A Message from the Common Table
February 3, 2017
On the morning of Groundhog’s Day, I was putting together my thoughts of what to write this month. Nothing came to me that was interesting to write about. That was about to change!
The morning was rather routine: breakfast, read the paper and go on my morning walk with Carolyn. The day was very mild for this time of year. We got back from the walk and picked up a few sticks in the backyard. Carolyn ask me to unlock the back door. I said that she had locked the door as I was putting my shoes on while sitting on the steps. She seemed puzzled that she would have the key, she thought I had it. This is a thumb latch key. We have high security deadbolt locks on our house. The same type of key and cylinder locks that are used in jails and such. These keys can not be duplicated. They were made for us at the time we ordered the locks. The inside of the deadbolt uses a key rather than thumb latch. What we have is a removable thumb latch key. This is the key we always take with us instead of a pocket full of our other keys. We have been doing this for a decade or more.
No key could be found in her pockets. She had a light jacket on and I noticed that the pocket was basically not a pocket at all, it had no depth to it at all. We guessed that the key had fallen out somewhere on our 2-mile route. We retraced our steps. Oh, we just don’t walk on the sidewalks or streets. We pick up trash, so we are going back and forth on the street and going into yards to get the litter. I walked half the route and returned home to start formulating how we could get back into the house. I called our daughter, she is supposed to have a key, but she had misplaced it. She said that she would come over to help us. Carolyn had just gotten back from the rest of the route, no key. I then decided that I would have to remove a window pane and get in the back bedroom. My neighbor was home and I borrowed a chisel and hammer. My windows are steel casement windows that were popular in the early fifties. I took me almost an hour to chisel out the very hard glazing compound and remove the glass. Now I’m in the house and can get my tools to start cleaning up the window in preparation of putting some temporary plywood in the hole. At least the weather was warm and the work was not so hard. I should have the window repaired by Tuesday (warmer weather). While I was repairing the window, Carolyn and our daughter continued to look for the lost key.
This month Bill B will finish up the part of his program that he did not finish last month. Bill H will present some great things to know about fixing and maintaining Windows 10 with some “free” Microsoft tools. We have some technical adjustments to our By Laws that we will discuss. I have some neat stuff I can present, but we will probably not have time.
This morning, Carolyn and I went on our routine walk. I wore some very old Bushnell polarized sunglasses that were my dad’s old fishing glasses. I think the glasses were new in the 1960’s. I can wear these because of my new eyes. The day was very overcast, but the sunglasses knocked the glare down quite a bit. We were about 2 blocks from our house and there just inches off the sidewalk, I saw our key! It was laying sideways in the grass and leaves. Hooray, We don’t have to get new locks and keys, but I still have to put new glass in our window.
I look forward to seeing all of you this week, February 9, 2017 at the BBB. Look for where the BBB is in this newsletter or online at http://www.pc3.org. We still have dinner before the meeting, so bring a bag dinner or your favorite take-out and come at 5:30 PM. Our meeting starts at 6:30 PM.
“Can You Hear Me” Scam
The Better Business Bureau is warning consumers about an old scam with a new twist. The “Can You Hear Me?” scam has long been used to coerce businesses into purchasing office supplies and directory ads they never actually ordered, but now it’s targeting individual consumers, as well.
For the last few days of January, more than half of the reports to BBB Scam Tracker have been about this one scam. Consumers say the calls are about vacation packages, cruises, warranties, and other big ticket items. So far, none have reported money loss, but it’s unclear how the scams will play out over time, or if the targets will be victimized at a later date.
Here’s how it works: You get a call from someone who almost immediately asks “Can you hear me?” Their goal is to get you to answer “Yes,” which most people would do instinctively in that situation. There may be some fumbling around; the person may even say something like “I’m having trouble with my headset.” But in fact, the “person” may just be a robocall recording your conversation… and that “Yes” answer you gave can later be edited to make it sound like you authorized a major purchase.
BBB is offering consumers the following advice:
- Use Caller ID to screen calls, and consider not even answering unfamiliar numbers. If it’s important, they will leave a message and you can call back.
- If someone calls and asks “Can you hear me?”, do NOT answer “yes.” Just hang up. Scammers change their tactics as the public catches on, so be alert for other questions designed to solicit a simple “yes” answer.
- Make a note of the number and report it to http://bbb.org/scamtracker to help warn others. BBB also shares Scam Tracker information with government and law enforcement agencies, so every piece of information is helpful in tracking down scammers.
- Consider joining the Do Not Call Registry (DoNotCall.gov) to cut down on telemarketing and sales calls. This may not help with scammers since they don’t bother to pay attention to the law, but you’ll get fewer calls overall. That may help you more quickly notice the ones that could be fraudulent.
- Check your bank and credit card statements regularly for unauthorized charges. It’s also a good idea to check your telephone and cell phone bills, as well. Scammers may be using the “Yes” recording of your voice to authorize charges on your phone. This is called “cramming” and it’s illegal.
Proposed amendment to the PCCC By Laws
At the January 17 Board meeting, I proposed a change to the PCCC By Laws to simplify the makeup of the Board (or Executive Committee).
The purpose of these amendments is to have a governance more appropriate to an organization with fewer than 20 active members. The effect is to reduce the elected Board to three members and simplify the formality of their being named to office. This will reduce the emotional and political strain of trying to find volunteers for multiple positions.
Note that we also formalize allowing any member to become an official member of the Executive Committee and influence the direction of the PCCC.
The proposed changes are below.
The complete Proposal with annotations is available at http://pc3.org/business/ProposedAmendments_170117.pdf.
The complete original By-Laws are available at http://pc3.org/business/BYLAWS(1995).pdf.
Modify Article IV. Officers; Paragraph 4.0 to read:
PCCC Officers shall consist of a president, vice-president, and treasurer.
Other members of the Executive Committee shall consist of any member in good standing present at a meeting of the Executive Committee who has attended at least two such meetings in the previous 12 months. A quorum for a meeting of the Executive Committee shall be four, including at least either the president or vice president.
Modify Article VI. Elections; Paragraph 6.2 to read:
A nominating committee shall present a slate of officers. Nominating committee shall be appointed by the president. In addition nominations shall be solicited by newsletter, personal contact, and from the floor during a regular meeting before elections are held. Nominations may be made by any member or a member in good standing may place themselves on the ballot for any Office.
Add Article VI. Elections; Paragraph 6.2.1 to read:
If any Office is contested, an election shall be held. If no change in the Officers is expected, or if a single candidate volunteers for an Office where the current Officer is retiring; the president may call for an affirmation of the Officers by the membership.
Call for Nominations
Our annual election of officers is scheduled for the March PCCC meeting. If anyone is interested in running for office – or interested in nominating the person sitting next to them – please contact either Jack LaPointe or Galen Bolin with the name.
Pending the result of the proposed amendments to the By-Laws, the offices to be elected will either be President, Vice President, and Treasurer or those three plus Secretary, Program Chairperson and Newsletter Editor.
The current officers, who have agreed to continue in office, are Galen Bolin, President; Bill Haney, Vice President; Bill Barnes, Treasurer; and Paul Reiss, Secretary. Any of those offices may be contested for the election at the March 9 meeting.
February program notes
How do you get online when you’re away from home? Do you grab the first open hotspot you see? Not if you’ve been listening to us – you know there is a risk that a bad guy is providing that and could be stealing all your data. You protect yourself by picking the one that is named “Starbucks;” or, worse, “Dollar Night Inn.” Those are no better because anyone can create a hotspot and name it anything they want. Hotel access has been notoriously open to snooping from anyone else on the network.
Bill Barnes will show some ways to protect your data while working on a public computer or network connection.
Bill Haney will show how to use the built-in tools in Windows to tweak your environment.
The program notes for this week’s presentations are available at http://pc3.org/news/programnotes/170209_ProgNotes.pdf
Updated notes from both Bill’s and Galen’s presentations at the January meeting are available at http://pc3.org/news/programnotes/170112_ProgNotes.pdf. You are encouraged to review them to keep up on good password practices and tweaks to make your computing experience with Windows 10 a little better.
If there is time and interest between supper and the program, Bill may quickly show the Texture app that allows you to “subscribe” to over 100 magazines online for one reasonable fee.