Computer Club updates

Dennis Korger

Each year we assess the past year and attempt to project our needs for the future. The most rapid growth area in club membership is 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 slight 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 at 818-9013, Sue Moyer at 825-2285 or Dennis Korger at 818-3184 if you are interested in sharing what you know with other SaddleBrooke residents.

At the moment both our website and the computer classroom are closed for remodeling and improvements. Our fervent hope is to have both restored to full functionality by June 1. Our popular free monthly public presentations will resume September 15.

Most of the custom coding for our website has been rewritten by our webmaster Francis Adams. In order to exchange the new code for the previous version and to perform testing on the new installation, access will not be available until the process is complete. Class registration will be unavailable until the website is restored to full functionality.

In the Silicon Room all 16 of our student PCs are being replaced with newer and faster desktop PCs running Windows 8.1. If you are unfamiliar with Windows 8.1 don’t start looking for the panic button yet! Based on input from participants in the ten Windows 8 classes offered to date, these 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 will be a fully functional start menu. We elected to use the free Classic Shell start menu replacement although there are a number of other good alternatives. While there will be a number of changes from XP, Vista or Windows 7, these changes will not affect the majority of PC classes at all. You will not need to have Windows 8.1 at home for any of our PC classes. Windows 8.1 Update arrived on April 8; this adds an array of small improvements making the end product feel even more like a finished product.

Computer Tidbits: The very last update for Windows XP was delivered on April 8. PCs running Windows XP after April 8, 2014, should not be considered to be protected. It is important that you migrate to a current and fully supported operating system (Windows Vista, Windows 7 or Windows 8.1) in order to receive regular security updates to protect your computer. Yet another significant update to Windows 8.1 is expected in October and a new version of Windows — 8.2 or 9.0? – is anticipated in the spring of 2015.