June 30, 2013

'Macman' to the rescue


ESSEX — Though probably not faster than a speeding gigabyte per second, Macman, aka Ken Hughes, plans on solving technological dilemmas thorough instruction and computer repair.

Through both aspects of his Macman/Macademy dealings with clients, Hughes intends to promote, in his words, “organization, optimization, training, support and consultation.”

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It is somewhat ironic that within the well-over-a-century-old building, Hughes is offering modern technology, but this adds credence to his goals.

“I want people to learn in a comfortable atmosphere, receive simplified instruction and have fun learning,” Hughes explained.


Though he may have the Macman/Macademy appellation, Hughes is knowledgeable with, and can attend to, the needs of PC operators as well.

“I’m taking the skills I had as a former educator and a technology presenter and bringing this to the greater community to serve their needs. I know a lot of people have technology and may not be able to use it to its full potential, and that’s where I come in, to support them,” he said.

Hughes shared his initial computer experience.

“In 1995, I got my first computer in the summer before I started college. I had no Internet to rely upon. I stayed up four straight nights learning about it. My parents would wake up in the morning and give me grief," he said. "I started learning to build web pages in college. Though I worked in an arcade during the summers in Lake George, I never really got into online gaming.”

Hughes finds the biggest problems his clients have relate to not knowing how to keep out viruses as well as the processes for keeping their computers running smoothly.

“I want to simplify their lives," he said. "I wanted a place for people to come together with similar needs and help them and guide and empower them to become savvy with technology.”


Macademy, according to Hughes, is intended to provide adult-education technology lessons dedicated to helping individuals achieve their tech potential. Classes on a variety of topics related to personal computing, mobile devices and the Internet are all presented in a relaxed, friendly and fun atmosphere.

Some of the subjects Hughes plans on covering are malware, email not coming in, all of the latest updates, in-home wireless networks and how to get all of their different devices talking together.

“Many device users are afraid to push a button and venture into the unknown and think they will break the computer," he said. "The only way you can break a computer is to physically drop it.”

When Hughes repairs a system on a computer, he gives the clients notes on what he has done and recommendations as to what they should do to prevent the issue from happening again.

Hughes is a former public-school educator and administrator. He worked from 1998 to 2006 as a French and Spanish teacher in the Mayfield and Lake George Central School Districts. He moved to the administrative side of education in 2006 and worked as the 7 through 12 assistant principal at Greenwich Central Schools and as the K through 12 principal of the Elizabethtown-Lewis Central School District. 

In 1998 and 1999, he taught adult-education French courses at South Colonie Central School.

Since 2001, Hughes has served as the webmaster and, as of 2012, the director of social media and technology for NYSAFLT, the New York State Association of Foreign Language Teachers. Through this organization, Hughes has presented workshops on a variety of technology topics as well as given keynote addresses to thousands of teachers all across New York State.


Hughes has joined forces with the following organizations to provide website and technology consulting services: the National Network for Early Language Learners (NNELL), the Foreign Language Educators of New Jersey (FLENJ). the National Association of District Supervisors of Foreign Languages (NADSFL) and the Foreign Language Association of Chairpersons and Supervisors (FLACS).

Because of these affiliations, Hughes has presented workshops in Baltimore and New Jersey, and is scheduled to present in Massachusetts in 2014.

Hughes said he feels his experience with helping middle-school children learn a foreign language coupled with his understanding in helping adults learn technology (a foreign language for some) will allow the experience at Macademy to be a fulfilling one. He trusts participants will leave each class empowered and feeling good about taking the next steps to mastering their devices.

The course offerings at Macademy run from A to at least Y, and include Adobe Photoshop, Backing up Your Computer, iCloud Simplified, Microsoft Excel, Networks for Home and Business, Twitter, Virus Free PCs and YouTube.

For more information, call 578-9112, visit or email Macademy is located at 2307 Main Street in Essex.

Email Alvin Reiner at: