Carolyn Zalesne attended our breakfast meeting on Wednesday and gave us a lively lecture on using our computers.  Carolyn is a Landings resident, a graduate of Cornell University and of the University of Maryland, but her computer knowledge is 100% self-taught.  She started a graphic design business and found herself constantly asked by friends and neighbors to help them with their computers.  She reinvented herself as the IT girl – who makes Mouse calls – and became a very busy Landings resource.  Her audience, not all of whom are totally at ease with their computers, listened gratefully to her presentation
She made four points, talking to us about overall/general issues rather than individual problems which some may have and some may not.

First Carolyn talked about wireless internet access using our in-home Wi-Fi capability, and advised us that our Wi-Fi modem/router should be centrally located in our premises. If it is not, it is likely that there will be “blind” spots where the signal does not reach. In blind spots or outside the home, our devices may use a cellular data connection to the internet and may incur additional charges if we use more data than the phone/tablet service plan allows.

She talked about email etiquette. When replying to a message, do not hit “reply all” unless you really do want to reply to all. And remember, if you hit “reply all,” everyone’s email address will be visible to everyone. This is an action that some of your friends may not appreciate. If you do want to send/forward an email to a large group, it is best to put your email address in the “TO:” line and put all the group emails addresses in the “BCC” line. In this way, recipients only see your email address and even if they do “reply-all”, the reply will only come to you. Do not set your computer to format message text in all CAPS; this is considered “screaming!!”.

Carolyn then spoke about the PDF (Portable Document Format) file. She advised us to use this format option whenever a file is sent to someone who does not (or may not) have the program you used to create that file. It should also be used if you do not wish to allow the recipient to edit the file you sent. When you use the “Save As” option in programs like Word or Excel, one of the options for the file type will be PDF. All devices can read this type of file or you may be prompted to download the Adobe Acrobat Reader (free) to view the file.

Lastly she talked about passwords. Do not, she said, put your passwords on “stickies” and place them around your computer. Do not keep them in a folder labeled “passwords.” But what do you do if you know you will forget them? Or something happens to you and no one can access your accounts or other vital information? The answer is first, to be sure your passwords are known to your spouse and kids. Or, if you prefer, the passwords should be known to someone you trust. One good option is to keep them in your online address book (Contacts). She described a way to “encrypt” your passwords using a keyword you will always remember when you see the first letter of the word. If, for example, your key word is “baseball”, the encrypted passwords you save might be: B (Baseball), b23 (baseball23) or B%5 (Baseball%5). This would allow for plenty of variations. Saving these “encrypted” passwords in your online contact list would ensure you always have access to them. Be sure to update the contact record when you change any password.
Pictured below are President Tom and Carolyn Zalesne.