Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Day 38-39-40 Blogger and Starman

Sat 4-25
In the middle of the night, as my mind is hard at work thinking about how I want to teach Blogger on our YouTube show on Sunday, I thought it would be a nice touch to interview someone else who uses blogger for their life story. I thought we might invite someone to be our guest on Sunday's show, but we often have problems and I get a little scattered during live interviews. I know! I could interview someone over Zoom and record it - then we could edit it and just play the video on Sunday,. Yes! That's what I want. But ... I should have thought of that a while ago right? After all, today is Saturday. I decided to go for it anyway and I emailed Judy, whose recent blog post I had just read. She responded and said she was available today and would be happy to do it. Cool! I interviewed her on Saturday afternoon and gave the recording to Jim to edit. Doing creative work like this energizes me. I also made 4 new videos on using blogger, and I even did my exercises!

Sun 4-26
Show time.
Here's the link to Episode 190: What is a Blog and how does Blogger work?

Bad news

Sat 4-25
US Covid-19 cases 953,000 Deaths: 53,625
Sun 4-26
US Covid-19 cases 985,000 deaths: 55 383
Mon 4-27

Good News

If you missed the 60 minutes episode about how Ford and GM have stopped making cars and started making ventilators and other Covid-19 related equipment, you can see it here. What struck me the most during the episode were the people in tears because they were so happy for the opportunity to help. It is a feel-good story that reminds us how much we all want to be helpful.

It reminds me of one of my favorite movies, Starman, where Jeff Bridges says, "You want to know what I find beautiful about the human race? You are at your very best when things are worst"

Monday, April 27, 2020

I'm so happy to see a NEW Blogger

I've been keeping this blog on Blogger since May of 2003, and I've written nearly 2,000 posts. I can't think of any web-based computer product that has been around anywhere near as long. My first experience with the web was with CompuServe and Netscape, neither of which exist now. Well, CompuServe actually does exist, but it was originally sold to AOL in 1997, when I stopped using it. 

Blogger is owned by Google which is famous for killing off products. The only way to know if a product is still in Google's good graces is to see that they're making changes to it, updating it. Blogger has been wonderfully stable, with very few changes over the years. That makes it a wonderful product to use, it is worrisome to think that Google may stop supporting it. So, when I noticed the "try the new Blogger" button. It made me very happy. 

Not only would I miss Blogger terribly, but GeeksOnTour has taught many other people to keep their personal journals using Blogger. Some of them still post nearly every day, like Rick and Kathy Rouseau  or Sue Hepler with her Palm Creek Update blog. and others use it as their annual letter, generally posting once/year like Roxie (don't you think that's brilliant?!) Then, there are clubs who we encouraged to use Blogger.  

I can't say that I see any important new features in the New Blogger - but I'm just happy to see that Google Is working on it. That means the Blogger platform is alive and well.
Here's a video I made about how to use the New Blogger.

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Day 36-37 #StayHome: Still Blogging after all these years

Thursday 4-23

7 am Toastmasters meeting using Zoom, gets the creative juices flowing early, but that doesn't mean it will continue. I tend to feel like I've accomplished enough when that meeting is over. I take my cup of coffee, sit on the couch and browse my old blog books. I love me old blog books. What is a blog book? It is a book made out of the posts of this blog. I've had one printed for every year we were on the road. This is inspiring me to make Blogging be our topic for this Sunday's YouTube show. Episode 190 of What Does This Button Do?

I did eventually get some work done. I found myself rifling through old Photo Backup CDs and found some photos I didn't have in Google Photos, so I uploaded them, and made a video about how to do that. See video here
This was my week to contribute an article to the RV travel magazine, so I wrote about Blogging!

I'm not sure what Jim did all day. He has his office/man cave downstairs while mine is upstairs. I could hear him laughing several times, I also heard other people's voices - presumable coming from Zoom calls. He's a much more sociable creature than I am. He's also constantly learning new techniques for audio and video production. And, of course, he made us delicious meals for lunch and dinner. I live in the best restaurant in town.

It was another gorgeous day and we walked around our neighborhood circle after dinner.

Friday 4-24

We start the day with another Zoom meeting, but this one is at a more civilized hour - 8:30. This is our tech-sharing group, we always learn new things. Today we all jumped on a Facebook Messenger meeting to see what is changing. With the popularity of online meetings these days, lots of companies are trying to challenge Zoom's dominance. It worked pretty slick - and the article says you can even invite people who don't have a Facebook account now.

Facebook messenger has fun AR effects

I had zero motivation for the rest of the day. I broke my record - watching 4 episodes of Homeland. 

Bad news

Thur 4-23
Covid-19 US cases: 890,000 Deaths: 50,177
Fri 4-24 
Covid-19 US cases: 923,000 Deaths: 52,234

Good News

I think it's really good news that I'm blogging again. I've never been an every day blogger, but I was pretty good at writing 2-3 times a week. For the last year or so, especially when we're home, it's been an effort to write once a month. During this #StayHome times, I feel the need to document our life again. I think it's kind of like the prisoner who needs to scratch on the wall to attest to the passage of time. fyi - this is my 1,934th post in this blog.

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Day 31-35 The new meaning of "Travel"

Sat/Sun Apr 18-19

Instead of our YouTube live show on Sunday, we did a private Zoom call with our Geeks on Tour members. We tried something new, asking them to "register" for the meeting ahead of time, submit questions beforehand, and share scanned photo albums. About 60 people registered, and 50 showed up. I felt the meeting went very well. It points out how you need some kind of agenda for an online meeting to go well - just like you do in an onsite meeting - who knew?!

Mon Apr 20

Online Toastmasters contest winner
Monday evening is our Online Presenters Toastmasters meeting. Unlike most Toastmaster's clubs, this one started out in the online/Zoom format. Jim and I are charter members, being with the club for about 3 years now. This club's experience really showed in Monday's meeting. They tried something new - an online webinar contest. 6 contestants gave a 6-8 minute "webinar." That means they were to prepare to teach a skill or promote a product using visual aids and speaking. Jim took the role of timer, and I was a judge. The 6 participants gave stunning performances. Jim and I have been presenting online for over 6 years now, but I still learned something from this group. If you'd like to watch, you can view the winner's speech, or the whole meeting on this blog post. To make it even more amazing, the winner, Krishn, is from Mauritius and it was 5am his time. He's so good, he can give a speech in his sleep!

Tue Apr 21

I haven't left the house, except to walk around the block, in over a month. So how do I satisfy my need to travel? Instead of traveling from the east coast to the west coast, I now travel from the couch to my stand up computer desk. Other times I start at my sit down computer computer desk. For a vacation I put my backrest on the bed and turn on that TV.
Another idea to ease my sadness over the lack of travel was sent to me by Ana from Toastmasters: 

Wed Apr 22

Where had the day gone? Where had the week gone? Time goes so much faster when were home . I wake up with the plan to get to work on my updated photos book, but first let me just look at the computer, check email, answer a few questions.

Oohh, Jim made a delicious omelette for brunch.

A question about photos prompts me to make a little video. Then, something put a bug in my ear to go thru some old backup CDs to see if there are any pictures on them that need to be uploaded to Google photos. OMG, it's almost 3pm and time to hop on a zoom meeting with some fellow Google photos teachers. They are so much fun. The 3 other women all know each other from teaching for the computer club at Hilton Head Sun City. We've presented to their group many times over the years, both onsite, and online.

Bad News

Covid-19 US Cases: 764,177 Deaths: 40,591

Covid-19 US Cases: 816,240 Deaths: 43,921
Covid-19 US Cases: 847,849 Deaths: 47,349

Good News

Wednesday was Earth Day -although it certainly didn't go as planned with thousands of people celebrating, there was plenty of good news as lots of stories covered the reduced pollution and re-emerging wildlife that are a side effect of this pandemic.

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Days 27-30 #StayHome - the new normal

Friday 4/17

Friday is the best day of the week. At 8:30 in the morning we have a zoom meeting with a small group of people who discuss technology news and we learn from each other. And, later in the day, since the Corona virus pandemic, Elliot Masie hosts a zoom based happy hour, called Empathy, with inspirational talks and performances from Broadway starts. It brings tears to my eyes and dance moves to my feet. Thank you Elliott.

Oh thank goodness, Jim has returned from venturing into the wild. He walked out the front door to take the garbage out and check the mail. I was so happy to they he returned safely. A touch of exaggeration here ,😮

Thursday 4/16

At 7am, we have our EarlyBird Toastmasters meetingon zoom, we had a guest from Paris who told us how pleasant it was that the French people were relaxed during this crisis, no sense of panic, no runs on toilet paper. We also had a guest from Moscow, and a member who lives in Spain. I am so loving this new way of having meetings!

We got our government stimulus payments. $1,200 each, showed up in our bank account today. We really don't need it, we're fine financially, so we gave 1200 to the Broward pantry. I just can't imagine not having money for food and so appreciate the work these food banks are doing.

I sewed today. Understand, that is just not something I do, but we decided to hang our T-Shirt memory quilt on the wall in Jim's office to soften the effect of that glaring green wall, and there was one T-Shirt that was completely disintegrated, leaving the upper right corner looking very ratty. I found another T-Shirt in the closet of "Defending the Caveman." This t-shirt has never been worn, but we would not throw it out because going to that play is such a strong memory for us. A perfect candidate for the memory quilt, but how to get it done? I hunted throughout the house and found a little packet with a needle and some thread, and set to work. I am SO proud of myself.

Our Work

Jim and I hug each other and whisper "We're so lucky" at least 10 times in any given day. We're lucky to have each other, we're lucky to have a wonderful home, we're lucky to be financially stable, and we're SO lucky to have work that we can do from home and that we are passionate about. We love doing our YouTube show, and filling our website with tutorials and articles. This is what we love to do whether it was our business or not. It feels extra good when we hear that people are getting value from our work. I want to share messages we got from two different GeeksOnTour members:
Russ Manhold: Your tutorials are really something I look forward to viewing on a regular basis.  Recently I've been enjoying learning how to use my SmartPhone to capture old photographs and slides, enhance them, add them to Google Albums, and finally view them on my television screen using Chromecast.
Michael Dorsey: A very BIG thank you for last week's Button show. I have shared my Google photo albums this week with family on Zoom and by links to my Google account. A great time to do it.

 Bad news

4/15 Day 27
Covid-19 cases in US: 652,196 Deaths 28,390

4/16 Day 28
Covid-19 cases in US: 675,243 Deaths 34,562

4/17 Day 29
Covid-19 cases in US: 692,169 Deaths 36,721

4/18 Day 30
Covid-19 cases in US: 723,729  Deaths 37,841

Even Worse News:

Back on April 1, I wrote about learning that a friend, Gary Bunzer, was in a Seattle area ICU with Covid-19. Today, Saturday April 18 we learned that he died. We knew Gary from being a fellow seminar presenter at RV rallies. He was known as the RV Doctor, and we sought his advice many times on RV issues. I attended a few of his seminars in the early days. I remember being impressed with the thoughtful seminar handouts he provided. You will never meet anyone as knowledgeable, helpful, genuine, kind, and fun as Gary. He was also a musician, an excellent guitarist. He and Jim would have animated discussions of sound and amplification systems.
We will so miss seeing his smiling face at RV Rallies - that is if there will be any more of them. All but one of the RV rallies that we usually attend have been cancelled through the end of the year.
We learned of Gary's passing from the RVTravel newsletter.
And, the FMCA also posted Remembering Gary Bunzer

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Day 25-26 #StayHome - a day off, a green wall

Because of our YouTube show, Sunday and Saturday are working days for us. So, Monday is our day off.
Jim made a delicious omelette. I read my book "The Future is Faster than you think" by Peter Diamandis. Watched an episode of homeland, then vacuumed throughout the house. That was surprising. It has been at least 17 years since I vacuumed. For 14 years living in an RV, we swept or used a hand vacuum. In the last 3 years living in a house, we've paid a cleaning service. I was impressed!
In the evening, we went to a Birthday Party. Now, don't get excited, we didn't leave the house - the party was on Zoom. 

Back to work, writing up the show notes from Sunday's shows. Once again, it's not something that anyone would notice if I didn't do it - but I do it. I like having the detailed written notes from every show. If I want to remember how to do something that we taught a while back, I don't have to watch the video, I can just look up the notes. They're all on our website - 189 episodes now. At a minimum of 6 pages each, that would make an 1100 page book on all the different things you can do with smartphones and today's technology. I like it.

Jim is still working on the rearranging of his studio - since he moved his desk to the other side, he needed to paint another wall green. He solicited Devon's help and they ventured out to Home Depot for paint. They both wore masks and reported that everyone at Home Depot also wore masks. At the checkout line, there were markings on the floor indicating how to stay 6 feet apart from anyone else.

Bad news

Mon 4/13: Cases 585,909  Deaths 23,577
Tue 4/14: Cases 612,380  Deaths  25,949

Good news?

This March was the first March since 2002 without a school shooting in the US. Schools were shut down for most of the month.
Lots of fun memes about homeschooling:



Monday, April 13, 2020

Day 24 #StayHome Our Sunday YouTube show

Sunday is a workday for us. When we do a live YouTube show, it's on Sunday at 2pm. We've been doing this for over 6 years and it's become quite a routine. It has become a blueprint my creative process.  
  • I think about the lesson plan throughout the week, usually I have an idea of what topic I want to teach by Wednesday. 
  • On Friday or Saturday Jim creates the YouTube show and I get serious about it. 
  • I start creating the slides, I learn the details about the topic and start playing with it, coming up with demonstrations. 
  • Often I write the review questions first. I think of the specific people who are learning from us and I think, "what do I want them to learn this week?" I write the questions that I want them to answer then I back up and create the lessons and the demonstrations that will help them answer those questions. "Begin with the end in mind" is my methodology. 
  • Learn more about the topic myself - watching lots of YouTube, and reading help articles
  • Have an outline by Saturday night
  • Use Sunday morning to put finishing touches on.
  • HandWrite my "script" with timing notes as 2pm is coming close and piling on the pressure
  • Ready at 2
In the process I learn so much, which is really the main goal. I love to teach, but the underlying passion is learning. The best and most thorough way to learn is to teach someone else.
This week's topic had been decided at our last show - Episode 188: 3/29/20. In that episode we taught about how to get old 35mm slides into Google Photos and at the end of the show I promised that our next episode would be how to get pictures from old family photo albums into Google Photos. In the time in between, during this #StayHome time, I was noticing how much I enjoyed having our pictures showing on the big screen TV. We have it set up like a screen saver. So the TV is never off. When we're not watching some show on TV, it is playing our photos. It brings us so much joy. In addition to the living room TV, photos are displayed on the kitchen TV and several smart screens throughout the house as well.
 Memories of our travels permeate the house. 
That's what I want people to know about! So, I decided on teaching a double topic this week. Getting old family photo albums into Google Photos, AND displaying them on big screen TV with Chromecast. Yes! 

Our living room TV is always playing our photos. A picture from 3 years ago when our RV broke down - not all memories are good.

This picture of the Grand Canyon was taken just 2 days after the breakdown. One of our favorite memories!

So, I started getting out my own old albums and going thru the process. I rewatched episode 134 of our show where we taught Google PhotoScan for the first time, so I could remember the finer points. I also rewatched episode 108 where we taught Chromecast a couple years ago. I had to reacquaint myself with how that is set up, because you only do that once, and Jim set it up several years ago. But, really, what I wanted people to know is just that - you only set it up once. From then on all you do is turn the TV on, leave it on the HDMI port and there are your pictures, playing all day long. 
By Saturday night I try to have the outline and the review questions done. Then, it's in my brain and I "finish" the plan in my sleep. Honest, I do. It's so important to have the pressure of that LIVE show on Sunday at 2, for me to get it done. This Saturday night, I didn't have the questions done - but I woke up in the middle of the night with the questions in my head and wrote them down using my phone and Google Keep note-taker. Then, if I get up about 8, I still have about 5 hours to put the lesson plan together. The combination of the pressure, and the timing works so well. We may not do a show every week now, but when we do, it's on Sunday at 2. I'm wired for it!

Episode 189 - Review Questions

  1. T/F To take pictures of pictures in albums, you need expensive lights. 

  2. The PhotoScan app improves upon a snapshot of an old photo how?
    A. Eliminating Glare B. Straightening tilt C. Cropping to the edge of photo D. All of the above

  3. With PhotoScan, eliminating glare requires extra steps, you can turn off anti-glare feature by tapping the _________ icon.

  4. When your TV or smart screen is displaying random photos from selected Google Photos albums, that’s called:
    ⬜ Photo Frames ⬜Screensavers ⬜Ambient mode ⬜Slideshow

  5. When your TV or smart screen is displaying random photos you control which albums show by using what app?
    ⬜Chromecast ⬜Google Home ⬜ Google Photos Android app

  6. Your smart TV may already have Chromecast built in. If not, you can buy a $35 Chromecast device and plug it in to an _________ port.

Same thing for Jim. He plays with the technology all week - the sound mixing and the different video streams. This week, I wanted a camera focused on the TV in the living room and to bring that into the show, so that, after I show which buttons to press on your phone, our audience can see the effect on the TV. It's Jim's job to make that happen. So, he practices on Friday and Saturday, then freaks out on Sunday. (Sunday morning is not a good time to visit us - we're both in freak-out mode) He's added another tool to his toolbox, called Voicemeter for mixing sound. It's getting really complicated, like he's a juggler with 6 or 7 balls in the air. 

I think the show came out pretty good, except for one spot where Jim dropped a ball on sound for a minute, but at least it was at a point where we were just chatting, nothing important. He was able to edit it out after the fact without losing any content.

Bad news

Covid-19 cases in the US: 560,402  Deaths: 22,105

Good news

The emergency of this pandemic is obliterating the competitive barriers that normally exist in the scientific and technology worlds. Scientists don't care who gets the credit, as long as they find a vaccine/cure, and Apple and Google are working together!?!?!? 
Science collaboration: Scientists around the world are pooling their knowledge and resources to determine whether gene variations make people more susceptible to serious Covid-19 infection, hoping to learn why some patients’ coronavirus symptoms are quite mild while others’ are severe.
Apple and Google collaboration: Apple and Google partner on COVID-19 contact tracing technology.

Saturday, April 11, 2020

Day 23 #StayHome Sleep

I often wake up between 4 and 5 am. I pick up my phone and see if there is anything new, then I go back to sleep between 5 and 6. Then the hour or 2 of extra sleep I get is the deepest sleep I can imagine. My dreams gather different people from disparate parts of my life and put them in a situation from yet another part of my life. I wake up so confused.

Most of the day I worked on the lesson plan for our YouTube show tomorrow. Episode 189 about scanning old family photos and playing them on the TV. It works better than most people realize just to open an old album and take pictures of the pictures with your phone. It only took me about 15 minutes to go thru my mom's 1994 album of our Chile trip. And now I've included that album in the photos that cycle thru on the TV when nothing else is playing.

But I still found time to watch a couple episodes of homeland. Damn that show is intense, I don't know how long I can go in. I think I need to find something a little more light hearted, like Silicon Valley which I've already finished.

Bad news

US Corona Virus cases: 529,867  Deaths: 20,493

 Good News

Crime rates are dropping during coronavirus shutdown [link]

Friday, April 10, 2020

Day 22 #StayHome Is it bad to feel good?

It feels wrong, but today was a great day. It started with a zoom meeting with a group of people with whom we've been meeting for many years. At the end of our hour I didn't want it to end, but I had to let them go.

Because my morning meeting group let me record them, I got what I needed to make the last video for my Zoom course. I published it and felt very accomplished. Then I answered a few emails and felt justified to take some time off, so I watched an episode of Homeland. Ok, maybe 2 episodes.

I looked outside and saw a very unusual sight. Jim doing gardening.
Jim vs Leaves - today Jim is winning

He had an audience of one other besides me. Practicing social distancing, this cat took a seat in the balcony.

At 4pm I had signed up for a webinar by Elliott Masie. He's a special guy. I know him from 30 years ago when I was a speaker at his Computer Training and Support conference, and I've followed him every since. He is a major force in the Learning community, he also produces Broadway shows. During the Pandemic he is doing a Zoom-based webinar every Friday at 4pm called Empathy. He talks about how to stay positive in these times, the importance of learning and empathy, and he invites some of his Broadway performer friends to sing and dance. It is SO uplifting and inspiring, it brought tears to my eyes. Especially when a violinist played Somewhere over the Rainbow, which I just had to sing my heart out on. If you click the link for Elliott Masie, the video may be right on his home page. I know the first week's webinar is there now. Check it out.

A brilliant idea offered by Elliott was to hire performers to sing and dance on zoom meetings! You know there are lots of very talented folks out there and they are all out of work right now. Many of them are promoting that they will perform in your Zoom meeting!

I was able to caterwaul Somewhere over the Rainbow because Jim was outside. He was grilling salmon for our dinner. He says that he is so lucky because I let him cook for me?!? He likes to cook that much. It was especially good - I'm the lucky one. The salmon came from Tropical Acres where he went and picked up steaks the other day.

We used to go for walks in the morning, but that just isn't happening. By the time dinner is done, we're feeling the need for some exercise and the weather has cooperated beautifully. I think I like walking in the evening even better than morning. 

All in all, days just don't get much better than this. 

Bad News

501,821 US Covid-19 cases 18,695 deaths

Good News 

We're getting to experience a slower world. Seismologists are thrilled at the opportunity they're getting to study earth movements without the rumble of traffic and other human activity. See this article


Thursday, April 09, 2020

Day 21 #StayHome - newsletter is done

Today is Thursday, that means a 7am toastmasters meeting, and I'm toastmaster today. I'm at my standing computer desk upstairs, Jim is in his studio downstairs. Another Zoom meeting. There are a few difficulties but overall it's so wonderful to be able to get together while we're all sequestered at home.

Ok, I've got to get the newsletter done today. With all the zoom meetings we've been having and teaching I decided to dedicate this issue to Zoom, which means that I am determined to finish my Zoom course on Thinkific so that I can announce it in the newsletter. I'll tell ya, my boss is such a slave driver!

Why do I have to do this? I mean nobody would notice if I send a newsletter or not, but I've created a newsletter every month since February 2004, I haven't missed a month. I'm driven, I can't help it. Anyway, I got it done. Apr 2020 News: Zoom online meetings issue

Jim has made every meal we've eaten during this #StayHome time. He's driven too! So when he suggested that we take advantage of Flanigan's ribs to go, I said that sounded like a great idea. He ordered online and drove to pick up the order. He said that once he pulled into the parking lot, he didn't even have to get out of the car. Someone greeted him asked for his name and order number, took his credit card and came back with the ribs. I made a salad and we had another delicious dinner.

Then we went for a walk. Gotta stop and smell the roses!
I know .. not a rose. I don't know what it is, but I just tapped the Google Lens button from within Google Photos and it reported that this is a Starburst bush.

Bad News

US Corona virus cases: 467,887 Deaths:16,642

Good News

There's some great humor coming out of the obsession with Zoom meetings.


Wednesday, April 08, 2020

Day 20 #StayHome Busy Day

I love taking photos, and playing with them with Google photos and Snapseed. I'm not going to stop just because we're home. 
Or should I?
Can you tell which side of the closet is mine?

Rebecca is doing our shopping at Publix while I watch on the app. I ordered a 4 pack of toilet paper and she had to give me a refund. No toilet paper to be had! Shiner Bock beer was out of stock and she tried to replace it with natural ice. NO. I'm so glad I was watching the app and could tell her to get Fat Tire instead. The app tells me she's checking out now. Thank goodness! We're out of wine.
The last 2 times we've used Publix delivery it was Winston who did our shopping. I hope he's ok.

More Webinars today - another Zoom webinar to make sure I understand everything I need to know, then a Webinar by the CEO of Zoom where he addressed the security and privacy concerns. I spent most of the afternoon putting together a Zoom course using the online course platform Thinkific.com. I want to have that course complete so I can promote in on our newsletter. So, I still haven't gotten the newsletter done. 

Then came a Dotto Tech webinar on podcasting at 4, I really like Steve Dotto and try to watch most anything he does. At 5 Jim's good friend Tom Pernal was streaming on Facebook. Tom is a good musician, he's been playing guitar and singing at various venues around where he lives. Now they're all closed and he is staying home. So he set up at home and turned on the camera. We cast his concert to the TV while we had dinner. What a delight!

Bad News

US Coronavirus cases: 434,698 Deaths: 14,787

Good news

Our YouTube channel is active, one video about zoom had 25,000 views. We've actually made $100. That's a record.


Tuesday, April 07, 2020

Day 19 #StayHome

I've been fascinated with Estonia ever since I watched this Ted talk:What a digital government looks like. Every citizen is required to have a digital ID. Every piece of information stored under that ID belongs to the citizen. Once a piece of data is stored in your digital ID, you never have to provide that data again. Any entity that legitimately needs access to the data must be authorized to get it from your digital ID. Data is only entered once. Whenever that data is accessed, it is recorded and the citizen is informed. Blockchain keeps the integrity of the data. In the late 90s my specialty was Microsoft Access, a relational database. I understand the concept of Enter Data Once - and only once! I love the concept of the Estonian system. So, when I saw that there was a webinar on how to become an e-resident of Estonia I signed up for 2pm today - oops, that's 2pm Estonia time or 7am here. I wasn't completely awake, but I did listen. 

This was a back-to-school day today. In addition to that one hour webinar, I watched another one on Zoom, and yet a third webinar on a new feature called Landing Pages on AWeber - the service we use for email marketing. Altogether I spent 3 1/2 hours watching webinars today. They were all great. I could hear that Jim was doing pretty much the same thing downstairs in his office, just on different topics. He keeps learning more and more about live video streaming production quality. Right now he's learning about a software-based sound mixer called Voicemeeter. And, also Zoom. Absolutely everybody is now using zoom for meetings since they can't get together in person, and a lot of people look to us to teach them how. We've been using Zoom for years and we love it so ..OK.

If you're passionate about learning new things, like we are, life just couldn't be better for staying home and learning with the computer. The flip side is my passion for teaching. I'm a little over halfway thru building a new online course on Zoom. I'd already made several videos and written a few articles. We've done 2 of our YouTube shows on Zoom, so I figured that putting together a cohesive course for getting started with Zoom would be a good thing.

I didn't even step outside once today. Yes, I did watch another 2 episodes of Homeland. Is that binge-watching? or do you have to watch it all day long to be considered binge-watching? 

The bad news

US Covid-19 confirmed cases: 400,412, Deaths: 12,854
as of 11pm per Worldometers.info

The good news

Peter Diamandis is my goto guy for good news. I'm reading his book called The Future is Faster than you Think. Just one example - he writes about how 3D printers can now build entire houses over a weekend for $5,000. Wow. When we come out of this Pandemic, we may just have a whole new world waiting for us. Peter Diamandis also writes a blog. I'm linking his latest article below. His first point is that this Pandemic is the first time the whole world has faced such a singular enemy, and medical professionals and researchers are working and sharing like never before. 


Monday, April 06, 2020

Day 18, #StayHome

A normal morning - I got up first, made coffee, emptied the dishwasher. We were guest presenters at a Zoom meeting at 11, so we spent a little time preparing. The meeting went until about 1pm, then I did a little email, web browsing. I didn't do my 7 minute exercise today. Why not? It's easy, it's quick. I'm just too lazy.

We learned from my friend Chris, on Facebook, that an old time favorite steak-house restaurant (Tropical Acres Steakhouse) was promoting its butcher shop and selling meat via phone that you could then pick up. Jim called, placed an order, took a drive and picked it up. He paid over the phone with credit card, and just picked up the bag when he got there - contactless. He was home within the hour with 2 week's worth of steak, hamburger, salmon, and crab cakes. ... and one whole cheese cake!
We're almost out of wine, so I'm working on an order from Publix that should be delivered tomorrow.

I'm 5 days behind now on getting our GeeksOnTour newsletter out. hmmmm If I have so much more time on my hands, why can't I get anything done? All I want to do is go watch some more Homeland.

Dinner was awesome. I cut up a butternut squash, tossed it with some herbs, oil, and a small drizzle of honey then cooked it in the air fryer. Jim cooked one of the steaks. First he cooked it in the sous vide to the perfect temperature, then he finished it on the grill.

After dinner we walked around the neighborhood, soaked in the hot tub and I watched more Homeland. No, I'm not going to show the cheesecake.

Bad News

US Coronavirus Cases: 364,059 US Coronavirus deaths: 10,792

Good News

Timing is everything. If our Maldives trip had been scheduled just one week earlier than it was, we may have gone. I'm quite sure we would have gone if it had been 2 weeks. Then, we would have been stuck there because we learned that they closed the airport. Here's a story of a couple who were honeymooning in the Maldives and could not return home to South Africa. They were the only guests at their resort.

Sunday, April 05, 2020

Day 17 #StayHome

I got up first this morning! Before you pat me on the back, you should know it was almost 9am. That means I ground the beans and made the coffee. I also cleaned the kitchen. The time it takes for coffee to brew seems to be just the right amount of time to clean the kitchen 😀. When it needs it that is. Jim usually leaves the kitchen clean before he goes to bed at night. Yes ladies, you heard me right, my husband not only does all the cooking but most of the cleaning as well. The kitchen is his domain. I'm a lucky girl!

Yesterday was my most slothful day so far in this isolation time, and it worries me. Doing nothing, drinking, napping, watching Netflix is ok periodically, but I worry about my lazy tendencies. A while back I discovered a YouTube exercise video for 7 minute workouts and I thought I'd be doing that every day now. I haven't done it once. Today I did 👍. Ok, you can pat me on the back now.
Multi tasking: listening to a webinar while exercising to the video

I know the routine so I didn't need the sound, just the video that demonstrates the exercise to do. I put on the video with no sounds, then also played another video about something I wanted to learn. The learning video had the volume up high so I could do the exercises and still learn! Brilliant, exercising and learning. Multitasking.
At 2pm we had a zoom meeting scheduled with our GeeksOnTour members. Wow. 65 people showed up and stayed for 1.5 hours. Each one had the opportunity to practice with zoom and say hello, then we were able to answer a few questions about zoom.
What it looks like to have 65 people over to your house during quarantine.

After our meeting we relaxed in the hot tub. The reason for a photo of an empty hot tub should be self explanatory :-)

My writing medium of choice is this blog. Jim gravitates more toward Facebook. I just read what he wrote and saw the picture - guess what! It was exactly what I was going to post here - so I'll be lazy and just copy his Facebook post.

If you don't know about the musical duo Victor and Penny, here's their live Facebook concert - they are unique and wonderful. We didn't go for a walk today because it was raining after dinner. Maybe tomorrow.

Bad News

USA Coronavirus cases: 330,605  USA Coronavirus Deaths 9,445
5:30 pm from Worldometer

Good News

When we were meeting with our GeeksOnTour.com members, it was so surprising, and heartwarming to hear how many of them are now using Zoom meetings to get together with family - virtual happy hours. One participant said when their family got together this week on Zoom they were all able to meet the new baby that just came into the family. We are just gobsmacked at how good Zoom is. (isn't that a great word? gobsmacked? - I think we picked that up in New Zealand) Even though they've gone from 10 million daily users to 200 million daily users, and they are under attack by spammers, they still are providing us all with high quality, easy, online meetings. Thank you Zoom! I think this is a trend will continue after the pandemic is over. Now that people have been introduced to it and see just how good and easy it is, why stop? Check out this YouTube video by Martin Brossman where we joined him to discuss the possible silver linings in this pandemic.

Saturday, April 04, 2020

Day 16 #StayHome

Waking up to the sound of the coffee grinder. We get custom ground beans from Lazy Lyon coffee. That's Bob Lyon, Jimmy Lyon's brother. Jimmy is Jim's oldest dive buddy and lives in Long Beach Island new Jersey.
Because of  Lazy Lyon coffee, we've discovered our favorite is Guatemalan gold. Burundi is a close second. Bob is always experimenting with different beans and different roasting techniques. I've had a long history with coffee, 
  1. rejecting it altogether as a young adult, 
  2. needing it for law school studies
  3. using it as an excuse to load my cup with cream and sugar
  4. drinking it black as the only allowed treat during a weight loss diet
  5. adopting it as my daily routine - still drinking it black
  6. joining the hunt for the best gourmet coffee from Lazy Lyon
After waiting a sufficient amount of time for the coffee to brew, I rolled out of bed and made my way downstairs. I take my coffee to the computer, look at emails, browse the news etc. Jim and I discuss what we're going to talk about when we join Martin via Zoom at 11:30. I finish editing another article for the current Geeks on Tour newsletter.
Then comes time to get on our zoom call with Martin and we talked about the silver lining of this pandemic. I ended the meeting with advice that it was ok to sit it out. I quoted my Tao of Abundance book from the "Leisure" chapter. 

"Everyone knows how useful it is to be useful. No one seems to know how useful it is to be useless." Chuang Tzu

I summed it up saying you don't have to save the world, or use this time to be productive, it's OK to do nothing.

Turns out I'm really good at taking my own advice, I did nothing for the rest of the day! I watched 2 more episodes of Homeland, I read my book a little bit, I took a nap, then I watched a couple of Ted talks. That felt good. This one gave a lot of good detail on the Corona Virus in China
Jim cooked dinner and we emptied a couple bottles of wine. Then we took a walk around the neighborhood. Very few people out tonight, one wearing a face mask. Beautiful evening. 
The Frangipani is blooming

Bad news

USA CoronaVirus cases: 308,812  Deaths: 8,407

Good News:

It appears that the pandemic may be just about over in China - where it started. There are possibilities of a second wave, hopefully that won't happen.


Friday, April 03, 2020

Day 15 #StayHome

We look forward to Friday mornings. For about 6 years now, we've been meeting online with a small group of people to share information and opinions about technology. We've gotten to know them quite well, even though we may have never met in person. Today was Friday, and Jim and I were sitting at his computer, logged in to Zoom, ready to go at 8:30.

We always chat about a variety of things, but today we focused on the Zoom technology. This is the group we can practice with because everyone wants to learn. Today we practiced with breakout rooms. How cool. When you teach a group, and you want to break them up into smaller groups and give them an assignment to bring back to the whole meeting - Zoom gives us Breakout rooms. It's really cool.

After the meeting, we had our breakfast apple, then retired to our respective computers. I finally got my show notes emailed out to our 8,000+ mailing list - Weekly Tech Tip: how to get your slides into Google Photos. Then I got to work on an article for our newsletter that needs to get out: Practical tips for running a Zoom meeting.

At 4pm I had a zoom webinar  on my calendar from Elliott Masie. I always love Elliott's big picture perspective, and this meeting was no different. He discussed the importance of empathy in dangerous times like these. He has produced several Broadway plays, and he had actors and singers on the webinar who performed and brought tears to my eyes.  

So, we never left the house at all today. It was another gorgeous day. We did take a break for a little hot tub soak.
Oh - Jim just said, "Let's take a walk" 
OK, it's 6:15 pm. and it is really beautiful out there. Gotta go

Bad news:
Total US CoronaVirus cases: 274,987
Total US CoronaVirus deaths: 7,065

Good News:
Italy's lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic is not only keeping people safe, but it's giving the outdoors — which is typically flooded with tourists — a chance to recharge. This from a March 20 article from Travel and Leisure

Thursday, April 02, 2020

Day 14 stay home

It was 2 weeks ago today that we went out to Denny's for our Earlybird Toastmasters club and ended up bringing 2 people back to our house. Since that day it's been just Jim and me and occasionally Jim's son Devon would come over.
The alarm rang at 6:15 this morning to wake is up for our toastmasters meeting ... Online this time. We love our Earlybird toastmasters group. It's been going for over 30 years and Jim and I have been members for well over 20 of those. We always look forward to seeing each other while enjoying breakfast, and we are thrilled with how well they've all made the transition to the online world, using Zoom

We meet for an hour and a half. 3 people give prepared speeches. Several people give short, impromptu speeches and we all fill the room with camaraderie. In some ways it's better than meeting in person. For example, Pam moved away some time ago and we've missed her terribly. She was there this morning. Aleta was a member 30 years ago and has maintained her membership over all those years even though she lives in Pennsylvania. Jose is Ana's brother and he lives in Spain. He has visited our club whenever he is in town visiting his sister, but now he can be with us every week.
I don't like getting up at 6:15, but I love meeting with these people.
Ana always writes up a "recap" of the meeting and, if you haven't decided this is a great group after reading my paragraphs above, you will after reading her recap:
Dear Members and Guests,
TopicMaster Carmine zoomed us off with kitchen utensils.  It became real clear, real quick, that female members of EarlyBirds don’t even know where their kitchen is located in the home – let alone their kitchen utensils! Besides that, we learned that… 
• DTM Mary Helen wistfully misses the good ole days when instead of a fancy silicone baster, she resorted to used paintbrushes stored in her garage for basting the turkey.  As a result, her children developed second-to-none immune systems.  This comes in handy today… 
• Returning TM Mildred praised the versatility of the kitchen spoon, which included effective disciplinary action used against unruly children when she was growing up.• Former EarlyBird member Victoria lauded the multi-tasking features of the slotted spoon – doubling up as a toilet plunger and subsequently becoming a garden dirt mover (the virtual room virtually sighed with relief that it didn’t go back to hanging with the other kitchen utensils)…. Pfiuuuu…. 
• TM BeckyJo vividly described wildly waving a wooden fork during a passionate self-righteous argument with a spouse and breaking off its prongs, slowly, slowly and one-at- a-time for emphasis.  It truly gets your point across – try it!  She Won Best Table Topics Award. 
• Returning TM Lisa, for lack of the word “spatula” in her culinary vocabulary,  kept calling the utensil a “cake batter spoon”.  Everyone is invited to her home for a cake-battered-spoon cake when sequestration is over.And then we zoomed on to the prepared speeches…. 
• TM Tom recounted his virgin Court appearance representing a client who called her husband by her boyfriend’s name “in the spur of the moment” – or shall we say “in the sperm of the moment”?  He Won Most Improved Speaker Award. 
• TM Aleta – loyal member in good standing rejoining us for the first time since she left Florida in the 80s- told us about her lucky breaks in life, where she currently gardens a multi-acre property in Paradise and works as a Labor Mediator, a profession she absolutely adores.  As TM Marie said,  all these years (to some of us) you were only an enigmatic name in the Club Roster!!  And paradoxically, now you are virtually real!!  
• Former EarlyBird TM and lasting friend – my brother Jose– delighted us with a speech about his 60th birthday party – celebrated twice, in Madrid and also in Fort Lauderdale.  Picture slides from the occasion brought us all hope for good parties still to come.  He Won Best Speaker AwardAs for evaluations… 
• TM Lisa applauded TM Tom for his engaging speech which had humor, the element of surprise, and a good reminder that cheating doesn’t pay if you can’t get their names straight. 
• TM Joe applauded TM Aleta for her uplifting speech which exuded optimism and positivity in a spirit of gratitude. 
• TM Jeff praised Jose for his charisma and his ability to use technology to make his speech more vivid and descriptive.  He Won Best Evaluator Award. 
The Word of the Day wasSEQUESTER, noun1.      Isolate or hide away2.      General cut in government spending 
We had a delightfully varied attendance made up of former EarlyBirds who are freed from the rigors of commuting in traffic, friends of Jose, family of Jose, fans of Jose.  Let’s keep it going!  Guests, keep coming back, we love having you!Next Thursday, same time, same Zoom id.  And, once again, thank you to our Tech Wizards for making it all possible.Virtually yours,Ana
After our Toastmaster meeting, Jim and I ate our breakfast apple and went back to our computers with a last cup of coffee to answer emails and do a little browsing. When it came time for a break we took off our clothes and jumped in the hot tub ... aaaaaaaaahhhhhhhh

Ok, back to work.
I am way behind on my computer work. The most pressing thing on my agenda is to finish the show notes for last Sunday's Episode 188 of our YouTube show "What Does This Button Do?" It takes me several hours to complete this task. Sometimes I breeze thru it and sometimes it's like pulling teeth. Today was somewhere in between, but I got it done. Episode 188 - How to get your slides into Google Photos  The notes are only available to our premium members.

Jim made me lunch - a tuna melt sandwich. He is the sandwich king! And I love toasted sandwiches.
OK, now I need to get the notes into .pdf format and send an email blast to all our members that it is ready. But first ... hey, we're sequestered right? We have lots of time on our hands right? We can binge watch any number of shows on Amazon, Netflix, Hulu, or HBO. I've been watching Homeland and I think I deserve a break to watch a couple episodes this afternoon. Damn that show is intense!

Jim spent a little time with Devon today. He showed him the newly rearranged studio room and how it is now ready for carpeting. Maybe they can get some carpeting, watch a few YouTube how-to videos and we'd pay Devon to do the work. That would be great since Devon's work has all been cancelled for the foreseeable future.

Now Jim is looking up recipes for Chicken Marsala and my mouth is starting to water. I think I'll get that email blast to our members done and call it a day.

The bad news
Covid-19 cases today in the US: 240.120  Deaths: 5,794

The good news
People are walking and playing tennis! We have a wonderful circular walk around our neighborhood. At just over 1 mile, it's short enough to be easy and long enough to get some exercise. It was a spectacularly gorgeous day. We went for a walk just after an early dinner.

We have never seen anyone using these tennis courts before. This evening there were not one, but two, tennis games in process!