In response to the cancellation of our classes due to COVID-19, we have scheduled and posted free webinars on the WEBINARS page. Register now→

Webinar: Smartphone Usage Part I
Instructor: Bob Bowser
Tuesday, January 19, 2021, 1:30 – 2:30 pm
Register on the Webinars page→

Part I of this series will cover the basic functions of Time, Phone, and Texting. We will examine built-in time, alarms, and the clock app in the Time portion. In the Phone portion, we will talk about the phone app; using the keypad, contacts, and recent calls to make calls; speakerphone function; voice mail; and using other apps while on the phone.  In the Texting portion, we will discuss basic messaging including reading, composing, and sending to groups.

I.  Time

    1. Built-in time
    2. Time or Time/Temperature App or Widget
    3. Time App
    4. Alarms
    5. Time zones

II.  Calling

    1. Phone App
    2. Keypad
    3. Recent List
    4. Contacts
    5. Speakerphone
    6. Voice mail
    7. Using other apps while on  the phone with someone

III.  Texting

    1. Message App
    2. Reading
    3. Composing
    4. Groups

Android SIG
Virtual Meeting
Wednesday, Jan 27, 2021, 2:30 pm

If you have been having any issues with your phone or tablet, please join us. If you are having difficulties joining SenCom’s virtual meetings, please let me know so that I can help you join us. I will start up at 2:15 so you can show up anytime between 2:15 and 2:30. If you have any questions that I can work on before the meeting, please let me know as soon as possible.

Looking forward to seeing you on Wednesday,
Bob Bowser, (785) 608-4904

Bob Bowser convenes the Android SIG

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.


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):

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.

Our Shawnee classes have been temporarily canceled.

It was the decision of the Shawnee City Manager’s Office that SenCom’s classes be temporarily canceled due to COVID-19.  They are citing the age of the participants as the reason they are uncomfortable with our classes even with the adjustments we have made.
In response to the cancellation of our classes, we have scheduled and posted free webinars on our WEBINARS page. Register now→

All Jo Co Library Branches Have Reopened

With safety at the forefront of our concerns, we have decided to extend the cancellation of meeting and study room bookings through March 31, 2021. Please continue to check our website and social media for the latest updates on Library services.

On Monday, June 15, Johnson County Library reopened all 14 of its branches with limited services and temporarily modified hours of operation, listed below. As we work to rebuild staffing capacity, modified hours allow our branch staff time to safely process materials and sanitize staff and patron spaces.  

Returns are accepted 24/7 in any of our branch book drops, and our eLibrary is always open!  Please see our Reopening FAQ  for additional details about Library services, placing and picking up holds, due dates and fines, safety protocols, and more.

•  CDC is Closely Monitoring the Coronavirus Outbreak →

  Coronavirus COVID-19 Global Cases by Johns Hopkins CSSE

  Google Launches its Coronavirus Website →

by Joe Callison
18 November 2020

Free Creative Programs for Beginners to Professionals

There are some great free open source programs available that I consider good enough to not only recommend to beginners to try out, but that will satisfy the needs of most professionals. Of course, if you find a program useful and want to support the developer(s), you are encouraged to donate to them.  

These open-source programs, which means anyone can obtain the computer source code for them and modify it for their own purposes and are available for Windows, macOS, and Linux operating systems. They also have great help and tutorials as well as a community of users for support. I picked 5 programs that I think should provide all the creative tools needed by most of us:

LibreOffice – a full suite of office programs that includes word processing, spreadsheet, presentation, database, diagram, math, and more. I prefer to set the options to automatically default to load and save documents in the latest Microsoft Office format, but you can choose to save documents in a wide variety of other formats. LibreOffice is also able to open files in many different formats and convert them to one of the supported ones. I have even opened old Apple Works / Clarisworks files. Click Download and then choose the more stable tested version, not the latest version, at

GIMP – a very complete photo editing program that rivals Adobe Photoshop in its capabilities. Some of the features such as layers may take a while to learn if you really want to but most amateur photographers are happy just using the many options for filters, effects, and corrections available. Gimp has been around for a very long time and there are many 3rd party plug-ins that have been developed by other users. Download the latest stable version, not the development version, at

Inkscape – a very complete vector graphics editor (graphics art program in more non-technical terms) that rivals Adobe Illustrator in its capabilities. It is not a skill that I have developed, but it is fun for me to play with. Download at

Audacity – an easy to use multi-track audio editor and recorder. I have used it to trim audio files, convert to different formats, and to edit metadata (the information stored with the audio file such as artist and album) but it does much more and supports additional plug-ins. Download at

OpenShot – an incredibly easy and complete video editor program that in my opinion sets the bar on how to develop intuitive and yet flexible user interfaces. There are also many excellent YouTube tutorials produced by the developer that I highly recommend watching, even if just to marvel at his skill at developing user interfaces. Download at

There you have it. My 5 best free programs to entertain yourself, to develop a creative skill, or even use in a profession.

(For Geeks Only)
by Joe Callison
23 December 2020

Troubleshooting with Windows Safe Mode or Clean Boot

When looking for solutions to problems using Windows, you will sometimes read advice to run in “safe mode” or run after a “clean boot”. They both do similar things but there are some differences that can make one more appropriate than the other for specific situations.  

Safe Mode
Windows Safe Mode is the more extreme of the two methods of starting with limited processes and services. It runs the minimum of Windows core processes and without third party video and audio drivers or software that is loaded automatically during normal startup. The low-resolution display in some versions of Windows can be challenging but many programs can still be used. If the computer can boot to Safe Mode, then the core Windows processes are not likely the area of trouble and the focus should be on drivers or other software installed. Often just booting to Safe Mode and then restarting Windows normally will fix Windows problems. I sometimes use Safe Mode with networking to run antivirus or antimalware scans because they can be more effective at removing the most persistent infections. The networking option allows the software to check for the latest updates before running the scan. You can also download and install additional software while in Safe Mode with networking. If System Restore is not able to run to completion in a normal startup it may be able to in Safe Mode.

For Windows 7 and prior versions, you could use the function key F8 during startup to enter the Safe Mode. There are multiple methods of getting to the Safe Mode in Windows 10. If your computer can boot at least to the sign-in screen, you can click the power icon and hold the shift key down when selecting restart. The Windows recovery environment will be booted if it is intact on your startup drive, and you can use the advanced options in the troubleshooting area to get to the Startup Settings. After clicking the Restart button, Safe Mode options can be selected either from a list or by number depending on the version of Windows. If you can’t get to the sign-in screen, then three failed startup attempts will normally bring up the Windows recovery environment if it is intact. If not, then you will have to use Windows installation media or bootable recovery media on a disk or USB drive that contains the Windows recovery environment. You may need to press a designated key for your particular computer system (usually briefly displayed at the beginning of the boot process) to access the boot options, or on some systems you may even need to enter the bios or UEFI settings, to change the boot device order to boot from the CD/DVD drive or a bootable USB device first.

Clean Boot
Windows clean boot loads more processes and services than Safe Mode does. It is not a mode you can select but is something that can be configured using the System Configuration app named MSConfig. It is useful for finding conflicts preventing apps, programs, or updates from running or installing. Entering msconfig in the “Type here to search” box is the easiest way to find the app. Open the app and In the Services tab, click the Hide all Microsoft services box and then click the Disable all button which will uncheck all of the non-Microsoft services. Click the Apply button and then go to the Startup tab which will have a link redirecting you to its new location in Task Manager. Click and disable each of the startup items listed, close Task Manager, and then click OK in the System Configuration app. Restarting will load Windows device drivers and services only. If Windows appears to be stable and the problem app, program or update works with the clean boot, then the next step for troubleshooting would be to go back to MSConfig and try enabling only a subset of the disabled services to see if the problem returns after restarting. Instead of enabling one service at a time and restarting, doing it in groups should be quicker. If a problem is not found in any of the services, then use the same process for enabling the items in the Startup tab of Task Manager. In either case, any offending service or startup item can be identified and left disabled for further investigation.

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,

SenCom gratefully acknowledges the
following organizations for their support:

Google Fiber

City of Shawnee:
Parks & Recreation Department

Johnson County Library:
Central Resource, Oak Park


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