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This was followed at 5:30 PM by all attendees joining the First Timers for a complete briefing/welcome by Jay Ferron, introduction of Committee Chairs, Regional Representatives and an overview of the upcoming events planned. This was a chance for me to meet our Region 9 representative Melvin Weekley. There was a 90 minute break for attendees to have dinner and then the final event of the day was a Kickoff Social at the Top of the Riviera, where we had light snacks and a cash bar for the attendees. The main attraction was a magic show with magician Ron Saylor. Ron has performed on television and the Academy Awards. By that time it was 9:00 (10:00, COS time) so our group from Colorado Springs (Ilene, Joe and I) decided to call it a day.
Friday 4 January began with a breakfast sponsored by Pinnacle. Pinnacle representative, Anthony Martorina from Pinnacle did a dynamic presentation on four excellent software/hardware items sold by his company. First was the Pinnacle Video Transfer. This is a brand new product and we were some of the first people to see it. It appears easy to use, even without a PC and you can record TV shows and movies to your iPod, digitize home movies to a USB 2.0 hard drive, and back up such things as vacation videos on a portable USB 2.0 storage device.
Next was the PCTV HD Stick. Watch and record SD and HDTV on any PC the Stick, which featurs a unique PVR application that runs from the stick’s on-board flash memory. Plug it into any PC and start watching and recording in seconds – no software installation required.
Next was ‘Video Spin’. This is a brand new tool that allows you to create your own movie clips, mixing and using your own videos, pictures and music. Titles and transitions are also available. If you wish you can upload your finished product to Yahoo Video and YouTube. A ‘lite’ version is available for download at www.videospin.com.
Next was a demo on ‘Pinnacle Studio 11 Ultimate’. This is truly a complete editing package, with new audio and video features. Drag and drop clips into a handy timeline, lots of transitions, titles available, some 3D effects but most are 2D. It has filter effects to add ‘sparkles’, rays, etc. At the end of the presentation all attendees were given a copy of Pinnacle Video Studio Ultimate, version 11. I will surely use this program.
After breakfast, there were eight education/tech sessions. They were: How to Increase Membership, Interest, & Speakers in Your UG; Fight Spam with Firetrust (MailWasher); Finding and Retaining Volunteers; Tech Soup; Program Chairs, ‘When Things Go Wrong’; Acoustica, ‘Creating a Podcast, Composing & Remixing Music’; How to Create a Power Point Presentation in 60 minutes; and Ai Squared, ‘Zoom Text Lite: High Res Screen Magnification’.
I attended ‘Finding and Retaining’ Volunteers. This was presented by Gabe Goldberg from the Capital PC UG. Gabe, as well as participants, shared ideas and reported on what and what doesn’t and tips on preventing burnout of our volunteers. I came away with lots of ideas to take back with me.
The session I attended was ‘Program Chairs: When things go wrong’. Something near and dear to my heart. Presenters were Doris Collins and Cheryl Wester. Once again we had lots of participation from attendees and I came away with many new ideas on how to ‘generate’ a program on short notice, as well as a CD put together by Judy Taylour, which includes lots of ideas and handouts from other presentations. Thank you ladies.
Lunch was an APCUG-sponsored event. We sat with our Region 9 folks and our APCUG Advisor Melvin Weekley. The keynote speaker was Dwight Silverman. The topic of his presentation was ‘Running Windows on your MAC.’ At the conclusion of lunch we all received a copy of the book he co-authored with Larry Magid, “Windows Vista, A Quick Guide to Mastering All That Is Vista.”
After lunch we attended the Vendor’s Forum. At this event the attendees and the Vendor Sponsors exchange ideas. The main topic was, as it always is, how to get presentations for the groups. While “Presentation In a Box” has met with limited success, the subject of Webinars (live presentations across the Internet) met with much enthusiasm. Using ‘Windows Live’, ‘Skype’ or some other appropriate application should work. Some additional hardware may be required (Web camera, etc.) in our meeting rooms, but the vendors seemed excited about it as well.
The day closed with the Vendor Fair. Here we had snack food and got to visit with the APCUG Vendor Sponsors at their respective tables. At the end of the event, a drawing was held for prizes donated from the vendors. I won two items: Acoustica’s Spin It Again and Disk Director Suite 10 by Acronis.
Saturday 5 January started off with a Corel sponsored breakfast. Evelyn Watts demonstrated several products.
The first was WordPerfect Lightning. This program allows you to organize information about a project you are preparing before you start the actual writing. You can download the beta version free at the Corel site.
The next product was Media One Plus. It allows you to organize your photos and put together slide shows among other things. It also includes a nice print utility.
Third was Paint Shop Pro, an excellent photo editor. The latest version includes a Learning Center to help you along with your tasks.
The final product was Painter Essentials. It looked quite interesting. It will convert your photos into what looks like a painting. Evelyn did a great job and was very entertaining.
At the end of breakfast they announced the winners of the 2008 Photo Contest.
There were eight more education/tech sessions that morning. They included: Working with Other UGs on a Common Project; PC Renew; Stump the PowerPoint expert; Virtual Technologies (VMWare/Virtual PC); How to create a Win-Win-Win Partnership with Vendors; Verbatim: Where’s Your Stuff Storage Going; Cyber Security; and Marketing Your User Group Using Search Engines.
The session I attended was Virtual Technologies. This was presented by Dennis Courtney and although I am somewhat technology deficient, I was able to understand most of what he had to say. He showed us how to set up a new virtual PC, how to virtualize an existing PC and how to make them exchange data with the host PC. Very well done to include the novice as well as the expert.
Next I attended the Win-Win-Win Partnership with Vendors presented by Linda Moore. Once again I came away with great ideas on working with Vendors.
Raxco sponsored our lunch on Saturday and Raxco’s Greg Hayes gave a presentation on Windows File System and Improving Performance. It covered a history of Windows file systems including FAT 16/32, NTFS and the new ExFAT.
There were eight more sessions in the afternoon: Ai Squared: Zoom Text Lite High Res Screen Magnification; Reallusion: Making Movies Like a Rock Star; How to Set Up a Secure Home Network; Trend Micro; How to Create a Successful Product Review Program; Project X; Moving From Online Contacts to Real-Life Friends; and Identity Theft.
I had some prior commitments and was unable to attend any of these sessions. One in particular I would like to have attended was creating a successful product review, however I understand many of these sessions will be available on the APCUG website after 16 January.
Saturday night Microsoft sponsored dinner and the Mindshare folks, Sheri, Chris, Joel, and Larry showed off Windows Live OneCare and Windows Home Server.
It was an excellent presentation followed by many giveaways. My name showed up once again and I received Microsoft Windows Vista Ultimate!!
The final day of the APCUG Conference began with another fine breakfast sponsored by AMD. After the meal, Scott Shutter of the Notebook Division talked about the future of AMD notebooks. He pointed that they are outselling PCs, performance is expanding, you can enjoy movies, photos and gaming and that digital imaging was becoming a dominant factor in notebook technology.
With the advent of AMD Explorer, users will see a whole new way of handling photos, videos, and music files. We will be amazed at how unique it looks. It will launch the week of 7 January and will be available at no cost from the AMD Web site.
Their new Puma will have a 4X increase in graphics performance. They will go from DirectX 9 to DirectX 10 with more realistic textures, platform strategy and software, solution specialization, accelerated processing unit, platform optimization and platform technology. Much of this is possible due to AMD’s acquisition of ATI. The next generation of AMD chips will combine CPU and video technology on the same chip!
Next Simon Solotko of the Desktop Division spoke about the future of AMD in the desktop arena. Look for quad core processors, HyperTransport, and “Cool’n Quiet” technology, DDR2 dual channel memory and scalable graphics performance.
I was very impressed with their presentation.
After a short break, the APCUG Annual Summit Meeting took place. There was a short business meeting and the presentations to the winners of the Web site and Newsletter contests. The treasury was reported to be in ‘great’ shape. They will do an audit this year. Reminded us that vendors want to see reviews of their products! The final item was the presentation of the annual Jerry Awards. That was about it. Attendance at this year’s Convention was reported as 181.