Saturday, September 28, 2019

Geeks and Teachers

Our work as Geeks on Tour is to teach. We both love technology and I (Chris) love to teach. It is my reason for being. We promote the fact that we teach beginners. We don't assume any knowledge on the part of our audience when we teach. We may not always be teaching beginning topics, but we try very hard to explain everything in beginner terms. 
Some of our followers, our GeeksOnTour.com premium members are actually very advanced technology users. Our most devoted fans are other teachers. They recognize our passion for teaching and use our lessons and materials to help them in their teaching endeavors. We love that.

We met Robin at Sun City Hilton Head, where there is a very active Technology club with over 3,000 members. We'll always stop at Sun City Hilton Head when we're passing thru to see what's the latest, and we did that this year. We had so much fun learning about their latest popular topic of Apple Watches! We missed Robin on our visit though because she has moved to Ohio. So, we vowed to visit with her when we traveled thru Ohio. And we did!



Robin may not be a teacher in a 3,000 person computer club now, but she is still teaching. She is involved in a local Institute for Learning in Retirement, and she has started her own blog about all things Google. A woman after our own hearts. We we so happy to visit while in Ohio.
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Thursday, September 26, 2019

Ohio

When we were planning our tour, we were pretty sure we wanted to go the Roadtrek rally in Massachusetts, and TheTravelClub.com rally in Branson Missouri. That left an opening in our calendar of about a month, and 1,500 miles. We called our contact for APCUG (Ass'n of PC User Group) in Ohio and he said, not to worry, he could get us booked at several computer clubs across Ohio and then a couple in the Chicago area.


This worked out great. We've lost most of our desire for sightseeing in the US. Not that we've seen everything, but I think we have seen everything that was ever on our "want to see" list in the lower 48. That said, we are still impressed with the sights we happen upon while traveling to and from our different gigs. State parks are high on that list. While in Ohio, we stayed in 3 of them.

  1. Alum Creek State Park, just north of Columbus
  2. Dillon State Park just outside of Newark where we were presenting to the Licking County Computer Society. We checked in to this park for 3 whole days! So, Jim set up camp. We even took advantage of some walking trails and rode our bikes over to the lakeshore. It was hilly - thank goodness for electric bikes, I couldn't have done it otherwise.
    We remembered this park from having stayed here during our very first year on the road!







  3. Buck Creek State Park - outside of Dayton, before our presentation to Dayton Microcomputer Ass'n. We were hearing from other RVers that they were encountering "no vacancies" at lots of RV parks. We said, "come to Ohio" this must be the best season here. Very few people in the campground, beautiful weather, wonderful sunset. Nice walking trail along the lakefront.
I still have to pinch myself to believe this wonderful life. Spending time in beauty like these State parks is so nourishing for the soul. It makes me smile, it makes me relax, it makes me focus on the beauty in the world.
Then, the fact that we also get audiences to teach the stuff we're passionate about gives us some purpose. We're not just taking in the gifts of nature, we're also giving back. And, even when we are just relaxing in a beautiful place, we have our computers and tasks to perform like writing our newsletter, and producing our YouTube shows. Life is just Oh So Good.
For the Columbus group, we taught smartphone photography. We made them get out their phones, take pictures of each other and themselves. They learned how important it is to clean the lens. They learned about the HDR setting and the Portrait mode. And we had fun. And, oh yeah, we made sure they knew how to take panoramas!

For the Newark group, we presented our smartphone overview class - What does this button do? We made sure they got out their phones and tried things like taking screenshots, and changing the setting for screen timeout.


They learned how to find a lost phone, and more. This group was unique in our experience because they had a whole building that was theirs for meetings. A clubhouse! How cool. And, they have a practice of videotaping all meetings and presentations. So, you can watch our entire presentation on their YouTube video.

Our last Ohio presentation was to the Dayton Microcomputer where we also did our What does this button do? presentation.

When we were done with that, we found a nearby Cracker Barrel to spend the night before heading off to Chicago. Not as nourishing to the soul as a State Park, but you do get dinner and breakfast!

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Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Computer Clubs and Blogger

Our first stop in Ohio was the Canton computer user group and they asked us to give our seminar on how to use blogger.com to make simple websites, aka Blogs.
This is one of our favorite topics since our life story since 2003 is here on our blog and we use blogger to make it. We also use blogger too make our LearnGooglephotos.com website. Blogger is drop-dead easy and it is completely free. We think it is a wonderful option for clubs.
We had a small group, but they were really interested. I have every expectation that we will see some published blogs from this group in the near future.
It's interesting to note that I am creating this post with the recently updated Blogger Mobile app for Android. It has very few features, but at least those features (typing text and adding photos) work. For quite some time the app has been unusable because it insists on crashing every time you use it.
I am also thrilled to see an updated app because that signals that Google is not abandoning Blogger.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Travel mode and Elks Lodges

After the Roadtrek rally in Massachusetts, we needed to get to our next gigs which were in Ohio. We only had a couple of days to get there so we weren't planning to stay put more than one night anywhere. We were in travel mode - just gotta get there. We often stay in Walmarts and Cracker Barrels when we're in travel mode, but if there is an Elks Lodge with RV parking, that's even better and we found some great ones along our route in New York and Ohio.
How do we find them? Our first goto map is called Allstays, it's an app on iOS. The app has been taken down in the Android version, but we still use it by signing up for the premium version of the website. Here's a video we did on that:

But, we've learned that the RVillage Elks group is even better because RVillage  members sometimes find Elks lodge with RV parking that Allstays misses. Also, the RVillage members post comments and photos about the place. Here's our video on how to find Elks Lodge w RV parking using RVillage:

Anyway - we found two lodges that were great. Here's the map, we needed to get from A to D. B and C are the Elks lodges we found along the way, and they were awesome!

B is in a place known as Canajoharie, aka Nelliston, and it's right on the Mohawk river. It was beautiful. It was also on a dead end road which gave us a nice long walk along the river before dinner. And, speaking of dinner ... that's a great part about staying at Elks, they almost always have a bar, and often have food. This was one of the best - with extremely friendly locals sitting around the bar and welcoming us, and a steak dinner for some ridiculously cheap price, I think it was $12.

A walk along the river - seeing river boats. We looked this one up: Blount small ships adventures



OK, there was one drawback - check out the photo below - if you look close you'll see a train right in front of our van. And, it ran all night. L O U D. But, we can tune it out. 



Next up, we found another Elks Lodge right on the shores of Lake Erie in Ashtabula, Ohio. Another great parking spot and another great dinner. Then, get a load of the sunset!





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Saturday, September 14, 2019

Roadtreks!

Next up after our New York City gig was a Roadtrek International Rally. It was located at a fancy RV Park in Foxborough, Massachusetts called Normandy Farms.

Once you get used to traveling, and living, in these compact RVs you just can't imagine why anyone wants anything larger! It's so much fun to get together with others who agree.


We gathered, ate, partied, and taught our stuff over the course of 5 days.



We especially enjoy making people use the cameras on their phones and discover new features.

We even convinced several in the group to add their photos to a group photo album using Google Photos. Hey! That way we even get some photos of us, even if they aren't always flattering (dancing?)

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