Computer Users' Group
April 16, 2003
We started the meeting with a bonus graphics demonstartion. Member Betty Morris had photos of her great-great grandfather and wanted to know which one of a group of sailors he was based on a photo of him alone. We demonstrated some techniques to help with the identity.
First we masked the heads of the people and then used Picture Publisher's "Stretch Detail" function to enhance the brightness and contrast. We then selected "Grandpa Short's" head and used "Create Object from Mask" to create what other programs would call a "Layer". We then copied that "Object" to the photo of the sailors, superimposed it on the man on the left after appropriately rezing it by draging in the corners.
We then clicked the selection tool and got the transparency slider and adjusted it to make the front and back persons equally visible. That's shown in the graphic below where we left them slightly mis-aligned. Then we slid the top photo over until we had a nearly perfect match. In the demo we used variation in transparency to transition from one image to the next; here we show them mis-aligned and then aligned to show the nearly perfect match.
Some of these shortcuts are more useful than others depend a lot on user preference but all are worth a try. The most useful are probably those dealing with copying, cutting and pasting; moving through and highlighting text and ALT-TAB which switches among open applications. You do open more than one application at a time, don't you? Th LOGO key is the key on the Windows or Windows Natural keyboard that has the Windows Logo. LOGO-U opens the Accessibility Utilities menu. Try the magnifier if you have trouble reading smaller text. What's under the cursor appears magnified at the top of the page. One not listed here depends on having a "Scroll Mouse". When viewing a Web Page, holding down the SHIFT key and scrolling the wheel on the mouse provides five levels of text size; 2 smaller and 2 larger thn the original.
Hard Drive Security
Recent investigations by PCWORLD Magazine reveal home easy it is to find or buy a used hard drive and find that it contains valuable personal records. When you delete a file, the operating system deletes the first letter of the index to that file in the File Allocation Table (FAT) and replaces it with a ?. That tells the system that the file is no longer used and my be overwritten. Until it is overwritten by a newer file, however, the data is fully recoverable. Even after being overwritten it is sometimes possible to extract some information, but only at the expense of considerable effort.
So how do you protect your confidential and personal data when you dispose of a computer or hard drive? Programs exist that will "wipe" the drive clean. Most utility program such as Norton or McAfee include such programs for you to use. Listed below are 2 additional programs selected because they are free. They write "ones" and "zeros" to the entire disk surface (sometimes excluding the operating system (Windows) area, usually more than once to inhibit any residual magnetism.
Interesting Internet Sites
The library of Congress has gone a long way to make it'e collection available on the Internet. The American Memory Section is particulary interesting for it's audio, video, photographic and textual resources on American History. One interesting historical effort was that of the WPA Writers' Project. While laborers were put to work with pick and shovel during the depression, out of work writers were paid to interview ordinary citizens and the results of those interviews and found here.
These is the index page for the American Memories section. Note that you can select a period of time and find appropriate materials. Search through it. Use a name you're researching; perhaps he'll show up.
This is the Rootsweb State pages section. Note the ga in the URL for the Georgia page. Click on the URL in your browser, point to the ga and replace it with fl and get to Florida's page. A simple edit will take you to all of the stae pages.
This an Index into some of the information available on Rootsweb. Rootsweb hosts this page of ours.
The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) announced an initiative a while back and asked for inputs from interested parties on how it should make it's data available on the Internet. CNN in the article below describes the result of that initiative. The link below that will take you to the AAD (Access to Archival Databases). Our hope is that this is just the beginning of putting all of NARA's data on the web.
Here's a unique site powered by some well known educational and research facilities. It's research material is not vast but it's beautifully done and the details about Martha Ballard's Diary is interesting. Don't overlook the elegant "Magic Lens" that will let you read Martha's handwriting as typewritten text. Also look through what else is available and find some basic introductory materials for beginning genealogists. see also the help on reading old handwriting.