Saturday, December 31, 2011

Are you a Member of our GeeksonTour.TV website?

I know that a lot of you are members on our business website, so I normally don't write much about it here, on our personal blog – I don’t want to bombard you.

If you are a member, we thank you!  Because of you, we can continue this wonderful lifestyle and not have to get a real job!  If you aren’t a member, now is the time to join because our prices go up next week.  You can read more about it in our latest newsletter.


What is a Membership Website?

Let me give you a look behind the scenes.  Our work is Computer Training for Travelers – and we love what we do!  In order to make a living at it, we use the Internet and a Membership website.  What this means is that our tutorial videos are all available on that site, but if you click to watch one, you will be asked for a username and password.  That’s the membership part.  We use WordPress to create the website, and a plugin called WishList Member to manage the parts that require a login.  We use PayPal to manage the payments so we don’t have to be responsible for handling or storing people’s credit card numbers. Here’s more info on why we think a PayPal account is a good idea for everyone.

As with any way of making a living, there is a lot of work involved.  Managing the website is a big job – there are constant updates, and issues to deal with just in making the website work right.  Then, of course there are the videos that must be recorded to have something to sell!  When we started charging for it in 2008, we had a few dozen videos, now we have over 200. 


We also have to work to drum up business.  Think of us like Rock Stars (I like that!) we go on tour with our seminars to build recognition and promote our tutorial videos on our website.  Some venues pay us a little to present seminars, but many do not.  Usually they let us sell our memberships, books, and DVDs.  Just like you can buy the Rock Star’s CD after the concert!  We also write lots of free articles for our newsletters and other websites. 

Many people stay on our free newsletter email lists for years and may never become a paid member.  That’s OK!  They tell other people about us – it’s how it works.  We have over 5,000 email subscribers and about 800 paid members.  If everyone became a member – it would be too much work for us!  And lots of people receive our free newsletters for a while and then, later, sign up for a paid membership.  We like that, the newsletters let them get to know us.  We’ve even had some people just send us money to say thank you for all the free information they’ve received over the years!

We also write articles on free websites, like our PicasaTutorials,, and DigitalRVer.  Last but definitely not least, our Facebook page is becoming our favorite way to communicate with everyone and offer free tidbits of our computer training for travelers.

Did I tell you that we love what we do?

Monday, December 26, 2011

Merry Christmas

On the Jetties at Port Everglades, many people gather to view the cruise
ships going by.  This is the Allure of the Seas, the largest of all the ships.
It was Christmas Day, complete with Santa Claus!

We had a very odd day for Christmas, but - all in all, I'd call it quite special.  Both Jim and I had caught colds.  I was on the downhill slide, but he was still in the thick of being sick.  We were supposed to pick up my Mom and his Dad and drive up to his sister's house in West Palm.  Although we could have taken an Alka Seltzer Plus and felt ok enough to go, I didn't want our gift to everyone to be a cold! So, we called and cancelled and went back to bed.
When we did finally get up, we decided to watch a movie.  We had a Netflix DVD that had been hanging around for a couple weeks with no time to watch it.  The movie was 'The King's Speech' - wow!  it deserves all the accolades and awards it got last year, it really was a great movie.  And a 'feel-good' movie too.  I love movies.  I think it is my favorite treat to stay home and watch a good movie with my sweetie. So, even though we were sick, I was feeling pretty good.
By the time the movie was over, we were fully awake and took advantage of the time to go over some business stuff that we also haven't had any time for.  We are giving our seminars to a whole new audience next month.  We are booked for the Florida Association of Computer User Groups (FACUG) annual conference on board a cruise ship.  We will be presenting two topics: Picasa, and Smart Phones.  We've given our Picasa seminar hundreds of times but the smartphone seminar is new and I think it has potential for being very popular.  So Jim and I reviewed our materials and made a couple of important decisions on how we will present it.  Then we went thru the steps of our new 'coaching call' service for our members, decided it was in working order and sent out an email to a select test group of our members.  I'm excited about this one - we'll be making solid one-to-one connections with our members.
By then, Jim was fading, so I turned my attention to Odie.  We have been fighting fleas for several weeks (to no avail), and it was time to give Odie another flea bath.  I'm beginning to believe what I read on the Internet that the only way to get rid of fleas is by detonating a nuclear warhead! ... but we gotta keep trying.
Jim needed to go back to bed, and I decided I felt good enough to go get Mom and take her for one of her favorite things - a walk on the beach.  I decided to go to a different place than normal - down by the jetties at Port Everglades.  This was a favorite place of mine growing up here in Fort Lauderdale.  I'd walk the beach then climb out on the rocks and meditate on the meaning of life as the boats went in and out of the channel.  It's sad that Mom has no clue where she is - she should know those jetties like the back of her hand after having gone in and out of the inlet on boats all her life.  When we got there, she said "isn't it interesting how these big rocks are piled up here."  That's what alzheimers has done to her.

However - you gotta look at the bright side.  She really enjoyed herself!  Every experience is a brand new experience and she almost has that wide-eyed wonder of a child.  Luckily she is still quite physically fit, so walking on the beach or in a wooded park is no problem and she loves it.  It felt so good to share this with her.  I didn't even think about the cruise ships going by, but we happened to be there when the Allure of the Seas departed.  This is the biggest cruise ship ever constructed and it was quite a sight. On the way home we stopped at the Blue Fish bar and restaurant for a glass of wine and cup of lobster bisque - delicious.  When I dropped her off at her assisted-living home, we hugged real tight - sharing a nothing-held-back loving moment.
When I got home, Jim was up.  We decided to watch another movie - using Netflix instant streaming option this time.  Jim has one computer hooked up to display thru our big screen TV and sound thru the stereo system.  We chose 'Secretariat' - another wonderful, feel-good, inspiring movie.
Sometimes the nicest things happen when plans fall thru.

Further your computer education**Subscribe to the Free Geeks on Tour Newsletter**

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Down the Rabbit Hole

October 5, 1839: Jasper H. Noyes was born.  His father was Bethuel Noyes, one of the pioneer settlers of Michigan.  Jasper had a son, Charles, and Charles married Mae Manning and had 3 sons Jasper M, Edward, and Francis.  Edward Noyes was my grandfather.
Zella Carter was the daughter of Jim B. Carter and Bessie Snow.  She was born October 11, 1905.  Zella is my grandmother.
Ed and Zella had a baby girl on July 7, 1931 and they named her Marilyn.  That's my Mom.

How do I know all this?  Because I'm cleaning out my Mom's house (she's living in an assisted living facility now) and going thru all sorts of old files, folders, letters, and pictures.  I have truly fallen down the rabbit hole, and I don't know when I'l be back.

I have never been interested in genealogy, and I hope I don't start now!  But, I can see that it would be easy get hooked.  My original plan was to toss everything - I surely have no *need* for my mother's wedding announcement.  When I just couldn't bring myself to do that I thought, ok, I'll box the stuff up and put it in storage.
For who?  When?
One of my finds at moms house. Her wedding announcement. This is from the Detroit yacht club magazine from march 1951
I decided that there's no time like the present so I'm staying at her old house and immersing myself.  Sometimes I'm watching her videos of travel to Antarctica or China or Indonesia or Africa.  Sometimes I'm reading thru old journals ... I found one that I thought was my Mom's writing, but it turned out to be my grandmother's and it was a 1976 trip journal from when she and my grandfather took a camper van and traveled these United States!!  Talk about RVing being 'in my blood.!'  She even writes that one of the highlights of her trip was Bellingrath Gardens in Alabama.  If you've ever attended our Google Earth seminar, you may have heard our story about using Google Earth to decide whether or not to go to Bellingrath Gardens!  As it turned out, we didn't go - now I have to go back!

I also found correspondence with my grandmother just before she died.  She apparently was trying to locate my real father (Richard Andrews of Dearborn, Michigan) who I never met since they split when I was two.  I am still determined not to play with genealogy!  I'm already down the rabbit hole - I don't want to go thru the looking glass too!

I know genealogy is a good computer topic, but I have enough on my plate right now with Facebook, and then Picasa coming out with a new version, and both Picasa and Blogger becoming part of Google Plus.  This experience has given me some fodder for more Picasa articles though ... like The Easy Way to Scan Slides

This morning Jim picked me up and then we also picked Mom up and went out to breakfast.  I so wish I could show her these things and ask her questions.  But she doesn't remember any of it ... and it would just confuse - and maybe upset - her to show her the pictures and documents.  I did enjoy giving her a nice big hug though!  I know she's had quite the amazing life and I'm enjoying learning even more.

Further your computer education**Subscribe to the Free Geeks on Tour Newsletter**

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Lessons Learned

When you live in a house on wheels, it is good to roll occasionally.  More on that later.
Our generator stopped starting sometime late in our summer tour.  It had been working fine.  I knew that generators like to be used, so we exercised it regularly.  One day, it just wouldn't stay running.  I discussed the problem with fellow RVers and we all agreed it sounded like a fuel problem.  There are lights on the generator that indicate source of the problem, once decoded.  The lights said it was an electrical issue.  Who you gonna believe?  Knowledgeable RVers, or a stupid blinking light? 
We were on our way to the FMCA rally in Madison.  One of the great things about rallies is the opportunity to get service from the many vendors.  Onan/Cummins was there with technicians and parts and everything.  We were so busy presenting seminars, we did 11 different ones, I was too late to get any work done.  So I got some literature and we went on to the Escapade in Wyoming with the intention to have the generator looked at during that part of the trip.
Procrastination is one of my better traits, when I finally get around to procrastinating.
Well, I finally had an RV mechanic look at the generator.  He recommended I take it to Don Hillman for service, as he was reluctant to do the work himself.  He also said to be prepared to spend big bucks.
I made an appointment for service.
The day for service came and we went through the list of things to do to roll the house, which has been sitting too long in one place and had lots of things in comfortable places.  Comfortable places for things are often not good places for things when rolling down the road.
The rig wouldn't start.
I called Don Hillman and said I might be late for my service appointment.
I had apparently left something plugged in which drained the starting batteries.  The emergency battery connect to the coach battery did not help.  These big Diesels need a lot of amps to start.  I called Good Sam Emergency Service.  They sent a truck with enough juice to get me going.

I arrived at Hillman's only a half hour late.  The tech they scheduled for me had been reassigned, but they got another tech right on it.  Great.  He spent some time figuring out what the problem wasn't, then determined the solution.  Brushes.  A small module in an inconvenient location needed replacement.  Less than an hour later, we had our generator fixed!

Thank You Good Sam and Don Hillman.

Lessons learned:
Don't leave things plugged in to drain the battery.
Start your rig regularly when sitting for a while.
Have a good list for stow and go.  Another list for sitting still.
Plastic bottles break less often than glass bottles.
Contents in overhead compartments shift.  I knew that!
Pay for good Emergency Road Service.  I knew that, too.

Be safe out there!

Merry Christmas and all the rest.

Further your computer education**Subscribe to the Free Geeks on Tour Newsletter**