GWSA Computer Club

Minutes of Club Meetings

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From the meeting of 12 March, 2018

Treasurer’s Report: Brenda P. reported on the GWSA  Computer Club’s bank balance. The total bank balance including monies from the computer lab ($22.55) plus money from tonight’s meeting ($30.00) amounts to $263.89.

Announcements: There were 10 in attendance. 

Program: Tonight’s program was quite varied and interesting.

Brenda P. gave a presentation on Google Books (previously Google Book Search, Google Print and Project Ocean). As of October 2015, more than 25 million books had been digitized. Following this she presented Google’s N-Gram Viewer, a phenomenally interesting tool from Google that analyses the yearly count of selected n-grams (letter combinations) or words and phrases found in over 5.2 million books digitized by Google. Data can be viewed from 1500 to 2008 making it a particularly insightful tool for marketers, researchers, sociologists, historians and many more professions. See her Powerpoint notes here.

Following this, Brenda P. presented an overview of VPN (Virtual Private Network), what it is and why a person might use it. See her notes here.

Ken C. demonstrated the new HP Spectre laptop recently acquired by the GWSA as well as Chromecast. Download his notes here.

Ross K. presented an update on the Spectre/Meltdown chip vulnerability. He has found an excellent website that presents the problem in a clear and understandable manner. The URL: https://blog.barkly.com/meltdown-spectre-patches-list-windows-update-help. This particular site is the website of the month.

The remainder of the meeting was taken up with a discussion on the GWSA’s proposal to collect all activity group fees on an annual basis. Charts were shown which summarized the historical attendance at the Computer Club. A lively discussion ensued with the conclusion that an annual payment might likely result in the end of the club. Alternatives were suggested and it was felt that a meeting with the Finance Department is in order to discuss this controversial proposal.


From the meeting of 8 January, 2018 

Treasurer’s Report: Brenda P. reported on the Computer Club’s bank balance. At the end of 2017, the balance was $176.94 Add tonight’s collected fees of $33.00 leaves a balance of $209.94. 

Announcements: There were 14 in attendance. 

Program: Ross dealt with three aspects of computer security, the GWSA’s website, Windows 10 shortcuts as well as some tips for using gmail effectively. 

* A video from DEV-CON, the biggest hacker convention in the world was shown. There were two main points made in the video. The first was that hacking can be done over the phone. The second had to do with phishing. When you receive an email with a link, be very careful about clicking this link. Ross suggested that you hover the mouse over the link to see where the link is pointing. See the DEV-CON video below. 

 

* The next point had to do with gmail logging out. Be absolutely sure that you log out of gmail completely. The process was demonstrated. 

* The last security issue had to do with a serious hardware flaw in ALL computer chips. This includes computers of all types, tablets and smartphones. To learn about the vulnerability, go to https://www.howtogeek.com/338269/a-huge-intel-security-hole-could-slow-down-your-pc-soon/. To determine if your machine is vulnerable and to find out what to do about it, go to https://www.howtogeek.com/338801/how-to-check-if-your-pc-is-protected-against-meltdown-and-spectre/.  This story continues to unfold. I am including a recent list of FAQ’s related to the Spectre/Meltdown problem (https://techtalk.pcpitstop.com/2018/01/10/spectre-meltdown-faq-endusers/)

In addition to patching operating systems and computer BIOS, you will need to patch your browser. Firefox has already patched to version 57.0.4. On Jan. 23, a new version of Google Chrome (Chrome 64) should also include mitigations to protect your desktop and phone from web-based attacks. But if you don’t want to wait, Google says an experimental feature called Site Isolation can help right away. Instead of grouping different websites you browse together in a single process — which helps save your computer’s memory, among other things — Site Isolation appears to make each website use its own individual instance of the Chrome browser. That way, it’s harder for a malicious website to access data from other websites you’re browsing (using these new CPU exploits) and potentially do bad things.  

To turn on Site Isolation on Windows, Mac, Linux, Chrome OS or Android:

  • Type or copy-paste chrome://flags/#enable-site-per-process into the URL field at the top of your Chrome web browser, then hit the Enter key.
  • Look for Strict Site Isolation, then tap or click the box labeled Enable
  • If your work is saved, hit Relaunch Now. Otherwise, save your work, then quit and relaunch Chrome.

Next, Ross demonstrated what information Google Analytics gives about the usage of the GWSA website (http://gwsa-guelph.ca). See below For a current screen shot.

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For a list of Windows 10 Shortcuts, go to http://www.comparex-group.com/web/com/about/press/2017/10-keyboard-shortcuts-for-windows-10.htm#. 

For tips on using gmail, go to https://www.makeuseof.com/tag/ultimate-guide-to-gmail/. 

Website of the Month: http://grc.com as described by Ross K. 

Tip of the Month: Go to: http://gwsa-guelph.ca/the-evergreen-computer-club/ to see previous tips there, on the Hints and Tips link.


From the meeting of 13 November, 2017

Treasurer’s Report:

Announcements: There were 16 in attendance.

Program:

The club welcomed Simon Bell, the Executive Director of “Focus on Nature” as our guest speaker who gave a presentation on the Focus on Nature program. He gave his background and a good description of the program including how a typical day of the program would unfold as well as the volunteer needs of the program.

Brenda P. gave us a Tip of the Month, a follow up to the Equifax hack which occurred earlier in the year as well as a reference to security considerations of Android Phones. Her presentation is here.

Ross K. demonstrated Faststone Photo Viewer, a free program which is capable of photo viewing and photo editing. The program is one of the features of the website http://faststone.org. The program is also capable of producing slide shows as well as many other benefits. The manual for the program may be found at http://www.faststone.org/FSIVTutorial.htm He also outlined the many benefits of a program called Winpatrol, available at no cost from http://winpatrol.com. There is also a paid version which has more features.

Website of the Month: http://faststone.org as described by Ross K.

Tip of the Month: Go to: http://gwsa-guelph.ca/the-evergreen-computer-club/ to see previous tips there, on the Hints and Tips link.


From the meeting of 11 September, 2017

Announcements: There were 23 in attendance.

Treasurer’s Report: Brenda P. reported that we have $381.06 which includes $36.15 from the cash box in the Computer Lab.

Program:

Dushan G. gave a presentation on the various versions of Windows 10. His presentation included the dates of the various releases of Windows 10. To find out which version of Windows that you PC is running, press the Windows logo key + R, then type “winver”, then select OK. He gave out a handout with this information. For details go to: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_10_version_history and https://www.digitaltrends.com/computing/windows-10-will-have-seven-editions-heres-how-to-tell-which-is-for-you.

Tony S. gave a demonstration of the new touch-screen monitors that were part of the computer lab upgrade. Two of the 12 computers (11 and 12) now have touch screen monitors.

Brenda S. discussed the subject of being hacked. Her presentation – “Hacked: Recent Trends and Incidents” is here.

Ken C. discussed some of the updates to Windows 10 (Creator Edition) coming later this Fall. His presentation covered Print 3D, Story Remix, OneDrive Files On Demand and new Status Badges. His presentation is here.

Ross K. showed a Youtube outlining the features and benefits of using Google Photos. The video showed the steps involved when using this program and smart phone app. Here is the link to the video.

Website of the Month: http://www.theeldergeek.com. This website covers Windows from XP through to Windows 8 operating systems and offers a good user Forum. Ross K.

Tip of the Month: Go to: http://gwsa-guelph.ca/the-evergreen-computer-club/ to see previous tips there, on the Hints and Tips link.

Ideas for speakers always welcome.

Next Meetings: Will be Monday, Nov. 13 and January 8 (2018).



From the meeting of 12 June, 2017

Announcements: There were about 19 in attendance.

Treasurer’s Report: Brenda P. reported that we have about $300 plus tonight’s money.

Program:

Guest Speaker: Peter McAlpine of Google Canada in Kitchener. See his presentation here.

Ross K. : Presented a slide show about Google Drive versus Google Photos (which replaces the old Picasa that many liked) See his presentation here.

Questions: Were mostly covered during presentations.

Website of the Month: https://www.howtogeek.com/ told by Ross K.

Tip of the Month: Go to: http://gwsa-guelph.ca/the-evergreen-computer-club/ to see previous tips there, on the Hints and Tips link.

Ideas for speakers always welcome.


Updated February 19, 2018 R.K.; Minutes Prior to June 2017 deleted.

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