Monday, March 28, 2016

RV Rally in Perry, Georgia

You’d think we’d be getting tired of this by now! Our first FMCA RV Rally was in 2004 in Redmond, Oregon. We were working for Coach Connect then, and helping with the Wi-Fi hotspot. The first time we presented seminars other than Wi-Fi was in March 2006 in Pomona, CA. Since then, we’ve presented seminars at every FMCA national convention – 20 of them all totaled. Usually we offer 5-8 different topics. We are slowing down a little bit, now that we have a townhouse in Fort Lauderdale, we kind of like staying there. Our 2016 travel plans are all east of the Mississippi, totaling about 4-5,000 miles as opposed to 9 or 10,000/year for the last few years.

When we’re on our way to a rally, we think, “Maybe we won’t do this too much longer.”

Then we get there!

We set up our table to take registrations for our Smartphone Photography workshop, and people are waiting to sign up at 7am! We are full with 30 participants within a few hours. People come to visit and tell us how they’ve attended our seminars in the past and learned so much.
It was great to have Devon (Jim's son) to help out at our table.

Showing off their Blog Book - they learned from Geeks on Tour!
These guys stopped by to say how they watched our tutorial videos on how to do Blogging while they were together on a caravan to Alaska (using our videos on a USB Drive.) At the end of their trip, they all were able to get a beautiful, full-color book of their travels, complete with text and photos. AND, since they all watched the same videos - they didn't have to research, discuss, and argue about how to do it! It's a great blog! Check it out at AlaskaOdyssey.blogspot.com

People would just stop by to say, “Thank You!” That feels SO good! It's like a drug, and I admit I'm hooked. We won't stop our Rally-going any time soon.

Besides, even though we've been teaching seminars at these rallies for over 10 years, it's not the same topics! The stuff we are teaching now didn't exist 10 years ago! Never a dull moment. What a ride!
Here is the schedule of seminars we taught at this year's Perry, Georgia Rally:



Here are some pictures from the rally:

Our seminar called, "OK, Honey, tell me where to go."

Doing exercises during the hands-on Smartphone photography workshop.

Not sure which seminar this was.  

We ask the audience to flap their arms like birds so we can demonstrate taking slow motion video. Since they don't have much 'flapping' room, it looks more like they're bowing to us!!  I like it! :-)

Our site at the Rally, next to our buddy and RV Historian, Al Hesselbart's vintage bus.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Safari to Okeefenokee Swamp

We schedule ourselves for a couple of seminars at the Safari RV rally in Hoboken, Georgia (yes, there really is a Hoboken in Georgia). And then took advantage of their excursion to the Okeefenokee swamp.

In case you don't know about Safari RVs - they are known for their beautiful murals on the back of the RV. Here are a few that were parked at the rally,

 

 

We gave a couple seminars for the group, and also offered one-on-one help with Smartphones. Several people took us up on that, and I really enjoyed the teaching! People love their smartphones and they want to know how to use them better!

My favorite comment was from a woman who said her husband had to drag her, kicking and screaming, to the seminar on smartphones. She really didn't want to go. I think she considers her phone a necessary evil. But, she learned so much in the seminar - not only did she enjoy that, but she couldn't wait to sign up for a half-hour one-on-one and learn more!! YES! That's what it's all about.

When we heard the group had arranged a boat tour in the Okeefenokee Wilderness Area, we jumped at the chance to play tourist for half a day! It was a gorgeous day and we got lots of great pictures.








And, here's a little video that Jim made of the rally.


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Friday, March 04, 2016

A Visit to The Villages


If you've never heard of The Villages, then you haven't spent much time in Northern Florida. It is a planned community for seniors. With a current population of roughly 140,000, it is the world's largest retirement community. There are approximately 90 miles of golf cart trails. Some residents have even opted to not own a car since they can get to everywhere in their golf cart!

The truly amazing thing is the amount of activities available. We picked up one of their weekly newspapers "The Villages Recreation News" and I counted 610 clubs from A-Z, Acapella Singalong club to Zumba with Mark. There are 3 Town Squares that host music groups every night.There are classes ranging from Cupcake Decorating, to Archery, to Google Photos ... yep! You guessed it! We taught the Google Photos class.

You meet lots of people in the RVing lifestyle, and early on in our travels we met Barb and Gary Resnick thru the computer group within FMCA (Family Motor Coach Ass'n.) At the time they lived in Texas, and Barb learned Picasa from us and started a group for using Picasa at her Sun City Community there. They have since sold their motorhome and retired to The Villages in Florida. She is part of the Sunset Point Photo Club at The Villages and made all the arrangements for us to speak to her group about Google Photos. They had a nice turnout - nearly 100 - and we had a lot of interest in Google Photos.

Here's a little video of our visit - made with Google Photos! (https://youtu.be/IHSAXYXHJ7Y)



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Thursday, February 25, 2016

Photo Albums for the Blog

I've been doing some work on the way I display our history of pictures on this blog. I have a tab at the top called "Our Photo Albums." That used to be an external link that took you to a page where you could see ALL of our public photo albums using Picasa Web Albums. With the retirement of Picasa Web Albums (if you don't know about that, here's my article on it), it is unclear if that technique is still going to work.
Any individual pictures showing in the blog will not be affected by the retirement. All pictures I've uploaded over the years to Picasa Web Albums are now visible using Google Photos, and Google assures us that the link that make those pictures show up in blog posts will continue to work just fine. But, the full page of ALL public web albums is a feature that they have decided not to continue in Google Photos. They may change their minds - things are always changing at Google - but for now there is no Google Photos link to all public albums. You can get a link to an individual album though, so I have created a page for this blog where I will post those.
To make it look pretty, I take a screen capture (using the Snipping Tool in Windows) of the Album cover. I post that graphic on the blog page, then link it to the Google Photos album. I will do this each month, adding the current month's album to the top of the page.
Check it out, click the "Our Photo Albums" tab at the top of this page. You should see a February album that you can click to see the whole album, a January album, and then a link to all albums before 2016 - using the PWA link to all public albums. I'm trying to get information from Google as to whether that will continue to work.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

February Seminars

This has been a busy month of giving seminars - mostly to Computer Clubs. We are on a speaker's bureau of sorts. The Association of Personal Computer User Groups, and more specifically, the Florida Association of Computer User Groups have a variety of clubs. Some of them are independent clubs that have been around for a long time - like the Boca Raton Computer Society. I actually remember visiting the Boca Raton club back in the 80s - I probably spoke on using WordPerfect! That was my specialty back then. This month we were there and spoke on Smartphones and Tablets!

Other clubs are organized by groups who live in a particular retirement community, like Valencia Falls Computer and Technology Club. This is where Sam Wexler presides and he has taken it upon himself to let the other clubs know about us via an email blast. That is how we got booked for 6 presentations in February. Then we also presented at RV parks for 4 more seminars. Add to that our Sunday online shows, and we presented 14 seminars this month from the west coast of Florida to the east, and even one remote presentation in California.
Cascade Lakes

Nice big screens in some communities ballrooms! This is Cacades in Port St. Lucie

The ballroom was our room for the Cascades computer club


Check out our new floor-stand banners!
Our most popular topics this month were Smartphone Basics and Google Photos, but it's changing all the time. We spend most of our time learning! We are constantly revising our list seminar topics.



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