December 14, 2005


Year in Review

January 19, 2005: We covered genealogical web sites, some shopping and travel sites and web searching. Under genealogical sites it should be noted that Ancestry Plus! Is no longer available at home but only at the library.

February 16, 2005: The two topics were spreadsheets and adding identification to photographs.

March 16, 2005: We extended identification of people in photographs to creating a single, emailable file with limited success. Then we talked about Firefox, Thunderbird and NVU, all new programs from the Mozilla foundation.

April 20, 2005: Genealogy from Home. This was an attempt to show just how much you can learn about your family history using the Internet. Note again that Ancestry Plus is no longer available from home.

There was no May meeting as I went to Massachusetts to see my grandaughter graduate from college.

June 29, 2005: Subjects covered were custom reports for Family Tree Maker and Personal Ancestral File, tips for better searching, getting email on the road and system maintenance.

June and July, no meetings.

September 14, 2005: Creating Your Own Web Site discussed Blogs, Podcasts and RSS feeds as well as traditional web sites. For the traditional web site we used NVU, a free program to create a web site and Uncle Ged to create the genealogical content.

October 19, 2005: This month we covered a detailed review of the things that you can do in FTM and PAF and compared them side by side. We emphasized looking at all of the drop down menus in a program to understand what you can do.

November 16, 2005: We looked in more detail and Charts and Reports that can be created in both FTM and PAF. In addition to looking at all of the options, we covered ways to do things that the programs don’t permit such as back to back printing and genealogical report editing.


Pastfinder CD

Pastfinder Program CD: We created a CD that has the files necessary to install several free programs downloaded from the Internet. In addition it contains an index into and all of the Computer Users’ Group meetings since January, 2002. The disk is available for a voluntary contribution to Pastfinders ($5 recommended).


This CD contains files downloaded from the Internet that are free for non-commercial use. In each case the file has to be run to install the program on your computer. It also has all of the programs conducted by the Computer Users’ Group.


Programs on the disk:

Firefox: An Internet browser similar to Internet Explorer but considered by some to be less prone to attack.

GoogleEarth: A program that lets you zoom in an any location in the world and see an aerial view of it. Works best with high speed connection.

Irfan View: A graphics program that allows you to edit images, resize them, convert them either singly or as a batch of images, see thumbnails in any of several sizes and more.

NVU: A web page design program; it’s as easy to use as any word processor and it saves your file in an Internet Ready format.

Open Office: Similar to Microsoft Office it has Writer which reads and writes Word DOC files. Also includes counterparts to Excel, PowerPoint and others.

Personal Ancestral File (PAF): The genealogical record program of the Mormon Church. It creates charts and reports and it imports and exports GEDCOM files. It includes a relationship calculator and several other useful features.

Send to: When you Right Click on a file name, you are presented with a list of options, one of which is Send To but the list of destinations is limited. This Send To program adds Any Folder to the list of options from which you can select any folder on your computer, making it easy to move or copy a file anywhere you want.

Thunderbird: This is an email program like Outlook Express but it includes Spam Filtering. You can select not to download files that you don’t want.

Uncle GED: In order to place your genealogy on the Internet, you need to convert it to HTML code. PAF will do it for you and so will Uncle Ged.

Zone Alarm: This is a firewall program that goes beyond the one that Microsoft added to Windows XP. This one can prevent your computer from calling out as well as blocking inbound attempts to break in.

Computer Users’ Group: Includes all of the programs since January, 2002. To view the Computer Users’ Group programs, double click on the Computer Users’ group folder and then click on the file called START. Click on any date to see the program for that date.


Prescription Drug Plan

Start here and answer the questions asked. We’ll walk through it step by step by here’s what you need to enter in general.

WWW.medicare.gov and click on Compare Medicare Prescription Drug Plans.

Enter your Medicare number and date of birth and Zip code.

Select what type of coverage, if any, that you have now.

Choose type of plan; essentially HMOs and PPOs vs Original Medicare Plan.

Enter your present prescription medications.

Compare plans and prices. This page lists the plans in your area that cover the drugs that you entered. It shows the monthly fee, the deductible, cost of each medication and total cost.

My advice would be to go through it a couple of times until you understand all of the options. Check out more of the links on the first page to learn as much as you can. Take the time to understand what it’s all about.

 Consider mail order and get a 90 day supply and save money.

After you figure it all out, click on enroll and you’re done.


Ripping a CD

Ripping a CD: Music can be compressed so it takes up about 10% of the original memory. Compression can be in the form of MP3 or WMA. Jukebox and Real Player can create MP3; Windows Media Player creates WMA. Windows Media Player can be found under START, PROGRAMS (ALL PROGRAMS in XP), ACCESSORIES, ENTERTAINMENT. Insert a music CD and click RIP. You can click STOP, the black rectangle to keep the music from playing. Click FIND ALBUM INFO on the right if you want to go to the Internet and get data on the album, each track, the artists and the composers. Then click on RIP MUSIC. A progress bar will show the progress of each track ripped. When done, SAVE. Play them through your computer or burn them to CD. Burn as many tracks as the CD will hold. Make sure that you burn them as a DATA CD and not a music CD. That would expand the files back to their original size. If home CD or car CD player won’t play MP3 or WMA CDs then you just wasted a CD but look what you learned.