buy the device, it comes with an app that can be loaded onto the iPhone or iPad.


One web site that's a favorite of Richard and some other club members is Retrevo , where someone with a device or gadget but with no instructions on how to use or repair it can download a manual. -- If you'd like uninterrupted sleep, said Richard, you can go to Settings on your iPad or iPhone and activate the device's Do Not Disturb feature.


Jep Norwood Answers Members' Questions

Sept. 21, 2016. – Computer club members kept Jep Norwood busy this morning answering questions on a variety of topics. How do you know if you already have

 Windows 10's Anniversary Update on your computer? Jep's answer: try installing it. If it's already on your computer, you'll get a Thank You message from Microsoft. If it's not, go to Updates and wait for a couple of hours until it downloads and installs onto your computer. For more information about the Anniversary Update Jep suggested going here on his Computer Lessons web page. For people having trouble with the Anniversary Update, Jep noted that Microsoft is planning to fix problems in an upcoming update.


Every operating system needs to be reloaded every four years or so, said Jep. To those with Windows 7, he suggested allowing for several hours to get all the necessary updates. "Give yourself a couple of days if you have to reload a Windows 7 computer," he said. If you want to replace Windows 7 with Windows 10, it's now too late to get Win 10 for free. Microsoft will issue security updates for Windows 7 until 2020, he said.


Every computer, said Jep, should have four browsers on it: Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox and Edge, which comes only with Windows 10. The reason for more than one browser, he said, is because browsers occasionally foul up, thus it's always a good idea to have another browser handy. Although it's possible to put shortcuts on one's desktop using Edge, Chrome or Firefox, Jep is partial to Internet Explorer for its ease in creating shortcuts.


Advice.  Century Link will never be fixed here in Florence, said Jep. "The phone lines are worn out."   Direct TV and Dish Network aren't going to work in Florence, he said. Many new web sites are built to sell advertising, he said, and this slows them down, especially over phone lines. -- Get extraneous toolbars off your computer, he said. "They just slow you down and cause problems."


Still more advice.  How long can one expect a computer to last, one club member wanted to know. "Eight years," said Jep. If a laptop goes, it's done for, he said. Desktops, though, can often be fixed. -- A new version of Linux is now available.-- Jep reminded everyone who wants to look at the ocean to go to his website to see the live web cam atop Driftwood Shores resort.


Club president Collette Bailey announced that Richard Schultz and Rita Cadagin have agreed to replace Jack Branson and Pat Miller as the computer club's advertising coordinators.

Club Members Learn How to Make Calendars
Sept. 14, 2016. –Collette Bailey showed her fellow computer club members this morning how, using her own images--in her case fractals--she made a 2017 calendar using The newly-elected computer club president brought up on the club's screen the site then pointed out the steps one needs to follow before the calendar is ready to be published, printed, and shipped. She passed around copies of the 2017 calendar that she recently made.  


There is no cost to register with Lulu, said Collette. Image sizes vary according to the size of the calendar one wants. A full-color 11x8.5 calendar costs $9.99 plus shipping. (The larger the order, the less the per unit cost.) A good size for images, she suggested, is 3325 x 2750 pixels with resolution at 300 ppi or dpi. The images that will go into the calendar must be edited and sized before they can be loaded into what Lulu calls a Book. Getting one's images into the calendar-in-progress, said Collette, is simply a matter of dragging and dropping them into the appropriate slots.


The program offers several templates. Once you decide on a template, said Collette, you cannot change it, e.g. the font used and the format.  You can, if you wish, she said, insert text into the calendar, e.g. Grandma's Birthday. She suggested saving as one goes along downloading images so that if something should happen one won't have to start the whole process from scratch. She also said that she begins her calendar making with Lulu by clicking on "Start Now."


Once you have clicked on the Preview button and are satisfied with what you see, you are ready to click on "Publish," said Collette. This will bring up a box that asks for your credit card number and again shows your address. Orders take from seven to ten days.

Asked why she chose Lulu rather than another company, she said that she had looked at other calendar makers but had decided she liked Lulu better than its competitors. Another club member recently used Lulu. Richard Jones said that his 2017 calendar would feature photographs he has taken and expected a UPS or FedEx truck any day now.

Club Elects Collette Bailey As New President

Sept. 7, 2016. – The Greentrees Computer Club this morning elected Collette Bailey to

serve as its next president. She will replace Pat Miller, who served as president for 5
1/2 years. Collette will act as president until Dec. 7, at which time all of the club's officers for 2017 will be elected. Gary Smith, the club's secretary, presided over this morning's meeting. Connie Goddard, the club's treasurer, reported that the club had, as of Aug. 30, 2016, a cash balance on hand of $2928.11.


Nobody has yet to step forward to act as the group's advertising coordinator, a job that Jack Branson shared for the past 5 1/2 years with Pat Miller who, along with Jack, explained what the job of ad coordinator entailed. If nobody takes the advertising job, Greentrees Village might take the revenue brought in by newsletter ads, she said. This would leave the computer club with no source of revenue to buy new equipment for the club and for the park. At least one club member this morning said he would discuss taking over the advertising position with his partner.


When Gary asked for suggestions for spending down money in the club's treasury--the bylaws and park administration urge the club not to carry too much money over from one year's budget to the following year--several members had suggestions. Gene Fisher, the club's vice president, projected onto the screen several items that he said that the club could use. One big item was a new, larger screen that would make it possible for everyone in the room to view easily. The club decided to hold off buying such a screen until Gene could come up with specific dimensions. The screen, Pat Miller noted, belonged to Greentrees Village (a gift from the club) and is available for any group in Greentrees to use. The computers in the lab, said Pat, belong to the computer club.


The club this morning voted to buy an Apple computer for the lab. It would be used in classes for those interested in getting an Apple product. Richard Cortezzo, the club's Apple guru, volunteered to find a suitable Apple device that could be used in such a class. The club  also voted to give $450 to Greentrees, to cover the July-to-December cost of Charter's installation of Wi-Fi into the Greentrees RV Park.


Collette Bailey, the club's new president, is a long-time computer user. She served as president of the club several years ago before moving, temporarily, to Brookings. She also met weekly in the computer lab in an informal seminar for Greentrees computer users in search of answers to their computing problems. A few years ago, Collette began maintaining and enhancing the Greentrees Village web site, which was originally created by Don Douglas.  


Why So Many Models? It's Called Business
Aug. 31, 2016. – Just bought yourself a new computer? New desktop? Laptop? Tablet?  For someone new to computers, learning about how things work on a device isn't always easy.  Talk to any longtime member of the Greentrees Village Computer Club, however, and he or she will tell you 1) Go slow, 2) Learn a little bit at a time, 3) Don't worry. Especially important is the "Don't worry" advice. Everyone who has a computer has made a mistake, probably lots of them. 

One thing a new computer owner won't have to worry about is trying to decide which operating system to choose. You've already done that when you bought the new computer. If it's a Windows machine it will have Windows 10 already on it. If it's an Apple, you'll have Apple's OS operating system. In this morning's computer class, led by Gene Fisher, the club's vice president, almost all of those present have had computers with several operating systems ranging from Windows 95 to Vista to Windows 8 to Windows 7. Why so many operating systems? For the same reason that car manufacturers keep bringing out new car models almost every year--to make money. It's called business.

Gene this morning reminded everyone that no matter what operating system their computers have, it would be a good idea that they all have the security programs that Jep Norwood deems essential. Jep is a Florence computer guru who, on the third Wednesday of every month, teaches a class for the computer club. Jep's Computer Lessons web site lists the programs he suggests every computer user have. One club member noted that Windows 10 now has a built in anti-virus program called Defender.

Gene also recommended running CCleaner periodically to rid one's hard drive of cookies and other unwanted junk. He also noted that some people disconnect their XP computers from the Internet and use them as servers. Gary Bovee, from Red Bluff, California, who is a former colleague of Gene, said he keeps his old XP out in his garage and uses it as a server to store manuals and other data that can always be accessed should something happen to his main, connected-to-the-net computer.

More. Gene said that he used Chrome Remote Desktop when connecting to the computer of someone whom he is trying to help. Both parties should be using the Chrome browser and have CRD installed on their computers.  -- He reminded everyone that next Wednesday, Sept. 7, will be devoted to finding a new president for the computer club. On the following Wednesday, Sept. 14, Collette Bailey will show everyone how to use their pictures to make a calendar.


Aug. 26, 2016. – It’s probably not news to the folks who live in Greentrees but perhaps it does no

harm to remind everyone that people who have a pet—a cat or a dog—live longer than those who live alone. In addition, folks with pets generally have lower blood pressure, experience less stress, and get more exercise than their petless neighbors. A Google search will turn up at least a dozen more reasons why living with a cat or dog can benefit an older person.


Since the lifespan of the average cat or dog rarely exceeds 15 years, there's a good chance that living with a pet will end in heartbreak. But, however slowly, time eventually heals us and we begin to look around for another companion. Fortunately, Florence has an animal shelter with a variety of dogs and cats. Before visiting the shelter it would probably be a good idea to look at the animals via its web site. Adopting a cat or dog is not expensive. It can, however, be life changing, for an animal and for the new person in that animal’s life.

 Apple Lovers Get Together  in Today's Class

Aug. 24, 2016. – Whenever computer users want to bring a little excitement into their

cyberworld, there’s one surefire way to do it. They get together and argue the comparative merits of Apple and Microsoft devices and operating systems. On the third Wednesday of every month, Florence computer guru Jep Norwood comes to Greentrees and gives members of the computer club the latest information about PCs (Personal Computers), more specifically Microsoft Windows PCs. As more and more club members think about changing over from Windows to Apple devices, however, the club has begun calling upon its Apple expert, Richard Cortezzo, to keep everyone up-to-speed on iPads, iPhones and other Apple products. 

In this morning's class, Richard showed his fellow Apple users how to save photos taken with an iPhone (or iPad) by loading them to a variety of storage apps. "It's always a good idea to download the photos on your iPhone," he said. "That way you free up space for more photos or videos." Using his iPad, he showed how to go to Settings and choose whether to share pictures with others. 

Facetime is an Apple app that comes on both the iPhone and iPad and allows two parties to connect and see and hear each other--similar to Microsoft's Skype--and costs nothing as long as both parties are wi-fi connected and  have the Facetime app on their devices. Rather not have someone see you when you get a Facetime call? Just switch off the video and keep the audio. 

Many of the tips about using the Apple operating system Richard illustrated today on an iPad for which he paid five dollars. When at his winter home in southern Arizona, he volunteers at a charity's thrift store "where for some reason they don't like Apple products and sell them dirt cheap." He went online at Retrevo and found an iPad manual. One club member in today's class suggested that when Richard comes back to Greentrees next spring that he bring with him a used 15-inch Macbook Pro. "I'd pay as much as $10 for one of those," said the new Apple enthusiast.

Once WIN 10 Update Begins, Don't Stop It--Jep
Aug. 17, 2016. – Jep Norwood cautioned computer club members installing Windows 10 Anniversary Update not to stop the installation once it begins.  In his monthly class this morning, he warned that the download/installation process could take up to three hours and suggested that folks first download and save the Anniversary Update to the desktop then, when one has time to monitor the installation, to begin putting it on one's computer. If you leave your computer on all the time, he said, Microsoft might install the Anniversary Update without any prompting from you. If this happens, again, do not stop the installing process, he said.


Jep said he has found that Cortana, Windows 10 voice recognition software, and Edge, the Win 10 default browser, work better with the Anniversary Update installed. Jep’s web site has a couple of videos, as well as the Anniversary Update.  Save it using save as on your desktop, said Jep. You can customize the update, he said by going to settings. "However," he said, "you'll probably want to turn most of them off." On a separate computer in today's class, Jep downloaded the Windows 10 Anniversary Update.

More Advice. When one club member complained about a slow browser, Jep said that none of the browsers now in use worked correctly all of the time. It was for this reason, he said, that when he set up someone's computer that he put four browsers on the computer. -- For those wishing to make a web site, Jep suggested looking at wix . -- He reminded everyone of the three parts of a computer: first, the BIOS, the machine's "litle heart" that keeps track of things even when the computer is turned off. Second, the registry, "the brain." Third, Windows, "where we do most of our work." He went on to explain why it was not possible to take a program from one computer and put it into another computer.


He reminded Greentrees club members that they are welcome to sit in on his free computer classes at the Florence Elks. Classes are on Fridays from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m.


Managing Android Smartphones and Tablets

Aug 10, 2016. – Greentrees Computer Club secretary Gary Smith this morning showed his

fellow computer club members how he manages his Android smartphone and Samsung tablet. Android is a mobile operating system developed by Google and designed primarily for touchscreen mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. Android's user interface is mainly based on direct manipulation, using touch gestures that loosely correspond to real-world actions such as swiping, tapping and pinching to manipulate on-screen objects, along with a virtual keyboard for text input.


"The most important thing I've learned since I bought my first Android device," said Gary, " is always buy the largest amount of memory you can afford." 32 gigs should be the minimum, he said and "more is always better." He also said that  he's learned that it's best if you have your camera save its pictures and videos to your SD memory card.  "Not only does that leave more space on the critical device main memory but also makes it easy to remove the SD card and copy it to your computer."


If you want to find new apps (applications) for your Android device, said Gary, go to Google Play Store  and start searching. Some of the apps are free, he said, while others cost varying amounts. There are often free versions of popular apps, he said but noted that the user will first be subjected to advertising. Downloading apps is easy, said Gary, as is uninstalling them should they no longer be useful.


"There are some apps that come with your device," said Gary, "and they can't be uninstalled." To uninstall an app you don't want, he said, on your Home Screen locate your Settings icon, which is the gear symbol. On the top Menu, select General, which is usually on the right hand side. Locate the Device Manager section and then click on Application Manager, which will then list all of your downloaded apps. "Scroll through your list until you find the app you'd like to uninstall. Select it and click Uninstall."

Gary concluded his presentation by showing how an Android user can move apps to the memory of an SD card. The newest Android devices access memory differently than do older Android devices, he pointed out. Older phones and tablets must have the apps loaded into Main Device Memory, he said, whereas newer Android devices can access the SD card and read it as if it were Main Memory. "With older devices we can move some but not all of an apps data to the SD card memory." In a handout, Gary spelled out the steps to follow in accessing SD card memory and pointed out some of the advantages of being able to swap SD cards between Android devices.   


 Nothing to Read? Maybe You Need a Kindle

Aug. 3, 2016. –  You're sitting in your doctor's waiting room and the only reading

material available is a tattered copy of People magazine. Or you're 40,000 feet up in the air on a jet winging its way to Europe with nothing to read but the in-flight magazine. Or it's nighttime and you can't sleep but if you turn on the bedside lamp to read you'll surely wake your partner. What to do? One solution--get yourself a Kindle e-reader.


Back in 2004, Jeff Bezos, CEO of, an online book sales company, challenged his technical staff to come up with an electronic device that would allow a customer to download reading material off the Internet (e.g., a book), then flip through the pages using a swipe of one's finger. What the techies came up with in 2007 was the first Kindle, a black and white e-reader. Today, for prices from about $80 to $300, one can buy varying-sized color Kindles with front and back facing cameras and capable of storing hundreds of books and videos.


At this morning's computer class, vice president Gene Fisher showed how to go to and download books onto one's Kindle. Some of the books, said Gene, are free while others cost varying amounts.  Can you surf the Net with a Kindle? Yes, said Gene; it was just a matter of downloading the right application. How about email?

No problem, said Gene. One matter that elicited various opinions was how best to carry a Kindle. The Kindle Fire and other latest versions of the device are too big to stick in a man's pants or shirt pocket and most men are diffident about carrying a purse. It was probably for this reason, one club member suggested, that companies came up with something called a messenger bag that can be slung across one's shoulder.


Several club members use their Kindles to download books from the Florence library onto their devices, a service the library does not charge for. Anyone interested in getting a PIN number so that they can use this service is advised to drop by the library and make out the necessary paper work. For more information about Kindles, Gene recommended the Love My Fire site. Also assisting at today's class was club secretary Gary Smith, who was at his home in Salem and used Skype to keep in touch with Gene and club members.



Refurbished Apple Products Available Online

July 27, 2016. -- Richard Cortezzo told a small but enthusiastic group of computer club members this morning all about Apple and Apple products. Richard said he has been using Apple since 1984 and only once has he ever have any trouble. "And that was a mechanical problem." When someone expressed concern over the price of new Apple desktop and laptops, he showed how to go online and buy refurbished Apple machines. The work is done by Apple in China, he said, and the refurbished product is then shipped to its new owner in the U.S. He showed everyone a new iPhone 6 that he recently bought. The total monthly charge for his and his wife's iPhone service, he said, was currently $49.50 a month. In a short video, Richard talks about refurbished Apple products and his iPhone.


Jep Keeps Computer Club Members Scribbling
July 20, 2016. – Jep Norwood  kept computer club members scribbling in this morning's class as he responded to a variety of questions. Before getting into specifics, however, he reminded folks who bring their laptop computers to him for repair to make sure they also bring a power supply cable that will connect the laptop to a 110 electrical outlet. Sometimes, said Jep, his repair of a laptop will necessitate the machine being on for several hours. "Laptops do run out of power if they're not charged regularly," he said.

He told everyone that July 29 is the last day to put a free version of Windows 10 on their computers and reminded those with Windows 10 that a "massive" update from Microsoft is coming on August 2. Edge, the Win 10 new browser, is okay, he said but does not work all of the time. Although he suggested everyone have three browsers (e.g. Internet Explorer, Chrome and Firefox) on their computer, "all of the browsers are screwed up." Eventually, everything will work just fine but computers are still in their infancy, he said and compared computers today to the days when to make a telephone call you had to take the phone off the hook and turn a crank.

If something goes wrong with your computer, try fixing it with Windows Repair Toolbox said Jep. Another favorite tool of his is "Try it to see if it will fix your computer," he said. He put Windows 10 on his computer, he said, so that he could become familiar with it before attempting to repair Win 10 desktops and laptops brought to him. One reason it took several days to successfully download and install Windows 10, he confessed, was that he failed to notice that the clock on his taskbar was not showing the correct time. After last week's electrical blackout, clocks on Windows 10 computers had to be reset. "Once I realized that," said Jep, "I had no trouble installing the complete version of Windows 10."


Several people with Windows 10 have complained that their printers don't work, he said. "If your printer won't work," said Jep, "go to the printer manufacturer's web site and search for a driver that will work with Windows 10." If you can't find one, he said, then you'll have to buy a new printer that will work with Microsoft's latest operating system.


More Advice.  Whenever you install a program that uses a password, write it down or, better yet, get the password tattooed on your arm. -- When opening a program, click on the icon, not on the words. If you click on the words you might end up changing them and end up with a program you can no longer open. If you take your computer to Jep to have it repaired, take all pertinent passwords and cables. -- Windows 10 Defender "is fine." You won't need Security Essentials if you have Win 10. -- Back up your computer regularly. Instructions for backing up are on Jep's web site.



Save on Phone Bills with Skype, Says Dale

July 6, 2016– Dale DeRemer showed his fellow computer club members this morning how to save money on their telephone bills. Dale's solution? Use Skype, a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) program from Microsoft that has some 600 million users worldwide. Skype is a free download. Unlimited calling to mobile and landline phones in North America costs $6.99 a month, according to the program's web site. To initiate a call using Skype, the person making the call must have a computer or device connected to the Internet. If both parties have Skype, there is no charge for the call, Dale said.


Dale, a retired professor of aeronautics from the U. of North Dakota, along with wife Trish, have sold their place in Greentrees and will make Southern California home for the few months a year that they live in the U.S. Most of the year they live in a home on the Sea of Cortez in Baja, Mexico. According to Dale, they will continue using Skype, whether living in California or in Mexico. The only time they don't use Skype, said Dale, is when they are on the road and are without Internet access or when they want to keep in touch with each other in a large store.


Joining Skype is free and so are calls to other Skype users throughout the world. Calls to landlines and cell phones are, said Dale, very inexpensive and can be paid for

in a couple of ways. You can keep a small deposit with Skype and/or subscribe to one or more Skype plans for areas you call most often. To receive calls from cell phones and landlines around the world, you need to get a Skype landline number. You can choose almost anywhere in the country to locate your landline, which costs about $19 a year.  And, said Dale, you need to have some money on deposit with Skype  in order to make calls to phones outside of your subscription area.


You must have a computer or device connected to the Internet and--if you choose to take calls on your computer rather than on your landline--you will need a microphone. Dale said he disables the camera feature on his computer since he "doesn't like what he looks like 'on camera'" and sometimes runs around the house without paying much mind as to his attire.  


In this morning's class, he showed everyone some of the choices they can make in their Skype account. He cautioned against using 911 for emergencies and suggested listing the phone number for local emergency services in one's Skype favorites and also on the wall near one's computer. Skype makes a record of one's calls, so there is no need to guess as to how many more minutes one has. The program also records messages should you not be home to answer a Skype call and does call forwarding. "Compared to the cost of your landline," said Dale, "Skype is really cheap if you already have Internet access for your computer. Save money. Ditch your landline!"


Pat Miller Resigns as Club President
July 1, 2016. – Pat Miller yesterday resigned as president of the Greentrees Village Computer Club. Also resigning was Jack Branson, coordinator of advertising for the club. In an email to club members, Pat said that Gene Fisher, the club’s vice-president, will take over until a new president can be elected. “It’s been a fun and challenging 5 ½ years,” she said and thanked the officers she has served with. She also thanked fellow club members who have helped by teaching class, setting up for classes, writing articles for the park’s newsletter and helping at the Emergency Preparedness Expo. “I’m not resigning from the club,” said Pat. “I look forward to being just a class member.”


 Turn Old Computer Into Linux Machine--Gene

June 26, 2016. -- Ever wonder what to do with an old Windows XP or Vista

computer? Club vice president Gene Fisher had one suggestion in this morning's computer club class: turn the old machine into a basic Linux computer by inserting into it a $25 thumb drive sold by  Gene put the app onto his Windows Vista laptop and so far, he said, has had no trouble running his favorite programs or accessing his files.


Several people in today's class told fellow club members about some of their favorite apps. Richard Cortezzo, who is the club's Apple guru, said that for the past ten years he had been interested in searching for extraterrestrial life (SETI), whose web site is here. Space asteroid day, Richard noted, is tomorrow, June 30.


Pinterest, a free website, had several fans in this morning's class. Users can upload, save, sort and manage images--known as pins--and other media content (e.g. videos) through collections known as pinboards, according to the app's website. More on Pinterest can be found here.  


Gene Fisher uses Viber to keep in touch with a granddaughter touring Europe. He showed everyone some of the photos she had recently taken in Paris. Using Viber costs nothing, he said, if both parties have the app. -- Paying for online purchases, most members agreed this morning, is best done using PayPal, a subsidiary of EBay. More on PayPal is available here 


If It's Monday Morning It's Workshop Time
June 20, 2016. -- Computer club members came together this morning in a Monday workshop that gave them an opportunity to get answers to questions about their phones, tablets, personal computers (PCs), and Apple products. Co-anchoring the get-together were club vice president Gene Fisher, who has a variety of electronic devices, and Richard Cortezzo, the club's expert on Apple and many of its devices. Also helping out today was club secretary Gary Smith.  


Jep Recommends Switch to Chrome Browser

June 15, 2016. – Jep Norwood warned Greentrees computer club members in this

morning's class that Microsoft's Internet Explorer (IE) browser has become "a nightmare" and recommended that people use the Chrome browser. The reason IE has become so fouled up, he said, is probably because Microsoft is spending most of its resources fine tuning Edge (Win 10s browser) and other features in Windows 10--its new operating system--and has neglected Windows 7.


Should club members put Windows 10 on their computers? Yes, said Jep, if one's computer if under three years old or if it now uses the Windows 8 or 8.1 operating system. To those running Windows 7 on older computers, he noted that security updates for Win 7 wouldn't expire until 2020, The reason Microsoft is anxious to get its Windows 10 on the world's personal computers (PCs) is, said Jep, because the Microsoft Store can be accessed using Windows 10 but not by those with Windows 7. Apple has its Store and now Microsoft wants its own Store, where it can sell both hardware and software.


Stopping Microsoft from installing Windows 10 without one's knowledge, said Jep, is still a problem. On his web site, Computer Lessons, Jep has links to two programs that will prevent  Microsoft from putting Windows 10 on a computer. He noted that several of his customers who put Win 10 on their computers are having trouble printing. "You just don't know which programs will work--or won't work--on Windows 10," he said. Finding things like Control Panel and Disk Defragmenter in the new operating system can be difficult, he said.


More Advice.  Jep told one club member who was concerned about being tracked whenever she used her computer not to worry. You'll get more unsolicited ads and phone calls from using your Safeway and Fred Meyer cards than you will from Internet browsing, he said. "You might just as well make up your mind that there ain't not such thing as privacy." -- Having trouble with your computer?  Stop using it then start it again; this clears the RAM and will solve your problem most of the time. -- If you have a wireless router, don't stick it in a closet. Keep it out in the open and chances are it'll start working properly again. -- Wonder why your computer seems slow? Jep's web site has four speed tests.


Apple Lovers Get Together in Monday Class

June 13, 2016. -- Richard Cortezzo  told his fellow computer club members this

morning why he prefers to do his computing and phone calling with Apple products. Asked why he preferred an Apple over a personal computer (PC), Richard said that since 1984, when he started using Apple, he has never had one Apple computer become infected, something, he added, that few PC users could say. When someone pointed out that Apple products cost more than PCs, he replied, "You get what you pay for."


Gene Fisher, the club's vice president, spent much of today's class time helping members, e.g. showing how to transfer the photos on one's phone onto one's computer. Gene confessed to owning several non-Apple products but said he recently traded in his landline phone for an Apple iPhone. More Monday morning classes will be forthcoming, he said.


What Is a Smart Phone?--That Is the Question 

June 8, 2016. –  First, the basics. What is a smart phone? According to Wikipedia, "A smartphone is a mobile phone with an advanced mobile operating system which combines features of a personal computer operating system with other features useful for mobile or handheld mobile or handheld use." 


While computer club members tried to decide this morning if their cellular phones were of the smart phone variety, Gene Fisher called upon everyone to talk briefly about their phones. A few members confessed to knowing little more than how to make an emergency call while others rattled off the names of apps their phones contained. What was clear, said Gene, was that there was a necessity to hold further classes so that everyone with a cell phone could learn to use it at its full potential. The following photos are from this morning's class.

Class Learns To Block Windows 10 Nagging

June 1, 2016. – Club president Pat Miller handed out another installment of her Guide to Windows 10 this morning, with the emphasis on blocking Microsoft's seemingly never-ending attempt to get the world's PC users to download and install its latest operating system. July 29 is fast approaching, Pat noted, and if Windows 7 and 8 users haven't by then installed Win 10 on their computers by that date,  they'll be charged $119 for the operating system's Home Edition. The good news is that Microsoft will stop nagging Windows 7 and 8 owners with annoying messages suggesting they install Windows 10. 

Will Microsoft extend its free Windows 10 updates past the July 29th cut-off date? Apparently not, said Pat, but noted that Microsoft still has time to reverse its decision. In the past, users could decline the Windows 10 update if they clicked on red X in the upper right corner of the Get Windows 10 prompt box. No longer, said Pat, who warned that clicking on the X in the upper right of the "Windows 10 is a Recommended Update for this PC" box is interpreted by Microsoft as approval to install Windows 10. What do do? Click on the word "here"  where it says "Click here to change upgrade schedule or cancel." Then, select the "Cancel scheduled upgrade" option on the following screen.  

What's causing all this trouble? According to Pat, it's update KB3035583. As long as this update is installed, she said, "Your computer will not leave you alone." To remove the update, click Start and type View Installed Updates and then hit Enter. Search for KB3035583, click on it one time and then click Uninstall, said Pat.  

Two free programs are available--GWX Control Panel  and Never 10-- that can permanently block the Windows 10 upgrade, said Pat. GWX Control Panel can be downloaded here, she said and added that reading the program's user guide is a must.


Never 10  ( disables the automatic upgrade to Windows 10, said Pat and added that "You can also later run it again to re-enable this capability if you change your mind." Never 10 works with both Windows 7 and 8. It does not install any software, so, said Pat, you just run it then delete it when you're done. Her Windows 10 Guide showed the four messages one gets when using Never 10. (The guide is available to computer club members before and after the regular Wednesday class meetings.)  

What if? But what if you, perhaps by mistake, download Windows 10 on your computer.
You can always use it, said Pat. Or, she said, you can go back to your previous version of Windows within 31 days. If the instructions are too confusing for you, she said, you can always call your computer technician. Whatever you do, she cautioned, make sure you first back up your data.  

Windows 10 isn't so terrible, suggested several computer club members who have installed the new operating system. One member who has had Windows 10 on her computer since February of last year said she didn't understand the big fuss everyone is  making over Win 10. "So, it's a little different," she said, "and all my peripherals are still working. And it was free. What's not to like?"


Old WINZIP As Good As Latest Versions--Jep

May 18, 2016. – Jep Norwood assured computer club members this morning that the

free Version 11 of WINZIP he puts on computers is every bit as good as the latest version of WINZIP which now sells for $29.95. He then showed how to open a ZIP file (identified by a little vise in the icon) and extract the data in the file. Just make sure, he said, that the WINZIP file is in a folder before extracting it. There's seldom a need to send someone a zipped up file, he said, but if you do, check first to make sure the recipient has WINZIP installed.


For those looking for a free program to burn CDs and DVDs, Jep suggested CDBurnerXP ("It has nothing to do with the Windows XP operating system.") Most computers sold today, he said, do not come with a CD/DVD drive so make sure there is a drive before buying a new computer. Above all, he cautioned, do not mess with Roxio, a burner app that he once used but now considers one of the worst.


To those thinking of putting Windows 10 on their computers, Jep reminded  them that there will be Windows 7 security updates until 2020. And by that time, he said, most of the computers running Windows 7 will be obsolete. Microsoft has still not eliminated all the bugs from Windows 10, he said, and sometimes people who install Win 10 on their computers find that they cannot run certain apps. Which apps won't work, nobody seems able to say in advance, said Jep.  Internet Explorer, he said, has a glitch that nobody, as yet, has been able to fix.


Not being able to find games on some computers, said Jep, has been one of the common complaints from several of his customers. He then showed one computer club member how to find free games on her Windows 7 Pro laptop. (ControlPanel/Programs and Features. Click on turn on or off in upper left of screen; all Windows programs will load--this takes several minutes. ln the games box, put a check mark and you should then have games.)


Backing up Windows 10 is no different from backing up Windows 7 Jep said. Before showing how backing up was done, he warned about using back up programs. "I've never seen one work right," he said. Above all, he said, do not back up your entire operating system unless you want to see everything on your computer show up twice.


More. If you want a new icon for a program, said Jep, right click on the folder and go to Properties, where you'll have a choice of images. Not happy with any of these? Go to Browse then look in System 32, where, Jep said, he put lots of images. -- When removing an HDMI connection, he said, turn off your devices before unplugging. On most computers an icon in the lower right of the task bar indicates when it is safe to unplug a device.


Google Earth--The World at Your Fingertips

May 4, 2016. --  Want to see the house where you grew up? Want to know how many miles you go on your daily walk around Greentrees? Thinking of going to Yellowstone National Park this summer and want to know the best route and how long the drive will take? Would you like to email a picture of where you live in Florence to a friend or relative? Want to pilot a plane over Florence, over Oregon, over any place in the world? Google Earth is where you find the answers.


Google Earth is a virtual globe, map and geographical information program created by a CIA-funded company and acquired by Google in 2004. Google Earth and Google Earth Pro (of special interest to scientists and businesses) are both free downloads and are installed on more than a billion computers. Both Earth and Earth Pro can be downloaded here.


There are some misconceptions about Google Earth. You can't see what your neighbor is doing by putting his address in the Search box in the upper left of the screen. Google does update its images but what we see in Earth is not real time. How often images are updated depends on a number of factors, e.g., how populated the area is, the season of the year. A satellite image of the Sahara desert taken today will not differ much, if at all, from a picture of the desert taken a year ago. Some images change rapidly. We were surprised at how quickly San Francisco's old Candlestick Park came tumbling down to make way for a new commercial complex and housing project.


One of our favorite features in Google Earth is its Street View. Drag the little person-icon (Google calls it Pegman) onto the screen and you'll have a car driver's view of

any street that lights up in blue.  You can see Rhododendron Drive as it passes the entrances to Greentrees Village. But no, you can't go driving into Greentrees since this is private property. Some countries, e.g. North Korea, don't permit Google to drive its streets and record pictures.


Cities can be viewed in 3D using the mouse and the shift key. Florence is a little too small to rate third dimensional viewing but Eugene, Salem and Portland can be seen in 3D. We recently had fun measuring how far we walked many years ago from San Francisco's Union Square to the middle of the Golden Gate Bridge (the answer: 5.5 miles). We did the measuring by clicking on the Ruler icon in the Google Earth menu then selecting Path. Click, walk a bit, click then walk toward the bridge, click; watch as the mileage adds up.


Our only disappointment with Google Earth so far is our inability to fly around in the program's Flight Simulator (Ctrl+Alt+A) without crashing. Maybe one day we'll get a joystick and hope that it will allow us to try to land a plane without crashing. In the meantime, we'll just have to keep in mind that old pilot's mantra: any landing you can walk away from is a good landing. And, last we checked, we were still walking. Well, at least shuffling along.


Posting Pix on Facebook Easy--Gary Smith

April 20, 2016. – Gary Smith this morning invited all Greentrees residents to submit photos for the Greentrees Facebook page, which he administers. Gary also has a personal Facebook page and 132 "friends," people with whom he keeps in touch.  He said that he spent about an hour a day keeping up with Facebook business. In this morning's class, he showed his fellow club members how to post and delete pictures on a Facebook page. There's no need to worry about how large a photo is, he said, since Facebook will resize all photos. Following are photos from this morning's class.


April 18, 2016. -- Homeland Security advises PC owners to take QuickTime off computers. See KrebsonSecurity.

Class Continues  Exploring Windows 10

April 13, 2016. –  Computer club members this morning continued their exploration of

Windows 10 as club president Pat Miller handed out another eleven pages of her guide to Microsoft's latest operating system. Today's emphasis was on Edge, which is the default browser for Windows 10. Because so many business applications depend on Internet Explorer, Pat said, IE also comes with Windows 10 and can, if one wishes, be used as one's browser.


Edge, Pat pointed out, is the default browser for Windows 10 but perhaps because it is "the new kid on the block" has some issues that still must be resolved. According to Pat, Microsoft has been working to fix things that don't always work correctly in Edge. For this reason, she said, many people prefer to use a different browser. If you don't want to use Edge, she said, don't try to remove it. "Just unpin it from the taskbar and Start if it's there, and totally ignore it."


Edge has features similar to what one finds in Internet Explorer, said Pat. In something called the Hub, where important information is kept, you'll view favorites, reading list, browsing history and current downloads. Click on the Pen tool and you can, using your mouse, draw lines or circles on any web page, which can then be saved. Next to the Pen is the Marker, which allows you to highlight items or draw on the page. The Eraser will let you clear all of your notes or just select certain parts to remove.


Windows 10 comes with the Mail app preinstalled. It's called Outlook Mail on Windows 10 Mobile running on smart phones and phablets, but just plain Mail on Windows 10 for PCs. Mail's interface, said Pat, is "spare and clear." You can, of course, use a different email program, e.g. Google's Gmail, if you wish, she said. If you have Cortana activated, she said, you can send a message by saying "Hey, Cortana, send an email." The person you're sending the email to, she noted, must be in your contacts. "Just dictate the message and when finished say 'Send'."


Any club member who would like a copy of Pat's Guide to Window 10 may pick one up before or after any computer club class. Several of today's class members have put Windows 10 on their desktops or laptops and, so far, report few problems. Users of Windows 7 or 8 may download and install Windows 10 free if they do it before the July 29 deadline. After that, Windows 10 will cost $109.


Gary Smith Helps Club Brush up on Facebook
April 6, 2016. –  Ever wondered what's going on in the lives of old friends, the boys and girls--now men and women--you went to school with or worked with? If you're Gary Smith, the Greentrees Computer Club secretary, or one of another one billion of the world's population,  you become a member of Facebook, a free social media site where you can communicate with a closed circle of "Friends." 

In this morning's class, Gary handed out a four-page guide to the basics: "Facebook, the Ultimate Time Sucker for Adults." Young people, Gary noted, have pretty much moved on to other social media sites, leaving Facebook to the old-timers and those not yet ready to try a different get-together site. Over the years, said Gary, his circle of Facebook friends has grown to 132, a number he said he can manage. He uses Facebook to stay in touch with his family, friends he went to school with and folks he used to work with "and now find that I miss."

How do you sign up or open a Facebook account? Open your browser and go to this  Help page  which, he said, has lots of good information. Some of the ways you can use Facebook, he said. you'll find here. On your own Facebook page you'll also find lots of information, said Gary, most of it not difficult to understand. Clicking on the Padlock opens your Privacy Settings. Here you can select who sees your posts. If a long-lost person asks if you want to become one of their Facebook friends, he said, you have a choice or accepting or rejecting their request.

Want to add new Friends? Use the Search bar in the top menu is one say to start, said Gary. "Ask folks that you know (like family and grand kids) to send you a 'Friend Request' This is the easiest way to add a Friend." -- You can add a photo of yourself to your home page. That way people will know almost instantly that they are on the right page. Finally, he showed how to save a photo to your computer that you have found on another Facebook page.

Gary spent a good portion of today's Facebook class answering questions about the program, which a majority of those in the class today indicated they belonged to. Everyone agreed that another class on Facebook was needed. Gary again volunteered to teach it.


Members Continue Exploring Windows 10

March 23, 2016. – Club president Pat Miller continued this morning with her review of Windows 10, Microsoft's latest operating system. After handing out the second

chapter of her Windows 10 guide--this one entitled "The Start Menu & Cortana"--she led her fellow computer club members on a journey that explored many of the features they will find in the Start menu of Windows 10. "There are lots of choices how you set up Windows 10," she noted. "There's more than one way to do something," she emphasized.


She began  on the Start menu by noting that the menu went missing in Windows 8 but now is back and is a combination of the Windows 7 Start menu with lists on the left side of the page and Windows 8 with tiles on the page's right side. Don't like the size or color of the tiles? These can be changed, she said, and the lists on the left can be added to or deleted to reflect the user's preferences.


What does Pat think of Windows 10 now that she has been using it a few weeks? "It's kind of fun," she said, "maybe because it's new." You can if you wish set up a password to open your computer, she said, but cautioned that you had better write down the password. Once it's lost, she said, your computer won't open, which will mean a trip to the computer doctor and an expensive Windows 10 reload.


One feature Windows 10 has that Win7 and Win8 does not have is Cortana, which Microsoft calls "your personal digital assistant." Cortana is voice activated--similar to Apple's Siri--and, according to Microsoft, "can help you find anything you're looking for, set up your appointments, open programs and send emails." Cortana is named after an artificial intelligence in the video game Halo and since the character is female and the program uses a female voice when speaking, Cortana is a "she."


One feature of Cortana seemed to intrigue club members--her ability to let you dictate an email message then allow you see it in writing before you press your email program's Send button. Some computers, Pat noted, come with a built-in microphone, so no additional add-ons are necessary to use Cortana. If you don't have a mic, you'll need one before you can use Cortana, said Pat. The program can be configured to one's liking, she said, and can be trained to respond to a particular voice.


Pat reminded everyone that Windows 7 and 8 users can download Windows 10 at no cost as long as they do it before July 29 of this year. So far, she said, Microsoft has not extended the deadline. After July 29, Windows 10 will cost $109.


Once Windows 10 Starts, Don't Stop It -- Jep
March 16, 2016. – Jep Norwood began this morning's computer class with a warning
to people who are planning to install Windows 10 on their desktops and laptops. "If Windows 10 starts to install, don't try to stop it." He suggested club members pass on the warning to their friends. Putting Windows 10 on a computer, he said, is about a three hour operation. Once you've installed new Microsoft's new  operating system, he said, there will be updates that you'll have to install, which could take up to an hour or even longer if some of the updates are large.

Windows 10 keeps getting better, said Jep, but you'll have to keep it updated, which you can do by going to Settings then Update Security and Check for Updates. If you haven't used your computer in a while and then find yourself looking at a blank screen, this doesn't mean your computer has stopped working, he said. "You might just be in the middle of a large update." Try wiggling your mouse, he said; chances are your computer will come around once the update has finished installing.
Drivers do not need to be updated, said Jep. If a program needs new drivers, he said, you'll get the fix when you go to Windows Updates. If you install drivers that are advertised when you visit a web site, he said, chances are that all you'll be doing is installing malware on your computer. -- Don't bother putting a password on your computer, he said. If something goes wrong and your computer doesn't work even though you put your password in when you began a computing session, he said, you'll probably need a complete reload to fix the problem. Just don't use a password to start up your computer and you won't have that problem, he said. 
Jep suggested going to his web site (Computer Lessons) to learn how to find one's product key after upgrading to Windows 10 -- He noted that Sticky Notes is a little app that came with one's computer and said that he doesn't think Efficient Sticky Notes is an app that anyone needs. -- For those who, like Jep, are bothered by the small arrows on desktop icons, he recommended doing away with the arrows by using Winaero. --   Finally, Jep cautioned everyone to beware of phishing scams.


Club Looks at Win 10 Desktop in Today's Class

March 9, 2016. – Windows 10 is Microsoft's latest operating system and everyone with a computer should have it. This, of course, is the opinion of Microsoft, which is in the

business of selling software to the millions of people throughout the world who have computers. Whether people running Windows 7 or Windows 8 on their computers should download and install Windows 10 on their computers now is a matter of opinion. Computer Club president Pat Miller told her fellow club members this morning that the consensus seems to be that folks with Windows 8 should, as soon as possible, put Windows 10 on their computers. For those running Windows 7, it's their call. Microsoft plans on continuing security updates for Windows 7 until 2020.


If you now have Windows 7 or 8 on your computer, Pat said, you have until July 29 to install a free copy of Windows 10. After that date, a copy of Windows 10 will cost $109. Pat said she has decided to keep Windows 7 on her computer until Microsoft stops issuing security updates. However, in the past two classes she has used the club's laptop computer that has the Home edition of Windows 10 on it so that she can answer questions from people who have the new operating system on their computers.


In this morning's class, she gave everyone a 10-page handout called "The Desktop, Featuring the Taskbar." This, she said, was the first of a multi-paged guide she is writing in an effort to explain the basics of Windows 10 to both those new to the operating system and those who plan on installing it. Two class members this morning noted that they had installed Windows 10 and, so far, had no trouble getting around in the new operating system. One said he had lost no documents or programs after making the switch from an older operating system to Windows 10.


Page 1 of Pat's handout began with the basics: "The screen you see when you boot up is the desktop. The bar that runs along one edge is your taskbar where you will find Start, the center taskbar, and System icons." Following came illustrations of and explanations of System Tray (Time and Date) and Action Center (something new in Win 10, with columns and tiles). Next to the Action Center is the Audio icon, Network (click to see strength of connection and available networks), Battery (shows status and battery saver feature), Show Hidden Icons, and Show/Hide Icons in the System Tray.


Next came The Middle Taskbar, which comes preloaded with the File Explorer  (your

file browser), Edge (your new web browser) and Store (for downloading apps and programs). Following came explanations of the Taskbar Options and Customization (right click on the taskbar then right click for customization options). Choosing Properties will let you make changes to the taskbar. Task Manager will let you close down programs that get hung up; you can still use Ctrl+Alt+Delete then choose Task Manager.


File Explorer's icon is a small file folder and is the way you get to look at your folders and drives. In following pages of Pat's handout are explanations for Task View and Virtual Desktops, New Files, and Personalize the Desktop. By this time in today's presentation, several members were beginning to groan as their brains reeled from information overload. "Just remember," Pat reminded everyone, "We felt the same way when the other operating systems first made their debuts."


The next Windows 10 class, she said, will cover searching and Cortana, a voice activated feature similar to Siri in Apple computers. She also said that the guide she is now writing about Windows 10 might be available online once it has been completed. 

Club Prepares for Windows 10 Operating System

March. 2, 2016. – Computer club president Pat Miller told her fellow club members this morning that Microsoft might possible extend the period in which Windows 7 and Windows 8 operating system users can download and install Windows 10 for free. "It's just a rumor," Pat emphasized and pointed out that officially, the free Windows 10 grace period extends only to July 29 of this year, after which the new operating system will sell for $109.

If your Windows 7 computer is working fine, said Pat, there's no good reason you should install Windows 10. If you have Windows 8, it would  probably be a good idea to download and install Windows 10, she said. Because almost all new computers come with Windows 10, she decided to buy the club's new Dell laptop with the Home edition of Windows 10 already installed on it. That way, she said, she can become familiar with it and will be able to answer questions about Windows 10 that come up in future classes.

She also plans on creating a guide to Windows 10 and, in upcoming classes, will work through the guide chapter-by-chapter. Some classes in the Wednesdays ahead, she said, will be devoted to Windows 10. In the meantime, she passed out a five-page Q&A booklet to give members an introduction to the operating system.

Users of Windows 10 who click the start button in the lower left corner of the window

that opens will also see I'm Cortana, a voice-activated app that requires the computer have a microphone. I'm Cortana can be programmed, said Pat. You'll also see the start menu, which lists apps and also shows tiles.

Edge is the Windows 10 default browser. If your preference is for Internet Explorer, simply search and install it, said Pat.  Bing, she pointed out, is the default search engine, though Google can  be used if one prefers.

As for email, the default program is, though other email programs, e.g. Google's Gmail, can be downloaded and installed. To write a document, Pat suggested using WordPad for simple documents. Of course, she said, MS Word can be installed on one's computer though it is not a free program. LibreOffice and Apache OpenOffice, both free downloads, can also be put on a Windows 10 computer, she said.

If you're interested in music, said Pat, just type Groove Music into the search box and click on the result. Or, she said, you can use Windows Media Player. "Both apps will allow you to view and play music on your PC," she said. In the Windows Store you can download programs and apps for Windows 10 as well as purchase music and videos. (A Store icon is in the taskbar.)

If you wonder if you can get an older program and have it work on Windows 10, she said, just type "run programs made for previous versions of Windows" into your search box and click on the result. If you'd like to make Windows easier to read, hear or use, type "let windows suggest ease of access settings" into the search box and click, said Pat. Finally, to turn off your Windows 10 computer, said Pat, click on the Power icon in the Start Menu and choose between Sleep, Shut Down and Restart.

Sooner or later, said Pat, almost every PC owner will have a computer with Windows 10 on it. The first class devoted exclusively to Windows 10 will be next Wednesday, March 9. Same place, same time.



Ransomware Latest Computer Threat, Says Jep

Feb. 17. 2016. –   Jep Norwood had good news and bad news for Greentrees computer club members at this morning's class. The good news, said Jep, is that computer

viruses  pose less of a threat than they once did. The bad news is that spyware, malware and ransomware are still out to ruin your day. Ransomware is especially nasty, said Jep. Without any warning, your computer locks up and there appears on your monitor a message saying that if you ever want to see your files again you must fork over money, usually in the form of bitcoins, which are untraceable. How much the bad guys demand usually depends on whom they are extorting money from. An institution might be asked to pay several million whereas an individual may be asked for a few hundred dollars.

You always have the option of not paying the ransom, said Jep, but if you don't you will never see your files again. And you will have to pay to have your computer reloaded, which is about a $185 fee if Jep does it. As for your files, said Jep, they can be put back on your reloaded computer if they have been backed up. (See Jep's web site on backing up.) A 32 GB thumb drive will probably hold most people's files, said Jep. If you have lots of pictures in addition to text that you want to back up, you could use a Western Digital 1 or 2 TB external hard drive. (B&H Video, a reputable online source, sells a 2 TB drive for $99.) As for how often you should back up your files, Jep said that depends on the individual. The more you use your computer, he said, the more often you should be backing it up.


Jep told the class that Malwarebytes, the company that makes an antimalware program has recently made available a new program called Anti-Ransomeware Beta, which he said he had installed on his own computers and, thus far, has given him no trouble. He suggested club members install the program, which is free and can be downloaded here.


More advice. If you download free games from the Internet, Jep told one class member, your computer will soon become overloaded with all sorts of junk that will slow down and perhaps even kill your computer. He suggested Bigfish and Gamehouse as sources for games. They're not free, he said, but they don't foul up your computer. -- Every computer, he said, should have certain programs on it: See his Computer Lessons web site. And don't forget the new anti-ransomware app, he added. 


Pinterest Program Proving Pretty Popular 

Feb. 3, 2016. –  Using his Apple iPad, Gene Fisher this morning showed his fellow

computer club members some of the computer tools he uses in his daily routine. One of his favorites is an application called Pinterest,  which calls itself "a visual bookmarking tool that helps you discover and save creative ideas." The app is free and can be downloaded onto an Apple or Android device. Only one's email address is required plus a password to enter the Pinterest  web site. Gene, whose hobby is working on cars and GMC motorhomes, said he liked Pinterest because it lumped together photographs and text, often with explanations on how to make repairs. Another club member found fascinating Pinterest's pages of all the things one could do with PVC tubing while still another club member said she liked the site for its recipes.


Another site Gene likes to use is iBooks, an Apple application that most people use when they are looking for something to read. Gene, however, discovered that iBooks is a good place to store PDF files, whether user guides, project plans or a PDF file someone has emailed to him. He also likes the Amazon Prime app, which costs users $99 a year. Members get free unlimited storage of photos in Amazon Photos, ad-free access to over a million songs, free two-day shipping on 20 million eligible items, and  free movies and TV shows. The Amazon Prime web site is currently offering new Prime sign-ups a 30-day free trial.

Back Up Pictures with Google Photos--Gene

Jan. 27, 2016 -- Ever wonder what would happen to the pictures you have on your

computer's hard drive if your computer suddenly stopped working, was lost, stolen or perished in a fire? Gene Fisher, the club's vice president, this morning told his fellow computer club members what he did so that he'd always have access to all of his pictures. He installed Google Photos, which automatically puts all of the photos he has on his hard drive onto "the Cloud," which is just another word for servers, which are devices that hold text and photos. Where are these servers, these Google servers? They could be in The Dalles on the Columbia River, or in Iowa, in Georgia or in five other data centers across the U.S. Wherever they are, they are running all the time, always ready to serve Google's customers.


Google Photos is a free download. All that is needed is one's Gmail address and Google password. Once installed, Google Photos gives the user a choice of storing photos in their Original resolution (this, once a limit is exceeded, starts costing the user for storage space) or in High Quality mode, which offers unlimited free storage and is recommended for phones or  point-and-shoot cameras that are 16 megapixels or less. Google Photos Help Page answers questions about the program. Gene showed how to edit pictures in Google Photos and transfer them onto another computer or onto a tablet so they could be handy for viewing.  

Gene talked briefly about other photo storage programs. Amazon Photos is free to Amazon Prime ($99 a year) users. He also mentioned Google Drive, which offers 15 GB of free data storage, and Dropbox. One class member noted that Flickr, a Yahoo company site, offers free storage of up to 1,000 GB of photos and videos.

Show-and-Tell at this Morning's Computer Class

Jan. 25, 2016. – It was show-and-tell time as club vice president Gene Fisher brought to  this morning's computer class some of the items he uses to keep his computers, tablets and phones in good working order. Gadgets ranged from  a voltage and current meter to a tiny brush (every member of the class got one) that Gene uses to keep electronic connections clean. Also on display were cable ties, a hex wrench/key holder, a label maker and a package of carabineers. Some of the items, said Gene, were "bargains" from the Dollar Store, one of his favorite places to shop for gadgets.


Following are a few photos from this morning's class.

Jan. 23, 2016. -- The state of Oregon sent us a letter yesterday advising us to file our state tax

return online. Reading the letter brought to mind some recent advice from one of our favorite online web sites--Krebs On Security. People who file their federal and state tax returns online could benefit from reading the cautions of Brian Krebs, a former investigative reporter for the Washington Post. For the past six years on his own web site, he has been telling the world about the various ways bad guys use the Internet to steal from unsuspecting men and women.



Update Site Not Always Working Right--Jep

Jan. 20, 2016. –  Club members who complain about the Microsoft Windows Update web site aren't complaining alone, Jep Norwood told commuter club members this morning in his monthly class. The trouble, said Jep, comes when you click on Windows Updates and all you get is a seemingly endless message saying that Windows is searching for updates. The reason you don't see the updates that your computer needs, he said, is probably because the servers containing the updates are overloaded, hence the delay in getting the updates out to clients trying to update their computers. Hang in there long enough, said Jep, and your updates will eventually appear. 

One reason Microsoft is anxious for computer users to install Windows 10 is so that people using the latest operating system can access the Windows store, where users can buy hardware and software, said Jep. He pointed out that Microsoft has always been jealous of the Apple online store. At the moment, said Jep, Microsoft is promoting Minecraft, a children's video game that has morphed into an Education Edition that Microsoft hopes will find favor with teachers as well as students. See The Verge's take on Minecraft here.      

The next generation of mobile technology, 5G, won't be operational for a few years, said Jep, but when it does arrive we should expect speeds unheard of when compared to the present generation's technology. More on 5G here. -- On ad blockers: Jep's advice: "Don't use them. They'll just slow down your Internet connection." -- Internet Explorer continues to be Jep's favorite browser, mainly because he can right click on a web site and put a shortcut to it onto his desktop, where it will be handy to work with. After finishing using the shortcut, he'll just delete it.

On the Greentrees Computer Club page in his ComputerLessons web site Jep answers questions that club members have submitted. In today's class he delved further into topics he has, on the page, responded to, e.g. virtual private networks, using dual monitors ("All new computers come with hdmi ports, which makes using dual monitors possible"), and Dell bloatware. Of all the computer makers, Dell loads its new machines with the least amount of bloatware, said Jep. "Toshiba is the worst." -- He referred those who want to install new fonts in their operating systems to this PC World article. "Don't mess with fonts unless you really need them," said Jep.

One club member asked if it's a good idea to delete old backup files once a new one has been made. Suggested Jep: it sounds like a good idea but what if a few years ago you put something you liked on your computer. If you keep your old backup files, he said, you can do a little searching and find the file whereas if you have only your current year's backup there's no way of ever again finding the file you now wish you had. Back up your computer to an external hard drive, suggested Jep. (B&H Video sells a Western Digital 2TB portable hard drive for $79.99.) Instructions for backing up a Windows 7 computer are on Jep's web site.

Class Agrees--Internet Usage Requires Caution
Jan. 6, 2016. -- Club president Pat Miller this morning warned club members who have installed  Chrome's browser extension Web Tuneup that the program may be a security threat that could expose users' personal data to the entire Internet. How many of the nine million AVG users have been infected has apparently yet to be determined. AVG today acknowledged the blip in its security and said that the Web Tuneup browser extension had been fixed. For more, see this Filehippo site. -- Pat also showed everyone how she used a program called Altomerge to consolidate files made using Microsoft Word into one PDF document. More on Altomerge here. 
Other club members talked about some of their favorite web sites this morning. Club secretary Gary Smith added a new wrinkle by wondering what people miraculously transported from the 1950s would think of modern-day electronic devices. (See CNET's coverage of the Consumer Electronics Show that opened today in Las Vegas.) --  For those folks who get unwanted phone calls, most often selling something or phishing for personal information, Pat suggested, which  can list 800 numbers and report what people have to say about them. Gary Smith and other club members suggested nomorobo as a way to avoid unwanted phone calls. -- Someone suggested those pestered with robo calls could try the government's Do Not Call List.

Dec. 31, 2015. -- You're on Jeopardy, the category is Birding and the question is: "What was
the 6000th bird Noah Strycker saw in 2015 in his pursuit to see as many different birds as possible in one year?" Some hints: Noah is a 29-year-old author, photographer and adventurer from Creswell, Oregon, who, a couple of months ago, set a record for seeing more different species of birds in one year than anyone else in the world. In his quest to set the record--his goal starting out was to find 5000 different species (half of the world's estimated ten thousand species of birds)--Noah visited all seven continents and 41 different countries. Final hint: bird number 6000 hangs out near bee hives and cliffs in Assam, a northeastern province of India at the edge of the Himalayas. 

The answer: the yellow-rumpedhoneyguide. (What else could it be given all those hints?) As to what birding has to do with computers—after all, this blog is called Computer Diary—the answer is that we enjoy watching birds and we also enjoy our computer, which is connected to the Internet. People around the world can write something or take a picture or a video then put it up on the Internet for anyone with a computer to see. Anyone, anywhere.  

 When Noah started his birding journey in Antarctica back in January of this year, he used his cell phone to post the names of the new birds he saw and where he found them onto a web site called Birding Without Borders hosted by the Audubon Society. Then, using his computer and his camera, he sent to those following his journey online reports and photos of his day’s activities. Noah's final blog entry revealed that during 2015 he saw 6042 different birds. This short video recaps his travels. We’re going to miss Noah’s daily listings of new birds and reading about the places he has been. What we won’t miss will be the book about his adventures that will, hopefully, appear in the coming year.

Members Keep Jep Busy Answering Questions

Dec. 16, 2015. -- Computer club members this morning kept Jep Norwood busy answering questions on a variety of subjects. What's the best search engine? Google,

said Jep. If you have a question, he said, just put it into the Google search box and you will in all probability get your question answered.  What should I do if I want to print something I saw on a web site? Jep's suggestion: use Lightscreen, a free program you can use to select all or any part of a web page, save it, then print it. How do I get rid of  the "Download Windows 10 now" box that keeps popping up on my monitor. Jep's answer: Go to his web site and follow the instructions.


Jep used the computer club's new Windows laptop in this morning's class. He still hasn't changed his mind about Windows 10. "It's almost not terrible," he said and reminded those folks with Windows 7--"the best operating system Microsoft has ever made"--to forego downloading Windows 10. Microsoft will keep issuing security updates for Windows 7 until 2020, said Jep. If you do put Windows 10 on your computer, he said, make sure that you use the Internet Explorer browser for a while before switching to Chrome or Firefox.  One thing Windows 10 has that Windows 7 doesn't have, Jep reminded everyone, is a Microsoft online store. Something that irks him about Windows 10 is the need to log back on to one's computer after leaving it for an hour or so. This is something that happens, he said, when the user has gone to a Windows 10 game site.

 Suggestions from Jep If you use Softpedia to find programs you want to download,  your computer could end up loaded with stuff you don't want on it. -- Make sure you have more than one email account. Use your "junk" email address if  you have to submit an email address to get something you want on your computer. -- Write down passwords when you install a new program or when you're setting up a new account. -- If you use Yahoo for your email, be prepared shortly to hear your cell phone ring whenever you get a Yahoo email message on your computer.


Still more. If you have an old Windows XP computer sitting around, put Linux on it, he

said. Use Linux Mint 17.3. "Linux is the greatest operating system in the world," said Jep, and almost never plagued with viruses or malware. The only reason he doesn't put Linux on all of the computers he comes across is because not all applications are able to run on Linux computers, e.g. the popular Google Earth app. Jep told members if they know someone looking for a computer with Linux, he'll sell them one for $200 and include a monitor and keyboard.


Winding up. Jep said he was intrigued with Ninite, a free program that "installs and updates all your programs at once", according to its web site. The only thing that puzzled Jep and club members this morning was how the word Ninite should be pronounced. A search in Google promptly answered that question. -- Jep doesn't like ad blockers. They slow down one's computer, he said. -- The computer underworld is, said Jep, in a tizzy because Microsoft supposedly can track what a computer user is doing or has done. --In a future class, Jep promised to teach everyone how to find  free icons online and how to make their own icons.  


Computer Club Elects Officers for Coming Year
Dec. 2, 2015. – Pat Miller was elected president of the Greentrees Village Computer Club for 2016 at this morning's business meeting. Other officers for the coming year will be Gene Fisher, vice president; Gary Smith, secretary; Connie Goddard, treasurer; Jack Branson, advertising coordinator. Today's meeting began with a brief review of the club's activities this year by Pat Miller, who said that the club had received special thanks from the Greentrees administration for the club's gift of chairs and desks for the Coffee Room.

Club secretary Gary Smith read the minutes of the last business meeting (Dec. 3, 2014). After the minutes were approved, Gary expressed a willingness to learn about and then teach any topic that club members think might be of interest to the men and women in the club, e.g. a class on Twitter. Connie Goddard read the club's financial report then answered questions about the proposed 2016 budget, which was approved by the membership.

After Pat noted that the club had ordered a Windows 10 laptop, she told club members that the Greentrees Board of Directors had voted to install Charter Spectrum in the RV park. Also under consideration, she said, was the possible installation of Charter in the classroom that the computer club uses. She reminded club members that their suggestions about computer classes were always welcome. A brief discussion was
about the feasibility and desirability of installing a camera in the room the club now uses for classes. Video recording the classes, one person suggested, would make it possible for those club members unable to attend to see what happened in the classes. President Pat Miller treated this morning's class to homemade cookies. One club member who confessed to never passing up sweets pronounced the confections "scrumptious." 

Jep Agrees: Web Advertising Getting Worse
Nov. 18, 2015. – Jep Norwood sympathized this morning with computer club members who complain about the ever-increasing amount of advertising on web sites but said there was nothing he could do about it. Another way advertisers try to get the attention of computer users, he said, is through spam email. Email programs try to filter out spam but, said Jep, none of the filters he has seen work very well. Even if you open a spam email, you're not in any trouble as long as you don't click on any link in the message, he said.


Adobe Reader has a new upgrade called Adobe Reader DC, which, he said, has several more features than Adobe Reader XI. Jep discusses the new version and the cost of installing the Adobe Reader DC on his web site. Turning to cloud computing, Jep said that this was apparently the way future computing would be done. His web site has a link that explains cloud computing and solid state hard drives. People, he said, are going to have to decide if they are going to do their computing on the Cloud--which means paying a monthly or yearly fee--or on their own computers onto which they have downloaded and installed free programs such as Libre Office or Gimp.


Jep continued his ongoing discussion of Windows 10. One thing he recently discovered, he said, is that it's impossible to put Widows 10 on a computer with the Vista operating system. To those with Windows 8 computers, he recommended that Windows 10 be downloaded and installed as soon as possible. To those with Windows 7, he suggested sticking with 7 until its expiration date five years from now. His web site has suggestions  for those upgrading to Windows 10.


More.  Jep expressed admiration for Apple products but noted that they are more expensive than

PCs. A new personal computer running Windows 10 will, he said, cost from $600 to $700. -- He reminded everyone that they are welcome to sit in on his Friday morning computer classes at the Elks. Because the room in which the classes are held will be used for other purposes during the next few weeks, he suggested checking the ComputerLessons web site to see if the Friday computer classes have been resumed.


Still More.  To get rid of the Windows 10  icon on one's desktop, see Jep's web site instructions for removing the icon. -- Club member Don Douglas made a video of this morning's computer class. More information and discussion on video recording of classes will follow in subsequent classes.

Nov. 14, 2015. -- We've always had a soft spot in our heart for Spam. Brought up in a time when
most Americans had heard of but rarely tasted steak, we never complained when lunch sometimes meant fried Spam sandwiches or a supper featured scalloped potatoes with Spam. Speak the word spam today, however and it conjures up junk email, often with highly personal content. For more on email spam, see The New Yorker's "Damn Spam" article More recently, computer security expert Brian Krebs  wrote  "Spam Nation." In this video he talks about the book.


Following is some spam email we recently received. We never opened the link contained in the message, but we were intrigued by the title and felt we'd be ill-mannered not to reply.  (Our reply is in parentheses.)

"Play naughty games with Mrs. Rodi Barbeau." -- (The Mrs. would indicate, madam,  that you are married. But we're not--at the moment--which means that while you apparently have no qualms about committing adultery, we'd like to know--were we to engage in a dalliance with you--if we, too, would be committing adultery. It's a question we have often asked on the Internet but have never gotten a satisfying answer to.  So, until this matter is cleared up, we must, Mrs. Barbeau, decline your offer to play "naughty games." Not that we don't like to play games.  Perhaps in your next spam  you could let us know which games you have in mind. Please be specific, even graphic if you wish, and don't worry that your language might discomfort us. We're an adult and have been for a long time. Make that a long, long time.)

Free Program Protects Privacy Says Gary Smith

Nov. 4, 2015. – People concerned about privacy while searching on the Internet might want to check out a free program called StartPage, according to Gary Smith, who told

fellow computer class members this morning about an app that claims it does not record your IP address or track your searches. It uses Google in searches, said Gary, but since it does this by proxy, no record of a user's search is recorded on one's hard drive. According to the StartPage home page, users can either add the app to Internet Explorer or set it as one's home page.


Another program that Gary likes and uses for searching on his computer is called Everything. "It's a freeware program that is extremely fast and very thorough," said Gary.  Everything does not search file contents, he noted, only file and folder names. According to an information sheet Gary handed out, Everything will run on Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8. The program, he said, does not contain any malware, spyware or adware.


The third program Gary talked about in today's class was Yankee Clipper, which, he said, he had been using for at least 15 years. "It's one of those little add-on programs

that Microsoft should have added to their operating system years ago," he said. Yankee Clipper, he explained, sits in your system tray and monitors every time you copy something to your clip board. Unlike the  current print screen feature on Windows desktops, which replaces one print screen saved item with the next one, Yankee Clipper keeps track of all of the clip board entries in one file. "I find this extremely handy whenever I want to repeat something I've done in the past," said Gary.


Before Gary began this morning's presentation, he got in touch, via Skype, with Gene Fisher, who, from his home down in California, showed everyone how he found a small brush that was helpful cleaning contact points on USB cables that are used in charging cell phones and tablets. "Sometimes," said Gene, "the only thing your contact points need is a good cleaning." 


Oct. 26, 2015. -- The flame-crowned flowerpecker probably doesn't realize it but this small Philippines bird is destined to go down in birding history as the 5000th species to be seen this year by Noah Strycker, a 29-
year-old author, photographer and adventurer from Creswell, Oregon. On January 1, in Antarctica, Noah started on his quixotic quest to see, in one year, 5000 different kinds of birds--half of the world's estimated ten thousand species of birds. We learned of Noah's accomplishment this morning in a Eugene Register-Guard article.


Noah's daily reports and a list of the birds he has so far seen are on the Audubon Birding Without Borders web site. As of today, Noah still has more than two more months of bird watching to go in Thailand, Malaysia, Borneo, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Australia and New Zealand   before, at the end of December, he heads home to Oregon, where he will spend a good part of next year writing a book about his adventures. (One of Noah's admirers suggested that Noah spend 2016 hunting for those bird species he has yet to see.)


We're going to be a bit saddened come the end of 2015. Keeping up with Noah's daily Internet posts has been both entertaining and instructive. Photos of the birds he has seen are only a computer click away. Our bird watching these days is mostly confined to looking out our kitchen window at birds gobbling up sunflower seeds or pecking away at a cake of suet swinging nearby. But as long as we have a computer and a connection to the Internet--to the world--we'll never lack for the excitement of discovering new things, new places, new people, new adventures.

Oct. 24, 2015. –  YouTube Red. Growing weary of having to wade through advertisements while waiting
for a YouTube video to begin?  Starting Oct. 28, you won’t have to worry about ads on YouTube—if you’re willing to  pay $9.99 a month. Subscribe to YouTube Red and you can download a video and watch it offline. Also included in the price is a subscription to Google’s Google Play music service.
DOS, Command Prompt Sometimes Useful-- Jep
Oct. 21, 2015. – Jep Norwood reminded computer club members this morning how far the science of computing has come by showing how a graphical user interface has replaced DOS and the Microsoft Command Prompt. No longer, he said, must a computer user memorize DOS commands  and use the Command Prompt to type in whatever one wants one's computer to do. Although windows, icons and menus have made computing easier, said Jep, there are still times when--often at a suggestion in a web site--the Command Prompt is useful. For more, see Jep's web site explanation  of the prompt.


One program that Jep thinks is "very cool" is VLC Media Player, a free download that Windows 10 users can use to view movies and videos. Windows 7 users, he said, have no need for VLC but no harm will come to one's computer by downloading it. When downloading and installing a new app, said Jep, you can specify which folder to put the new program in. If you do not direct it into a specific folder, he said, it will end up in your Downloads folder. His web site has more on VLC.


More from Jep. Ninite  is a free program that will update all of one's computer programs at one time, Jep said, but added he has yet to fully investigate the program.  -- Sometimes you can't get a link to open if you have both Internet Explorer and Chrome on your computer, he said. His advice: uninstall Chrome.


Still more.  It doesn't hurt, said Jep, to now and then review some of the basic commands one uses every day while on a computer. One of the first things a new computer user learns is how to cut, copy and paste. Jep's lesson  on cut, copy and paste lets one practice. -- Yahoo mail is thinking of adding a new gimmick to get more people to use Yahoo for their email. "When you get a new email, your phone will ring," said Jep. What he thinks of the idea is unprintable.


Big Image? Try Chromecast--Gary Smith      

Oct. 7, 2015. -- Looking for an inexpensive device that wirelessly connects your

computer, phone or tablet to your television set so that you can broadcast streaming media onto your TV screen? Maybe what you're looking for is a Google's Chromecast dongle that sells for about $35, suggested Gary Smith this morning as he showed his fellow computer club members how to hook up and use the device. "The Chromecast dongle plugs into an HDMI port on your TV," said Gary, "and accepts  directions from either your computer, your smartphone or your tablet."


"When it works, it's great," said Gary. "When it's being fussy, it's annoying." He said he's had good luck streaming YouTube media and photos to the TV using Chromecast. "However," he said, "I've had mixed results streaming Netflix to the TV with the device."


To use the Chromecast dongle, said Gary, you'll need a 2.4FHz Wi-Fi network and an Android or iOS smartphone, tablet or computer running the Chrome browser. "The faster your Internet connection," he said, "the better your performance will be, especially with Netflix."


When you use your phone or tablet to direct Chromecast to cast Internet material, the phone or tablet then becomes your remote control for Pause, Play or Stop, Gary said. Since the dongle is doing the broadcasting work, your phone or tablet is then free to take calls or do other work while the dongle streams the movie or media to the TV, he said.


On one of the handouts Gary gave members today are brief descriptions of devices similar to Chromecast. He said he owned an Amazon Fire TV Stick and liked it. "If  had to choose between the TV Fire Stick and the Chromecast dongle," he said,"I'd go with the Fire Stick." He mentioned Roku 3 ($97), a full-featured streaming device with a good reputation but said he had not used it. Apple TV and Apple Air Play, also streaming devices,  he said, "integrate extremely well with the iPhone, iPad table and Mac computer."


Gary listed several links to YouTube videos about Chromecast. He suggested anyone with an interest in learning more about  Chromecast might want to search on Google and YouTube. 

Sept. 21, 2015. -- Ever think of becoming a criminal? A bank robber, say. All you need is a gun, maybe a disguise, and a getaway plan. But that kind of thinking, any modern-day criminal would

scoff, brands you as an old-timer. Who needs guns and disguises and fast getaway cars when there are electronic devices? And who needs banks when ATM machines are right around the corner?

Like many an old-timer brought up in the days before television and computers, we spent much of our time reading library books and especially liked mysteries: P.D. James, Robert Parker, Ed McBain, Tony Hillerman, John D. MacDonald, Agatha Christie, Raymond Chandler--the list goes on and on. Nowadays, much of our reading is done on the Internet  and one of our favorite authors is Brian Krebs.

Krebs is a computer and Internet security expert, a one-time Washington Post investigative reporter, author of “Spam Nation,” and the creator of KrebsonSecurity, a web site devoted to telling the cyberworld what the bad guys are up to. One of his latest investigations came about when someone told him that many American tourists in Mexico who used ATM machines had their bank accounts broken into by criminals who then, using the stolen credit card or debit card numbers and PIN numbers, drained the victims' accounts of varying amounts of money.

Krebs flew to Cancun, Mexico earlier this month and discovered that many of the ATM machines he found

there--in his hotel and in neighboring towns--had been set up to reveal to the bad guys people's names and their credit and debit card and PIN numbers. Old fashioned ATM skimmers employed--and still use--devices that slip into or onto ATM machines and record the user's card and PIN numbers. The latest skimmers, Krebs found, plant a small Bluetooth device inside the targeted ATM machine. Information that it records can then be transmitted, wirelessly, to another device that the bad guy can use whenever he feels like harvesting a new crop of purloined card and PIN numbers. No need to break into the ATM machine and leave fingerprints.

There's no way to know how the skimming devices get placed into the ATM machines unless the malefactor gets caught in the act or confesses. Krebs, whose phone detects a signal when pointed at an ATM harboring a skimming device, believes they're probably placed there by an ATM manufacturer's representative or ATM technicians bribed by the criminals. To those folks who say they’re not worried because they're not planning to visit Mexico, Krebs--and people who have left comments on his web site--cite thefts from ATMs in the United States.

Who is behind the ATM thefts in Mexico and elsewhere? Might it be, Krebs speculates, Eastern Europeans? Why has a new Mexican ATM company set up dozens of machines in a small area frequented by tourists? And why don't some of the machines give users paper receipts after they withdraw money? Questions, questions. Like any avid mystery fan, we look forward to Brian Krebs's continuing reports on ATM skimming. In the meantime, it doesn't look like using a credit or debit card on an ATM anywhere in the world is likely to get less risky.


Jep Finds Use for Members' Old XP Computers
Sept. 16, 2015. – Jep Norwood told computer class members this morning what they can do with their old, outdated XP computers. "Put Linux on them," he said, and referred those who might be thinking of loading Linux onto their XP machines to his Computer Lessons web site, where he has a list of links  about the Linux operating system. Only one caution, he said: "Before you put Linux on your computer, back up all the data you have on your XP computer onto an external hard drive." Once Linux is installed, he said, you can download the data on the external drive onto your "new computer."

Jep continued his ongoing discussion of Windows 10, Microsoft's latest operating system. Computers with Windows 10 on them, said Jep, can now access the Microsoft Store, a site where one can buy MS products. Microsoft also has retail stores; the closest one to Florence is in Portland. One of Microsoft's new apps, he said, is a new version of MS Office that is phone friendly. Release is scheduled for sometime in 2016.


He showed everyone how to get their browsers to open web sites with a full screen. Windows 7 has something called Snap. "You grab the reduced sized web site and slam it up against the top of the screen. This makes the site display full sized," he said. Like it or not, said Jep, this is a feature of Windows 7 and Windows 10. The only drawback, he said, is that this clicking on an icon and getting it to open full screen is something that might last only a few weeks. He said he would consider putting the information onto his web site.


Internet Explorer continues to be Jep's favorite browser, mostly because it's the only browser that permits right clicking a web site and selecting the option that puts a shortcut onto one's desktop. Edge, Window 10's new browser, doesn't do this, he said. -- Jep talked briefly about Protopage, a personal home page that he likes and uses. It has, he pointed out, outlasted iGoogle.


Viruses aren't as much of a problem to computer users today as ransom ware and browser hijackers, he said  A good portion of the income from his computer business, Jep confessed, comes toward the end of summer, when grandchildren go home after making their annual pilgrimage to see grandma and grandpa. "Don't let a teenager get close to your computer," Jep warned.


More warnings from Jep: Don't download anything from Softonic. "You can almost tell if a web site is phony," he said, "by carefully reading the URL." Still another caution: remember that the colored entries on a Google search page have been paid for just so Google will list them first.  Jep's favorite places to download apps are on his Computer Lessons web site.

If you run Adwcleaner, do so only if your computer is obviously fouled up, said Jep., one of Jep's favorite sites, has a review of AdwCleaner, which is a free download but must be updated every time before it can be used.

Jep announced that he has a Toshiba laptop with Windows 10 on it for sale. He also has for sale a few old XP computers onto which he has installed the Linux operating system.


Many Reasons to Like Linux Says Dale DeRemer
Sept. 8, 2015. – Dale DeRemer told his fellow computer club classmates this morning why he prefers to do most of his computing using the Linux operating system. "There are many reasons," he said, "the most important ones being that it will be there for you in the future and that there's tons of help available." In addition, said Dale, Linux is free and it's always being improved. "Switching to a new version is only a couple of keyboard clicks away." Linux is used and supported by computer gurus all over the world, he noted.

Even though Linux is "an easy, sensible system," there is some terminology to learn, said Dale. For people willing to try Linux, he suggested downloading and using Linux Mint 17.2. It can be downloaded here. There are, he pointed out, several sites one can go to for help. One is here and a Google search will turn up dozens more.  

Most programs that run on Windows can be downloaded and run on a Linux computer, said Dale. A mapping program he uses on his Windows computer is not yet available to put on a Linux machine but, he said, he is confident that this will change.  

One program that should be installed after getting Linux on one's computer, is Wine, said Dale. Wine will

permit Windows applications to run on Linux. "Wine does not require Microsoft Windows; however, it can use native system dll files in place of its own if they are available," according to the Wine website. 

Dale handed out several sheets listing web sites covered in today's class and offering suggestions to those who want to learn more about the Linux operating system. 

For those who would like to try out Linux before committing to it, the computer lab has two computers, a laptop and a desktop, with Linux on them. Any Greentrees resident may go to the office, sign out for a key to the lab, then use any of the computers. Users are asked to follow instructions while using the machines, e.g. when finished, turn off the monitor but not the computer.



Club's Summer Schedule Fast Winding Down

Sept. 2, 2015. -- Presentations by Gene Fisher, Gary Smith and Richard Cortezzo highlighted this morning's almost-end-of-summer computer class. To see the topics covered, consult Gene Fisher's blog. Dale DeRemer will talk about Linux Mint 17.2 next Wednesday, Sept. 9. After Jep Norwood's Sept. 16 class, the club will revert to its schedule of two classes a month, the second monthly class--on the third Wednesday--reserved for Jep. All classes are free and all Greentrees residents are invited to attend. 


New Club Secretary Serves up Double-Header 
Aug. 26, 2015. – Computer club secretary Gary Smith served up a double-header in this morning's class, first telling everyone his experiences with Videoshop for Android, a free picture editing program, then showing what one can do with Amazon Fire TV Stick, a tiny bar that you stick into your HDTV's HDMI port and use just like any other streaming device. He accompanied his presentation with handouts describing his experiences with Videoshop and the Fire TV Stick. 

Of Videoshop, Gary said: "If you're looking for a video editing app with enough features to keep you entertained, Videoshop fits the bill." Using Videoshop, he said, one can trim off the ends of one's video, add music and sound effects, slow the motion down or speed it up, and adjust brightness, contrast and saturation. Some of the purported features of Videoshop, he said, didn't live up to the developer's hype. But, he said, you can't beat the price--it's free--and for somebody just beginning to edit videos, it's not a bad app to begin learning on. 

Most of the videos Gary showed in this morning's class--one of a humpback whale breaching brought oohs and aahs from club members--were made on his Samsung cell phone. His Samsung tablet also has an Android operating system. A few of today's videos he  made with a trail camera, which is activated by movement of animals or birds passing in front of its lens.  

Amazon's Fire TV Stick ($39), Gary pointed out, is similar to the Roku Streaming Stick.

As class members followed along on the printed instruction sheet handed out, he went through the steps to establish mirroring onto a TV screen the contents of one's Android phone or Android tablet.  

The Stick comes in three parts: 1) a remote control, 2) the Stick itself, which plugs into a TV's HDMI port, and 3) a 110 volt charger. Gary found that the Stick works best with mirroring if it's plugged into a 110V outlet rather than using the USB source. PC Magazine has a summary of the Stick and other streaming devices.

The club's new secretary, Gary Smith, and his wife have owned a home in Greentrees for 13 years.  They also live in Salem.  


New Windows 10 "Almost Not Terrible" -- Jep
Aug. 19, 2015 --  Jep Norwood told an overflow Greentrees Computer Club class this morning that Microsoft's newest operating system, Windows 10, is "almost not terrible." People with Windows 8 or 8.1 on their computers should download Windows 10 as soon as possible, said Jep. Folks with Windows 7, however, should probably stick with Windows 7, he said. Microsoft will issue security updates for Windows 7 for another five years, and by 2020 most people will need a new computer, he said.

Windows 10 is a free download for people running Windows 7 or Windows 8 and 8.1 if this is done within one year. After that, said Jep, Windows 10 will cost $109. Some people, said Jep, will probably inadvertently download and install Windows 10. If people have  installed Windows 10 but want to get rid of it, he said, they have one month in which to do so and return to Windows 7 or Windows 8 and 8.1. To uninstall Windows 10, Jep suggested going to his web site and following the directions here.

People with a little computer know-how might want to look into putting Linux 17.2 on their machines, said Jep,  and told everyone how he put the free open-source operating system on a few older XP computers.

One club member said he had trouble getting his wireless printer to work after installing a new router. Jep noted he often gets this complaint and suggested searching in Google for a solution. If this doesn't help, he said, you can always hook up your computer to your printer via a USB cable.

When computers need to be reloaded, said Jep, one needs the product key, which, on most laptops, is on a label affixed to the bottom of the laptop. If your label hasn't yet been roughed up so as to be unreadable, said Jep, it would be a good idea to write down the product key and keep the information in a safe place.  And before reloading, make sure you have backed up your computer, he said. Instructions for backing up on Jep's site.

More.  Greentrees computer club members were reminded that the club has an iPad that can be borrowed and taken home. -- Jep invited club members to attend the free Elks Club computer classes that begin Friday mornings at 9:30 a.m.

Club Holds Annual Swap Meet and Pizza Party
Aug. 12, 2015. -- Gourmet pizza, fresh fruit and chocolate eclairs were on the menu today at the Greentrees Village Computer Club's annual party. Melissa and Gene Fisher were party planners while Richard Cortezzo was in charge of providing beverages. This year's event also included a swap meet as club members looked over computer equipment no longer of use to the donors. Following are a few photos from this morning.

Speakers Explore Possibilities of iPhone, iPad
Aug. 5, 2015. – Twelve-year-old Ashley Belmessieri showed computer club members this morning how to make and edit a video using an Apple iPhone. Ashley, who will go into the 7th grade next month at her Livermore, California, junior high school, is the granddaughter of Melissa and Gene Fisher, the club's vice president.

 Most of her video editing, said Ashley, is done in Videoshop, an application designed for both the iPhone and iPad. There is no limit to the length of a video made on the iPhone, she said. Using Videoshop, she said, "You can add music, sound effects and voice-overs to your videos." In addition, Videoshop permits the user to speed up, slow down or reverse videos made with the app. 

Ashley said she had been using the iPhone for about two years. She also noted that she had a GoPro camera, which can take pictures under water. She showed everyone clips from videos she had made and put on YouTube. Also on hand at her presentation today were Ashley's sister Audrey and Harley a friend and fellow high-tech enthusiast.


After Ashley's video class, Greentrees club member Richard Cortezzo showed everyone some of the features on his iPad. Any member of the computer club, he said, may sign out the club's iPad and take it home. When the iPad is returned, the club will erase all the content and reset the device to its default settings.

Using Airplay, which is a default app with the iPad, Richard put on the club's screen images of the applications he has on his iPad. Using the FaceTime app--which comes with the iPad--he demonstrated how one makes a face-to-face phone call by calling Gene Fisher, who was sitting at the opposite end of the table. To use FaceTime, Richard pointed out, both parties must have FaceTime and must be Wi-Fi connected.

He projected onto the screen the icons representing some of his favorite programs. Most of the applications, he said, are free but a few, like Consumer Reports, are not. One of Richard's favorites is TED, "a nonprofit devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short  (18 minutes or less), powerful talks," according to the TED web site. Among the apps on his iPad are those for Public Broadcasting System programs, USA Today, and IBooks, "a great source for information," according to Richard.

Class Learns How to Back Up Entire Computer
July 29, 2015. – Dale DeRemer, who with wife Trish spends several months every year at his Baja,
Mexico home, told his fellow computer club classmates this morning how to back up not only their computers' personal  data but also their computers' operating systems and software. Dale's venture into backing up began when his Dell Inspiron one day this past winter started beeping, which meant--he found out after calling Dell-- that the computer's mother board had quit working.


After sending his computer off to Dell for repairs--done in less than a week--Dale set about collecting information and hardware that would be needed should a computer of his stop working sometime in the future. The only hardware necessary, he said, is either a thumb drive ("five GIGS would do it") or an external hard drive, which sells online from $50 to $60 for a 1TB drive.


You also need to borrow someone's computer and become familiar with .iso files, said Dale. In a handout accompanying his talk today, he suggested a blog that explains .iso files. The procedure for putting the appropriate files onto one's computer, he said, is simple.


Although he uses both Windows and Linux Mint, Dale does most of his everyday computing on his Linux machine. For those unfamiliar with the Linux operating system, he suggested this site as a good place to start. Those interested in making a bootable USB device containing Linux Mint might want to go to Google, said Dale.


Club president Pat Miller pointed out that the computer club has both a desktop and a laptop computer with Linux. Any club member may check out the laptop and take it home, she said.


July  28, 2015. --  Speaking of earthquakes and tsunamis--and everyone in Oregon and Washington seems to be doing just that these days--The New Yorker magazine's Kathryn Schulz, who wrote a recent article on what will happen when the Cascadia subduction zone erupts in the Northwest, has written a follow-up article  called "How to Stay Safe When the Big One Comes."  Her original article,  "The Earthquake That Will Devastate Seattle," can be viewed here.

July 24, 2015. – We can now watch film clips of some of the most important events of

the past hundred years.  The Associated Press news agency, together with its partner  British Movietone, have just made available on YouTube over a half million video stories. Caitlin Dewey, the Washington Post’s digital culture critic, here provides links to some historic clips.


Ready or Not, Here Comes MS New Windows 10
July 22, 2015.  --  Ready or not, said club president Pat Miller this morning, Microsoft's latest operating
system, Windows 10, is on its way. Its official release date is one week from today. At this point, said Pat, nobody seems to know whether Windows 10 will download and install automatically onto Windows 7 machines. Windows 10 will be a free upgrade to those running Windows 7; also 8 and 8.1. Vista and XP machines will not be eligible for the upgrade to Windows 10, said Pat.  

She announced that the computer club will buy a Windows 10 laptop. That way, she said, everyone who wants to see Windows 10 in action before committing to an upgrade--or a purchase--will have a chance to compare Windows 10 with the operating system--usually Windows 7--presently on one's computer. People with Windows 7 who wish to upgrade to Windows 10, she said, will have until July 29, 2016 to do so.  

According to a Windows 10 Talking Points sheet Pat passed out this morning, PC makers will get first priority at downloading Windows 10. Next in line will be retail partners followed by Windows 10 beta testers--there are about five million of them. Next come people who have reserved Windows 10; these folks will presumably be notified  once Microsoft has confirmed that a computer is ready for Windows 10. Installation can take about one hour for the download and installation, according to the Talking Points sheet. Newer devices may take only 20 minutes while older devices may take more than an hour.  

Before the discussion of Windows 10, Pat passed out sheets showing everyone how to back up and import browser bookmarks. Chrome, Firefox and Internet Explorer Favorites/Bookmarks don't automatically show up when one changes browsers.  

Following are a few photos from this morning's class. 



July 20, 2015. – Just when we’re surfing the Internet and enjoying a cooling ocean breeze here on the Oregon coast there comes along a woman named Kathryn Schulz to try to ruin our day. Her offense? An article in today's The New Yorker magazine entitled “The Really Big One,” with the subhead "An earthquake will destroy a sizable portion of the coastal Northwest. The question is when."

Nobody living west of Interstate 5 will be safe, said the article, when the Cascadia subduction zone erupts and triggers not only an earthquake but a tsunami that will inundate much of the coast. Thousands will die, thousands more will be injured. Services we take for granted will be cut off: no fresh water, no electricity, roads and bridges made impassable, no food except for those canned goods we’ve stored away in anticipation of catastrophes.  

Okay, so a devastating earthquake and tsunami are coming—in fact, are overdue. What can we do about it? We could, of course, move. But where? California, which always seems to be drying up or burning up? Somewhere in the Midwest, where the threat of tornadoes always  looms? The Southwest, where summer temperatures under 100 signal a cold snap? The East, where hurricanes and high humidity make summers miserable and ice and snow make winter roads undrivable?   

We’ll probably stay here in Florence, lay up a few more gallons of water, buy a few more canned goods for our self and our pets, and send the New Yorker article to our relatives in New England and Colorado and reassure them that it’ll take more than that little tremor we just felt to lure us away from the coast here in Oregon. Woops, there’s another little tremor. Probably nothing to worry about. 


Auto Backup Programs Slow Computers--Jep
July 15, 2015. -- Jep Norwood warned club members this morning that programs that automatically back up computers can slow them down to a crawl. "The internet service providers in Florence just don't have enough bandwidth to run your computer and at the same time back up everything you have on it," he said. He suggested the best way to back up one's computer is to put the data on an external hard disk drive such as a Western Digital 1TB My Passport, which B&H Photo and Video sells for under a hundred dollars.


"You only back up your stuff," said Jep. "Not the entire computer." When using an external hard drive such as the WD My Passport, he said, first format the drive, which will get rid of apps that you don't want or need . How often you back up is up to you, he said. He suggested opening the drive and giving the backup folder you make the date you're doing the backup. Select the files you want to back up and select Copy. Then go to the backup folder you've made, open it, and click on Paste. That's all there is to it, said Jep. His Computer Lessons web site has detailed instructions for backing up Windows 7.


He reminded everyone to save the disks when buying a new computer and to save serial numbers and passwords of anything they buy. Write things down, said Jep, and put the information in a safe place--not in your computer. Above all, he said, when installing a new program or device, go slow. "Remember, everybody is trying to sell you something."


Windows 10, Microsoft's latest operating system, should be installed on a Windows 8 computer as soon as possible, said Jep. He suggested that people with Windows 7 computers opt out of downloading and installing Windows 10. Most Windows 7 computers aren't going to last five more years, he said, and by that time, when you get yourself a new computer, Windows 10 will be on it.


Windows 10 works "okay," said Jep, who has used the new operating system in its beta

configuration for several months. The trouble with it, he said, is that it wants to run on several different platforms--desktops, laptops, tablets, and X-boxes. His evaluation of Windows 10: "It's almost not terrible."


Club vice president Gene Fisher and Richard Cortezzo helped club members with tablets in a class preceding today's session with Jep Norwood.  


Class Reviews Picasa, Learns How It Works

July 8, 2015. – Long-time Greentrees computer club member Collette Bailey showed

her fellow club members this morning how she set up Picasa, a free program from Google, to organize and edit her pictures. Picasa, she pointed out, is a non-destructive picture editing program. By default, she said,  pictures downloaded from a camera into one's computer will appear in the My Pictures folder in My Documents.

Also by default, said Collette, all of the pictures in  My Pictures will appear in Picasa by date. They can then be relabeled, then dragged and dropped into folders one creates. If you want to be able to easily find a picture, said Collette, it's probably a good idea to tag it before moving it into a new folder.

There's no need to worry if one accidentally deletes a picture, said Collette. "Just go to  the Recycle Bin and restore the picture." Pictures deleted from an album will still show up in a folder, she noted.

You have a choice as to how your pictures will be displayed in Picasa, she said, adding that she prefers the flat rather than the tree view. She also said that she doesn't like to use subfolders but showed everyone how, in the Folder view, one can tell if a folder has a subfolder.


When emailing a picture, Collette said, she tries to keep it about 480 pixels. (In Picasa go to Tools/Options/Email to set size.) If someone wants you to send them a full-resolution picture that would make a good print, she said, then select Original size in the Email tab.

More Tips. If you want to use a picture in another program, she suggested first saving a copy of the original picture. -- To take a picture of something or someone in a video, first make sure Picasa is open. Then stop the video and press the PrintScreen key. The picture will appear in Picasa under Screen Captures.


Class Told Editing  Photos in Picasa "A Snap"
July 1, 2015. -- How do you take a halfway decent picture then edit it in Picasa? This was the question posed today to members of the Greentrees Computer Club. We offered a few suggestions.  

1. Download  Picasa onto your computer. It's free and, after you've edited a few pictures, you'll find it not difficult to understand and use. 

2. Take several shots.  Folks raised on film used to take a picture then wonder how many more shots there are "left on the roll." With today's digital camera, which runs on a battery, the answer is until the compact flash or SD card is full or until the battery loses its power. (You might want to check your battery before picking up the camera or carry a spare battery with you.)
3. Fill the frame. It's usually good advice. Unless there is a good reason, get close to your subject. If it's a person, don't tell him or her to "back up so I can get all of you in."  
4. Watch the background. Use a big aperture (small f-stop number) to blur the background, which calls attention to what is in the foreground. Only use your camera's automatic setting?  Then put your subject against a plain background. Don't place your subject up too close to a wall or you'll get unflattering shadows.

5. Get your subject out of the sun. Unless you enjoy watching people crinkle up their faces to

avoid the sun's glare. 
6. Read your camera's manual. Sit down with the camera and go over the manual, page by page. Don't understand something? Read it again. This is painful, but might help you take better pictures. 

7. Remember the Rule of Thirds. Don't put the horizon in the middle of your picture. Don't always put a person exactly in the middle of your picture.  
8. Tag your pictures in Picasa. Put them in folders. This will make it easier to find your pictures. 

9. Seek online help. The web's most popular photography site is DP Review. The forums cover all types of cameras. There's no cost to join or ask questions. 

10. Remember that Picasa is a non-destructive editor. Whatever you do to a picture--except delete it--you can get your original back. Just right click on the picture and select Undo all Edits. Voila--you're back where you started.

Members Learn About Full Spectrum Computers
June 24, 2015. –  Club members  this morning learned about Full Spectrum, a computer  business now in its third year here in Florence at 2970 Highway 101. In this morning's class, Full Spectrum Computers owner Neil Ecker and service manager Matthew Holland spoke of the services available at FullSpectrum and answered questions from computer club members.  

Full Spectrum, they said, works on all kinds of electronics--PCs, Macs, tablets, and cell phones. They also sell PC computers, and, though not licensed by Apple to sell Apple products, can repair Apple devices and can point prospective Mac users to the best places to buy Apple products. Sometimes, they said, they are asked to repair a printer, but suggested that repairing an older printer that has quit working is usually not financially advantageous since a new printer can be bought today for less than a hundred dollars.

Some of their repair work, they said, can be done using a remote connection. They also echoed what Greentrees computer club members have been told about Windows 10, Microsoft's  latest operating system. If one has a Windows 7 computer, the two men agreed that it's probably a good idea to reserve a copy of Windows 10 but then stick with Windows 7, which Microsoft has said it will continue providing security updates for until 2020. Windows 8 doesn't bother Neil Ecker, but he did admit there are some technicians at the Full Spectrum shop who don't care to work on Windows 8 computers.


Both recommended Charter as the best Internet Service Provider available here in Florence. Other businesses providing Internet connections are Oregonfast, Siuslaw Broadband, and CenturyLink. The two seconded advice club members have received in the past about security programs. They both like, in addition to an anti-virus program, Malwarebytes and Hitman Pro, the latter a free download good for 30 days. Just be careful when downloading anything from the Internet, they said, since PUPS (potentially unwanted programs) are lurking, waiting for the anxious computer user to download in his or her haste to get a new program.

Be careful, they said, if you suddenly get a box popping up telling you that your computer needs attention. If a box appears and you get a choice or clicking on Yes or No, they said, choose neither.  Click on the X, generally in the top right hand corner of the box, and the threat will disappear. If you need new drivers for some of your devices, they said, ignore the pop-up boxes telling you where to get the necessary drivers. Instead, they said, go to the manufacturer's web site and seek out the drivers you need to update.  
To illustrate the dangers of clicking on the first thing one sees in, say, Google's search page, Matthew Holland, searching for the latest version of Java, pointed out that the first few Google items listed were ads that would not only not update Java but might load up one's computer with unwanted programs. As club members watched, he found the authentic Java web site, downloaded the latest version of the program then, in Control Panel, removed several old and discontinued Java versions.


Update Windows 8 to Windows 10 Now -- Jep 
June 17, 2015. -- Jep Norwood doesn't think upgrading a Windows 7 computer to the new Windows 10 operating system is a good idea. He told computer club members this morning that putting Windows 10 on a Windows 8 or 8.1 computer, however, is something Windows 8 owners should do.  Windows 10 is a free upgrade for persons running Windows 7 or 8, he said.


Microsoft will continue supporting security updates for Windows 7 until 2020, said Jep, so there is little need for Windows 7 owners to install Windows 10 on their computers. "Windows 10 is actually not terrible," he said,  and is supposedly the last operating system that Microsoft will make. All future upgrades will be in the form of MS updates, he said. Whether people with Windows 7 machines choose to install Windows 10 is up to them, said Jep. "If you decide to put it on your computer," he said, "you should also have email to take full advantage of the Windows 10 features."


For people who use multiple browsers, said Jep, there is a way to synchronize desktops, laptops, phones and tablets so that a favorite site in one browser, e.g. Internet Explorer, will also show up in Chrome and Firefox. His Computer Lessons web site spells out the steps one can take to get all of one's browsers in sync. While speaking of browsers, Jep reminded people who take their computers in for repairs to tell the technician  if one is using the Chrome or Firefox browser.


Some folks, Jep noted, don't care for some of the sounds their computers make. Users can go to Control Panel and change sounds. What cannot be changed, he said, is the sound Windows makes when you turn on your computer.


For those who are definitely not beginners at computer, said Jep, there is a program called that can "fix a whole bunch of stuff" on your computer but can

also "mess up a computer real bad." For the adventurous, the program can be downloaded at the Major Geeks web site. It's free, said Jep, but it comes zipped, which means one must unzip it to use it. The best app for that, said Jep, is the original WinZip program he puts on all computers that he sets up or repairs. Do not, he said, update WinZip. Also, go slow, "really slow", when installing an application on your computer. Use the Custom Install feature so you can uncheck unwanted stuff. If you got hijacked in the past and think you are okay now, you're really not, said Jep,  but this program, a free download, will help.


More.  Microsoft will never send you email, said Jep. "They communicate through Windows updates. And they won't call you on the phone." -- Pet peeve from Jep: when putting thumb drive in, you get a box asking if you want to scan your drive. Just say no then go to Computer and open your jump drive there and take off what you want. --  "Remember that computers don't work right. And it's not your fault." Finally, suggested Jep, don't bother putting a password on your computer because, inevitably, you will forget it. The exception: when banking online, use a strong password and write it down and put it in a safe place. "Or tattoo it on your arm."


Club Learns How to Hook Up Streaming Devices

June 10, 2015. -- Richard Cortezzo  showed his fellow computer club members this

morning how to hook up their Roku and Apple TV video streaming devices. CNET  has a comparison of the most popular streaming devices.

After showing everyone the variety of channels available on his Roku device, Richard plugged in his Apple TV. which is a digital media player and a micro console developed and sold by Apple Inc.  According to Wikipedia, "It's a small network appliance and entertainment device that can receive digital data from a number of sources and stream it to a television set for playing on the TV screen." 

The Apple TV, which has gone through a few versions, starts at $69 with the most expensive device selling for $99. The Roku 2 sells for $49.99 at Best Buy while the Roku 3 is $79.99.  Some of the channels available to those with an Apple TV or a Roku are free while others cost varying amounts. 

Vice president Gene Fisher reminded everyone that he is doing his best to keep everyone in Greentrees aware of the activities happening in the park this summer. His Greentrees Events blog highlights future computer classes as well as other Greentrees activities.  


Schools Seek Volunteers for ASPIRE Program

June 3, 2015. --  Computer Club members this morning played host to two women

representing the Siuslaw School District's ASPIRE (Access to Student Programs in Reach of Everyone) program. Boudinot (Bou) Kilgore, who has been volunteering in the program for the past nine years and Mary DeCeault, in her second year with ASPIRE, explained the purpose of the program and showed club members how to go about volunteering to become part of the program. 

ASPIRE , said Ms. Kilgore, is a state-run program and now in 150 Oregon schools. Most of the volunteers work with middle and high school students, she said. Students involved with the program are mostly those who don't feel they can afford to go on with their schooling once they graduate from high school. Volunteers who meet with these students encourage them to think about their future and show them opportunities--financial and otherwise--to help them make decisions, said Ms. DeCeault. Last year, noted Ms. Kilgore, $93,000 was raised in Florence to aid students seeking financial help.  

Volunteers who work in the ASPIRE program do not get paid and the hours they work can be flexible. Ms. Kilgore said that the volunteers work with the schools' guidance counselors from both the middle school  and the high school which now, she said, has about 50 volunteers working with students. Sometimes, she said, volunteers take students on field trips to Lane Community College, the U. of Oregon and private colleges to show the young people the opportunities that await them.  

Volunteers in the ASPIRE program are encouraged to submit their applications to work with the program and should be prepared for a background check. Parents must agree to let their children participate in the program. More information is available on the Web here.



May 28, 2015. -- Google today introduced Google Photos, a program that offers free storage of an unlimited number of photos and videos. For more see Google's  blog.

A reviewer for The Verge compares Photos with Yahoo's Flickr and other backup programs here. Google Photos can be downloaded onto a PC, an Android device, or onto an iPhone or iPad.

 Apple Phones, Pads, Pods Called Most Reliable

May 27, 2015. – Club Vice President Gene Fisher and Richard Cortezzo told a dozen fellow computer club members this morning why they think Apple's portable products like iPhones, iPads, iPods--and variations of these devices--are preferable to most of the other phones and tablets available to consumers. They conceded that the Apple devices cost more but emphasized their reliability. "They are also more secure than PCs," said Richard.   


Printing from an Apple tablet isn't as easy as from a desktop computer, said Gene. "But it is possible." He pointed out that one can always transfer pictures from one's tablet to one's computer and then print them. One club member said that she often selects pictures that she gets on her tablet, emails them to herself, then downloads them onto her computer. Both Gene and Richard pointed out that pictures on a tablet can be backed up using one of the programs Apple makes available. 

The two showed some of the apps they have downloaded onto their Apple tablets.

Gene showed a few of the hundreds of photographs of GMC motor homes and their motors. On his iPad he also has Magic Jack, which permits phone calls for a small charge. He also likes Facetime, an Apple app that lets two people see and talk to each other as long as both parties have Facetime.  

Richard, on his iPad, has Google Earth, which, he said, has a variety of uses. He also has a National Public Radio app that he can access, whether in Florence, on the road, or at his home in Arizona. He showed club members how to bookmark a Web page and helped one member bypass the necessity of using a Passcode to sign in when using his iPad.  

More computer club classes on tablets, smart phones and Apple devices will be forthcoming.


Hold Off On Windows 10 Operating System -- Jep

May 20, 2015. – Jep Norwood had advice in his computer class this morning for those who are thinking of installing Microsoft's newest operating system--Windows 10--onto their computers. "Don't do it yet,"

said Jep. If you have Windows 10 on your computer, he said, you must upgrade all the time or it will quit working. Eventually everyone with Windows 7 will get a free copy of Windows 10, Jep noted.  The trouble with Windows 10, he said, is that it tries to be the operating system  not only for desktop PCs but for laptops, tablets, and Xboxes.  Jep was an enthusiastic supporter of Windows 10 when it first came out but now, after fixing a few computers with the new OS, he has come to the conclusion that "Windows 7 is the last great computer you will own." 

With more and more people traveling these days, Jep said, chances are they use a desktop computer for email while at home and then switch over to a laptop or a tablet while on the road. The result of using various devices in various places for email can, he said,  sometimes lead to getting locked out of your email program. "If this happens to you," said Jep, "you'll need a code to get your email working again." To get that code, he said, it might be necessary to call your email program and give them your telephone number so that they can call you and give you the code you need to get your email going again. For more on recovering email, see Jep's web site.  

Jep showed everyone how to ensure that web pages open full sized when clicked on.
The process involves stretching out one web page carefully so as to avoid Snap then opening a link on that page and going to Properties on the page just opened and specifying that the page be opened fully. Jep said he had once had directions on his older Computer Lessons web site and that he will think about spelling out the necessary steps in an update. Club president Pat Miller said she had discovered another way to open a web page full sized: Hold down the Windows key and press the up arrow.

 Internet Explorer is Jep's favorite browser for one reason, he said. Only in IE can he open a web page then right click and go to Create Shortcut. He can then choose to put a shortcut onto his desktop then, later, when he is finished with the page, can delete the shortcut. "You can't do that in other browsers," he said.

Taking your computer to a technician for repair? Make sure, said Jep, that you tell the tech if you are using the Chrome or Fire Fox browser. If you don't, he said, your newly repaired computer might be missing your list of favorites or bookmarked links. -- Do not, said Jep, put a password onto your computer. "It doesn't always work and you might get locked out of your computer." -- Hankering to learn about the more esoteric side of computing? Jep recommended Bleeping Computer.            


May 15, 2015. -- It's probably not a good idea to fall asleep the next time you're at a

meeting and the person doing the talking is your boss. In fact, it can be downright dangerous, which North Korea's sixty-six year old minister of defense Hyon Yong-chol discovered recently when he dozed off in the presence of the country's Supreme Leader, Kim Jong Un. Whether Hyon snored so loudly as to invoke Kim's wrath is not clear from one report of the incident. In any event, Kim had his old defense minister shot. By anti-aircraft guns.


Hyon is but one of many killed by Kim in the past few years. One of Kim's relatives was dragged from his seat and executed for "halfheartedly clapping” at one of Kim's speeches. Which reminded us of a Soviet official who was shipped off to the Gulag several years ago.  His crime? Seems the poor fellow, while in attendance at one of Stalin's speeches, stopped applauding before others in the audience did. We knew one Austrian woman, now deceased, who was threatened with incarceration for complaining, too publically, that "stupid Hitler" was losing the war. You can't be too careful in the presence of people with power.


Members Compare Tablets, Share Favorite Apps 

May 6, 2015. -- A wide variety of tablets were on display this morning as Greentrees Village computer club members came together to compare tablet features, talk about favorite apps and do a little troubleshooting. Club president Pat Miller handed out soft-tipped styluses to those in attendance. Following are a few photos from this morning's class.

May 4, 2015. -- Time for a quiz. Who invented the piano? If not for today's doodle on Google's search page we might never have known the answer: Bartolomeo Cristofori . Nor would we have downloaded a few tutorials that might help us master the electronic keyboard we bought many years ago but which has, of late, seen little use. Who knows, maybe we will one day get to Carnegie Hall. All it takes is practice. Well, that and a little talent.

May 1, 2015. -- The Greentrees Computer Club invites Greentrees folks who don't have

their own computers to use the Computer Lab, which is equipped with several desktop computers and a laptop. To use the lab, go to the Greentrees office during business hours and sign out a key to the lab. Unlock the lab, use one of the computers--they are connected to the Internet--then, when finished, lock up the lab and return the key to the office. The lab also  has a scanner that permits those with slides to turn their slides into digital images, which can then be downloaded  onto a CD or flash drive. All Greentrees residents are invited to attend free computer classes at 11 a.m. on the first and third Wednesdays of the month. Classes are held in the All-Purpose room at the north end of the Rec Hall.

In the July 2014 issue of the park's Village Voice newsletter, computer club president Pat Miller clarified how the computer lab might best be used by Greentrees residents:

The lab is there to enhance your learning experience. For instance, a few friends can get together to learn about Microsoft Office 2010. Or perhaps a small group wants to use a website in a learning experience. You can do that in the lab. For personal use, please use the computers in the coffee room. 

We also have a printer which, like the computers, is part of the learning experience. Unfortunately, due to the expense of toner, maintenance, and repair, we must limit printer usage to the groups in a classroom setting. The printer should not be used for large print jobs and color printing should be limited. Personal printing is prohibited. If you don’t have a home printer, there are several places in town that can print for you. Just take your job to them on a disk or a flash drive. 



April  24, 2015. -- If you're the owner of a new Apple Watch, you might want to check out this report by a Wall Street Journal columnist on how she tamed the app-laden gadget on her wrist that was driving her to distraction. -- A recent CNET article explains what the Apple Watch can and cannot do.  

April 15, 2015. -- Jep Norwood answered questions this morning in his monthly

computer class here in Greentrees. Excerpts from his presentation can be seen on this video. Jep's web site, which is an ever-changing source of computer information, can be found at Computer Lessons.

April 14, 2015. -- Patch Tuesday (the second Tuesday of the month) is here again, which means it's time to go to Windows Update and install the latest security fixes from Microsoft. Many folks choose to update their computers automatically, something that How-to Geek recommends. As does Jep, our computer guru. -- For more on Windows, Flash and Java updates, see KrebsonSecurity.

April 7, 2015. – What would you do if you called the IRS and told them your tax refund was overdue—only to be told that your refund had already been sent to the Pennsylvania bank account that you specified the money be deposited into?  Trouble is, you live in New York. Brian Krebs (KrebsonSecutity) explains  how scammers stole a New York man’s $8936.00 and suggests ways of preventing this from happening.  

April 2, 2015. -- A small yet enthusiastic group of computer club members got together
yesterday morning and heard club president Pat Miller explain all the things one could do using a free download program called LibreOffice, an office suite similar to Microsoft's Office.    
March 26, 2015.  -- Two of our favorite pastimes have been converging the past three months as we follow, on our computer, the peregrinations of a young man on a quest to see five thousand different birds in one year.  The pastimes are surfing the Internet and birding--trying to identify the birds outside our kitchen window and in the nearby fields and woodlands.

 Noah Strycker is a 28-year-old author, photographer and adventurer who lives in Creswell, a small town about a dozen miles south of Eugene. His home is in Creswell because Jim and Pat Fleming, two Greentrees computer club members, sold the house where Noah grew up to Noah's parents. Our personal connection to Noah is one we're sure he is unaware of: about 15 years ago while birding along the shores of the Siltcoos river south of Florence, we ran into Noah and a couple of his friends--out birding, of course.


As of today, Noah was in Colombia. His daily reports and a list of the birds he has so far seen are on the Audubon Birding Without Borders web site. When Noah finishes his journey on December 31, 2015, he will have traveled to 35 countries and all seven continents. And we, thanks to the miracle of the Internet, will be enjoying every day of his adventure.


March 23, 2015. -- A Google search page doodle today honored Emmy Noether, a
woman called a mathematical genius by Einstein. For a short bio of the woman who altered the course of modern physics, see Vox.

March 18, 2015. -- Jep Norwood answered questions this morning in his monthly
Greentrees computer class. Some of his remarks were recorded in this video.

March 16, 2015. -- Facebook has clarified what may or may not be posted on its website. Today's NY Times article has the story and links that explore the subject.

March 12, 2015. -- Samantha answered questions about Facebook yesterday after concluding her two-class presentation on the social networking website. Snippets from a video of the class aren't always sharply focused. But then neither is the old fellow who made the video.

March 10, 2015. -- Patch Tuesday is here again, which means it's time to download and install Microsoft's security updates. KrebsonSecurity discusses the updates.

March 4, 2015. -- Club secretary Samantha Strausser today showed her fellow club
members how to sign up for and navigate Facebook, the world's most popular social networking website. Excerpts from the class video are here. Another Facebook class by Samantha is scheduled for 11a.m. Wednesday, March 11 in the rec hall's All-Purpose room.

Feb. 26, 2015. -- The FCC today approved of new net neutrality rules. What this means for Internet users  is explained here by the Washington Post's Brian Fung.  

Feb. 23, 2015. -- We were devastated last night when we learned that our latest video/movie had not only not won an Oscar from the Motion Picture Academy of Arts and Science but had not even won an honorable mention in the Best Documentary category. Someone buoyed us up by pointing out that the Oscars given last night were for work done in 2014--last year. This gave us hope that our recent video will at least be considered for distinguished movie-making at next year's Oscar presentation ceremonies.

Feb. 23, 2015. -- Lenovo laptop owners beware. The U.S. government on Friday advised Lenovo Group Ltd customers to remove a "Superfish," a program pre-installed on some Lenovo laptops, saying it makes users vulnerable to cyberattacks. More here.

Feb. 19, 2015. -- Jep Norwood was back in the computer club classroom yesterday. Excerpts from his presentation are on this video.  

Feb. 17, 2015. -- Filed for tax refund yet? The bad guys are switching from stealing federal tax refunds to easier pickings--state taxes. Krebs on Security has the story.

Feb. 15, 2015. -- The way we were. Club VP Gene Fisher recently reminded us that our park's original name was Greentrees Village Mobile Resort. To see a copy of an artist's conception of the park, go to the brochure on Collette Bailey's Greentrees Village web page.

Feb. 10, 2015. -- Microsoft today released nine update bundles to plug at least 55 distinct security vulnerabilities in its Windows operating system and other software. (From Krebs on Security.)

Feb. 6, 2015. -- Turbo Tax resumes  online filing of state tax returns. See NY Times story.

Feb. 6, 2015. --Thinking of filing your taxes online? You might first want to read this article by Brian Krebs. We began reading Krebs several years ago when he wrote on computer and Internet  security for the Washington Post. He now has his own business and has recently written Spam  Nation--The Inside Story of Organized Cybercrime.


Jan. 21, 2015. -- Jep Norwood touched on a variety of topics this morning in his monthly class at Greentrees. Click here to see a short video of Jep in action.


Class Watches Video, Trades Ideas at Workshop
Jan. 7, 2015. -- Following are a few photos taken at this morning's Computer Club Workshop.


Viruses Almost Gone, Malware Still Around --Jep

Dec. 17, 2014 – Jep Norwood had good and bad news for members of the Greentrees

Village Computer Club this morning. The good news? "Viruses are almost gone," he said "because all of the holes that let viruses in have been plugged by security updates." The bad news? "Malware--it's still around," said Jep. "And there's nothing anyone can do to stop it." At one time, he said, Macs were not affected too much  by malware but now Apple products are just as susceptible as PCs.


Some of today's malware is nasty, said Jep. Cryptolocker is especially bad, he said, locking up one's computer so tight that it's almost impossible to get rid of it. One way to minimize one's chances of picking up malware, said Jep, is to take one's time when downloading anything from the Internet., which he recommends on his web site (ComputerLessons), has common-sense suggestions for keeping one's computer free of malware.


Every computer user, said Jep, should have four programs on his or her computer: MS Security Essentials, Malwarebytes, SuperAntiSpyware, and CC Cleaner. All of these programs are free, he said, though it's easy to install the paid versions of some of them if the computer user is not careful. Once installed, he said, the programs should be run after being updated. How often should you scan your computer with one of the programs? It depends on how much you use your computer, said Jep. Maybe once a week, he suggested.


There should not be any reason to run a scan on Security Essentials, he said. "If your computer detects something that needs the attention of Security Essentials, the little green house icon in the task bar at the bottom of the screen will turn orange or red." Jep suggested that people with a new computer run a complete Security Essentials scan once--this could take a while, he said--but thereafter run only quick scans. Windows newest operating system--Windows 10--has a built-in Windows Defender program, he said, and therefore does not have Security Essentials.


The FBI malware program is still around, said Jep. If the program appears on your screen, he said, immediately take your hand off the mouse then press the power off button of your computer and hold it in until the machine shuts down. Clicking anywhere on the page the malware is on will only download it onto your computer, he said.


More from Jep.  Don't install the latest version of CC Cleaner; it will only complicate things. -- Don't ever buy programs you see advertised on TV or the Internet that promise to fix your computer. "They're scams or lies." -- Don't believe it if you get a phone call telling you that your computer needs repairing. Don't ever let anyone control your computer unless you have initiated the call and know that the person or company you are dealing with is legitimate.


Club Elects New Officers for the Coming Year

Dec. 3, 2014. -- Greentrees Village Computer Club  president Pat Miller this morning

presided over a business meeting of the club. Nine members were in attendance while Club VP Gene Fisher attended via a tablet hookup.  Club treasurer Connie Goddard presented the financial report, after which the minutes of the July 2, 2014 business meeting, prepared by club secretary Parker Kendall, were  read and approved.


Under Old Business, Pat recommended to anyone wishing to have something printed Al Anderson of On The Coast Printing, which prints ads for the Greentrees Village monthly newsletter. He is both reasonable and extremely helpful, said Pat. She also said that the iPad that the club bought this year will be used in upcoming classes. Unfortunately, said Pat, one of the persons who is conversant with the iPad is, at the moment, undergoing health problems.


Under New Business, the club elected officers for 2015. Pat Miller will again serve as president, Gene Fisher as vice-president, and Connie Goddard as treasurer. Samantha Strausser will replace Parker Kendall as club secretary while Jack Branson again volunteered to act as the club's advertising coordinator. Samantha Strausser also signified a willingness to author a blog that will report on class and club happenings.


Pat made a motion--which was adopted--that the club set aside a thousand dollars in next year's budget to upgrade existing equipment and purchase a new computer with Windows 10 operating system. Connie Goddard went over the proposed 2015 budget item by item and answered questions about expenditures. The budget was unanimously approved.


One club member suggested that the next time Greentrees takes a census of its residents that each household be asked if they would like to have their email address listed so that the computer club might send them notices of club meetings.



Backing Up Is Not So Hard to Do--Jep Norwood

Nov. 19, 2014. -- Florence computer guru Jep Norwood, who has been teaching a

Greentrees Computer Club class for  several years, told club   members this morning
that he has discovered something else as inevitable as death and taxes. "If you use a computer long enough," he said, "the day will day arrive when your computer will stop working. The cause may be a hardware malfunction or you might be hijacked by malware or infected with a computer virus."


Once this happens, said Jep, you will probably lose all of the data you have on your computer. Unless, he emphasized, you have it backed up. Backing up is not something that's hard to do, he said, and proceeded to spend most of his time this morning showing everyone how to back up their computers. Before going into the particulars of backing up, he warned against using the backup features that come with some programs . "They don't work," said Jep. Another bad idea he said, is to use a continuous backup device. Again, "they just mess up your computer."


What Jep prefers for backing up a computer is a portable external hard drive such as My Passport .The first thing you do when you get the hard drive plugged into a USB port on

your computer, said Jep, is to format it. This removes from the drive all of the stuff that you don't want or need, he said. Once the drive has been formatted--and this need be done only once--it is ready to contain whatever it is on your computer that you want backed up, whether pictures, music or text.  Just make a new folder, label it (Jep prefers the current date), and you're ready to back up.


For instructions on where to find the material you probably want to back up, Jep suggested going to his Computer Lessons web page and clicking on Back Up, which leads to How to Back Up Windows7. Once you have downloaded your data into your My Passport portable drive, said Jep, you should not forget to unplug it and store it in a safe place. How often you choose to back up, he said, is up to you. Just make a new folder the next time you back up.


In other matters, Jep emphasized that you should always get a disk whenever you get a new computer program, operating system, printer or other device. Save serial numbers and passwords, he said.  

One class member said that Microsoft had called her and told her that her computer needed fixing. She told the caller that her computer was all right but that didn't stop still another call. Jep told everyone that Microsoft will never call anyone on the telephone. To stop calls from scam artists, he suggested the following: "Buy yourself a whistle--a loud one--and the next time you get an annoying call, blow the whistle as hard as you can into the phone. Chances are good that person won't call you again."

Art Case.  Club members were recently saddened to learn of the passing of Art Case. Art was a one-time president of Greentrees Village and a long-time member of the computer club.

Class Hears Seldom-Used Windows Feature

Nov. 5, 2014. -- Most computer users are so busy surfing the Internet or sending

messages  and photographs via email to friends that they are unaware of some features of Windows computers that seldom get talked about or used. At this morning's computer club workshop presided over by club president Pat Miller, more than one person was surprised to learn that you can open a document and then have the computer read it out loud to you. Want a man's voice or a woman's? You get to pick.


Begin by clicking on the Windows start icon in the lower left hand corner of the screen then, in the box, put in the word Narrator and start exploring. In a handout supplied by Pat were instructions for using Adobe Reader to read PDF documents. According to the handout: "Open the PDF file you'd like the computer to read to you then click on the View drop-down menu. Move your mouse over the Read Out Loud option then click on Activate Read Out Loud."


You can also, said Pat, click Ctrl+Shift+Y to activate this feature. Once it is activated you can click on a single paragraph to make Windows read it back to you. Another option would be to navigate to the View menu then click Read Out Loud and select an option. Adobe Reader can read a single page or an entire document. Need a break? Press Pause or Stop at any time.


If you don't have Adobe Reader or use PDF files, Pat pointed out, you can use Microsoft Word. For more information, see one these Google search suggestions.


Microsoft's Windows 10 "A Winner" -- Jep

Oct. 15, 2014. – Microsoft's new operating system, Windows 10, looks like a winner, Jep

Norwood told the Greentrees computer class this morning, though he cautioned club members against downloading and installing 10 in its present form. "It can mess up your computer and the Windows system that you're now using," said Jep. Windows 10 isn't as good as Windows 7, he said, but it "far surpasses" Windows 8, which he called "unusable and totally worthless."  

Why would Microsoft come up with a new operating system when Windows 7 is proving to be so popular?  According to Jep, MS wants one operating system that will work on all devices--desktops, laptops, tablets and phones. If you just can't wait until Microsoft has Windows 10 perfected, you can download and install it now in its trial version but, said Jep, you must first have email installed on your computer. To ensure that Windows 10 runs securely, Microsoft insists that persons using it know that they are also downloading and installing a keylogger when they put the new operating system on their computers. The keylogger, said Jep, will make it easier for the Windows 10 team to find and correct errors and guard against malware. 

One feature that Jep is not enamored of is that the search box on the lower left side of the desktop not only searches for data on the computer but also searches on the Internet. He showed the new Windows 10 system on a desktop computer that he brought to class. Windows 10 now has a store, similar to the Apple store, where users can go to spend money.   Office 2003 still works on Windows 10, Jep noted, though he said that sometimes a box with "Continue" might appear. Jep's suggestion: just click on Continue and go on computing.  

Someone asked why Microsoft skipped Windows 9 and went to 10. According to Jep, the number 9 kept coming up so often that the Microsoft Windows coders felt there might be confusion if there were too many 9's. In any event, said Jep, Windows 10 will start appearing on new computers in the spring or early summer of next year. One new feature that Jep likes is the accessibility of the command prompt, which, he said, he often uses when repairing computers. Windows 10 also has multiple desktops, he said, one, e.g. for work, another for when one is at home.

He doesn't like the fact that, as in its present configuration, Windows 10 doesn't allow a user to get into a computer via safe mode. This lack, he said, will probably  be corrected before the finished version of the operating system is offered for sale. One feature that some might find helpful, said Jep, was Windows 10's ability to have four or five programs open at the same time on one's desktop. 


Jep again emphasized the necessity of backing up one's computer. In next month's class he will show how this is done. 



Microsoft  Skips  Windows 9 Operating System

Oct. 1, 2014. -- Club president Pat Miller told fellow computer users at this morning's

workshop not to expect Microsoft’s next operating system to be called Windows 9. Rather, she said, MS has decided to skip from the controversial Windows 8  to Windows 10, which reportedly keeps the best of Windows 8 and adds new features. Windows 10 will be available on new computers starting next year, according to word from Microsoft.

Some people, said Pat, are still confused about SUPER AntiSpyWare, which recently offered a new version of its free edition. A few people have, by mistake, downloaded the paid version of the program. This shouldn't be a problem, said Pat, who suggested those with the paid program just go to Control Panel and delete it. Then one can download and install the free version, she said.


Which anti-spyware program or programs one needs on one's computer was discussed. Someone suggested going to Jep Norwood's Computer Lessons web site and looking at the three programs Jep thinks should be on everyone's computer to protect it from viruses and malware.


For those who email pictures using Google's Picasa but don't get a choice of email programs to use, one club member suggested opening Picasa then going to the Tools menu then scrolling down to Options. In Options there is an E-Mail tab. Select "Let me choose each time I send pictures" and then, when the Email icon in Picasa is clicked on, one will get a choice of which email program one wishes to use.


Jep Norwood's class is scheduled for Oct. 15. Members are encouraged to bring up questions they would like answered. As usual, there is no charge for the Greentrees computer classes, which begin at 11:10 a.m.

Scheduled Computer Class Turns Into Impromptu Workshop

Sept. 17, 2014. --  The following were taken at this morning’s impromptu computer workshop.


Class Learns Finer Points of Photo Gallery

Sept. 3, 2014. – Paul and Becki Stymelski, two retired teachers who give free computer classes at the Florence library and the Florence Senior Center, this morning concluded their two-part presentation on Windows Photo Gallery.  They spent much of today's class showing Greentrees computer club members how to rework and improve their images.


Using photos downloaded from CDs the two instructors provided, class members learned how to edit their pictures. In the previous lesson (last week), Paul and Becki showed how to crop, auto adjust, eliminate red eye and perform other basic edits. This morning they had the class create a panorama, crop it, then use the program to adjust color, exposure, and noise reduction. 

Too shiny a nose on someone in one of your photos? No problem. In the Edit Tab go to Retouch and drag a rectangle around part of the nose that casts too bright a shine for your liking. As soon as you release the mouse the shine disappears. Imperfections can also be addressed in Windows Photo Gallery's Create tab. Under More Tools, open up Paint then erase/sample color/paint bucket will do just as good a job of retouching as does Retouch in the Edit Tab.  

They again showed everyone how to create a panorama using three photos they had taken in Incheon Harbor in South Korea. After stitching three pictures together, they cropped it then, using Paint, created a text box with a description of what the viewer was seeing. This box can then be positioned anywhere on the photograph.

Want to combine your next email with pictures you have taken or with some clipart? Again, no problem if you have Microsoft Word or Open Office. Photo Gallery also lets you create a movie and upload it to YouTube or Vimeo. You can also download pictures onto your Face Book page or into your Flickr site using the program.    


Members Get to Know Windows Photo Gallery

Aug. 27, 2014. -- Paul and Becki Stymelski, may be retired teachers-- Paul from

college, Becki from elementary school--but they still have the urge to impart knowledge to folks anxious to learn something new. This morning, they showed computer club members all about Microsoft's free photo editing program called Windows Photo Gallery.  (Until recently, it was called Windows Live Photo Gallery.) 

The husband and wife team teaches computer classes at the Florence library and the Senior Center. In years past they have taught classes on cruise ships.  In this morning's class on Windows Photo Gallery, they handed out a three-page detailed outline of the topics they cover in Session #1 of a two-part presentation. (Their next class will be Sept. 3.) So that everyone was looking at the same picture--or pictures-- they gave everyone with a laptop a CD with the same photos, which, following instructions by Paul and Becki, class members edited.


In today's Session #1, the Stymelskis began by showing everyone different ways of downloading pictures from one's camera to one's computer. Most cameras, they said, come with a cable that connects the camera to the computer. If pictures are downloaded onto a computer this way, they said, there is no need to remove the photo card (usually an SD card), which, if not kept in the camera, can be lost or damaged by inserting it incorrectly. Still another way to download photos is by using a card reader.  

People in today's class were shown the basic editing features of Photo Gallery: cropping, removing red eye, straightening, and revising color. The program has an Auto Adjust feature which, the two instructors said,  usually improves the photo so that it needs only a bit of additional tweaking.

One feature that Windows Photo Gallery has that Picasa--also a free download--does not have is the ability to make a panorama. When making a panorama of two or three photos, there must be an "appropriate overlap" so that the computer can stitch them together. Once the program makes the panorama, it can be saved and cropped like any other photo.  

Windows Photo Gallery often comes on PC computers running Windows 7 operating system. If it is not on one's computer, it can be downloaded here.



Jep Finds Another Reason to Dislike Windows 8

Aug. 20, 2014. – Jep Norwood told computer club members this morning that he

recently  found still another reason to dislike Microsoft's Windows 8 operating system. "It's almost impossible to put Linux on a Windows 8 computer." In previous classes, he has suggested that people with Windows 8 computers either disconnect from the Internet or buy a new computer with Windows 7 or Linux.

The latest version of Superantispyware can be downloaded from Jep's web site. As always, said Jep, read the download instructions carefully so you don't download programs onto your computer that you don't want. Jep suggested saving the program to one's desktop then, once the program is installed, dragging it into one's Tool Box. If Superantispyware is acting up, said Jep, uninstall the old version--or latest version--then reinstall it, paying attention to the boxes you check during the download and installation. 

When running a scan in Malwarebytes, said Jep, you'll probably find that the program has detected PUPs (potentially unwanted programs). For most computer users, he said, there's no harm in deleting all the PUPs that turn up. If you find out later you deleted something that you like, you can always go back to the Internet and download it again.

One program you definitely do not want on your computer, he said, is Cryptolocker, malware that holds your computer for ransom. "It's the worst malware I've ever seen," he said.  He referred those wanting to learn more about Cryptolocker to Bleeping Computer. There's no way to predict if Cryptolocker will end up on your computer, said Jep. He emphasized the importance of backing up one's computer. "Really nasty malware can lock up a computer and make it inoperable," he said. (Jep's instructions for backing up a computer.) 

Jep showed everyone the "heart of the computer"--the BIOS--the program that tells the computer what to do once it is turned on. In the BIOS, he said, you can set the time, change the boot order or set a password. However, he cautioned, if you don't know what you're doing, stay out of the BIOS. This led to a mention of a TV series about computers' early days that Jep likes--"Halt and Catch Fire." Read more about the show here 

 How do you clean up a computer that you intend to donate? If you want to make sure nobody ever sees anything that you've had on the computer, said Jep, "use a sledge hammer." Short of that, said Jep, you might want to put Linux on the computer; this would format the hard drive so that old files could never be retrieved. For more suggestions, he said, use Google. 

Volunteers, anyone? Jim Fleming noted that  Greentrees needs people to monitor equipment during the Sept. 13 emergency preparedness expo here in Greentrees. Volunteers are asked to get in touch with Jim or club president Pat Miller.


 Partygoers Swap Computer Stuff, Eat Pizza

Aug. 13, 2014 -- Gourmet pizza and fresh fruit were on the menu today at the Greentrees Village Computer Club's annual party. This year's event also included a swap meet of sorts as club members looked over computer stuff no longer of use to the donors. Following are a few photos from this morning.

Club Looks at Mint 13 and 17 Operating Systems

Aug. 6, 2014. –  Linux enthusiasts Dale and Trish DeRemer this morning showed their

fellow computer club members the differences between Mint 13 and Mint 17, two of the Linux operating system's most popular versions. Mint 13, said Dale, works on older computers whereas Mint 17, the latest upgrade, requires a newer computer. This morning he brought with him an older XP computer on which he had also downloaded Mint 13.

He showed a typical Mint 13 page and pointed out that it isn't too different from an XP page. The Mint 13 desktop, like the XP, has a task bar. Click on the Menu icon, he said, and you'll bring up a submenu that shows the programs you have on the computer. Dale, who has been using Linux for about a year, likes to keep the latest version of the operating system on a portable hard drive. This permits him to use Linux on any computer via one of the machine's USB ports.

Most programs popular on Windows machines can be downloaded onto Linux

computers, he said. Unfortunately Street and Trips, one of his favorite apps, can't yet be loaded onto a Linux computer. Neither, he said, can Netflix. However, he said,  as Linux grows in popularity, chances are good that programs not now available to Linux users will one day be made compatible with Linux computers.  Some Windows-compatible applications such as Open Office are similar to Linux's Libre Office.

One of the best introductions to Linux, both Dale and Trish said, is available as a PDF file that one can download and have on hand as a reference. "Introduction to Linux, a Hands on Guide" is available here.

Once you put Linux on your machine, said Dale, the first program you should download is Wine, which can tell you which programs are compatible with your Linux computer. If you can't get the answer you are looking for in Wine, said Dale, don't be reluctant to ask questions on the Internet, using either Google or your favorite search engine. 

Following are sites recommended by Dale and Trish DeRemer: Mint 17 User Guide The Perfect Desktop. How to partition a hard drive.

Party Time.  The Computer Club's annual party will take place next Wednesday (Aug. 13) and start at 11 a.m.  Pizza and soft drinks will be served. Place: All-Purpose room at north end of rec hall; in other words, the same place where we usually meet. Bring your old computer junk to swap or trade.                                                      


DeRemers Now Fans of Linux Operating System

July 30, 2014. – Computer club members Dale and Trish DeRemer like to spend

several months of  year at their Baja, Mexico home. Trouble is--or was-- said Dale, that their computers were running Windows XP, an operating system that is no longer supported by Microsoft. They could have bought two new computers and kept their old XP computer but this, he said, would have run afoul of a Mexican law that forbids a foreigner  from having more than one computer.


Their solution--put Linux on Dale's XP computer and get a new computer for Trish, a Dell with both Windows 7 and Linux Mint on it. The switch from Windows to Linux wasn't always easy, both Dale and Trish said. They had to learn a new vocabulary, ask a lot of questions, and sometimes rely on a friend in Mexico who was familiar with Linux. "Imagine yourself in a foreign country and you don't speak the language," said Dale. "That's what it was like."


Now that they have learned the language of Linux Mint, they have become fans of the operating system. Linux is a free download, said Dale, and every version that comes out has at least a five-year life of guaranteed support. The most popular version at the moment, he said, is Mint 17.  It can be downloaded onto a computer's hard drive or can be put on a portable hard drive or thumb drive and connected to a computer's USB port. If run this way, he said, it will be slower than if it were installed on the computer's hard drive.


Some programs do not work on a Linux computer, said Dale. "But most do."  He and Trish said they both use the Firefox browser, which, they pointed out, costs nothing. If you decide to use Linux, said Dale, make sure you first download a program called Wine, which interfaces with most Microsoft programs and allows a Linux Mint computer to run them.


Printing is easy with Linux, said Trish. "All you have to do is connect your Linux computer with your printer and you're ready to print." -- On a sheet handed out in class, they suggested people who are thinking of installing Linux on their computers look at the websites that they listed. Wonder which requirements are necessary to download Mint 17? Try this site. Want to know why Linux is better than Windows?  

Here, they said, is a good place to start Another site to get people started.


More. Don Douglas, who lives in Greentrees overlooking the Siuslaw River, has permitted Greentrees to install on his deck video cameras  that gives the viewer looks both up and down stream. Now and then a wild animal wanders onto Don's deck.


Still More. The computer lab has Linux on one of its computers and any Greentrees resident may use it. -- This year's party/swap meet is scheduled for August 13, according to Party Planner Gene Fisher, who said the club will provide pizza and soft drinks. Attendees are asked to bring a pot luck dish of their choice. The stuff to swap will be" computer stuff," said Gene. More info will be forthcoming.


Members Pursue Variety of Topics in Workshop

July 23, 2014. -- A dozen computer club members met this morning under the

leadership of club president Pat Miller and broke up into groups that addressed topics ranging from downloading Picasa onto a Linux computer to mirroring one's tablet onto a TV screen. One member showed the steps he took to edit  photos that he had downloaded into Picasa.

Pat handed out "Better searches- Better results," which outlined some modifiers one can type in the Google search box to refine searches. She also gave everyone a handout called "Google for Genealogists," which had suggestions for finding information about one's ancestors.

There was still no word on when the computer club will have its annual party. Gene Fisher has volunteered to organize the event but has so far kept mum on the party's date and the cuisine. One rumor has it that this year's party will feature exotic foods from a variety of countries.



July 16, 2014. – Jep Norwood covered a wide range of topics in this morning's computer class.  He warned people still running the XP operating system that bad

things are going to happen to their computers unless they toss out XP and either load Windows 7 or Linux  onto their computers--if they are not too old--or buy themselves a new Windows 7 computer. He pooh-poohed the rumor going around that support for Windows 7 will be discontinued next year. Ain't gonna happen, said Jep, who reassured everyone with Windows 7 machines that Microsoft will keep updates going at least until 2020.


He referred people who want to put Linux on their computers to his web site. On the same web page, he explains how to move contacts between mail programs and browsers.  If your computer seems to be running slower every time you use it, Jep suggested going to the Start-Up tab in msconfig (System Configuration) and removing programs that you do not need to load every time you turn on your computer. Another reason computers run slow, he said, is simply because they are old. A new computer should he good for about eight years, he said, but needs reloading after four years.


Backing up one's data is simple, said Jep. "It's simply a matter of copying and pasting."

Bits & Bytes. A smaller version of Linux will work on a USB drive. -- There are several versions of Linux; Version 17 has lots of drivers. -- RAM is now going onto video cards on new computers. -- A new version of Chrome added a malware filter that doesn't work. -- If you take your computer to Jep for repair, be sure to tell him if you have Firefox or Chrome as your browser.

To those who are anxious that their computer is not always working correctly, Jep had a message: "In ten years or so, computers will work perfectly--so stop worrying." 


Club Members Learn All About Mexicanado

July 9, 2014. –  Dale DeRemer introduced the Greentrees computer club this morning

to  Mexicanado, a word that, in Mexico, means making something work a little better using a limited amount of money and a lot of ingenuity. Dale, who with wife Trish, spends several months every year at their Baja home, learned about Mexicanado when he brought a Wi-Fi signal to their San Bruno house. 

Rule number one for those who want to improve their Wi-Fi reception, said Dale, is to remember that "a radio signal is never as good as a wire at moving intelligence." Wi-Fi is a radio signal, he said, with a frequency of about 2.4 gigahertz and "just about anything will interfere with its progress through space." A line of sight pathway is about as good as it gets, he said, except anything in its Fresnel zone will interfere.


If Greentrees computer users want to see if the Wi-Fi signal from their router-equipped room can reach to a back bedroom, Dale's suggests just trying it. But, he said, "it is safe to say that the signal will be degraded so the Internet performance will be slower." 

Wi-Fi performance is measured in megabits per second (Mbps). The easiest way to determine the strength of one's Wi-Fi connection, he said, is to click on the taskbar icon the lower right hand corner of one's screen. If three, four or five green bars show, he said, your connection is probably as good as it's going to get. Only one or two bars lit up means you will probably be limited to simple computing tasks such as email. 

Another way to assess one's Wi-Fi connection, said Dale, is to use speed test software such as ookla, which searches different places around the world one can get a signal. In his Baja home Dale gets one or two Mbps, "three on a really great day." Speeds in Greentrees vary, several class members noted, ranging from five or six Mbps to peaks as high as 30. 

If you don't want to rely on your router's signal output, said Dale, you can always get yourself some wire, an Ethernet connection, and a router for the room you want to bring an additional Wi-Fi signal to. Sometimes, he said, a router with antennas in the back room will enable one to enjoy the Internet with very little falloff in performance. 

Today's class concluded with a discussion of how to bring Wi-Fi to recreation vehicles in the Greentrees  RV area. 


Club Will Buy IPad, Schedules Summer Party

July 2, 2014. -- Club president Pat Miller this morning presided over a business

meeting of the Greentrees Village Computer Club in the park's All-Purpose Room. After the minutes of the last business meeting were read and approved, Treasurer Connie Goddard presented the club's treasury report.


After reminding members that the club has a need to spend some money, Pat pointed out that one member recently reported visiting Full Spectrum on Highway 101 and talking to an employee named Neil, who said that he repaired Apple computers.


Sally Daugherty made a presentation regarding the construction of a Multi-Purpose path on Rhododendron Drive between 9th Street and Wildwinds. She passed out literature outlining steps how people opposed to--or in favor of--the project could make themselves heard in person or in writing.


Pat said that the club intends to get a Charter digital box to connect to the club's television in the All-Purpose Room  This, she said, will allow Greentrees groups to get together to watch TV presentations. Club member Robert Jones reminded everyone that they should get a black digital box to attach to their TVs. The silver boxes, he--and others--said, do not always work.


Pat noted that the club recently bought an Apple TV device for the park's Coffee Room. This will permit people to hook up their tablets and display the contents onto the room's television screen. 

Vice president Gene Fisher made a motion that the club buy an iPad, the cost not to exceed $600. Club president Pat Miller seconded the motion, which was then approved by those present. Gene volunteered to organize  this year's Computer Club party, a long-standing tradition to which all the members look forward.

Workshop Explores the Kindle, Other Tablets

June 25. 2014 – Club VP Gene Fisher this morning led a workshop that explored the Kindle and other tablets. He also introduced Key Krecker, who has offered to give classes about Apple computers, tablets, and other devices. Following are photos from the workshop.


Jep Shows Programs He Uses to Fix Computers

June 18, 2014. -- Jep Norwood cautioned this morning's computer class not to run the repair

programs he uses to fix computers unless one's computer has been hijacked. The programs he uses--Rouge Killer,, Adw Cleaner, and Hitman Pro-- are reviewed on his web site. All of these apps, said Jep, can be downloaded to a flash drive then updated before they are used. Hitman Pro should, he said, be put on a separate drive. 

Hitman Pro is the "best program ever for fixing a computer," said Jep. If you are hijacked, he said, make sure you have the latest version. Hitman Pro is free for the first 30 days, he said; after that it costs $24.95 a year. It can be downloaded here.

For people still using the Windows XP operating system, Jep's words of advice--"Keep your computer backed up." Sooner or later, he said, your XP computer is going to crash. More and more people, said Jep, are going to Linux or are using tablets. The cost of putting Linux on a computer, he said, is $185. "Linux works better than Windows ever did," he said and noted that more and more apps (e.g. Google Earth) can now be downloaded onto Linux computers. At the moment, said Jep, he has for sale  several computers with Linux on them., which is free, "is the strangest program you have ever seen in your life," according to Jep. It takes about a half hour to run, he said, and sometimes a computer will run slowly after using it. But, he said, after a while the computer will wake up and start acting normal. often comes in a WinZip file, he said, adding that the old WinZip program that he put on many people's computers works better than the current version.

Bits  --Windows 7 no longer comes with gadgets such as clocks. If people want to get rid of gadgets on their computer, said Jep, they should go to msconfig, then in the Startup tab, uncheck Gadgets. -- Apple has a new entry level desktop for $1199, he said. Only trouble with owning an Apple computer or tablet, he said, is that the closest repair facility is in Eugene. And Apple devices cost two or three times as much as other brands, he said.

Before this morning's class with Jep, Gary Bovee, a computer enthusiast and California friend of club vice president Gene Fisher, showed a group of Greentrees residents in the coffee room what they can expect if they buy an Apple TV, a digital media player that costs about $100. To read more about the Apple TV, go to this site.


 Tablet Lovers Get Together in Workshop

June 11, 2014. – Club vice president Gene Fisher this morning presided over a workshop that

explored the popular Kindle tablet, versions of which--there are now ten--range in price from $69 to almost $400.  Both Gene and club president Pat Miller, a longtime Kindle user, recommended two web sites to those who want to learn more about Kindles. Wondering which Kindle Fire you have? Go here. This site for a comprehensive tutorial.


Gene suggested recharging one's Kindle every night after someone pointed out that it is sometimes difficult to know when the tablet is on or off. Another club member keeps her Kindle plugged in all the time and this, she said, has had no deleterious effect on it.

Everything you can do with an iPad or a computer, said Gene, you can do with a Kindle. The higher-priced Kindles, he noted, come with both front and rear-facing cameras, which can come in handy when talking to someone using Skype.

Gene and other club members with Kindles pointed out some of the free apps and games available. Two people especially like the Candy Crush game. 

An outline of all the subjects covered in this morning's workshop is available on the Greentrees Village web site.


Class Learns How to Hook Up Charter TV Boxes

June 4, 2014. –  Computer tech wizards Gene Fisher and Richard Cortezzo this morning told their

fellow club members how to hook up their new Charter TV boxes so that their television viewing won't be interrupted after June 24th of this year, the date Charter TV is going 100% digital in Greentrees. Most residents have by now received a letter from Charter advising them that they may pick up a free box at Charter's temporary store at 1234 Rhodendron Drive here in Florence. The store's hours are Monday through Friday 9:00 a.m. to 6 p.m., from May 23 to July 12, 2014. To get a free box, one must show a photo I.D.


Two different boxes are available--one for people with HD TV, the other for those with an analog TV set. When you go to the Charter store to pick up a box, said Gene, be prepared to tell them whether you have an HD or analog TV. To activate the box, he said, simply follow the directions that come with the box. This entails calling a toll-free Charter number that comes with the new box and following directions. If you can't get everything set up, said Gene, you might want to call Charter, which will, for $29.99,  send a technician to your place to connect your box and TV.


Every TV set in your home will have to have a digital set-top box. When you pick up your box at the temporary Charter store, several club members said, the Charter rep will look up your account and answer any questions you might have. People with questions about the set-top box--as Charter calls it--can also go to this Charter site.

Although most of today's class was taken up with Charter's new digital boxes, Vice president Gene Fisher spent some time showing people how to use Lightscreen, which is free, to take screen shots and save them into folders. He also showed how to take pictures and make sound recordings on an iPad and a Kindle. So many of the club members have Kindles that a future class will be devoted to exploring all the things the tablet can do.


Someone Is After Your Money, Jep Warns

May 21, 2014. – Someone, somewhere is out to get you and your money, Jep Norwood warned

 computer club members this morning in his monthly class. He said that despite being told numerous times that FedEx and UPS will never send you unsolicited  email, people still open up email and attachments that they think are coming from either FedEx or UPS. The result of doing this, said Jep, is that your computer gets hijacked and you are out the cost of getting your computer reloaded. Hijackers often offer to remove their malware and restore your computer to its normal working order if you pay the ransom, but that rarely works, said Jep.


Before going into the specifics about AdwCleaner, RogueKiller and HitmanPro, Jep emphasized that these programs should only be used on computers that have been hijacked. His Advanced Repair site comes with the warning that using these programs might harm one's computer. AdwCleaner and RogueKiller, which can be downloaded onto a single flash drive from Jeb's web site, are free. HitmanPro, a program that Jep especially likes, needs its own flash drive. HitmanPro offers users a 30-day trial; after that it costs $24.95 a year.


It's a good idea to use a computer other than one's own, to download these programs, said Jep. All three are continually updated, he said. When using them on an infected computer, keep pressing the F8 key (on most computers) so that they load in safe mode. It almost goes without saying, said Jep, that people need to keep their computers backed up. Once a computer is so messed up that it needs to be reloaded, all of the data on it will be lost. When a computer is reloaded, said Jep, there will be lots of Windows updates that need downloading. If Windows Updates doesn't work, he said, then the computer is still not fixed.


 Bytes. -- has changed spam filters and some people are having trouble sending out more than 25 emails at a time. -- Windows XP security support has ended, said Jep, so don't believe web sites that tell you that doing such-and-so will keep XP secure. -- PC Matic, he said, is a scam; don't download it.


Bits. -- Java has problems, said Jep. If the site you are looking at says you need Java, there probably isn't any harm in downloading it, he said, despite the fact that Java has been used to put Trojans on computers. -- Drivers do not need updating, he said, so just ignore the ads that keep popping up saying one needs to update one's drivers. If a driver does need updating, said Jep, the manufacturer will send this information to Windows and the updated driver will then be available for downloading in Windows Updates.


The free version of Malwarebytes is better than the paid version, said Jep. He reminded everyone to update Malwarebytes and SuperAntiSpyware before scanning one's computer with them. -- If you have a laptop, check carefully to make sure it is off before putting it in a carrying bag. A melted computer is not, he said, a pretty sight.


Members Learn About Streaming Videos

May 7, 2014. -- Richard Cortezzo showed his fellow Greentrees Computer Club members this morning how to hook up their TVs to streaming videos of a Netflix movie, a PBS documentary or a football

game.  What's needed? First of all, said Richard, a Wi-Fi connected router,  something that almost all club members already have. Then, he said, you need a streaming device that connects your router to your TV via a HDMI cable. Richard's streaming device of choice is a Roku player, which costs fifty to a hundred dollars depending upon which version you buy.


Once you have the Roku box you want--there's something new called a Streaming Stick (for HDTVs only)--you can go to Settings and configure your Roku as you wish. You have a variety of channels to choose from, said

Richard. Want to see a movie via Netflix? It will cost you $7.99 a month,  according to the Netflix web site. Other channels are free.  


To toggle between channels, said Richard, you'll need a remote. Once your Roku device is connected to your router, the device will automatically detect your Wi-Fi signal, he said. Then you can go to Settings and set up your Roku, which, he said, has several  help screens. He volunteered to help anyone having questions about their streaming video setup.




Jep To Class: Don't Worry about Heartbleed Bug

April 16, 2013. – Jep Norwood told Greentrees Computer Club members this morning not to

worry too much about the Heartbleed bug that is the talk of the Internet. He discusses the bug on his Computer Lessons web site, which is currently being rebuilt.  If someone is concerned about the Heartbleed bug, he suggested changing one's email password or setting up a whole new email account (new name and password).


Be careful when downloading programs from the Internet, said Jep and showed what can happen if someone looking for a free program such as Google Earth downloads the program from the first site listed on one's browser. "If you're not careful, you'll be downloading all sorts of stuff you don't want on your computer," he said.  To remove programs you don't want, he suggested going  to Control Panel and uninstalling them.


If something goes wrong with your computer, don't, said Jep, use System Restore. It will, he said, only make things worse.


The first thing he does when preparing to repair a computer, he said, is to back up data onto a jump drive. It is also a good idea to know whether one's computer is a 32 or 64-bit machine, he said.  


After making sure everyone knew how to format their jump drives, Jep invited the class to follow along as he went to his web site and showed how to download free programs such as RogueKiller,, and AdwCleaner onto a single jump drive. Hitman Pro will need a separate flash (aka jump) drive, said Jep and that will be covered in a future class. The reason one wants these programs on a portable drive, he said, is because the programs are constantly being updated, something a person can do.  


One class member told Jep he is constantly confronted with ads on the Internet to update his Windows 7 drivers. Jep's response: Don't bite. If a device needs a new driver, he said, the manufacturer will notify Microsoft, which will include any necessary driver update in Windows Updates.

Windows 8 "Cool. I love it." Samantha Strausser 

April 2, 2014. --  Microsoft's Windows 8 operating system may have many critics but Samantha

Strausser isn't one of them. Samantha, who has been a Windows 8 user for almost a year, this morning set up her Toshiba laptop and showed fellow computer club members some of the reasons she likes the operating system. The original Windows 8 didn't have a start button, which confused many computer users, she said. But once Microsoft brought out Windows 8.1--with a Start button-- much of the confusion and criticism went away, she said.


With the new Windows 8.1, said Samantha, users can bring up a screen  filled with tiles or a desktop that resembles the desktop in  Windows XP and 7. Her computer, she noted, came with Windows Defender which is the next generation of MS Security Essentials. So that she doesn't have to remember which programs need updating, she has her laptop set on automatic updating.


First thing she did when she bought her Toshiba laptop--which came with Windows 8.1--was to customize the Start screen. She uses the Firefox browser and Microsoft's Bing search engine. Several programs come with Windows 8, she said, many of them free and some with trial versions so that users can, after trying them out, decide if they want to buy them. (One class member suggested using Open Office, which is a free download, instead of MS Office.)


Some Function keys on Windows 8 are different from the Function keys on XP and Windows 7, she noted. For editing photographs, she uses Zoner, which is a free download. Windows 8 comes with a program called Pictures, which permits some basic editing.


To sum up Samantha's opinion about Windows 8: " You don't have to think too much when using it."  She even likes the touch screen, preferring it over a mouse which she still uses on occasion. "I've used Windows XP  and Windows 7," she said. "But I prefer Windows 8. It's cool. I love it."


Hijackers Spread Schemes Via Email, Says Jep

March 19, 2014. – Jep Norwood cautioned computer class members this morning to think twice before opening suspicious email messages. “That’s how many, if not most,  hijacking schemes are spread,” he said. Fixing a

computer that has downloaded a hijacker isn’t always easy, he said. Before doing anything else, he first takes out the computer’s hard drive and downloads all the data in the infected computer onto a flash drive.

If you don’t want to lose all of the contents of your hijacked computer, said Jep, you should get into the habit of regularly backing up your data. Detailed instructions for backing up are on Jep’s web site. He used a Western Digital Passport 1 TB portable hard drive to show how easy backing up could be. The drive needs no electrical outlet to run. Simply plug the drive into a USB port on your computer, said Jep, then, in My Computer, find the drive and format it. Follow the instructions on Jep’s web site. How often you should back up your data depends on how often you use your computer and what you put into it, he said.  

If your computer is USB3 enabled, said Jep, the backup process will take little time. (The Passport drive is USB2 and USB3 enabled.) Do not, said Jep, use the Passport for continuous backup, otherwise, he said, you might well be downloading viruses and malware onto the drive. The Western Digital Passport is, someone pointed out, sometimes available at Fred Meyer. (One class member said he had just bought a WD My Passport Ultra Portable drive with a 1 TB capacity from B&H Video for about $80.00.)

If you don’t have all that much data on your computer, said Jep, you might want to use Google Drive for backing up. You can also use a flash drive, said Jep, though they aren’t always reliable and accidents can happen. He recounted ruining a 32 GB drive recently by not first going to Safely Remove Hardware in his task bar tray before removing the drive.

A few class members speculated as to what will happen to their XP computers after April 8, the last day Microsoft will offer XP support. Jep said that Windows 7 computers were still available and suggested that someone with an XP computer might want to buy one before support for XP stops. There’s also Linux, said Jep.

He touched briefly on repairing a hijacked computer and said that in subsequent classes he will show everyone how to use flash drives to download applications that will fix a computer infected with malware.



Pat Miller Suggests Ways to Deal with Windows XP Demise
March 5, 2014. –  Computer Club president Pat Miller this morning suggested several ways to deal with the imminent demise of Microsoft’s Windows XP operating system. “Nobody knows for certain what will happen after April 8, when support for Windows XP expires,” said Pat.  Office 2003 support will also expire on April 8th, she said. If you have XP on your computer, Pat suggested, you might want to switch your browser to Chrome—which automatically updates itself—or Firefox. Microsoft Security Essentials will be supported for another year but, said Pat, will only detect malware.    

 No matter which operating system you use, said Pat, make sure you have malware and antivirus programs on your computer (See Jep Norwood’s web siteand run them regularly. Also important, she said, is backing up one’s data. She showed everyone her Clickfree backup device, which automatically backs up  her data. “And don’t forget to back up your email contacts." (Instructions for backing up an XP computer are on Jep’s web site.) 

 If you have an XP computer that isn’t too old, said Pat, you might want to put the Linux operating system on it. (The computer club lab has one machine with Linux.) For people who want to stick with Microsoft, she suggested putting Windows 7 update advisor into Google, downloading the app then running it to see if one’s XP computer could run Windows 7.

One class member said that he is planning on keeping his XP computer because it has several old programs such as Adobe Photoshop and Adobe PageMaker that cannot be loaded onto a Windows 7 machine. He said he intends to disconnect his XP computer from the Internet and buy a new Windows 7 computer for Internet surfing. He will then get a KVM--keyboard, video, mouse—switch that will permit him to use his old keyboard, video monitor and mouse to operate both computers.  

 Some folks with an old XP might decide it’s time to switch to a Mac, said Pat. Or maybe they’ll opt for a tablet, the variety of which, she said, seems to grow bigger every day. “Do some research, think about what you want to do, then decide,” she said.  



Jep Warns--Windows XP Days Are Numbered
Feb. 19, 2014. – Jep Norwood reminded Greentrees computer club members this morning that only 53 days remained before Microsoft stops supporting its Windows XP operating system.  After April 8, said Jep, the only updates will be to prevent malware. “Microsoft will no longer provide security updates, nonsecurity hotfixes, free or paid assisted options and online technical content updates,” according to Jep’s Computer Lessons web site.

He reminded everyone to keep their computers up to date by downloading  Windows Updates but cautioned about downloading Bing toolbars. “Do your best to keep any toolbars off your computer,” he said. “They only slow it down and are loaded with malware.”

In upcoming classes, said Jep, he will show everyone how to fix their computers, e.g., how to remove hijackers. Windows 9, which is due next year, will—unlike Windows 8—make running a computer in safe mode possible. (Safe mode makes getting rid of malware easier.) “Right now,” said Jep, “people who are having trouble with their computers are doing a factory reset.” This is okay, said Jep, as long as they first save all their data before the reset.


Jep reviewed  questions emailed to him by Greentrees club members.   Defraggler, a new program, can be fun to watch, said Jep, “but it does no better than the regular defragmenter program.” –  Unfriend Check in Facebook is an advertising program that can be removed following directions from Jep’s web site. “About 99% of all the calls I get about slow computers are caused by browser add-ons,” said Jep. He then showed how to go to the Tools in the Microsoft’s Internet browser menu bar then go down to Manage Add-Ons. “Disable the plugins and add-ons you think are slowing you down,” he said. (You can, he added, enable those you feel you can’t do without.)  – Unchecky, said Jep, has been removed from his site. “It just didn’t work consistently,” he said. – For those bothered by the occasional appearance of the Internet Explorer icon, Jep suggested looking at this site


 Club Members Share Favorite  Apps, Gadgets

Feb. 5, 2014. -- Feb. 5, 2014 –  President Pat Miller and a dozen Greentrees computer club members

spent today’s class sharing favorite apps, notes and gadgets. Sally Daugherty  showed off a poster printed by On The Coast Printing Co here in Florence. “Their prices are very reasonable and they are very helpful,” said Sally.


Collette Bailey, who for several years has been making calendars featuring her fractal art, said she had found Lulu which, she said, can make a calendar not only cheaper than a home-made one but one that has a professional look.


Richard Jones, who likes to put his photographs onto his Nook tablet, said that he has learned much about photography from Digital Photography School 


Pat Miller showed everyone her Halo mouse scannerHalo also makes a “power cubethat plugs into a wall outlet or a car’s charging port (e.g. cigarette lighter) and can then, once unplugged, provide small electronic devices with additional power.

Parker Kendall reviewed some of the features of Google Earth, which  has both a free and paid version  One of his favorites is Street View, illustrated in this video. He also likes Digital Photography Review where he regularly visits several of the site’s  forums. 



Keep Product Key in Safe Place, Suggests Jep

Jan. 15, 2014. – Jep Norwood reminded folks in today’s computer class that the day might well come when their machines—for whatever reason—break down and have to be reloaded. People with desktops, said Jep, generally don’t have to worry about finding their computer’s number (i.e., the product key); it’s usually out in the open and easily visible. Laptop computers, however, usually have their product keys on a sticker affixed to the bottom of the laptop. The number is easy to read when the computer is new, said Jep, but once the laptop has been scuffed up from shifting it around on a desk, the number can become illegible.


If you don’t have the product key, you can’t order a new Windows operating system disk, said Jep.

His suggestion: look at the bottom of your laptop, find the computer’s product key--it might even be in the battery compartment--write it down and put it in a safe place. Someone suggested sending oneself an email with the number. Another class member said that he had googled the reloading problem and found both written and YouTube suggestions.  No matter how you intend to repair your computer, said Jep, you must first save all of your files and pictures. A thumb drive big enough to hold all the data is one way of saving everything. Once your computer has been reloaded, the data can be put back onto the computer.


Should you need your product key but can’t find it—or where you once wrote it down—you might want to use Magical Jelly Bean KeyFinder, a free download.                                                             


Bits & Bytes. Want to change your computer’s default fonts or colors? Jep has this information on his web site. – Also on his web site is information about Hitman Pro and Rogue Killer, two “good virus repair programs,” according to Jep.—Security Essentials is still the best free anti virus software, he said. Jep also likes AVG but said that the program pesters people to buy it. He said that he sometimes uses Bitdefender, which has both a paid and a free version.


Everyone needs two email addresses, said Jep, one for corresponding with folks you trust, the other a throw-away address that you can use when the web site you are viewing insists that you put in your email address. – Finally, type in MSCONFIG in Run then go to the Startup tab and uncheck programs that slow down your computer when you turn it on, he said. “Before  you mess around in any of the other tabs,” said Jep, “sit down and write me out a check for $185.”