Computer Club update

Dennis Korger

Both our website and the computer classroom were closed at the beginning of May for remodeling and improvements. Several weeks ahead of expectations, both projects are now complete allowing our schedule to return to a normal state of affairs. As always, the earliest notice for new classes arrives first on our website at

In the Silicon Room all 16 of our student PCs were replaced with newer and faster desktop PCs running Windows 8.1. If you are unfamiliar with Windows 8.1, ignore that sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach! While there are a number of changes from XP, Vista or Windows 7, these changes will not affect the majority of PC classes at all. You definitely do not need to have Windows 8.1 at home for any of our PC classes. If you are scratching your head over your new Windows 8 machine along with many other new PC buyers, we can now do a better job showing you the ropes.

These new computers are carefully customized to resemble the look and feel of Windows 7 as much as possible. You will see a familiar desktop layout at startup and there is a fully functional start menu replacement program. Our selection was the popular and free Classic Shell start menu replacement program. The configuration was based on the input from the students who participated in the initial ten Windows 8 classes offered to date.

Windows 8.1 update arrived on April 8 and we quickly incorporated this into our new configuration; this adds a new array of small improvements making the result feel even more like a familiar, finished product. As it turns out, this update is now deemed essential! After June 14 no further Windows 8.1 updates for you until this large update is installed.

The most rapid growth area in club membership is composed of PC users learning to use their new iPads followed by new owners of Windows 8/8.1 computers. We have had difficulty keeping up with the demand in both areas. Last year we offered about 130 classes and had 475 students, with the majority enrolling in several courses each. Unfortunately we have seen a drop off in the ranks of our volunteer instructors and assistants over the past year and we need a bit more help than usual. Please contact Carlton Wiens (818-9013), Sue Moyer (825-2285) or Dennis Korger (818-3184) if you are interested in sharing what you know with other SaddleBrooke residents.

Computer Tidbits: In a new ranking of the top 100 most valuable global brands for 2014, Google has replaced Apple at the top of the list. Apple holds the second spot, followed by IBM, Microsoft and McDonalds. Apple recently announced two new iPhones, including the new flagship model iPhone 5S featuring the long rumored fingerprint scanner. Tucson now has its own Microsoft store, which opened on May 13. Lest you get too excited, this is a modest kiosk at the intersection of the two main concourses inside Park Place Mall. Microsoft just announced the Surface3 Pro – the tablet that can replace your laptop – priced from $799 to $1949 (plus $130 for adding a keyboard/cover).