Tonight’s meeting was canceled, Zoom

The weather today became a storm of the decade, the storm of 2019. And individually I think we all decided that tonight’s EPCUG meeting was canceled.

But with all the snow and power outages eventually I got to thinking about other things. Something I’d seen in the news recently. A company called Zoom that was going public soon and worth billions of dollars, and I never heard of it. I Googled it and found it was a conferencing program and it could be used by two people at once for free.

So this afternoon I texted I our member Stephen and I asked if he had time to try it out with me. While we were texting I figured out that he wouldn’t need to install software that he just needed to open a web browser and go to a page to use it. Finding that his internet connection wasn’t powerful enough to run it (we thought) in this ridiculous weather he drove to Starbucks. It was closed due to the weather. So he moved on and found somewhere with an internet connection and we continued to try to connect using Zoom and this time it occurred to me that there are versions of this Zoom for Android and iPhone. So after several hours we finally connected and after discovering what was causing earlier trouble we connected with four different types of devices. We had a meeting with two cellphones and a desktop and a laptop. Since that was more than two connections the meeting would be limited to 40 minutes so we disconnect the cellphones so the meeting could last as long as we needed. We then played around with the desktop sharing, swapping control, annotating and everything else we could find it would do. Suffice it to say it works pretty well.

So while there was no official meeting tonight we did get to try out some software and we invite you to do the same. for desktop laptop Android or iPhone.

Google Docs and Blogging

It’s a common trait when writing a blog to want to collaborate , share the effort to decide what to write, what graphics to include, and have many head edit the work. Using an office suite like MS Office or Google Docs makes this possible by keeping the working document online and allowing many folks to look it it and share it.

Simply using personal Google accounts anyone can share with others Google accounts. Using Google Suite it is manageable by an Admin as well.

But the point I want to show is once a document is finalized simply copying the document and pasting into the WordPress editor causes all sorts of formatting troubles.

Probably the simplest solution is a plugin for WordPress which imports MS .docx files in the editor, Mammoth Docx. Once installed in WordPress this plugin gives the WordPress editor an ‘Import Docx button’ so you can download the file from Google Docs and import it into WordPress. This post is being added to the EPCUG Website this way.

WordPress Users

business coffee composition computer
Photo by Pixabay on

EPCUG has dissolved greatly since its heyday (before the Internet) but I see a continued interest in being able to publish to the web and WordPress has groups around the world helping each other in the effort. I propose we get Eugene/Springfield involved as well.

Whether you are new to WordPress or have worked with it since it first came out come join us Mondays at 5;30pm at the Fifth Street Market Food Court (upstairs) teach or learn what you can while enjoying good company (Live!) and food.

Why Virtual Private Network? (VPN)

A member asked, “Why VPN?”


Virtual Private Networks have been around for some time. In short, you encrypt everything you send and receive through the Internet and work through a server the VPN hosts. If you use cyber cafes or just wonder if your own Internet service and wifi at home is secure, using a VPN makes your machine secure. Anywhere.

It amounts to a private tunnel and separate address for you so no one else can see what you do. I chose to start using one shortly after Trump was elected when he changed the rules so your Internet provider is allowed to use logs of your use for its own profit. Using a VPN uses their service but encrypts it so they see nothing readable from (or to) me.

Most of these services are not free, but a few are. But for them to exist they may cause your surfing to slow down or receive ads that pay for it instead. Most services are more than $50/year, but some are less if paid yearly. I went with PIA for $35/year for five machines. For me this covers my wife’s and my computers and Androids. I use west coast servers and still get 75 mbps download and 7mbps upload speed from Without VPN the speeds are 80 and 8mbps respectively, not much higher.

There are many other differences in services and I recommend Googling and shopping for what is best for you. But if you intend to visit sensitive sites, banks, email, etc. I see them as a must these days.

7 DIY Projects You Can Make With an Old Hard Drive — MakeUseOf

Since EPCUG is a group associated with making the most of computers I found this post at MAKEUSEOF quite interesting. I didn’t know about some of the boxes for drives now available. Maybe they could be plugged into the back of the Xfinity modem as a network drive? Ideas folks?


Don’t throw out that old hard drive from your computer! Yes, that’s even if you’ve got a fancy new solid state drive (SSD) or if your hard disk drive (HDD) finally gave up. Whether it’s functional or not, your old drive still has some cool uses. What you do with it depends on whether the…

via 7 DIY Projects You Can Make With an Old Hard Drive — MakeUseOf

Linux laptop vs. Chromebook

We work with any computers that come our way at EPCUG and lately we have been playing with Chromebooks and various versions of Linux on laptops.

Just for fun I’m going to give away a (2006 I think) Toshiba laptop and power supply with Peppermint Linux installed. It will do all a Chromebook will do but does have a hard drive and can run installed programs as well which is now a feature Chromebook is adding so they can run LibreOffice or Gimp, the office and photoshop for Linux.

The battery on this machine is not great but it seems to hold for 15 minutes or so, long enough to go from one outlet to another. If you are interested in having all the abilities of Chromebook or Android in a laptop just join us at our meeting.

Woops! Sorry…

First I need to apologize for having cancelled last week’s meeting. It wasn’t intentional so I’ll make it a lesson on using Google Calendar.

After setting up our new Google Group as a maillist I saw that it would connect to Google Calendar and I set up my EPCUG calendar to have the meeting dates on it. Now my personal calendar this then showed this calendars event and the one we get from John Morrison.

So to eliminate one of the listings and not thinking that I could really edit John’s calendar I opened it up and cancelled the meeting so it wouldn’t appear on my calendar.

Well as it turns out John’s calendar emails all of us through the mail list of meeting events and when I cancelled it, it sent out a cancellation email to us all.

The surprise to me was that I could edit John’s calendar. I’m still not sure why that happened. the long and the short of it is we will be having our meetings normally and I will set up a calendar so my EPCUG calendar sends out the notice to the group.

Looking forward to seeing you all next week!