Bell Mobility Ripoff

Bell Mobility Ripoff Takin ya to the cleaners each month…

HISTORY: Recently we decided we did not need a house phone. Let’s face it; anyone who has a cell phone probably uses the cell phone more than the house phone. In fact, most customer service reps will tell you that when people give out a contact phone number it is usually their cell phone number. That is the number they can be reached most of the time…Why?

Most people carry their cell phones on their person at all times and the cell phone is usually always on, either with the ring set or the vibrator notifier set. Either way, if you really look at it, the house phone is only good if you are at home, inside the house, and can run fast enough to catch the final ring.

House phones can not travel with you. They cannot sit beside you at work. They are not in the car with you and they don’t tag along while you shop. So, this definitely BEGS THE QUESTION: Why would any cell phone user host the high costs of a house phone?


The issue is Long Distant Calls.

Bell Mobility charges 30 cents for each minute of long distant calling within Ontario.

Prepaid Long Distant calling services, such as charges only .029 cents per minute. That is a savings (over BELL MOBILITY) of about 27 cents per minute.

Bell Mobility is overcharging its customers at least 27 cents for every minute of long distant calling charges.

SAVINGS: Not only do we now save the $50+ per month for a useless house phone, we also save 27 cents on each minute of long distance calls.

VOIP COMPUTER INTERNET CALLING: Oh yes, and don’t forget, if you have Sympatico DSL Internet do not let Bell trick you into believing that you need a phone to have the Internet. Just call up Bell and demand they change your system to a “Dry Loop” as mandated by the CRTC decision.

A Dry Loop, or “dry pair” means you do not pay the extra costs of a phone: “A dry pair is normally used with a security system, but more recently may also be used with DSL equipment or an ethernet extender to connect two locations” (wiki). Dry loop is also used for house alarm systems.

Moral of the Story: Do not let Bell Canada/Sympatico lead you to believe you MUST have a phone connected to get their High Speed Internet. And…With using Bell Sympatico’s DSL High Speed you can use VOIP to do very inexpensive calls via SKYPE – and if you call from your computer to a friend’s computer in South Africa, or any other spot in Cyberspace, your calls are all FREE.

A WORD TO THE WISE: It took us 13 phone calls to Bell Sympatico and Ma Bell and we finally had to stop payment on our house phone their attention and to get the dry loop. THEY DO NOT WANT YOU TO KNOW ABOUT THE DRY LOOP as they lose the money from you thinking you must have a phone to get their Internet. See the CRTC ruling above, you may just want to quote the reference number when talking to a customer service rep:

Telecom Order CRTC 2005-415


More to Life Than WORK

I remember all too well, the naysayers telling me, about ten years ago, that I would be bored after the first few months of retirement. In all honesty, consensus dictates that most retirees do get bored and many go back to work for that reason.

That is so sad.

I can see getting some work to get some extra cash to buy that little something you’ve always wanted, or to work to help pay off something you forgot to pay off before you retired…BUT, not work for the sake of having something “to do”.

I must admit, it has been 2 1/2 years since I left the workforce and I have not looked back, well once or twice, just to be so thankful that I got out while the getting was good.

As for time, I don’t have much left over from each day. Most of my time is now taken up with things I like to do. Reading, writing, computering, cycling, volunteering, walking Sam, watching Grandkids grow, and of course traveling in the RV…My computer work keeps me really busy until the end of June…after it is sun & fun.

In fact, I have just started writing another TECH column for a magazine, something I tried while working and just did not have the time. Today, I make the time as it is something I like to do and WORK does not get in my way.

As you can see in the pic above, my paddlin buddy likes the retired life much better LOL

Computers “USER FRIENDLY”?

Far from it!

    Back in the “day”, when DOS was alive and well, computers were scary creatures and only a few could operated those vehicles without accident or incident. Then along came the 90’s when the PCs and Macs were made available and workable for the so-called “average” human, with projected promises of making these machines: “USER FRIENDLY”. Remember that term? Although, as many companies do, some lied. Or rather, they did not tell “the whole truth and nothing but”.

    Computer User Groups began to pop up faster that dandelions all across North America…”Why” you ask? The answer is simply that the “user friendly” computer did not come about. In fact, to this very day, computers are more and more complex machines.

    Oh yes, computers can be user friendly until you do something you are not aware of, or click on something within a website that set your machine either on fire or sent it to a shallow grave, wherein you cannot, no matter how hard you try, start it back up. Or in computer terms you are now SOL lol.

    Today, while sitting in Coffee Lodge, having my afternoon coffee and serving of free WiFi, there was an elderly couple sitting next to me. The elderly woman was watching me book a campsite at the Pinery Provincial Park for May 2008 online, but of course she had no real idea what I was doing.

    “I like the look of your white computer,” said the woman. “It’s a Mac,” I replied to a blank look.

    I explained to the woman and her silent husband that I was online and had just booked a campsite for May 2008. She was stunned. “I know nothing of computers,” she pointed out. I suggested she come out to the Sarnia Computer Users’ Group and she just smiled. I informed her and her husband that they could come out for free, at least the first three meetings, just to check it out. I further tried my sales pitch that our club has beginners and that they would not feel out of place. They both said nothing, with a look that said they seemed to miss a boat a while back.

    For many, computers are scary machines, very complex machines, and instruments that command a good deal of knowledge. More than ever before the average person needs to belong to a Computer User Group to wrestle that “USER FRIENDLY” BEAST.

    Anyone in the Sarnia area can come to our meetings FREE for 3 meetings:

    Las Vegas Computer Convention

    The Association of Computer User Groups

    I hate winter & I love computers.

    I know, I can hear ya all now; those of you, that is, that are winter lovers. To be honest I never have liked winter. As most Canadians without choice, I have grinned and “beared” it over the past 50+ years. But I do swear this is my last full winter in Canada, God willing and we able. However, for those of you who have read this blog over the past few years will know that there is a plan here…

    In fact, to test the waters, soon we leave for a computer convention in Las Vegas. As Editor and Representative for the Sarnia Computer Users’ Group, I am attending the annual Association of Computer Users Convention in Las Vegas 2008. This will be a fun-filled and very educational week.

    I will do a report on the convention as soon as I return…In the meantime here is a look at the full agenda and the people who make it happen:


    9:45 – 11 am

    How to Increase Membership, Interest and Speakers in your User Group – Sam Wexler

    Fight Spam – Put yourself in the drivers seat with FireTrust’s MailWasher Pro – Birl Smith – Firetrust

    Finding and Retaining Volunteers – Gabe Goldberg

    Tech Soup – Jay Ferron

    11:15 am – 12:30 pm

    Program Chairs When Things Go Wrong – Cheryl Wester and Doris Collins

    Creating a Podcast, Composing, and Remixing Music with Acoustica Mixcraft 4 – Dan GoldStein, Acoustica

    How to Create a (PowerPoint) Presentation in 60 Minutes – Hank Feinberg

    ZoomText Lite: High Resolution Screen Magnification for Everyone – Scott Moore, Ai Squared


    9:45 – 11 am

    Working with Other UGs on a Common Project – Gabe Goldberg

    PC ReNew – Hank Feinberg

    Stump the PowerPoint Expert – Kathy Jacobs

    Virtual Technologies (VMware / Virtual PC) – Dennis Courtney

    11:15 am – 12:30 pm

    How to Create a Win-Win-Win Partnership with Vendors – Linda Moore

    Verbatim: Where’s Your Stuff Storage Going?– Andy Marken

    Cyber Security – Ira Wilsker

    Marketing Your User Group Using Search Engines – Ash Nallawalla

    12:45 – 2:45 pm

    Raxco Lunch – Grande A

    Presentation: How to Increase System Performance by Getting a Better Understanding of Windows NTFS File Systems

    3 – 4:15 pm

    Ai Squared: ZoomText Lite: High Resolution Screen Magnification for Everyone – Scott Moore

    Reallusion: Making Movies Like a Rock Star: Creating Animation and Avatars for Movies, Blogs and Websites – John Martin II

    How to Set Up a Secure Home Wireless Network – Tom Jones

    Trend Micro – David Perry

    4:30 – 5:45 pm

    How to Create a Successful Product Review Program – Linda Moore

    Project X – Jay Ferron

    Moving from Online Contacts to Real-Life Friends – Kathy Jacobs & Betsy Weber

    Identity Theft – Ira Wilsker


    Educational Sessions

    FRIDAY, January 4th

    How to Increase Membership, Interest and Speakers in your User Group

    Presented by Sam Wexler, Valencia Falls CC

    This roundtable will discuss proven techniques that have been successfully used by APCUG member groups to increase membership, interest and speakers in their User Groups. If your User Group has a need for more members and interesting meetings then this roundtable is for you.

    Fight Spam – Put yourself in the drivers seat with FireTrust’s MailWasher Pro

    Presented by Birl Smith, Firetrust

    Birl Smith will be demonstrating the consumer version of FireTrust’s MailWasher Pro, the leader in spam blocker software. MailWasher is a spam blocker which allows preview screening before e-mail arrives in your personal inbox. Multiple accounts can be screened simultaneously. MailWasher will import your e-mail account list and your friends list to get off to a fast start. Create your own custom filters or select from prepared filters. It’s quick, fast and effective. Be sure and check out MailWasher’s Recycle Bin benefits.

    Every APCUG Convention attendee will receive a free copy of MailWasher Pro, version 6.1. This is the only software package that I am aware of where you purchase it once, and you get FREE updates for the life of the software.

    Finding and Retaining Volunteers

    Presented by Gabe Goldberg

    Most user groups around the world struggle to recruit, train, motivate, and retain enough qualified volunteers to fulfill their community service missions and goals. Participants in this roundtable will share ideas, reports on what works and what doesn’t, and tips on preventing volunteer burnout.

    This roundtable will draw heavily on popular sessions conducted by Steve Peyrot at past APCUG conventions. In the APCUG spirit of “user groups helping user groups”, join us to share your user group’s experience with staffing volunteer positions. Together we can avoid having the most

    common name on user group rosters being “Vacant”.

    Tech Soup

    Presented by Jay Ferron

    Description TBA

    Program Chairs: When Things Go Wrong

    Presented by Doris Collins & Cheryl Wester

    Right before the meeting you get a phone call – the speaker is not able to attend – now what? Attend the APCUG roundtable on problems such as this and come away with several ideas on what to do. We will have a few ideas and through discussion we’ll come up with several more. Who knows – we might come up with so many that you don’t even need to worry about finding a speaker!

    This is a must-go-to roundtable. Please encourage at least one officer from your group to attend this valuable workshop. Be prepared with your “horror stories” and what you were able to do to run a successful meeting. We look forward to seeing many of you-remember you don’t have to be a program chair to attend.

    Creating a Podcast, Composing, and Remixing Music with Acoustica Mixcraft 4

    Presented by Dan Goldstein, Acoustica

    Ever wanted to create and publish your own Podcast, record your own songs, or remix your favorite music? In the past, these may have seemed like insurmountable challenges, requiring thousands of dollars in software and equipment, a record deal, and a million dollar recording contract. But Acoustica’s Mixcraft 4 turns your computer into an incredibly powerful, easy to use recording studio, and you will be amazed by its seemingly endless capabilities and low cost. With its huge loop, music bed, and sound effects library, you’ll have everything you need to record and produce your own podcasts. With its multitrack recording features, you can easily record you entire band and create the next platinum album. With its high quality plug-in effects, you can add finishing touches and realistic processing to your music. With its powerful automatic remixing tools, you can create party jams that seamlessly flow from one song to another. And with Mixcraft 4’s new Virtual Instrument support and unbelievable professional instrument collection, you can turn your computer into an entire music production facility with the addition of a simple, inexpensive USB music keyboard. You won’t believe how easy it is to get started — try Mixcraft 4 for free and unleash your creativity!

    How to Create a (PowerPoint) Presentation in 60 Minutes (…and give one)

    Presented by Hank Feinberg

    If you ever have had a speaker cancel or needed to put a presentation together that is timely and interesting you need to attend this session. Learn how to quickly research a topic, build the “Skeleton” of the presentation and put the “ Meat “ or content on the bones in around 60 minutes using Microsoft Word and PowerPoint and the Internet.

    What is a good presentation? Hone your public speaking skills by learning a few tricks and facts about presentations that keep people involved, attention spans and yes even generate audience participation. When you attend you will be given a list of resources and about 20 pages of information on great presentations and public speaking ideas. If you attend you might even win a prize. This presentation is guaranteed to knock you off your seats.

    ZoomText Lite –High Resolution Screen Magnification for Everyone

    Presented by Scott Moore, Ai Squared

    ZoomText Lite is a simple and affordable screen magnifier designed for individuals with early vision loss – you know, those of us who squint at the computer screen and lean in to read the fine print. ZoomText Lite solves this problem by providing a gentle boost of magnification (up to 2 times) so that everything on the screen is a little larger and easier to read. You can also adjust the size and color of the mouse pointer and text cursor so they’re easier to find and follow, and adjust screen colors for reduced glare and greatly improved clarity of text and graphics. Come and see how ZoomText Lite can help you.

    SATURDAY, January 5th

    Working with Other UGs on a Common Project

    Presented by Gabe Goldberg

    There’s strength in numbers; that’s one reason we’ve all joined user groups. Even so, some opportunities require more resources than an individual group has available. Rather than letting these mega-opportunities escape, consider partnering or collaborating with nearby user groups for various reasons: organize a large regional event, conduct a coordinated computer refurbishing/recycling effort, deliver enhanced community support, lure a major vendor to visitor an enlarged audience, whatever works for you and your community’s user groups. Think large or small, tailor efforts to local needs, don’t feel you must imitate something others have done. Cooperating can be a one-time event or can lead to an ongoing relationship among kindred groups.

    PC ReNew – a Win Win Program Presented by Hank Feinberg

    PC ReNew is a computer refurbishing program that helps needy people better empower their lives. Learn how to start a program in your club that gets your membership involved and brings in new members and helps your community. It is designed to raise public awareness of your club and increase the education of the proper disposal of computers by giving them a second life. It is a strong reason to promote who you are and what your group has to offer.

    Hank will tell you everything you need to know to start, train, organize and run your own PC ReNew community program. He will discuss working with the government, legal and insurance issues, building your workshop, storage, work flow and operating procedures. He also will talk about the special needs of the disabled, legal licensing and identity theft. He will share all the build specifications, forms used to track requests and orders, promotional ideas and discuss some of the ways to motivate club members to become more involved.

    If you are a group that refurbishes or want to learn how easy this program is to implement and increase your membership please attend. Your participation is welcomed.

    Stump the PowerPoint Expert

    Presented by Kathy Jacobs, Microsoft PowerPoint MVP

    Your job, should you accept it, is to stump the PowerPoint expert. Kathy Jacobs, resident PowerPoint expert, will take your PowerPoint questions live during this session. She will take any PowerPoint question thrown at her. If she can’t answer your question, she will point you to a resource that can. You will come out of this session with PowerPoint abilities beyond your wildest dreams. Kathy will be taking questions on PowerPoint 2003 and 2007 – come prepared to make her work!

    Virtual Technologies (VMware / Virtual PC) Presented by Dennis K. Courtney, CPCUG

    Virtualization is one of the most exciting technologies today. In this session you will learn how to set up a new virtual PC, how to virtualize an existing PC and how to make them exchange data with the host PC across a virtual network. We will look at both the virtualization software and some tools to make virtualization easier. Products from both Microsoft and VMware will be demonstrated (and they’re all FREE!).

    How to Create a Win-Win-Win Partnership with Vendors Presented by Linda Moore

    What is a Win-Win-Win Partnership? That is where the vendor wins, the user group wins and the members of your user group win. Developing this winning partnership includes not only tips for having exciting programs but also tips for increasing your user group ranking with the various search engines.

    Verbatim: Where’s Your Stuff Storage Going?

    Presented by Andy Marken

    Does it feel like you’re living on your computer…on the internet…in the virtual world? It’s true. We’ve suddenly become a content world — photos, video, music, PPTs, documents, data, you name it. We can’t produce, we can’t grab, we can’t send enough. The challenge is storing that content and having it where we want, when we want, how we want. Andy will outline some of new solutions, real solutions that are going to be available this year as well as what you need to consider/watch out for in making your storage and retrieval decisions. Solutions — like content — are everywhere. Moving in the right direction is becoming more important because now they are more than just bit buckets…they are your storage things!!!

    Cyber Security

    Presented by Ira Wilsker

    We and our computers are under constant attack from a variety of sources. We all have heard of viruses and spyware, but have we heard about the latest threat called a “rootkit”? Rootkits are explicitly designed to avoid detection by most antivirus and antispyware software, and present a growing threat to our cyber safety. We will discuss wireless security and other cyber security issues.

    Marketing Your User Group Using Search Engines

    Presented by Ash Nallawalla

    In the 21st century, computer users get their answers from search engines such as Google, Yahoo! and Live Search. Many of these users do not join traditional user groups because most answers are already available online or can be obtained within minutes, if not hours.

    User groups need to harness the power of search engines to reach potential members and to market themselves online. This session will feature:

    · Websites and Blogs – how to use them effectively without any technical background.

    · Search Engine Optimization – why a small change can make your site invisible or at the top of the search results.

    · How to recruit users who think they can get all their information on the web.

    This session is ideal for user group webmasters and other officers who are concerned with a declining membership.

    Ash trains and consults to large corporations and SMEs in search marketing and will share some of his professional-grade training materials in this session.

    Raxco: How to Increase System Performance by Getting a Better Understanding of Windows NTFS File Systems

    Presented by Greg Hayes

    Raxco’s Slogan for all of their software products is “Everything you do on your computer – Faster™” Greg Hayes will be addressing the Windows File Systems and Performance, which will provide a glimpse into some of the internals of the NTFS file system.

    Raxco has built all of their top tier products based on having an indepth and comprehensive knowledge of Windows Systems Internals. Greg’s presentation will enlighten you on how to get the best performance possible from your Windows computer.

    For over 25 years, Raxco Software has been a leading provider of system administration software and resource management solutions for medium- to large-sized organizations, as well as, home users around the world.

    Reallusion: Making Movies Like a Rock Star: Creating Animation and Avatars for Movies, Blogs and Websites

    Presented by John Martin II

    Explore the inner depths and outer limits of turning your PC into a virtual movie studio so you can add a whole new dimension to your content…one that will make people laugh, cry, cheer for more. Reallusion’s John Martin will show you how to convert a single digital photo or image into a talking character with CrazyTalk and bring it to life with interactive live puppeteering. He will help you explore real-time filmmaking with iClone and demystify the art of animation with revolutionary character design tools. You won’t believe how fun and easy it is to have your own fully featured animation studio on your PC. Instantly you can connect to over 200,000 free 3D models to make your iClone movies more fun, more exciting, more entertaining than you ever thought possible. John will show you how you can do it all…and more with products like CrazyTalk , iClone, iClone 3DXchange, Google SketchUp & Google 3D Warehouse.

    How to Set Up a Secure Home Wireless Network

    Presented by Tom Jones

    What you don’t know about setting up a home wireless network can hurt you.

    This session will cover:

    · The alphabet soup of home wireless networks and the pros and cons of each

    · Terms used in wireless networks

    · Different types of security

    · Major concerns about an unsecure home network

    · The process of properly setting up security on a wireless home network

    Trend Micro

    Presented by David Perry

    Description TBA

    How to Create a Successful Product Review Program

    Presented by Linda Moore

    Come learn from this presentation not only what worked but also what didn’t work in creating a successful product review program. In addition to the presentation, access to documents will provided for

    · Product Review Guidelines

    · Product Reviewer’s Application

    · Sample Product Review

    Project X

    Presented by Jay Ferron

    Description TBA

    Moving from Online Contacts to Real-Life Friends

    Presented by Kathy Jacobs & Betsy Weber

    Come take a tour of social media and learn how these tools can lead to real life friendships. In addition, you will learn how social media can help you stay connected with people you don’t see often. As the social media applications are discussed, we will also cover how you can use these sites to help you PR your user group to a whole new audience.

    The sites we currently plan to cover include:

    · Twitter

    · Blogs

    · FaceBook

    · Podcasts

    · Second Life

    · or

    · Ning

    · Spock

    Identity Theft

    Presented by Ira Wilsker

    Identity theft is one of the leading crimes against individuals. Research indicates that about 10 million adults are victimized by identity theft annually, with a cost to the victims and businesses in excess of $40 billion. Some of the identity theft is committed in cyberspace by a variety of means including phishing, keylogging, and other nefarious means. In this session we will discuss how identity theft occurs, and what we can do to prevent ourselves from being victimized.

    Speaker Biographies


    Doris Collins is the newly-elected President of the Board of Directors of the Computer Club of Oklahoma City (“CCOKC”); prior to holding that office, she was the Vice President/Program Director for two years and has been a member of CCOKC for five years. She has worked with computers since 1989; she was a technical representative for America Online for five years, and has most recently worked for Dell. She is married and has two grown sons and two grandchildren. Although born in San Diego, California, Doris has lived in Oklahoma City since she was six months old. Other than computers, her hobbies are cooking and reading. She loves to teach and has taught several classes and done various other volunteer jobs for CCOKC and for the SeniorNet Users’ Group, which is affiliated with CCOKC.

    The attendance at the monthly General Meetings of CCOKC greatly increased during Doris’ tenure as Program Director, and she was able to give away some great door prizes. She tried to find speakers on many different subjects that were interesting to a broad spectrum of interests. She convinced the Board of Directors to allow her to offer compensation to her speakers, which was a great encouragement to get people to talk about their areas of expertise. That way, she didn’t have to wait on “experts” from software or hardware companies. She also tried to make her articles on the Club’s website intriguing so that people would want to come hear the speaker.

    She will be bringing lists of speakers and door prizes used during her two years on the job. Hopefully, she will inspire other Program Directors, or those who will be in that position in the future, to have great programs.


    Dennis Courtney has 20+ years experience in data processing. He currently works for the Inter-American Development Bank and is in charge of a Data Center of over 400 Windows Servers. An early adopter of virtualization he currently hosts more than 100 Windows/Linux servers as virtual machines. Dennis is also the long time President of the Capital PC User Group (CPCUG) in the Washington, DC area, has hosted a number of talks on virtualization and teaches the virtualization classes for CPCUG.


    President of Total Promotions, Inc a 26 year old motivational and promotional marketing company he has also been a member of the Rockland PC Users Group for over 20 years. In March 2001 he put his marketing and business experience working with many of Americas Fortune 500 companies toward starting Project PC ReNew which is run by RPCUG and its “Big Hearts” members. This awardwinning project is several thousand computers old and has empowered many people in the Lower Hudson Valley to better their lives by being able to move into the digital age while learning necessary computer life skills. He is the director of this organization and is always willing to share his knowledge and experience with other clubs and charities. Hank sits on the board of other organizations like Safe Harbors of the Hudson and HUVPAC.


    CIO for Interactive Security Training, LLC, working on various projects that include training, Windows and Unix security designs, network infrastructures, enterprise designs and installations. Customers include Microsoft, CompUSA, banks, government agencies, health agencies and providers. As a speaker, Jay has presented at APCUG, Comdex, Tech Forum Managers meetings, Future Forum 2000, ISPCON, Corporate Advisory Board, CTEXPO, Web Developer conference, and many computer user groups. Jay travels around the world teaching and training users of computer technologies,

    Jay is currently the President of APCUG, but he has also served as an APCUG Regional Advisor and APCUG Vice President. He has served on the Board of Advisors of The PC Users Group of Connecticut and he is a current board member of the CT– Information Systems Audit and Control Association. In the past Jay has helped start up 5 different user groups around the country, and he was president of three of those groups. Jay believes that you have to give back and volunteer to help others.


    Gabe Goldberg is a technology writer, editor, and consultant. After several years of writing for AARP’s Computers and Technology Web site, he now co-hosts the Compu-KISS Web site (, demystifying today’s diverse technologies so that seniors can learn, enjoy, and benefit from it.

    Gabe supports many national and local user groups. He has served as Director of Meeting Programs and Outreach Director for the Washington, DC-area Capital PC User Group, one of the oldest and largest PC user groups in the United States, in which he also organized Internet-related meetings. He’s given hundreds of presentations to user groups and industry conferences around the world.

    Gabe evangelizes for user groups and the Internet — believing that user groups are an antidote to feeling alone with technical activities, challenges, problems, and triumphs, and that the Internet is the largest virtual user group and an enjoyable way to increase personal/organizational productivity.


    Dan is the Senior Vice President of Development for Acoustica Inc. and is the lead designer and developer of Acoustica’s Mixcraft, Beatcraft, and Spin It Again products. He has built a career as an audio technology expert, working for such audio technology giants as Sonic Foundry and hello Network, and he is proud to have the largest collection of vintage synthesizer keyboards in the state of Nevada.


    Greg Hayes has worked in the IT field since 1986, working first as a programmer and then as a Systems Manager for one of the first subscription based on-line services in the world. Greg remembers what it was like to dial up at 300 baud with thermal teletype systems and when 2400 baud modems were “fast”!

    Greg has worked for Raxco Software since 1996 – starting out as a systems engineer supporting Raxco’s OpenVMS software products, eventually heading up Raxco’s Windows Technical Support department. Today, he is the Technical Solutions Manager – which means he gets to do all sorts of fun things.

    Greg first became a Microsoft MVP in 2003 with an area of expertise in Windows File Systems. Greg is very active and known in the online community – helping to answer questions and solve problems for users of all levels.


    Kathy Jacobs, Microsoft MVP (PowerPoint and OneNote) is a social media junky. Beyond running her own blog, Vitamin CH, she reads and responds to a number of other blogs regularly. She can be found on Twitter (call_kathy), LinkedIn, FaceBook,, and a very wide range of other social media sites. Wabbits are Wonderful, her somewhat regular mini-audio cast through the Nabaztag system on websites of interest. She is the current president of the Phoenix PC Users Group and presents regularly at Arizona User Group meetings. She presented this summer at SWUG as well.


    Tom Jones is an APCUG Board member and a member of Northeast Ohio PC Club (NEOPC). He is currently the APCUG rep for NEOPC, and over the past fifteen years has served NEOPC as President, Vice President, Board Member, SIG Leader, and Newsletter Editor.

    Tom is a licensed Professional Engineer (Electrical) and has obtained certification from BICSI (the Building Industry Consulting Services, International) as an RCDD (Registered Communications Distribution Designer) and has received the Network Transport Specialist (formerly LAN Specialist) certification from them as well. Tom is a Microsoft Certified Professional and has completed the Network+ and Security+ Certifications from CompTIA (the Computer Technology Industry Association). He is a Cisco Certified Academy Instructor (CCAI) and has achieved Cisco certifications for CCDA, CCNA, CCDP, CCNP, and Wireless LAN Support Specialist.

    Tom has a Bachelor’s Degree in Electrical Engineering from Vanderbilt University and a Master’s Degree in Engineering Management from Cleveland State University. He is currently employed by Key Bank as a Network Infrastructure Engineer, and teaches continuing education classes at Cleveland State University and two local community colleges on many weekends.


    President of Marken Communications, Andy has been involved in the strategic marketing and promotion of hardware and software storage technology for more than 20 years. His experience includes work with many of the early hard drive firms in Silicon Valley as well as optical firms involved in CD, MO and DVD technologies. He has been involved in mainframe, PC, CE and game systems promotion with firms including Amdahl, Control Data, Atari, Panasonic, Philips, Verbatim and others. In the application side of the industry he has worked with ancient firms like MicroPro as well as today’s advanced technologies with firms such as FAST, Dazzle, Pinnacle, InterVideo, Ulead and others. More information can be obtained at


    Leading Reallusion’s vision to revolutionize real-time filmmaking tools aimed toward consumers, John C Martin II, Vice President of Product Marketing, continues evolving Reallusion’s award-winning CrazyTalk and iClone Studio. Focused on educating consumers about Reallusion’s accessible filmmaking technology, John’s role as spokesman for Reallusion connects audiences with information and demonstration of Reallusion’s real-time filmmaking software fueling the frenzy of user generated content and empowering the new era of citizen director.

    John specializes in emerging media and social networks including Machinima and virtual worlds such as Second Life. Recognizing the vast potential to use virtual worlds and real-time game and animation engines to unite technology with a new era in storytelling, John speaks to audiences across the globe about the rise of the Web 2.0 new media movement.


    For 4.5 years Linda Moore was the Program Director for the North Texas PC Users Group. She has also served as president, president-elect, vendor discount coordinator and product review coordinator. This presentation will include the techniques, which have produced results for user groups.

    Linda has worked in IT for over 30+ years dating back to the days of main frame computers and keypunch cards. Initially, she worked as a programmer-analyst, which progressed to systems analyst, technical communicator, senior project manager and consultant.


    With nearly 15 years in the assistive technology industry, Scott Moore is a knowledgeable professional and seasoned presenter. As the marketing director for Ai Squared – a world leader in computer access products for the visually impaired – Scott plays a key role in the design, development and introduction of new products that allow individuals to use computers with greater ease, comfort and success.


    Ash Nallawalla, CEO of, trains and consults to small and large corporations in search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click (PPC) advertising. He travels internationally to train clients and to speak at marketing conferences. He is acknowledged as a search marketing expert in Australia, where he lives with his wife and two teenagers in Melbourne.

    Originally trained as an accountant, Ash has spent his career as a commissioned officer in the Royal Australian Air Force and, later, the RAAF Strategic Reserve; in senior marketing roles at companies such as Unisys, Hayes Microcomputer Products, Selectica, Macromedia/Adobe, Melbourne IT and Sensis, the Australian search engine.


    David Perry is the Global Director of Education for Trend Micro. He is a leading authority on computer virus prevention with more than 25 years in the technical support and education field. He has appeared at numerous industry trade shows, been featured on hundreds of television and radio broadcasts and in print media interviews, and is well recognized in the antivirus industry. He is one of the most quoted experts in the field of computer viruses, malware and security education. He has been a top rated industry speaker at events like RSA, EICAR, AVAR and has even spoken in the White House. Perry was also on hand in Washington D.C. at the end of 1999 during the Y2K vigilance, providing his services as a computer virus expert for the President’s Task Force on Y2K Issues.


    Dwight Silverman is a veteran journalist who has written about personal computers since the mid-1980s. He is currently the computing columnist and technology blogger at the Houston Chronicle, as well as the co-host of “Technology Bytes”, a weekly PC-help call-in radio show on KPFT-FM. You can read his blog and columns at Dwight writes extensively about all aspects of computing including PC and Mac computers, Linux and all the latest computing gadgets.

    Dwight is the Interactive Journalism Editor, technology columnist and blogger,, for the Houston Chronicle. PC World selected Dwight’s Techblog as one of the top 100 technical blogs in the world. According to Jay Rosen, a journalism professor at New York University, the Houston Chronicle is the leading implementer of leading-edge internet technology for main stream media outlets. Dwight has also written freelance articles for various publications including PC Computing and Rolling Stone.

    Dwight and Larry Magid co-wrote the book Microsoft Windows Vista, which was published in May 2007. Currently, Dwight is working on a new book, Running Windows on your Mac, which is scheduled to be published in February 2008.


    Birl Smith has worked as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) for 19 years. In his CPA work, he has specialized in working with banks, governmental entities and non-profit organizations. Birl’s professional work has always involved computers and he purchased his first personal computer in 1981. Since then he has bought many desktops and laptops. Birl has worked with DOS, Windows and Linux operating systems and with Windows SharePoint Services. He has also built computers, both desktops and servers.

    Birl joined the North Texas PC Users Group (NTPCUG) in 1990, where he served on the board for 7 years as secretary, president and president-elect. He has also served as the SIG leader for NTPCUG’s Wireless SIG, PDA – Handheld Technology SIG and the Communications SIG.


    Betsy Weber joined TechSmith in 2000 and is the company’s Chief Evangelist. With nearly a decade of experience in corporate training and product management, Betsy has worked on both the development and customer service side of delivering business applications. Betsy leads the company’s highly-acclaimed evangelism program where she collaborates with customers, industry experts and technologists from all over the world. Betsy is also the voice behind The Visual Lounge blog where she shares stories about how customers are using TechSmith’s suite of software products in practical, unique, and innovative ways.


    Cheryl Wester is a high school teacher in Corona, California. She is the Vice President of the Temecula Valley Computer User Group, their APCUG representative and program chair. Cheryl is currently a member of three different groups-both mobile and PC. She works part time for Applian Technologies in tech support. She has been involved with user groups since 2001. Cheryl has done various presentations at numerous conferences through the years and is currently an Advisor for APCUG.


    Sam Wexler became involved with computers a half century ago this year when he programmed the IBM 650 at Watson Lab. He retired from IBM in 1993 after 30 years; half as a lab “techie” and the other half in headquarters. Before there were user groups like the APCUG, there was GUIDE which is an association of IBM mainframe users and during some of his time at IBM Sam was a GUIDE rep. He is a charter member of the IEEE and was also a member of the two groups who merged to form the IEEE.

    He has been an entrepreneur since 1981 creating, running and selling businesses at several locations on the US East Coast. In 1993 he co-founded the largest entrepreneur group in the Northeast (FINE) currently with 1,000+ members and he hosts/runs their website. Sam believes the best way to increase membership, interest and speakers in your User Group is to run it like an entrepreneur and he has an excellent track record to prove it works. He gives presentations on this subject to entrepreneur and computer user groups.

    Sam has been associated with Computer User Groups for more than 25 years. He has been President of the Valencia Falls Computer Club in Delray Beach, FL since it was created in 2002, was elected Secretary of the FACUG at their 2005 Spring Conference and elected APCUG Region 1 Advisor in March, 2007.

    He divides his time between Poughkeepsie, NY and Delray Beach, FL. Sam has a Bachelors and Masters in Electrical Engineering and a MBA.


    Ira Wilsker is an Instructor IV and Program Director of the Management Development program at the Lamar Institute of Technology in Beaumont, Texas, where he has been on the faculty for nearly 31 years. Ira also teaches cyber security and cyber terrorism for the Texas Center for Homeland Security. He has been the recipient of numerous grants in computer security, computer forensics, and community oriented policing. Ira is also a police officer with over 14 years of experience, mostly in the investigation and prosecution of computer crimes. Ira has hosted the popular “My Computer Show” on KLVI for the past 12 years, and for the past seven years has written the weekly personal technology column in the Examiner newspaper.

    Goodbye Ma Bell

    Joanne and I now use Skype, an online computer phone connection.

    We cut the Ma Bell Chord…And never looked back – $50+ bucks a month richer too.

    We now use Skype for calls to phones from our computers. Of course, we both have cell phones therefore 911 is not an issue. Having a cell phone as my home phone only makes sense…It is always with you and you are never away from a call. When we travel in the States we can easily use our laptop with the Skype phone connection to call my “Home Phone” to check the phone messages. We all know how expensive it is using a Canadian cell phone in the USA…Ouch!

    As for booking ahead in “motels” Skype is a great asset, however Joanne and I do not use motels. We have a travel trailer and are members of several camp groups in the USA, including KOA Campgrounds (free WiFi) whereby booking is very easy online and done so well in advance of our trips – months ahead. Provincial parks are booked 6 months to the day ahead online.

    When we are traveling it is nice, especially while in the USA to use Skype phones to call and make reservations at restaurants that may be hundreds and several days away…Just go to their website, when you have a Skype phone setup on your laptop, all phone numbers are embossed and all you do is click on the phone number you would like to call. Works great. We did it for live theatre shows in Tennessee and West Virginia this past October while enroute. Got good seats too. We used this site in Tennessee.

    I also like Skype at home to call some 1-800/866 etc. numbers that cannot be made from Ontario. With Skype you can make these calls. Joanne calls stores in Port Huron to check prices and availability of products before we go.

    Agreed, Ma Bell will still keep the masses paying out those monthly phone bills, however if one does have a cell phone (many couples have 1 cell phone each these days) and with the advent of computer phone calling, why would anyone still need a HOME PHONE?

    I have asked many people, you can try this too, (ones with cell phones) “If you had to make a choice, which phone would you give up, your Ma Bell home phone, or your cell phone.” After some thought all that I have asked said they could not do without their cell phones…

    In fact, here is a comment made in by a person who has recently made the same move in dumping their land line: “I recently cancelled our home phone because I found out that our cable company (which also provides the phone line we used to have) offers a value tier for Internet access that is 256k (5 to 10 times faster than dial up using the phone line). We use our cellphones for phone calls. Since US Cellular offers free incoming calls, as well as free nights and weekends, that saves us a lot of money. And our cellphones are always with us. I feel much safer knowing I can call for roadside assistance…” from Phones & Utilities.

    Joanne and I have cell phones packages (ironically with Bell Mobility) that offer free calling between 6 pm and 8 am weekdays and all weekend calling free. We also have 300 daytime minutes as well. I am not a phone gabber so I do not use up much time, neither is my wife, unless my daughter has some juicy gossip to relate. lol

    In fact, many people today, when asked how to contact them, give out their cell phones before the home phone…They say they rarely use the home phone. In fact, I volunteer at the Imperial Theatre in the Box Office and many patrons, when giving their phone number, want to give their cell phone stating that it is much easier to contact them with that number versus their home phone.

    It is just a matter of time, like in the ole days of us having those bulky bag phones many thought silly.

    Ma Bell is scared…Just try to disconnect your telephone. My daughter, like many many many others have now switched to VOIP (voice over internet phones) via Cogeco Cable and have dumped Ma Bell. My daughter gets inundated with calls from Ma Bell reps begging her, offering her deals, to “please come back to Ma Bell”.

    Amazing what a bit of competition does…Just wait until more and more companies like Skype Phone comes on board…Ma Bell, with its antiquated system (attached to a chord) is on its way to la la land, unless they too get on the band wagon, offering much better service for much much much lower costs.

    I cannot wait to see the future of telephoning…