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

 

Children Restricted in Chicago Concert

Please Let My Grandsons In To Your Concert

Accompanied by two adults and denied entry!

PLEASE LET THE CHILDREN INTO YOUR CONCERT

Most websites today are quite efficient and are deigned in such a way to make sure the user has a quick and easy experience. This is especially true in websites where the customer is looking to purchase a product the vendor is selling.

The buyer clicks on a list of items, usually from a drop down box, then makes a choice and so on goes the normal web purchase routine.

NOT AT PARK WEST CHICAGO – A concert venue.

To be fair to Park West, they do not set the following policy, The staff for Playing for Change does by restricting children under the age of 18.

The strange thing about this restriction for children is that Playing for Change promotes and rightfully so, wants us to help out in their quest to help schools in other countries. They want us to help children. Children like my grandchildren who worship people like Ridley and Grandpa Elliot. Now, after buying tickets, they find out they cannot attend the Playing for Change concert in Chicago on Nov. 10th at the Park West.

WHY NOT?

They promise not to bother anyone. They promise not to clap too loud. They promise not to sing along too loud. They promise just to behave and watch this amazing concert.

In the wikipedia site on Playing for Change it is stated: “Playing for Change is a multimedia music project created by the American producer and sound engineer Mark Johnson with his Timeless Media Group, that seeks to bring together musicians from around the world. Playing For Change also created a separate non-profit organization called the Playing For Change Foundation which builds music schools for children around the world.”

Kudos to Playing for Change…For amassing this amazing talent from around the world. And to the musicians: GOOD FOR YOU!

I do hope that the people at Playing for Change will reconsider this move to restrict children from attending their concert in Chicago on November 10, 2010. Please…RECONSIDER.

————————————————————————————————

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.

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

Social Media Marketing and WHY?

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:

THURSDAY – JANUARY 3

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


SATURDAY – JANUARY 5

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

SUNDAY JANUARY 6


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

· Upcoming.org or Meet-up.com

· 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

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 K. COURTNEY

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.

HANK FEINBERG

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.

JAY FERRON

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

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 (www.compukiss.com), 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 GOLDSTEIN

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

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

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, Spock.com, 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

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.

ANDY MARKEN

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 www.markencom.com

JOHN C MARTIN II

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.

LINDA MOORE

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.

SCOTT MOORE

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

Ash Nallawalla, CEO of trainSEM.com, 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

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

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 http://www.chron.com/. 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, http://blogs.chron.com/, 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

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

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

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

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

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.