The President's Message


Lois Evans de Violini

We will be sending for "The Secret Guide to Computers." Those of you who signed up will be getting your copy. However, we will not order extras, so if you are not among those who signed up, you'll have to wait for the next edition.

Thank you, Rick, for substituting so wonderfully for Toby at the last meeting and for all the extra work involved in a double session of Q & A. Another vendor unavailability underlines the increasing problem of getting solid commitments for presentations. With profit margins getting narrower and travel expensive, there are more and more vendors unwilling to commit to user group presentations in person. We are looking at other types of presentations. Any ideas from the membership would be most welcome. Send me an e-mail at

Recently on two occasions, I had the opportunity to take courses online. Both were requirements of my volunteer work with the American Red Cross. The first was a Red Cross-specific course and probably of little interest to most, but the second has more general interest and is worth mentioning here. The course was one on "Defensive Driving." It took me quite a while to search it out because the normal course offered by the DMV is really traffic school. To take this course online you have to enter the court of your citation as well as your driver's license. Somehow this didn't seem like a good idea to me since I had no citation.

Then I found two other sources of online "Defensive Driver" training courses. The AARP Defensive Driving School and The Defensive Driving School Online National Safety Council ( Since the Red Cross would accept a certificate for either, I chose the AARP course since it was significantly cheaper ($19.95 for non-AARP members and $15.95 for AARP members rather than the almost $50 for the other course.)

The AARP course had eight units. It is professionally narrated and animated with graphic illustrations of the concepts being taught. The web-based course player tracks your progress so you can work through the course at your convenience, resuming where you left off with each login, and takes eight to nine hours to work through the whole course. While the AARP course was oriented to the Senior Driver, there was a lot of good information in it for all. The player did get stuck on me at one point, but I had some quick telephone and e-mail help and was able to continue very quickly. If you have a spare $20 (or $16 if an AARP member) I think you would find it worthwhile.