Senior Techies SIG
Central Resource Library
9875 W 87th Street
Overland Park, KS 66212
Conference Room 01

MAP→

Wednesday, June 12, 2024, 2:30 ~ 4:00 pm


Note: This will be a hybrid meeting. You can join in person or remotely using the Free Conference Call as referenced in the Revised Virtual Meeting Procedure shown below.


 

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


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 before 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 on 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.
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General Meeting
Jo Co Central Resource Library
9875 West 87th Street
Overland Park, KS 66212
Carmack Community Room

MAP→

Friday, June 14, 2024, 1:30 ~ 3:30 pm

Presentation: Fraud Prevention
Presenter: Ed Mickells
AARP Fraud Watch Volunteer for the Kansas City Area


Note: This will be a hybrid meeting. You can join in person or remotely using the Free Conference Call as referenced in the Revised Virtual Meeting Procedure shown above.


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Mary Ann Baltuska is the Hospitality Director

 



..

SenCom is on Facebook. See the access instructions below to find our Facebook Group page (SenComKC).  Check it out!  Share your favorite SenCom moment or interaction.

To access the group page:

  1. Log into your Facebook account.
  2. On your computer, click “Search Facebook,” left-hand corner (to the left of the home icon, on your mobile device, in the middle of the screen on top, then type SenComKC (not case sensitive).
  3. Search results should give you “Groups” and under that, you will see SenComKC. To the right of your search results, you should see a “Join” button. Click the button to request to be a member of this Facebook group.
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*  Volunteer Needed  *

SOS! NEEDED NOW! Volunteer to help our Board of Directors fill the board position of Vice President. If interested, 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 or sencomprez@gmail.com
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CDC information on the Coronavirus Outbreak →



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GEEK FREE
By Joe Callison
20 May, 2024

AI PC: Hype or Real Benefit

There is a lot of buzz about artificial intelligence (AI) and new AI personal computers being introduced in 2024. A resurgence in new PC sales is expected this year with the promise of upcoming AI features throughout the industry in both hardware and software. Microsoft will undoubtedly go big on AI at the Microsoft Build 2024 event held on May 21 through 23.

What is artificial intelligence?

HCLTech (hcltech.com) describes it in simple words as:

“Artificial intelligence is the science of making machines that can think like humans. It can do things that are considered “smart”. AI technologies can process large amounts of data in ways, unlike humans. The goal for AI is to be able to do things such as recognize patterns, make decisions, and judge like humans.”

All of us have probably experienced AI if we have used a personal assistant app on our smartphones, Alexa, or other smart devices. Facial recognition to unlock devices or search through photos for faces or objects are examples of AI. Identifying speech or songs by sampling the sounds captured by the microphone and even internet browser search engines are performed with AI.

What is an AI PC (or Phone)?

There have not been any special requirements for hardware to make use of AI to date because it has been employed almost entirely in cloud-based servers. As AI use increases, it would require massive growth in the construction of new data centers and the infrastructure to support using cloud processing only, Some of the AI processing is capable of being performed by powerful central processing units (CPU) and graphics processing units (GPU} hardware in our personal devices but would require a much greater amount of energy consumption and reduce battery life in our mobile devices to do all of it.

Since around 2017, the hardware in smartphones has evolved to include special processors more efficiently designed for AI-type functions. In an AI PC and newer phones, these are known as neural processing units (NPU). They are incredibly fast and efficient at doing the specific types of functions demanded by AI. For full support of the AI functions Microsoft plans to release beginning with the 24H2 fall update on devices, without heavy use of less efficient processors or the cloud, an NPU capable of 40 trillion operations per second (TOPS) is recommended. Unfortunately, all the upcoming AI PCs to be released using either the Intel Core Ultra (Meteor Lake) or AMD Ryzen 8000G (Hawk Point) series processors are capable of less than 20 TOPS. Not even the Apple M3 is capable of 20 TOPS from its NPU. The next generation of Intel processors, known as Arrow Lake and Lunar Lake, is expected to be capable of 45 TOPS but won’t be released until the end of 2024, nor widely available until 2025. Interestingly, the iPhone with an A17 Pro processor already does 35 TOPS and Qualcomm has released ARM-based laptops with the SnapDragon X Elite processor capable of 45 TOPS.

Should I buy an AI PC now or wait for the next generation?

We will probably hear a lot this year about what will be coming with AI, but I would not expect to see a lot of it in operation to know what benefits it could have, especially for a senior computer user, until the end of 2025. There is no compelling reason to buy an AI PC in 2024 just for the AI benefits of the currently available hardware and software. If you want a new PC for other reasons, an AI PC will probably perform faster but will be much more expensive than non-AI PCs that are likely to be deeply discounted this fall. An AI laptop may have better performance and battery life than a non-AI laptop but at a higher cost.

For at least the next 2 to 3 years, AI may be more beneficial for businesses and research use, but many are reluctant to send their data to a cloud-based server for AI processing, AI Processing on local AI PCs that can handle it without requiring power hungry hardware may be preferred by those users.

Final Thoughts

The following is an example of using AI for research on the internet, This took a few seconds to be generated on a non-AI laptop starting from a simple one-line query::

 

You

Reasons to buy or not to buy an AI PC in 2024.

Copilot

Using the web

Sure, here are some reasons to consider when deciding whether to buy an AI PC in 2024:

Reasons to Buy an AI PC:

  1. Powerful Hardware: AI PCs come with powerful CPUs, GPUs, and a Neural Processing Unit (NPU) which is a specific piece of hardware set aside for AI work12.
  2. Future-Proofing: Buying an AI PC can future-proof your investment as it offers immediate benefits and sets you up well for the fast-moving world of AI13.
  3. Efficiency: AI PCs can handle AI tasks more efficiently, freeing up the CPU and GPU for other tasks12.
  4. Collaboration Features: AI PCs offer features like AI auto-framing, AI background blur, and AI eyesight correction in communication apps like Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, and Zoom2.
  5. Innovation and Differentiation: The growth of AI-capable PCs offers significant opportunities for innovation and differentiation in the industry4.

Reasons Not to Buy an AI PC:

  1. Early Stage: The inception of AI PCs has just begun, so many of the new advantages can feel quite rudimentary2.
  2. Uncertainty: There’s uncertainty about what an AI PC will actually be capable of doing5.
  3. Cost: The cost of using cloud servers compared with buying AI PCs for employees can vary and does not apply to the home user6.
  4. Battery Life: Some AI PCs have been reported to have just average battery life1.
  5. Limited Applications: Many apps are still being built, and the ‘AI PC’ era of computing will innovate heavily as we move forward2.

Remember, the decision to buy an AI PC should be based on your specific needs and circumstances. It’s always a good idea to do thorough research before making a purchase.



 

FOR~GO
(For Geeks Only)

By Joe Callison
27 May 2024

Hiren’s BootCD Updated!

Much more than a decade ago, a favorite software tool of mine was Hiren’s BootCD. It was a bootable CD full of the most popular software utilities, some of which were pirated. The last official update was in 2012. Fans of Hiren’s BootCD have updated it, with only legal software utilities included, to a Windows 11 PE (preinstallation environment) for booting on modern UEFI computers. I have tried it out and was pleasantly surprised by the huge assortment of software utilities available. The only issue I have found is when using it on a computer with a high screen resolution (3K horizontal or higher), the icons and text can be quite small. Unfortunately, I could not find any method to change the display settings with the installed display driver, though you can add other drivers. I did find that the Accessibility settings in Windows PE could still be used to enlarge the icons on the desktop and the Taskbar settings could enlarge the icons on the Taskbar, which helped.

The download and instructions for preparing a bootable CD or USB can be found at Hiren’s BootCD PE

I used my trusty free utility Rufus to create the bootable USB. Be sure to use the UEFI and not MBR setting and the NTFS format in Rufus for booting only on a modern computer system. The dual boot MBR/UEFI method for compatibility with older computers is much more complicated to create if not needed. Windows Home computers should be able to boot from a boot selection menu without getting into BIOS/UEFI settings to turn off Secure Boot or adding the USB drive as a trusted device in the Windows Boot Manager as may be required on computers initially set for Windows Professional. The keyboard key used to get the boot menu varies by manufacturer but is often briefly displayed on the screen during the boot process. You can also look it up for your computer or refer to articles such as Boot Menu Option Keys For All Computers and Laptops | [Updated List 2021] | Techofide
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Thank you for all that you do

Hi Joe,

We hope you and your team are achieving all your year-end appeal goals (and more!) Remember, as you use our tools during this busy time, our team and our partners are here to answer your questions and help you find the best resources to meet the moment.

Our team is in awe of how the Senior Computer Users Group of Greater Kansas City Association, Inc. is making its mark on the world. We see how you are continually asked to do more with less, yet still create meaningful change in your community. It is such a joy to engage with you and the over 325,000 nonprofits around the globe who are leveraging Microsoft resources to drive this positive impact.

Your stories inspire us every day and we are grateful for your tireless work.

Thank you again for all that you do, and we look forward to deepening our collaboration in the year ahead.

Regards,

The Microsoft Tech for Social Impact Team
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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



 

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