Friday, January 24, 2014

No Wheels but Good Internet

Well, the RV has been at Lazydays for 7 weeks now.  The latest word is they’re waiting for a part which is due to arrive tomorrow.  We’ve been patient because we have this lovely townhouse in Fort Lauderdale to stay in and all our January gigs were within car-driving distance.  But, Thursday we’re supposed to be at the Royal Coachmen RV resort in Nokomis, FL and present seminars on Friday.  We never imagined that, nearly two months after dropping it off, we still wouldn’t have our motorhome back!  We’re keeping our fingers crossed that the part comes in early and they get right to work so we can be back in our home on wheels Thursday.  Wish us luck!  Otherwise we’ll need to check into a motel.  Horrors!
Meanwhile, life has been on hold.  We have our computers and some clothes, and that’s really all we need, but we have constantly itchy feet.  We’re just so accustomed to the lifestyle of “Stow and Go.”  Something just feels so OFF even though we get to Stay and Play.
We have enjoyed being in the townhouse.  It belongs to Mom – she’s in assisted living nearby and our friend Dee normally housesits and visits Mom for me.  While we’ve been here, Dee has been staying with her daughter, so we’ve had the townhouse to ourselves.  We’ve even had various old friends over for dinner.  Quite an experience to have a full oven, a dining room table that is ready without having to convert it from my office first, and a dishwasher to clean up afterwards!  I’m a little nervous that I’ll feel cramped back in the RV.  Jim set up his computer office downstairs and I set up mine Upstairs.  I’m getting a fair amount of exercise just going up and down stairs!
We are really enjoying a land-based unlimited Cable Internet!  Jim set up and played with our Apple TV and Chromecast.  They allow you to bring up content on your iPad or smartphone and view it on the big TV.  But, then he hooked up Mom’s old tower computer and hooked that directly to the HDMI on the TV and that works best.  No need for the Apple TV or Chromecast.  Wow – what awesome slideshows we were able to give friends!  Any picture from our thousands that have been uploaded to Picasa Web Albums – Now Google Plus Photos.  Ahh, and speaking of Google Plus … we’ve taken advantage of the Internet here to learn and practice with Google Plus Hangouts on Air.  WoW!  Once you work thru the initial learning curve, it is so easy.  And it is just mind-boggling what it does.  Anyone can have their own broadcast channel.  Like your own TV show but with NO middle man.  No need for a television studio – all you need is a computer with a webcam (and a GOOD Internet connection!) You can reach a worldwide audience.  You can include up to 10 guest presenters.  You can show what’s on your computer screen, or what’s seen by your computer’s webcam.  You can even hook up a document camera and show whatever you want to focus on.  In our last hangout, we decided to show some simple tips on smartphones and tablets.  We invited two people, Robin Seaver and Honey Burt, to join us because teaching technology is also what they do.  Jim hooked up the document camera to his computer so he could focus on the devices and demonstrate and any of the other of us could talk.  We invited our Geeks on Tour members to watch live and ask questions.  We were still a little nervous, but we’re getting better.  I hope we schedule one of these at least once each month, hopefully twice. 
Screenshot of our Smartphone/Tablet tips webinar using Google Hangouts On Air  Notice how you see the person speaking in the main screen, then the other 3 people are showing in the ‘film strip’ below.  Google Hangouts automatically handles switching the focus to the person talking. 
Earlier in the month we hung out with our good friend Phil May of TechnoRV while he was in England.  He talked about the trials and tribulations of finding Internet connections as you travel in Europe.  Unfortunately, the video shows in all too painful reality the truth of what he spoke – that Internet connections over there aren’t very good.
The most amazing thing about Google Hangouts on Air is that immediately upon completing a hangout, the video is available on Youtube!  You can see ours on our Geeks on Tour Youtube channel, or on our Geeks on Tour Google Plus Page.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I used to keep up with your blog, but only check in occasionally now. I'm sorry to hear about your RV slide problems. I owned a Safari Class C similar to your old one, but traded it in on a Nexus Class C in 2011. I had them make the 28 footer without a slide. I have just heard too many negative comments about problems with them, and since my old Safari did not have a slide, I felt that I would not miss one. At times I wish my newer Nexus had the high quality of my old Safari 24 footer, with the alder cabinets, etc.