Saturday, March 10, 2007

RVs and Computers, a busy week

In addition to our normal seminars and Jim's 'Help-Desk' hours, I did a few private lessons this week as well. You'd be surprised how many RVers use computers and need help! When we first started RVing in 2003, our estimate was that about 50% of all the RVs we saw had a computer inside. Now we think that it's 90%! And - 50% of those have 2 computers! This is simply a reflection of how important computers have become to everyday life. And, the Internet has become a necessary 'utility' akin to electricity, water, or telephone. I just have to brag about one particular teaching session this week. He's a retired doctor. This is his first computer. He and his wife were in this park just for a short time. He took one of our seminars, then scheduled a private lesson for himself and his wife. He told me that his wife liked to write, but she was reluctant to even touch the computer. After the lesson, she seemed excited to start. Just a little bit of training helped break the ice. And, he scheduled another session for himself. When we were finished he gave me a check, but the real payment was the spontaneous hug he gave me. He said that he's accomplished some very difficult feats in his life - becoming a medical doctor and becoming a boat captain among them - but this computer was a challenge that had been defeating him until now. My training put him on the right path and gave him confidence. It may not be solving world hunger, or curing cancer, but Jim and I feel really good about what we do! Check out this computer-in-the-dashboard. This is an option in a Tiffin Allegro Bus. It isn't just a navigational computer - it's a full-fledged Windows XP computer. Someone in the park had one of these and they showed it to us. They had never used it except to play DVDs. Jim set them up with a WiFi adapter so they could get it online and downloaded all the XP updates they needed. Now both of them can be browsing the web. She on her laptop, and he from one of the front seats. It's about time we started seeing some real computer options in motorhomes. What we're still waiting for is to see outdoor mounted WiFi antennas as an option. Right now, people still have to rig their own. Here's one that we helped set up for a neighbor in the park. It's a WaveRV marine-type antenna/USB adapter, strapped to a Walmart-special telescoping pole, strapped to the awning support. Works great. He is parked about 6 sites away from us and, with this antenna he gets a good connection to our network. He even uses it to make Skype phone calls to Europe and said it worked fine - once you get used to the delay caused by satellite connection. He promised to only use it for phone calls between 5 and 6 am because that is a bit of a bandwidth-hog and could noticeably slow us down. And, one last picture ... would you believe that Santa comes to our computer classes?! Always wondered what he did the rest of the year. He leaves the sleigh behind and goes RVing! Read more about him, and see a photo in full dress at Ron's Blog.

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