Washington Apple Pi

A Community of Apple iPad, iPhone and Mac Users

Frequently Offered Answers

General Information
On Tutorials
On The Journal
On Technical Assistance
On the Tuesday Night Clinic
On Membership Renewals
On the TCS

General Information

Office Hours

10:00 am to 3:00 pm Monday/Wednesday/Friday
7:00 pm to 10:00 pm Tuesday evenings (Tuesday Night Clinic)

The exception is all federal holidays. It is recommended that you call the office before you come.

Map to office. (25K)

General Meetings

Washington Apple Pi's monthly General Meeting of its members is usually on the 4th Saturday of each month from 9 am to Noon (check our calendar to make sure). There are exceptions to this. In June, 2004 we hople to hold a MacWorld-style show with vendors and more. In December we hold our very popular "Computer Show and Sale." Finally, in the month of November the General Meetings is held on the 3rd Saturday due to the Thanksgiving Holiday. The General Meetings usually begin with the wildly popular Question and Answer session from 9:00 to 9:30, followed by specific subject or vendor presentations.

The Monthly General Meetings are open to anyone interested in
Macintosh computers. Any prospective member may join at a General Meeting at the Office table.

The monthly General Meeting is usually held at the Northern Virginia Community College - Annandale Campus. (Map, 25K)

New Memberships, Renewal Memberships

The Pi's on-line store, http://store.wap.org, has everything you need to know about membership fees, renewals and other such matters.

On Tutorials

When should I register for a class I want to take?

As soon as you know that the class will fit into your schedule you should register. There are two main reasons for this. The first is that class size is limited to six students per class. If you wait until the last minute the class may be filled by the time you call to register. The second reason is that all classes must have at least three students before we will run the class. Yes we do run classes with just two students at times, but the policy is that there must be three students before we will run a class.

This is Wednesday afternoon and the class isn't until tonight; why did you already cancel the class?

As a courtesy to the teachers the office tries to tell them as much in advance as possible whether or not their class will be run. Our teachers have lives that are just as busy as the rest of ours and need to know their schedules to make plans. If a class is scheduled for Wednesday and on Monday there is only one student registered for the class, the class will be canceled. When you call Wednesday afternoon and want to register for the class, you will be told that the class is canceled. Yes we do know this upsets people.

Why don't I ever see the classes I want to take

We aren't offering the class you want to take because we don't know you want to take it. The office is not physic and can't know what you want until you tell us. If you have a class that you want to take and have not seen it in the tutorial section of the Journal, then email the office <office@wap.org> or call the office during office hours and give us a list of the classes that you would like to see offered. We can't make any guarantees that the class will be offered right away since we will need to find a teacher for the class, but at least we will have a better idea of what kinds of classes you would like to see run.

Why does the class I want to take always say "call office for dates"?

A class will have the "date" as call office for dates because the teacher of the class cannot give the office a schedule three months in advance. Remember that the Journal is closed a month and a half before its publication date. So the January/February Journal is closed at the end of November. This means that a teacher for a February class is committing themselves to teaching that class way back in November. Not all of our teachers can do that. Also, some classes are less popular than others such that we can only schedule them when there are sufficient students, so do make sure and call to get your name on the list so that the class can actually take place.

What happens when I call the office about a class that is listed as "call office for dates"?

When you call the office you will be put onto a list of students for the class. When the list has three students the office will call the teacher and schedule a time for the class to be taught. The office will then call the students tell them the date of the class. The students will be asked to register at that time or let the office know that the date that has been scheduled will not work with their schedules.

Why, when I call, do I sometimes find that the dates
for a class are different from the dates printed in the Journal?

There are a few reasons. Occasionally, teachers schedules change, and we need to accommodate them. Also, demand for different classes fluctuates such that we may open up a second section of a more popular class while canceling one that does not yet have any registrants or moving one with registrants to another date. Again, this is meant to accommodate the most students possible, but we do understand that it can be frustrating if the class that you want is moved or canceled. The place to go for up-to-date class schedules is the web page, http://www.wap.org.

Which class do I fit into?

This is another place where the office is not psychic. You know more than we do about your level of knowledge and learning style. The best thing to do is to read the descriptions of the classes in the Journal and decided where you fit into the descriptions. However, we do find that many people can benefit by starting with Introduction to Mac, and it is important to understand that the teacher of another class assumes that all students know the information from the Introduction class. Remember that the Introduction to Mac and Intermediate Mac classes are taught as sets. You cannot just take part two of the Introduction to Mac class; you must take both parts. Additionally, the Introduction to Mac and Intermediate Mac class sets are tailored each month to the speed of the students in that set. All the material will be covered, but the rate at which it is covered may vary. Therefore, you cannot take Introduction to Mac part one in January and part two in February.

How do I cancel my class registration?

You can cancel your registration in a class by calling the office (and speaking to a human) during office hours. You can also cancel a class by sending email to the office at <office@wap.org>. You may not cancel a class registration by leaving a message on the answering machine. Remember that you must cancel a class registration at least 72 hours before the class is scheduled or you will not receive a refund for your class fee.

Why do I have to cancel my registration for a class 72 hours before the class?

A class is run only if enough students pre-register and pre-pay for the class. If you are in a class that only has enough students pre-registered and pre-paid to have the class run, your cancellation will mean that the class will need to be canceled. This means that the office will have to notify the teacher and the other students that the class has been canceled. The office must have at least 72 hours accomplish this. Even if the class had a full roster of six students and you are canceling you will not get a refund unless you have called 72 hours in advance. Once again the office will need those 72 hours to contact other prospective students who are on a waiting list for the class so that your slot may be filled.

Since I can cancel a class via email, can I register
for a class via email?

Yes. You will need to send your registration to <office@wap.org>. In your registration message please include the your name, daytime phone number, class name, date and time. Please do not include your credit card number. Email is not a secure medium and the office would prefer that you give a telephone number where you can be reached to get your credit card number over the phone or you can state in your email that you are sending a check.

Why do I need to pre-pay for a class?

Your registration is not official until we have received payment for the class, because this is the only way that we can guarantee you are serious about taking the class. Sadly, when we do not demand pre-payment, we end up with people simply not showing up and classes taking place without enough students to pay for the teacher or with people on the wait list never being given the opportunity to attend. Finally, our teachers are meant to be teachers, not enforcers. They do not relish shaking you down for money upon your arrival, and there are certainly more productive things that can be done with the time that you and your fellow students are paying for.

On the Journal

Please, Please, Please send in your change of address to the office.

When I moved I put a forwarding address in at the
post office but I still didn't get my Journal. Why?

If you turn to page 3 in you Journal and look at under the Postal Information you will notice the following "POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Washington Apple Pi, 12022 Parklawn Drive, Rockville, MD 20852." This means that all your forwarding order did was have the Post Office tear the back cover off your Journal, place a label with your new address on it and send it back to the office. Not only have you not gotten your Journal but the office has had to pay the Post Office 50 cents to have them inform the office of your change of address.

OK so you got the change of address from the Post Office. Why didn't you forward me another Journal if you got my change of address?

In a word, money. The president's columns over the years have explained just how expensive it is to publish and mail the Journal. The cost of sending a Journal to a member who has not sent in a change of address is $3.00. The office gets anywhere from 15 to 30 change of address notices from the Post Office each time the Journal is mailed. If you do the math, on the low side this is $270 per year and on the high side it is $540 per year. To put it bluntly, the money is not in the budget to send out replacement Journals to members who have not sent in their change of address notices. However, you are welcome to come into the office to get a copy of the latest Journal.

On Technical Assistance

I'm at work and need to call someone on the Hotline. I don't have my Journal with me so why can't I just call
the office and get a number?

Actually you're in luck. The Hotline is now published exclusively online - log into the TCS and you'll find a link to get you there easily. But to answer your question specifically, our office is staffed only by volunteers these days and they cannot give out Hotline numbers over the phone.

Why can't I just call the office with my technical question?

The office is not staffed to answer technical questions. Washington Apple Pi is staffed entirely by volunteers these days and most do not have the time or technical ability to help you. You're welcome to call our Hotline volunteers, post a message on the TCS or come to a Tuesday Night Clinic. Our volunteers can give you the names of local Mac gurus who make housecalls if you need that kind of service.

I know the office knows the answer to my technical question so why don't they just answer my question?

As mentioned earlier, our office is now staffed entirely by volunteers. They are asked to take messages, help with mailings and other important chores. Please call the Hotline, leave a message on the TCS or come to a Tuesday Night Clinic for additional help.

My question isn't that technical so why can't I call
with it?

Shades of gray. While it may not seem like a very technical question to you, that does not mean that your questions is not of a technical nature.

My machine isn't working. The office is open so why can't I just bring my computer to the office for help?

Believe it or not, we do get asked this question. But as mentioned earlier, the office is only staffed by volunteers who can not help you in this manner. The Tuesday Night Crew is full of technical people who will be happy to help you on most any Tuesday night from 7 pm until 9 pm.

And speaking of the Tuesday Night Clinic Crew...

I want to come to the Clinic tomorrow night. Do I
need to make a reservation?

No. Reservations are not taken for the Tuesday Night Clinic.

What do I do when I arrive on Tuesday Night?

When you arrive on a Tuesday night you will find a form that you must fill out. This form will have a place for you to describe your problem. The Crew uses this form to help decide who on the Crew would be the best person to help you. If you have not filled out a form you will not be helped until you do.

Who is going to be in on Tuesday Night?

The Clinic is staffed by volunteers. No one is required to call to tell the office whether they will be in on a specific Tuesday night or not. There is a group of people who are usually in on Tuesday nights. However, due to other obligations there can be no 'firm' guarantee that any one of those members will be in on any given Tuesday night. If you have been to the Clinic before and know the name of the person you are hoping will be in, your best course of action is to call or email that person to see if they will be in on the Tuesday night that you are coming.

Do I need to be a member to have my Mac looked at?

You do not need to be a member, but we usually ask that you join as part of the donation you make for our repair service. It is worth the cost!

How much does it cost?

We ask for a donation based on the amount of time our volunteer might spend with you. Ask when you arrive for a fuller explantion. Of couse, we appreciate a higher donation than the "suggested donation per hour" since this is a volunteer operation.

On Membership Renewals

I receive enough Junk Mail, so why would I want to
get commercial mail from Washington Apple Pi?

Washington Apple Pi does NOT sell the mailing list. A commercial retailer may rent a one time run of the mailing list under specific guidelines. The commercial retailer must first send a copy of the proposed mailing to the office so that the BOD may vote on the appropriateness of the mailing going to the membership. Once the BOD has approved the mailing, the office will contact the retailer to set up the mailing. In most cases the retailer will send the mailing materials to the office for mailing. This was a long explanation to tell you that Washington Apple Pi protects your name and address while still making some money by doing commercial mailings that have been approved by the BOD.

Why do I need to give you my phone number and
email address?

Your home phone number and email are both requirements for access to the TCS. In fact, you will get a free email as part of your membership. Basically, however, we need contact information and a phone number and email are a necesary requirement for memberhip. Again we won't give out that information to anyone without permission.

On the TCS

Our TCS and Explorer FAQ has all the information you'll need about these services.

But I forgot the dial-up number to the TCS.

If you have lost your TCS phone number, or are out of the area and need to dial in, the number is: (301) 984-4070. Also remember that you can now access the TCS via the Internet at www.tcs.org as well as get your email online as well.