The President's Message

December 2010

Rick Curry



Happy Thanksgiving. Two important announcements: First, the December meeting will be on the 3rd Saturday (the 18th). Second, our bylaws declare that my presidency ends with our next election in May. Most of our club officers are generously serving from year to year, although a club member may run for any position on the board by communicating the desire to run to a board member. The office of president has a maximum two-year term, and I must step down from my bully pulpit next spring.

Consider putting your hat in the ring. The responsibilities of the club president are not overwhelming. People can make this job as big as they want, but the duties are attending the meetings and writing this column. I recommend the job as an opportunity to participate in a volunteer organization with some great people to work with, and an inquisitive and engaged club membership.

You also get a chance to practice a little writing, public speaking, and Robert's Rules of Order. There will likely be an additional incentive for the incoming board in the form of an office suite of programs. The software comes heavily discounted for use by nonprofit organizations in their operation. So that all board members can use the same tools on shared documents, this office software will be made available to board members elected next May.

Safe online holiday shopping Last year, the American Bar Association published some tips for avoiding the spiders when we do our holiday shopping from the worldwide Web. They are still great advice and can be found at http://www.safeshopping.org/tips.shtml.

Some of my favorite tips from that article:Trust your instincts: if something seems wrong, get out (and preferably reboot!)

If you use auctions (this includes eBay), understand the terms and conditions. Make sure the connection is secure. Use a credit card.

A related site lists rules for using your credit cards. http://www. safebor rowing.com/creditcards/using.shtml.

Tips include: Check the terms when the card arrives, and what to do when your credit card company changes theirterms (you can often "opt-out").

And finally, the FTC at http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/articles/naps07.pdf offers these tips: Verify whom you are dealing with. Try to get a physical address and phone. Know exactly what you are buying. Comparison shop. Check the privacy policy. Do use a credit card. Never send cash, wire transfers, etc. Use secure browsers and transactions. Consider the shipping and handling costs.

Print records of your online transactions. Understand the return policy. Check delivery dates. If you feel you have been misled or deceived, a complaint can be filed at ftc.gov (although you should always attempt to settle disputes first).
Happy computing!