Saturday, September 19, 2015

Geek Week at Sun City, Hilton Head

This is our third time here. It's very convenient in our travels to and from Florida and the Computer Clubs here are very active. Both the Sun City Computer Club and the Hilton Head Island Computer Club have told us that they will schedule our presentations any time we're passing thru!
We LOVE doing Geek Weeks!

The person who first found us and got all this started was Catherine Tracy. She has been using Picasa and found us years ago by Googling for help with Picasa. So, first stop was dinner at Catherine's house. Man! She is a gooood cook!

The Sun City community has a great place for us to park! They offer a RV/Boat storage yard for residents and it includes 6 full hookup/50 amp RV sites. We generally have the place all to ourselves, and at $22/night it's quite a bargain.

We scheduled 4 sessions during our stay and the first was the hands-on Smartphone Camera class. We sold out with 20 people and were very grateful to have Catherine and Robin as our assistants. They have a great classroom that is always booked during the season. Their computer club offers classes daily. It is so much fun for us to get together with fellow teachers.

Next up was an open Q&A session about anything to do with smartphones and tablets. This was over on the island for the Hilton Head Island Computer Club. Jack Wilfore, our contact for that club, is also quite an accomplished Picasa teacher. We're getting into a habit of taking a selfie with our audience at each of our presentations. We do like to have fun!

That was Wednesday. Then Thursday was the general meeting of the Sun City club and they let us teach about our current favorite topic, Google Photos!

And, here's the little movie we made using Google Photos during the session:

The last day we had another session with the Sun City group at a session they call their "Komputer Klatch" or KK. It was another open Q&A with smartphones and tablets.
We love our Geek Weeks!

WELCOME!! To 22 new Geeks on Tour members for the week. Is this a great way to make a living or what?!

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Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Geeks on Tour ... For Sure!

We left Cherry Hill on Saturday morning in order to get to Fairfax VA where we were booked to do a Google Photos seminar for a joint computer club at 1pm. They did a nice job of promoting us:

They had a large parking area marked off for us:

It was a good group - we thought the seminar went quite well. It was also live streamed over the Internet using something called Zoom. If we get a link to a recording, we'll post it here. And here's some comments we got afterward:
We really got a lot out of your presentation.  I intend to use Picasa and Google Photos.  The others, iPhotos, Aperature and Apple Photos didn’t stir up my interest enough to really put the time into learning them.
 Today's presenters were terrific!  Both my wife and I found their presentation to be extremely helpful and very current.  Jim and Chris could not have been any better!
We left Fairfax about 4:30 headed to our next stop in Raleigh, N.C. to do our weekly streaming show, "What Does This Button Do?" We were scheduled to do this week's show at the home studio of Martin Brossman about 270 miles away. We just needed to get on down the road, so we stayed in a Walmart parking lot that night, got our grocery shopping done, and made it to Martin's by 11am on Sunday. He has a nice big driveway!

This is a live show ... aka STRESSFUL! You have to wait until showtime to click the button that reads "go live" and, guess what! The button simply wasn't there! This was our 52d show and we'd never had this problem before. Jim had to quick set up an entirely new show stream. But, he did it! And Martin was great for rolling with the punches. We got started about 12 minutes late, but continued on with a successful show. The topic was the Amazon Echo and Martin runs a community on Google Plus about it. Click the image below to go to the community and learn more.

Here's the whole show (we cut out the first 10 minutes!) You can see all of our shows by viewing the Youtube Playlist for What Does This Button Do?

After the show, we went out for dinner and had a GREAT time with Martin. We are definitely "Geeks-of-a-Feather." He shared with us his expertise on Social Media for Business - and gave us a copy of his book. We shared with him our expertise on Google Photos and gave him our library-on-a-drive of all our videos and eBooks.

Then we got back on the road again sometime after 5. We really don't like to drive at night, and had no place we needed to be for a couple of days, so after a couple hours, we just found a rest area and pulled off. We cranked up the generator for power, threw something in the microwave for dinner, read emails for a while, and went to bed.

Home for the night - 9/13/15
Next stop, Hilton Head, where we are booked for several events. First off, a sold out hands-on class teaching people about using their smartphone cameras.

Then, a presentation for the Hilton Head Island Computer Club (click the image to view their website):

And, the next 2 days we have presentations for the Sun City Hilton Head Computer Club.

Thus is the life of the Geeks on Tour!

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Saturday, September 12, 2015

A Visit to Washington, D.C.

When we left LBI, we gave ourselves a couple days leeway before we had to do a presentation in the D.C. area for the Patomac Area Technology and Computer Society.

We got a late start, not leaving Jimmy's till after 1pm! Did we not want to go?
First stop was to visit Chuck Parker and his wife Nadine. Chuck is a Geeks on Tour member who contacted us and invited us to visit his home since he wasn't too far away, in Columbus, NJ. It's always special to be invited to a home visit so we do our best to make it. It was an easy drive and he lives on a big cul-de-sac so we didn't even have to unhook to visit. AND, they fed us a great dinner. But, best of all was Chuck's compliments on our teaching. He travels in a Roadtrek and attends our seminars at FMCA conventions whenever he can. He also is a teacher himself, teaching a software product to Boat Pilots. He says he tries to emulate us because we teach so clearly. Flattery ... and food ... will get you everywhere!  Thanks Chuck and Nadine!

Since we didn't need to worry about dinner, and we'd only driven about an hour, Jim was fresh and willing to even drive after dark - so we made it the whole way in to Washington D.C. and the only RV park in the are where we've been before ... Cherry Hill. The cool thing about the Cherry Hill park is that there is public transportation right from the park in to D.C. proper. Jim looked at the brochures and decided on a D.C. After Dark tour. That meant we had all day Thursday to get work done. I was thrilled to get to work on an article and a video that's been on my mind for a while.
Article: Picasa and Google Photos: What's the Difference?
Video: What's so special about Google Photos?

So, not only did I get to enjoy an impromptu visit to D.C. but I could do it with a clear conscience because I got my work done!
The evening tour was especially nice because the GrayLine bus picked us up AND dropped us off right at the RV park. No worries, clear conscience, no agenda. We really enjoyed ourselves!

If we are to have Peace on Earth, our loyalties must become ecumenical rather than sectional. Our loyalties must transcend our race, our tribe, our class, and our nation, and this means we must develop a world perspective.  Martin Luther King, Georgia 1967'
I've been here several times before, but I think this was the best, primarily for being unplanned. Oh ... and we had perfect weather too. The next day we took advantage of the Metro transportation system and just did what we wanted. Jim wanted to go to the Air and Space Museum. And, of course, visit his parents' gravesite in Arlington National Cemetery.

Then we walked, and walked, and walked. My step counter on my smartphone kept beeping and buzzing! It claims I walked a record number of steps that day ... 16,000+ So when, we saw a rack of bikes that could be rented and returned at any number of places, we took advantage!

If you notice any flag at half staff, that's because it was September 11. At one point we saw 2 helicopters and an Osprey fly overhead. Pretty sure that was Marine One and possibly the president.

And, of course at the end of this fabulous day, we needed some sustenance. An outdoor, sidewalk cafe on Pennsylvania Avenue was just the ticket!

And here's a little video I put together using Google Photos

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Monday, September 07, 2015

3 Whole Weeks on LBI - Long Beach Island

Some people call us homeless. But, that is SO far from the truth. When you live in a motorhome - you have your home with you everywhere, you also have several locations all over the country where you feel at home. Long Beach Island is one of those places. Not only because Jim spent his school years here and still has lots of cousins and other family in the area, but also because of Jimmy Lyon - his long time dive buddy. We are able to park in Jimmy's driveway and have free run of his house, beach, and dock.

Dirt/sand had been delivered to replenish the beach. A perfect recipe ... a hill of dirt, shovels, wheelbarrows, and two boys! A sight to behold :-)

The reward - relax with a beer ... Go fishing

Website Work (warning, boring details ahead)

We had plenty of work to do while we were. I had been looking forward to having this 'down time' to get to it. Both of our main websites ... and needed attention. They needed upgrading and backing up. The last time I clicked "Update" the whole system crashed - scary stuff. So this time I wanted a good local backup of the whole sites - this means several Gigabytes of transfer. This is something that takes a lot of time and Internet access to accomplish. Jimmy had upped his household Internet service just for our visit! So, Jim chained me to the computer while he shoveled dirt for a few days.
It felt really good to buckle down and understand exactly how this stuff works instead of just doing quick-click fixes (or hiring someone else to do it for me). I moved our website to a new host several months ago (from GoDaddy to A2Hosting) It's been both good and bad. One thing that hadn't worked as I expected was the backup/restore process. So I have now set up a separate fee-based backup system thru WordPress directly. It's called VaultPress. It took some work but I now have a setup where I can make a complete, live, backup of the entire site at a totally different place. I can use that backup site to make changes and see if they work ok before making the same change to the live site. So, I did all the upgrades to the backup site and everything worked OK. Whew! Now I've updated the live site, AND I have gut-level confidence in my backup system. Good Stuff.
Our site was still on GoDaddy - where we have a very strange and debilitating problem when we connect via Verizon - which is most of the time. Although is where we make our living - thru memberships - is the most heavily trafficked - 2-3,000 hits/day. So, I hate to move both of them at the same time. I decided to try just moving within Godaddy to a new service, their "Managed WordPress hosting."  I've been with GoDaddy for over 10 years and I've liked them. YAY! Switching to the different server within GoDaddy still solved the Verizon issue. AND, I really like the built-in backup / restore / staging site capability.

Weekly Web Shows

We also did 3 of our What Does This Button Do web shows during these 3 weeks. And, I wrote up the show notes for our members (and for myself!)
Episode and DateTopicsShow Video with Notes for MembersFree on Youtube
#51: 9/6/15Chargers, Cables, and Connections Tip: Setting Shortcuts, App: Speed Test#51 w/Notes and LinksYoutube #51
#50: 8/30/15Focus on Photos w Google Photos and Photofy Tip: Phone call multitasking, App: Fish Predictor#50 w/Notes and LinksYoutube #50
#49: 8/23/15Cleaning up Contacts2 Tip: Google Search, App: Shuttle#49 w/Notes and LinksYoutube #49


One thing I don't do very well any more is keep up with this blog! Thus this marathon post.
I just can't say enough how wonderful it is on Long Beach Island, staying with our friend Jimmy. So, before you start feeling sorry for us for how hard we're working ... check out some beautiful pictures.

And check out our Photo Albums for August and September for even more. Did we have some great weather or what?! Lots of friends, lots of music, boating, eating, body-surfing. I even got to relax and read a book. Next time we'll make it 3 months instead of 3 weeks!

Thanks Jimmy!! For your wonderful hospitality.

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