As we come to the close of this tumultuous year, I come to the close of my tenure as President of TVCUC.
This year has been nothing if not challenging in more ways than any of us could have imagined just a year ago, though it seems like so much longer than that. We faced a crossroads: if and how this club was going to continue. The strong message from you was that you wished us to continue, but not necessarily the same way. We are still here and we are changing. While the pandemic is truly horrific in its effects and sheer scope, we also saw that an opportunity was there to weave together the need for change our members wanted and the restrictions forcing new options to be used for us to continue. While we can’t come to your house or have face to face “Meet FLS”, we can come and meet with TeamViewer. We will have to rely on electronic communication like Zoom and links to online information to provide the ongoing Education part of the Club and keeping you informed. There are still some things to work out, but we will be rolling out what we have and the rest as soon as it is ready. Life changes, and we adapt.
The changes in the needs of the Community were met by TAP with an all-time high of over 1,000 computers given to help well over 1,400 youths. An astounding accomplishment as our previous highs for a year were 862 computers and over 1,000 youths. This being done with restrictions in how the volunteers worked within the obstacles of the pandemic.
It has been a high honor to have served you for three years and I have learned a lot in that time. I have had the privilege to work with and know the many who have worked in FLS, Membership, Tours, Picnics, Presentations, written Grant requests, created Web content and
Newsletters, kept our Financial records, our meeting Minutes, set up our General Meetings and our Mac SIG. All of them working in service to you and the Community.
I have gotten to know the incoming Board very well as they have been working with the current Board since September thru seemingly endless Zoom meetings, emails, calls and texts. They are fully dedicated to continuing the change and full measure of service to you – I know they will, because they already are.
I wish all of you and the new Board well in the new year and always.
Ken Van Swearingen
Technology Access Program
TAP continues to have a record-breaking year. As of 12/9/2020, we have issued 1,069 systems to individuals, schools (for students) and agencies, providing in-home access to technology to 1,521 youth that otherwise would not be available to them. These are both record-setting numbers for a single year. The previous record for systems was 862, set in 2018. The previous
record for children/youth assisted was 1,340, set in 2013. There are currently 124 systems that were given to schools/agencies that have not been reported back to TAP. The normal ratio is 1.5 children/youth per system, so the number of children/youth assisted in 2020 could exceed
1,600 – perhaps even reach 1,700.
Included in the 1,069 systems issued so far this year are about 40 tablets and laptops with Linux operating systems which have been sent to a school/orphanage in Zambia, Africa. TAP is making use of older laptops that cannot accommodate Windows 10 by installing the Linux operating system on them and sending them to Africa. Those systems would be given to the
recycler if we did not make use of them in this way. TAP has been providing tablets and netbooks to three schools in Zambia and Kenya for several years.
TAP recently became a “Partner” with the Kentucky/Tennessee district of Kiwanis International. The purpose of this partnership is to expand the reach of TAP and to provide Kiwanis Clubs in the Kentucky/Tennessee district with another way they can achieve their goal of helping children. It is hoped that the clubs in this district will gather equipment for TAP to refurbish and distribute needed computers to youth in their area. TAP had provided systems to two clubs in Kentucky prior to the partnership officially being formed.
Please keep in mind that TAP needs your excess equipment in order for continued success in all our efforts. If you have computer-related equipment that is not being used, please consider donating it to TAP so it can have a second life.
First Level Support
First Level Support (FLS) has always been a major benefit to being a member of TVCUC. But with the COVID-19 pandemic, FLS is playing an even more important role in how we are able to communicate and provide technology support to our members.
One of the articles in this month’s newsletter is about TeamViewer, a world class remote control software solution that allows our FLS team members a means to access your computers, smartphones and tablets without ever having to come to your home. This provides maximum safety from the virus, while still allowing us to solve your software and operating
system issues. But we can’t do this if you don’t install TeamViewer on your computers. Read the TeamViewer article below and pre-install this app on your computer so you’re ready when/if problems arrive.
We are pleased to introduce Margie Krafft, our new chairperson for the Education Committee. Margie comes from a background in Information Technology and Training. She recently retired as the IT Director of a company in Illinois. We welcome Margie to the TVCUC and look forward to working with her to expand the educational technology resources of our club.
• If you use AT&T or Bellsouth (now owned by AT&T) Email – READ THIS!
Many residents in Tellico use AT&T or Bellsouth email. If you use a desktop program or a mobile app to access and manage your AT&T or Bellsouth email this is important news. We suggest you use an email app with Open Authentication (OAuth) technology, which encrypts your username and password.
Learn about OAuth and find out if your app uses OAuth.
If your email program or app doesn’t have OAuth technology, it will only be able to access your AT&T email program or app by using a 16-character secure mail key. Be sure to use myAT&T to create a secure mail key for each of your AT&T email addresses and sub-accounts, so you can continue to access your AT&T email with your favorite email apps.
• Help Our First Level Support (FLS) to Help You
Ten months ago our FLS experts were making house calls to solve the computer problems of our members. To say a lot has changed since then would be an understatement! But something good has actually come out of the pandemic – a new way for us to solve many of your technology problems remotely, keeping us all safe in the process.
TeamViewer is a very useful tool that allows the First Level Support Team to provide remote support for club members’ PCs or Macs. It provides a secure way for you to control who is remotely connected to your computer and allows the FLS team to see and actually control your computer remotely. If you do not already have it installed on your machine, read on, it’s very important that you install it. Doing so will save a lot of time when we respond to your request for support.
Click for TeamViewer installation instructions
• Small Chip. Giant Leap. The Apple M1 ARM Processor is Here
The new M1 is here! Apple’s first chip designed specifically for Mac delivers incredible performance, custom technologies, and revolutionary power efficiency. And it was designed from the very start to work with the most advanced desktop operating system in the world, macOS Big Sur.
When Apple first announced it would be transitioning its computers, specifically the MacBook Air and entry-level 13-inch MacBook Pro to a new and completely different type of processor, there were lots of reasons to be skeptical. Apple was making huge claims for battery life and performance, things that the first wave of ARM-based laptops from Qualcomm and Microsoft failed to deliver.
But deliver Apple did, with computers powered by a new M1 processor that aren’t just close to their previous Intel counterparts but crush them in nearly every respect — and not just the base model Intel chips that the M1 purports to replace, either. In both early benchmarks and head-to-head comparisons for compiling code, Apple’s M1 chip appears to hold its own against even Intel’s most powerful Core i9 chip for laptops.
Until now, a Mac needed multiple chips to deliver all of its features — including the processor, I/O, security, and memory. With M1, these technologies are combined into a single system on a chip (SoC), delivering a new level of integration for more simplicity, more efficiency, and amazing performance. And with incredibly small transistors measured at an atomic scale, M1 is remarkably complex — packing the largest number of transistors Apple has ever put into a single chip. It’s also the first personal computer chip built using industry-leading 5-nanometer process technology.
Read more about the new M1 Macs on Apple’s website.
Mac Special Interest Group
The Mac Users SIG members make up about 25% of total membership in the TVCUC. I don’t know whether you find that amazing, but I do! That being said, less than half of our current members have paid 2021 dues, which is a requirement for belonging to the Mac Users. To check the status or renew your membership CLICK HERE — and make sure you mark “Mac” when you renew.
What bang do you get for your buck? First, I’ve always told people that the TVCUC dues are the best “insurance” policy in the Village—and surely the cheapest. We do have Mac specialist who can help you with your problems. Second, our meetings are informative and interactive, and we hope we will be able to resume them in 2021. Meanwhile we are working to set up Zoom meetings for the winter months. And third, I send out lots of “tips & tricks” to our members each month.
The Mac Users SIG is represented on the TVCUC club website —just click the Mac SIG menu item. Or click Mac SIG Updates to view some of the tips I send out each month.
Fortunately, the 2020 financial picture for the club is still healthy. Although many of the social and programming activities of the club have been curtailed because of COVID, members still receive First Level Support via remote-access software, and income from membership dues appears to be on track.
A big part of the club budget supports the activities of TAP, funded by grants and donations. Due to COVID, income from grants and donations will be lower than budgeted, however the number of computer systems delivered by TAP is at an all-time high, at a cost per system of about $20, thanks in large part to the labor of TAP volunteers.
Cost reductions were made with printers, which became a costly peripheral to provide with systems, and we learned that many recipients don’t actually need the printer for their schoolwork. We gratefully accept donations of money and any surplus computer equipment to support needful children in surrounding areas.
In other TVCUC news, we are happy to announce that Bill Van Plew will be joining us as our newsletter editor beginning in 2021. Bill retired to Tellico Village after a career in media and newspaper publishing. We are excited to begin working with Bill to enhance the quality of communications we provide to our members.
We are still looking for some volunteers to help with many ongoing TVCUC efforts. Remember that you do not have to necessarily be a geek or even be technically inclined to help. A willingness to help is all that’s required. But for someone who does have a technical background in Windows or Mac, we do have an opening in our First Level Support (FLS) group. FLS currently helps members solve their technology issues, mostly in the area of software and Windows or macOS operating systems. Training for this position is available.