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Editor: Larry Welling www.sfpcc.org Newsletter: Jan/Feb 1999
Happy New Years

Contents: 

FIFTEEN YEARS OLD 
By:  Larry Welling 
 

JOB HUNTING USING THE 
INTERNET

By:  Marsha Brandsdorfer

WHAT'S A WRITEABLE  
CD-ROM FOR?

By:  Larry Welling

MEETING CALENDAR

EXECUTIVE BOARD 

Fifteen Years Old!

Two months from now, our club will reach a milestone of serving the computer community for fifteen years. Many user groups that were around in 1984 no longer exist, but our band of merry men and women have beat the odds! Congratulations to our members, past and present, who have made our club a fun place to be as we make our lives more productive and entertaining through the use of personal computers. Thanks to all of you who have stuck-it-out through "thick and thin" in supporting the club with your attendance and help with official duties. Happy New Year to all as we enjoy our benefits. 

As we travel through 1999, we will be investigating possibilities for changing our meeting location. The Board has already bandied about some ideas such as recreation centers, senior centers, or library or bank meeting rooms. One star possibility may be the new San Carlos library which is under construction and will likely have modern meeting equipment in the room. The new library is located about ½-mile from our current meeting site. One thought is that a meeting place such as a library or social center could provide the club with closer contact to outside community members who may notice we are there and be curious to see what we are all about. Perhaps the club will discover opportunities for outreach to prospective members at such a site. However, our new meeting site may not be free. 

Our current meeting site has been nice for fifteen years, but the club has caused some friction with a few members of the condo association in whose building we meet. They have been concerned about taking up parking spaces in front, noise outside of the meeting room, and there's been some interest in turning the room into the condo's exercise facility. Occasionally, for the club, the room may be too small and the acoustics can make things too noisy for us to easily hear a presentation and in the summer the room may get hot. Also, we have to discourage parking directly out front. 

If you have a site suggestion, let a board member know. We do not necessarily have to stay in San Carlos, but this geographic location is centrally located on the Peninsula.  So, what do you think?  You are welcome to attend the next board meeting, speak at a regular meeting, or write e-mail to board members whose addresses appear on the back. 
 



Job Hunting Using the Internet
By:   Marsha Brandsdorfer  

When I was in Los Angeles, I was thinking how am I ever going to get out of there?  The smog made breathing difficult and driving was equivalent to crawling.  But the worst part of being there was that overall employment opportunities in my field were limited, competitive, and paid poorly. I was a legal secretary and through experience, I remembered that northern California, the Bay Area in particular, seemed to have a better opportunity for jobs.  Several years prior, I lived in San Francisco, so I knew the area, and thought that finding jobs there again would not be as difficult as it was for me in southern California.  However, since I was living almost 500 miles south of San Francisco, it made job-hunting a bit more difficult, because I knew that I did not have access to the local papers.  The newspaper I was most interested in was "The Recorder."  "The Recorder" is the daily legal newspaper of California.  I had a friend in Northern California send me a copy of the "The Recorder," and upon receipt, I sa_ink for "classified ads" and then more specifically "secretaries," and then for the location "San Francisco."  Then I hit "go" and like magic, I received a list of jobs, descriptions, and phone numbers, addresses, where to send and/or fax my cover letters and resumes. 
So, I sent resumes, and thus, I was favorably contacted within a week, mandated with requests asking me to come by for interviews.  Organization skills in hand, I set up approximately 6 interviews for the following week on four working days, packed the car with some interview clothes, toiletries, a map, credit card and I drove to the Bay Area to stay in a motel for a few days and go on job interviews.  Well, needless to say, I landed a legal secretarial position in a corporation in downtown San Francisco and moved back to the Bay Area, just as I wanted. 
Nineteen months later, I left my job for various reasons, and I was back to job hunting again.  This time, I decided to look for work on the Peninsula, since I live in San Mateo and I've since learned there are many opportunities in the Silicon Valley such as in Palo Alto and Menlo Park. 

I went to the unemployment office and signed up for "Cal Jobs" (http://www.caljobs.ca.gov).  This enabled me to put my resume on line.  I could also respond to ads on "Cal Jobs," and I did find several opportunities in the legal field. Thus far, I have received four responses through my resume on Cal Jobs from employment agencies and have signed up with two of them. 
Unlike when I lived in Burbank, I do not have access to the Internet.   I am aware that web access can be obtained at some cafés in the City of San Francisco.  One of my favorites is The Coffee Net at 744 Harrison Street in San Francisco, which charges only $5.00 an hour (including a food purchase).  There is also web access which is entirely free at most public libraries.  I like to go to the library in Foster City, since I live near it and the library is fairly new and clean.  They do only have 4 computers so sometimes there is wait time to use the computer.  I've since discovered that the downtown Mountain View library has approximately 30 computers to access the web. 

Again, I searched for "Cal Law" on the library's computer and the result of my search was several job-wanted ads and employment agencies that engage in legal work only.  I contacted them.  One of the agencies I contacted placed me in a four month legal word processing position with the largest law firm in Northern California.  With yet another agency I discovered on the Internet, I'm presently in a temp-to-hire legal secretarial position with a Menlo Park law firm which does patent litigation.  I've been busy making money, and found that my job hunting through the Internet has been successful. 

If you don't have access at home, you can also use the computer to set up a free Internet e-mail account which you can use at the cafés, a friend's computer or at the library.  For instance, I have an e-mail address on (http://www.yahoo.com) which is entirely free.  I can give this e-mail account to employers and people I "meet" on the Internet to contact me. 

Job-hunting is something that takes a lot of time, dedication, and mostly luck.  I found that by using the Internet as my main source of looking for work, I could make doors of opportunity open for me.  I look at the Internet as an information tool.  The Internet has "search engines"  also called search databases.  Using these databases by entering key words of what you are looking for will search the World Wide Web (the Internet) and will find you web sites that might be connected to what you need.   An analogy might be looking at a search engine as this huge library card catalog that helps you find information of a topic of interest.  For instance, if you were to do a search using the Internet search engine (http://www.yahoo.com) for the word "jobs" or the word "employment," you will be given a response of over 6,000 searches for each word, divided into several categories.  Other popular search engines are: 
AltaVista (http://www.altavista.digital.com) 
Excite (http://www.excite.com) 
Infoseek (http://www.infoseek.com) 
Lycos (http://www.lycos.com) 
Now that you know the Web has a lot of information you can access, the hardest part would be in deciding where to narrow this search.  First of all, perhaps you need to decide where you want to work.  As I mentioned above, originally I wanted to move from Los Angeles County and work in San Francisco.  After I was in this area for awhile, I decided that I would do my search in the Silicon Valley, where I am presently working. 

It is also important to know what type of work you are looking for.  I was able to narrow my search down to the legal field, because most of my job experience has been in this area.  I knew about "The Recorder" and I was happy to discover that I could access it on the Internet.  Many daily, weekly newspapers, magazines and trade papers now have databases on the Internet and if you are familiar with some trade papers in your field, you may be able to access them online. 
You may also do some searches if you are unsure.  For instance, I could not remember the web site for the San Jose Mercury News, so I did a search on (http://www.yahoo.com) and discovered (http://www.mercurycenter.com) was the site I was looking for and they too have a link for classified ads.  They call it "Jobs: Job Hunter." 

There are many sites where you can put your resume on line.  I decided to choose (http://www.caljobs.ca.gov), but there are many others and you can again use the search engines to find what job sites allow you to do this, either for free or a small fee.  One such example is (http://www.CareerPath.com).  Their site says:"Th(is) career management site (is) powered by the nation's leading newspapers.  Information on who you are, how to contact you and where you've worked will never be shared with employers unless you give the OK.   We've created a simple online form for writing a complete, professional-looking resume and career profile. Your resume and profile will become part of our confidential database from which employers will search for qualified candidates.  Once completed, you'll receive E-mail from CareerPath.com whenever an employer wants you to consider a new job. Then you'll respond by E-mail to tell us if you'd like to apply for it."  Again, if you don't have home access to the Internet, you can set up your free e-mail account at (http://www.yahoo.com). 

So, in conclusion, you can open more doors for yourself by taking advantage of opportunities offered to you through the World Wide Web.  Remember to do the following: 
1. Decide what location(s) you wish to work in. 
2. Decide what type(s) of work you wish to do. 
3. If you don't have access to the Internet, go to a "cybercafé," the library or a friend's home. 
4. Use an Internet search engine, such as (http://www.yahoo.com) and narrow your sources to find which newspapers, magazines and other resources might help you in your job hunt. 
5. Contact some employment agencies in your field of interest and respond to classified ads, which you feel qualified for. 
6. Put your resume on-line at some career sites.  Many give you comprehensive forms to complete. 
And most of all, remember that the more you put yourself out there, the more chances you have in finding what you want.  Happy hunting!  Happy surfing! 



What's a Writeable CD-ROM For?
By:  Larry Welling  

I thought some of you might be interested to know a little about the newer CD-ROM technologies on the market. Let's see...we have the read-only variety, the write-once kind, and finally the re-writeable forms of CD-ROM drives. There's even one called a DVD drive which stands for "Digital Versatile Disk"...of all things. I think that's enough confusion for any one subject, so I'll confine most of my remarks to the "write-once" kind which Hank Skawinski recently installed on my computer. Whatever you may investigate in the store, just find out what formats it's backwards compatible with. For example, ask whether it will read that CD-ROM disk you bought two years ago for use with your original 6X read-only drive. 

Anyway, I think the write-once form of drive makes a lot of sense for the home user. Hank installed a Panasonic model for me that will read all my old CD-ROMS as well as read and write on the new kind of disk. The new disk is the same size, but it's made differently so you can write once on it. The new drive reads at 8X. The new disks are quite reasonable at around $1.50 each for a name-brand such as TDK with a good jewel box to hold it.  (The disks for the other re-writeable technology are about $6-$12 each.) 
I find them handy for storing long files, installation programs and upgrades that I have downloaded that are too big for a floppy. It seems like I'm always needing to reinstall programs from scratch whenever I upgrade my operating system, (the clean install method)! 
Another great thing is that the drive will copy audio CD-ROM'S that you buy in the record store. So, you have the original for use in the house, and a copy for the car! The software will also let you make disks with only the songs you like on a single disk. You can make "favorite-hits" disks for yourself just by copying individual songs from many original disks onto a single. This is all done with digital technology so you don't lose quality. 

What a neat drive! 
In my case, I also have my old 32X CD-ROM drive installed in the same machine as my new writeable one. This makes copying an entire original CD more straightforward since you aren't storing songs temporarily on your hard drive:  you can copy direct from one drive to the other. However, hard drive space of about ½ -gig is great if you are making a disk of favorites from several originals.



Meeting Calendar  

 Jan 14: Hard Disk Crash Recovery and Backing-Up.  This will be the theme of the evening in free-forum discussion. Put your thinking caps on and let us know what your backup strategies may be and what you've done to recover from crashes. It is too dangerous to assume your computer will never break. This information probably will be of utmost importance to you when you have your first problem! 

Feb 11: Tentative - Video Editing.  We hope to have a manufacturer's rep talk to us about this new category of personal computer use where we can rearrange clips from our camcorders, add titles, and get rid of those awful blank spots in mother's anniversary party <<grin>> 

Feb 26: Executive Board Meeting, 7:30 p.m. At the San Carlos Round Table. All are invited 

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