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Mini Expo-VI Recap


Mini-Expo VI Recap


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Highlights of Mini Expo VI

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Chicago Computer Society MX-V Report
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Highlights of Mini Expo VI

Jeremie Hutson 

Oakton Student College Computer Club


   Highlights of Mini Expo VI

By: Jeremie Hutson

Mini Expo VI started off on a beautiful day, September 15.  When I arrived at Prairie State College for the event I walked through the doors and was greeted by fellow members with a bag of goodies including a Chicago Computer Society T-shirt, trial software, pens, and much more.  Every attendee received the same bag, and a name tag.  Also attached with the name tags were free tickets for the drawings.  If you pre-registered then you received four tickets and paid $15 instead of $20 at the door.  By the way, for future attendees - pre-registration is well worth it; you save $5 and get two additional tickets for the drawings.  I won Microsoft Streets and Maps 2007 with one of the extra tickets I received. After putting my name tag on, checking my free goodie bag and saying hello to fellow members, it was time to stop at the vendors tables.  The first table I saw was Epson, and after stopping by to learn a little bit about different printing technologies, I wandered through the rest of the tables.  Corel, Turtol, Smart Computing, Microsoft, and Costco had tables set up with their various products and technologies.  I stopped at each one to check out their products, and they all were offering discounts.  After taking advantage of some of these discounts I dug out my wallet to buy some extra drawing tickets.  Not only did you receive free drawing tickets you also had an opportunity to buy some extra ones.  Once I was done meeting the vendors, and stuffing those extra drawing tickets into my pocket, it was time for the presentations to start.

Al Cheeks, President of the Chicago Computer Society, kicked off Mini Expo VI with an introduction to the Chicago Computer Society and an overview of what was in store for the MX-VI attendees.  He also expressed his sincere thanks to the vendors, as well as the attendees.  Al and his team also deserve a great deal of thanks for putting this day together; without them, none of today’s events would have been possible.  The organizers also tried something new this year; because there were so many prizes, they decided to dedicate a single room to raffling off the items.  While the attendees were in the auditorium for presentations the CCS team drew random tickets and wrote them on big sheets of paper and posted them up.  This was a fabulous idea and it seemed to handle the traffic of people quite well.  After each session, all people had to do was go to the room and check the board for winning numbers.  Included in the event was an obsolete machine drop off.  You read that right - the team took old equipment attendees brought to be recycled!  I didn’t have any old equipment, so I went on to check my numbers - I didn’t win.  However, shortly after checking my numbers it was time for the first presentation.        

Joe Nowak, a member of the Chicago Computer Society, opened the general sessions with a great presentation on “Making Google your Homepage”.  He is referred to as the “Professor of Google”, and his presentation Saturday showed us how he earned his title.  There were about one hundred attendees at the Google presentation, and a lot of great questions were asked.  Joe captivated the audience with an overview of both the Google search engine, as well as the capabilities of G-Mail, Google’s e-mail service. 

Holly Hopkins and Marcy Kremer, of Smart Computing, fired up the crowd in the late morning session, with an overview of Smart Computing.  Smart Computing, a trademark name for one of Sandhills Publishing Company’s divisions, not only publishes Smart Computing Magazine and PC Today, which appeal to a wide range of users, it also operates a web site that offers a number of useful features.  One of the most helpful attributes of the Smart Computing website is a past issue archive, so that you don’t have to stack up the old issues in your living room.  Unlike some other publications, you can e-mail articles to people who don’t have a subscription to Smart Computing, which is great if you have an associate who may be interested in only a specific article.  With a subscription to Smart Computing Magazine, you can access My Personal Library on the website, where you can store an unlimited number of articles.  This is a great feature for any level user, because it allows you to save and refer back to a particular article, without having to search the whole site for it.  Smart Computing also offers subscribers both a reader-response Q&A board and free technical support from Smart Computing representatives.  The technical support area of the site offers troubleshooting steps, basic maintenance and preventive tasks, and a phone number for tech support if a user still needs help. 

We were certainly off to an exciting morning, but after the Smart Computing session it was time for lunch, and a well deserved break.  With a donation from registration you also received a free lunch, so we all enjoyed free hot dogs, chips, and refreshing beverages.  After sitting down for an hour, enjoying my meal and talking to fellow members, it was time to head back for another exciting session.

Dick Callen, of Epson, America started the afternoon with a session entitled Exceed Your Vision.  Dick has been with Epson American for over a decade, and he used that experience for clearly explaining the differences in various photo quality printers, photo paper, and ink.  Dick’s presentation and vast knowledge on the subject of printers was really impressive, and I learned quite a bit from his session.  For more information on Epson printers, and technology you can visit www.epson.com

Microsoft held the next session with a presentation by Krishna Kumar called The Cool Microsoft: Technologies and Products that Make you Go, “Oh Wow!!”.  The session couldn’t have been named more aptly when Krishna led off with a sneak peek of Halo 3 for the Xbox 360 video game console.  Since Halo 3 didn’t officially go on sale until September 25, Mini Expo attendees were fortunate to have gotten an inside track on the newest in the Halo series.  After the game demo, Krishna unveiled the Microsoft Surface.  The Surface resembles a coffee table, but is actually Microsoft’s new cutting edge PC design.  The Microsoft session wound down with an overview of the new search capabilities and graphical user interface of Windows Vista Ultimate, and then finished with a demo of the already well-received Microsoft Office 2007. 

The last session of the day was by Tanya Lux, from Corel, who introduced their newest site, CorelCommunity.com.  The site hosts forums where users can create blogs, ask questions, and share their own knowledge about Corel products.  Tanya’s session also demonstrated how to make a slide show with text, music, or voice recordings using Corel DVD Movie Factory 6, which is HD-capable.  The software allows users to do the same thing with video, as well as create media that mixes still photos with video.  The movie suite has really nice features that allow you to import, edit, and even remove commercials from television shows.  If the DVD Movie Factory could do nothing else, it would be well worth the cost of purchase just for removing those TV commercials.  There were too many other features to name, but you can find out all of the details about the DVD Movie Factory, and all of Corel’s other products at Corel.com

In addition to all of the informative sessions and sponsor presentations, Mini Expo VI wrapped up with the drawings for the many items that attendees signed up for throughout the day.  When the drawings started, the only thought that could have gone through your mind was that it reminded you of Christmas, with presents all over.  Some of the prizes included DVD-RW’s, USB TV tuners, Acronis, Alpha V, Microsoft Vista Ultimate, and Microsoft 2007 Ultimate.  The last two prizes, however, were what everyone was sticking around for.  The 2nd place prize was an Epson Stylus 1400 printer, which was won by Bridget Archer, and the grand prize was a new Toshiba notebook computer.  There was a big silence, a drum roll provided by the audience, and the winner is…Dave Batterson.  While I didn’t win either of the big prizes, it was great to see the event wrapped up with so many people walking away with big smiles, and fun new toys. 

After the final prizes were handed out we all exited the room to be greeted with another freebie, everyone received a copy of the Random House Webster’s College Edition CD dictionary.  Finally, as everyone milled around the lobby before heading home, the comment I overheard that pretty much sums up the overall experience of Mini Expo VI – “I can’t wait until Mini Expo VII.” 




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November 09, 2013

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