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GEEK CRUISE January 2012

geeks at sea

GEEKS at SEA

GEEKS @ SEA can you imagine?

computer convention at sea

The Florida Association of Computer User Groups (FACUG) is presenting its Third Technology Conference@Sea January 23, 2012 to Friday, January 27, 2012. APCUG plans to team up with FACUG and hold the 2012 Annual Meeting on the cruise.

There is no better vacation bargain than a cruise and no better cruise bargain than this one. Add to it a full-fledged Computer and Technology Conference on the high seas, add an Association of Personal Computer User Groups component (APCUG) and it becomes an outstanding event not to be missed. Do you want to be part of FACUG’s 3rd annual Conference@Sea on what promises to be another outstanding Sail-a-bration.

The cost of the 5 day/4 nights (interior cabin) is $249/person + tips including the FACUG $45 early-bird incentive refund; ocean-view is $299/person + tips. The Technology Conference Bahamas Cruise will be on the Norwegian Sky: Sailing on Monday, January 23, 2012 to Friday, January 27, 2012. FACUG is doing the work and dealing directly with Norwegian Cruise Line, since no travel agent allows us to offer this outstanding rate and some amenities.

Sailing from the Port of Miami, calling on the Grand Bahamas Island, Nassau and Great Stirrup Cay then returning to the Port of Miami. The $249 rate includes fare, port charges and taxes minus $45 early-bird refund. This offer is valid only for conference attendees until May 15 or until we run out of cabins allocated to us; whichever occurs first. The Technology Conference@Sea registration fee is $75 ($100 for non-members). The first person in the cabin must be a member of an FACUG or APCUG club and $25 for the second person, who need not be a club member. Included in the conference fee are many extra perks, including a Welcome Bag full of goodies, two Meet & Greet cocktail parties which were a big hit last year and a few additional surprises.

There will be buses from several locations around Palm Beach County to the Port of Miami and back for about $15/person each way. We will look into buses from other points in Florida if there is sufficient demand.

Last year, we had 175 occupied cabins with 350 people. After the cruise, a survey was taken and 3/4 of the responders, including spouses, rated the event an “A”. It was called a great balance between conference time and party time. Ask your friends who were there.

If you are interested in sailing with us at the above early-bird rates, you first need to go to the FACUG website (www.facug.org) to register for the conference. You will then be directed to NCL directly, using the access information on the website to book your cabin. Remember, May 15 is the deadline whereby a $100/person deposit, will hold your cabin. It is refundable until 70 days prior to sailing. The balance is due 90 days prior to sailing. So get on board now and click this link www.facug.org to start this wonderful journey.

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New Google Search Series

This is a change from my normal blog. This time the article(s) and videos are in the LambtonShield online newspaper.

I am doing a 3 part series on the new Google Search. This is also part of a live presentation I am doing for the Sarnia Computer Users’ Group in Sarnia, Ontario.

CHECK OUT THE VIDEO AND ARTICLE: CLICK HEREgoogle search

 

Facebook: Are You and Your Children Safe?

Facebook: Are You and Your Children Safe?

facebook logo

Set Your Security

By Gregory West

Are you protecting yourself on Facebook? Are your children protected on Facebook? Not sure? Please read on…

A 2010 Consumer Report shows “23 percent of Facebook users don’t even know about the site’s privacy controls or just don’t bother to use them.” (full report: http://bit.ly/2010_report) and it doesn’t stop there. With over a half billion users, one can only imagine how many people do not use their security settings properly or even at all.

I became aware of this recently when I ran a free “Facebook for Beginners” seminar at Grace United Church in Sarnia, Ontario. Most people in attendance were using Facebook, yet none really knew how to protect themselves with Facebook security settings. In fact, many were surprised to see how easy it is to protect yourself in Facebook.

The Consumer Report goes on to point out the seriousness of this as they found “The survey, which seemed to focus primarily on Facebook, also discovered that 7 percent of people had posted their street address on their profile, while 3 percent had revealed times when they’d be away from home.”

It gets even more frightening when the report shows that “Among Facebook users with children, 26 percent had posted photos of their kids on the site and 13 percent had included the names of their kids in the captions, both of which Consumer Reports believes could expose the children to potential online predators.”

Have I scared you yet? I hope so.

Facebook is becoming extremely secure and a very important utility in today’s society. I personally believe this is the platform where most people in a community will gather…Let me rephrase that: Most people, who are online, now are involved in a Facebook community in one way or another. Facebook is rapidly becoming part of the mainstream media as well. So hang in there and don’t rush to delete your Facebook account just yet.

Here are a few items you can check on Facebook to tighten up your security as you so choose. Please go over the following to check and set your privacy controls to your liking.

  1. Go to your Facebook profile page (just open Facebook) and click on “Account” located at the top right of the webpage.
  2. Click “Privacy Settings”
  3. Now you will be on the page that says: “Choose Your Privacy Settings”. Now look for where it says: “Control basic information your friends will use to find you on Facebook. View Settings” and click on the “View Settings”.

You will now see a list of topics where your security settings can be changed. The topic list includes: Search for you on Facebook, Send you friend requests, Send you messages, See your friend list, See your education and work, See your current city and hometown, and See your likes, activities and other connections.

Those settings can be adjusted so that you can allow one of the following:

Everyone – Friends of Friends – Friends Only and there are some that allow some customization.

If you are at all concerned about who sees what, about you and especially your children, I highly suggest you go each one of these settings and adjust accordingly. Make sure you do this with your children so they realize the importance of privacy settings.

Of course, these privacy settings are not for everyone, and many people such as myself leave them open so that it expands my community and communication. The decision is yours do decide. Don’t listen to others, go and check out YOUR SECURITY SETTINGS today.

If you want further Facebook security information go to this website:
www.facebook.com/privacy/explanation.php#basicinfo and www.facebook.com/policy.php

The public is welcomed to attend another Free seminar on Facebook Security on May 9th, 10:00 a.m. at Grace United Church. Please bring a food item for the Food Bank.

Be safe out there!

Gregory can be reached at: gregory@alternatecloud.com
For more tips visit his Blog: https://gregorywest.wordpress.com
Free Computer Help Seminars: Grace United Church – 519-542-1203

Your Parents Now Have a Laptop? Good Luck!

Santa Brought Your Parents

A Laptop! Oh No?

By Gregory West

Don’t read any further, unless you need to “Teach your parents well…”

I have always enjoyed seeing people get computers for the first time. Although it is hard to detect the look in their eyes: horror or excitement.

My first computer was in 1972, it was the size of a house, well not really, but close. It was a beast of a machine, an IBM 360 located in the data centre where I worked as a keypunch programmer. My first home computer was in 1984, a Mackintosh desktop, much smaller but not easier to use. It had no help buttons as it came with an extra box of instructional manuals. I couldn’t call others for help because hardly anyone had a home computer back then. Some people still experience huge learning curve with their first computer.

Your parents and/or grandparents may get their first computer from Santa this year…look out!  Your life will never be the same. Guess what they probably know where you live. They know your home and cell phone number. They even have your work phone number. They may have mastered the art of texting. You cannot escape from the proverbial: “How do I do this?”

I know people who literally hide. They screen calls. They turn out lights and read from the reflection of their computer screens or light candles fearing a drive-by from parents. All in an effort to evade the constant cry for tech help from relatives who want to learn but cannot figure it out alone.

Sure, we must admit it is fun at first. Seeing them slowly getting the gist of how to send and receive an email. The look in their eyes when they perform their very first Google search. This is all well and good, and even sort of healthy. But when you leave them home alone, that is when it starts. The constant queries begin like this:

Parent: “HELP me.”

You: “What did you do?”

Parent: “Nothing, I didn’t touch a thing. The computer won’t do anything.”

You: “Did you reboot the computer?”

Parent: “Do what?”

You: “Restart your system.”

Parent: “Do I unplug everything?”

You: “Never mind, I’ll be right over, AGAIN.”

It won’t stop here with one visit. Now they really start seeking you out…STOP! Wait a minute. This is our parents we are talking about. The ones who asked Santa for that computer, the same one we talked them into asking Santa. Now it is our moral duty to stand up and be counted, to come to their rescue. We are like super sons and daughters. But how can we accomplish this almost impossible task and keep our sanity?

Never fear, Google is here. Google realized this is a massive problem for many siblings and most just don’t have the time to help and designed free training videos.

Introducing: “Send your parents A TECH SUPPORT care package.” from Google. No, this is not a scam, it for real. As of this writing 13,999 parents have received this care package. Ok, I can hear the questions: ”What is it”?

Google’s TECH SUPPORT is your “saving grace”. And to be honest, you might just learn some tips and tricks yourself from these videos. Here’s how it works:

There are five categories: BASICS – WWW – COMMUNICATION – MEDIA – FINDING INFORMATION. Within each category you find real help video topics in the BASIC as Copy & Paste, Screensavers, Backgrounds, Make Text Larger or Smaller. Others such as in the WWW, as Upgrade Your Browser, Make Strong Passwords, Make a Bookmark etc. All-in-all there are 37 training videos produced by Google to assist in learning basic computer to digital photos, sound, and much more. Each video is very easy to follow along and learn at one’s own speed. One I really like is the “How to Unsubscribe to a Newsletter” sent by email subscription. It is easy. You send your parents the training video that matches their problem or program they want to learn.

I call this new GOOGLE TECH SUPPORT a “Post Christmas” must have for everyone. I will be within these 37 videos even you will find something you didn’t know or have forgotten how. Best of all, it is free with no scams attached.

For peace of mind go here to check out Google’s new TECH SUPPORT video training: http://www.teachparentstech.org

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Gregory West is a Mac Instructor for Lambton College.
He is also Webmaster at Central United Church, the home of Sarnia’s new
Community Computer Training Centre at: http://goo.gl/76H15.
This is free and open to the public as a community service. Learn at your own speed.

Gregory can be reached at: prospector16@gmail.com
For more tips visit his Blog: https://gregorywest.wordpress.com