The President's Message


Lois Evans de Violini

Our thanks to Marcy Gunn for a great presentation about the magazine Smart Computing and the other services offered by Sandhills Publishing. Particularly impressive was her description of their Tech Support Center. If you have a computer problem, try it and let us know how it works for you:

Don't let the Mac people convince you that they are the only ones with easy access to voice communication from PC to PC over the Internet. Your Windows-based PC is fully capable of allowing you to use your computer to talk to a contact.

Special software like that provided by Skype has been around for a time, but now some of the popular instant messenger software is adding VOIP as a feature to their service.

Google, Yahoo, Microsoft's MSN, AOL's AIM and ICQ all have VoIP in at least beta. Most of these, at this time, are PC to PC contact. That is two or more people are talking to one another from computer to computer over high speed lines (cable or DSL) using the computer speakers, a microphone or headset. It is much more fun to talk than to type messages back and forth. I expect this feature will be perfected and become a part of all IM software very soon.

I have not used the Google, MSN, or AOL versions, but I have used the Yahoo version. There was nothing special to buy. I downloaded the free software from Yahoo and persuaded one of my IM friends with high speed access to do the same. We have talked several times and once while the friend was in London using a laptop. With a Web cam, and the same software, we could have watched each other as we talked as was done in the Mac demo. If friends are offline or away from the computer, voicemail can be left.

With Yahoo's recent purchase of Dialpad, its IM service will be able to talk to traditional telephones. It remains to be seen how Yahoo will provide this feature, but it is certain that it now has the ability to do so. Downside, as you have heard before: no 911 service though this medium.

At the board meeting on Tuesday evening three areas of interest were suggested for new SIGS: digital photography, audio/video recording, and investing. If you are at all interested in any one of these three areas, please e-mail me at

Jim Thornton has accepted my invitation to become our publicity chairman again. Thank you, Jim