October 8 – Alternatives to Mainstream Software

PCCC Upcoming Activities

October General Meeting
October 8 at Pritchard. Bring your supper at 5:45, discussion starts at 7:00.
Topic: Alternative operating systems and apps.
Thwart targeted malware and save money when you choose not to go with the mainstream environment. We will have another roundtable of experts and users to discuss programs such as Linux, Libre Office, Microsoft and Google online office suites, non-Adobe apps, and more. Tell or ask the group about your favorite alternate apps.

October Board Meeting
October 20 at Skyland Family Restaurant, 4544 South Blvd.
All members are encouraged to participate and give their input for the direction of the PCCC. For more details, contact president@pc3.org.

November General Meeting
November 12 at Pritchard. Bring your supper at 5:45, discussion starts at 7:00.
Topic: Wish list.
It’s the buying season. Tell us what you’re getting others and hope to get for the holidays. Find out what’s new out there that’s worth buying and where should you save your money.

December General Meeting
December 10
Topic: Our annual holiday gala.
Watch for details. Time will be short and we will require a minimum number of attendees to put it on, so be ready to RSVP.

Good (email) hygiene

In this day of instant messages and out-of-context titters, here’s just one more reminder that some of us still believe in communicating in full sentences….

After tweaking my filters, over 50* spam/malware emails a day still make it to my Inbox. I have developed a reflex of immediately selecting as unwanted all the messages with anything suspicious about the sender name, subject, addressee, and, if I need more detail, content displayed in the preview. When I received the message below, it took about one second before I sent it off into oblivion.

Then I read my next legitimate email from a recruiter who said to expect a supervisor to contact me about a 2-day assignment. My subliminal subconscious clicked when she said that supervisor’s name was <Someone I Don’t Know>. And, of course, “oblivion” means the message was not in my trash, but really gone. Fortunately, because of how my mail client is configured, it was still on the server and I could recover it by logging into my web mail.

Please, practice the common courtesies my mother taught me over fifty years ago: Always start a conversation by identifying yourself and your context before diving into the topic.* And don’t count on a header or subject line to convey all of your meaning; your reader may have just been distracted by a disturbing, detailed, complex, or just different activity. And review my blog from July 2012 (http://goo.gl/7PkKWk) on tips for an email that others will feel comfortable opening.

1) Why so much spam? That’s what happens when you publish your contact info on the internet and keep the same address for decades. Unfortunately, my online presence was designed before it was common practice to use obfuscating controls to hide your true contact, and there’s little point (learning the technique) to change it now. Also, the free filters available to me are not as effective with minimal configuration as those from major mail providers.

2) This reminds me of the old joke: Psychiatrist asks his patient if he ever hears voices and doesn’t know where they come from. Answer – “Yes, all the time. Whenever I pick up the phone.” We’ve come to count on an email header or caller ID to announce ourselves – or to know who we’re communicating with – before the conversation starts. Maybe your header or ID don’t display or the recipient didn’t see or recognize them.


AVG free antivirus sells your data

A report in Wired says AVG is monetizing what they might know about you. On one side, this is the same thing just about everyone else including your favorite retailer is doing. On the other side, this is breaking a trust you should expect from a security company. On the third side, if it bothers you, the easy solution is to use the PAID version, not free.

Listen to my source. Read it and comments from others on the legitimacy of the practice and how AVG presents it.
– Bill Barnes

Your intreped reporter is out manning the computer table at the election Tuesday. Don’t forget to vote; and while there, ask how you can help out. The Board of Elections (BOE website – PDF application) needs all the help they can get for the big 2016 election season, especially from computer-competent folks like us.

Treasurer’s Report

Current membership count is 13. Please see the Treasurer at the meeting if you need to verify your membership.



The picnic had a net “profit” of $8.61.
September 1, 2015
Bill Barnes, Treasurer

Please join us. The Personal Computer Club of Charlotte [PC3] meets the second Thursday of each month at Pritchard Memorial Baptist Church, 1117 South Blvd in Charlotte. The meeting gets under way promptly at 7:00pm. We generally start with a brief review of current PC issues in the news. Following that we have a presentation on a topic of interest to PC or Smart Phone users and wrap up by 9:00pm. Initial attendance at the meeting is free and open to the public.

In addition to our General Meeting at 7:00pm, a number of us get together for dinner at 5:45pm. We generally hold our “Eating before the Meeting” at the church. Six or seven folks generally show up, have supper and talk tech until it is time to start the General Meeting. The club will provide iced tea and cookies for desert, bring your own supper.