It's Been a Long Time

         It's been a long time since my last newsletter. I think that 2010 and 2011 were both sad times when we got bad news and lost so many family and friends. I never wanted this newsletter to become a sad publication. I started writing this way back when my oldest son was in Iraq. He could only communicate at times by way of my Web Site, and I made sure the rest of our family and friends were informed. He is no longer in Iraq, (thank God!) and never did go to Afghanistan. He is currently living in the Sacramento area and working as a salesman. He is still in the Army Reserves and still plays war (kind of) a weekend a month and 2 weeks in the summer. But his job is more of a training officer, not a fighter.

 

         I decided to write a newsletter now so everyone would know I am still around and also to welcome some new friends and family members who have requested to be added to the mailing list. I will try to put out a newsletter at least twice a year, however with us all using Facebook, most of you can talk to me every day, (see Facebook below).

         I think the newsletter gives me a chance to communicate to most all of my friends and family and let you know we are still around and surviving. As technology grows, so grows our means of communication. According to our son Brandon, we will not need computers or phones in the future, that all communication will be from brain to brain, and visual pleasures will also be in all our minds. That we will be implanted with computer chips and will become part of the information super highway, always connected. I wonder what the data usage charges will be? It will mean that we can get a virus and a virus at the same time, and worms will mean something entirely different.

That will happen way after my time!

         Until then if you like my newsletter, and if you know others that would like it, you can have them apply to get on the mailing list by going to our Web Site and request it using the form; here. Or you can go there and sign up for them, all that is required is that they have an Email address. I cannot Mail out copies via U.S. Mail. If you have any news that you think the rest of the family would like, send it to me and I will include it in my next issue.

Congradulations to Kayelee Taylor - A recent High School Graduate!

Happy 4th of July!

        It's a good time of year to be patriotic and celebrate our country's birthday. July 4th is a mark that the first half of the year is over, (already) and we are heading for summer and the longest days of the year. Due to daylight savings we can stay out until after 9:00 PM which I used to love when I was a kid, but now I usually go to bed around 9:00 PM and if it's still light outside, it just doesn't seem right. You would think that because we live in Texas, and fireworks you purchase at firework stands are better here than in California, that we would enjoy the fireworks more, however where we live, (and many other towns and cities in Texas) fireworks are illegal to have or burn. Many fireworks stands have empty fields nearby that you can use to launch your fireworks, but we aren't allowed to use them outside our own home or in our backyard. We have been dry here in Texas for the last few years, so that too adds to the restrictions.

        We had fun burning our money (in the form of fireworks) when the kids were young, we would have beer drinking, firework burning parties in the street. Those were the good ol days. I don't really miss the fireworks though.

We don't see a lot of Firework Stands pop up around the 4th

Are you ready to get rid of Cable?

         We have been thinking lately of getting rid of our cable TV service and just go with local (HD Antenna) free service and TV and Movie services from the Internet like NetFlix, Hulu and Amazon Prime. We already have all of those services in addition to cable. We have Verizon's Fios TV service, and with DVR and converter box charges, our monthly costs are out of control, and it went up just recently because they decided the rental value of the DVR boxes we've had since 2005 are now worth more a month, all of a sudden without notice. I am going to purchase an HD TV antenna, (about $145 for the best on the market), and mount it in the attic. If we can get good reception of the local channels, then it's bye bye Cable.

         When I watch sports like football, baseball, basketball or racing, I usually watch them on a local channel. I like to watch the local and national news, also on local channels. When it comes to movies, we still purchase DVD's from time to time, as well as having NetFlix, movies are covered. When it comes to Marisa's favorite soap, it comes on Hulu the next day, and because of the hours she works and the DVR, she had always been a day or so behind anyway. And then there are the strange shows from HBO, they are available for purchase on Amazon Prime. We may miss something here or there but we haven't had a premium channel in several years. We just don't watch a lot of TV these days.

We find ourselves paying for 200+ channels we don't understand?

True Blood

        Since getting Amazon Prime, (Brandon's Account) we have been watching some HBO series programs. One such series which is currently in season 5 on HBO. There are 4 seasons available on Amazon. The program is called "True Blood". It's not a show you would watch with the youngins. It is an adult vampire program about when vampires decided to come out of the coffin and fight for equal rights. And unlike a popular movie series, this one does not take place in the upper northwest. They are in Louisiana, in a small town called Bon Temps, pronounced, "Bon Tomp" (its French). The main characters are kind of dumb, (except for the vampires) but some how they come out of situations without many scratches. If your life were like theirs, you would be put in the looney bin within 2 weeks, as once a situation is taken care of, another one comes up, and OHG, you are either on the edge of your seat, or laughing your ass off.

        The main character is a blonde named Sookie, and she has a vampire friend Bill. Sookie is pretty smart for being kind of dumb, but her brother is real dumb. Sookie has a secret about herself that she doesn't even understand. Just about the time you think only vampires exist, you find there are many other characters and those you think are human may just fool you. It's an exciting series, and Marisa and I are already just about done with season 4.

Life is strange there in Bon Temps, LA

Another great series on HBO - Game of Thrones

 

The HOT Summer here in Texas

 

          Last year was the hottest summer we have experienced here in Texas. With over 100 days exceeding 100 degrees and more in a row without rain, that made things dry up everywhere. It looked like Sacramento in the summer and normally it looks very green here during the summer months. We can't get in the pool when it gets that hot unless we go buy some block ice and throw it in there first, as the pool stays above 90 degrees, cooling slightly at night, and when we add additional water, but that is slightly. It's like a warm bath, and if this were California, it would be great for a midnight swim, however during the middle of the hot weather here, midnight is near 90 degrees. One thing we miss about California is the cool breeze from the delta, (Delta Breeze), which after a 105 degree day, a nice delta breeze would make it all better, Well we don't have that here, although we are not far from the gulf, there is nothing cool coming from there this time of year.

 

          We have been in Texas now for almost 7 years. We moved here in August of 2005, and purchased this house in October. The heat is only bad when the humidity goes up but it's not always high here like it is north of us, like in Arkansas. Most of that is due to the amount of water in the ground. We don't have as much ground water, in fact most of our drinking water comes from lakes, and our lakes are filled by rain, because there are no snowcapped mountains anywhere near here.

 

          Texas has a lot of great country. The State is so large that it has just about every type of landscape except for those mountains. Texas has what they call the "Hill Country" which is foot hill type landscape. The gulf gives it an ocean coast, however most of the Texas coast is brown dirty water, but the southern coast is clear blue water. A great place to visit is South Padre Island. It's a beautiful place, and the water is blue and clear. Texas has desert areas too, mostly in the west and south west. We live in an area where there is more rain than in west Texas. Our area is called North Texas. It is very green and has a lot of oak trees. In fact we have about 9 large oak trees in our yard.

          There are things we miss in California, mainly family and friends, but I am talking about the location. We miss the Delta Breeze, that after a hot 105 degree day, that breeze would blow in and give us 78 degrees for a few days after. We miss going to the mountains, not too many States have mountains like the Sierra Nevadas. And being only an hours drive from our home in Folsom, it was a great place to go for the day, especially in the winter. San Francisco and the west coast; another day trip from Folsom. We could get to SF on a Saturday in a little over 2 hours, and spend the entire day around pier 39 or the zoo or both. Or drive down Highway 1 along the ocean, what a drive. Bike lanes are another thing we miss, while Texas is trying, bike lanes allowed us to ride just about anywhere. Texas has some nice places to go for a day trip and as I stated before, you can see just about every type of country in this huge State. Although there are just a few bike lanes, there are many bike trails, and off road biking is what we like best.

Texas is a great place to live!

. . . . . . . . . . An Advertisement for my cousin! . . . . . . . . .

Natalie Mixon C.M.T.

        Here is some free advertising for my cousin Natalie. If you are ever in the area of Roseville California, you can get a great massage at Natalie's place. Check out her Web Site to see what she offers; her contact information and location are on her Site. From anywhere in the Sacramento area, it's an easy drive to Roseville. If you are ever in Utah, our cousin Christina Bennett will soon be in the same business. I will update her status in my next newsletter.

Submit Your Own Story

 

          If you know of some family news, either on the Bennett side or the McCann side, or Malone, Taylor, Castleberry, Gibson, Newton, Robinette, Talbot, Harris, Mixon, friends, etc., etc. You can submit it using the feedback form Here, or Email me the information.  Include some pictures if you have some.  Get the word out, inform the masses...

Email me at gary_mccann@the-mccanns.com

The more news I have, the more often I will send these out...

 

 

If you don't see any pictures, Click Here

Gary - Editor/Writer

 

Gary, Marisa and Brandon

      

 

During the writing of this NL a famous actor has passed away

RIP Andy Griffith, passed away on July 3rd 2012, he was 86

 

Keller Texas - Johnson Road

San Antonio - River Walk

Dallas, Texas

Fort Worth, Texas

 

   

If you want copies...

 

          Pictures here and on our Web Site are low resolution, (very small pictures) so they load in your browser faster but they are not good for printing.  So remember that any picture you like in any newsletter or on the Web Site (includes FB), you can have (in full resolution) for free.  All you have to do is Email me explaining which picture it is you want.  Let me know what type of internet connection you have, and any Email file size limits.  There is no limit to the number of pictures you can have. 

Email me at; gary_mccann@the-mccanns.com

 

 

 

 

Can't see the pictures?

Click Here to view this newsletter online

 

Picture Archives

 

 
   

   
Featured Web Pages
 

The McCann FamilyWeb Site

 

         I don't know if everyone is aware of our family Web Site. I started our Web Site at the same time that I started the Newsletters. I created the Web Site so Shawn could communicate with me without having to have access to Email. All he had to do was go to the feedback page and send me a message. I expanded the Web Site when we moved to Texas about 7 years ago, and I have been working on it ever since. Our Web Site has so many pages now that you could spend all day and possibly not see everything. We have some new feature pages on our Site that I would like to announce here;

Ray's Rods

         Raymond Bennett has been working on cars and trucks as long as I have known him and he has lots of pictures to prove it. He works on them in his garage. One day I thought, wouldn't it be nice for Ray to display his cars on our Web Site? After all it is a family Web Site, not just for people named McCann, but all family which includes so many different last names that I couldn't list them all even if I knew them all. As our family members get married, more names are added. So we created Ray's Rods and now Raymond has a place to display his cars. Click below or on his banner on the right;

http://the-mccanns.com/bennett/RaysRods/

 

The Castleberry Family

         With all of the years of pictures, from when my sister and I were kids, to the birth of my father's only known grandchild, and then the wedding, and adoption of the twins, the Castleberry's have such a story to tell. Living in the upper northwest, Chris and Rachelle and the twins live in a nice neighborhood with lots of friends and family around. His parents (my sister) still live in the home where they have lived for over 20 years. I have dedicated a page to Sandie, Cas, Chris, Rachelle, and the twin girls. Visit the Castleberry Family here;

http://the-mccanns.com/castleberry/

 

The Harris Family

        My oldest daughter Angela's family pictures, including some of her when she was a child. Her and her husband Blu have 3 boys, 2 of them are twins and all 3 are race car drivers, (1/4 midget racers). Angela has promised me that she will send me more of the racing pictures soon, so return to these pages often, as changes are being made all of the time. Visit Angela's page by clicking below or on her banner to the right;

http://the-mccanns.com/harris/

 

The Taylor Family

       Marisa's immediate family is also featured on our Site. I separated the pictures into each person of the Taylor clan so you can get to know them better. Starting with random pictures and then with the youngest to the oldest. Marisa is the middle child but you would never know it, as she acts like the oldest, and there is no doubt she is the wisest. Visit the Taylor family's Web page, and remember check back often;

http://the-mccanns.com/taylor/

 

       We are always updating the Web Site to bring more pictures and information to our family and friends. It is true that I could post them on my FB page however not everyone is in my friends list, and besides I think my photo pages are better for viewing pictures. I will accept any friend request from anyone in our family but not everyone uses FB. So check out the Web Site often and try to see everything.

Good luck with that!

Do You Facebook?

 

          What bugs me about FB are the changes they make without notification. Recently they (FB) quietly changed your Email address (that you setup in your profile) that either the public or just friends can see, to their own which is now (your user name)@facebook.com and is set to "Public". If you want your default Email back in the list, and/or remove the FB one, it's an easy fix; Log into FB and click on your name to go to your timeline. Click on "About" and scroll down to where you see the Email address (Contact Info), click "Edit" and on the right side you will find settings where you can select "Shown on Timeline" or "Hidden from Timeline", you'll notice your default is now hidden. You can select to Show your default Email address and whether to make it public or just to friends. I removed my FB address from my timeline and changed my default back to "Public".

          One problem I have with using FB is the post of things I don't know or understand. I like to hear from my friends and family about the things they are doing or have done, like Vonda's vacation, Chris' twins, Jen's roller skating, all of the kids growing up, birthdays and the such. But when someone posts something from someone on their friends list and I don't know them, I don't understand what's going on, and things go by so fast on the news feed page that it's hard to keep up unless you spend all of your time on FB; and who has that kind of time?

         Our local Fox channel here in the DFW area has a segment where they show their FB page and read some of the comments on the air from their viewers. There are so many that the chance of yours getting read on the air is slim, but what bugs me the most, (although just the fact that they are reading people's opinions of the news bothers me), the person who reads them on the air also has to correct their spelling and grammar at the same time. That would be embarrassing too! FaceBook is a communication tool and most people use it like they use text messaging on the phone, most of the time they don't care if something is mis-spelled or they use the wrong grammar. Just wait until FB starts to "Auto Correct" your spelling and grammar for you like your phone. Oh no they don't...

 

  Ray' Rods - Old cars and people

The Castleberry Families

The Harris Family

The Taylor Family

Click on the Down-Arrow

You will notice your original address is hidden from the timeline...

Gary's FaceBook Page

 

  Anti-Virus Software  

What Terrible Things are Out There!

          A few newsletters ago I posted some information about scams and viruses that can infect your computer and turn your World upside down. I would like to add some information about scams and viruses here;

          There are so many ways for the bad guys to get your data, with Facebook, Google +, all of the free Email programs, Yahoo, Gmail, Microsoft Live, your Android phone, and many many more, the chance that someone will get your username and password is greater than ever. To make it harder for someone to get into one of your accounts there are some safe guards you can take.

         PASSWORDS - Your passwords should be hard to guess. Make your password at least 8 characters, both letters and numbers and if the program or Site allows, also use other characters like ?, !, &, etc., and make at least one letter a capital. Most all passwords are case sensitive and so the lack of a capitalized letter will cause the password to fail. If you have trouble remembering your passwords, and who doesn't, you can write them down on a piece of paper and keep in a safe place. Thieves cannot hack a piece of paper. Try to use different passwords for each Site, even if you only change one or 2 characters, it's better than someone having the password to all of your accounts. If nothing else, use this rule on your Bank login at least.

         EMAIL - Create a few Email addresses, one from each free Site, and use one of them for all of the sign ups you do. Whenever you sign up for a new Site, or download a free program that requires an Email address, use the same one, but use another one for communication to your friends. If for some reason your Webmail account is hacked, they will not get your friends addresses. Only click on links in your Emails that are from friends you are expecting links from. Many bad Emails look like they are coming from a friend or family member but are not. You can usually tell because it will say something that doesn't make sense, and the link will be to somewhere you don't recognize. You can hover your mouse over the link and see the address, usually at the bottom of your browser. Even links that look like they are to your bank's Web Site, once you hover over it, you may see something totally different.

          FACEBOOK - Facebook is getting more and more dangerous. There are several scams going on all of the time. The folks at FB are trying to control them but as soon as they eliminate one, 3 more pop-up. These usually deal with offers of free stuff for taking a survey, and some require you to enter a mobile phone number before you can get the free item, and most (all) of the time the free item is only a chance to win, but they win if they get your mobile number. Another one is where a friend posts something about you and it's not your friend that actually posted it, saying something like "I can't believe this video, and you won't believe it either". The fact that one of your friends posted it, you believe it and click. Too late!

          ANTI-VIRUS - Always use an up-to-date anti-virus, anti-malware program on your computer, but use only one. Even if you can't afford to buy one, there are a few free programs out there that are as good. AVG Free version is a good example. It will provide good real-time scanning, and includes Anti-Malware detection, Root-Kit detection, and other protection. The only things the paid version gives you besides what you get with the free version is a firewall, which all versions of Windows since XP already have.

Some Good Selections are available;

Symantec Norton Antivirus 2012 - $20 for 3PC's average price (Shop around)

AVG Free version - Free to download

Microsoft Security Essentials - Free download

Avast Free - Free Download

I got a virus once, it was so bad it killed my mouse!

          SCAMS - As more and more people are scammed by scums looking to get your money, the news covers it and more people are informed and thus less people are scammed, at least that is the way it is supposed to be. It seems now the rats are going further and further to scam unsuspecting people. I heard it on the news where a grandmother was taken for several thousand dollars because her grandson actually called her to ask for money. That is supposed to make you feel better right? Or feel worse because she was scammed by her own grandson? Nope, it wasn't her grandson. He knew nothing about it. Even though it sounded like him on the phone telling her he was overseas in another country and needed to get back home. It turned out ok because the news program that she allowed to report it covered her losses as a result of her telling her story. But so many aren't so lucky and some actually lose their entire life savings. These stories are all over the Internet, one grandmother lost $20,000 before she realized she had been scammed.

         Don't click on anything that you don't know about or what to expect, even if it sounds great; "Free iPads are given away every day!", yea, no, Never. Be suspicious of everything and everyone online. Your friends may not be your friends, so only trust to a point. Stop at giving away your important personal information on line, no matter who is asking. Your bank will never send you an Email asking you to log in to your account. And if you look closely at that Email you will find out it's not even addressed to you. Your credit card company will never ask for your PIN either by Email or a phone call. A good clue is when the Email starts out with Dear [email address] without the @[domain], for example mine say; Dear gary_mccann, so hit delete if it doesn't make sense, or if you have a spam filter, click "Spam". Bad guys can spend a lot of time trying to scam you out of your money, it's their job.

         ONE LAST THING - Don't blame your friend or family member for that spam Email. Because the bad guys can spoof any Email address, most likely it did not come from your friend, however the chances are it came from the address book of a friend, but just because the sender is a friend, your (and their) address could have come from another source like a Web Site that asks for your Email address to sign up. Spammers, scammers and crooks can hack many Email address sources and use any address as the sender, but it doesn't mean that the sender has a virus. If you find that you cannot go to certain Web Sites, like AVG or Symantec antivirus Sites or Logmein123 a support connection Site, or if you can't use the Internet at all, you could be infected, or you are just having problems with your Internet Provider.

Enjoy your Internet Experience, but please Play Safe...

Here is a good artical from PC World Magazine 10 worst Viruses

 

 

AVG Free version

Download Basic Protection

Both Free and Paid versions

Norton Anti-Virus Paid

You can find Norton AV for a good price, I purchased a 3 PC DVD for $19 on Buy.com

Avast Free Version

Both Free and Paid versions

Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Free

Scans and removes MalWare and Virus files.

Both Free and Paid versions

McAfee Anti-Virus Paid

Trend Micro - Paid (expensive)

Kaspersky - Paid (expensive)

Ad Aware Malware Scanner

Both Free and Paid versions

 

          Our privacy policy is very simple.  We do not give out information to anyone unless they are an immediate relative.  We do not give out personal information to anyone.  We will not post addresses or phone numbers unless specifically asked to do so, and then only within the secure section of the Site.

 

Sign someone up to Receive our newsletters

 

          Sign someone up to receive this newsletter.  If you find a family member or friend is not on our mailing list and you know they would enjoy receiving it, sign them up.  Go Here to send a request.  Or if you are sick and tired of getting this newsletter, use the same form to cancel and remove your name from the list.

 

          Don't forget about my Downloads Page on the Web Site.  I will try to place links to important programs and utilities from time to time for you to download.  I know some of you still have dial-up access so I will try to make things smaller to download faster to your machine.

 

          I have added some links that I think some of you will enjoy, if you haven't checked them out before, check them out now.  Especially check out Google Earth.  If you haven't seen what it is, download it and install it, you can zoom in on anyplace on earth.  It also includes Google Sky, which shows the night sky and all of the stars.  You can see what the sky looks like from your house, right on your screen.  My Links Page...  I found out recently that it also has a flight simulator which is hidden like an "Easter egg" (a small program or movie hidden in a program or utility).

 

          Missed a past edition of the newsletter?  You can view past issues on our Web Site.  Some are actually printable, you'll need Adobe Reader to download and print them.  Go Here to view past issues of our newsletters.

 

 

Gary McCann

Webmaster

 

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