Thursday, January 19, 2017

What is wrong with this seminar?

This week we were invited to be the featured speaker at a Roadtrek rally. Roadtrek are the top of the line camper vans. People who travel in them like to get together. That's a Roadtrek rally.
Our big rig looks like a mama duck and her flock of little Roadtreks!

We've presented seminars at these Roadtrek rallies many times and this time they gave us a whole day of their schedule. That's a first! You look at the schedule of rally events and, on Tuesday it just said 9-4: Geeks on Tour.  We used the morning to present our seminar called Technology for Travelers, and Google Photos. Then we took all afternoon to teach What Does This Button Do, a Primer on Using Smartphones and Tablets.

With all afternoon to  present a seminar we often have to squeeze into an hour, you'd think I'd feel like we really covered the waterfront, but it was the opposite. At the end of the day as I'm reviewing in my mind, all I could think of was all the stuff we didn't teach. "Oh, darn! I didn't show them xx. Or yy, Or zz. They spent all day with us, and they didn't learn about __________"

You see, we teach a weekly class via YouTube called What Does This Button Do and we're on episode 106. I think I want to cram all 100 hours of that show into our seminar. Obviously that's not possible, so maybe the focus of our seminar should be showing people how to find topics in our archives of online shows?  I was especially distressed on Tuesday night that we didn't show examples of that show. There were many people in the audience who had never seen us before and after spending all day with us, they still didn't know about our weekly show? 

Ok, so I should redesign the seminar to focus on excerpts from the show and teach them how to find their desired topic in the archives, right? 

No, people come to a live presentation to see, you know, a live presentation? Not a bunch of recorded clips. We need both.

  1. Acquaint the audience with our show,
  2. teach them some good stuff in the live presentation. 
  3. this needs to fit in a one hour time slot because, sometime, that's all we get. 
And, our audience is of various levels. I don't want to talk over the heads of the rank beginners. I also don't want the more advanced folks to be bored.

Back to the drawing board. I change the class nearly every time we teach. 





p.s. I spent nearly 3 days re-writing the seminar handout. Take a look here: goo.gl/LAri0L

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Allergies in Orlando

I had asthma as a kid. My parents even had to take me to the emergency room a few times when I really couldn't breathe. I generally grew out of it, until I was 40 and it came back with a vengeance. I was allergic to something at my house. It was so bad that I would sleep on the floor at the office rather than go home.
I found an allergist at the time who was very special. He was a homeopathic practitioner. He tested me for dozens of allergens and discovered several food related problems as well as some airborne allergies. He created a concoction for me combining tiny amounts of each allergen. This was a liquid which I would drop under my tongue. 
The idea is to expose yourself to the allergen and build up resistance. It was amazing! After about 6 months to a year I was completely cured. No asthma at all.
Where I used to always have a rescue inhaler within reach, I spent over 20 years not even owning one.
Until now.


I don't know if it is Orlando, the motorhome, or the weather, but this is the second time we've come up to Orlando in the last few months, stayed in the rv and I've had raging allergies. Sniffling, sneezing, itchy eyes, and wheezing asthma. Sleepless nights and miserable days. Jim is sneezing a lot too, it's not just me.


It seems to be worse when I'm inside the motorhome, which makes me more inclined to want to sell and get a smaller rig. 
Come to think of it, when I was 40 and had that bad asthma at my house is around the time I met Jim and moved in with him. Divine intervention pushing me to pleasant results? 

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Love to Learn, Love to Teach

Abby Stokes from AskAbbyStokes,com
We live streamed episode 105 of our what does this button do show this week. We had Abby Stokes join us from her home in Connecticut while we were in our home studio in Ft Lauderdale. Our topic was how to teach technology to your newbie friends and family. Abby gave us her ten tips for teaching.
We've had Abby on as our guest before and she's a pro. 
The show went well, no technical glitches at all! A couple of viewers left comments that they really enjoyed this topic. I was glad to hear that because I thought it might have been a bit too touchy-feely for our audience. We usually are more technical and how-to in our show. We do a lot of demo. This show was more talking and discussion about how people learn, therefore how to teach them.

I sure enjoyed it. Abby is a kindred spirit, a soul sister! With her on the show I think I was more relaxed than normal. It's surprisingly hard to "just be yourself" when you're on camera and you have an audience you can't see, but with episode 105, and Abby's help, I think I'm getting there. Probably also because it was a topic that really comes from the core of my being! I've been teaching technology to newbies since 1983. Let's see, 2017-1983=34 years. Yikes.
Here's a picture of me in my computer training center at our 10 year anniversary.



I'm so glad we're doing these shows. We love an audience. For the last 12 years we've been getting big audiences at RV rallies but I don't see us doing that forever. The show allows us to stay in front of our audience, from the comfort off our home or rv. AND it gives us reason to continue learning this stuff.

Jim loves it too, but for different reasons! He gets to buy lots of tech toys for the studio. Lights, cameras, microphones, computers. He actually started his geekdom as the A/V guy in high school. Cameras, and broadcasting to the local TV station was what turned him on then, and it still turns him on now!

It just so happens that, the day we web-cast this show was also his birthday! So after we ended the broadcast, we drank our traditional glass of champagne, then I took Jim out to dinner.  We went to Las Pampas Grill in Fort Lauderdale and loved it.

Friday, January 06, 2017

I am a Geek

I think being a Geek means obsessively loving what you do.

I spent the last few days creating our geeksontour.com monthly newsletter.  I've done this every month for ten years. It can be a chore when I'm juggling multiple tasks and just need to get the newsletter out - now! But mostly it is a labor of love.

  • I love that I have an outlet for my passion. 
  • I love that I have readers who ask questions that lead me to discoveries. 
  • I love that I have a partner in this geekdom who indulges me in conversation about all things technology. 
  • I love that I have tools that continually improve and give me new things to learn and new ways to be creative.

Not a Creative

I can't draw to save my life.
A stick figure is a challenge.
I have been known to use this fact to say that I didn't have a creative bone in my body. I've come to realize that creativity isn't just about art.  These last few days of writing the newsletter I've felt like I was bubbling over with creativity.

The weather has been gorgeous, a friend suggested we go kayaking, but I wanted to sit at my computer and play with my photos, using Google photos; create graphic images using Canva, and create green screen videos using Camtasia. The newsletter gives me an excuse to play with all this stuff. There was nothing on the calendar this week so I had time to wallow in my technology.

One article I wrote was about using a USB drive in an iPad. Let me tell you how it came about ...
One of our geeks on tour members recently purchased our learning library on USB drive. it contains hundreds of tutorial videos and lots of documents. Actually lots of people bought these last month because we ran a special :-) but this one member wrote to ask how she could play the videos on her iPad.
How (and where)  can I transfer the tutorials from the flash drive so that they can be viewed on my iPad?  Is this even going to be possible? 
She's not the first person to ask us this. The first one was over a year ago and we just said no, you need a computer for the usb port. The next person to ask was someone last summer after we had just done our weekly button show all about wireless thumb drives. We told them they could buy one of those for about $30, copy everything over and then use that with their iPad. Cool. Jim and I even considered stocking some of those, but we never did.

Third time is a charm. This time we took the question to the hot tub. You know we're getting serious about finding a solution when a question becomes a hot tub conversation! A wireless thumb drive is nice, but isn't there some wireless way to use the drive they already bought from us? How about that HooToo device that we taught about on our show 2 years ago? At the time we used it to backup photos from our phones to a usb drive. Could we stick the thumb drive in there and access it with an iPad?

The idea got us so excited, we cut our hot tub session short in order to try it out. Just kidding, we never cut our hot tub soaks short!

When we did get out and dried off, we started hunting for the HooToo. We turned it on, plugged in our thumb drive, connected an iPad, and played a video. Cool! Now we can tell people Yes! you can play our videos from the thumb drive to your iPad. And not just our thumb drive, whatever you got.
Why had we not thought of this before?

Whatever ... Now it's time to tell the world. So I started writing the article for the newsletter. This really needs a video ... Show Me.

With nothing on the calendar this week, and since we're at home where Jim had set up our always-ready recording studio, I decided to take the time to learn more about how Camtasia works with green screen. It took a day and a half to get the video done, a couple of takes and a lot of editing, but I enjoyed every minute.


Tuesday, January 03, 2017

New Year's Resolution

It may not be quite a resolution,  but I sure do want to post more in this blog.  In December I ordered 3 more years of my blog books from blog2print.com and I love them.  They are beautiful 4 color hard back coffee table books of my life. I now have books for 2004 - 2012. It's noticeable how they keep getting thinner as I write less and less.  I could probably fit 2013-2016 in one book and it will still be smaller than 2004!
I love my Blog Books!
I also have set it up so it's easy to create a post using my phone and just emailing it to the blog.  I wrote about how to do that in an article on geeksontour.com. 

Life has changed a bit this past year because we moved into Mom's townhouse in Fort Lauderdale and are no longer fulltime RVers. We still spent about half the year in the motorhome and loved it as much as ever,  but it feels very different to have a stick and brick home now.  

A walk in closet is such a treat, but I didn't know what to do with it.  When we moved in,  over a year ago now,  I just dumped stuff in there.  I think I was treating it like a storage unit! Yesterday,  New Year's day,  was the day to sort it out. Who knew? A walk in closet is something that you can actually walk into. 

Today I sorted out my online closet of photos!  Check out the "Our Photo Albums" page in the menu above.  All the photos are in Google photos,  but there is no provision to display a group of albums,  so I came up with this design myself.  Google photos allows you to link to individual albums.  I came up with the grid for each month of year,  including a thumbnail picture.  Whaddaya think? 

I created this photo album page for the blog.
Speaking of Google photos,  we ended 2016 with a bang by publishing my Mrs Geek's Guide to Google Photos and promoting it with a launch on our weekly show. We sold nearly 300 copies in all it's formats, setting records for our monthly income!  Merry Christmas to us..


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