Geeks on Tour Newsletter: Jan/Feb 2011

Geeks on Tour
Florida Sunset at John Prince ParkAs the only state in the country without snow in January, we were quite pleased to spend the month in Florida! For the last 2 weeks of January and the first week of February, we were booked with several appearances in North Florida.  There was simply no time for newsletter writing – thus this special Jan/Feb issue.
Our next ‘gig’ will be the Family Motor Coach Ass’n International Convention in Perry, GA March 14-17.  In addition to our normal seminars on Picasa, Blogger, Streets & Trips etc., we will also be offering our hands-on Boot Camp and a new seminar on Facebook.

Bring the Geeks to your Park!

We so enjoyed all three of our gigs at RV parks!  We hope that more RV parks ask us to come.  We can present demonstration seminars, free-form Q&A sessions, or even hands-on classes.  Although we do need to make money at these events, we are usually able to work out something creative that makes everybody happy.  Contact Us.

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Other Articles this past month
So you don’t miss out on anything, here’s a list of other articles we wrote this past month.

Do you know your Computer Basics?

icon-bak2sklSince our age group never had computers in school, we tend to be self-taught.  That means, when we want to accomplish something on the computer, we figure out how to get it done.  You can actually be quite successful with computers that way.  We know many people that just keep clicking until they see their desired result!  But, they haven’t a clue how they did it, or how to fix it if something goes wrong!

As Geeks on Tour, we focus primarily on teaching free and/or inexpensive software for planning, preserving, and sharing your travels.  Some people who learn from us are new to computers, and some are geekier than us!  We find that people who know their basics are much more successful at the topics we teach than those who aren’t.

What do we mean by The Basics?

We’ve actually given quite a bit of thought to this, and we’ve come up with a list of items we think are ‘Essential’ to being successful with (windows) computers.  We’ve created a checklist that you can review.  Download the checklist and print it out.  For each item on the checklist:

  • If you don’t know what it means, don’t check it
  • If you know what it means, but would need help doing it, don’t check it.
  • If you know what it means, and you’re confident you can do it, then check it.

How many items did you check?

  • 1-20: Although you may know how to accomplish the one or two things that you use the computer for, you probably can’t venture outside of those things without feeling lost.
  • 21-30: You need to brush up on some basics.  You are probably often frustrated with your computer and need to ask for help.  Learning more about using your computer, and getting help by using your computer will make life much more pleasant!
  • 31-45: You are usually comfortable with your computer, but you don’t easily learn new things for fear of being out of your comfort zone.  This is where the majority of computer users fall.
  • >45: You are probably the one that others go to for help!  But you know there is still a lot more to learn and you’re ready, willing, and able to jump in and give it a go!

How do you Learn?

The number one ingredient to learning computer basics is TIME.  There is simply no substitute for spending time on your computer to get comfortable with how it works.  In order to spend quality imagetime, you need to have something that interests you.  We find that, once people discover something on the computer that excites them, there’s no end to their ability to spend time on it!  That may be a game, it may be digital photos or writing a blog, it may be genealogy.  Think about something you have a passion for, and ask around to see how the computer can help.  If you don’t have something you want to accomplish on the computer, then learning about using a computer will just be a chore.  The key is to make it fun.

After finding something you want to do on the computer, make sure to allocate time for learning basics.  Go thru the checklist again and pick out some items where you need work.  We recommend buying our Laptop Boot Camp Book and DVD.  It’s only $25 (plus shipping.)  It includes a 44 page workbook plus a DVD of Tutorial videos.  Watch a free sample video on Windows 7 & Vista: Navigating with the Addess Bar ‘Breadcrumbs’

Putting your Laptop Computer to Sleep

Do you know how to put your computer to sleep?  No, it’s not by reading the congressional budget aloud to it!  Most laptop computers will go to sleep when you press the on/off button once lightly.  But, every computer is different and you should explore a bit and be sure you know the procedure for your computer.  This topic is one of the first covered in our Boot Camp class.  The screenshots and specific instructions below are for Windows 7.

What exactly *is* sleep mode?  Straight from Microsoft’s website:

Sleep is a power-saving state that allows a computer to quickly resume full-power operation (typically within several seconds) when you want to start working again. Putting your computer into the sleep state is like pausing a DVD player—the computer immediately stops what it’s doing and is ready to start again when you want to resume working.

Some people don’t use the sleep setting at all.  They always shut down their computers.  Those people need to wait quite a while for their computers to boot up once they turn them back on again!  If, instead of Shut Down, you used Sleep mode, then when you turn it back on it comes right back to where you left off, and it does it very quickly.

You can always use the menu to put your computer to sleep: Click the Start button Picture of the Start button , and then click the arrow next to the Shut down button.

Picture of the Shut down button with menu expanded

Your computer monitor will go blank.  It will appear to be off, but every computer has some kind of indicator that it is asleep.  When it’s asleep, you should see some light that blinks, or pulses like  the machine is breathing to indicate that it’s not off. What does yours do?

To wake it up, some computers use any key, some use an arrow key, some require you to press the On button once, lightly. How do you wake yours up?

Closing the Lid

Most people like their laptops to go to sleep when they close the lid, but there are other choices as well. Check yours:


Click the Start button, type power (just type … your cursor will be blinking in the search box) , then click on Power Options. On menu at left, click “Choose what closing the Lid Does’ – review all options.

Also notice that you can choose what the power button does. If yours is set to put the computer to sleep, try it. Pressing the power button once should put the computer to sleep, pressing it again will wake it up.

So now, when you’re ready to call it a night and go to bed, you don’t need to shut your computer down.  You don’t even need to click the Sleep command.  Just close the lid!  When you open it next morning it will spring to action!  And, you can set all your updates and scans to happen in the middle of the night.

Free Seminar Handouts on Picasa, Blogger, Google Earth, Streets & Trips and Internet Connections

At RV parks and rallies all over the country, we present educational seminars on how travelers can use computers to Plan, Preserve and Share their travels.  We pride ourselves on providing handouts that are worth keeping for reference and learning.  Each handout is at least 4 pages and is crammed full of information and step-by-step instructions.  We’ve just updated our handouts and want to give you, our newsletter subscribers, a heads-up.  You can download any or all of these handouts, no strings attached.  They are in .pdf format.

  1. Every RVer Needs a Blog
  2. Using Google Earth
  3. Managing Digital Photos with Picasa
  4. High Speed Internet on the Road
  5. Trip Planning and Navigation with Streets & Trips, Garmin Nuvi, Droid

Discuss this in our forum.

imageWe’ve added a topic to our Forums specifically for this newsletter.  If you’re a Geeks on Tour paid member, please visit and leave your comments.  Even non-members can view the forum to see what’s going on.


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