Monday, December 13, 2010
Members and enquirers are now starting to use PCs and laptops with the new Windows 7 operating system, and there is no longer a demand for Vista courses, so we have decided to offer our Beginners courses and Beyond the Basics courses in XP and Windows 7. However, we still run Vista as a third operating system in our training room, for those who feel more comfortable using that to do our more advanced courses.
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Friday, September 10, 2010
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Sunday, July 18, 2010
Agreed that in Term 4 Deborah (and other topic experts) will run this as a series of short courses and members can choose the topics relevant to them. Most popular topics are:
• Research English/Welsh ancestry
• Researching Australian convict ancestors
• Researching other Australian ancestors
• Researching Irish ancestors
• Researching Scottish ancestors
• Genealogy software: Personal Ancestral File (PAF) and other software
• Genealogy networking sites (such as Genes Reunited and Lost Cousins)
• Researching European ancestors
Other topics were:
• Researching Canadian ancestors
• Researching USA ancestors
• Researching NZ ancestors.
We recommended that Judy Joyce be a guest speaker at a Members’ Meeting to talk about researching indigenous family history.
NEXT FIELD TRIP
• Society of Australian Genealogists
• Family History Centre (Latter Day Saints)
• Parramatta Heritage Centre
• Unlock the Past events (Deborah to find out what’s on in Sydney*) http://www.unlockthepast.com.au/
• State Records at the Rocks
We agreed that Deborah would find out about doing a tour of Society of Australian Genealogists research library in Kent Street, Sydney.
*Unlock the Past:
• Expo at Parramatta RSL, Friday, 22 October to Saturday, 23 October http://www.unlockthepast.com.au/events/unlock-past-expo-sydney
• Roadshow at North Ryde RSL, Friday, 19 November to Saturday, 20 November http://www.unlockthepast.com.au/events/australian-and-new-zealand-roadshow
We asked members what genealogy software they are currently using:
• Family Tree Maker (various versions)
• Brothers Keeper
• Genes Reunited (web-based) – - http://www.genesreunited.co.uk/
• RootsWEb (web-based, Ancestry) – http://wc.rootsweb.ancestry.com/
PAY TO VIEW SUBSCRIPTIONS
We asked members what subscriptions to Pay To View sites they have:
• British Vital Records
• Ancestry – www.ancestry.com.au
• Genes Reunited - http://www.genesreunited.co.uk/
• Find My Past UK – http://www.findmypast.co.uk/
• Find My Past AU - http://www.findmypast.com.au/ (currently have an introductory offer of two months free when you subscribe: quote UNLOCK in the voucher/promo code field after completing your registration and payment information)
• Scotlands People - http://www.scotlandspeoplehub.gov.uk/
• The Genealogist - http://www.thegenealogist.co.uk/
• Lost Cousins (NB this is free) - http://lostcousins.com/
Bev, Margaret, Margaret and Deborah are willing to look up these records for other members. (Please provide as much relevant information as possible when you make a request.)
OTHER USEFUL WEBSITES DISCUSSED DURING THE MEETING
An article in the Travel Section of the Sun Herald about researching Irish ancestry mentions these sites:
• www.apgi.ie (Association of Professional Genealogists in Ireland)
Genuki’s gateway website is http://www.genuki.co.uk/ and it provides links to other websites, organised by geographic location as well as general resources.
We talked about historic newspapers online at the National Library of Australia - http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper - and Margaret reminded us that Ctrl + F opens a Find dialog box to help with searching within a web page. [Trove searches other digitised NLA resources besides newspapers. Note that you can also help the project by correcting scanned text.]
The Ryerson Index is an index of death notices and obituaries from Australian newspapers: http://ryersonindex.net/ .
We also mentioned FreeBMD - http://www.freebmd.org.uk/ - free access to the England and Wales Civil Registration Index of Births, Marriages and Deaths. See also FreeCEN (census data) - http://www.freecen.org.uk/ and FreeREG (parish registers) - http://www.freereg.org.uk/
Margaret says the Parramatta Computer Pals website has genealogy links (click on Links on the home page, and then Genealogy) and she will add more.
Margaret G. brought along her Asus EEE netbook, on which she has loaded Legacy. She asked how to copy her family tree data from Legacy on her PC to Legacy on her netbook. Deborah said look in Legacy on the PC for a way to export the data as a GEDCOM file, and then save the file to a memory stick. Then look in Legacy on the netbook for a way to import the data from the GEDCOM file on the memory stick. All good family history software will have this ability so that you can move data around (from an old software program to a new one, or from your computer to a web-based program like Genes Reunited) without having to retype it all.
Margaret T wants to know how to go about researching ancestors in Scotland. None of us have much experience. We suggested starting with Scotlands People (www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk ). There are good books available on family history research for particular countries, e.g. Tracing Your Scottish Ancestors.
Margaret G asked how she could research ancestors who worked in mines in Broken Hill and Western Australia. We think Hazel may have some experience with this.
John L reported on his research into a military ancestor, Richard Guise, who came to Australia with the Second Fleet in 1790. He has found some old records in the Mitchell Library. John is trying to find out more about Richard’s wife Elizabeth. We suggested looking for Elizabeth’s death certificate.
Next meeting will be after the Members’ Meeting on 15th September.
Friday, July 9, 2010
We thought it would be a good idea to invite Julie Owens, the Federal Member for Parramatta to the club to see how we operate and show her the new equipment in operation. The photo above shows Aileen Williams, a member with a severe hearing impairment chatting to Ms Owens. Aileen is very impressed with the hearing equipment, as are many other members of the club.
Julie also had the chance to chat to members of our management committee over a cup of coffee. More photos can be seen on Google albums - just follow the link to http://picasaweb.google.com.au/margaret.tucker2153/JulieOwensVisitsComputerPals#
Thursday, July 1, 2010
Most of us are members of the club's Digital Photography Special Interest Group and of course took our cameras with us. We took some really interesting photos. Many buildings - including Parramatta's Old Post Office, Westpac bank, the former Rural Bank, Brissington House (now the Blood Bank) and of course Old Government House were illuminated with an ever changing patterns and colours. See John Moxon's photos at http://picasaweb.google.com/JohnMoxon1/ParraMac2010#
It was just as good as anything we saw in the Sydney CBD during Vivid Sydney. The blue light-houses which were spotted on many a corner were obviously "borrowed" from the City of Sydney.
If you want to see the buildings lit up, you only have five nights to do so, until Sunday 4th July. Check out the full program celebrating Governor Macquarie's bicentennary at http://www.macquarie2010.nsw.gov.au/news/parramac-celebrations-to-mark-governor2019s-bicentenary
Thursday, June 24, 2010
As you know, Parramatta Computer Pals for Seniors prides itself on being fully "seniors friendly" and one way to do this is to make sure our members and visitors with a disability can use the club facilities.
To this end, we made sure we were located in wheelchair accessible premises - the Council Chambers Building - and you all know this, otherwise our president John Moxon (a wheelchair user for over 40 years now) couldn't participate.
We also understand about memory loss, confusion, anxiety and occasional seemingly odd behaviour due to strokes or other illnesses. We have established policies and procedures to make sure our trainers and buddies can communicate and work easily with seniors who don't learn quickly or need to be reminded how to undertake certain activities or computer tasks.
We have resources to show students with vision loss alternative ways to use their computers and enlarge fonts in the various operating systems from XP to Windows 7. We have copies of ASCCA's publication on Accessible features in Windows, and copies of a publication distributed by the former Royal Blind Society (now Vision Australia).
And just recently, we have purchased a portable wireless transmitter sound system called FrontRow to Go which was built especially for voice - it enables listeners to pick up consonants which they often miss. We encourage all our trainers to use the system in the training room, and we also use it for our monthly meetings. It's been a great success - worth every cent of the $2090 we paid for it.
Monday, June 14, 2010
As you know, we (Margaret and John) have recently moved into a popular retirement village at Constitution Hill in Northmead, and we are still getting used to it. It has certainly made a difference to me, with less work to do around the place, but we do miss our back yard at Winston Hills. But we are gradually meeting more people, and what a nice bunch they are. Very friendly.
Yesterday we letterboxed 409 residents - every household except those whose letterbox said "No junk mail". Now we obviously don't think we are "junk mail" but we need to be unbiased sometimes, and respectful.
There are a number of our members who live at Constitution Hill, and other residents are, or have been, members of Castle Hill, Holroyd or Epping computer pals. We are not trying to poach their members - they are good friends of ours. And each club is different, running different courses with a different timetable.
For instance Holroyd teaches Publisher, which we haven't attempted yet. And Castle Hill (The Hills) teaches Corel Draw, which we shall probably never teach. At the moment, we teach open source graphics software - Google's Picasa 3.6, Microsoft's Movie Maker, and GIMP (open source software similar to Adobe's PhotoShop). We don't teach PhotoShop simply because it is so expensive, and we are well aware of our members' limited income.
Our Digital Photography Special Interest Group is about to have its second field trip - tomorrow by ferry to Vivid Sydney. Being winter, we don't expect it to be as popular as our March trip to Circular Quay, but we couldn't miss the opportunity afforded by this festival of light and sound. We'll let you know how it goes.
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
The program is designed for mature age people intended to return to the work force. As well as giving skills in creating a CV, getting advice from a recruitment agency on job hunting and using the internet to find a job, it also covered an introduction to Windows 7 and MS Office 2007 including Word, Excel and Outlook.
Pete is happily retired but found the Windows 7 and Office 2007 components, which were the bulk of the course, very interesting and informative.
The instructors provided excellent notes. Future courses will have a maximum of 10 participants and the course is very hands on. It costs $125 but this is great value for 36 hours of training and Pete recommends it. For more information phone ASCCA on 9286 3871.
The AFP speaker handed out a useful booklet called Protecting Yourself Online - What Everyone Needs to Know. It's published by the Australian Government and has simple tips on how to protect yourself online.
- install security software and update it regularly
- turn on automatic updates so all your software receives the latest fixes
- set a strong password and change it at least twice a year
- stop and think before you click on links or attachments
- stop and think before you share any personal financial information - about you, your friends or family
- know what your children are doing online - make sure they know how to stay safe and encourage them to report anything suspicious.
Pete is going to try to get more copies for interested members of our Club, and it's also available online at http://www.staysmartonline.gov.au/ .
The Microsoft speaker emphasises that you should have the latest web browser software and download all the latest updates to protect yourself. He recommended going to www.microsoft.com/security .
The Commonwealth Bank speaker said the Commonwealth Bank Netbank website is very secure and has never been successfully attacked. He also recommended that you use strong passwords and be very careful where you go online to access personal financial information. He said make sure you cover your hand when entering your PIN into an ATM, and do not disclose your netbank password and PIN to anyone including your loved ones.
Another tip, in response to a question, was not to find software by doing a Google search; instead, go to a reputable download site such as www.download.cnet.com or www.tucows.com to review software, including freeware, and download safely.
It was a very interesting seminar with lots of lively questions and informative answers.
Saturday, June 5, 2010
Peter Grove and Deborah Martin were on holidays in the South West of WA recently. Dorothy from ASCCA gave us the address of Peel Seniornet Inc in Mandurah (south of Perth), which is a Seniors Computer group like Parramatta Computer Pals. Like us, they have a computer room and access to a meeting room - theirs is at Mandurah City Council Community Centre. It's a beautiful setting looking over a boardwalk to the water.
Their computer room was closed for refurbishment, but Peter and Deborah were lucky enough to arrive just as their Management Committee was about to start a meeting, and were able to meet and chat with the committee members. They said they had recently had a visit from Sirkka Duncan from ASCCA.It was interesting to visit another Seniors Computer Club and something you might like to do next time you are on holidays interstate - you'll find them very welcoming and keen to compare notes on our respective clubs.
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
When Margaret learned that I was already into video and photo editing, she wanted me to be a trainer, but I said no, I'm too involved with the credit union movement but I'll help you and John in any other way.
Over the past two years I've done a number of courses. Courses that I really enjoyed were photo story by John Moxon and digital photo management by Jon Bayley, both are very computer literate and excellent trainers.
Next thing I was involved in helping John and Margaret move 6 or more computers from their home to our club rooms and , with the help of my son Graham, erect the projector screen. So I was involved!
Since then I have become a Buddy to Jon Bayley and I find this very satisfying, helping members learn the finer points of digital photo management and the great benefits of installing and using Picasa.
I really enjoy the friendships I have made in the club, and also enjoy the social times...monthly meetings with a guest speaker and morning tea ably supplied by the two Granville sisters (and others), as well as the school holiday club lunch at Parramatta Leagues Club that I attend with my wife Josie and grand-daughter Samara.
It was at a monthly club meeting that I first heard about Photobooks. At the time I was planning a slideshow of my wedding and honeymoon for our 50th Anniversary party - when I heard Linda Falgiatori from Creative Memories talk and show her Photobook I saw what I wanted - not a slideshow but a Photobook. I joined her class and made a wonderful photobook that I presented as a surprise to Josie at our 50th. Since then I have made about 10 photobooks, they are a great way to preserve family history in a way that will survive for many generations.
I thank Margaret, our Secretary and John, our President for helping to bring ComputerPals for Seniors to Parramatta..........
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
The other web page which has been updated is the Links page. The genealogy links have been checked and updated, and there are some useful links under the Seniors section. Let me know if you have a suggestion about links on the four topics displayed.
Are you a member of Facebook? If so, I do hope you will join the group Parramatta Computer Pals for Seniors
Saturday, March 13, 2010
Our first excursion for 2010 is a guided tour of Rookwood Cemetery. Depending on the numbers interested, we may either join a scheduled tour one Sunday morning, or arrange our own tour on a date that suits. Tours are led by volunteer guides from the Friends of Rookwood, and we can choose any of several themed walks - the 700 acres of cemetery is too big to cover everything! Most of the Cemetery Trusts have websites where you can search for the burial details of your ancestors, so come prepared to go ghost hunting.
Deborah has recently discovered an interesting free website called Lost Cousins (www.lostcousins.com) and will talk about it at the meeting. If you have ancestors or relations who are listed in the 1841 or 1881 England and Wales census, or similar censuses, you can list them on this site. If any "lost cousin" has matching records you can get in touch with each other through the site.
Sometimes when you get stuck researching an ancestor, someone else has had a similar problem and can help you with a solution. Bring any information you have about a problem ancestor to a meeting and we'll try to help you.
Saturday, March 6, 2010
Even for those of us without cameras - yours truly dropped hers a few weeks ago - enjoyed the day, chatting to our mates and enjoying the scenery.
Maureen Neilsen grew up near the Parramatta river at Concord, and regaled us with stories of her childhood on the river, and the changes she's noticed over the years.
Rain had been forecast, but luckily for us it didn't arrive till one o'clock, after we'd finished our lunch so we caught the express ferry back to Rydalmere and Parramatta. We all agreed it had been a very pleasant day, and were keen to organise another outing, maybe to Windsor and Richmond, to Olympic Park, lunch at the Sydney Rowing Club at Abbotsford. There are so many possibilities...
Thank you Michael - the new co-ordinator of our Digital Photography Special Interest Group - for organising this outing.
Don't forget, there are two 10 hour courses for digital photographers, each running most terms. These are Manage Your Digital Photos, and Digital Photo Stories. Photographers may also be interested in trying the PowerPoint course as well, or encouraging us to run a scrapbooking class.
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
I do know they are putting a project together. So either they are going to show us something, or maybe make us stars. Who knows? So you'd better come along and find out. The meeting starts at 9.30am and finishes at 11.30, and a good morning tea can be expected since our caterer Hazel is blooming with health once again.
We are collecting Gmail accounts, since we want to set up a Club Calendar with all our events and meetings listed. So if you have one, let us know at margaret.tucker2153 at gmail.com .
Monday, February 15, 2010
Just about all classes now have buddies who assist the trainer by helping those students who feel less confident than other class members or who need help to catch up. I for one couldn't do without my buddy in Google Tools, even though my students are all fairly experienced computer enthusiasts. Since late last year, we have included our growing crew of buddies in our trainers' meetings, organised by Judy Joyce (pictured with trainer Peter Grove), our training coordinator. This has proved to be very worthwhile, with buddies contributing new ideas, and feeding back comments from our students.
This term we are introducing two new courses - an Email Refresher two hour course to be held on two occasions in weeks 6 and 7, and a Web Design course which has commenced with six intrepid starters one hour per week for nine weeks, extending for another two hours per week in weeks 6-9. This is very much a pilot project since there are so many ways to learn web design, and each student will have a different goal. It is very likely that this course will become a formalised Special Interest Group, but we'll see.
In late January, Judy and Deborah organised a gathering of 17 trainers and buddies to introduce us to Microsoft's new operating system, Windows 7. We recently acquired a new laptop with Win7, but only 3-4 of us had experience with Win7. It is really important we become familiar with it as quickly as possible, since we are now receiving enquiries from members who have recently purchased PCs and laptops with the new system.
Rather than try and "triple boot" the training room PCs, we decided that the differences between Vista and Win7 were not so great that we couldn't include Win7 students in the same class as Vista students. The trainer and buddy would explain the differences and make the Win7 student feel confident to use their home computer.
After Deborah demonstrated some of the features of Win7, we discussed how all trainers and buddies could best become familiar with Win7. We decided that each trainer - with priority given to those who currently taught Beginners 1 & 2 in Vista - should borrow the new Win7 laptop and practice using the operating system. The Laptop would also have a Professor Teaches Win7 tutorial loaded. The laptop would be available for 2-3 days or over a weekend, but between use would be available in the club rooms for demonstrations and practice.
Monday, February 1, 2010
A number of our members displayed and /or spoke about their creative work during the year - we saw cards, bookmarks, family and travel scrapbooks and a newsletter. We didn't have our usual Q & A session after the morning tea break because members were too busy chatting and paying for courses for Term 1. As usual, we welcomed a number of new members to the club.
The following Monday, about 30 members met for our quarterly lunch at Cafe 88 at Parramatta Leagues Club. At these events, we talk about anything EXCEPT computing (well, only a little computing).
The week before and after this, members of the committee, trainers and some buddies had some busy times preparing the course notes, attendance sheets, name tags, payments and computer equipment for the new term. It is amazing how much time is put in by club members, all of it voluntary of course.
Classes for the year started last Wednesday and Thursday, with the Monday and Tuesday courses starting this week. Again we have a wide variety of classes, mostly 10 hour courses over five weeks, and a smaller number of 10 week courses, and two short courses on Email Refresher and Skype.
Friday, January 8, 2010
But we did have the support of Parramatta City Council's Community Capacity Building Team, as well as the Australian Seniors Computer Clubs Association. Additionally, we had the promise of assistance from three well-established clubs at Castle Hill, Wentworthville and Epping.
So in January 2007, we held a public meeting and attracted 50 seniors. By the end of January, we'd held three meetings, found a storage room for our second hand computers, and Council paid for a room in the Council Chambers Building for us to hold weekly training sessions and a monthly meeting at the Parramatta Heritage Centre.
And the rest is history. We now have 10 modern computers and plenty of other equipment - projectors, printers, a scanner, laminator, screens as well as office furniture. And two rooms - recently re-carpeted - we call our own, although of course they belong to Council.
Check out our website above to see the variety of courses we run, and the discussion topics at our monthly meetings.
All seniors are welcome to our 3rd birthday party on Friday 15th January at 9.30 till 11.30 in the Gwen Logan Room, Level 2, Council Chambers Building. We would also be delighted to see those of you who haven't seen the club for a while - you would be amazed at how much we've changed. We are still the very friendly group of people you met in 2007 or 2008. That certainly hasn't changed.
Tuesday, January 5, 2010
As you can see from the photos, our Christmas party was great fun. If we don't want to hold the party at our place again, John and I will have to move! As you know, the only reason it was held at our place was because your secretary (moi!) mucked up the booking. But most of the credit for its success must go to our catering co-ordinator Marg Green and her band of willing helpers, as well as our members who whole heartedly supported us. It was good to see Yvonne's mother for the third time - she really must enjoy it - and a number of spouses.
Our classes start again on January 27 (mid week) and run through till April 1 - Easter Thursday. Once again there are a wide variety of courses to choose from. See Courses for the list.