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|Vol. 19 No. 5||Supporting PC Platforms||Newsletter:. September-October 2003 .|
|SFPCC´s web site vanishes´
By Bob Wallace
First, my apologies for being this tardy with this issue of the newsletter. Time conspired against me over the past weekend with work on Saturday that took up a good portion of that day, and a wedding and dinner/dance on Sunday afternoon/evening that pretty well chewed up time over the weekend.
Speaking of time, an attempt to check on the SFPCC´s web site last week came up with a "not found" message on several attempts, which prompted a question to Lee Hill to see what might be going on with our web site. Turns out Huge Hosting turned off our "free" web site at the end of August, and now takes the position that we can spend a few bucks ($10) per month if we want to keep our web site up and running for any length of time. (Byway of contrast, Geocities has a similar offer for $8.95 per month, plus a one-time $15 setup expense.)
Not finding the web site and then posting e-mail messages with several of our members in an effort to figure out what happened to "us" took up another chunk of time. Lee Hill has subsequently informed me that we can get our site back up and available for users or anyone interested in computer clubs in general by calling the Huge Hosting 800 business phone number, getting some number of details on the number of months that may be a minimum for getting our site up and running again, both for our club members and anyone looking for a local computer club with which to connect.
With the subject now open for discussion, this is as good a time as any to discuss what we might want to do with our club´s web site in the coming months and years. The name, sfpcc.org, has been paid up for a total of two years into the future, that check going out this past February 11 to Network Solutions. Seventeen months are still in the ´bank.´
For that matter, we might well ask where the SFPCC is going in the next year or two. Of the 18 full-time members, only a handful of our group shows up for a monthly meeting with any regularity. Whether this is related to moving from one location to another on a monthly basis now maybe worth asking about, but even prior to the change of meeting location on a monthly basis, most of our members had not attended a monthly meeting in quite some time.
Speaking only for myself, my interests have gone through some changes over the past couple of years, as some of you may well be aware. Genealogy has taken on a new interest and now seems to require more time – when any time can be found – in an effort to track down prior generations of the Wallace line going back from Michigan through Canada to Scotland. It may be only a coincidence that the computer bulletin board systems –BBS – went the way of the buggy whip at about the same time as my curiosity about earlier generations of Wallace family members finally took off.
Add to that notion the idea that Lois and I have taken to spending a week or more attending floral demonstrations over the past few years – trips to The Netherlands, England and Scotland within the past three years; future trips already in the planning stages, not all of them related to things floral – and you can imagine, perhaps, the lure of going to locations well removed from just the local scene.
And looking down the road only 29months into the future, that will be the time for your editor to be ready for retirement from active work, whether one is ready for that step or not! Given the possibility that others within our relatively small group of computer users have also taken on new interests over the past couple of years, finding fewer folks attending the monthly meetings might have a reasonable explanation behind it.
Or might the reason for fewer club members attending monthly meetings have something, anything to do with fewer promoters coming around these days to explain their wares to us? Not that many years ago we could easily find a fair number of computer people to visit with us, detail for us how their hardware or software might work without computers, the benefits we might derive from using their product. In lots of instances we did purchase a fair amount at some of those meetings.
To sum it up, then, what shall we do about our Internet connection, the SFPCC web site? And where will we be as a club in perhaps as little as two years hence? Should we consider merging our group in with another computer club to see if one somewhat larger computer club can be more viable than is this club with only a handful of folks showing up for any month's meeting? Give us some feedback on where you see this club at this moment, and where you see us heading over the next 18-24 months. Some of the answers might be most interesting, both to you and to the rest of us.
The luggage is cleaned out and back into the closet again, the laundry sorted out and into piles on my kitchen floor while the smell of coffee is brewing in the distance. While it is good to be away, it is also good to come home and have rolls of film developed and memories made from the pictures. In this mix is the pictures that were taken on the new Fuji 280006.01 zoom lens, 2.1-megapixel camera that was found and bought off of eBay buy now site before I ever took flight for Asheville, North Carolina, the site of this year´s Active Worlds Reunion.
Months and months of planning and research work on the net to make this Reunion of people that use and enjoy Active Worlds software as much as your writer here does. People came in as far as Norway; Salt Lake City, Utah; Texas, Florida and Boston, Mass. for this 4-day event in Asheville, NC. Thirty-five people from around the USA and Europe landed in Asheville, NC. Asheville is five hours away from Raleigh, NC., and one hour away from Greenville, South Carolina. The Smoky Mountains call you home just as the cable cars here in San Francisco ring at tune.
There is a blue mist that floats itself over the Great Smoky Mountains of Asheville, much like our fog rolls in off the coast here. It is breathtaking to see every afternoon how it just rolls itself in. The Great Smoky Mountains call you home with their beauty, how rich the countryside and the land is there. How lucky we are all to live in a great and wonderful land as we do. You get the American Spirit of home and family when you travel to the good ol´ Southern States.
Some of the events that I planned and hosted were a two and one-half hour cruise on Lake Lure, which is a man-made lake that was once the burial ground to the Cherokee Indians and is now home to our Native American settlers who call Lake Lure their home. We swam and played at the park and the lake for the day, that evening sailed on the lake and learned of the land and the water by Cody, who was a Cherokee Indian. Lake Lure is a man-made dam with its own power generator that supplies all the power for the massive homes surrounding the lake and the 1,500residents of Lake Lure, NC.
A bit of trivia. Asheville, NC holds special memories for me as this is where my folks celebrated their honeymoon, soon to be 60 years this month. My dad was in the Navy a Lt. Colonel. He had a group of men that he trained to be fighter pilots, had to teach them how to jump from a plane to save their lives and had a four-day pass and they drove from Atlanta, GA., to Asheville and spent four days of joy. I also was able to catch up with my 85-year-old uncle and aunt from South Carolina that I have not seen in15 years. We spent a lovely afternoon together at 100-year-old hotel called the Grove Park Inn that was built by hand and is all rocks that were found in the area some 100 years ago.
Now the Inn has two golf courses and has gourmet cooking classes and four restaurants, all of which serve fresh produce that is grown on the site. The gardens that surround the area are breathtaking! I can see why people from all over the USA and Europe come just for the gardens and end pstaying for the meals. A buffet that is served on the patio, four rooms of hot and cold food, sea food, dessert in not just one room but two, hot roast beef, hot turkey, soups, salads, and rolls from their bakery one could get fat eating like that.
Four fireplaces are in the main lobby of the hotel in the four main rooms beautiful old Southern hospitality is there all around you.
The question is now what do I do with my vacation pictures, the rolls of film were developed and sorted out into piles and the pictures from the new digital camera viewed. How did I view the pictures from the new digital camera? Weeks before I started to pack for this trip, Lee Hill and I made a shopping event to CompUSA where I found the neatest new device to view pictures from your digital camera.
I purchased a Dazzle Card Reader that came with software drivers, and it came with ON DVD software. Some of you may remember Lee did a demo on ON DVD for the club. How many of you remember that? Show of hands, please. The Dazzle card reader comes with a USB port (standard USB), was easy to take with me. I can use this both on my laptop and my desktop. Since the laptop was going with me back to North Carolina, the card reader was easily packed inside of my rolling backpack that I checked in at the curb of the airport the morning of my flight, 4:30 a.m., you don´t want to be searching around for card readers or parts for the laptop. My luggage was put in front of the door for the short ride to the airport. The alarm clock went off like a charm at 4:30 the morning of the 13th of August. Show me the coffee traveler mug.
To view the pictures fro any digital camera one just takes out the smart media card as in my case from the camera and puts this into the Dazzle card reader. The card reader acts as if it was another drive in your computer. In my case the drive letter here is E: removable drive. You can write to that smart media card. There are readers for all types of digital camera. From there just load up your favorite photo editor. I use Microsoft Picture It, which I had the wits about me to install the night before I left for my trip onto my laptop. I also packed away the portable read/ write CD-ROM drive I purchased for the laptop. Nothing like being prepared, eh?
Using Microsoft Picture It, I just told>the program to look for the removable drive E: and load the pictures from the >card reader. From there I can edit >them, take off the red eyes from the people, save them with titles, and save them all in a folder for later sending them out and about to all my friends via e-mail.
One note here to all of you. Security at the airport for me was a snap, had no problems at all at SFO taking the laptop. I checked my laptop in at the curb and they don´t even make me take my shoes off going to North Carolina or coming home from Atlanta.
Hope you all have had a wonderful summer as I have had.
We took two vacation trips since the last newsletter went out, the first being our weekend trip to Reno, Nevada for this year´s International Gathering of Clan Wallace, a worldwide group of about 900 members. A grand total of60 showed up for that weekend´s list of events. One of the planned attendees was David Ross of Scotland, author of "On the Trail of William Wallace," and the man who will lead a group in 2005 following the trail of "Braveheart" from Scotland to London and the site of Wallace´s execution August 23, 1305. Ross didn´t make the visit, which has puty our editor and his wife in the position of setting up a tour to the U.K. in two years to participate in the 700thanniversary of William Wallace´s execution by King Edward I, also known as "Longshanks." Good thing we´ve been taking those overseas tours these past couple of years.
Following a day off in between Reno and our visit back east to the Niagara Falls/Welland Canal area of Ontario, and a stay in Michigan of eight days, our genealogy quest didn´t resolve at least one of the questions we have regarding my g/g/grandmother´s parentage. Records at the Welland Historical Museum did not match up with the ID number we had for a Will that might have resolved that issue, so we´ll have to wait for further developments. Back to Michigan and a ´tour´of Forest Lawn Cemetery in Saginaw, Michigan to locate my g/grandparents and grandparents, in several instances getting the date of death for each, then off to the Saginaw Public Library to go over microfilm copies of newspapers from the periods involved in an effort to track down as much information as we could locate during two visits to that library. In addition to all the paperwork we tracked down on our own, plus what we were given by the Thorold Historian´s assistant, the number of folders in our file has increased significantly. Still, there is bound to be more to find one of these days to add more knowledge about our "gone but not forgotten" Wallace family. That phrase appears on my g/g/grand-mother´s headstone in Greenwood Cemetery, Waterford, Ontario, Canada.
Of the several virus/worm problems found in the news over the past month, insofar as I´m aware no club member got stung by this latest rash of problems for computer users. One friend of one of our club members did have a virus and/or worm combination that had to be taken care of, for which she was most thankful after the fact.
Again, my apologies for the tardiness of this issue. A combination of things managed to throw off my usual schedule of having an issue finished and in the mail by Monday night at the latest. Depending on how quickly Kinko´s can get these several pages through their printing machine and back to me will determine how quickly they get to each of you.
September 11: Digital Cameras at Judy Oliphant´s residence.
October 9: Tentative for McAfee. Stay tuned.