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.

BEST iPAD APPS – a review

Review: by Gregory West
prospector16(at)gmail.com
Member of Computer Groups
bwcomp.orgscug.caapcug.net

ipad apps book review Best iPad Apps

The Guide for Discriminating
Downloaders

by Peter Meyers

Published by OReilly Media Inc.

ISBN- 9781449392475
Pages: 230
USA: $21.99 / CDA: $25.99
oreilly.com

Everyone now owns an iPad. Well maybe not everyone, however the number of sales are far reaching into the millions. If you look at a graph depicting the sales of Apple’s iPad you will see a line that looks like the path of the Space Shuttle taking off. The iPad has taken off with an huge explosion of sales. There is a good reason: Apps.

Apple announces the iPad has “thousands of apps…available in every category”, which is mind numbing to say the least. How does one sift through such numbers to find the top notch apps and not get stuck with one that, well let’s just say stuck with an app that is not the best? How does one find the best of the best in iPad apps?

Well you need to look no further. Peter Meyers’ book offers the easy solution to such a complex issue of sorting through thousands of iPad apps to make sense, with precise reviews on each one.

Meyers says that “this book helps do some serious chaff snuffing” in that he has gone through the thousands of apps to bring us the best. The book is sequenced with seven  color coded chapters, making referencing easy. Each chapter takes us to a new use for the iPad: At Work – At Leisure – Creative Corner – At Play – At Home – Out and About – For Your Health. Browsing through these chapters is fun to see what you can really do with your iPad.

For instance, in Chapter 6, “Out and About”, you will find numerous apps that cover “Finding (and booking) a Restaurant”, “Finding Cheap Airfares”, to “Driving Instructions in Your Car”. For the more serious users you can get one for your “Health” such as: “Portable First Aid Reference”, “Dieting and Weight Loss”, and even “Bird Watching”. Games were not left behind, not at all. Meyers offers Chapter 6: “At Play”. Here you get to read about the best apps for “Arcade Games”, “Puzzles”, “Racing”, “Combat” and many more.

Each App review page lists the price, the version, and short synopsis about the App. The review page also includes a graphic and an explanation of how it works. From reading sheet music to drawing to gaming to buying online, Meyers book has it all covered and then some.

Gregory West is a Mac Computer Instructor at Lambton College, Ontario. He is also a crew member for TVCogeco. In his spare time he runs a free computer “drop-in” centre that assists people who want to learn about technology. He can be reached at prospector1(at)gmail.com

Mac & Chrome Users BEWARE

I have been a Chrome web browser user since day one of it’s inception. Now I have to go back to Firefox browser.

THE REASON WHY: Chrome supports less and less than other browsers, including its OWN GOOGLE GEARS.

THAT IS CORRECT…
GOOGLE DOES NOT SUPPORT ITS’ OWN SOFTWARE
ON ITS’ OWN BROWSER:
CHROME.

Gears, Docs, Chrome: a nonfunctional combination.

Why?

CLICK HERE TO FIND OUT

Evernote – Keeping an Online Diary Of FINDS

When you see something online that catches your eye but you don’t have the time right now to pursue it further, save it, don’t bookmark it; that is sooooooooo “old skool”.

NEVER LOSE YOUR INTERNET TREASURES AGAIN!

Evernote works in all browsers for both Mac and PCs. If you are working on a project and gathering data from the Interent Evernote is the best way to collect data, photos, charts, music, video etc. on the go.

Watch this video and see how it can work for you:

BOOK REVIEW: iWork Certification

Review: by Gregory West
prospector16(at)gmail.com
Member of the Computer Operators 
of Marysville & Port Huron (COMP)
Sarnia Computer Users Group (SCUG)

Get Certified in Apple's iWork suite

iWork

By Richard Harrington
Published by Peachpit Press
ISBN-10: 0-321-61851-3
ISBN-13: 978-0-321-61851-1
Pages: 827
USA: $34.99 / CDA: $45.99
They say that the only way to really learn a program is “hands-on training”. This book provides excellent step-by-step lessons to learn all about Keynote, Pages, and Numbers.
For the newbie this book provides, easy-to-learn, steps that will take you from the beginning throughout the three sections and sixteen lessons. The first seven begins with Keynote where you will learn how to create professional presentations and publishing it in several different formats. The second section is Pages where you will learn publishing letters, reports, newsletters, brochures, posters and more for both print and Internet copies. The third section is Numbers where you will learn about spreadsheets, reports, and budgets. Here is where you will also learn how to create amazing charts, graphs and even a wedding planner to “track the events”.
The material inside the book and the DVD-ROM that comes with the book is not only for beginners who are new to iWork programs, but also for those professionals who would like to brush up and ready themselves for the Apple Certification exam. The book has everything you need to train yourself to become a professional at using these three programs.
You begin with Keynote, Lesson 1, learning about themes, sizing, outlining, custom layouts and much more. Other lessons show you how to add photos, charts, sound, and video. If in another life you were a PowerPoint user you will learn how to import PowerPoint presentations into your Keynote presentation. Learn how to easily animate your presentation too. In Lesson 7 you learn the professional touch for presentations. From printing handouts, exporting to PDFs, or to turning your presentation into a movie that can be uploaded to the Internet, slowly you are becoming a professional presenter.
Pages lessons take you learning the basic word processing skills to creating reports, newsletters, brochures, posters, certificates, and how to add sound to a word document that can be uploaded to the Internet.
Numbers is Apple’s own spreadsheet. This section will teach you how to use a spreadsheet and much more. For instance, you learn how to import spreadsheet data, add media, create address books, and “Advanced Charting” where you learn things such as “Creating a Stacked 3D Bar Chart” and more. The nuts and bolts of a spreadsheet are covered in areas of formatting, referencing data, performing calculations with variables, etc.
I highly recommend this book and the DVD-ROM for users of all levels wanting to learn how to use these three excellent programs to the max.
System Requirements are found at: www.apple.com/iwork/systemrequirements.html
Information on Apple’s iWork ’09 go here: http://www.apple.com/iwork

The Future of Computers is NO COMPUTERS

Note: This article will appear in First Monday Magazine next month…

The Future of Computers is NO COMPUTERS

By Gregory West

As a computer consultant and instructor I get asked which type of computer is a good deal and one that will last. As I explain the pros and cons of various computers, I know that they are in for a major change, and very soon computers will be a thing of the past.

We are now racing towards one of the most drastic changes in computer history. Welcome what I coin as: CLOUD COMPUTERS. We have all heard of the “Cloud” that exists on the Internet. Simply put, a “cloud” is a program where you store things such as photos (Flickr or Picasa), and videos (YouTube or Vimeo). Of course EVERYONE knows that you can store these on Facebook as well which is also a “cloud” program online.

I know, enough of the mumbo-jumbo computer talk and let’s get to the point.

Google is soon to announce its online operating system. This means you will not use your computer to use programs such as Word or Excel etc. These will be offered free in the new Google operating system. Soon there will be no more need for Microsoft’s XP, Vista, Windows 7, or even Apple’s Snow Leopard. It also means no more complicated computer systems. It will be somewhat like your TV and it will “just work”. You MUST watch this video: <http://bit.ly/91Fnm7googlecomputer> to see how it works.

No, Google’s new online operating system will not replace Apple or Microsoft systems just yet. However, this is a start to a very interesting future that is quickly unfolding before our very eyes. This new online operating system idea will virtually change the need for a computer. All we will need is a device that has a browser like Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, or Chrome. These will connect you to your online computer system.

Just think, many of us have been doing this for sometime now and not paying much attention…When you go online with your Smart Phone you are using a “Cloud Computer”. It can only get easier and better and less expensive. A full report on how this works is found here: <http://bit.ly/azhyJ6cloudcomputers>

George Orwell predicted 1984 as the year of “Big Brother” and I say that 2011 is the year we see “Cloud Computers”…I can’t wait.

[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&gt;. 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

TAKE THE TIME TO WATCH THIS MUST-SEE VIDEO

Windows Live shares your Messenger contacts

I do not use Windows except for teaching purposes. My OS flavours are: Ubuntu and Snow Leopard.

Microsoft Drops the Ball AGAIN - come on guys!

WARNING: MICROSOFT FAILS SECURITY TESTS AGAIN…

click here for details:
Windows Live shares your Messenger contacts.