Computer Club Open To Anyone, Any Skill Level


You've got mail.

But you can't open it.


Quentin Ford is one of the many friendly members of the Payson Area Computer Association willing to share his knowledge of computers.

That new software you installed is incompatible with the version of Microsoft your computer runs.

With visions of dollar signs in your head, you call technical support and hope that this time, you will get a person who speaks your language in an accent you can understand.

If only there was another resource.

Now, members of the Payson Area Computer Association might be able to help.

"We learn something new at each meeting and nobody has to feel intimidated," said Lorna Hill, a member of several years. "We don't have formal lessons. Usually, Ed brings programs that have been recorded for computer clubs like ours."

There is a question and answer session at each meeting.

"People help you nicely without making you feel illiterate," Harold Rush said.

Often, members say they discover someone else has had the same problem, such as backgrounds all of a sudden being printed along with the text of e-mails. Solution: Check the printer or the e-mail preferences.

Another member looks at updated cartoons on his Yahoo Web site. For several days the cartoon was stuck on Sunday. Is it something at my end of the system?

No, he was told by another member. It is an occasional Yahoo problem.

"We wish more people would bring in new different software and share why they like it with us," Hill said.

Club president Ed Freeman said he didn't see much difference between Microsoft XP from 2003 and the latest version of the operating system: Vista. Vista has so far only been released to business customers and Freeman said it will make it to the consumer market by February 2007.

Computer club members, like many consumers, are not shy about sharing when they encounter one who knows less than they do.

The group is open to anyone of any skill level who uses a computer. The club does not exclude Mac users -- though none have ever shown up to join. There is one former Mac user.

Computer clubs in larger cities might be treated to a speaker by software companies eager to promote their product, but Payson is rural. So, instead, Freeman said he gets "software in a box" with programs and giveaways.

The magazine Smart Computing in Plain English sent a PowerPoint presentation along with copies of its magazine, pens, mouse pads, a couple of software books and other door prize goodies to the November meeting.

However, the club's purpose is to educate computer enthusiasts and does not endorse the vendors or products demonstrated.

Other meeting topics have been on spyware, viruses and firewalls.

"When it comes to a computer you can never have too much information," said first time attendee Anelle Sara.

The only topic the club does not cover is hardware repair.

On occasion, members make their own presentations.

Resident "gadget master" C. E. Carlton will talk about peripherals at the Dec. 5 meeting.

PACA meets in the meeting room at the Payson Public Library at 7 p.m. on the first Tuesday of every month.

The first meeting is always free.

Dues are $10 a year.

An added bonus to membership? It is nice to have people to talk to and network with about computers outside of the meetings, Rush said.

For more information, contact club president Ed Freeman at (928) 468-1374 or secretary Lorna Hill at (928) 476-4843.

A few favorite Web sites of Payson Area Computer Association members:

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