Tag Archives: cloud computing

How to create an Excel spreadsheet when you don’t have Excel, and you don’t want to install any software

We taught our Cloud Computing class today for the Deerfield Beach Computer Club and we’re always excited to see the lightbulbs go off in people’s eyes when we demonstrate creating an Excel worksheet without using Excel, or any other software installed on our computer! Cloud computing is a huge topic, and we try to give an understandable overview of what it’s all about. You can see our seminar handout here. Also see Episode 100 of our Button Show: Using OneDrive

How to use Excel in the Cloud

It just takes no time at all to demonstrate how to use Excel in the cloud.

  1. Browse to Onedrive.com, that is Microsoft’s cloud storage service.
  2. Log in with a Microsoft account username and password. If you don’t have one, you can click the Create New Account button. (important note: if you use a Windows computer, you most likely have a Microsoft username and password. It pays to find your existing account credentials rather than creating a new one which will later complicate your life no end! (See Episode 137: Accounts)
  3. Click the +New button, then Excel workbook
  4. You should now see an Excel workspace where you can create your spreadsheet – this is Excel Online.
  5. When you’ve completed your worksheet, you may want to give it a name. Just click at the top where it says Book1, and type the name you want.
  6. Your sheet has been saved in your Onedrive account automatically, you can just close out the window. If you want to share it with someone first, click the share button in the upper right and enter an email address.
  7. If you want the sheet on your computer, click the File menu, Save As, Download a Copy

That’ all there is to it. You’ve just created an Excel spreadsheet, sent it to an associate, save it to your computer, all for free without using any software on your computer. That’s Cloud computing!

Cloud Storage: Learn About Your Accounts

cloudsWhat is “Cloud Storage?” You’ve probably heard of DropBox, OneDrive, Google Drive, and iCloud. These are all systems for Cloud Storage of your files, any kind of computer files. There are also cloud storage systems like Flickr and Google Photos that are specifically designed for storing your photo files.

Cloud storage means using the Internet (aka the “web”, aka the “cloud”) to store your files rather than a computer’s hard drive. Sometimes it means using the Internet AND your computer’s hard drive – they synchronize with each other so that the cloud copy and the computer copy stay the same. Make revisions on one, and the system revises the other. The beauty of that type of system is that, when you don’t have an Internet connection, you still have your files on your computer; and when you don’t have your computer, you can get to your files on the Internet. Systems like DropBox take care of keeping the files in sync automatically.

Do you know your Account ID?

So, let’s say you don’t have your computer – you’re at a friend’s house, or a colleague’s office – and you need one of your files. How do you get it?

  1. You need to know which system is storing it: DropBox, OneDrive, Google Drive, iCloud, etc. Go to that system’s website, e.g. DropBox.com
  2. You need to know your account information. These systems store files for millions of people, they know which files are yours by your account information. An account is usually identified by an email address and a password.

Think of Cloud Storage Accounts like Bank Accounts

It’s like keeping your money in a bank. To get your money, you need to know which bank it’s in. You also need to know your account number. If you walk into a Wells Fargo bank and give them the account number from Bank of America, you’re not going to get your money!

Now, imagine that you know your bank is Chase, and you walk into a Chase bank. In the lobby there are colorful balloons, and a sign that says you could win a free trip to Fiji with an account and a $200 minimum balance. You say why not?! You fill out the form and hand over $200 – not realizing that you have just opened a second account. You start writing checks with the new checkbook you got and wonder why they soon start bouncing when you know you have thousands of dollars at Chase Bank. Yes, but that money is in a different account!

I’ll bet you’re saying, I would never do that! Ah … but this ‘multiple accounts’ issue happens all the time in the world of technology and Cloud storage accounts – probably because it’s all invisible. You don’t get a checkbook with the bank’s name and the account number written on it.

It’s up to you to remember what service you signed up for, what email address you provided as your account identifier, and what files you are storing there.

Google Accounts = One Account, All of Google

Let’s say you’ve been keeping your photos online in a Google account (starting with Picasa Web Albums, now Google Photos) for years. Your username (email address) and password are stored on your computer so you never need to remember it. You just know that when you want to see your pictures, you click on a certain button. But I know that the key is your Google Account email address and password. Now, it’s time for you to buy a new phone. You get an Android phone and the conversation with the salesperson goes something like this:

Salesperson, “To finish setting up your phone, we need to enter your Google account username and password.”
You, “I don’t know my Google account username and password.”
Salesperson, “No problem, we’ll just make a new one for you – it’s free.”
You, “OK.”

Next time you want to look at your pictures, they’re not there! Why? Because it’s all part of one Google Account, your email, calendar, Google Drive files and your photos. They’re all stored on Google’s servers under an account. If you’re signed in to the wrong account, you won’t see the files you expect.

Microsoft Account Controls OneDrive

The same is true for your Microsoft account. If you buy a new Windows 10 computer you will be prompted for your Microsoft account when you set it up. Many people don’t know they have a Microsoft account so they follow the prompts to create a new one. When they try to view their files on OneDrive, they’re in for a shock when the OneDrive folder is empty! That’s because OneDrive is a Microsoft cloud storage service where your files are stored under your account!

Keeping your Accounts Straight

I think it is unfortunate that these systems allow you to set up an account with any email address. That means you can set up a Microsoft account by giving them a Gmail (Google mail) email address. Personally, I find that confusing. I’ve made sure to set up my Microsoft account using a Microsoft email address – that means @outlook.com or previously @hotmail.com. My Apple iCloud account uses an @icloud.com email address. Actually, I wish that online accounts followed the same procedures as banks and issue you an account ID number. Then, you could change your email as often as you like – your account ID would not change.

With systems like DropBox that do not offer their own email system, I have my default personal email @gmail.com or my work email @GeeksOnTour.com. Be especially careful using a work email address on any system where you may want to continue having access to those files even after you no longer work there. I have a friend who is an entrepreneur and she decided she didn’t like the website name she had chosen. Let’s say that she had a business with a web address of ITrainCats.com. She used that for her email address as well, Beverly@ITrainCats.com. When she decided to change to ITrainDogs.com she also changed her email address, not realizing it, she lost access to several cloud storage services which were using her old email address as her account ID.

Keep it Straight! Write it Down!

Apple IDs and Sync’ing

imageFor Apple devices like iPhones, iPads, and Mac computers, your Apple ID (an email address) provides your identity. Your Apple ID is the key to seeing the contents of your online accounts with Apple – both iTunes/App Store and iCloud. Your Apple ID is kind of like your fingerprint in giving you access to your information. Synchronizing means using your Apple ID to identify your iCloud account, send data such as pictures and contacts from your phone to your iCloud account, then copy that data to any other devices identified by the same Apple ID. This makes your personal data show up on multiple devices. If it’s set up properly, it means you can add a contact using your phone – and that contact will be there when you look on your computer. Take a picture with your phone, and you can see it on your iPad in just a minute.

But, if you don’t use it right, watch out! Let me give you a few examples:

  1. Harold bought a new iPhone and he gave his old one to his daughter, Susan. He didn’t bother to wipe it clean first, and Susan didn’t change the Apple ID recorded in the phone’s settings. She just started using the phone as she normally would. She used the calendar to enter reminders for when she needed to refill her birth control prescription. This reminder shows up on her Dad’s phone, because it was using the same Apple ID to identify his calendar!
  2. Eric and his wife, Wanda, use the same Apple ID because they want to only pay once for Apps that both of them use. They should have used the Family settings instead. When Wanda takes pictures with her iPhone, they are sent to the iCloud Photo Stream for her Apple ID – which is the same as Eric’s Apple ID – and those pictures show up on Eric’s imagephone. Any pictures Eric takes also show up on Wanda’s phone. Their contacts and Notes will also be the same.
  3. The movie Sex Tape, tells the story of a young couple who decide to record a sex tape of themselves, using an iPad. It takes them a while to realize that their old iPads that they had given away as Christmas gifts to family and friends, were still using their Apple ID – so the sex tape was being synchronized to those old iPads. They were mortified that their parents, and their mailman, could now watch their sex tape on the iPads that they gave them.

Lessons to Learn

So, what are the lessons to be learned here? First, you should know your Apple ID – and the password associated with it. To find out what Apple ID is being used for any iPhone or iPad, go to your settings, then iCloud – you’ll see the email address (Apple ID) right under the words iCloud. Also check the iTunes & App Store settings and you’ll see an Apple ID listed there. Although you can use different emails for iCloud and iTunes, it is highly recommended that you use the same one.  You also need to know the password. If you tap on View Apple ID, you will be prompted for a password. If you don’t know that password, it is best to go to a computer and a web browser to go to www.AppleID.com. That is where you can try your passwords, and reset it if you’ve forgotten your password.

Second, your Apple ID is YOUR Apple ID, you should not let anyone else use it. It is like your fingerprint for your devices. These are very personal devices meant to handle your information, and synchronize that information to other devices that are yours.

Third, if you do have a family who wants to share Apps, you can set up the Family settings. Each member of the family, with their own unique Apple IDs, can be listed as members on one Family and one member of the Family can be designated as the “organizer” of the Family.

Fourth, if you give an old device away, you should wipe it clean first! Find instructions on on Apple’s website to Erase al content and settings on your iPhone, iPad.

Geek Month at Palm Creek Golf and RV


We will be staying at Palm Creek Golf and RV  in Casa Grande, AZ for the entire month of December and giving seminars every week.

The Technology overview seminar is free for anyone. The others, 7 of them, are priced at $15/per person (or couple.) If you are a Geeks on Tour member, we offer a special $5/per person (or couple.) That’s the price if you’re only going to attend one seminar. We will sell tickets for 3 seminars at $30 non-member and $10 member. Two tickets is all you need to attend all 7 seminars in the month. We define a ‘couple’ as 2 people at the same site. We may also schedule some hands-on workshops depending on interest.

  • 1 seminar: $15 non-member, $5 member
  • 3 seminars: $30 non-member, $10 member
  • 7 seminars: $60 non-member, $20 member

If you’re not staying at the park, you can still attend. Tell the Gate Guard that you’re visiting the Geeks on Tour in the San Tan room.

Seminar schedule.

  1. Dec 5, Fri, 10-12: Geeks on Tour: Technology for Travelers Overview FREE
    Meet Jim and Chris. They live full time in an RV and make extensive use of computers and technology to Plan, Preserve, and Share their travels. Their business, Geeks on Tour, is teaching you about the devices and software they think are the easiest and most useful.You will learn how they use smartphones and cellular technology for their Internet connections, what mapping and GPS technology they like best, how they manage thousands of digital pictures on their computers and post the best ones online for free and lastly, how to share all your experiences online with friends and family using Blogs and Photo Albums.
  2. Dec 6 Sat, 10-12: Geeks on Tour: Picasa and Google+ Web Albums for all your digital photo needs
    Find your pictures by folder, filename, category, tag, face, location, or caption. It’s fast, it’s easy, and its FREE from Google. Picasa can: transfer photos from camera, delete and organize photos, rename and caption, and generally browse/view all  photos on your computer. It will automatically find faces and geotags.  You can also organize your pictures online (in the cloud) by using Picasa Web Albums, now known as Google Plus.
  3. Dec 8, Mon, 6-8: Geeks on Tour: Smartphones and Tablet Overview for Travelers
    Whether you’ve had a smartphone or tablet for years, or you’re just thinking about getting one, you will learn something in this seminar.  We start with explaining what these devices are and what extra costs they incur.  We will discuss the features that are important to travelers: hotspot capability, GPS, Cameras, and Bluetooth, and give you our short list of must-have travel Apps.  We will demonstrate how to install a QR code scanner and use it to find the information stored behind those funny looking square codes.  We will show you some basic ways to customize your phone to your liking with various settings and home screen organizations.
  4. Dec 13 Sat, 10-12: Geeks on Tour: Make a free website with Blogger, Picasa, and Google+Imagine starting a family website when a grandchild is born, adding stories and pictures throughout the years and having a beautiful coffee table book to give to that grandchild when they graduate High School.  Or … when you take that trip of a lifetime, you could have an easy-to-maintain website for the stories and photos of that trip, then print a coffee table book to remember the trip for years to come.  Or … if you have a hobby, club, or small business to share with the world, a website is the way to do it!  Or … all of the above.

    This seminar will introduce you to Google’s free website and photo tools, Blogger.com and Picasa photo software.  Learn how to start a Blog/Website and add stories and photos with Geeks on Tour’s easy to understand, step-by-step instructions.


  5. Dec 15 Mon 6-8: Geeks on Tour: Using Google Maps to Plan, Preserve, and Share your travels
    You’ve probably been to the Google Maps website to search for a destination. But did you know that you can plan a multi-stop route and print out the directions?  You can create and save custom maps to record your travels and share them with friends and family. Your custom maps can even include your photos, links, and descriptions. This seminar will show you how!
  6. Dec 20 Sat 10-12: Geeks on Tour: What is Cloud Computing?
    The ‘Cloud’ is simply The Internet – but it is taking on special meaning as Google, Microsoft, and others are offering accounts where you can have your own slice of the sky. If you start a document with your computer, finish it on a tablet, and view it on your smartphone, you’re using Cloud Computing.  This seminar will explain the concept and demonstrate how you would use it with examples from Google+ Photos, DropBox, and Onedrive.  You will learn how to share pictures using the Cloud and specifically how to get photos from your smartphone to your computer automatically, using Dropbox or iCloud.
  7. Dec 22 Mon: Geeks on Tour: Free software for making your own movies, Photo Story and Movie Maker
    Take your digital still photos and let Photostory 3 make them look like a video movie with Zoom and Pan effects. Add custom-created music and narration all with this free, and Oh-So-Easy download from Microsoft.
    Learn how to make your own movies with Movie Maker, a free Windows program from Microsoft.  Use your pictures and video clips, add narration and music.  During the seminar, we will create a movie, step by step.  You’ll see the original pictures and video clips and learn how to combine them, arrange them on the story board, add transitions, music, and narration, and render the finished movie.  All you have to pay for is the popcorn!
  8. Dec 27: Sat: Geeks on Tour: Technology for Travelers Overview FREE
  9. Dec 29 Mon: Geeks on Tour: Picasa and Google+ Web Albums for all your digital photo needs

December 2012 Newsletter: Google Maps, Cloud Computing, Picasa Tips, Smartphone ‘First Date’

Geeks on Tour

Florida in December

peaceriverDecember started off with our own TechnoGeek Learning Rally, click the link to read all about it.  The next one is tentatively scheduled for end of March in the same RV park in Bushnell, Florida.  If you’re interested please leave a comment at the end of the article.

Then we moved on to our favorite Thousand Trails park, Peace River.  We presented several afternoon seminars while we were there, but still had plenty of time to paddle the river.  We even made a short video of our kayaking trip.

We ended the year home for the holidays in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.  While visiting with family and lots of friends, we found ourselves giving impromptu smartphone lessons.  After helping one friend set up email on her phone, she exclaimed, “That was THE BEST Christmas present EVER!”  We love what we do!

Happy New Year everybody!

The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.
Eleanor Roosevelt

Calendar: Coming up in January/February

If it looks like we’re in your area, contact us to come to your RV park!  See our Frequently Asked Question: How Can I Get the Geeks to Come to My RV Park?

For more details, see our website Calendar.  

Top Ten Picasa Tips of 2012

Chris Guld, of Geeks on Tour, writes a Picasa Tip of the Week.  She’s been doing this nearly every week since mid 2008, and you can see them all in our PicasaTutorials.com website.  If you subscribe to the email for Picasa Tip of the Week, then you’ve already seen these, but it’s nice to review.  Here are the top ten articles from PIcasaTutorials this year:

  1. What happened to Picasa Web Albums?
  2. Upgrading to Picasa 3.9
  3. Picasa Tip: Resizing a Picture’s Height and Width
  4. Picasa Tip: Framing Photos
  5. Sorting Folders vs. Sorting Pictures within a Folder
  6. Adding Text to a Collage
  7. Is Picasa the Only Software for Managing all your Travel Pictures?
  8. Picasa Tip: Make a Collage for your Facebook Cover Photo
  9. Fun with Picasa 3.9 Effects
  10. Picasa Tip: Adding Lipstick

Forum Topics

The Q&A Forums on the Geeks on Tour website are a great place to discuss the topics we cover.  This is where we answer our members’ questions.  Anyone can read the forums, you need to be a member to post.   Here are some topics of interest:

  1. Picasa – Preserving Albums
  2. Android – FoxFi no longer free
  3. Tracking Visitors to your Blog
  4. Pointers on Pictures
  5. Google Plus?

RV LED Lighting

There’s more to technology than computers and smartphones!  All the rage in lighting these days is LED lighting.  Brighter, less heat, more efficient, these lights are perfect for RVs. But, they’re also a bit pricey, the more you understand about them, the better choices you will make.  Our friends at TechnoRV have written a Buyer’s Guide to RV LED Lighting. Check it out by following this link: TechnoRV Buyer’s Guide

Thinking of Michael

Chuck Woodbury of RVtravel.com writes a New Year message about Michael that we should all read.  As RV Travelers we have such wonderful opportunities to enjoy our world.  Take advantage and enjoy it.
Read Chuck’s article and more at the current issue of RVTravel’s Newsletter.

Share a Map of your Travels with Google Maps

2012 TravelsEvery year that goes by, it gets harder to remember where we traveled.  So, I like to end the year by making a map that I can share using Google Maps.  I’m not going to cover how to plan travels and change the destinations or routes.  I’m also not going to cover making custom markers with your specific information, there is a video for that.  In this article, I just want to show how to create a quick and easy map of all your travels for the year, save it, and share it with others. The first thing to understand in Google Maps is the difference between ‘Get Directions’ and ‘My Places.’  Get Directions is just a tool, what you see is temporary and will be

Read the Rest of this Article …

What is Cloud Computing?

iStock_000019342228XSmallThe ‘Cloud’ is simply The Internet – but it is taking on special meaning as Apple, Google, Microsoft, and others are offering accounts where you can have your own slice of the sky.  They also offer device independence.  If you can start a document with your computer, finish it on your tablet, and view it on your smartphone, you’re using Cloud Computing.  With names like DropBox, Google Drive, iCloud, or SkyDrive, it no longer matters what device you have in your hand because the application, and the content is in the Cloud.

The Cloud is the Internet

So, where is this cloud?  And who owns it?  Remember … the

Read the Rest of this Article …

Make Friends with your Smartphone; go on a Date!

mary-helen_thumb.jpgWhile home for the holidays, we saw a lot of old friends.  One of them, Mary Helen, told us how she was frustrated with her new Android smartphone.  She’s always been pretty proficient with computers and it bothered her that she didn’t understand this new device.  I said, let’s spend an afternoon together and see what I can show you about your phone.  I love mine, maybe I can help you make friends with yours!

So we got together one day and Mary Helen brought her phone, and her list of questions and we started to chat.

Read the Rest of the Article …

Geeks on Tour Members learn with tutorial videosBecome a Geeks on Tour Member! And learn from our online library of Tutorial Videos Facebook, Picasa, Photo Story 3, Smartphones, Streets & Trips, Google Earth/Maps, Blogging, Boot Camp Class, Vista/Windows 7, Internet on the Road, Safe Computing only $7/monthly $58/yearly or $68 one year = access to ALL videos plus the Forums. Click here to Join

What is Cloud Computing?

iStock_000019342228XSmallThe ‘Cloud’ is simply The Internet – but it is taking on special meaning as Apple, Google, Microsoft, and others are offering accounts where you can have your own slice of the sky.  They also offer device independence.  If you can start a document with your computer, finish it on your tablet, and view it on your smartphone, you’re using Cloud Computing.  With names like DropBox, Google Drive, iCloud, or SkyDrive, it no longer matters what device you have in your hand because the application, and the content is in the Cloud.

The Cloud is the Internet

So, where is this cloud?  And who owns it?  Remember … the ‘Cloud’ is simply a synonym for the Internet.  The Internet is made up of thousands, maybe millions of Server computers, connected by millions of miles of cables, and thousands of routers.  It’s all linked together with an agreed upon system, an Internet Protocol.  Nobody owns the whole thing, although Google, Microsoft, and Apple do own some pretty large chunks.  It is the mother network of networks, it is vast and it is complex, so we need a simple analogy to describe it.  Pretend that the Internet is in the sky rather than in computers here on earth, and the term ‘Cloud’ fits nicely.  It also helps with terms like UPload and DOWNload.  UPload means taking something on your computer and sending it UP to the Internet … to the Cloud.  DOWNload means taking something that is on the Internet (in the Cloud) and bringing it DOWN to your computer.

Cloud Computing is using Computer Services from the Cloud Instead of your Computer

‘Cloud Computing’ means using Cloud-based services to store your stuff, rather than your own computer or hard drives.  For example, you can store all your spreadsheets in the Cloud and access them from wherever you are.  Cloud Computing also means using Cloud-based services for your software instead of buying boxed software.  For example, you can use Word, Excel, and Powerpoint on Microsoft SkyDrive rather than buying Microsoft Office for your computer.  Most travelers we know don’t have a whole lot of need for Excel anymore, but occasionally, you need to make a spreadsheet, or read one that someone else sends you.  Using SkyDrive, you can do that without paying for any software.

I could argue that I’ve been using Cloud Computing since the early 90s when I used CompuServe for communicating with friends on the Internet, or definitely since 2003 when I started using Blogger.com to post to my website – my blog.  But we didn’t call it Cloud Computing then, we called it Web-Based software.  The term Cloud Computing is taking hold because of services like Microsoft’s SkyDrive.  Using SkyDrive, you can create and store Word documents or Excel spreadsheets.  All you need is some device (computer, tablet, or smartphone) to access your SkyDrive account.  It’s like having a virtual computer in the sky with your name on it.  Some people think that the Cloud has something to do with Apple because they call their service iCloud, but no, Cloud Computing is a generic term.

What if you Don’t Have an Internet Connection? Synchronize!

imagesHaving a good, high-speed Internet connection is taken for granted in modern American households, but for those of us who live in an RV – we don’t take anything for granted!  That’s why we love the synchronizing (sync) feature.  Using Dropbox as an example, it not only stores your stuff in the cloud, but it synchronizes with a folder on your computer whenever your computer is connected to the Internet.

For example, we plan our travels using Microsoft Streets and Trips, we create a file called geektravels.est.  Let’s say that I created the travel plan and Jim says he wants to make some changes.  Before Dropbox, we had 2 choices:

  1. Jim could use my computer to make his changes, or,
  2. I would copy the geektravels.est file to a USB drive and give to him for his computer.  Now we have two files, one with my version of our travels and one with his – what a mess.

Now, we each have a Travels folder that has been set up with Dropbox and shared.  Whenever I make a change to our travel plans, I save it to my local copy.  Dropbox automatically notices the change and synchronizes it with the Cloud copy, AND, it also synchronizes the Cloud copy with the copy on Jim’s computer.  The next time either of us looks at the geektravels.est files, we will be looking at the current version even without a current Internet connection.  We are working with a local file, Dropbox takes care of making sure that both my local file and Jim’s local file are the same.  This has made our lives so much easier.

Comparison of Major Cloud-Computing Services





Free Space

7 GB

5 GB

2 GB

5 GB

$ for more $10/yr for 20 GB 2.49/mo for 25 GB 9.99/mo for 100 GB, but you can earn more free space $20/yr for 10 GB
Sync Method Download SkyDrive desktop app for Windows or Mac Download Google Drive for your PC or Mac Download Dropbox for Windows, Mac, or Linux Download iCloud for Macintosh, Windows, or AppleTV
Web Apps Included Word, Excel, Powerpoint, One Note, Excel Survey Google Docs: Docs,  Sheets, Slides, Form, Drawing None (3d Party apps available) iOffice: Pages, Numbers, Keynote
Mobile platforms Windows Phone, iPhone, iPad, Android Android, iPhone, iPad, Android, iPhone, iPad, Blackberry, Kindle Fire iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch,
Sharing with others Easy, including sharing with groups Easy Easy, you can even just right click a file and share via a URL Not so easy, iCloud is designed to synchronize all of your Apple devices
More Info SkyDrive Support Overview of Google Drive Dropbox Help iCloud Features

This article is meant to introduce you to the concept of Cloud Computing, any specifics about how these programs work is likely to change on a daily basis!  Jim and I, at Geeks on Tour, use Dropbox constantly to keep all our shared files synchronized.  We would be lost without it now.  We’ve also used Google Docs (which is now Google Drive) for a few years as a way to create and share online documents and spreadsheets.

If we were to start today and pick just one service, it would likely be SkyDrive … it has the most complete set of capabilities, the most free storage space, and it’s integrated with Windows 8.  We also like the Group sharing feature.  If you use any of these Cloud Computing services, we welcome your comments below.

September 2012 Newsletter: RV Destinations on the Map, Smartphone Apps, Gmail Universal Inbox,

Geeks on Tour

September Rallies

We’ve been busy.  I won’t go so far as to say we’ve been working hard, because we subscribe to the notion that when you’ve found what you love to do you never have to work!  But, we have been very busy doing what we love – teaching technology to travelers.  Read more about the Escapade Rally.


Calendar: Coming up in October

For more details, see our website Calendar.

Hang Out With Us

Did you know we have a  Geeks on Tour Google+ page?  If you’re on Google+, check it out and give us a +1.  Then you will be notified when we have a hangout.  Hangouts are a cool way to see and hear each other as well as share our computer screens.  It’s a high-tech meeting room you can use anytime, anywhere.  On our last hangout we met Rolland Lawrenz.  Rolland has been following Geeks on Tour for quite some time and loves the idea of traveling and teaching at the same time.  He teaches iPads / iPhones and such by scheduling ‘Ask Away’ sessions at local (Seattle) Starbucks.  hmmm – what a cool idea.

Forum Topics

The Q&A Forums on the Geeks on Tour website are a great place to discuss the topics we cover.  This is where we answer our members’ questions.  Anyone can read the forums, you need to be a member to post.   Here are some topics of interest:

  1. Uploading Edited Pictures from Picasa to my iPad
  2. Unable to open Email picture attachment
  3. Feedburner for Blogs
  4. Delete a Facebook Account
  5. How to Format Lat/Lon for Streets and Trips
  6. Identifying duplicate pictures in folders

TechnoGeek Learning Rally

techno-geekYes! We’re doing it again.  Phil and Tracey from TechnoRV and Jim and Chris from Geeks on Tour are teaming up to deliver the most learning, the best food, and the most fun of any RV rally you can imagine.  Watch the video of the first TechnoGeek Learning Rally to see what I mean!

You will learn about cameras, computers, smartphones and more at this week-long event in Bushnell, Florida December 2-8.  See the Rally Page for all the details.

Hands-on PIcasa class at Techno-Geek Learning Rally

A Free RVing Newsletter


image Learn about RV camping, RV travel, RV news and much more. This newsletter is now in its eleventh year of continuous weekly publication by Chuck Woodbury.  In the current issue you will learn about Chuck’s travels, including an RV Park within sight of the Statue of Liberty, RV News about fuel prices, new BLM campgrounds, RV Recalls, RV Shows, and overnight parking rules.  Also included is expert advice on high tire pressure, overheating 30Amp plugs, and RV Holding Tanks 101.  And that’s just a start!  Subscribe now. And, tell ’em the Geeks sent you!

Must-Have Smartphone Apps

passportWe have two Apps we want to tell you about.

Ever turn your phone to silent, then forget to turn it back on?  The Silent Mode Timer is for you.

And, if you’re an RVer with a Passport America membership, you’ll love the App that helps you find all the participating parks.

Read the Article …

RVer’s Favorite Destinations Plotted on a Map at FMCA Convention

imageFor the last several FMCA conventions, Jim has provided computer support for an interactive session named RV Destinations.  People attending the sessions share their favorite destinations from their RV travels, and Jim finds those destinations using Google Earth.  Now you can have the results!  

The article will also teach you how you can make your own maps.

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Use Gmail for One In-Box, Multiple Addresses and Devices

Here’s the question: Can you look at your email inbox on your phone, your computer, and your iPad/tablet and be seeing the same thing?  Can you delete an email while using your phone, and it will be gone when you look at email on your computer?

If you answer ‘Yes’, then all is well.  If not, then you’ve got some work to do.  It’s called device independence.  Your email experience should be the same regardless of what device you’re using – phone, computer, or tablet.  It can be done and it should be done.  There are many ways to do it, we think the easiest is by using Gmail for your inbox.  Yes, that means you have an email that ends in @gmail.com, but it doesn’t mean you have to use that address.  You just need to use the Gmail software for your aggregate or universal inbox.  This article will tell you how.

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Why Travelers should be Excited by Cloud Computing

About a year ago, someone in our audience asked us to explain the TV ads for Microsoft where the people kept murmuring something about ‘To the Cloud.’  We explained that ‘The Cloud’ was just a new marketing term for the Internet – that’s true, but it has come to mean something more personal than that.  The nebulous entity that is created by many computers being connected together has always been represented in diagrams by a cloud.


In one of Geeks on Tour’s earliest videos (basc11.Intro to Web Browsing), we analogized the Internet to a ‘parallel universe’ above the earth … in the clouds.  We found this to be very helpful with concepts like UPload and DOWNload, for example.

Your Data in the Cloud = Device Independence

iStock_000016827851XSmallThe Web, as it becomes more pervasive, is being used to accomplish more tasks.  It started out as a place where only web-savvy programmers could create content.  Webmasters created websites and the rest of us accessed the content in those sites.  Now it is a place where you can put your own stuff in a password protected area – your own ‘Cloud’ –  so you can access your stuff with any device.  Email was probably the first example.  If you use web-based email – like gmail, you could look at your email on your computer, or on someone else’s computer. Now you can use your smartphone or tablet to access the same email.  All you have to do is log in.  It doesn’t matter what device you use, because your email isn’t stored on any of your devices.  It’s stored on the Web, in the Cloud, and you access it with whatever device is most convenient.

With faster internet connections, and cheaper storage, we have the ability to put a lot more of our stuff on the web. If you use software like Carbonite or Mozy to back up your computer’s file to the Internet, a year ago you might have said, “I back up my files to the web.” Now you probably say, “I back up my files to the Cloud.”  If you have an account with Google, Apple, Microsoft, or Amazon, you have a password-protected place to store your stuff.  With Google it’s called Google Docs, Microsoft is SkyDrive, Apple is iCloud, and Amazon is Amazon Cloud Drive.  Most any file that you store in any of these locations will be accessible by any computing device you have.  This means no more worries when you leave home about what computer to take with you and what it has on it.

Software in the Cloud – It’s more than Just Storage

Every year, around March, I used to buy a box from the computer store for the TurboTax software for that year.  When they started making the software available on the web, I jumped on it. I had no desire to own the TurboTax software for every year, I just wanted to rent it to do my taxes each year.  And, since I use the online system, it keeps my data from year to year.  I only need to update the numbers.  I used to say, “I do my taxes online.” Now I guess I could say I do my taxes in the Cloud.

Google Docs and SkyDrive, mentioned above are also more than just online storage areas, software is included.  If you have a Microsoft account and use SkyDrive, you can create documents with the online equivalent of Word.


You can also create spreadsheets with the online equivalent of Excel, or presentations with the online equivalent of PowerPoint.  Now we’re talking Cloud Computing.  Your only need for a computing device is to be able to connect to the Internet and run the applications on your Cloud.  All your computing work is done in the Cloud!

googledocsGoogle Docs can also read and write to Word, Excel, and Powerpoint, but you’ll use the Google equivalent while working in the Cloud.  Google Docs takes spreadsheets one step further and allows you to create Forms.  These forms can be embedded in websites and used as surveys or other data collection devices.  Any user who sees the form can fill it out and, when they click Save – their data gets collected in the Google Docs Spreadsheet.  What used to take hours of technical web programming is now just a few clicks in Google Docs.  For example, this survey of your Cloud Computing usage was created with a Google Docs Form.  Go ahead, take the survey – it’s just a few questions!  You’ll be able to see the results after taking the survey.

Take a guess what SkyDrive with its apps, or Google Docs and apps cost?  Hint: I’ll bet you can afford it!

They are both free.  What a boon for travelers!  You don’t need to take your main computer with you on the road.  You don’t even need to copy important files from your main computer to your travel laptop.  Just use Cloud Computing services and it doesn’t matter what computer you have.  Your smartphone or iPad can even do most of your work for you.  You’re free!  Free to get away without losing any of your connections to family, friends or work.  Your Cloud is always there, as long as you can find a good Internet connection.

So, get a Google account and play with Google Docs, or get a SkyDrive account and play with the free Office Apps.  This is how most computing will be done as we go forward.

Better yet, register for our Techno-Geek Learning Rally April 22-28 in Bushnell, Florida.  You’re guaranteed to learn lots about the Cloud!