Our Shawnee classes have resumed.
See the Classes page for details→



Senior Techies SIG
Virtual Meeting

Wednesday, May 12, 2021, 2:30 pm

Note that we now recommend using the FCC app to access the meetings instead of using the link to the web browser if you can.

Joe Callison convenes the Senior Techies SIG
sencommember00@gmail.com
(913) 229-4684

Join using the Revised Virtual Meeting Procedure shown below.



Annual Meeting
Virtual Meeting
Friday, May 14, 2021, 1:30 pm

The SenCom Board invites you to join us for the SenCom Annual Meeting, which by necessity will be an online conference call event using the Free Conference Call application.  This year’s meeting will mostly be limited to the nomination and voting for the Treasurer and Secretary and a presentation by Joe Callison on Chromebooks. There will be no “virtual” lunch this year. Our President, Lou Risley, will have a few announcements and will explain SenCom’s plans for getting us through the next several months until we can return to normal meetings.

The Board hopes you will join us for this very important Annual Meeting. If you would like to practice using Free Conference Call, either contact Bob or Joe to request help (find contact information on SenCom’s website) or join in the Senior Techies meeting on Wednesday, May 12, 2021.

You can join the conference call starting at 1:15 p.m. on May 14th by either using your computer browser (Chrome, Firefox, Edge, or other) or your Android device or Apple iPad/iPhone with the FreeConferenceCall app. Please see the complete instructions in the Revised Virtual Meeting Procedure shown below.

Clicking this link at 1:30 pm on May 14th to take you directly to our Annual Meeting video conference: https://www.freeconferencecall.com/wall/sencomuser00.

If you do not have a computer or device that you wish to use for the video conference, you may use any phone to participate.  Dial (425) 436-6335, Access Code 188916*, long-distance charges may apply.

PLEASE NOTE:  we will be voting to approve the nominees for the Treasurer and Secretary of SenCom for the next two years. The Board’s nominating committee has nominated Mike Hurley, the current Treasurer, to continue as Treasurer, and Carol Cambron, the current Secretary, to continue as Secretary. Each has agreed to serve if elected. However, the SenCom By-Laws require that the organization’s members have the opportunity to nominate any member in good standing that they wish, as long as that person is willing to serve. Therefore, the Board is giving you this opportunity to nominate someone of your choice for either or both positions.

Instructions for making a nomination:  Your nomination should be addressed to Lou Risley at her SenCom mailing address  sencomprez@gmail.com.

The nominees will be announced at the online Annual Meeting on May 14th and a vote to elect the Treasurer and Secretary will be taken. The new officers will take office immediately following the Annual Meeting.


Revised Virtual Meeting Procedure:
We miss seeing our members. If you have been having problems joining our virtual meetings using Free Conference Call, please contact a Board Member and one of us will work with you prior to the meeting you are interested in joining. Board Members’ email addresses and phone numbers are under the “About Us” tab of SenCom’s website.

QUICK ACCESS TO A SENCOM MEETING

If you have the FreeConferenceCall (FCC) app, please start the app to join our meeting with audio and video. If you do not have the FCC app and do not want to install the FCC app, please click on this link below to enter the virtual meeting and participate with audio only (your picture will not be available to anyone):

https://www.freeconferencecall.com/wall/sencomuser00/viewer

You will still need to tell Free Conference Call to use the audio either of your computer or through a separate phone call. If you are using the FCC app on a computer, smartphone, or tablet, turn on your video by clicking on the icon of a video camera so that we can see you. On a phone or tablet, you may need to tap your screen to see the icon.

Here are the complete instructions for our virtual meeting procedure:

We are using a service called Free Conference Call that allows all of us to be on at one time through video/audio conferencing or just audio conferencing. If you have a camera and speakers on your desktop computer or a laptop computer with a camera and speakers, you will find that using your PC or Mac computer along with the FCC app will probably give you the best experience. To use your computer to conference into the meeting, follow the instructions that I have assembled in this PDF:

Using your computer to access the Free Conference Call (PDF)→ (Revised)

Also available on our Free Conference Call page→ (Revised)

When using the Chrome browser to access a video conference, you may see a message that your browser has blocked access to your camera or audio. Look at the icons at the top right area of your browser for an icon with a red X like the following:

Click on the icon and then click on the button to allow access and then click the Done button. If the red X does not disappear after a few seconds you may need to refresh your browser by clicking on the icon near the top left of your browser that looks like the following:

The settings for the site will be saved in your Chrome browser Privacy and security settings so you will not need to do this the next time you access the site.

Although Chrome is the preferred browser, others have used Firefox without any problems.

For those who wish to use their Android devices (either tablet or phone), we are using an app called FreeConferenceCall that you can download from the Google Play Store (note that there are no spaces in the app name). Bob Bowser has assembled a set of instructions that you can print and follow to join the meeting:
Using your Android device to access the FreeConferenceCall (PDF)→

Apple iPad/iPhone users can find the same app (Free Conference Call) on the Apple App Store. Installing and using it should be very similar to the Android instructions above.



All Jo Co Library Branches Have Reopened

Upcoming changes to Jo Co Library Branches:

  • Monday, April 19
    • The Edgerton and De Soto branches return to their regular hours of operation.
  • Friday, April 23
    • Branches will resume their regular Friday hours, except Cedar Roe.
  • Monday, May 3
    • Regular hours resume at all remaining locations, except Cedar Roe.
      Cedar Roe branch will be closed for renovations, April 19 through June 20.
    • Meeting, conference, and study rooms open May 3 (bookable beginning April 28).
    • Newspapers and magazines return
    • Laptop lending at Lenexa Library available
    • Soft seating, chairs, and tables available

Central Resource Library services temporarily suspended during construction:

  • Collection browsing
  • Microfilm and reference collection
  • Blood pressure machine (currently suspended as a COVID precaution, but will be permanently relocated to Oak Park)
  • Meeting rooms (currently suspended as a COVID precaution)


•  CDC is Closely Monitoring the Coronavirus Outbreak →

  Coronavirus COVID-19 Global Cases by Johns Hopkins CSSE

  Google Launches its Coronavirus Website →



GEEK FREE
By Joe Callison
21 April 2021

Advantages of New WiFi Standards

Wifi technology and the routers and wifi adapters using it have advanced a lot in recent years. It is difficult to explain the nuances of wifi technology without getting geeky, so bear with me a little as I attempt to explain some of the terminology as simply as I can.

The IEEE 802.11 standards for wifi have used letters to designate each new generation of design, with b, a, g, and n being the most well-known by consumers as the first 4 generations. The next generation to appear was ac, which was a confusing change in the naming sequence, so it is often referred to simply as WiFi 5 or 5th generation wifi. It is the first generation that is designed to take full advantage of new technology that was started but not fully implemented in the n or 4th generation. Both take advantage of 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequencies to provide more and faster channels, but the capability of using multiple-inputs and multiple-outputs (MIMO) to communicate with a device for even faster or more reliable communications was only standardized under WiFi 5. In addition, MIMO could be used to electronically change the antenna beam pattern of the router to focus the signal in the direction of the device it was communicating with. WiFi 5 standardized the method of communication between the devices and the router to enable interoperability of the router with all brands of WiFi 5 adapters that support this “beamforming” technology instead of proprietary designs that depended on buying matching equipment from one supplier. To use beamforming technology (which may go by various names by different brands) with multiple devices simultaneously, multi-user MIMO (MU-MIMO) is required, with the number of antennas and radios supported designated as 2×2 or 3×3 or 4×4 for 2, 3, or 4 simultaneous data streams with WiFi 5. Each MU-MIMO data stream can also be multiplexed (divided up) into up to 3 data streams to provide simultaneous single data streams to a total of anywhere from 2 to 24 devices depending on the number of MU-MIMO data streams supported by the router. Non-MIMO communications can connect more total devices with the router, but they take turns, one at a time for each frequency, instead of having simultaneous access to the router.

The newest wifi standards for consumer products are designated with ax and referred to as WiFi 6 or 6th generation wifi and support up to 8 simultaneous MU-MIMO data streams. There is even an enhanced WiFi 6 called WiFi 6E that adds 6GHz frequency antennas and radios for even more and faster channels of communication. For more information on WiFi 4 through 6E see the following links:

https://www.pcmag.com/news/what-is-wi-fi-6e

https://www.minim.com/blog/wifi-4-vs-wifi-5-vs-wifi-6

https://www.cnet.com/home/internet/buying-a-new-router-understand-these-wi-fi-basics-first/

For links to articles on the best routers for 2021, see the following:

https://www.pcmag.com/picks/the-best-wireless-routers

https://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/g36026171/top-wi-fi-routers/

Why might you need a new router? If your current router is several years old; and you are planning to use a 4K or 8K smart television or streaming video device, or you have many different devices using your router at the same time (the average U.S. home has over 10 devices that may be in use), or you are concerned about your router security, or if you or your grandkids are gamers or cryptocurrency miners, then you should probably consider buying a new WiFi 6 router. At this time, there are not many 6GHz devices utilizing 6E and the routers and adapters can get expensive. Tests on 6E capable routers that are currently available do not show much if any advantage over WiFi 6 and you would probably benefit more from a router that has two 5GHz antennas than a router with one 5GHz and one 6GHz. This may change in another year or two and prices should become more reasonable as more 6E hardware becomes available.

Remember that to take full advantage of the capabilities of these new routers, you will need wifi adapters that use the same wifi standards and features such as MU-MIMO as the router. Adapters are available for upgrading laptops and desktops to the new standards, but other devices without USB ports that can support wifi adapters, like phones, are not upgradeable. They will still work fine with the new routers. In addition, your internet service speed must be high enough to make a meaningful difference in performance with a faster router. You probably will not see much of a speed gain unless you have at least 300Mbps internet service, but speed alone may not be the reason to replace your old router.



FOR~GO
(For Geeks Only)

By Joe Callison
21 April 2021

Building Your Own Computer

Many of us like the idea of putting together our own computer. Not only is their satisfaction in building something yourself, but you can choose to put more or less money in the parts that you choose for your build depending on their importance to you. Even kids have been able to assemble their own desktop computers from parts these days.

There are many YouTube videos and step-by-step guides on the subject, and articles on choosing the best parts depending on whether you are building a budget or high-performance home/office or gaming computer. Some popular links include:

https://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/how-to-build-a-pc,5867.html

https://pcpartpicker.com/guide/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PXaLc9AYIcg

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MtALhv22Ltk

Building your own computer has been almost entirely limited to desktop computers because of the lack of standardization in motherboard designs for laptops, which are designed to fit each unique model’s dimensions and arrangement of parts required by the enclosure design. The few options for laptops in the past have been bulky, heavy, and expensive, but this is beginning to change. From a snap-together modular toy-like laptop for school kids or Raspberry Pi kits for hobbyists to a promising new state-of-the-art system to be released this summer, there are more options for laptops than ever. 

Kano PC (ideal for young school-age kids)
https://kano.me/us/kano-pc-bb

Clevo Barebones Series (home/office to high performance)
https://rjtech.com/shop/index.php

Eluktronics Build Your Own Laptops (home/office to high performance)
https://www.eluktronics.com/NB50TZ

Framework Laptop (designed to be easily upgradeable/repairable by the user)
https://frame.work/

I am looking forward to seeing what Framework will have to offer and at what prices, and hope they succeed with this new venture.



Volunteers Needed

We still need volunteers to help our board members and to fill two positions: Hospitality General Meeting (Nadyne resigned due to health reasons), and Programs need help now and take over later this year (Mary Ann has been doing two jobs). Please email me or another Board Member. Our email addresses are on the “Board of Directors” page under the “About Us” menu. Remember this is your organization, please help us keep it healthy and growing. LITTLE OR NO COMPUTER SKILLS REQUIRED.
Lou Risley, (913) 298-0575,  sencomprez@gmail.com



SenCom gratefully acknowledges the
following organizations for their support:

Google Fiber

City of Shawnee:
Parks & Recreation Department

Johnson County Library:
Central Resource, Oak Park



SENCOM IS A NOT-FOR-PROFIT KANSAS CORPORATION
UNDER THE IRS 501(C)(3) RULES

https://apcug2.org/




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