“Facebook Changes – Why”

change

“Facebook Changes – Why”
by Gregory West

Cyberspace is alit with flareups from all of us using Facebook this past while. People are screaming that they are quitting Facebook and going to Google Plus (many are doing just that) while others have already switched to other social media spots such as Twitter and LinkedIn. I personally believe, even though the Internet is amass with complaints about Facebook’s new changes, people will stay with Facebook. They will click their way into learning the new Facebook and any other changes they may throw at us. Why?

The adage of “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” doesn’t hold water anymore, at least not in the online world where many of us now reside much of the time.  Like it or not, we necessitate change online. We demand things work faster, easier and are activated from anywhere, anytime, and by anyone. Plus, these online companies are no different than “brick and mortar” businesses: they all need to make money to survive. Facebook is moving into a new arena where they can make even more money. “The company is expected to bring in $3.8 billion in worldwide advertising revenue this year and $5.8 billion in 2012, according to research firm eMarketer.” (Washington Post)

While discussing Facebook, people admit that it is the first website they check when going on the Internet in the morning, even before any news sites or email programs – Facebook is many people’s first choice for keeping up; keeping connected is very important to many of the 800 million users who now use Facebook. The Post says that, “Facebook is a technology company that wants to keep improving its products so that people keep using it and it doesn’t grow stale.”

I remember reading a book in college by Alvin Toffler: “Future Shock” wherein Toffler described how people would not be able to accept the rate of change. Toffler wrote, “too much change in too short a period of time”. I believed this would happen, but it never did. The book was written before the Internet was born, although ironically, Toffler “popularized the phrase information overload” (wikipedia).

We are a connected society now. One just has to look to the streets, to the malls, along sidewalks and in grocery store lineups. What is it you see? People staring at their smart phones, connected in a “brave new world”. These are the people who are learning to tolerate and navigate through the rough seas of change, be it a computer, a tablet or a smart phone. It is so much part of our lives today that these devices, once called “toys” are now a major necessity. We are, and we will, continue to live with change – I believe deep down we must thrive on change, otherwise Alvin Toffler would have been correct back in 1970.

If you have a computer problem or a great tip, please pass it along to Greg at First Monday and he will post it in the next issue.

Gregory can be reached at: gregory@alternatecloud.com
SENIORS NOW GET FREE HELP on this website: alternatecloud.com
Free Basic Computer Help for Seniors: Grace United Church – 519-542-1203

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CLICK HERE WATCH THE HOW TO VIDEOS

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Royal Wedding via Facebook and Twitter – Is Social Media Here to Stay?

Royal Wedding via Facebook and Twitter – Is Social Media Here to Stay?

By Gregory West

Note: Originally published in Lambton Shield Newspaper

Yes, without a doubt, the Royal wedding is history in the making. But so is something else here. With all the online interaction over the wedding, one must ask if we really need TV networks to cover such events as this? Right now maybe…But will we down the road?

Not too long ago, major TV networks snubbed any Social Media applications. After seeing that this is what “WE” the public want, and that this is how “WE” communicate, these social “prehistoric” media types broke down, finally “seeing the light”. The major media outlets have jumped with both feet landing in the real world of cyberspace via Social Media applications.

For real time evidence, just look at how TV executives joined the Social Media band wagon for the Royal wedding. They widely encouraged viewers to interact with their television broadcasts via Facebook and Twitter.

The New York Times reported that “ABC News is focusing much of its social media efforts on Twitter for both storytelling and engagement.”

NBC allowed for people to share their thoughts and comments with well over 7,000 people “who have already signed up for the “Event” on the Today Show’s Facebook page.” You could also join more than 32,000 people who followed NBC’s @royalwedding Twitter account  live as the wedding progressed.

According to USA Today, television networks are “using social media to engage readers and share minute-by-minute news, giving wedding followers countless social-media-drenched outlets to choose from, including the BBC’s royal wedding Facebook page, CNN’s Twitter posts from celebrities, the Today show’s Facebook page and NBC’s Twitter account @royalwedding.”

In reality, many people will still turn the TV sets on at home. However, statistics are showing more and more people are turning on their iPads, smart mobile phones, laptops and even old desktops to connect to the Internet for many live events. This will only keep growing as the trends catch on.

The print media, including the Toronto Star, fails to see the importance and popularity of Social Media.Gigaom.com, a very popular blog, reports that it is in many cases “fear” that sets some media back. They point out there are more missing the social boat: “”The Star is not the only media outlet making these kinds of errors — while they are happy to use social media to push their content, most major newspapers have failed to take advantage of these tools when it comes to building relationships with their readers.”

royal wedding couple

Really, if one thought about this, and I am sure wheels are turning in the TV network boardrooms, that the need for reporters, journalists, and radio and TV announcers may decrease. You can bet this is being discussed in colleges and universities around the globe. Could Social Media replace how we get the news? I think it just might…In fact, has it not begun already?

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

Review: by Gregory West
prospector16@gmail.com
Member of Sarnia Computer Users’ Group
Member of Port Huron, MI Computer Group
Blog: gregorywest.wordpress.com

Power Friending
“Demystifying Social Media to Grow Your Business”

By Amber Mac (Amber MacArthur)

Published by Penguin Group (USA) Inc. 2010
978-1-59184-328-3
Pages: 245
USA: $24.95 / CDA: $31.00
http://www.ambermac.com

I bought this book as an aid in my research into the world of social media, knowing that Amber MacArthur would have it all explained in plain English, covering all the bases. I was right, she did, and then some. 

As an avid listener to Amber Mac and Leo Laporte via the Twit.tv network, with the show: Net at Night, I learned how deep Amber’s involvement is with technology and more so, social media. Her insights into this subject are extensive and I knew this book would reveal a guide that would set me on my exploration of social media.

Anyone, whether you own a business, operate a nonprofit group, or simply want to promote you own media for fun, this book is a guide, and Amber sets out to help you “build up your social media strategy, one Internet friend at a time”.

The book consists of nine enlightening chapters starting with a “brief” history on the evolving social media which helps put thing into perspective and sets the groundwork for this book. Amber continues on in this journey telling how real people and companies struggle though mistakes, lies, and failures as well as many success stories. From the failures we quickly learn what not to do in creating our own social media awareness. The success stories are many and they help to give us not only ideas but courage to continue through the social media wilderness learning a little bit more with each step Amber takes us.

Amber demonstrates three rules at the onset: “A IS FOR AUTHENTICITY” – “B IS FOR BRAVERY” – C IS FOR CONSISTENCY”. Each rule is explained with examples of how people / companies both failed and prospered by either following or disregarding these rules.

In chapter four: “CARPENTRY AT ITS BEST”, we are given the necessary social media tools to work with such as blogs, videos, wikis and more. Each tool is explained how and why it works and what it can do for you. Following each tool is a real life example how it works for others. I found this chapter most interesting and helpful. Chapter five is one of my favourites in which Amber discusses “The Strategy”. Time management, spreading your word, responding and bringing the message home are a few topics covered. Here Amber shares her “Ten Best Practices…”A must read.

Amber points out success stories and failures too, all with examples so we don’t make the same errors. One thing I really am a glad about is the Notes in the back of the book. Here are Amber’s gems that refer to a topic on a certain page in the book with a website source that will take you deeper into the world of social media marketing.

I must give this book is easily a ten plus in not only content and information but Amber’s personal stories that keeps the material moving.

Review: Journalismnext – A Practical Guide to Digital Reporting and Publishing

Journalismnext - A Practical Guide to Digital Reporting and Publishing

 

Review: by Gregory West
prospector16@gmail.com

Member of Sarnia Computer Users’ Group
BLOG


Journalism Next: A Practical Guide to Digital Reporting and Publishing

by Mark Briggs

Published by CQ Press
ISBN-978-1-604-560-6
Pages: 359
USA: $34.99 / CDA: $45.99
journalism20.com/blog/

I was a journalism student in the early 1970’s. I have been working with computers since 1972. I have been on the Internet since the very early 1990’s. I currently teach computers courses at a local college. I write technology columns for magazines, and I review technology and software books for O’Reilly Publishing. I have been blogging since 2005. However, I must say, that this is the most precise book on how to be in tune with today’s journalist culture I have ever come across. After reading this book you will not wonder why this book is so widely used in colleges throughout North America.

Briggs states at the onset that “Journalism is about people, not technology.” In this book you will learn the inner secrets of how to connect with your readers. You will see how this connection spreads to more and then more readers. Of course you will learn the why and the how that technology is involved so deeply in today’s journalist’s work. You will learn how technology and the Internet are utilized in a career in Journalism.

Briggs covers all the bases, from the importance of advanced and micro blogging, making audio reporting visual, to the techie equipment you will need for the job. In this book he teaches how to “build an audience”; how to maintain that audience. Briggs demonstrates details of why setting up a Facebook or Twitter account is a must.

The book is filled with references and articles by several top bloggers and online editors. Many innovative companies open yet other doors to peek in and learn more interesting tips and tricks. The contents of this book cover every aspect of journalism today, information that would take years of experience and study to learn otherwise.

If you are at all interested in writing or becoming a journalist, especially writing for an online publication, or even if you are a seasoned journalist and need to get up to speed with what is out there today, this book is a necessity. Don’t forget to purchase a yellow highlighter for this read due to the many topic points where you will find yourself saying, “I didn’t know that”.

 

Lambton County’s NEW Online Newspaper

What can I say? “It is about time. Way to go Lambton Shield


Let’s face it, now is the time to lose the ink and newsprint version and get with the times. Many magazines and newspapers are seriously looking at this concept, including the New York Times says it is going “out of print sometime” and you can bet so will the Toronto Star and the Globe and Mail.

The new LAMBTON SHIELD paper is well laid out and works well with live links to reference sites, including video. It advances Social Media Marketing the way it is supposed to with adding clickable buttons for readers to share an article to Facebook and Twitter. There is also an RSS feed link. Comments online by readers sometimes make for better reading than the original article and this paper has cashed in on this new concept. All that is needed here are more active readers, but they will come and soon.

The Lambton Shield team the best media people around. J.D. Booth as Publisher/Editor, whom I have followed for many years, is well known to people in the area.

Barry Wright is an Editor/Writer and joins the team with many years of experience, both as a journalist and a radio newsroom person. Barry also has a live show on TVCogeco every Wednesday night which is a top rate interview show.

Bob McCarthy the team is a former History teacher, writer, and now a contributing editor on this new team. I have listened to Bob in seminars and he will keep us coming back for more of his extensive knowledge of our past with his amazing tales. In case you haven’t noticed,

Sarnia is quickly becoming a “centre for the arts” and in that vibe, joining this team comes Hazel Rogers. Hazel is the lead art educator at Lawrence House for the Arts, and she is editor of Arts/Entertainment/Culture on this team. Expect to be on the cutting edge of current information about what is going on in Lambton County with the arts, entertainment, and culture scene.

Expect and get the best in the current news and happenings of Sarnia Lambton. Bookmark this site NOW by clicking HERE.

“The technician set up my laptop, now what do I do?”

NOTE: THIS ARTICLE CAN BE REPRODUCED

BY GIVING ACKNOWLEDGMENT TO THE AUTHOR.

“The technician set up my laptop, now what do I do?”

By Gregory Westdionsaur and kid in costume

Ah, the wonderment of getting a new computer. No more having to watch others show off their computer skills as they demonstrate their new digital slide show, or listen about how they talk with relatives across three oceans for hours at no cost. With your new computer you are ready to join the online communities around the globe.

Three gigabytes of random access memory, five hundred gigs of hard drive, a one year subscription to some antivirus / malware protection software utility and you are “good to go,” says the clerk in the computer store.

“But does it come with a manual,” you ask?

“The manual is in the OS software,” the clerk says as he gets you to sign his copy of the credit card slip. “Have a nice day,” he hollers as you lug computer through the doors towards home.

“Ya right,” you mutter under your breath.

So many choices, too many decisions, but at least you finally got it home. Once you open the lid and go to turn on the new computer you realize that you have no idea what you are doing. In fact, you don’t know a gigabyte from a Tyrannosaurus Rex, and you couldn’t care less. All you want is to on the Internet and check your email, surf some websites and maybe learn how to get those 265 photos from your digital camera.

“So now what,” you say aloud to yourself? “Where do I begin, you ask your dog in desperation as she gives you that puzzled look?

There is an easy way to learn the various computer functions you need to catch up with your computer geek of a neighbour. First, you can take a formal course at your local college. These courses usually range from beginner to advanced. You can also take online courses (courses offered over the Internet), but this takes a special skill, as many people are not used to working alone and need to get out into a classroom setup with real humans. You can also join a local computer group. Here you will find people with similar interests who provide various seminars on tech-related issues.

I have been on a computer since 1972 where an IBM System/360 Operating System was the popular system in data processing centres. Over the years I have received computer training from all methods mentioned about. In fact, today I am taking two computer courses from books that came with DVD training programs.

However, if you simply need to know one certain function on the computer, learn a software program, or how to troubleshoot a problem in your computer, I suggest Google’s YouTube videos. Computer instructors, tech companies, libraries, schools and many knowledgable individuals upload training videos to YouTube. Here you not only get free training, but targeted training. For instance, if you need to know how to install a USB flash drive in Windows 7, you simply go to youtube.com on the Internet and there will be many videos to help you through this process.

One tip for searching within YouTube for help, try using the term: “tutorials” with your search. Sometimes this will give you a full training course on the particular subject you are interested in learning. I use YouTube all the time when I need help with a particular computer program. But it doesn’t stop there either. I wanted to learn how to winterize my RV and save the hundred dollar fee, so I searched for videos on YouTube and have winterized my own trailer ever since for only the cost of antifreeze.

You can get free training from the best of both worlds. If you are new to the computer, YouTube videos will help you get an idea what you are up against, but what if you still need the help of a human. Central United Church operates a free computer drop-in training centre where you can get free help on any computer-related issue. Since September 2010 over two-hundred people have found this training centre an excellent way to learn at one’s own speed. The only cost is a food item to donate to the Food Bank. For more info: go to the website ( http://central-united-church.org/training ) or phone: 519 344-4561.

[bi-line]

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(at)gmail.com

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

-30-

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

 

What is OAuth?

New authorization rules for applications

SECURED MORE NOW

Starting August 31, all applications will be required to use “OAuth” to access your Twitter account.

What’s OAuth?

  • OAuth is a technology that enables applications to access Twitter on your behalf with your approval without asking you directly for your password.
  • Desktop and mobile applications may still ask for your password once, but after that request, they are required to use OAuth in order to access your timeline or allow you to tweet.

What does this mean for me?

  • Applications are no longer allowed to store your password.
  • If you change your password, the applications will continue to work.
  • Some applications you have been using may require you to reauthorize them or may stop functioning at the time of this change.
  • All applications you have authorized will be listed at http://twitter.com/settings/connections.
  • You can revoke access to any application at any time from the list.

Snooze You Looze

Google domain names

Snooze or Looze out on your Google Domain Name



Only $10

For instance, I managed to scoop up: gregorywest.org for my personal domain name.

WHY YOU MAY ASK?

Google is soon to announce its FREE Operating System that I believe will completely change the way we do things on a computer and online. No more high costs of Microsoft Windows 7 or Office programs…Google offers it free and then some.

HOW TO GET YOUR PERSONAL DOMAIN?

CLICK HERE TO GET YOUR NEW BEGINNING WITH GOOGLE

FACEBOOK Ghost Busters…And More PC Tips

Editor’s Note: This article will be published in First Monday Magazine August 2010 edition.
ghostFACEBOOK GHOST-BUSTERS – & Computer Tips

By Gregory West

Recently in the news, there are stories of Facebook users having ghosts appear on their computer screens, reminding them of days-gone-by. This is good for some, as it brings happy memories, however many people find it “kinda creepy seeing dead people wishing them ‘Happy Birthday’, etc.  “It’s a very sensitive topic,” said Meredith Chin, a (Facebook) company spokeswoman, “and, of course, seeing deceased friends pop up can be painful” (New York Times).
As Facebook quickly reaches a near one-half billion members, as people die their Facebook site lives on, sometimes sending messages to relatives. That in itself is comforting to some people but not others. Some people may find it creepy. “People over 65 are adopting Facebook at a faster pace than any other age group, with 6.5 million signing up in May alone…so the problem is only going to get worse” (Toronto Star). So, what’s the real issue?
If you want to shut this off you will have a very difficult time finding “how to”. Here is how to make the necessary changes. Go to this Facebook site:
(http://bit.ly/9jZp7m-facebook) and fill out the form. The preamble for the form states:
“Report a deceased person’s profile
IMPORTANT: This form is solely for the reporting of a deceased person to memorialize or remove the person’s account. Memorializing the account removes certain sensitive information and sets privacy so that only confirmed friends can see the Profile or locate it in search. The Wall remains, so that friends and family can leave posts in remembrance. Please note that unrelated inquiries through this form may not receive a response.”
DID YOU KNOW?
Sarnia has live eyes:
The 402 Highway in our area now has webcams so you can view the road and traffic conditions live…Not all are working but it is worth a peek:
How to Email those large vacation photo files:
We know that your Internet Service Provider limits the file sizes that you Email, including photos. So what can one do? There are several things you can do. Try resizing your photos when Emailing them to friends and family. Go to the Microsoft website for a free download of the software program needed for resizing photos: (http://bit.ly/aAAihD-microsoft).
If you want to maintain the large sized photos you can send them using this free software that will Email the recipient a link to the photos so they can easily download them. Send photo and data files by Email up to 100 megabytes in size using: (http://www.yousendit.com)
Of course you can always use an Internet site to edit and store your photos. When you want to send them you do it using a link that is created by the software. For example, try Google’s free Picasa photo editing and storage website: (http://picasaweb.google.com) – Picasa is recommended by many professional photographers who say this is great for the beginner and the pro.
[bi-line]
Gregory West is a Mac Instructor for Lambton College. 
He is also Webmaster at Central United Church, the home of Sarnia’s new 
COMMUNITY Tech School at: http://central-united-church.org/news. This is free and open to the public as a community service.
Gregory can be reached at: prospector16@gmail.com
For more tips visit his Blog: https://gregorywest.wordpress.com

iPad Shoppers Beware!

Please Note: This article is published in First Monday magazine April 2010.

iPad Shoppers Beware!
by Gregory West

Apple's iPad

To Buy or Not to Buy?

If you are bent on getting an iPad don’t ready any further. However, if you are trying to decide between buying a laptop and an iPad this article is for you.

I like my laptop because I can load any software, connect any device such as a digital camera, memory stick, backup drives, by USB connections. I like the idea of being able to load free software from any company or source and not be restricted to one company such as Apple.

“Your computer should be yours to control,” said Peter Brown, the Free Software Foundation’s executive director. “By imposing such restrictions on users, Steve Jobs (APPLE CEO) is building a legacy that endangers our freedom for his profits (The Microsoft Blog).”

For me, choosing a laptop is simple: Macbook. I run Windows XP and Windows 7 on my Mac laptop without a glitch. Of course there are many other laptops, notebooks and net books that work great too and all of them avail you the opportunity to install third party applications, many at no cost.

The iPad has landed in North America and is creating huge hype. Rightfully so! It is a wonderful device allowing for various functions. According to Wikipedia the iPad “is part of a device category between a smartphone and a laptop computer.” This may be true but it is not close to my Macbook laptop, not by a long shot.

For starters the hard drive is only 16 to 64 gigabytes (GB) of flash memory (a technology that is primarily used in camera memory cards). My laptop is 250 GBs and with a terabyte hard drive connected by USB, I now have a grand total of 1274 GBs of hard drive space. Very different from 16 to 64 GBs of the iPad.

The iPad’s 9.7-inch (25 cm) screen has a low end resolution of 1024 X 768. What this tech talk means is that the iPad will not support HDMI video which many have come to love. With high definition the rave…Why go back to a lessor screen resolution. This does not make sense.

Other features lacking in the iPad are: no camera, no webcam, no multitasking, no drag and drop file management, no USB port, no SD slot, no Flash, no HDMI out, no 1080p playback, and no native widescreen. Are we going backwards here? In 2005 it was “the Year of High Definition Video,” according to cnet.com. How come the iPad lacks these features?

Many are saying the iPad has its neat functions and is esthetically appealing. Just make sure you are getting the exact features you require in any tech device. Do your homework on this one.

[bi-line]
Gregory West is a Mac Instructor for Lambton College. 
He is also Webmaster at Central United Church, the home of the new COMMUNITY Computer Room at: http://central-united-church.org/news

Gregory Can be reached at: prospector16@gmail.com

FarmVille Hype

FarmVille: 81 Million Users Online?
www.farmville.com
by Gregory West

Over 81 million active users flock to FarmVille to perform virtual farming daily. These people do chores they would have never dreamed of doing a year ago. Some are saying that this game is the largest and fastest growing game in history. Just think, this game started online June 19, 2009. The developer, Zynga, states that FarmVille “is bigger than Twitter and [was] valued at $1 billion last month (mashable.com)”.

FarmVille’s popularity is exploding online and won the most prestigious award this year: The 13th Annual Interactive Achievement Awards ceremony declared last month in Los Vegas that “the top honor in the ‘Social Networking Game of the Year’ category went to Zynga’s massively popular Facebook game FarmVille”.

Since this game is connected with Facebook, the developer Zynga, believes while people check in on their Facebook sites, they will also check into FarmVille and tend to their crops and help their neighbours with their farm work as well.

In the virtual farmland of FarmVille, farmers must first create their own avatar (a virtual image representing themselves). According to the rules there are “six plots of land, four of which are in the process of growing, and two (eggplant and strawberries) which are fully grown”. As in real life farming, the market calls the shots where items can be purchased such as “seeds, trees, animals, buildings, decorations, vehicles and more using “farm coins”.

The game comes with a few hooks as well and thus there is some controversy (depending on your viewpoint) in that you can buy virtual goods. “Zynga the game-makers encourage you to buy game things with real money. Some people (Techcrunch, Guardian) say that’s an exploitation of users who are swapping real money for fake things,” reports Leach. However, this is nothing new on the Internet and people can spend money virtually anywhere online if they so choose.

Upon beginning a farm, the player first creates a customizable avatar.[8] There are six plots of land, four of which are in the process of growing, and two (eggplant and strawberries) which are fully grown.
The game is based around the market, where items can be purchased: seeds, trees, animals, buildings, decorations, vehicles, and more land using “farm coins,” the generic money of FarmVille (which is earned by selling crops) or “farm cash”. (which the player earns at a rate of one dollar per experience level).

So, all of this begs the question: Why are people so drawn to FarmVille each day to milk their cows and chase chickens into coups and to “sow, grow and harvest crops (Anna Leach of shinyshiny.tv)”?

My wife is also working hard in FarmVille. She says that “you can play along, online, with all your friends” from across the globe. “You get a sense of guilt when you find your crops in desperate need of water and fertilizing,” she said.

“To me, Farmville works the same dynamic of calling on your nourishing instinct and then guilt-tripping you. The Tamagotchi effect, reported Leach. Tamagotchi is “a handheld digital pet [online] created in 1996. Over 70 million Tamagotchis have been sold as of 2008 (wikipedia)”. Remember the “pet rock” several years back? Even my mother bought one of those little pets.

For me, FarmVille is not an attraction. For those of you who are not into FarmVille you can go here to learn how to stop FarmVille posts on your Facebook site: http://tinyurl.com/ydk3ew2

Happy hoeing out there folks…

[bi-line]
Gregory West is a basic home computer consultant for MAC and PC and software
reviewer for major computer companies. Also come and join in on his free Basic
Computer Training sessions, held weekly at Central United Church this Fall. For info: http://www.centralunitedsarnia.ca/free_computer_lessons.html
Gregory can be reached at gregorywest@bell.net
Also, check out his Blog: Computer & Internet Tips:
http://tips4computers.wordpress.com

Social Media Marketing and WHY?

O’Reilly Media HELP Website

Your Questions Answered HERE

CHECK OUT THIS COMPUTER HELP SITE

See people helping people…

You won’t regret the few seconds it will take to find yourself gaining the how tos on topics from not just computers, but also Q&A on the Internet, Twitter, Facebook, digital photography and so much more you will not have a question that cannot be answered.

Let’s say you “know it all”, why not lend some of your knowledge to this site by way of answering questions posed by users. It is a lot of fun and you will be helping out other computer users. And who knows, like myself, you may just find yourself learning more about what you thought you knew and didn’t.

CLICK HERE to give this site a TEST DRIVE.

CLICK HERE and get involved with O’Reilly’s New Program

FACEBOOK Security New

“We’re making some changes to give you more control of your information and help you stay connected. We’ve simplified the Privacy page and added the ability to set privacy on everything you share, from status updates to photos.” (Facebook Notice)

For all the details click me

FREE Computer Help 24/7

Please Note: This article will appear in the December issue of First Monday magazine.

No Strings Attached …

“Computer Problems Solved FREE OF CHARGE”
24/7 Service for the Public

http://tinyurl.com/ask-pamela

by Gregory West
prospector16(at)gmail.com

The title of this article is true. Just ask members of the Sarnia Computer Group: SCUG (www.scug.ca), as they know first-hand how fast and efficient this free service works.

All too often we find ourselves sinking in the mystery sea called Windows. We know what we would like to do but just can’t figure out the “how”. The further we click through our computers the worse our adventure becomes. We end up at a DEAD END and completely frustrated to the point of never wanting to turn the computer on ever again.

If the above situation sounds even remotely familiar, read on because now you are in luck and at no cost this time. Our saving grace: “The Computer Tutor”, Pamela Tabak.

When I was the editor for the Sarnia Computer Users’ Group (scug.ca) I met Pamela somewhere in Cyberspace as she was writing a monthly article in another computer group’s newsletter. The one thing that struck me strange was that this person was offering a free computer-help service, not only for free, but offered answers back within 24 hours. Of course, it wasn’t long until we had The Computer Tutor column on the Sarnia computer group’s team as a columnist. Many SCUG members who began using this free service quickly began raving how simple and fast the answers back came.

Pamela tells the story of an “old gentleman” who told her he purchased a new computer.  He contacted Pamela for help because he was “tired of waiting for a phone call from his children and grandchildren” for computer help. Pamela did help this man to learn about his computer. Pamela quickly points out that “it is never too late in life, or even impossible, for seniors to learn about them.”

So how does this free 24/7 help service work?

Simply go to this site: http://computertutorinc.net/survey/questions_2008.htm and fill out the form with the details of your problem/question. One thing to keep in mind is that you must fill out the entire form, not forgetting to enter your email address so Pamela can reply to your issue.

After many suggestions and requests Pamela made the decision to publish a book that demonstrates the main questions others have queried via email. Pamela’s new book comes with the “most frequently asked questions” by seniors using computers. It overflows with excellent “how to” computer tips.  Check it out her website at: http://www.computertutorinc.net and see how she is helping others. Oh yes, Pamela is also a certified Ebay instructor so if you have questions on Ebay fire away!

TIP OF THE WEEK: BUTTERSCOTCH

Almost everyone likes butterscotch, right? Well if you do you will like it even better now. Butterscotch is now online, you cannot taste it, however you can use this website to get free video training on hordes of subjects, programs and more.

How about free tutorials on MS Word 2007, Blackberry Basics, Finer Points of FACEBOOK, Buying and Selling on Ebay, adding your Photos to Flickr, using gmail and Google Earth and so much more.

As well, Butterscotch has a downloads section where you can get some free software, shareware and demo programs for every computer system. (www.butterscotch.com/tutorials.html)

Thanks to Gerry Timm of Sarnia, Ontario for Emailing me this excellent find.

Gregory West is a Mac Computer Instructor for Lambton College.  He also holds free “Basic PC Computer and Internet Training” seminars at Central United Church: 
http://central-united-church.org – (Click on “Groups).
Gregory can be reached at prospector16@gmail.com
More TIPS on Greg’s Blog: http://tips4computers.wordpress.com

FREE VIDEO ADVICE

TIP OF THE WEEK: BUTTERSCOTCH

www.butterscotch.com/tutorials.html

Almost everyone likes butterscotch, right? Well if you do you will like it even better now. Butterscotch is now online, you cannot taste it, however you can use this website to get free video training on hordes of subjects, programs and more.

How about free tutorials on MS Word 2007, Blackberry Basics, Finer Points of FACEBOOK, Buying and Selling on Ebay, adding your Photos to Flickr, using gmail and Google Earth and so much more.

As well, Butterscotch has a downloads section where you can get some free software, shareware and demo programs for every computer system.

TRY THIS EXAMPLE VIDEO ON Ebay Shopping

Thanks to Gerry Timm of Sarnia, Ontario, Canada for this great tip.