Monday, August 18, 2014

Geeks on Tour–Ten Years Teaching Technology to Travelers

Our first FMCA - 2004 - helping people in the Wi-Fi Hotspot (that's Jim in orange at right, and Frank Drew of Coach Connect, also in orange)
It was August 2004 - 10 years ago - that we worked our first FMCA convention, and it was in Redmond, Oregon too. We were working for Coach Connect at the time. Coach Connect was a company who installed Wi-Fi in RV parks. They sponsored the Wi-Fi hotspot for the rally and we were the support team.  Here's the blog post I wrote about it back then.
Shortly after that rally, we were teaching Wi-Fi at a Coach Connect park and decided to do a little session about managing digital photos, and making a Blog as well. A new career was born! And, that was before Picasa! Here's the blog post on that day.
Also 2004 - our very first Blogger class! (at Phoenix RV park in Salem, OR)
We credit FMCA with creating Geeks on Tour. When Coach Connect went out of business, we had no reason to go to the RV rallies, but FMCA wanted us to teach our seminars! The seminar coordinator then was Mary Ann Crowley and she made all the arrangements for us to present other topics besides Wi-Fi. We still wore our orange Coach Connect tshirts at the 2006 rally in Charlotte. But by the next one in Perry, GA March 2007, we were Geeks On Tour!
Our first FMCA as Geeks on Tour was in Perry, GA March 2007. I think those are iron-on patches on our shirts.

When we were at the FMCA in Redmond in 2010 we set our attendance record for one seminar - I'm pretty sure it still stands as an FMCA record as well. The photo below shows the audience for our intro to Picasa seminar. There were over 700 people in the live audience, plus another 400 watching online! Here's the blog post on that!
What a crowd!

I doubt we’ll ever see that kind of crowd again, but we had good turnouts this year – 10 years later – at the same Deschutes County Fairground in Redmond, OR. We had 240 people in the Smartphone/Tablet seminar and we were told there were another 600 watching the live stream online. FMCA produced this Live Streaming event for people at home to watch - there were 6 of them total, 3 of which were Geeks on Tour!
If you're not an RVer and don't know about Rallies, here's an aerial photo showing the fairgrounds with 1,400 RVs!

The high-desert, volcanic region around Redmond is known for it's sunsets. Here's one I captured.

We like having our table next to the Rally’s WiFi hotspot and Computer Help Desk. The Help Desk is staffed by the Bits and Bytes chapter of FMCA and we offer our help whenever we can. I particularly enjoyed meeting Lena and hearing about her plans to hike the Camino in Spain. She had a lot of questions about how she could use her smartphone to best advantage while on the hike. In this photo we had just found, and installed, an App specific to the Camino Pilgrimage experience. She was excited. I think she attended at least 6 of our classes during the rest of the week! I sure hope we hear from her on her walk!

I showed Lena how to download some specific Camino apps.

Jim helped Lena and her husband in the hands-on Smartphone photography class.
For those of you who know TechnoRV’s Phil and Tracey May, you’ll understand why we were thrilled to have their daughter Ally as a roommate this week. Her parents could not make it to this rally, so she flew in to be part of the TechnoRV booth.  Since Ally literally grew up living in an RV, we knew she understood things like conserving water while we were parked in the fairgrounds with no water or sewer hookups. She didn't even ask about using the shower but trudged off to the locker rooms provided by the fairgrounds. She was also reunited with their dog, Murphy, during this visit. It was great seeing you Ally!

It was a busy, busy, week. Exhausting and Exhilarating. There were lots people who attended 4 or more of our seminars this week. We taught 10 classes during 3 days, and loved every minute. You can download any of our seminar handouts (for personal use only!) on our website's Seminar Handouts dropbox page.
  1. Google Maps
  2. Geeks On Tour: Technology For Travelers
  3. Smartphone Photography – hands-on
  4. Blogger: Every RVer Needs A Blog
  5. Smartphones/Tablets For Travelers
  6. Organizing Pictures with Picasa
  7. Editing and Sharing Pictures with Picasa
  8. Smartphone Photography: Hands-on
  9. Cloud Computing
  10. Geeks On Tour: Technology For Travelers

Just getting ready for our first seminar. Nice setup! Thanks FMCA.

Gotta get one picture of the two of us. Give us pitchforks and we have "Geek Gothic" ???

Some people told us that our seminars were the reason they came to the Rally! We welcomed 89 new and renewing members to Geeks on Tour during this week.

Since that first FMCA Convention for us in 2004, we've only missed one of their national conventions - the one in Perry, GA March 2005. You can see the list of all the FMCA conventions on their website. This one was our 17th. Next one will be in Pomona, CA March 2015. See you there?!

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