Thursday, January 31, 2008

Classes and Plays

We had a nice turnout for our Vista class on Monday. And, here's a picture of the ladies in my 'Computer Confidence' hands-on class. This evening is the last session. Here they are learning by watching their DVD of Geeks on Tour video tutorials. Teaching the class this way allows them to learn at their own rate. It reminds me of language lab in high school. hmmm, it *is* a kind of language isn't it? Jim is teaching a 'How to set up your own wireless network' for the computer club this afternoon. I'm looking forward to being a student in that one! Right now he's out and about in the park troubleshooting their wireless network! We're not taking advantage of many of the fun things this park has to offer because we're just too busy. But, they asked us to attend the play the other night, "Death By Chocolate" and take photos. Darn! We had to go out and play for the evening. It was really good - quite funny. I posted lots more photos on the Palm Creek Blog. There was even a love? scene:
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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Geeks on Tour mentioned in the New York Times!

In looking at my Google Analytics, I noticed a LOT more visits than normal to our Geeks on Tour website. I was able to track the source to the New York Times. They have a small article in their personal technology section about how to learn to use Picasa, and there is a link to our Video Tutorials on Picasa! Pretty cool huh?
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Monday, January 28, 2008

The Voice of the Computer

Lots of RVers use GPS navigation systems that speak. Many of them have given their computers names like Tom, Betty, or Carol. Ours is Majel. Jim named her after Majel Barrett, the wife of Gene Rodenberry who created Star Trek. Majel was the voice of the Star Trek computer in all the series! In preparing my Windows Vista seminar, I was looking for a video clip from some Star Trek show of a conversation with the computer. I wanted to show that, no matter how sophisticated computers get, there will always be frustrations. I found this great video all about Majel as the voice of the computer. For class, I just show the part with Scotty. Scotty is always frustrated with the computer in Star Trek - it's perfect. But the whole video is great to watch. The class went really well by the way. I found myself thinking, "I wish I could have taken this class when I first got Vista!"
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Saturday, January 26, 2008

It's Magic

We had a great day today. Lots of people in our Picasa class, lovin' it. Jim did some major troubleshooting/fixing of Wi-Fi stuff. It was a beautiful, sunny day. I even did a few laps in the pool. I worked some more on our Vista seminar handouts this afternoon. Really having fun. Then, just about 5:30, I turned to Jim and said, "Gee, isn't it time we had a bottle of wine?" He looked at the time and said, "Actually, I think it's past time." Neither of us got up immediately. Within minutes, a car pulled up in front of our rig. A man got out, and knocked on our door. He handed Jim a gift bag with a bottle of Shiraz (a nice red wine) in it. There was a note saying, "Thank you Jim - for your computer help." Wow! That was like magic! Ask for wine, and we're handed a bottle. Jim said, "Isn't it time we had a LOT of money?"
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Teaching and Learning and Vista

We've been busy this week. Didn't make the hike, didn't go geocaching, I don't think I've even taken one picture this week :-( But we have been doing what we love, teaching and learning computer stuff. We had our Wi-Fi class last week for an appreciative 28 people. Although we've presented this information hundreds of times over the last 4 years, it's still new to LOTS of RVers. Later in the week, one of those 28 people came up to us and said, "It worked! I tried just moving my computer to a different angle and I get a much stronger connection." Yep, it' 2-way radio, moving your antenna just a little can make a big difference, and a better antenna will get you a better connection. We feel like a broken record, we've said that so much. It's good to know that someone benefitted.
Jim has been out and about doing support calls most all day, every day. I've done a few calls myself, and taught my hands-on class. But mostly, I've been spending a lot of time preparing for our new "Windows Vista: What's New" seminar that we're giving on Monday. I've always said, "if you really want to learn something ... teach it!" I've learned all sorts of good stuff. You can bet I'll have lots of Vista tips in my upcoming newsletters. Although, my favorite Vista feature that I've already written about in our Newsletter, is still my favorite. No, I'm not going to tell you what it is here. You need to subscribe to the newsletter for that! :-) I was afraid that Vista had slowed down to a snail's pace and was going to be unworkable by class time. Then I figured out that a major update had failed on my computer. I manually installed it, and Vista is working much better. If you're running vista make sure this update got installed. You can view your update history from Control Panel, Security Center, Windows Update, View Update History. Notice on mine below that the automatic update on KB943899 failed several times. It finally succeeded when I did it manually. And, my computer really is running *much* better now.
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Monday, January 21, 2008

Marathon Runner and Black Belt Tennis Player Catches Thief

This post's title is the headline I saw last night while watching the news after the Green Bay/New York game.

Not a big deal, usually. Then the video started. There, on the news, was our friend Margo Foster. I've known Margo and husband Tom longer than I've known Chris. We are old dive buddies.

Last Friday, Margo came home from tennis practice and found a burglar in her house. The surprised burglar fled the house with Margo in hot pursuit! She struggled with him in the back yard before he got away and ran down the street. That would have been more than enough for most women I know. But Margo is not like most of the women I know. She took off after him and easily caught up with him about 7 blocks from her house. She wrestled him and held him until the cops arrived.

Margo's husband, Tom was the best man at our wedding. When I talked to him today, he asked if I was surprised at what Margo had done. No, not at all. I was surprised that the burglar survived with all his parts intact.

Here is a link to the video.

Way to go, Margo!

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Sunday, January 20, 2008

Honey, your camera is ringing!

I haven't told you about our new cell phones! We really don't celebrate Christmas, but it was a great excuse to buy ourselves something we've been wanting. Our cell phones, for Verizon, were getting pretty old. And, we learned that some of the new phones could be used, tethered to our computers, to get online with broadband without a 2 year contract. Here they are. Aren't they cute?! Open 'em up and there's a full qwerty keyboard. Maybe I'll learn how to text message now.
And, it really does work to 'tether' the phone to the computer with a USB cable. The cable is purchased separately with the 'mobile office kit' for about $30. We've heard from some people that they are getting online this way and only being charged for the time online ... about $2/day. That would be fabulous! We were told that we have to add the Broadband Access to our service, and it costs $60/mo.
hmmmm? We were given 1 month free promotion, so we tried it. It works pretty good. Jim did a couple speed tests and got 300 - 1,000 kbps download speed. We really don't trust those numbers too much. The proof is in the video! While 'tethered' to the cell phone, he was able to watch a youtube video with little or no interruption. He could browse to this blog and scroll down to the bottom, seeing all the pictures. But ... if it *really* costs $60/mo, we can't do that. Since we have the satellite dish (and we're on a legacy $115/mo plan) we can't justify another $60/mo just to play with it! Even at $60/mo it's an interesting option for lots of RVers. Using a data card for cellular Internet access requires a 2 year contract at $60/mo. This 'tethered' option can be turned on/off month to month. So, it could be a good option for people going on a 2 month trip. The amazing thing about this phone is that it is a camera, a video camcorder, a music player, a gps navigation system, an email machine, a video player, and a web-browsing machine ALSO! Of course, all of these things require extra fees :-( but, the technology is nothing short of amazing. I remember when the Internet and Web were first becoming popular we speculated about the computer merging into the TV or the TV merging into the computer. It NEVER occured to us that both of them would be merging into the telephone! And, a tiny little mobile telephone at that. AND - in addition to TV, computer, and phone - it's a camera too. whew! This video was taken with my new cell phone.
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Saturday, January 19, 2008

A 'bloggable' Life

I've neglected the blog lately :-(

I hate when that happens. It means that I'm not doing anything interesting or pretty. We skipped the hike *again* yesterday because there was too much work to do. I did a couple private tutoring sessions. Jim had some Wi-Fi support work that needed to be done. Today we teach our seminar on how to make a blog! My students are doing better than me these days. I long for the Bloggable Life.

I am writing - just not here. Check out It's a new blog by the Affinity Group. They're the ones who host the forums. The blog has about a dozen different writers on all sorts of topics of interest to RVers. I especially enjoyed reading the fitness topics by Lynn Difley. I plan to read her post every week and hopefully get motivated. My part is to write about RVing with computers. I post every Thursday. I expect there will soon be a way to click on my name and see all my posts. For now, the best way is to click on the categories at the right. My posts will always show up under the category of Computers.

It's also been COLD here - usually in the 30s or low 40s every night, getting up to 60 during the day. I feel another sore throat coming on. NO! I am not going to get sick again! I am sick of being sick. I have started taking vitamins. I did go to one exercise class this week. Jim and I have vowed to go for some kind of hike, maybe a geocache, on Sunday. I promise pictures then.

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Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Back to Palm Creek

It was a windy ride back to Casa Grande.

We gave our Safe Computing seminar on Monday. Jim made house calls today and I started my next hands-on computer class for Women only.

Now we're watching Comanche Moon - I'm a real Larry McMurtry fan.

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Sunday, January 13, 2008

Rally's over

Well, I don't think having a booth is the answer to our finances. When I add up what it cost us to be here and compare that to our CD/DVD sales, I come up short about $50. We had great seminars though. Here's Jim teaching people what they need to know about WiFi in RV parks. The more you understand about how it works, the more successful you'll be. We had about 150 folks in this seminar. The really popular one was our Picasa seminar. We were told the room held 300 chairs, and I only saw a few empty ones! I really wish I'd gotten someone to snap a photo at the end though. We sold more CDs after this seminar than at our booth the whole 3 days. There was literally a small crowd of people waving money at me! Unfortunately, the seminar was at the end of the rally, after the booth was closed. And, another group had the room directly after us, so we had about 10 minutes to sell and pack up. It was very heartening to see that, once people knew what was on the CDs (we played a couple of the video tutorials as part of the seminar) they wanted one! Maybe next time.
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Friday, January 11, 2008

First Booth Day

We're having gorgeous weather here in Indio California. That white you see in the distance is not clouds - that's mountains with snow! It really is an awesome sight, from down here in the Palm Desert area you look west and are met with a wall of mountains. I think our booth came together quite nicely.

We're in the corner, which isn't the best for traffic, but it allows us to set up our projector and show the videos. And, our display of videos is very visible. It's also easy to tell that we sell Datastorms as well since we happen to have a used one to display right now. And, if people are looking for 'Geeks on Tour' - they can't miss our pretty new sign! Sales were sure disappointing though. Our plan is to sell 100 CDs/DVDs. Let's just say ... we have 98 to go!

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Wednesday, January 09, 2008

FMCA Western Area Rally

Where am I? What day is it? And, what am I supposed to be doing? I am completely discombobulated. We are in Indio, California ... I think :-) We are here for the FMCA Western Area Rally. We've only attended the national rallies in the past, but, I gotta say, this looks just as big! We were told they expect 1500 rigs here. We pulled in about 4:30 yesterday and were greeted with, "The Geeks are here!" And, when we got closer, Odie jumped up and looked out the window. The parking volunteer responded with, "Hi Odie!" Pretty cool. Here's our parking spot. We spent today trying to prepare for our booth. We don't have a clue what we're doing. I think a good night's sleep is in order.
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Monday, January 07, 2008

Production Mode

Hard to believe that our little 30 foot home and office can also be a production center - but that's the case tonight. We're producing our CDs and DVDs. We're getting ready to go to the FMCA Western Area Rally in Indio, California. We'll be doing two of our seminars at the rally, but we don't get paid anything for that. In the past, we've either passed on these opportunities, or gotten a sponsor. This time we're trying out having a booth and selling our CDs and DVDs. I sure hope it goes well - this is a lot of work. And, of course the work started over a year ago when I started recording the video tutorials. Jim spent some time last week making a tabletop display. I'm copying the disks, and printing the labels for them. Thank goodness for our cab over - it becomes our staging area. It still got a little too crowded for Jim so he decided to go to his 'office' (the computer room) to do his part.
mmmm ... I'm falling asleep to the whir of my disk drives.
Aha - Here's Jim. Take a look at the covers he made:
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Saturday, January 05, 2008

Back to the Living

The doctor took chest xrays and said it wasn't pneumonia, so that's a good thing. Jim has an ear infection and I just have a bad cold with lung congestion. All it took was couple hundred dollars, a shot of some kind of cortisone, some Azithromycin antibiotic, MethylPrednisolone for ?? and some heavy duty cough syrup and we made it through our seminar and the rest of our day today. And, what do I pay health insurance (our biggest monthly expense)for? I know, I know, it's just for the catastrophic stuff that we sure hope never happens. So just be glad OK? Well, I try. Better living through chemistry! Time for bed.
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Friday, January 04, 2008


The weather is warming up, but apparently too late for our delicate Florida constitutions. We're sick again. This time it was Jim first. He stayed in bed, sound asleep, all day yesterday. By nightfall, I had it too,and this isn't a simple head cold. It feels like pneumonia. We're off to visit the Urgent Care clinic. Just a notice from the universe that we must take care of ourselves. Without our health we have nothing.
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Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Happy New Year

That's our 'official' holiday photo. Then, here's our New Year's Eve photo ... You see, the park held a fancy New Year's Eve party and it had a Moroccan theme. I love how Jim is game for dressing up! It's fun. But, he wasn't the only one ... Then there was the entertainment! She was really good. We took lots more photos, and video too. We've set up a blog just for Palm Creek go check it out at You can see the video there.
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