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Computer Users’ Group

May 18, 2011

One of the most important things that you can do to keep your computer safe is to make sure you get all of the updates for programs that you use. Most important are Microsoft updates for Windows and Office but also Adobe updates for Flash and Reader. Microsoft’s updates usually occur on the second Tuesday of the month, known as Patch Tuesdsay. April’s patch Tuesday was a new record.. Microsoft patched a record 64 vulnerabilities in Windows, Office and five other software packages, many of which allowed attackers to remotely install malware on end user machines. Go to Start/Control Panel and click on Automatic Updates in XP or Windows Updates in Win 7 and select the option that you want but make sure that you get all updates installed.

Insure that you have an Internet Security Program installed to prevent infections. If you don’t have one, Microsoft Security Essentials is a free program that you can get by going to Microsoft Security Essentials at .Microsoft cautions against using it if you already have another program installed. Also, make sure that you have a Firewall that will prevent malicious programs from calling out. Goto Start/Control Panel and click on Windows Firewall and set the options that you want.

Files created in different programs have extensions that identify the program that created them. The extension is the three letter word (sometimes four) that appears after the . (dot). Here are the definitions of a few popular ones.


JPG (JPEG)is an extension for a file format created by the Joint Photographers’ Experts Group which allows for various degrees of file compression to make large files smaller. It does cause some loss in picture quality but is usually not noticeable at small compression numbers. Note that opening and closing the file does not affect the quality but opening, and re-saving will reduce the quality with each save. Convert it to a non-compressed format if you want to make changes and convert back when done. Tagged Image File Format (.tif), and Windows Bitmap (bmp). are popular choices.

DOC is a file format for earlier versions of Microsoft Word, now replaced in Office 2007 and later by DOCX format. You can download a compatibility pack to keep your old Word, Excel and Power Point files updated to newer file types by going here:

PPT is the extension for Microsoft Power point presentation program changed to PPTX in 2007. The compatibility pack above will allow older versions of Power Point to view newer files and if you don’t have Microsoft Office, a Power Point Viewer can be downloaded here:


PDF is the Portable Document Format created in Adobe Acrobat. Many books are formatted this way and our Newsletter is also. There are several programs that can read PDF files but the most common is the Adobe Reader. Many popular word processors allow you to create but not edit PDF files. In most the option is not under Save As but is under Export to PDF. The Nuance Reader that you can get here will allow you to convert files from PDF to Word or WordPerfect, takes up less space and claims to be safer.

Just decline all other things they offer to send you. Conversion, howsever, requires that the file be sent to Nuance’s site for conversion and returned in the formaqt requested.


WPS is the extension for Microsoft Works. Works is the minimum word processor that can do many of the simple tasks but is not as complete as Word. Microsoft makes a file converter that can convert WPS files to other formats. Go to And look for a converter for the program you want it converted to.


ODS is the format for the free Open Office Writer. This program can read most other file types and save in many different formats including DOC but not DOCX.


This link will take you to a site that can explain all extensions and how to open them You can search by the extension you want to know about. .


Go here to download a viewer that can read most files: .


Speed-up Your PC. PC World has listed five programs that you can download to speed up your PC. You can choose what you want to download here: . Not all are free but the second one, All-in-One Tuneup is free and it will clean out some junk and protect against thousands of malware programs. The last one, System Cleaner is Ccleaner and we’ve covered that a couple of times. It’s also free and does a very good job. We’ll run All-in-one in the background as we continue.


 Graphics Programs. Programs such as Picasa, Photoshop Elements and Paint allow you to touch up photographs to enhance or correct them. They can also be used to combine images, cutting and pasting from one image into another. Here’s a brief look at how that works. Using Paint, we’ll open an image of my Grandson and his wife and her mother. We’ll click on Select and scroll down to Transparent Selection and then use the tool provided to outline my granddaughter-in-law’s face and then press CTRL-C to copy the selection. Now we have an image of her face on the clipboard that we could paste somewhere.


She applied to some organization that told her that her user name would have to be the postal abbreviation of the state that she lived in prefixing her name. Since her name is Abbey Nelson that meant her user name would be Flabbey Nelson. I couldn’t let that go by without honoring her so I found an image on the Internet and pasted her face over the face on the original image. It just takes a CTLR-V to paste it where you want it and move it and resize it by dragging the corners. She still talks to me.


Genealogy Sites: If your ancestors came from the British Isles, here are a few sites that will help you find them. Price and Associates is a professional genealogical firm in England and you can hire them to help you find your ancestors. However, they have created a list of the sites that they would use and it’s free and very comprehensive. They indicate which sites cost money by coloring them red. I thought that the first time that I used the site they would hound me to hire them but over several years, I’ve never heard a word from them. Many of the sites include official records. Go here .


The Public Records Office of Northern Ireland has an online presence but it’s mostly a listing of what is held by PRONI in Belfast. They do have some information on line and if you find some records that they hold that are not online you can order them to be copied and sent to you. But Ireland is such a nice place to visit I suggest you go and get the records personally. Go here to see the site: .


This site is dedicated to the genealogy of the UK and Ireland (GENUKI). It has a lot of good information and while it is not as searchable as some other sites, in has information for beginners and a lot about what records are available and the structure of the countries. You get get to GENUKI here .


If you’re doing Italian research, this database may have the information that you are looking for. The records are of New York and Italy.


Searching the Web. We can seek our ancestors using any of the genealogy web sites such as Rootsweb, FamilySearch, Ancestry or those we discussed earlier. There is a way to cover many of those sites at once. Use Google, Yahoo, or Bing. I’ll use Google. Start by thinking about what it is that you want to find. A marriage? Enter the Groom’s name, a space and the Bride’s maiden name. Too many hits? Enter a country, a state, a date, a town, any additional information that will help to limit the answer but not exclude the one that you want. For a person or family, start broad by entering the Surname and town. Modify it by adding factors as necessary. Use a minus sign (-) to exclude a name or place or date.


Let’s see what we can find on the Leonard family of Pomfret, VT. We’ll first just enter Leonard Pomfret. Who knew that a man named Leonard Pomfret would show up? Let’s add Vermont and everything we get at first has to do with Leonard Road. We’ll narrow it down by removing Rd and road by entering those terms preceded by a minus sign.. Scrolling down, we see Henry Owen Leonard. We’re cautioned a couple of times that we don’t have the appropriate software for a map file but we plod on relentlessly. The file is a full Family Group Sheet for Henry Owen Leonard who is my 2nd greatgrandfather. You never know what you’ll find with a simple search like that.


Note the magnifying glass after some of the locations. Clicking on one will, after being told we have have the right API, present us a list of every event in that document that took place at that location. If we had the appropriate API we would also see a map of the location. When I pursued getting the proper API, I was told it was for creating my own imbedded links and I had to signup and indicate what web page I was to use it on. I haven’t had time to further look into how this is supposed to work.


Scrolling down the page we come to some records from Brattleboro VT. Many of the people listed are Dotty’s family, her mother, grandfather and aunts and uncles. Under marriages, I made a great discovery. My grandmother, Annie Nichols and her marriage to Henty Tracy Leonard on 8 Oct., 1902. They met in the Boston area where he was working and she lived and I assumed that they were married in Mass but could never find a record. I also went through Vermont marrige records but never found one.


This is a most interesting site created by a woman pilot and flight instructor. There’s a lot more to this site than I have learned so far and I intend to pursue learning more. Check out her basic genealogy site at .


It’s not likely that you could have found this web site through searching any of the genealogy web sites. So try a Google search and be patient. Add or subtract names and places until you zero in on what you want.


Going back to our search list, we see there’s a web page called Learned and Dill Genealogies. That’s one of our web pages hosted by Rootsweb. If we scroll down to the 1901 Picture we see the Leonard family where each person is identified as you point to their face. We covered how to do that in our meeting of Feb 16, 2005.