In this age of "Shelter in Place", ZOOM comes to the communicate-with-each-other rescue . This easy to use program can be used for many people at once to converse with video. It's free with unlimited time for two people. Three or more people can converse for up to 40 minutes for free, unlimited up to 99 participants is $15/mo. It's available on all smart phones, tablets and computers and is very popular.

Facebook has become an excellent way to find and connect with people. I'm interested in genealogy, so connecting with relatives on Facebook is very useful as so many have Facebook accounts. I particularly like that people share so many family pictures. Discovering other relatives is very possible as so many are on Facebook. Security is an issue, so google "Facebook Security Settings".
Twitter is a great communication tool. Basic use is very simple. Get a free account and start tweeting. You need to learn how to re-tweet, a compliment to authors, at Twitter Best Practices. To search for breaking Twitter news, go to and type in Hash Tags (#). When people are tweeting about an event, someone comes up with a unique word placed after a hash symbol "#". So for example I'm trying to find real-time comments on Charlie Sheen's 2nd concert tonight (Apr 3, 2011) in Chicago. Seems like people are using two hash tags #Sheen and #Chicago. So if you go to and specify these two hash tags you will receive updates by those tweeting about Charlie. Hint, you also find Charlie info using #Tiger blood and #Winning. If you want to re-tweet someone's tweet (which shows respect to the original tweet) just preface your tweet with RT (and give credit to the author). It's also good to know some popular twitter accounts to follow, Google "Best Twitter Feeds".

One excellent way to learn about computers is to join a computer user group. If you have a Macintosh and live locally, try the San Leandro Macintosh User Group. If you're interested in the Mac and Genealogy try MacGen, a group I started in 2009. It also lists East Bay Macintosh User Groups. If you have a PC, try PC Community that meets in Hayward, California. I started or helped start all four of the following computer support groups.

  • 2009 - MacGen User Group - For Macintosh users who are into Genealogy. Concentrating on exploring the many aspects of the MacintoshGenealogy program each month and other related topics.
  • 1988 - PC Clubhouse (later re-named PC Community) for IBM PC's and compatibles. It meets at the Hayward Adult School, 7:30 pm, 1st Friday of each month. PCC has a Clubhouse located at the Hayward Adult School. They recycle computers, donate refurbished computers and show people how to use computers.
  • 1983 - San Leandro Computer Club - For Atari Computers, SLCC - Meets on the first Tues. of the month from 7-8pm at the San Leandro Community Library. Contact Robbie Bridges at
  • 1979 - TRS-Nybblers - for Windows, DOS and TRS-80 Computers.7:30 pm, 3rd Friday of each month at Ron Ring's house (now named "The Nybblers). Request his address by e-mail. While in The TRS-Nybblers, I started a PC-Compatibles Special Interest Group. One project was undertaken with PC-Expert Randall Wright, to start a local Fido net using TBBS software. This is a group of computer BBSes that call each other in the middle of each night and exchange emails from each BBS. See our BBS flyer from 1986.

Additional Macintosh Information
An excellent source of tutorials on anything Macintosh is Gary also has a YouTube Macmost Channel. Examples are his many videos on the Apple Preview app. I bet you didn't know it's a mini-photoshop! Similarly, his videos on the Pages app will help you master this full-featured desktop publishing app.
Run Windows on an Intel Mac

  • VMWare Fusion - $80 in (doesn't include Windows)
  • Parallels - $80 in (doesn't include Windows)
  • CrossoverMac - $40 (includes Windows environment... but I found it took more time than I was willing to spend, to get it working.
  • OSX "Boot Camp" Free, included with OSX. (doesn't include Windows)

Photo Web Sites

Freely Usable ImagesA very good collection of freely usable images from Search over a million images and use as desired.
If you're having trouble with Malware or Viruses on your Windows machine, you might try one or all of these sites:

Favorite PC software freebies:

A couple favorites...


Web Utility Sites

Apple MacintoshI have been trying to absorb Mac/iPhone knowledge. I starting using a Mac-Mini in 2006. I started a blog, though now dormant. I purchased the Genealogy program "Reunion" and have grown to appreciate it, especially for printing customized charts with pictures. It also has also led to membership in local Mac Genealogy Groups (DVMUG in Walnut Creek, TMUG in Pleasanton (now defunct) SLMUG in San Leandro and SVMUG in Silicon Valley. I also started a Macintosh Genealogy group called MacGen in April 2009.

Computers | Bill George's Website

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