HAL-PC Monthly eBulletin - September 2008

Welcome to the September 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: Membership Drive, Houston Press Best of '08, Amazon.com Associates Program, HALNet ADSL, Coming Events, Clear Lake, SIG News, Volunteer of the Month, Magazine.


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")



In 1999, HALNet won the Houston Press award for Best Local Internet Provider. This category has not been awarded since. We hope, with your help, to revive the award this year! Go to the Houston Press Best of '08 website and register to vote. At the end of the ballot you will see the last category - #109 - is 'Best Category We Forgot' - answer that one 'Best Local Internet Provider'. Question #110 is 'Winner of Category We Forgot' - answer HALNet (HAL-PC). Give HALNet some grass-roots support! The advertising is free!


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!


Some of our HALNet users created their own web pages and uploaded them to the HALNet server. 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 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 -- Dealing With Data Loss
Saturday, September 6- 1:00 - 3:30 pm
It's not a matter of 'if' -- it's a matter of 'when'. We can all expect a hard drive issue at some point in our computing career. Don't end up second guessing yourself: "Wish I had backed up that hard drive before it crashed!" Learn to use Casper / Acronis to back up your system. This may be the most important seminar you can attend this year!


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.

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

Digital Photography SIG: Saturday, September 20 - 9:30 am: Liz Lunden, HAL-PC Clear Lake Instructor, "Improving Your Photo Skills While on Vacation"
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, September 20 - 1:00 pm (NOTE New Day and Time): Jerry Poel, HAL-PC Clear Lake Technician, "Installing Windows Vista Service Pak Updates"


Allen Mattis, amateur radio call N5AFV, extremely active Satellite Radio operator and long time HAL-PC member, will give a special presentation at the September meeting of the HAM/Satellite Radio SIG on how to make a successful contact through the 'birds'. Allen has authored and published several articles and worked satellites from a host of locations, including from some cruse ship locations at sea. Let's have a big turn-out for what should be a very special evening! Tuesday, September 16, 7:00 pm

The following Special Interest Groups have specific programs posted 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, September 6 -- 10:00 am
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. I am working on an animation and as usual have searched my collection of elements as a starting point. This includes music, stock photos and video, sound effects (all of which are useful for live action video as well), plus characters, models (houses, characters, cities, props) and other virtual elements for the animation. We can look at the many elements and sources (e.g. Digital Juice) at the meeting. A lot of these elements are useful for other projects as well - websites, greeting cards, anything you can do on a computer.

BEGINNING VISUAL FOX PRO: Tuesday, September 9 -- 7:00 pm
The HAL-PC FoxPro SIG will have a continuation of the presentation by Rich Monroe regarding forms and classes. In this session Rich will demonstrate how to build a class from scratch. We will meet for 1.5 or 2 hours, then we invite you to join us for a dutch treat dinner at Ninfa's on Post Oak.

DATABASE & GUI DESIGN: Saturday, September 13 -- 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.

DIGITAL IMAGING: Saturday, September 20 -- 1:00 pm
We are continuing our in depth coverage of layers in Photoshop. I want to invite you ro 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.

WEB DESIGN: Tuesday, September 23 -- 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.


September's Volunteer of the Month is "Skipper" Transue.  "Skipper" has been helping members as a volunteer in HAL-PC's Friday morning PC Troubleshooting Workshop for several months now. He came to HAL to learn and once he felt more capable he started helping others and doing some tutoring on Fridays. "Skipper" actually alters his work schedule with his employer, to be able to come to the Friday workshop to assist people with their computer problems! This is the 'users helping users' attitude that makes HAL-PC great. Thanks, "Skipper" for being such a dedicated member of HAL!


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!