SSD Information

Today the SSD is slowly replacing the HDD in computers. Not only is the SSD faster, it is of particular benefit in laptops, where moving and jarring a laptop won’t bother an SSD but could be disastrous for a spinning HDD.

If you’d like to learn more about SSDs, here and here are two excellent articles from
ArsTechnica. The first article discusses the need for TRIM (a wear-leveling technique) in SSDs. The second article gives an in-depth discussion of SSDs and how they function. Both articles are for technophiles. Casual users need not read (unless, of course, you want to).

While I enjoyed both articles, I must admit my understanding of the second article left something to be desired.

Jim Hamm

PMUG membership — is it worth it?

Do you feel like you’re getting nothing out of your PMUG membership? Are the presentations going over your head or not addressing your concerns? You’re not alone!

The purpose of giving presentations at our meetings is to educate our members about possibilities. It’s like planting seeds. To actually get into details about any given topic would convert the meeting into a workshop, and workshops typically require hands-on by all students with a lot of special attention from the instructor. We prefer to scatter seeds at our meetings rather than get into digging up weeds. The meetings are then a field of possibilities, not a full service educational endeavor. We are also akin to a social club where people meet new friends and nourish old friendships.

Hence, to get anything out of the meetings, it is necessary to take notes and then go home and do research and practice. The presenter’s notes are always posted on our website and are available to all members, so it really isn’t necessary to take notes during the meeting unless you want to do your research while it is fresh in your mind.

For others like myself, we enjoy the opportunity to share what we know. If we’re not effective in teaching, it’s because we’re not trained educators. But that won’t keep us from trying.

If what you are looking for is something more like a workshop, there have been times when OLLI (Osher Lifelong Learning Institute) has provided classes that are more like a workshop.

If you need personal training on any given topic, there are a few people in the area who are available to come to your home for one-on-one mentoring for a fee. And there are hundreds of short video tutorials for free online an any subject imaginable.

The real problem regarding computers is the terminology. If you don’t understand the terms, nothing will make sense. So learning computer terminology is important no matter what task you want to do. What is a Dock? What’s the difference between a browser and a search engine? What’s the difference between a Window and a Desktop and a display? How can I find what I know is on my computer? That all comes under the heading of Computer 101. So maybe we need to offer workshops or spend a little more time in our presentations just about computer terminology and how things work together.

My take on not coming to meetings is like not going out to the garden. You have no idea what will germinate if you don’t pay attention to it.

When I go to a meeting (any club that I belong to), I might go home with only one new piece of information. And for me to spend two hours listening to the same stuff over and over to get one new idea is worth it to me. Because my friends are there.

John Carter

Avast Antivirus

For your possible interest, here is a current review of the Avast Antivirus program. Jim Hamm has used the free version of Avast for years on both his PC and Mac. He likes it, but it does occasionally do a popup, asking you something, or possibly to upgrade to the paid version. Often enough to be noticeable, but not aggravating — at least for him.

Whether one needs to run an AV program or not, especially on a Mac, certainly has proponents both ways. For Jim, the possible added protection is desirable. Your mileage may vary.

Snow Leopard update

David Passell found this article to be of interest to him, and wonders if there are any other dinosaurs out there.


Mouse Problems?

Does your mouse seem like it is sticking and not responding to your hand movements?

Try putting a piece of plain paper under the mouse. If the mouse now responds to your hand movements, the solution is to get a new surface for your mouse to move on. The older surface just wore down to something so smooth that there is no irregularity in the surface for the mouse to interact with. The surface that mouse is on needs to have sufficient irregularity in color, and the fibers in plain paper seem to work. Even a brown shipping envelop works. An extremely effective mouse pad is a smooth metal plate with a dense pattern of small, white dots all over a steel grey background.

Or, the surface that you’re working on has a lot of sludge on it and needs to be washed down. The bottom of most mouse devices has a soft plastic or rubber footing that wears off onto the surface below the mouse, or it catches dust and grinds it into the surface that eventually looks like black smudges on the surface. Just keeping that surface and the bottom of the mouse clean may be all that is needed.

John R Carter Sr

Apple TV Cheat Sheet

If you own an Apple TV, there are some hidden features on how to use it that aren’t found in the User Guide that comes with the Apple TV, and they are not even mentioned in the online manual that Apple provides. Take Control Books has a handy one page cheat sheet that reveals all the tips.

Three handy tips include 1) resetting your Apple TV (without doing a power cycle), 2) putting your Apple TV to sleep (without waiting for one hour), and 3) quickly getting back to the main menu from deep into the menu layers.

If you want the full 197 page booklet by Take Control Books, there is a link in the cheat sheet to take you there. Don’t forget to use the discount code.

John Carter