Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Live Broadcast from Walmart Parking Lot Studios!

We were scheduled to present a Google Photos seminar to the Quad Cities Computer Society in Moline, Illinois on Monday night.

QCS-googlePhotos

imageWe were in our RV in New Jersey, and Monday was a travel day for us. We left the Jersey shore and headed south to go home to Florida. We planned to spend the night at an Elk’s Lodge in New Castle, Delaware after a stop near Atlantic City to visit with Jim’s Aunt Julie.

If you don’t know, many Elks lodges offer parking for their RVing members. We became Elks members during an Escapees RV Rally in Gillette, WY and, using our Allstays App to find them, we have stayed at many of them all over the country! We arrived at the Elks Lodge about 4:30 – perfect! We needed to go live on the web about 7:30 to present our seminar using Youtube Live Streaming services. We’ve stayed at this Elks Lodge before and really liked it. They have a nice big parking lot and one electric hookup for an RV. We were the only RV there.

elks

As soon as we pulled in to their parking lot we started checking our phones for Verizon signal. We have an unlimited data contract with Verizon and we find they usually have the best speeds of any service wherever we are. We turn our phones into hotspots, I connect my computer to my “Mrs. Geek” phone hotspot and Jim connects his computer to his “Mr. Geek” phone hotspot. To do a Youtube Live Streaming event you need a fast Internet connection and plenty of bandwidth. We can easily burn thru a couple of Gigabytes during an hour show.

As I mentioned, we’ve stayed at this Elks Lodge before- on our way north in July – and I remembered there being good Verizon Internet signal here. Unfortunately, I have discovered that trusting my memory is a bad idea! I was only seeing 1 bar of 4G on my phone, Jim was down to 3G on his! A speedtest by Ookla showed less than 1Mbps – not nearly enough! This won’t work. We turned around and headed out in search of better Verizon signal.

We found a Walmart not too far away (also using our Allstays app!) and saw 5 bars of 4G and 16Mbps of upload speed! That will do (upload is more important than download for broadcasting.)  Now to park and crank up the generator for electricity. Then to get the “studio” set up. We usually don’t put out the motorhome slides when we’re in a Walmart parking lot. It’s not good ‘etiquette’ to set up camp for an overnight parking lot stay. But there just isn’t enough room for everything with the slides in, so we compromised, parked in such a way that the one necessary slide was on the curb side and we put it out.

All looked good, and we connected with our audience with plenty of time to spare. Just as Jim was about to click the button to “Go Live” his phone’s hotspot crashed. No clue why. He quickly connected to the MrsGeek hotspot and we continued on! We demonstrated Google Photos for about 40 minutes then took questions from the audience. Somehow Chris’ microphone went missing early on, where DID our stage manager go?

Although we had a live audience in Moline, Illinois, anyone in the world could have tuned in because of the way Youtube works. For a worldwide broadcast from our RV in a Walmart parking lot – I think we did pretty good! Since Youtube automatically records, you can watch the presentation now if you’d like by clicking on the image below.

rv-studio

Here’s what Judi, the president of Quad Cities Computer Society wrote to us afterwards,

Chris, thanks to you and Jim.  As always you did a great job and we really, really appreciate your time and effort.

I am sorry I did not interrupt you once I suspected there was a microphone problem.  I thought at first it was a volume problem and turned up the speakers.  But we did hear through Jim's Mic and I think being able to listen to the recorded version will help catch anything that I missed.

Your presentation helped me a lot and the book is a great resource. I know now MY confusion was about the computer not syncing like the mobile devices and the book lets me read and re-read about the correct methods for deleting photos from each source.

You guys are the best--your dedication to teaching is remarkable and NEEDED by so many of us "older" adults.  I hope you continue for many more years.

Thanks Judi! Let’s do it again sometime!

Here’s a photo of our Walmart Parking Lot Broadcast Studio.

walmart

p.s. I’m writing this blog post from another Walmart parking lot! In North Carolina now.

Monday, September 12, 2016

LBI Family and Friends

We're always happy when our travels allow for an extended stay on LBI - Long Beach Island, New Jersey. This is where Jim lived during high school years. Most people would say he grew up here, but he says he never grew up!
This is our favorite parking spot in the whole country, and we had wonderful weather most every day for 2 weeks. The sunsets are unmatched!


And the Jersey tomatoes were plentiful.

No trip to the island is complete without a visit to Old Barney - Barnegat Lighthouse. This time we rode our bikes, about a 14 mile round trip, and got there with perfect timing to photograph the lighthouse with the sunset coming thru the light. Planning is everything!


We also had a treat in that the America - a replica of the Racing Yacht that gave the America's Cup it's name - was docked nearby. More photo ops!

Now here's a story that Jim needs to tell one day. For now, I'll let your imagination fill in the blanks.

But, there is some pretty cool video he took first!


On our last day on the island, Jim's high school class held an informal reunion.



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Saturday, September 10, 2016

Architecture Cruise Around Manhattan

Our friend Dee told us about this New York City Architecture Cruise
We had a day between teaching gigs at Senior Planet in the city and this was a great way to relax and learn more ourselves.

It was a perfect September afternoon for a boat ride.

We were welcomed aboard the gorgeous 1920's themed yacht Manhattan II and cast off for our nearly three-hour tour. 

Our captain gave us the required Coast Guard safety briefing and turned us over to our fantastically knowledgeable guide, Joseph Lengeling, a member of the American Institute of Architects. He kept up an entertaining narration for the entire circumnavigation of the island of Manhattan. 


We were amazed at his expertise about old and new skyscrapers, architects names and dates, residential architecture, bridges, Art Deco and Beaux Arts styles as well as waterfront parks and infrastructure through the years. He told stories of history, biography, design and current events with an enthusiasm that showed his love of the subject. All without notes!


We had great views the entire tour. We took lots of pictures and met some nice folks.


We circumnavigated Manhattan!
The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge (George Washington Bridge)
We were treated to a complimentary beer, wine, or champagne and enjoyed some tasty snacks provided by the fine crew of two. 

You can't beat this tour for value. 5-Stars! Highly recommended. We'll be back.

Here is a link to more of our pictures. Enjoy!


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Saturday, September 03, 2016

FixClip Review by Jim Guld


Here is a product that is new to me and I think is very useful. It is an innovative upgrade of the venerable clothespin.

We regularly get requests to review products in exchange for discounts. I usually reject them unless I think they are interesting to our readers.

The holding power of the FixClip is nothing short of amazing. We tested them on a boat traveling 40 MPH. We attached some towels to the guardrails using regular clips and FixClips and opened ‘er up. The regular clips didn’t hold. The towels ended up on the deck.
The towels secured with FixClips stayed on.


If the wind never blew, they wouldn’t be necessary. But If you live in or travel to windy places, you will find a use for this handy clip to keep your towels, clothes, and work-rags secure. They can be used to hang lights, too. We went on a live-aboard dive trip last year and took old style plastic clips. Not this year. FixClips will be in our gear bags.

They come in packs of six, are made of high-tech plastic, and seem very strong and durable. There are no metal springs to rust.
They are great for the beach or around the pool and yard.
Give them a try..
http://fixclip.org/

Here is their Demo Video Link
Here is a Link to Purchase


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Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Liberty Harbor and New York City

You don't want to drive an RV in New York City, and you'll certainly not find anywhere to park it! We were booked to do some seminars for a senior center in Manhattan called Senior Planet. So, we looked for an RV park where we could commute into the city and found Liberty Harbor. If you're looking for a camping spot with trees and nature trails, this definitely is not it. But, then again, why would you be looking for that when you want proximity to New York City? It is just a parking lot, with tight spaces. But it has 50 amp hookups, 24 hour security, and helpful friendly staff.

Most of all, it is convenient to the city. Just a short walk in one direction gets you to the waterfront where you can hop on a ferry and enjoy crossing the Hudson river straight to the docks at One World Trade Center. Our first day there had nothing scheduled, so we played tourist and paid the $35 to go to the top! OMG what a view.







When we came down we visited the 9/11 Memorial. What a brilliant design that pays tribute to those who died, and provides a moving and meditative place to reflect on what happened here. All with a beautiful and symbolic space that hits you with the hole that was left in the city on that day.


From there, we took a subway, and did some walking to get to the Senior Planet facility so we knew where to go the next day. Then, the rest of the day was for walking and sightseeing.
According to my Google Maps timeline, we walked nearly 7 miles that day! Here's the map:

And, here's some pictures:






We walked and walked until it started getting dark. When I took a look and saw that the last ferry was at 10 and it was already after 9 - we used our Uber app on our phone and caught a quick ride and all was well. (not to worry, there was another ferry that went close to our destination and ran all night)



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