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Starting out advice
November 30, 2014
2:08 pm
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Glen Wilbanks
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 I am a new member and pretty much a computer newbie, not really a newbie just not very computer savvy. I use my computer quite a bit but I am ignorant about hookups and connections and stuff. My brother is a computer admin and always set up my network and kept it running. My wife and I are planning to hit the road full time by Jun 1 and we are in the homework phase.

I looked through your searches and some of the posts were 2-4 years old and in computer land that is ancient. I am looking for advice on buying a new laptop to replace my desktop and good ways to hook up to the internet. I currently use a desktop with Windows 7 professional, I use QuickBooks for my financial stuff, I use Word and Outlook from the Microsoft Office 10. My general usage would include paying my bills online, Facebook, browsing to include travel info, picture manipulation and storage, website operation, e-mail, and file manipulation. We also would like a scanner for records. I saw where someone else recommended hosting my own domain and it sounded good. We are also pretty new to smart phones, we got our first ones (galaxy s3) about 18 months ago. We currently have our account with AT&T. We joined for useful computer info, and will probably be members for our duration.

We have a movie collection (some VHS and some DVD) and are wondering if we can copy them onto a drive and carry them with us?

Can I copy my programs from my desktop to my laptop?

November 30, 2014
4:10 pm
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JimAdmin
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Welcome Glen, both to Geeks On Tour and the adventure of full-time RVing!

You understandably have lots of questions. My best advice: Take it slow. 

We’ve been at this quite a while as you note, with hundreds of articles on many subjects. We are constantly adding new content. Much of the older information is still valid. When you see something no longer relevant, please bring it to our attention for revision.

There are many good laptops and hybrids on the market today capable of running the programs you mention and more. Chris really likes her Lenovo Yoga Pro. I recommend waiting to purchase a new computer as long as practical for you, keeping in mind you will need time to acclimate to the new operating system and getting everything running. Transferring files is not a big deal. The programs themselves are a different matter. I generally recommend installing your programs from original media, although programs like LapLink PCMover may work for you.

Most of our scanning is actually done with our smartphones, though we do have an all-in-one printer like this on the internal network in our rig.

I’m not sure what you mean by hosting your own domain. Having a unique domain name and posting a blog there makes sense. We have lots of Tutorial Videos in the Blogger section to teach you how.

I don’t have any experience converting commercial videos to files,  but I did find this with a Google search: 

http://www.itworld.com/article…..erver.html.

Stay in touch.

Helping Travelers to Plan, Preserve, and Share their Travels

November 30, 2014
4:29 pm
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Glen Wilbanks
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I was hoping to get my laptop soon as my monitor is dying and I don’t want to buy a new one just to get rid of it. I need to be able to see pictures of different RV’s that we are shopping for.

I forgot to mention I currently have DSL and have no idea how much data that I use. My contract with AT&T runs out in July and my DSL provider is rather expensive because I have to pay for a home phone that I don’t use.

I also need to get a new e-mail so I can get off my brother’s domain.

November 30, 2014
4:38 pm
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MrsGeek
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Glen, Congratulations on your upcoming fulltime RVing lifestyle! and Welcome to Geeks on Tour.

You should be getting Welcome emails that cover some of the topics you ask. let us know if you’re not receiving these.

1. Internet connections: Cellular is the most common method for connecting. You can get a mobile hotspot device from Verizon or AT&T. They’re called MiFi or Jetpack. Or, if you have a smartphone, you can turn it into a hotspot for your computers to connect to. Here is our most recent (June 2014) article on the topic: How do we get Internet to our Computers while traveling. Your Galaxy S3 should be capable of being a hotspot. Check with AT&T to see what they say. Accoding to the FoxFi website – the AT&T Galaxy S3 can use FoxFi as long as you have not upgraded to Android 4.3. 4.3 breaks it.

2. Desktop or Laptop: if your desktop is relatively new, you can take it with you on the road. Just make sure it has a comfortable place to travel so the hard drive doesn’t get bumped around too hard. Obviously laptops are better so you can carry them with you to the clubhouse when that’s where the best Internet is, or when you want to share photos with someone else etc. I LOVE my Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro, and Jim loves his Surface Pro 2. But, both of those are more computer than most people need. We’ve seen great laptops for $600 and under these days. If you wait till after Christmas, it may be even better. We like the names Lenovo, ASUS, Toshiba, Sony, but really, we don’t know of any brands on the bad list these days. We do stay away from AMD and Atom processors, true Intel is still the best. Get the most memory and storage you can afford.

3. For managing pictures we recommend Picasa. See this article: Picasa for all your Digital Picture Needs 

4. Smartphones and Tablets – please check out our weekly online show “What Does This Button Do?” All the archived shows are listed on this page. As a member, you have access to the show notes for each episode, so you can just skim thru the notes and see what you may be interested in.

November 30, 2014
4:43 pm
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MrsGeek
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RE – your own domain: we use Godaddy.com for our http://www.geeksontour.com domain. You’ll hear varying reports about them. They are very inexpensive and we have had excellent experience with their support. We use gmail.com to fetch all our various email addresses into one inbox. Here’s an article: Use Gmail for One In-Box, Multiple Addresses, and Devices

I think you should be able to ask your DSL provider to tell you how much data you’ve been using. If not, then when you get a Windows 8 laptop, it can keep track of that for you. See this article: Don’t go over your Internet Limits. Windows 8.1 Wi-Fi Tools can help.

November 30, 2014
11:24 pm
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Glen Wilbanks
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Thank you both for your input, it will take me a while to read all of the links but I will be back hopefully with fewer but more detailed questions. You recommend the windows 8?

December 1, 2014
1:40 pm
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MrsGeek
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Yes we do recommend Windows 8 – 8.1 actually. You do need to expect a little learning time – but it is a faster, more secure, and simply more up to date operating system. You can set it up to use in a way that makes it most like the familiar 7 by booting to the desktop:

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