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Computer Repair, Classes and Community Combine at the Tampa Bay Computer Society

By Elizabeth R. Elstien

Like computers and want to learn more? The Tampa Bay Computer Society (TBCS) is the organization to join. Membership in this 31-year-old society comes with many advantages and is open to both beginners and pros.

For a $50 yearly fee, you get one free computer repair a year and pay only a $20 co-pay if a second repair is needed in that same year. TBCS offers complete repair service on non-Mac computers from hardware repair to software glitches and viruses through their clinic. Mac lovers take note that only software solution repairs are offered.

"Our repair clinic confirms that many of the population using computers and other technology are not proficient and are in need of help deciding whether or not to accept advertised offers," notes Board of Directors Secretary Lynne Robertson, PhD, RD/LD. "We offer instruction in groups and to individuals to assist in their understanding."

Other perks of membership are networking at monthly meetings and other events, a hands-on computer lab and computer classes and special interest groups given by experts on such topics as Photoshop and Excel software, WordPress, Genealogy and the Linux operating system, with a full class schedule available online. Robertson notes, "The single most popular group is called Novice, partly because there is an awesome leader and partly because the material covered is so needed by so many."

If your memory card is not too full, you can come away with some expert knowledge on interesting subjects related to software, hardware or online computer use (think social media). Refer someone who becomes a member and get three additional months tacked on to your existing membership.

A group of like-minded people saw the need for drawing together to help one another," explains Board of Directors Secretary Lynne Robertson, PhD, RD/LD on the society's start. "Some were novices, while others were very well versed in software and/or hardware." TBCS's Clearwater facility has two meeting rooms where special interest group meetings and classes are held (also available for outside group rentals), a computer lab, a Media Center, a Computer Clinic and a kitchen.

Digitize your media at the facility's Media Center. For a reasonable fee per project, the society will convert your VHS to DVD; digitize 35mm Slides using the camera; put material from audio Cassettes, 8-track tapes or phonograph records on another medium or duplicate multiple CDs. Drop off your project(s), bring flash drive or CD for storage and pay the required fees. Then, wait to get a call your material is ready.

"Where else can one find all phases of technology, hardware and software combined with fellowship and social interaction with individuals of like mind?", asks Robertson. Nowhere, which is exactly why TBCS is still going strong after three decades.

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