The March meeting was opened with a room full of members, and the minutes from the January and February meetings were read and discussed. I expressed my thanks to Craig Getty for standing in for me at the last moment, and preparing and publishing superb minutes from the February meeting.
Lin Shaw made his monthly Treasurer's report. Thanks to the monthly raffle and our newest member, our account has 'mushroomed" significantly. John Parken reported that we are now up to 21 members, and that he has E-mail addresses for most of our members. Those he hasn't received will be contacted via 'snail mail' and asked if they have an E-mail address.
Les Kee reported that he did experience some activity in the club's floppy library, and that he has received Craig's first Zip disk backup of the newsletter Web site. We talked, at length, about backing up the club's extensive floppy disk library on CDs or Zip disks. The comment was made that it would be a shame if the 5¼" floppies deteriorated with age and the programs and files were lost. Several suggestions were made as to the method(s) we might incorporate. (This project has been discussed before, but its priority level has been pushed up a notch because of the apparent aging of the floppies in Les' care.)
We discussed the concerns I expressed about having pieces of our Web site 'scattered' among different ISPs. I felt that this could leave us vulnerable to the whims and longevity of individual ISPs. That is, graphic files may or may not be available if an ISP went down for any reason. The consensus of opinion was that, although this could happen, we were just as vulnerable with everything on the same server site. Therefore, the only difference was that we could have much more additional 'free' memory space available with multiple servers for our Web site files.
Jim Krych, former TI-Chips member and president, dropped by to inform us about the CCAG 2002 to be held May 25th at St. John's Lutheran School in Garfield Hts., Ohio. Actually, vendor and user group set-up will be on Friday, May 24th from 5:30 - 9:00 PM and on Saturday, May 25th from 6:00 - 8:00 AM. The actual show will be on the 25th from 8:00 AM until 2:00 PM. The show site must be cleared out by 3:00 PM for church services. Jim also made it quite clear that all tables must be reserved in advance. We paid Jim $5.00 for table #3 at the CCAG. The CCAG Web site is at:
Jim also passed around a published review of his "DEVASTATOR". This is a 9908 arcade game controller that can operate most computer and arcade games on the market. The review was a well-earned endorsement for Jim's game control system. Thanks for coming to the meeting, Jim. We're looking forward to seeing you at CCAG 2002.
Norb Sitter came equipped with his new Polaroid digital camera. Norb said it was the best thing since sliced bread. (Not really, but that's the impression we got from Norb.) Enjoy digital photography, Norb. (It IS the greatest thing since sliced bread.)
Lucille (Lucy) Mayer talked about her printer problems. It seemed that her Panasonic dot matrix printer, used with her TI-99/4A, wouldn't print any characters on the paper. We gave Lucy several suggestions how to correct the problem. One suggestion was to look at the ribbon and make sure that it was placed all the way down in the ribbon guides. The ribbon tends to ride up when the cartridge is inserted in the printer. Therefore, the print head pins are making impressions on the paper instead of inked characters from the ribbon. We also gave her several suggestions on how to clean a dot matrix print head. The easiest of which is to remove the ribbon cartridge, soak the paper with rubbing alcohol and put the printer in Self Test mode until the print head pins put clean imprints in the paper. Another, offered by Harry Hoffman, was to dampen a cloth or handkerchief with alcohol and let the print head print though the dampened material.
Lucy also talked about 'computer ergonomics' in that the placement of her monitor was literally giving her a pain in the neck. We talked about the proper placement of keyboard and monitor to prevent muscle stress and specially constructed prescription eyewear or reading glasses to eliminate eyestrain and minimize excessive head movement. (I took the opportunity to snap Lucy's picture for our Members' Gallery.)
John Parken talked about a neat Web site that offers super deep discount prices. He said his new inkjet print cartridges cost much less than what is paid at retail outlets. The Web site address is: www.pricewatch.com
Les Kee won the 50:50 raffle. Congratulations, Les!
The next meeting of the TI-Chips will be April 20, 2002. The meeting will be held in the Story Time Room of the North Royalton branch library from 10:00 'til noon.