Monday, October 30, 2006

Fredericksburg Wine and Austin Bicycling

After leaving the Rally in Kerrville we needed to come back to Austin for our mail pickup. As we were passing thru Fredericksburg it was lunchtime and we decided to stop. Unknown to us it was a very special Saturday: We not only got some yummy food and wine, but were able to replace the wine glasses I recently broke. The best part was these cool wine glass holders: What a handy way to walk around, be able to eat and not worry about dropping your wine glass! Fredericksburg is also known for it's shops. I just loved the colorful boots. For Austin, we decided to stay at our favorite downtown RV park for a couple nights - Pecan Grove. This park is very convenient to the Town Lake Hike and Bike trail. And, what a gorgeous weekend it was. Hundreds of people use this trail. There were people walking, jogging, alone, in pairs, with dogs, without dogs, pushing baby carriages, biking, sitting on the shore and paddling or rowing in the water. It just gave you the feeling that all is right with the world!

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Rally's Done

The last day of the rally Jim gave his new Google Earth seminar. That's fun stuff. I think the best comment was from a woman in the audience that said, "My husband's gonna starve." Meaning, she couldn't wait to get her hands on Google Earth at her computer and she expects to stay there for hours or days to come! And I had lots of people coming up to me to say that they created their Blogs after my seminar. I consider that a rousing success, especially since last week was about the worst week to be using Blogger. They had all sorts of internal problems. I think Datastorm Users are probably the cream of the crop in being able to handle computer problems and persevere to appreciate the benefits. It's all a matter of attitude! The following two photos sum up the rally for me. This first one, I call 'Gather Round the Guru' And it represents the fact that people came here to learn, and there were lots of gurus here to learn from! The second one is of the VP of Motosat being a good sport and wearing the funny hat given to him. It represents the unparalleled access we had to the manufacturer of our equipment. The rally had about 110 Motosat customers, not really a very high percentage of their overall customer base. Both the president of the company and the Vice President were there for one-on-one conversations. AND - the head of Technical Support and ISP services were there the entire week troubleshooting and fixing problems free for the asking. Thanx to Joline for the photo above. And - I probably should have taken a picture of him when he was in Joline's coach at 10:00 at night helping her figure out a problem! I feel very fortunate to be a part of this group. Another successful Datastorm Users Rally. Thanx to all involved!

Friday, October 27, 2006

Rally - 3 seminar day

Yesterday, Jim and I presented 3 seminars! What a day. Here's Jim 'off to work'! Carrying our entire seminar system. Projection screen in his right hand, computer in his left, and projector over his shoulder. I follow along with all our handouts ... and the camera of course. Along the way, Joline opens her door to greet us! And Scott puts out the Big dish to impress us! Here's Jim during our 'Safe Computing' seminar preaching on an age-old topic ... Do Your Backups! And here he is 'driving' the computer while I present the seminar on Websites and Picasa. We've been known to present seminars individually, but it works so much nicer when one of us is on the computer and one is standing and facing the audience. Besides, it's fun to heckle each other! The problem with all conferences/rallies where they try to fit a lot of good information into a little time is that they schedule concurrent sessions. So, when you're in one, you can't go to the other. We were so sorry to miss Don's VOIP (voice over IP) seminar. But we did catch a little of the experts panel. This is where you can get all your questions answered about *anything* Datastorm. Unfortunately, I didn't like the answer to my question ... I enjoy downloading movies from to watch on our home theatre. I could swear I used to do that all the time using our satellite connection, but the last time I did it I got 'FAPped'. That means that my bandwidth allotment was throttled down to nothing because I used so much. It took a day or two before my connection was back to normal speed. I was hoping that the experts would give me good news, but no, they said 'Yep, you can't download movies.' Hmmm - I must have been using WiFi at other times I've done it. Good to know. Today should be fun, Jim is presenting a new seminar on Google Earth, and we get to attend Don's seminar on Geocaching! Gotta go ... <-- Post 2 of 4 Datastorm Rally Post 4 of 4 -->

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Got Electricity?

We don't. At 2am last night, being a little muggy here in Kerrville, we got up and turned the air conditioner on. A few minutes later we heard: POP! And saw what looked like a minor lightning strike outside our bedroom window. All the power was off. Jim got up and went outside to find a completely fried electric connection. We went back to sleep with dreams of being in the shop for a week and rewiring the whole coach costing thousands of dollars. We went to the office first thing this morning and they said they could send an RV repair guy over. Within 2 hours, we learned that this is fairly common - the plug develops a 'hot spot' where the connection shorts and blows. The plug was replaced with a new one and soldered in. There was no other damage or problem. We're back in business for a $90 bill. Whew!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Datastorm Rally -biggest yet

I understand there are 110 RVs here for the Datastorm Rally. That's quite a crowd for this specialized niche. We started with a potluck dinner and cookout. I'll bet you can tell which meat-on-the-grill is ours?!? We had dinner with old friends and new. Here's Bill and Janet who have been installing Datastorms for longer than we've had ours. We met them in Oregon in 2004 and keep bumping into them at rallies all over the country! And, during some free day time hours, Jim got to play with his favorite geek - Don - and show him all his WiFi toys. Jim is giving a WiFi seminar on Friday and he especially likes the 'show-and-tell' portion with a variety of different WiFi adapters. This time, we actually are selling one of them - The WaveRV. What is so cool about it is that it is a powerful antenna, it can be mounted outside, and it is a USB WiFi adapter all in one. What's not so cool is that it's a bit pricey - $169. Then, Don showed him his latest toy, a combined GPS and web-browsing pocket computer for Geocaching. Garmin iQue M5 The really special thing to me is that so many people here are full-time RVers. Among 'normal' housebound folks, we feel like a real oddity. Here - we're just one of the crowd! When asked how many fulltimers there were, I'd say 90% of this crowd raised their hands. Then, the highlight of the rally so far (for me anyway!) was me giving the 'Every RVer Needs a Blog' seminar. We had about 75 people attending, and several went straight to their computers and created a new blog! Like this one. And, on Jim's and my new website: I've added a listing and asked people to enter their blogs or websites. I entered the first few - it looks like 5 people have added theirs as a result of the seminar. to be continued... <-- Post 1 of 4 Datastorm Rally Post 3 of 4 -->

Monday, October 23, 2006

Datastorm Rally - a place for face to face

Here we are, attending our third Datastorm rally. We're at Buckhorn Lake RV Resort in Kerrville, Texas. In case you don't know what 'Datastorm' means. That's the fancy satellite dish on our roof that automatically finds the satellite when we push a button, and gives us broadband Internet. Usually you can pick us out of a crowd because of that satellite dish. Not here. Our friend, Joline, is parked just across the street. And, here's the view looking down the street. A lot of us with Datastorms have gotten to know each other because of the Datastorm Users' Map. Whenever we park, we upload our Lat/Lon coordinates to this map and anyone who wants, can find out exactly where we are. We are number 787. If there is another user on the same section of map, we'll usually send them an email and say, "Hi!". You make many friends this way even though you've never met face-to-face. A few folks came by our rig to say Hi yesterday and, as they met each other, I heard them say, "Oh! You're number 865, I know you!" There are usually about 4-5 numbers on a map of 500 sq miles. Check out the map right now - this is one RV park. Here's our posts from the Rally Last Year (just scroll down past the first post). Datastorm Rally, Post 2 of 4 -->

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Eight Loads of Laundry?!?

I used 3 of those Double-Load tumbler type of washing machines and 2 regular washing machines. So, technically that's 8 loads right? If you've watched the photos in this Blog, you know that we are not slaves to fashion, so where did all those clothes come from? Well, yesterday was 'fall-cleaning' day. I washed the summer quilt cuz it's time to switch to the 'winter' quilt! And I washed the throw rugs as part of a complete cleaning of the coach. We're on our way to the Datastorm rally this week and we volunteered to be on the 'tour of homes' where people will come visit us and we get to show off our motorhome. You know the main reason I did that was to give us a reason to clean right? I even washed the dog! He's not speaking to me now. Teamwork is so important. Here's how ours works: 1. I decide the refrigerator needs defrosting and cleaning. So I turn it off, open the doors, and leave. Jim removes the food, cleans off the ice, wipes it down, puts the food back and turns it back on. 2. I decide the mini-blinds need to be washed. So I unlatch them from their positions, put them outside, then get on the phone. Jim washes them with hose, brush and soap/wax. Rinses them. Hangs them to dry. Later he brings them back in and reinstalls them. 3. Jim washes the outside of the rig. I vacuum the carpet inside (we have tile all thru the coach except a few square feet around the bed). I love teamwork! (hey! I did 8 loads of laundry. ok) hmmm - I think George is right. The rig does get shinier the more it's washed. Jim last washed it just 10 days ago when we were in Arkansas. Reading George's blog has motivated Jim. See the Oct. 10 entry. So, it's off to Kerrville today for the Datastorm Users' rally. We will be giving our seminars and taking some too! I'll try to take lots of photos on the Home Tour for you to see. Looks like fun.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

LBJ Library

We've spent a lot of time in Austin, because that's where Coach Connect is and we do occasional work for them. We were here for almost 2 months last year and never got around to seeing the Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library. So, we got settled into our favorite RV park here - Oak Forest - and vowed to go to the library before going to the office. It was a gorgeous day. The LBJ library is on the campus of University of Texas. One of my earliest memories. Johnson was put in charge of the moon project by JFK. He continued throughout his own presidency, then the landing actually occurred shortly after he left office. Here is a piece of moon rock on display. And, of course, the oval office. Then there was this cute exhibit of an audioanimatronic LBJ telling jokes.

oooops - deleted photos

I had a bit of a setback the last time I sat down to blog. First of all, it was 3-4am. I probably shouldn't expect to be too sharp at that time. I plugged in my camera and proceeded with my download routine that I do almost every day. First I select the pictures from the previous session and delete them. I could delete pictures as I import them, but I don't. I'm too paranoid, I have backups of my backups, and I keep the originals until they've proven themselves by showing up both on my computer and on the Blog. That part went fine. The next part is to import the remaining photos. Select them and click the import button. hmmm, I wonder why it's saying 'Are you sure you want to delete these pictures'. As I'm wondering this, like a sleepwalker I click the OK button. Only after my screen goes blank do I answer my question. It said 'Are you sure you want to delete these pictures' because I CLICKED THE DELETE BUTTON STUPID! Staring at my blank, pictureless, screen, my brain began to defog. I wasn't too worried cuz I know there's a way to undelete - I've just never done it before. I google for 'undelete photos' and find a program to download, but it will only work if my camera is showing up as a drive letter. Using the USB cable like I do, it doesn't work that way. I need a card-reader. Time to go back to bed. The conclusion: Jim goes to Fry's electronics and buys a card-reader for $20 (we've been wanting one anyway) He downloaded PC Inspector Smart Recovery for free. And now I have all my photos back. Now I can go back to bed and actually sleep.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Greetings from Oklahoma

We had a nice 'down' day yesterday. Just sat around the campground while it rained and rained and rained. I couldn't even Blog yesterday because our satellite Internet connection didn't work. Don't know why - our ISP blamed it on the weather, but it's just as cloudy and drizzly now and we're online just fine. Anyway - I read a book instead. Finished it! What book, you ask ... The Everything Blogging Book of course. Can't blog? - then read about Blogging. I have lots of ideas now. Hopefully, you'll see some new stuff here soon. Meanwhile, I just think the author is too much of a kindred spirit to ignore. She spent a couple years traveling around in an RV (hey! I'm doing that) She lives in Anchorage, Alaska now. (Hey! I've done that too) She's been a champion of Women and Computers for many years. (Hey! me too) If we ever make it up to Alaska in our rig, we'll have to stop and say hi! Neither Jim nor I have ever been to Oklahoma. And, we can't tell you much about it now, since we're just barely north of the Texas state line. But, hey! We can prove that we are in Oklahoma. You see, when we left New Jersey last month, headed for Texas - we had 4 blanks to fill in on our map that were roughly on the way - Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas and Oklahoma: Yeehaw! Look at our map now: Here's the Red River that provides the border between Northeast Texas and Oklahoma. I'd call this area of the country The Plains. What do you think? It's off to Austin today. Bye for now.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Clinton Presidential Center

Our next stop was Little Rock, Arkansas and the Clinton Presidential Center. We've visited several Presidential Libraries on our travels, and this is the best so far. Clinton's motto was 'Building a Bridge to the Future'. So the structure looks kinda like a bridge ... that could link up to the old railroad bridge over the Arkansas river. What was so nice about the building itself is all the glass, so it was light inside. You can't use flash - so I rarely get many photos of the Presidential Libraries - but it was pretty easy here. And, look at this view of Little Rock from the second floor inside the library. Here's the exhibit showing the timeline of the Clinton presidency. Then, on either side, there were alcoves with displays on particular topics like the economy stupid! Each exhibit included interactive elements as well as videos to watch. This is a 21st century museum. Lots of technology in use to get it's message across. Here's a replica of the Cabinet room where you can sit down and use a touch-screen computer for more interactive information. We spent several hours here, and I'd love to come back again! Most Presidential Libraries include a full-size replica of the Oval office. Apparently, each president decorates it to his own liking. I'd love to make some political comments here, but I think I need a whole other blog for that!