Archive for April, 2009

“A blog?” What is it…

April 23, 2009

Blogs: What – Why – Whom?
by Gregory West
A Member of APCUG & SCUG

Blogs live in Cyberspace, but just what is a blog anyway?

Alright, let’s get this out-of-the-way right now…

DEFINE:blog       ”Blog — (weB LOG)  A blog is basically a journal that is available on the web. The activity of updating a blog is “blogging” and someone who keeps a blog is a “blogger” (

Enough tech talk…

Blogs are extremely popular. The newspaper business is smoldering in the aftershock of the Internet. Well let’s face reality here: Newspapers (as we know them) may edit themselves from newsprint to the Internet. However, time will tell for sure. What will be their replacements?

In fact, a recent article in the Globe and Mail newspaper shows us that “newspapers face the greatest crisis in the history of the business.” Globe reporter, David Ebner, goes on to say,  “Every paper is hurting. Denver’s Rocky Mountain News, among others, is freshly dead. Once-unassailable titles such as the San Francisco Examiner teeter.” We are certainly in interesting times.

So, what’s next?

From the United States comes startling statistics ( that “In total, 33% of internet users (the equivalent of 24% of all adults) say they read blogs, with 11% of internet users doing so on a typical day.” In anyone’s books, that is a lot of people who are reading blogs. And there’s more.

Canadians rank near the top when it comes to Internet usage. “Of Canadian internet users, a recent poll suggested that over 42% had read a blog in the previous three months” ( Canadians love their blogs; surprisingly, we love our political blogs. This may strike a strange note, but former Prime Minister, Paul Martin “kept a widely read blog while he was in opposition” and all political parties maintain blogs. Interestingly enough, “the largest political blog group are the right leaning Blogging Tories with 300 blogs and 3,000 readers on average every day” (

Many blogs provide commentary or news on a particular subject; others function as more personal online diaries, while many blogs serve as a political platform. A typical blog combines text, images, and links to other blogs, Web pages, and other media related to its topic. Many videos now include video to enhance the text. The ability for readers to leave comments in an interactive format is an important part of many blogs. Hyper-linking from one blog to another creates a massive spider web on the “information highway”. We can immediately see “the other side of the story”.

Popularity in blogging is growing and no wonder…Newspaper and magazine writers have their own blogs. Newspapers such as the London Free Press advertise their writer’s blogs on the LFP website ( More often than not, this is where the real “meat” of a story is told. Editors cannot take their scissors to the text…You may even find the “Paul Harvey” version of the story, the “rest of the story” that did not get edited out.

Newspapers world-wide are now facing the question of whether to disband from using newsprint and going strictly online (Internet version) only. The jury is still out on whether this will enhance blogs, making them much more in demand and widely read.

“In March 2008, Universal McCann published a report that indicated 184 million blogs worldwide were created, with 346 million people reading blogs globally (Brian Solis on March 10, 2009).

Most news agency-writers have blogs. CNN, The Detroit Free Press, The New York Times and on and on and on the list goes. David Pogue, a famous Technology writer has a very popular blog that is read by millions ( is called: POGUE’S POSTS. Pogue’s blog is connected directly to the NYT paper’s website as are most other writer’s blogs.

You can easily “google” content that may be found in a blog. For instance, bring up Google Search on your computer or cell phone, or whatever other flavour you choose to get onto the Internet.

Try a google search for a blog…

For instance, bring up your “Google Search”, and in the blank search box type in: barack obama blog. This will take you directly to the blog of the US President. Change out the phrase “barack obama” for anything you are interested, leaving the term: blog. You may never go back…

Welcome to the future; welcome to Cyberspace.

Gregory West is the Editor for “SCUG Report”, a monthly for the Sarnia Computer Users’ Group ( SCUG is a non-profit computer/technology help group that is open to the public for Newbies and Geeks. Gregory also provides, FREE to the public, Computer – Internet lessons at Central United Church each Wednesday.  Gregory can be reached at


All Work & No Play…

April 11, 2009


Most of us would take play over work any day of the week. The reason is simple: Playing is fun.

Check out these FREE computer games

Check out these FREE computer games

On the computer many people take time out from their daily grinds to take on the enemy, to match minds with the best of chess, and to challenge themselves to solitary games on the computer.

Here is an excellent site that will keep you pumped for hours…The best thing about this site is that the games are FREE.

Personally, I am NOT a game player as I love to work on software programs. I have tried out several games and found them to be fun, however my thing is learning new software programs…The challenge of “man against machine” LOL.

Don’t forget to check out Gizmo’s

Digital Photos – Need Something New?

April 10, 2009

Just as we ALL have tucked away our digital cameras…Remember when everywhere you turned somebody was snapping a digital photo because it was new and the cost of taking pictures was and still is FREE?

After about eighteen months of this snapping and clicking, many cameras stayed, either at home, or were kept in pockets and purses and only pulled out for special occasions. Nothing new has popped up to bring back the rapid use of digital cameras; the novelty has well worn off and the paint is now dry.

Need Something New and Free?greg_drawing

Befunky. Yes, now you can have some fun with your ten million photos you have on your computer’s hard drive. Pick a picture, then turn it into a real work of art.

Why pay big bucks for these features, when you can befunky for FREE?

How? Go online and get

This photo editing enhancing program is amazing. The claim on their website is so true:

BeFunky Photo Effects allow everyday people to easily create photographically rich and artistic results from their digital images without the need for any technical knowledge. These “one-click” photo effect options produce desired results effortlessly and each effect comes with the option to make simple adjustments.”

Give it a try and show off your new-found talents to all your friends.

Spring Clean Your Computer

April 4, 2009

Spring Cleaning Your Computer


Come Get Going

Come Get Going

This article is a “must read” to give you an overview of your spring cleaning task. Don’t worry if you do not understand the technical terms, just try and read what the certain tasks you should perform and to give you an idea of what is going on when you start your cleaning. Here is the very informative website:

Steps for Spring Cleaning Your Computer – Inside & Out

1. How to Remove the Dust and Cookie Crumbs

Pay the money and buy an can of air to do this job properly.

On April 1 we saw a live demonstration on how to clean the inside of your computer tower. Make sure you ground yourself first – just touch a metal part of the case from time to time to make sure you’re nice and grounded.Then simply unscrew the side panel to remove it. Spray canned air (Walmart for about $10) all around the contacts and the fans to blow out the dust. Also, after you put the side back on the tower spray the air can on the keyboard to remove anything that might be trapped between the keys. Next use an electronics safe cleaner to wipe down the keyboard, screen and cables. It is wise to spray the cleaner on a soft towel and take care not to press too hard.
website link:


RUN A FULL SPYWARE SCAN – delete all spyware and malware


How To Run Scan Disk in Windows XP

Step 1. Select My Computer on the Desk Top and Press Enter.

Step 2. Arrow to the C drive, but don’t press Enter.

Step 3. Press the Applications or Context menu and up arrow to Properties and press
Enter. This may also be accomplished by holding down the Alt key while pressing

Step 4. Shift Tab once, The heading will say General.

Step 5. Right arrow once to Tools.

Step 6. Tab once to Check Now and Press Enter. Note; Depending on your screen reader
it may not say exactly check now.

Step 7. Tab to the Check Box that says something like Automatically fix errors and press
the space bar to check it.

Step 8. Now shift tab back to start and press Enter. You will be told that scan disk can’t
run now and asked if you would like to schedule it for the next time the
computer reboots. Press Enter on Yes.

Step 9. Now Tab to Ok and press Enter.

Step 10. You are now finished, simply close out the window. Scan Disk will run the next
time the computer reboots. Allow a few extra minutes for the computer to boot
up the next time.

4. Defrag Your Computer

The defrag tool does its best to reorder your hard drive.

Follow this to defrag: (Start > All Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Disk Defragmenter)

Update Your Operating System (Windows) Windows Update can also scan your system and present a list of updatable items.

Follow this to Update your computer:
(Start > Control Panel > Windows Update)

Any questions still bugging you, email me at greg