HAL-PC Monthly eBulletin - September 2008

Welcome to the October 2008 edition of the HAL-PC/HALNet monthly eBulletin. If you wish to stop receiving these bulletins, send an email to e-bulletin-off@hal-pc.org. This month: Hurricane Ike, Membership Drive, Amazon.com Associates Program, HALNet ADSL, Coming Events, Clear Lake, SIG News, Volunteer of the Month, Magazine.


When power and phone service were unavailable to many Houstonians, a number of HAL-PC members found their way to headquarters to take advantage of Internet connectivity and user support. Thank you to all the staff and volunteers who were available in the days after the hurricane to help our members and users at this most difficult time.


HAL PC needs new members to remain viable and we ask our current members to invite their friends to join both HAL-PC and our HALnet service. If you are already a member you know the quality of service which we offer at competitive prices plus your friends can join you at the SIG's and informative meetings or take one of our many courses together.

Looking for an easy way to help? Just copy and paste the text below into emails to your friends to invite them to check out HAL-PC/HALNet


You are cordially invited to join the Houston Area League of PC Users. HAL-PC is the world's largest PC user group - home to an award winning internet service, exciting technology presentations, Special Interest Groups, hands-on computer classes and more!

Join the group and become one of thousands of computer users expanding their computer knowledge, helping and being helped by other computer users since 1982.

See our website at www.hal-pc.org for more information, or call 713-993-3300 to inquire about events, hands-on-classes, or internet service (Dial-up and ADSL "Broadband")



HAL-PC has joined Amazon.com's Associates Program. There is now an Amazon.com search box on the HAL-PC web site - look on the menu bar on the left side of the home page. All you need to do is start your Amazon.com search in this search box and any item purchased during that session will generate a commission for HAL-PC. It's that easy! Select books, CDs, DVDs, and a myriad of other products and support HAL-PC at the same time!


HALNet support is receiving questions from some users who are having difficulty updating their home pages. IF YOU HAVE YOUR OWN WEB PAGE ON HALNet and you have not already done so, you will need to change your FTP settings. If you did NOT create your own personal web page and upload it to HALNet, YOU DON'T NEED TO DO ANYTHING!!! Your personal page URL will remain the same (http://www.hal-pc.org/~username), but the ftp server address has changed. Please check the remote server setting in your FTP program (WS-FTP, Cute FTP, LeapFTP, etc) and make sure it says 'users.hal-pc.org' instead of 'www.hal-pc.org'. If you don't do this, you will receive an error message from your FTP client saying that www.hal-pc.org is refusing your connection.

If you have a hit counter on your HALNet user personal home page, you will need to change the line of HTML code that creates the image on the page to point to users.hal-pc.org rather than www.hal-pc.org. It must read:

<IMG src="http://users.hal-pc.org/cgi-bin/Count.cgi?df=userid.dat">

The data file that keeps track of your hits moved with your page, so the number will not have changed.


Basics 101 -- VHS to DVD Conversion
Saturday, October 4 - 1:00 - 3:30 pm
Face it - the DVD player has kicked the VCR out of many of our entertainment centers. However, many of us still have piles of video tapes lying around that are just collecting dust. Those tapes tend to degrade over time, too! This seminar will give you the knowledge you need to save your precious movies by transferring them to DVDs! Join Robert duVernay for another informative Saturday afternoon - as always, no registration fee!


Computer Investing SIG: Friday, October 3 - 1:00 pm: Steve Morehouse, HAL-PC Clear Lake SIG Leader, "How to Play the Bear Market"

Camcorder & Video SIG: Saturday, October 4 - 9:30 am: John Neustadter, HAL-PC Clear Lake SIG member, "Spicing Up Video Titles with Animation". NOTE: Join us for Video Fest 2008: Saturday, November 8, 1:00 pm. Rules for VideoFest 2008 are here.

Digital Photography SIG: Saturday, October 25 - 9:30 am: Dan Sedej, HAL-PC Clear Lake SIG member, "How to Use the New Cevia Photo Frame Online with the Web" NOTE: Join us for PhotoFest 2008: Saturday, November 8, 9:30 am. More details to follow. Rules for PhotoFest 2008 are here.

General Computing SIG: Saturday, October 25 - 1:00 pm: Norm Massicotte, HAL-PC Clear Lake SIG member, "Using the Free LogMeIn Software for Remote Computer Access"


The following Special Interest Groups have provided program notes for their upcoming meetings. Please refer to the SIG Calendar for a complete listing of HAL-PC SIG meeting dates and times. If you are interested in starting a Special Interest Group that is not currently on our calendar, contact the Vice President for SIGS. Remember - June is election month for SIG leaders! Be sure to turn your paperwork in to the Member Services Coordinator in the office.

Our Friday AM investment sig will continue to meet Friday at 10am. Our goal continues to offer programs to help investors deal with a difficult market using and demonstrating programs designed for the individual to assess and make thoughtful decisions. We use four different programs to accomplish this and they are demonstrated on a regular basis. We also maintain a refined market web site that is open to all.

MULTI MEDIA SIG: Saturday, October 4 -- 10:00 am
As we discussed last month, some of us are looking forward to the Photo and Video Fest at HAL-PC Clear Lake, Saturday Nov. 8 at 9:30 and 1:00 PM respectively. Entry form I am working on several videos, one of which might be a good group project. It is a documentary about Houston’s top fifty buildings, as selected by the American Institute of Architects (AIA). The inspiration came from this Houston Chronicle story. I have visited many of the locations and shot both stills and video. We can talk about how to work this into a short video, maybe ten minutes or so (pretty short for 50 buildings). If anyone has a particular interest in any of the buildings, I can use their stills or videos. We can also talk about how to organize the items - by function (museum, business, educational, etc.), chronologically, area of town, etc. And we can talk about music and sound effects - not quite a “soundscape” but maybe an important part of the impression.

SAMBA AND NETWORK ADMINISTRATION: Saturday, October 4 -- 2:00 pm
Ron Lyle on backing up

DATABASE & GUI DESIGN: Saturday, October 11 -- 9:00 am
We are doing a hands-on development of a web site. We are using Visual Studio 2008, SQL 2005, and C#. Bring your computer so you can participate. The web site we will be developing is going to be totally databased. This will give you a good start toward a template you can use for developing sites for customers. This month, we are also going to sped about half of the session with a presentation by Carl Wells on SQL Server Reporting Services. Don't miss this. More and more companies are using this platform for distribution of reports to the enterprise.

VISUAL FOX PRO: Tuesday, October 14 -- 6:30 pm
The meeting will be a presentation by Rich Monroe: Building a Framework. Rich will show how to build your own personal framework for writing VFP. It should not only be a great meeting, but join us for dinner at Ninfa's following the meeting.

GENEALOGY: Thursday, October 16 -- 7:00 pm
Until the end of the year our SIG will be covering "back to basics" for genealogical research. This is the perfect time to join us if you are just trying to get started or if you feel you aren't accomplishing what you wish. In Sept. we will be talking about research, interpreting that research and the often dreaded "sourcing".

DIGITAL IMAGING: Saturday, October 18 -- 1:00 pm
We are continuing our in depth coverage of layers in Photoshop. I want to invite you to bring your notebook computers with you for this. We are taking things slow enough that you can follow along and then try what we are talking about on your own machine.

SAMBA & NETWORK ADMINISTRATION: Saturday, October 18 -- 2:00 pm
Greg Brewer on building a mail server

WEB DESIGN: Tuesday, October 28 -- 7:00 pm
A Little Testing Goes a Long Way The Web Design SIG will discuss the importance of setting up a testing server using Apache, MySQL and PHP. As your web development skills advance, the benefit of using a database and server side scripting becomes more attractive. However, do you want to run the risk of causing havoc on your live site while you experiment? This is where setting up a testing server is important. Join us as we go through a case study on setting up a testing server, installing WordPress and then launching the site live.

LINUX WORKSHOP: Wednesdays -- 6:00 pm
Installations & hands-on problem solving every Wednesday except when HAL is closed. This is an informal meeting where knowledgable HLUG members help each other & beginners one on one. Dinner after at Biba's West Grey 9:30pm. You don't have to attend the meeting to come eat with us.


HAL-PC's Volunteer of the month for October 2008 is Carl Farley of the Clear Lake Satellite Branch. Carl is one of the original four volunteers at HAL-PC Clearlake starting back in 1997, and has been volunteering at that facility ever since. In the early days he taught Beginner and Intermediate courses. Later, he saw the need for, and introduced and taught the original File Management course. Carl became personally interested in digital cameras, recognized the potential for HAL clients, and introduced and taught the first Digital Camera course.

Carl then turned his attention to the need for SIGs in the Clear Lake area. He introduced and coordinated the General Computer SIG, Digital Photography SIG, Computer Investing SIG and Camcorder and Video SIG. Today, Carl coordinates the activities of these SIGs, including securing a suitable meeting site, lining up speakers, advertising, SIG content, and the Clear Lake web archives of the presentation material. He is also the coordinator for the 5th Saturday mini-courses. In addition to his coordination activities, Carl is often the presenter at both SIG meetings and mini-courses.

The number of hours Carl spends in meetings, on the phone, on his computers at home and at the Senior Learning Center to make all of these projects interesting, high quality and relevant to our clients surely must rival the dedication of HAL-PC's most prolific volunteers.


Look for informative articles in the HAL-PC Magazine online
If you do not receive your Fall edition of the printed magazine, please phone the office! You may need to update your address information, or renew your HAL-PC membership!