COMPUTER NEWS Inside This Issue

COMPUTER NEWS Inside This Issue
Napa Valley
Personal Computer
Users Group
P.O. Box 2866
Napa, California 94558
Volume 27, No. 7
July 2010
Inside This Issue
NVPCUG Special Interest Groups
NVPCUG Calendar
President’s Message
Officers List
LightScribe CD DVD Label Burning
iPad Shoppers Beware!
Verbatim Nano Wireless Mouse
Along Memory Lane Via You
Tube - Part One
Part Two
Mac OS X – Leopard Edition,
The Missing Manual
BluePack S3
Variations On a Theme of
Flash Drives
Work smarter, let Google Alerts
do your grunt work
Corel Painter™ 11
Review: The Social Media
Marketing Book
A First Look at OpenOffice
Look for this
graphic on
Page 5to find
out more
about how it
may affects
The Napa Valley Personal
Computer Users Group will meet
Wednesday, July 21st,
7:00-9:00 P.M.
At the Napa Senior Activity Center,
1500 Jefferson Street, Napa, California
Lapworks will be the main presentation
After meeting information by the President we
will have our Random Access, an open-floor
question-and-answer period during which
attendees can ask questions about computers and
computer-related problems and receive helpful
information from other meeting attendees.
Questions may be submitted before the meeting by emailing
them to Random Access moderator Jerry Brown at
[email protected]
The Computer Tutor session will follow. During
this months session Jeff Solomon will be will be
giving a quick overview of lots of the many FREE
applications and products available from
GOOGLE. If you have a suggestion on which
feature he should discuss, please contact Jeff Solomon at
[email protected]
Susy Ball will share with us some new software
secrets, several new/old shortcuts and many other
things such as undocumented workarounds. Some
of the items you can find out about are FREE, but
others may cost the user.
August is tentatively marked as a presentation of Linux.The
September presenter, Debbie Jones of Anything is Possible
will be coming to us from Monterey to discuss Microsoft
Word 2007 and 2010. If you have any ideas for future topics
that would be of interest to the group please contact Susy Ball
at [email protected]
Could you use some practical information that would help you
make better use of your computer? Come to this meeting! Guests
are always welcome. Admission is always free.
Interested in becoming a member? See page 16 for
application information.
NVPCUG Computer News, July 2010
From the Napa Valley Register. Posted:
In SIG meetings you can learn about
a subject in greater detail than is
feasible at NVPCUG general meetings.
SIG meetings are open to everyone.
Meeting times and locations
occasionally change, so for current
meeting information, see our Web
site,, or contact
the SIG leaders.
Investors SIG
Meets: Monthly, second Monday
5:30 to 7:30 p.m
Jerry Brown’s home,
23 Skipping Rock Way, Napa
Leader: Jerry Brown
(707) 254-9607
Digital Photography SIG
Meets: Monthly, second Wednesday
7:00 to 8:30 p.m
Piner’s Nursing Home,
Conference Room
1800 Pueblo Ave., Napa
Leader: Susy Ball
(707) 337-3998
[email protected]
Leader: Ron Rogers
(707) 226-5352
William M. “Bill” Coop passed away peacefully at Avalon Care Home
on June 10, 2010, at the age of 78.
Bill was born on April 15, 1932, in Downs, Kansas. He grew up in
both Kansas and South Dakota. He graduated from Lake Andes High
School in the small town of Lake Andes, S.D. Following graduation,
he served his country in the United States Navy for six years, during
which time he married Carol Elaine Coop, in 1952. He served an
additional 14 years in the United States Air Force, in which he served
a one-year tour in Thailand during the Vietnam War. He retired from
the Air Force in 1972.
After retiring from the Air Force, he completed a four-year
apprenticeship as a machinist at Mare Island Naval Shipyard. He then
worked as an automotive technician for 15 years with the California
Highway Patrol, serving the offices of Vallejo, Santa Rosa and
Oceanside. He retired from the CHP in 1992.
Before and after retiring from the Air Force, Bill resided in Solano
County, Sonoma County, San Diego County and Napa County.
He was a member of Masonic Lodge No. 3. He was a dedicated
member of Saint Stephens Anglican Church in Oakville.
Much of his life was spent traveling and helping others. Nearly every
morning was spent eating breakfast with the residents of Yountville
Veterans Home. He donated time and money to various charities and
people who were in need. He had an avid interest in genealogy and
researched nearly his whole family tree, which took much dedication
and more than 15 years. He also enjoyed California Lottery Scratcher
tickets, in which he had amazing luck. He also had the “gift of gab” and
Bill Coop cont. on page 4
Napa Valley Mac User Group
Meets: Monthly, second Thursday
6:30 - 8:30 p.m.
Napa Senior Activity Center
1500 Jefferson St., Napa
William Coop
NVPCUG General Meetings
Held the third Wednesday of each
month, 7:00 to 9:00 p.m.
Napa Senior Activity Center,
1500 Jefferson Street, Napa
NVPCUG Calendar
Jul 21
Aug 4
Aug 9
Aug 11
Aug 12
Aug 18
Sept 1
Sept 8
Sept 9
Sept 13
Sept 15
NVPCUG General Meeting + A
Board of Directors meeting + B
Investors SIG meeting + C
Digital Photography SIG meeting + B
Napa Valley Mac User Group + A
NVPCUG General Meeting + A
Board of Directors meeting + B
Digital Photography SIG meeting + B
Napa Valley Mac User Group + A
Investors SIG meeting + C
NVPCUG General Meeting + A
NVPCUG Computer News, July 2010, Page 2
Meeting Locations
A - Napa Senior Activity Center,
1500 Jefferson Street, Napa
B - Piner’s Nursing Home,
1800 Pueblo Ave., Napa
C - Jerry Brown’s home,
23 Skipping Rock Way, Napa
D - Peterson’s Family Christmas
Tree Farm, 1120 Darms
Lane, Napa.
Napa Valley Personal Computer
Users Group Contact Information
Officers for 2010
Board of Directors
Vice President
Other Directors:
Ron Dack
[email protected]
Dick Peterson
[email protected]
Marcia Waddell 252-2060
[email protected]
Roy Wagner
[email protected]
Susy Ball, Ron Dack, Jim Gray, Dick Peterson, Bob Simmerman,
Kathy Slavens, Dean Unruh, Marcia Waddell, and Roy Wagner.
Jim Gray
[email protected]
Appointed Officers
Computer Tutor Coordinator
Jeff Solomon
[email protected]
Facility Arrangements Coordinator
Dianne Prior
[email protected]
Greeter Coordinator
Kathy Slavens
[email protected]
Greeter Coordinator
Bob Simmerman 259-6113
[email protected]
Dean Unruh
[email protected]
Membership Director
Bob Simmerman 259-6113
[email protected]
Newsletter Circulator
Jim Hearn
[email protected]
Newsletter Editor
Susy Ball
[email protected]
Product Review CoCoordinator
Susy Ball
[email protected]
Product Review CoCoordinator
Marcia Waddell
[email protected]
Programs Director
Susy Ball
[email protected]
Publicity Director
Ron Dack
[email protected]
Random Access Moderator
Jerry Brown
[email protected]
Special Projects Director
[email protected]
Ron Dack
[email protected]
• All telephone numbers are in Area Code 707.
NVPCUG Computer News, July 2010, Page 3
Computer News
Computer News (ISS
0897-5744) is
published monthly by
the Napa Valley
Personal Computer
Users Group, Inc.
(NVPCUG), P.O. Box
2866, Napa, CA
Subscriptions: $30 for
one year (12 issues).
Editor: Susy Ball,
[email protected]
The material in
Computer News is
intended for
purposes and may not
be reproduced without
prior written permission,
except that permission
for reproducing articles,
with authors properly
credited, is granted to
other computer user
groups for their internal,
nonprofit use only. The
information in this
newsletter is believed
to be correct. However,
the NVPCUG can
assume neither
responsibility for errors
or omissions nor liability
for any damages
resulting from the use
or misuse of any
The NVPCUG is an IRC
501(c)(3) tax-exempt
nonprofit educational
organization (EIN 680069663) and is a
member of the
Association of Personal
Computer User Groups
(APCUG), an
organization. Donations
to the NVPCUG are
tax-deductible as
charitable contributions
to the extent allowed by
law. Copyright © 2008
LightScribe CD DVD Label Burning
Reviewed by Ann Martin, Treasurer, Seniors Computer Group, California, December 2009 issue,
Bits and Bytes, , [email protected]
Finally, there is a solution to printing and then pasting labels
onto CDs or DVDs you have created on your computer. And
it’s the LightScribe CD/ DVD Burner. Whatever is that you
may ask? What it is, in fact, is a CD/DVD burner which has
the ability to burn labels directly onto your disks.
Once you have the LightScribe drive installed in your
computer and a LightScribe enabled disc you are ready to get
started. For this exercise we will use a Verbatim Company
16X DVD-R supplied for testing purposes. They come in 30
Pack spindles and these new disks will allow you to etch labels
30% faster than previous media. These can be found on the
internet for as low as $18 a spindle. All the software you will
need to get started is available for downloading from the
LightScribe web site at: http//, or it may
have been included with the purchase of your LightScribe insert photos or other graphics into your design.Within 5 minutes
CD/DVD burner. You can also purchase software and I I was able to easily design a lovely label. But, of course, this one
suspect that versions of all disk burning software will eventually would also take longer to print onto my disk.
include the ability to create LightScribe printed labels.
The media comes in a variety of colors and does cost a bit more
than regular discs but considering the savings of not having to
media, it can be well worth it. For archival data storage, it is an
excellent solution. The etched label does not run if it gets wet and
doesn’t peel as stick- on paper labels sometimes do.
Simple labels take about two minutes to burn but more
elaborate ones using photos can take considerably longer and this
might be a great excuse to go and have a cup of coffee.
The easiest way to get started is to go to the LightScribe
web site at: and
look around. Watch the video then download and install some
software and you are ready to go. First you must have the
LightScribe System Software (LSS) which is similar to a
driver. After that you can download the Labeling Application
which will get you started in creating simple but effective
labels on your disks. There is also a LightScribe Template
Labeler available to help you get a bit more creative with your
creations. Just download and install the software.
Now you are ready to create and
burn labels. Just open the Simple
Labeler or the Template Labeler and
follow the steps. With the Simpler
Labeler you start out by keying in the
text you want on the label and selecting
the font you want to use. Then you
pick a border from the 8 available
ones. The final step is to be sure you
have your LightScribe drive selected and a LightScribe enabled
disk inserted in the drive label side down. In 2 minutes you will
have a laser etched disk.
The Template Labeler which comes with a great variety of
templates is slightly more complicated as it also allows you to
Bill Coop cont. from page 3
could strike up a meaningful conversation with anyone
at anytime that may last for some time.
He is survived and will be greatly missed by his wife
of 57 years, Carol Elaine Coop; son and daughter-inlaw, Jim and Sheila, of Crescent City; son and daughterin-law, Bill and Yolanda, of Fairfield; grandson Eric
and wife Doris, of Jacksonville, Fla.; grandson, Noah,
of Fairfield; granddaughter, Jessica, of San Francisco;
grandson Nick and wife Kathy, of Fresno; grandson
Josh and fiancée Ana, of Crescent City; greatgrandchildren, Valerie, Misty, Allison, Elliot and Aaliya.
His family extends to sister-in-law, Jan Hill of Hastings,
Neb., and many cousins, nephews and nieces.
A memorial service with military honors will be held
June 21, at 10:30 a.m., at Sacramento Valley National
Cemetery 5810 Midway Road, Dixon.
Donations in Bill’s memory may be made to Yolo
Hospice, 1909 Galileo Court, Suite A, Davis, CA 95618.
Posted in the Napa Register Obituaries or http://
obituaries on Tuesday, June 15, 2010 12:00 am
Updated: 9:01 pm.
NVPCUG Computer News, July 2010, Page 4
iPad Shoppers Beware!
By Gregory West, Member of Computers Operators of Marysville and Port Huron (C.O.M.P.),
Michigan, [email protected]
This article has been obtained from APCUG with the author’s
permission for publication by APCUG member groups; all other
uses require the permission of the author (see e-mail address above).
If you are bent on getting an iPad don’t
read 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 lesser 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 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.(
Gregory West is a Mac Instructor for Lambton College
in Ontario, Canada.
He is also Webmaster at Central United Church, the
home of the new COMMUNITY Computer Room at:
Can’t drive yourself to the Napa Senior
Activity Center,
1500 Jefferson Street, Napa for the
monthly general meeting?
Why not email your ride-share request
to the NVPCUG
email list at:
[email protected]
NVPCUG Computer News, July 2010, Page 5
Verbatim Nano Wireless Mouse
Reviewed by Fred Wassermann, Vice President, Programs, Seniors Computer Group,
California, December 2009 issue, Bits and Bytes,, [email protected]
I just installed a new Verbatim Nano wireless mouse in my
notebook computer. I had used another brand of wireless
mouse which had a typical 2-inch long wireless receiver.
It was satisfactory but because I had to remove the USB
receiver to fit it into the carrying case, it was not ideal. It
also worried me somewhat as I had already damaged two
thumb drives on my desktop computer as well as destroying
one USB female socket on that computer. Well, I damaged
the one and my 75 pound dog did the other one. I learned
but he didn’t. You can see one totaled thumb drive below.
It doesn’t take much to kill one.
This got me thinking about possible damage to the
wireless mouse receiver dongle as well as the possibility of
damage to the notebook motherboard if anything bumped
it or dropped on it. Replacement receivers are about half
the cost of the whole mouse setup. Motherboards are very
expensive to replace on notebooks. If you look at the
Verbatim Nano Mouse in the figures at the top and bottom
right, you can see that the receiver is extremely small. It
barely projects ¼ inch from the computer. It is just big
enough to be removable with thumb and forefinger. It is not
likely to be in the path of anything that can break it.
Problem solved, worry gone, and my notebook can be
packed even with the receiver attached.
ranges greater than 10 feet from the mouse, well beyond
where one can see the cursor on the screen. My present
desktop wireless mouse has the stutters when it is only 4
feet from the computer. That can be an issue when a
desktop unit is as distant from the mouse as mine is. This
would not be a problem with the Verbatim Nano.
Another consideration for those that have built-in
Bluetooth in their notebook, this mouse is also available in
a Bluetooth unit, requiring no dongle at all. Same price,
same functionality.
The Verbatim Nano Mouse functions better than any
wireless mouse I have owned. It has very good resolution,
offers significant protection from bumping damage due to the
small size of the receiver, is less expensive than comparable
products, and comes in six colors. I am partial to red.
If you have a notebook, I recommend this product. If you
just have a desktop unit I recommend it as a worthwhile
accessory. Wireless has come a long way with this product.
More info is available at:
How does this mouse compare with other units? At a
suggested list of $29.95, it is the least expensive wireless 29sww5k.
mouse sold with a tiny receiver dongle like this one. Similar
Solar Power
Nano mice are considerably more expensive. The mouse
is small, perfectly sized for your notebook, yet quite
Solar panels aren’t just for the roof of your house.
adequate for the average hand. A rubberized grip makes
Now, solar-powered electronics and accessories
for easy handling. The Nano has the standard two buttons
are produced with eco-conscious features,
along with a programmable scroll wheel but no extra
designed to harness the power of the sun. Laptop
programmable function buttons. Of course, the included
cases, Bluetooth car kits, and radios with built-in
software allows left- or right-hand use. I found that extra
solar panels help your devices stay charged via
mouse buttons are often accidentally clicked when those
the sun’s energy.
functions are least desired. This mouse shuts off to save
batteries when not in use. It is not an issue with notebook
Reprinted with permission from Smart Computing. Visit to learn what Smart
users, but in my tests, the receiver worked flawlessly at
Computing can do for you and your user group!
NVPCUG Computer News, July 2010, Page 6
Along Memory Lane Via YouTube - Part One
By Marian Smith, a member of the Perth PCUG, Australia, Axess, Magazine of the Perth PC
Users Group, Australia, May 2010 Issue,,
[email protected]
A few months ago the unthinkable happened for those of us
who enjoy downloading old music, old movies and other
reminders of an almost forgotten era, and then there are
some modern-day enjoyments such as some TV
documentaries, if they are available from YouTube, that is.
Both the previous version of YouTube Downloader and
RealPlayer Download stopped working simultaneously. I’m
still not aware of the details, but at least not aware of the
details, but at least the new version of ‘YouTube Downloader’
(which was version 2.5.3 when this catastrophe occurred)
has recently been updated to version 2.5.4, which works
and, just a short time ago, I found an update for RealPlayer.
You will find the updated version of YouTube Downloader
available from w w w . y o u t u b e d o w n l o a d . and the you-beaut point is that is it free.
If you bought ‘RealPlayer’, you can also update it ‘free’.
RealPlayer Downloader is so simple to use. When you start
to play the video-clip you are after, simply move the mousepointer to near the top of the main “video” display and a tab
will appear, inviting you to ‘Download with RealPlayer’.
Just click it, and the download will happen automatically. It
will be downloaded to a ‘RealPlayer’ folder created within
your ‘Videos’folder during RealPlayer’s installation. When
the download is finished, you can convert the file if you wish,
using the included “Convert” function.
If you’ve been using the YouTube Downloader program
through a few of its previous updates, you’ll find this version
somewhat different in a few aspects. When you find an item
you want to download from YouTube, so that you can enjoy
watching or listening to it at your leisure, be aware that, now,
there is no URL conveniently displayed to the right of the
main display. Instead, you get to it by right-clicking on the title
displayed above the main part of the screen. A drop-down
menu will appear which includes the word ‘Properties’ well
down the list. Click on it and a panel will appear with the URL
displayed in it. Select this URL by dragging your mousepointer along it. Then right-click on it and another list will
appear with the word ‘Copy’ included in it. Click on that
word, then:If you have YouTube Downloader pinned to your ‘Start’
menu, open it. One button displayed there will be labelled as
“Download options. Here is where you can set the program
to simply give you the ‘best available’ sound and picturequality. Now you just point to the blank ‘Download’ panel
and the URL will be automatically ‘pasted’ there. That’s
easy to do, isn’t it?
Next, click the OK button and you will see two more
messages appear - one asking you if you want to show the
file’s URL – click OK. The next will simply indicate where
the file will be saved – very useful information when you
want to find it later. Click ‘Save’ for that option and the
download will begin. You may find that the file-icon with the
familiar small picture representing what you downloaded
has the RealPlayer logo in one corner. If you have RealPlayer
installed, you can play such files with no further attention
Part Two
If you want to use Windows Media Player to look-at or listento whatever it is you just downloaded, your file needs to be
‘converted’ to a different type. Here is what you do.
When your download has completed, close all windows
except the main window for YouTube Downloader. Click the
‘button’ next to the word ‘Convert,’ and a drop-down list of
file-types will appear. Choose the file-type you wish to
convert to (for Windows Media Player it is WMV7 if it is a
video-file you have just downloaded). Then go to where your
original file was saved, so that you can drag its icon across to
the ‘Convert’ option in YouTube Downloader, and its name
will appear there automatically. Click OK. Asmaller panel will
appear, inviting you to adjust picture quality and audio-volume.
If the volume is loud and distorted, you can repeat this step
over and over – moving the ‘volume’ slider down more. Each
time you save a ‘change’ you will be asked if you want to
replace the file. Click ‘Yes’. Don’t delete the original ‘YouTube’
video-file until you are satisfied with the result of the latest
change you have made.
When you are finished using YouTube Downloader,
remember to close the program by clicking on the ‘Close’ icon
in the top-right corner of its panel, not the OK button. If you
click on the OK button, the program will attempt to repeat
what it just did.
Finally, it is an unfortunate reality that the new version of
YouTube Downloader doesn’t convert to .wav format although,
strangely, it will convert from the .wav file-format. There is an
alternative program available (ConvertHQ), which can handle
quite a number of input file-formats including extracting audio
information from a video file, but even it doesn’t write a .wav
file. It writes mp3 files. This program is not free, but it’s worth
having despite this little inconvenience.
For those of you who know something of ‘audio-editing,’ if you
haveAdobeAudition 1.5, which is a virtual ‘clone’of Syntrillium’s
‘Cool Edit Pro v2,’ and can still be bought from a few online stores;
you can use this program’s ‘Open audio from video’ function to
“rip” the audio information from the file and save it as a .wav file.
I hope this information helps you to download favourite music and
videos from YouTube and enjoy watching and listening to those
oldies-but-goodies yet again.
NVPCUG Computer News, July 2010, Page 7
Mac OS X – Leopard Edition,
The Missing Manual
Review by Gregory West, Member of the Computer Operators of Marysville & Port Huron
(COMP), Michigan,, [email protected]
By David Pogue, Published by O’Reilly Media Inc.
ISBN-13: 978-0-596-52952-9
Apple created 300 new features inside Leopard, however
failed to let you in on many of the tricks and tips that
Pages: 893
“demystiûes” this amazing new operating system. In this book
USA: $34.99 / CDA: $34.99
David Pogue also shows “refugees”, who escaped Windows
and moved to a Mac. Windows users need no other books, as
If you love your Mac, you will love this book. Pogue shows where they went in Mac OS X 10.5.
This book details every aspect of the Leopard operating
This book is spread out in six parts: The Mac OS X
system, from simple to advanced. Looking up how to do
Desktop, Programs in Mac OS X, The Components of
something is fast and easy, although this book is a real treat
Mac OS X, The Technologies of Mac OS X, Mac OS
for simply browsing topics to learn some tricks and tips that
Online, Appendixes.
you won¼t ûnd in most other Help sections.
In the ûrst part you discover folders and windows and
For instance, only about 4% of us back up our computers
how to organize your data. Pogue takes you through the
and now there is no excuse. Leopard comes equipped with
various items such as: Spotlight searching, using the Dock,
its own backup system, Time Machine, and with this book
Desktop and Toolbars and gives you an expert feel as you
you can easily follow the simple step-by-step process to
see how simple Leopard is to use.
ensure you never lose anything again. When working
Without a doubt, this book is a great refresher; it is one
through these types of sections you can easily set up the
you will refer to when you you’re stuck. The thing I
process, read the technical stuff, or try out some of the
like about this book is that you can pick it up and open
exciting tips that are all highlighted: basic, moderate, and
and begin reading. I highly recommend this
advanced data. But the bottom line is all these sections are
of users, both as a learning tool, and as a
designed to get you going, give you the “under-the-hood”
scoops, and show you some magic tricks to boot that helps quick reference guide. Before you call a technician for a
problem, treat yourself to this “must have” book ûrst.
make this book a good read.
BluePack S3
By George Harding, Treasurer, Tucson Computer Society, AZ, The Journal of the Tucson
Computer Society, January 2010,, [email protected]
This article has been obtained from APCUG with the author’s other languages). There is also a very nice fabric carrying
permission for publication by APCUG member groups; all other
case with a drawstring for the device and cables.
uses require the permission of the author (see e-mail address above).
Charging is with the three-ended cable. It takes a couple of
We have so many portable devices these days that it’s hard
to fully charge the device. There is a 3-light indicator and
to keep track of which charging cord goes with which
on the edge of the device; a press of the button shows
device. We certainly don’t want to carry all the cords along
lights if fully charged, two or one if not.
wherever we go. Often, we forget to check if a given
A built in flashlight is accessed by pressing and holding
device needs charging. All these problems! BluePack S3
button. Once charged, you attach one of the three
to the rescue!
cables to your Blackberry, iPhone, iPod, MP3
If you have an iPhone, iPod or a Blackberry, you’ll want
device. This will both charge your device
to have a BluePack S3. It’s a small external battery for
to play if discharged.
charging these three devices and more. In the box is the
The BluePack S3 is very small, about the size of a deck
BluePack S3, a cord with a 3 5 mm plug (for charging the
cards but half as thick. It’s very convenient to put in a
BluePack S3), a USB plug and a wall socket plug. There
pocket or purse. I found the BluePack S3 very easy
are three similar cords, one for Blackberry, one for iPhone
I recommend it to anyone with any of the devices
and iPod, and a third for any device using a micro-USB
plug. The Blackberry cord can actually be used on any it can power.
About: BluePack S3
device with a mini-USB socket for charging, which many
MP3 players do.
Vendor: Dexim
The box also has three booklets: a Quick Guide, a Warranty
Card and a Usage Manual (3½ pages of English, same for 10
Price: about $66
NVPCUG Computer News, July 2010, Page 8
Variations On a Theme of Flash Drives
Reviewed by Fred Wasserman, Vice President, Programs, Seniors Computer Group, California,
December 2009 issue, Bits and Bytes,, [email protected]
Flash drives have become not just interesting little toys but
essential storage and data transfer tools. How many of us
still use floppy disks to pass data along from one computer
to another? They fit in a shirt pocket. For bigger stacks of
data, a CD or DVD was necessary, but didn’t fit in that
shirt pocket. When flash drives came along disk media
were relegated to just long-term storage or for sending
data by mail. Flash drives in use is doubling every year.
That means there is a real opening for manufacturers to
come up with newer and better versions of the product.
casing soldered to the external connector. But this Verbatim
product addresses the fragility problem by design and
elimination of the weakest point, the connector-to-body
attachment. The connector, electronics and housing are just
a single strong plastic potted circuit board.
I came into possession of some really interesting and
useful variations on the flash drive, or thumb drive, as it is
sometimes called. They both held my interest as very
useful devices. One is so small and flat that it can easily be
put in your wallet where it would probably make less of a
bulge than a folded dollar bill. Great idea. They both come
equipped to clip on to your key chain. The larger one, called
“TUFF-CLIP” has a retractable protector on the connector
end and a spring latch to connect to anything like a key ring.
The little one, called “TUFF-N-TINY” can also be attached
to a key chain with the supplied lanyard. A consideration
with that USB Drive is you must remember to keep the
contacts facing up when connecting it to the USB port,
though it won’t suffer damage if you don’t.
It doesn’t just stop there.
completely sealed, water and
dust resistant, measures just
1 by ½ inch and is no thicker
than a penny and offers 2, 4
or 8 Gb of storage for $12 to
$27. Until now, the one flash
drive weakness was their
fragility. These are complex little devices with their delicate
circuit board components within some kind of brittle plastic
TUFF-CLIP, the other innovative USB drive, is an
extremely tough unit that is designed for extreme
environments and can be clipped to backpacks, belt loops
key chains or what have you.
As an added convenience, both come with the application
built in to encrypt the data contents in any Windows
environment. If lost or stolen, your data is safe but only if
you use that capability.
Last, but in no way least, is that these USB drives are
enhanced for users of the newer versions of Windows. They
are Readyboost capable. You will ask, what is Readyboost?
With Widows Readyboost which is available with Windows
Vista and Windows 7, you can use appropriately designed
USB flash memory to improve performance without having
to add additional memory to the computer internals. The
flash drive acts as the additional memory cache that, like
your installed RAM, can be accessed faster than hard drive
storage. Visualize 4- or 8-Gigabytes of additional memory to
speed up your large file-intensive programs such as working
on a large Photoshop image.
Verbatim, producer of the old - inch floppy that my
first computer ran from has added these new products
to its expanding line of useful media and is still making
the good stuff.
NVPCUG Computer News, July 2010, Page 9
Work smarter, let Google Alerts do your
grunt work
By Tom Thiel, Programs Director, Lake-Sumter Computer Society, Florida,,
[email protected]
This article has been obtained from APCUG with the author’s
permission for publication by APCUG member groups; all other
uses require the permission of the author (see e-mail address above).
The web is a treasure-trove of information. But maybe you
are too busy doing other things to always remember to
look, or maybe you just do not think of it.
Then let Google do it for you on a regularly-scheduled
frequency and deliver it to your inbox.
I do. I have Google search all sorts of things for me—
material for my Taro Leaf publication of the 24th Infantry
Division Association, personal things, family obituaries for
my family tree—all sorts of very helpful items.
It’s with Google Alerts. Let me explain.
Google Alerts are email updates of the latest relevant
Google results (web, news, etc.) based on your
choice of query or topic. Some handy uses of Google
Alerts include:
• monitoring a developing news story
• keeping current on a competitor or industry
• getting the latest on a celebrity or
event keeping tabs on your favorite sports teams
Interested? It’s really quite simple. Here’s how.
• Open Google, i.e., Click on
“more.” And then on “even more.”
• Google Alerts is the first entry under the Search
products listing. Click on it, and you will see the form
shown below.
• Place your search term in the first box, “Search
terms.” That can be, in my case: “Thiel +obituary”
or ‘“24th infantry division” +obituary” or “Lake
Sumter Computer Society” as examples.
• Type offers you six choices: News, Blogs, Web,
Comprehensive, Video and Groups. I use
Comprehensive for all of mine.
• For How often, you can select from: as-it-happens,
once a day, or once a week. Most of mine are as-ithappens.
For the Your email block you may enter any valid email
address, it does not have to be Gmail.
NVPCUG Computer News, July 2010, Page 10
With my Gmail Google Alerts, it
also gives an option of email or
feed. I have never used feed.
Well, what might you expect when
you send in your Google Alert? The
two figures below are two examples
of my Gmail inboxes.
The two “Orians +obituary” hits
highlighted near the bottom of the
above figure pointed me to the
obituary of my third cousin, Rev.
Father David M. Orians, 57, of
Newark, OH, who died Monday,
Oct. 26, 2009. I did not know David,
but a quick Legacy Family Tree
index search revealed that he was
indeed in my list of Orians family
members. So, I now have much new information to add to
my genealogy family file, albeit, as a secondary source.
I also am editor of the Taro Leaf publication of the 24th
Infantry Division Association, which is a quite nice glossy
48-page +/- that is sent to 2,200 members every quarter.
As such, I am always looking for materials to publish,
especially, TAPS notices of our members, historical or
feature articles, and sometimes just filler materials.
The Google Alert near the middle of the above figure
was the obituary of Association member, Norman
Treadway. Clicking on it reveals the listing below, and
clicking on that took me to the actual obituary, which I
copied to the clip board and used “paste special” to paste
it either into a Word or Publisher file in the format of the
receiving document. This latter is convenient and very
time-saving. Treadway’s obituary is below and it is followed
by the actual TAPS notice.
The list below is a partial listing of all 24th-related Alerts
I have operational. Actually, as I was doing this article, I
thought of even a few more “Task Force Smith” for one.
So, there you have it!
The magic of Google Alerts. For the last issue I found a
10 or so page history of the 24th Infantry division that after
a wee bit of reformatting and placing into columnar format
nicely filled five published pages.
Alerts really work for me as I never would be able to
remember to do each search once a day, and they work
while I’m doing other things.
Bet it would work for you too. Try it.
Use WMP To Create An Audio CD
Click Copy From CD on WMP’s interface, select the
particular tracks you want to record, and click the
Copy Music button. Repeat the process for every
album in your collection; just make sure to use the
same recording settings when ripping all of your
tracks. Configure the settings by opening WMP’s
Tools menu, selecting Options, and choosing the
Copy Music tab. We suggest that you select the
Windows Media Audio (Variable Bit Rate) format
option and position the Audio Quality slide to the
Uses About 59MB To 94MB Per CD (135Kbps To
215Kbps) or higher setting. (Kbps stands for kilobits
per second.) Once the selected files are on a local
hard drive, usually in the WMA (Windows Media
Audio) or MP3 format, it’s time to transfer them to
disc. You have two options for doing so, each of
which produces a different outcome. The first option
is to create a data CD by copying the audio files
directly to the disc in their existing WMA or MP3
format. This option boasts one significant benefit:You
can fit 10 to 12 hours of music on a single disc. The
second option is to create an actual audio CD. You
can do so by converting the compressed (condensed
so as to occupy less space) audio files to audio tracks.
Reprinted with permission from Smart Computing. Visit to learn what Smart
Computing can do for you and your user group!
NVPCUG Computer News, July 2010, Page 11
Corel Painter™ 11
By Iris Yoffa, a member of the Tucson Computer Society, AZ, The Journal of the Tucson
Computer Society, January 2010,, [email protected]
This article has been obtained from APCUG with the author’s
permission for publication by APCUG member groups; all other
uses require the permission of the author (see e-mail address above).
I read a number of Painter 11 reviews online before asking
to review this latest release of Corel Painter. Some say the
application improvements and additions are numerous and
notable. Others say that while there are not an abundance
of new features and enhancements, the ones you’ll find
are quite significant and easily make the upgrade a good
investment of time and money.
For myself, after taking a test ride, I
go with the second opinion. The
improved interaction between the
Wacom Intuos III and this version of
Painter brings digital media drawing
and painting even closer to the natural
media experience. What an amazing
The CD and brief documentation
come in a small “eco-friendly” package.
No large boxes, plastic, or unnecessary
packing material to deal with. The new
features are listed on page two of the 4
75" X 5 25" manual. This is followed by
an abbreviated tour of the workspace, some basics about
working with digital media, using the multitude of brushes
and textures, and a few pages for Photoshop users making
the transition. So what’s new? The RealBristle category
now has the addition of “DryMedia” brushes, which
behave remarkably close to their real media counterparts.
The Markers build color with each successive stroke. The
Pen responds to stroke velocity with varying thickness of
stroke. The Pencil & Chalk are sensitive to your stylus
angle (point or side) when drawing on the page.
The support for Wacom’s Cintinq and Intuos products
has been enhanced. Support for native Photoshop files
now includes color profiles and layers. The redo on the
color management interface is intuitive and makes it much
easier to navigate than its predecessor.
A Lasso has been added to the selection tools, and the
responsiveness of the Marquee and Magic Wand tools has
been improved. There is a new Transform tool that groups
together the move, scale, rotate, skew, distort and
perspective distortion functions.
And there have been enhancements to the brush controls,
color and mixer palettes. But best of all, brush performance
is noticeably more responsive than in previous versions.
I’d never previously used the auto-painting feature in the
underpainting palette, but tried it out in this version. It’s a
great way to have the program create an initial sketch or
base layer for your art. I played with it a bit. You can select
to use any brush category and variant, manually adjusting
brush properties such as size, opacity, or jitter.
If you’d rather, you can place a tic next to “Smart
Stroke” and “Smart Settings,” telling Painter to follow the
perceived forms in the photo when selecting the brush
options used for applying the auto-painting strokes. From
here you can add a new layer for building up the image.
Place a tic next to “Preserve Transparency” to protect
empty areas (areas that don’t contain
brush strokes), in the underlying layer.
Place a tic next to “Pick Up Underlying
Color” when using a brush variant that
supports allowing the current layer to
interact with the lower layer. In addition,
the layer panel contains a drop down list
of blend modes that can create some
interesting results in how the two
adjacent layers interact.
Painter can seem overwhelming with
its wealth of features and options.
Approaching this program as a newbie
should be done in the same way that a new user might
approach Photoshop.
Learn the interface basics and keep a reference handy
as a reminder of where tools, panels and such things are
located. Pick one brush and learn what you can do with it
before considering what to learn next. Find a book that
speaks to you and stick with it
This is the program that in version 1 brought us a
tremendous number and variety of brushes, including
cloners, as well as paper textures and surface textures (3D
emulation) back in 1991.
When I was first introduced to Painter (in version 3), I
was amazed by the Image Hose, a tool that generated
patterns of images and that could be customized by the
user in a variety of ways. Using the canned variants, I was
fairly impressed with the logos I could spit out.
In Summary
So what’s my take on this upgrade? All these new features
and feature enhancements are wonderful. But for me it’s
all about the brushes, the emulation of actual artists’ tools
and the just-plain-fun features and plug-ins
To get the look and feel of using oils, watercolor, chalk,
pen, liquid ink, distortion tools or pencils, just to name a few
of the many brush categories, you really need a Wacom
tablet. I was about to add “or equivalent,” but I don’t think
NVPCUG Computer News, July 2010, Page 12
that there is anything quite like working with a Wacom.
To get the most out of Painter, throw caution to the wind,
there are no mistakes CTRL/CMD + A (select all)
followed by Delete will remove any unwanted traces from
your canvas. Painter 11 is the doorway into endless hours
of exploring and discovering your creative nature. No toxic
fumes, messy setup or tiring cleanup
• About: Corel Painter™ 11
• Vendor: Corel
• Price: $399.00 full version; $199 to upgrade
Requires: Windows®: Windows XP (32-bit or 64-bit
Editions), or Windows Vista (32-bit or 64-bit Editions)
with latest Service Pack, Pentium® IV, 700 MHz or
greater, 1 GB of RAM, 500 MB of hard disk space
for installation, 24-bit color display, 1024 x 768
screen resolution, CD-ROM, Internet Explorer® 6
or greater, Mouse or tablet.
Mac OS®: Mac OS X 10.4 or 10.5 (with latest revision),
Power Mac® G5, 700 MHz or greater, 1 GB of RAM, 500
MB of hard disk space for installation, 24-bit color display,
Review: The Social Media Marketing Book
Reviewed by Linda Gonse, Editor & Webmaster, Orange County IBM PC Users’ Group,
California,, [email protected]
“Currently, Facebook is the dominant social networking
Business owners and organizations have long used
advertising to promote themselves and their products. But site, and it has the most features useful to the social media
advertising in the newspapers, magazines, radio, and marketer.” Although it began with university students as
members, its “fastest growing segment has
television isn’t working like it used to.
been users older than 35, and recent data
As a result, advertisers are shifting away
suggests that the 35-54 age group has become
from traditional media. How social media is
bigger than the 18-24 age group.…a fun but
changing from “one-way, static broadcast
easily navigable place where they can
technologies” to more direct, personal, and
reconnect with old friends.”
interactive messages forms the basis for The
For anyone new to social media and those
Social Media Marketing Book, by Dan
wishing to use social media for their own
Zarella. Blogs, Facebook, Linkedin, YouTube,
Twitter, and a host of other social networking sites are businesses and products, the book lists a history and protocol
for over half a dozen categories of social media. Media
becoming the face of advertising in the 21st century.
There are many reasons for the changeover. Reaching categories include blogging, microblogging, social networking,
out and meeting people on their own turf, so to speak, can media sharing, social news and bookmarking, ratings and
be done cheaply (by both large and small companies), reviews, forums, and virtual worlds.
Fascinating facts about their use, personal anecdotes from
quickly, and on a time-sensitive schedule. Advertisers
have found that using social media can generate a lot of the author, and solid techniques for getting the most from
interest, and it can even reach a wider group as it is online media are related with common sense and humor.
redistributed by the customers it reaches.
The book goes beyond being a primer for business
Interestingly, “the roots of online social networking can marketing, however.
be traced to the 1980s bulletin board systems (BBSs).
It will be of interest to the users of social media, as well,
These systems allowed users to log in—through very slow with background descriptions about favorite, (or soon to be
connections—to share software and data as well as send favorite!), gathering places on the web, and screenshots of
private messages and post to public message boards.” The user pages.
BBSs were mainly local entities because of the cost of long
What’s more, if you’ve been hesitant about jumping in
distance calls.
on, say Twitter, Zarella walks you through the jargon and
At the end of the 1980s, desktop programs by answers the questions you are most likely to ask about it
CompuServe, Prodigy, and AOL came on the scene. The as a beginner.
number of users began to grow and the programs were
Whether you need to learn about social media for
able to do more than Bulletin Boards. Users could connect marketing purposes, or for your personal understanding,
to the Internet, browse websites, share files, post personal The Social Media Marketing Book is a knowledgeable
profiles and chat online.
resource and an interesting read.
In the mid-1990s, and— The Social Media Marketing Book
web-based applications—were created for specific groups By Dan Zarrella, November 2009, O’Reilly Media,
of users. By 2002, “the modern era of social networks eBook $15.99, Paperback $19.99 — 35% UG Discount
began”; first with Friendster, then with MySpace.
NVPCUG Computer News, July 2010, Page 13
A First Look at OpenOffice
By Lynn Page, Editor, Crystal River Users Group, Florida, February 2010
Newsletter,, [email protected]
This article has been obtained from APCUG with the author’s looking for in OpenOffice.
permission for publication by APCUG member groups; all other
I found Writer easy to use for simple documents but had
uses require the permission of the author (see e-mail address above).
I have a new mini computer to go to Help for some of the differences between it and
to use for internet access Microsoft Office. I expected I would have adjustment
while traveling. I am issues as Microsoft Word 2007 is my favorite and most
used to having Microsoft used application. I have been using Office 2007 long
Office for all of my enough that I am no longer completely comfortable with
computing needs and Word 2003.
Writer has all text Formatting tools you need including
would be lost without it or
styles and a format painter. I was glad to find see
a similar application. I
and grammar checking and that I could display non
downloaded and installed
characters. Find and replace worked as expected. The OpenOffice suite has six
that the auto-complete feature in Writer displayed
applications: Writer a word processor, Calc a spreadsheet,
Impress for presentations, Base a database program, a lot of words that I didn’t expect. That is not a problem
Math an equation editor, and Draw a graphics program. because you just keep typing to ignore the autocomplete or
OpenOffice works with a wide variety of formats, including hit enter to accept.
OpenDocument and Microsoft Office 2003 formats. So
Cropping a graphic is one feature that is different than I
you can go back and forth between Office and OpenOffice expected. Cropping is done through a dialog box by moving
without losing formatting. OpenOffice even exports files the edges in a measured distance. Not as convenient as
to PDF. And best of all, the entire suite is free.
using the crop handles I am used to but still serviceable.
I will be working more with OpenOffice as I use my new Resizing a graphic is done by dragging the size handles and
mini computer. So I will attempt to provide some of my text wrapping is easily handled with a dialog box. For one
experiences in the newsletter. For my first look I will see last look at Writer’s compatibility with Word, I opened one
how well the suite of office applications handles opening of my Word 2007 documents. Open Office Writer opened
and working with some of my Microsoft Office files and the document and all formatting was intact. I did get a
notice that the document was opening as read only. I was
look a little more at some of the applications.
able save the document in OpenOffice or Word 2003
format and then edit it.
Calc Writer looks and feels like Word 2003. It
lets you produce word processing documents that include
graphics, tables, and charts. You can save in a variety of
formats, including the standardized OpenDocument (odt)
format and Microsoft Word (doc) format. Although Writer
doesn’t have a save as pdf option as found in Word 2007
you can export the document to pdf. Conversely you can
open and edit Word documents. This is really what I was
Calc is the spreadsheet application in OpenOffice. It again
looks and feels like Microsoft Excel 2003. It opened an old
CRUG registration spreadsheet generated in Excel 2003.
All sheets of the spreadsheet, their relationships and all
calculations worked well and all formatting was intact. I
could simulate adding student registrants in classes and
calculations on all sheets were accurately recorded.
Styles and Formatting make it easy to apply cell formatting,
including splitting or merging cell, adding cell borders and
backgrounds. Cell content is formatted as in Writer and
can even be freely
Although I haven’t
worked much with
spreadsheets in the last
couple of years found
using the Formula Bar
straightforward. The
Sum function takes care
of a lot of calculations
NVPCUG Computer News, July 2010, Page 14
and the Function Wizard helps in choosing and using the
other spreadsheet functions. I tried sorting in another of my
spreadsheets and it worked well, correctly sorting data by
a selected column while recognizing my column headings.
Spreadsheets can be saved in OpenDocument format, an
XML based format or a variety of other formats including
Excel xls format.
create output for overheat transparencies or hard copy.
You then specify slide transitions. Then from the list of
pages presented by the wizard select those to be included
in the presentation. Once the wizard creates the generic
presentation just add your information and tailor the
presentation to your needs.
Math is’s
equation editor. It can be
used for generating
mathematical equations.
I have not had the
opportunity to user the
application but it can be
used as an equation editor
for text documents. Within
Writer the equation is treated as an object inside the
The OpenOffice database
application Base unlike the
other applications is not
directly compatible with
database files. With it you
manipulating tables, queries, forms and reports within the
database. Since my intent with this first look at OpenOffice
is to look at compatibility with my Microsoft Office files I
have not looked at Base. I will look at it at a future time.
OpenOffice’s presentation application Impress can open
and modify Microsoft PowerPoint presentations or create
slide shows with the presentation wizard. Presentations
can include charts, drawing objects, text, multimedia or
other items. Animations and slide transitions make the onscreen presentation interesting and professional.
I opened and edited one of my PowerPoint presentations,
made changes, saved it to Impress odp format and ran the
presentation. Impress looked and felt like PowerPoint
while editing and running the presentation. The presentation
had the template, smart art graphics, transitions, text
formatting and digital images I used when generating it in
PowerPoint 2007. I did note that some transitions appeared
a little rougher but still ran.
When Impress is opened
the presentation wizard
starts automatically. You
choose to create a new
blank presentation, use a
template and let the wizard
walk you through structuring
the presentation or open an
existing presentation.
When creating an empty presentation the Presentation
Wizard walks through the steps of selecting a background,
slide transitions, and speed of presentation if it is to be
automatic. Not all of the backgrounds and transitions of
PowerPoint are available but there are enough to get by.
If you decide to create a presentation based on a
template the wizard lets you select a template based on the
type of presentation and the output medium. For many of
us this is an on screen presentation but Impress can also
I expected Draw to be
similar to Paint but that is
not the case. It is a vector
graphics editor featuring
connectors between the
available shapes. I have not made any attempt at using
Draw at this time.
Conclusions’s office suite offers an alternative to
Microsoft Office or other office applications. As it is free
it can be a solution for someone not wanting to invest in
purchasing a license for one of the software suites. For
those like me who use Office but have an extra computer
without Office installed it offers a solution. The compatibility
lets me copy my Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, and
PowerPoint presentations to my mini. I can use and even
edit my files in Writer, Calc or Impress and then save in the
previous Microsoft format to use again on my desktop or
laptop. For those using OpenOffice as their only office
suite it lets them save in the Microsoft Office format or
even as a pdf.
This makes sharing files simple.
Quit Cold Turkey
PressingALT-F4 while in a Windows operating system
will close the program you’re working in. Press
carefully, though: Many programs won’t double-check
to make sure you meant to close that particular app.
Reprinted with permission from Smart Computing. Visit to learn what Smart
Computing can do for you and your user group!
NVPCUG Computer News, July 2010, Page 15
Offering Financial Services throughout the
Napa Valley; with offices in American
Canyon, Calistoga,
Napa, St. Helena
and Yountville
947 Lincoln Avenue
Napa, CA 94559-5066
(707) 299-1000 • [email protected]
Napa Valley Personal Computer Users Group
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Annual Dues:
Regular Member - an individual who is not a full-time student
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Make check payable to:
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Mail application/renewal to:
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Attn.: Membership Director, P.O. Box 2866
Napa, CA 94558-0286.
The NVPCUG is an accredited IRC 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Your dues payment may be tax-deductible as a
charitable contribution.
* To request a Corporate Membership Application / Renewal form, e-mail:
[email protected]
NVPCUG Computer News, July 2010, Page 16
Revised 2-14-2010
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