Please click on the month to see the report:
The SoRSIG held its first meeting for 2017 on Thurs 19 Jan. There was no formal presentation, but it was a great opportunity for the 9 attending to give some attention to particular problems concerning them. This can be a good technique as we often need a little help and the experience of fellow Members can often iron out a wrinkle or two which has been bothering us.
It is a while since I've managed to attend this SIG, so it was good to catch up with Convenor Mal and Stalwart Gillian, to see the procedures that have been set in place, and to see there was a visiting Member from Armadale. Our tenure in the Meg Olive Room is secure for quite a while so the SIG seems set for a good year. It is the only afternoon SIG at present, which suits Members not wanting to go out at night, so pop along to a meeting and benefit from the knowledge and help of others in the Group.
A small group because of the clash with the Committee Meeting.
We seem to have solved the connection problems with the RAAFA TV .This may be handy at home for watching photos etc from your laptops or IPads. We have a long HDMI cable and most Windows laptops have an HDMI slot. Older and newer IPads require different adaptors. Check at the shop for the correct one.
Beware of fake emails about gifts from authentic looking businesses. Always look at the sender identity – if it is suspicious, delete the email.
If planning to book travel, consider Skyscanner for flights, Seatguru for airline comfort and seat pitch, booking.com and expedia for accommodation, trip advisor,. Rome 2 Rio, Man in seat 61 for trains. None of these require you to identify yourself, and can tell you a lot, even if you plan to use a travel agent. Note that sites like booking.com and expedia have contracts with hotels forbidding them from directly offering lower prices. If you check directly with the hotels, they may be able to get around it by offering upgrades or extras. Whenever you are paying for anything on line, always make sure that the payment link starts with https, for security.
Consider Skype and Skype to Go for cheap phone and video calls.
Try Google Maps and Google Earth.
A good group attended, and there was non-stop exchange of computer wisdom.
Fortunately we had our webmaster Gordon with us as we explored the PCUG website. Members need to know their user ID and password for full access. If forgotten, email Gordon for help.
- The front page rotating “Help” sign is for members technical help. It goes to VP Trisha, who may escalate the query to Trevor.
- The !Link! goes to webmaster Gordon.
Mal apologised for accidentally sending a group email using the “To” field. Group emails should be via the “BCC” field to keep email addresses private.
Beware of scams offering gifts. Check the sender id, and also delete if not addressed to you personally. There was a good discussion of virus and malware protection. Leith brought the latest Choice magazine tests. Choice has a separate computer magazine. Another very good source of advice is av-test.org. On the front page select “Tests”, home user, and select your windows version. Apple users may need to talk to the local Apple shop.
Skype was discussed as a site for free voice and video calls to others with Skype installed, and for cheap calls to any phone internationally.
Other topics discussed included document and email storage using iPads, speed testing of internet connections, and even the use of flight simulators. (We do meet at the Air Force Association). If you are a paid registered member log in to the members only area and find a link for a speed test.
I would welcome any items members want covered at or between meetings, and any offers of short presentations.
A good meeting despite several apologies covered a lot of topics.
We spent some time discussing IPhone and Android phones. For poor connectivity areas we had Allan’s Choice magazine tests of best phones, testing by AV-test.org, and Telstra’s blue tick phones.
A senior Telstra engineer recommends a free app “accent network lite”. It gives instant readings of signal strength as you move around the house, outside or travelling. A key measure is RSRP (Reference Signal Received Power). -90 is excellent, -90 to -105 good, -106 to -120 fair. He advises setting your phone to automatic 4G/3G, and on new phones also select voLTE (voice over Long Term Evolution). It is a new digital signal better than 4G.
To locate and/or block your lost phone there are several free apps that can be installed on your computer. If your phone and mobile data or wifi are on you can ring it without call diversion, or see where it is on a map.
Gillian forwarded to us an interesting email from Joe Potter on Google. It is a great product, but makes a fortune collecting information on us for sale to advertisers and others. If you have a google account (needed for many Google apps), check your privacy and security settings. By default, it ticks many items to better target advertising etc. to you. Most can be unticked.
We discussed the differences between Apple and Windows operating systems. Many Windows users control their own filing systems for documents and photos, while Apple expects users to simply open the application to find files. Windows and also Telstra email are moving the same way, wanting to store your data in the Cloud. John will talk about photo filing at a future meeting.
Gordon showed us a good thumb drive for IPad. His is a SanDisk which cleverly connects his IPad to a USB port. Great for offloading photos, and available in various capacities.
Lots more was covered, and we have some good topics lined up. Next meeting Leith will show us how to design cards etc, and in August Gillian will explore what an IPad can do.
An enjoyable busy meeting, which continued informally after closing time.
Mal filled in for our planned speaker who was ill. August is National Family history month and there are many free events. Contact State Library of WA at slwa.wa.gov.au (click Whats On-Family History) , and WA Genealogical Society wags.org.au (Click on Event Calendar). With computers, it is very easy to do research. Do not rush to Ancestry.com before using free sites such as familysearch.org, or your local library. The WAGS website has much information before you need the members only area. There are free versions of family history applications such as Legacy for creating and storing your history.
We spent some time on problems with internet data contracts, and sharing data between accounts. RAAFA residents have extra complexity of individual service providers like Telstra, arrangements made by RAAFA, and now impending NBN. Some of our group who have a single account for billing, but multiple use, eg phones, laptops ,and other family members are able to bundle data and save money. Mal added an extra item for $5 per month. The new Choice magazine, computer issue, has an article on Choosing an NBN provider (Southlands or other local Library)
A member considering moving from Windows 7 to Windows 10 was advised that it was desirable, but that she needed to first check the capability of her existing computer, by Googling “can my computer run Windows 10. That will give results such as:
Several members make good use of Skype for voice and video calls. (Facetime for Apple/IPhone). Even internationally, it is free or inexpensive, but video uses some data.
There are some issues with automatic updates of operating systems and applications, which we did not fully resolve. Operating systems especially need to be kept up to date to close security gaps and solve bugs, but the timing can be inconvenient. It should be possible to choose the timing of updates. Advice from members on Windows and Apple settings would be welcome. (reply to the group, or discuss next month)
Next month we plan to have John talking on Windows 10 as originally planned, followed by Leith on “What you can do with Pictures” in September, and Gillian on the wonders of IPad in October.
A good exchange of information by the 14 members and visitors. Sadly our former convener Joe Potter has had to resign, but still sends us interesting emails.
John’s presentation on Windows 10 was most valuable, and only scratched the surface of his knowledge. We are keen for him to continue it as soon as we can fit him in.
John showed many features of the taskbar at the bottom of our W10 screens. Right clicking on a blank part allows locking it in place and access to many features. For example the search field Cortana. Type Notepad or Word to get a simple or more detailed place for notes. Clever members tried using voice commands there. Cortana searches the computer and also the internet. (Type Cortana in Cortana). A valuable internet site is How to Geek. Use Cortana or your normal internet search.
He spent some time on Task Manager. Again, type Task in Cortana, or use ctrl+alt+del. It shows what is running now and at startup. Selecting any item allows it to be closed. Experts at our meeting say that almost all startup items can be disabled as they will start when needed. Right click on any item and select search online to find out what it does.
There are frequent W10 updates, which should always be installed for security reasons. My last one was version 1703 on 19/8/2017. Details are at settings/updates & security, and advanced options allows some deferral.
VPN (virtual private networks) were discussed. Valuable for secure communication by businesses, or by travellers using hotel or café Wi-Fi. See your local library for Choice computer magazine, or subscribe.
Next meeting is a temporary room change at RAAFA. See our website http://www.perthpcug.org.au, meeting times, September for details and map. September will be Leith on what to do with photos, plus our normal flood of Q&A information.
I hope to see you there, plus any new visitors.
Another enjoyable meeting in our good alternative room at RAAFA. We are back to our normal Meg Olive room in October.
Please remember to write a note of any problems or topics that interest you. We will collect them next meeting, deal with some and refer others to the expert who will be at our November meeting.
Can anyone get me an email address for our new visitor Pat Greensmith?
Leith showed us lots of useful photo management tips. He uses PlayMemories with his Sony camera, but also spent time with us on the normal Windows 10 Photos app. All photos imported from phones or cameras, and other images appear in W10 Photos “Collection”, sorted by date taken and filename number. They also appear in “Folders”, which is the storage place where the photos were imported to. A right click on any photo will show lots of information about it. The third W10 photos location is “Albums”. Groups of wanted photos can be placed in named Albums, and rearranged, maybe by renumbering in a sequence starting with 0, not 1. Both of the apps can be used to crop and improve photo quality. We would like to spend more time on these topics
As always, we found some strange things for Q and A. Margaret gets messages saying that she needs more ICloud storage for no apparent reason – one for a visit to the Apple store? Modern computing often assumes that we want to store our information in “the Cloud” i.e not our own computers or phones, whether we know and request it or not.
Gordon was being told he had over 100 unread emails, when he had none, including none when he logged into the ISP mail server directly. (You can do this to get your emails when travelling). He fixed it after phone advice from Apple Perth to uninstall his PPCUG email account and reinstall it.
Next meeting Gillian will explore IPad with us and we also need to prepare written questions for our computing expert guest in November.
An excellent meeting, especially because of the well prepared and presented IPad demo by Gillian. Her notes are copied below because they are full of great information:
OCTOBER IPAD DEMO. LET’S MAKE THIS AN ENTERTAINING AND INTERACTING SESSION
OK, Firstly, Has everyone upgraded their software?
If not, I suggest you do so when you get home
FEATURE SOME APPS THAT WILL ENTERTAIN
i.e. Spotify, iBooks, SkyView, Garage Band, Google Earth just to name a few and Games, if you are into them.
Maybe not Google Earth, but I find it interesting finding places I’ve travelled to overseas for a revisit without the cost and enduring air flight.
You can now download all the TV channels to watch shows you’ve missed out on.
( APP STORE Now has a new format )
i.e.Trip advisor, AirBnb, Once again all TV channels via their web sites
HAS ANYBODY GOT ANY FAVOURITE APPS? Perhaps we could explore these a little further on?
BANKING ONLINE. All major banks and some BUILDING SOCIETIES use online facilities.
I can’t remember when last I went into a Bank.
SHOPPING ONLINE & SHOPPING APPS..
.KOGAN, GUMTREE ( wouldn’t recommend this one ) eBay
You can purchase just about anything on line. Coles & Woolworths. They even offer same day
delivery in some cases. One never has to go into a store again. Right up my alley!
I purchase perfumes from the USA which are not available here.
Would you believe delivery is sometimes faster than in Australia!
NOTES & HOW TO USE LOCK
GO TO TIPS. I DIDN’T KNOW ABOUT THE CLOCK ALARM DID YOU?
PERHAPS DOWNLOAD USER MANUAL IN iBOOKS, to be studied at leisure.
iTunesU APP, we can play with this if you like. Teach yourself any language or further your
education on your selected subjects. An excellent APP.!.
HOW TO USE MESSAGES & ADD PHOTOS TO THE MESSAGE. Instruction to be found in TIPS,
or just ask Siri.
USE SERI TO DICTATE EMAILS OR QUESTIONS i.e. DIRECTIONS. FIND THE NEAREST
ANYTHING ( so long as your location has been installed )
How to back up in CLOUD. GO to settings, tap on name etc etc.
WHEN IN DOUBT, GOOGLE, GOOGLE, GOOGLE one doesn’t have to type in, just ask Siri and
she’ll find it for you. .
Apple have excellent learning sessions....Here’s how you can book into categories that might be
of interest to you. Helps if you download the Apple app to book in. These are all FREE and can
be accessible as many times as you like.
A good idea is to type in your questions prior to your session in the NOTES or PAGES App so the
instructor can address them...
I strongly advise you to download the user manual in iBOOKS and check into TIPS.
TIPS updates on a regular basis, and constant use, just like anything will make you an expert .
Gillian sent me the above notes as a PDF from her IPad, but I was able to open it as text in Windows 10 by using Adobe Reader, and save it in this Word document. Transfers between IPad and Windows and smart phones is a good future topic.
Some members and visitors are using Getting Started lessons for IPad eg City of Melville, Free lessons at Apple Shop (book by downloading the Apple Store App), IPad Help has “12 lessons for beginners”.
Firefox offers a free VPN (Virtual Private Network) to help with security, especially away from home.
Gordon has a section of our website for favourite Apps, and invites us to send him more. A great one from our last meeting was flightradar24, which shows airports and lets you track flights landing with a cockpit view.
We had a busy meeting with our guest speaker David. An interesting presentation, with a little time for Q and A.
He covered “The Internet of Things”, which is a rapidly expanding connection to the internet of things like cars, houses, refrigerators, toothbrushes, cruise line passenger tags. Similarly artificial intelligence is increasingly used to do some things like medical diagnosis better than humans.
Our mobile phones frequently “ping” the nearest tower whenever switched on, so that the network knows where we are.
Even a new thumb drive may have a virus already installed. He suggests using “format” to be sure.
Unwanted computers can be safely disposed of. See separate email on nationwide recycling service.
If a download does not automatically tell you where it is stored and offer to open, you can find it in an existing folder “downloads” using file explorer.
Scams – you can forward them to an Australian Computer Society at rescam.org. They offer to waste the time of the scammers. It is dangerous to attempt that yourself. Just delete or hang up as quickly as possible.
Next year we will spend more time with “Members Helping Members” with Q &A, solving our problems.
Meanwhile, do not forget our Christmas lunch on Thursday 14 December12:30 pm at the Market City Tavern, 280 Bannister Rd Canning Vale. All welcome, and hopefully our table for 20 will be a good guess.
I hope to see you there.