Tag Archives: Geeks on Tour schedule

January Newsletter: TechnoGeek Learning Rally, Facebook Privacy, Smartphone Cameras

Geeks on Tour

Florida in January

Sunset on Siesta Key in Sarasota.  Jim's birthday 2013
Sunset on Siesta Key in Sarasota. Jim’s birthday 2013

We are enjoying traveling around Florida this winter.  We see beautiful sunrises when we’re on the east coast, and sunsets on the west!  Besides being a beautiful sunset, you may notice something extra special about this picture if you click on it to enlarge.  It has a little extra depth and sharpness that Picasa’s HDRish tool gave it.  If you’re a Geeks on Tour Member you can watch a tutorial video on how HDRish works.  If you’re not a member, why not?!  It’s only $7/mo or $58/yrly.  Join Today!

Get Away Stay Connected: This tagline from our Coach Connect days describes our lifestyle.  We love to get away, but we also love to stay connected.  Usually that means using our computer, but since Florida was our home for so long, it also means face-to-face connections with old friends and colleagues while we’re here.  This time, while in Fort Lauderdale, we decided to re-join our Toastmasters group.  Both Jim and I were very active in Toastmasters for many years before we hit the road.  We’ve even visited one club outside of our area during our first year of traveling.  We’d like to do more of that – Toastmaster’s meetings are so enjoyable, uplifting, and educational.  It is an international organization with groups everywhere we go.  It’s good to be a member again.


Calendar: Coming up in February/March

technogeek_learning_rally_largeRegistration is open for our third TechnoGeek Learning Rally in Bushnell, Florida March 26-30.  Come learn about lots of technology to enhance your RVing lifestyle!  Geeks on Tour Members get a 20% discount.  Hey!  That’s another reason to Join Today.  The rally is 5 days, including 4 breakfasts and 3 dinners.  There is an optional 2-day pre-rally focusing on smartphones, and an included 2 days post-rally Homework Help.

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.  


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. Upload Picture from Picasa to Facebook Group? 
  2. Combining Photo Albums in Facebook
  3. Moving Pictures to a New PC – what will I lose? (scroll to bottom for new posts)
  4. Discuss the WiFi Ranger (scroll to bottom for new posts)
  5. Picasa to Facebook Uploader Pro
  6. Problems inserting image in Blogger
  7. Streets and Trips with Windows 8
  8. Shutterfly and Email

TechnoGeek Learning Rally

Kathy and John exercise their SmartphonespicasaOnsite help.The amazing Vanstones - Larry and Marilyn (www.amazingvanstones.com)

You should attend the Learning Rally if … ..

  • You’ve attended any Geeks on Tour seminars and left wanting more.
  • You’ve bought some cool gadgets from www.TechnoRV.com and want to learn more about using them.  Or you want to buy more.
  • You have multiple computers, smartphones, tablets, cameras … yet you still consider yourself a beginner with computers and technology.
  • You are an RVer.  We hold the rally at an RV park! We also will teach about technology and gadgets specifically for RVing.
  • You just love learning new stuff!
  • You have lots of questions about using your technology.  We will have 3 sessions of open Q&A with our panel of TechnoGeeks!
  • You’d like to show your kids something … that they didn’t teach you!
  • You’ve looked at the schedule and like what you see. tentative daily schedule
  • You’ve looked at the menu and you’re getting hungry.  Rally Menu from last rally.
  • You want to compare notes with other RVers about their smartphones, Internet connections, email issues, photo-sharing options, RV gadgets, etc.
  • You’d like to attend a small RV rally, where there’s ample opportunity to get to know people, share meals, learn, and party.
  • You’ve been to a TechnoGeek Learning Rally before and you want more!

When: March 26-30 with optional free ‘Homework Help’ days after rally and optional 2 day Smartphone Learning Camp pre-rally.

Where: Bushnell, Florida.  Paradise Oaks RV Park.

Cost: Rally: $149/person limit 40 
          Smartphone Pre-Rally: $79/person limit 10
          20% discount for paid Geeks on Tour members

RV Site: Rally rate is $25/night, not included in registration. 
             Call Call Paradise Oaks at 352-793-1823.

Register Now


11 am Checkout Time?

Chuck Woodbury of RVtravel.com doesn’t like to checkout of an RV park so early!   
Read Chuck’s article and tell him what you think at the current issue of RVTravel’s Newsletter. Also take a look at his video of the HUGE Quartzsite RV show.

 


Do Me a Favor … Don’t Listen to your Friends on Facebook!

Overhearing Telephone Conversation In Office

When you get a Facebook message that starts with “I want to stay PRIVATELY connected with you…” you should know that the instructions that follow are pure nonsense.  Don’t do it when it tells you to find your Friend settings and “REMOVE the CHECK on "COMMENTS & LIKE" and also "PHOTOS”  By unchecking those boxes all you’ve done is cut yourself off from receiving your friend’s photos, comments and likes.  It has NO bearing on who else can see their posts, but it is a worthy lesson in how Facebook privacy works.  Read on and I will explain what is going on as well as tell you the right way to stay PRIVATELY connected – it’s a lot easier than removing checkmarks on all your Friends’ settings!

Read the Rest of this Article …


Getting the Most from Your Smartphone’s Camera

More and more, people are using their smartphones to capture all the pictures in their lives.  Many of them don’t know that there are special settings and features that will help them take better pictures.  And, once the pictures are taken, there are lots of ways to share them.

Read the rest of this 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



June 2012 Newsletter: Smartphones and QR Codes, Picasa Collages, Internet from your Smartphone

Geeks on Tour

June was primarily spent preparing and attending the Good Sam RV Rally in Louisville, KY.  We presented 7 different seminars.   The large seminar room ‘C109’ at the Kentucky Expo hall was basically all ours for the week of the rally! 

We also offered 2 hands-on sessions on the Early Bird day. We had a full house (20 people) for our hands-on Photo Editing with Picasa class, and just a few less than that for our Smart Phone Boot Camp.  We loved every minute of it, and were thoroughly exhausted by week’s end.

A Sad Note About our Friends at TechnoRV

Life is not always fun and computers.  On June 25, we attended the memorial of Josh May. Josh was the 14 year old son of our friends Phil and Tracey, and brother of Ally, from TechnoRV.  It tore our hearts to see friends in such pain.  It also warmed our hearts to see the outpouring of love for them and the memory of Josh.  Many family members were there, having flown over from England.  Friends were in attendance from as far away as California.  Their extended RVing family also showed up by the score as well as people from the campground and the local community.  Nearly 100 people attended.  Goodbye Josh.  You were loved.

July Schedule

In July we have a few appearances scheduled thru the APCUG, the Association of Personal Computer User Groups.  On July 10 we will be in West Nyack, New York and we’ll present back to back seminars on Picasa and Smart Phones for the joint meeting of the Rockland PC Users’ Group and the Westchester PC Users Group.   Next comes the Mid-Hudson Computer User group in Poughkeepsie, NY, then the FMCA NE Area Rally in Essex Junction, Vermont.  At the end of July we’ll come back south to Connecticut for the The PC Users Group of Connecticut. To see everything on our schedule, check out our monthly calendar. You can also click on the map at right, then any placemark to see the details.

 

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. Unwanted Messages on Facebook 
  2. DVD Maker
  3. Comments on a Blog
  4. Streets & Trips: Adding POI Megafile to current map
  5. Droid 4G LTE connections
  6. Scanning and Saving
  7. Streets and Trips on sale at Staples $20

What are QR Codes and How do I use my Smartphone to Read Them?

I’m sure you’ve seen them, those black and white, square codes.  Like a computer’s digital attempt at finger painting, these are called QR Codes for Quick Response.  They started with Toyota as a way to track cars thru the manufacturing process.  Because they can hold a lot of data and be read very quickly with a smartphone, they have taken over printed promotional media.  With one square inch (or even less) of space on a printed flyer, business card, or brochure, a business can disseminate an entire website of information.  A QR code can even be programmed to play an online video, show a map location, or download a file.

It’s called a QR code – but it’s just a special type of Bar Code so all you need on your smartphone to read it is a Bar Code scanner app.

Here’s the video that shows you how to do it:

 

Read the Article …


New ‘Short Course’ of Videos on Picasa Collages

I love Picasa’s Collage feature and use it almost daily.  Up until recently our Geeks on Tour Learning Library for Picasa only had one, older video about creating a collage.  There’s so much to the collage feature that it was impossible to make one of our short tutorials that would do it justice, so we made a series of them and put them together with some written instructions as well.  We call this a ‘Short Course’ and we expect to have more of them on other topics. 

Here is one of the videos from the short course.  It’s about using Picasa’s collage feature to create a banner collage for your Facebook Timeline.

Read the Article …


Internet from your Smartphone with PDANet or FoxFi

You may remember this video we did a couple of years ago when we first got our Droid smartphones.  It shows how we use some software called PDANet to tether our phone to our computer, giving the computer an Internet connection.

New Smartphones with New PDANet = WiFi Hotspot on your Phone

Both Jim and I now have Droid RAZR smartphones and they have the ability to be a WiFi hotspot.  If you go thru Verizon and turn on that feature, it will cost you an extra fee.  However, if you use the PDANet/FoxFi software, you just pay once for the software and the hotspot gets its data from your phone’s data plan.  It’s really amazing. 

After you’ve downloaded the necessary

Read 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 $58/yr= access to ALL videos plus the Forums.
Click here to Join



Geeks on Tour Newsletter November 2011: Focus on Photos

Geeks on Tour

November was a ‘nose-to-the-grindstone’ month.  We’re parked at our home base RV park (Paradise Island in Ft. Lauderdale, FL) and will be here all winter.  Jim works in the office 3 days a week in exchange for our site.  He also does our customer service, and answers member questions on the forum.  We added 72 members last month!  I worked on the computer, producing new tutorial videos, updating our Picasa book to 3.8, and generally updating and improving all things Geeks on Tour

It has been too windy to go Kayak Diving, our favorite sport, but we know the beach is just 15 minutes away and we can go for a walk any time we want. 

Last month we polled our readers about full articles or links in the newsletter email.  80% like the condensed newsletter with links to the full articles, 20% want the full articles because they don’t want to click on the links.  So – we’ll compromise.  The majority of our articles will appear here as excerpts and a link to take you to the full article, but we will have one topic that is covered in full right in the newsletter.  This month its an overview of Photo software.


jim-chrisUpcoming Appearances

  • Jan 23-27 2012: Florida Association of Computer User Groups, 2012 Conference Bahamas Cruise.
  • Wed, Feb 1 1pm: Cascades Computer Club, Port St. Lucie
  • Thu, Feb 16, 7PM: Valencia Lakes Computer & Technology Club, Boynton Beach
  • Mon, Feb 20, 10AM: Cascade Lakes Computer & Technology Club , Boynton Beach
  • Mon, Feb 20, 7PM:   Valencia Falls Computer & Technology Club, Delray Beach
  • Wed, Feb 22, 2012, 7PM: Boca Raton Computer Society, Delray Beach
  • Mon, March 19, 2012, 7PM: Bellaggio Computer & Technology Club, Lake Worth
  • Techno-Geek Learning Rally April 22-28, 2012 in Bushnell Florida

t-g

Please follow the link to see details, indicate your interest, and join the conversation.  We’ll figure out the cost, and the event will be open for registration by the first of the year.

 


fblikeWe are posting a daily GOT (Geeks On Tour) Jeopardy question on our Facebook page.  If you ‘Like’ our page, then these posts will show up on your Facebook news feed.  Try your knowledge by responding, or learn by reading the correct response posted the next day.  For example:

  • To make the sky look bluer in your photograph, you can use this special effect in Picasa.
  • To protect your facebook account from getting hijacked it is important to have more than one email address associated with your account plus you need to confirm your _____ number.
  • When you type a website’s address into a Google Search, you will not be taken to the website, but rather to this page.

Ask the Geeks

Screen Captures3

Our Q&A Forums are a good place to ask questions, here are some examples from the past month:

Do you have questions like this?  If you are a member of Geeks on Tour, you can ask anything you want in the forum.  Mr. or Mrs. Geek promise to respond, and we have several other knowledgeable members who will add to the conversation. If you’re not a member, Join before the end of the year and lock in our low $39/year price because it goes up on Jan 1.

 


Articles this Month

Throughout the month we write articles on our GeeksOnTour.com website, as well as for PicasaTutorials.com and RV.net.  We recap them all here in our monthly newsletter so you don’t miss anything!

  • Picasa Tip: Holiday Gifts with Photos
    Picasa makes it oh-so-easy to order photo gifts like coffee mugs, tshirts, mouse pads and more, just by clicking the Shop button.
    Read the article …
  • Editing Facebook Pictures with Picnik
    If you post pictures directly to Facebook without first using Picasa on your computer, you will be happy to know that there is a way to edit/improve them all online using Picnik.
    Read the article … 
  • Forget about Picasa and Learn Files and Folders
    In Windows it’s called ‘Explorer’, in Macintosh it’s called ‘Finder.’ It’s the computer’s way of storing and organizing files and folders. Picasa is software that sits on top of the files and folders.  Picasa does not store your pictures, it is a tool for working with the pictures that exist in your computer’s folders.
    Read the Article …
  • Part Time Mobile Internet Connections
    As fulltime RVers, we have no problem signing a 2 year contract for Internet service from Verizon, but we know many people who only travel part time. What are their options for mobile Internet service? A couple years ago, your only option was to rely on Wi-Fi which is very UNreliable! Now there are several options for short term cellular Internet connections.
    Read the article …
  • Rand McNally TripMaker RVND GPS for RVs
    In this third article about the Rand McNally GPS, we include a free video on planning trips on the device.  We show how it routes specifically for RVs with special clearance and propane needs.  We also offer our overall opinion.
    Read the article …

 


jointoday_thumbOne month left to lock in $39/year

As Geeks on Tour’s website has grown and improved we have maintained a very low annual membership fee of $39.  On the first of 2012, we will be raising that fee, but you can lock it in now by subscribing to our Annual Recurring Membership of $39.

Read More …


Focus on Photos

Beginner's Guide to Picasa available as eBook or Print with DVD.  Click for Details.How to manage your digital photos has become our most requested seminar topic.  We specialize in Picasa – we even wrote a book on it!  You can buy it as an eBook, or a Print book with a DVD of tutorial videos.  Click here for details. 

In this article, we’ll tell you why we like Picasa, as well as covering a few other software products and comparing.

Picasa: The main reason we like Picasa so much is that it does everything you need to do with your pictures.  From importing from your camera, to organizing, to sharing on a website, and especially for backing up.  Any software requires some learning.  Learning Picasa is rewarding.  The more you learn, the more you can do with your pictures.  The only thing you can’t do is to seriously ‘doctor’ your photos.  For example, Picasa can’t remove a person from a photo and put a tree in their place!  You need serious photo editing software for that.  But, you can do extensive ‘nursing’ of your photos.  See the before and after examples below.  It only takes a few clicks to get from the before to the after.

Before Picasa

After Picasa

Mount Ranier as seen from the deck of the cruise ship. Mount Ranier as seen from the deck of the cruise ship.
Jim and Chris at glacier Jim and Chris at glacier
20061028_pink-flowers 20061028_pink-flowers-1

I love the super easy way you can add text to your photos in Picasa, like in the ‘Alaska Cruise’ example above.  I also love the Collage feature.  The more I learn, the more I use the Collage feature in Picasa.  For, example, I created the banner below for our blog using Picasa.  If you want to know how this was done, see this PicasaTutorials article: Making a Banner Picture.

Blog header created using Picasa's Collage feature

Windows Live Photo Gallery: This is another free program for Windows that can manage your digital photos.  I like how it lets you view photos by tags so easily.  Sometimes I leave Picasa and open Photo Gallery, just to view all my tags.  I can do this because tags are stored with the picture file, so I can use either Picasa or Photo Gallery.  Both programs are working with the same picture files on your computer, so it doesn’t mess anything up to go back and forth.  Photo Gallery also has two other features that Picasa doesn’t, 1) Panorama stitching and 2) Photo fusing.  You probably know about panoramas, if not see this PicasaTutorials article: Making a Panorama.  But you probably haven’t heard of Fusing.  You may have seen the Microsoft TV ad where they’re trying to take a family photo, but in every shot a different person is showing up badly.  Fusing allows you to take the best of each person in these similar shots and make one composite good photo.  It’s really slick.  I wouldn’t switch to Photo Gallery however, because Picasa has more editing capabilities, the text tool, and the collage feature, backup and Gift CD.

Once again, I can just hop over to Photo Gallery if I have a fusing project – it creates a new picture – then I can return to my comfortable Picasa and the new picture will show up there.

iPhoto: If you have a Macintosh, odds are that you use iPhoto.  iPhoto is similar to Picasa and does much the same thing.  I don’t have a Mac (yet) but I’ve talked to people who have used both iPhoto and Picasa for Mac.  They’ve told me that Picasa has better editing tools, but not enough to make it worth switching from iPhoto.  That was also before the current version 11 of iPhoto where they have added many new features.  One thing that is important to know about iPhoto is that, unlike Picasa, iPhoto *does* store the pictures in it’s own Library package.  So, you can’t easily go back and forth between iPhoto and Picasa like with Photo Gallery and Picasa on the PC. If you try to edit one of iPhoto’s pictures using Picasa, Picasa will need to make a copy first.

Photo Story 3: Photo Story 3 is a free download from Microsoft and it is one of our favorite simple programs.  It creates slide show movies and makes it super simple to add multiple music selections as well as narration.  Picasa has a very simple moviemaker feature, and you can also add music, but you can’t add narration. Being able to narrate your slideshow creates a complete, professional movie.

Gimp:  If you really do need to take that person out of the picture and replace them with a tree, you need something like Photoshop.  Photoshop is an expensive piece of software, Gimp is free and does most of the same things.  I haven’t used it because I paid for a program called Fireworks that also does a lot of the same things.  

What about you?  Any of your favorites that I didn’t mention?  View this newsletter online and leave a comment.

 

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, Streets & Trips, Google Earth/Maps, Blogging, Boot Camp Class, Vista/Windows 7, Internet on the Road, Safe Computing
only $39/year = access to ALL videos plus the Forums.
Click here to Join