What a beautiful week it was! We were on the Norwegian Sky cruise ship with 400 other people from the Florida Assn. of Computer User Groups: FACUG, as well as the Assn. of Personal Computer User Groups: APCUG. We watched presentations on Windows 8 and Cloud Computing, and we gave presentations on Picasa and Smartphones.
See the article below to learn how we got online while we were on the cruise and the price we paid!
Geeks on Tour Interviewed
Another participant in the conference cruise was Dave Graveline of the Into Tomorrow technology radio show. They’re celebrating 17 years of their radio show covering the latest in consumer electronics and technology.
Click here to listen to the show they recorded from the cruise ship – it’s the red box in the right sidebar labeled ‘Listen to Our Show’. You’ll find our interview in the second hour starting at 11:43.
We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves! We think Dave did a great job with the Interview. Thanks Dave!
Register Now for the Techno-Geek Learning Rally
Come to the Techno-Geek Learning Rally and learn about Computer Maps, Digital Photography and Staying Connected as you Travel. Small groups, Windows, Macs, and Smartphones. 6 days of relaxed learning, hands-on assignments and lots of food and fun! April 22-28 2012 in Bushnell, Florida.
Rally registration is $165 for Geeks on Tour Members, $199 for non-members. You can come in your RV and stay onsite, or you can drive in for the day if you’re not in an RV. A 12 hour hands-on Computer Boot Camp will be held after the rally for an extra $45 fee or $120 if you’re not attending the rally. Campsites are $25/day.
Keep up with us in between newsletters by following our Facebook page. You’ll have fun and learn by answering our Geeks On Tour Jeopardy questions! If you go to www.facebook.com/geeksontour you will be able to see everything we post there. It is a completely public page, you do not need to be a member of Facebook, but if you are on Facebook, you can click the ‘Like’ button, then our posts will show up on your Facebook home page Newsfeed.
Ask the Geeks
Our Q&A Forums are a good place to ask questions, here are some examples from the past month. Anyone can read the Q&A, but you must be a member to post.
Do you have questions like this? If you are a paid 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 Now.
Internet on a Cruise Ship, Beware of Roaming
On our recent cruise to the Bahamas, we knew we weren’t going to have much Internet access, but we needed to check email at least twice, just to see if we had any customer support issues to answer. So, we splurged the $24 for one hour of online access at the ship’s Internet café. It was slower than dial-up. By the time we established the connection, Jim opened his Gmail and answered one or two messages, I opened my Gmail and did the same, our hour was up.
The picture at right is of the dome which covers the satellite dish on board the Norwegian Sky. When you get over the disappointment about how slow and expensive it is, you really must marvel at how magic it is that it works at all. I remember when we had the Datastorm Internet Satellite dish on the roof of our RV. It made our RV lifestyle possible back then. Making a satellite connection for Internet is a much greater feat than those for TV because, for TV, all you need is to Receive the signal. For Internet, you also must be able to Send. It’s a 2-way signal. Getting the dish on our RV to hit the correct satellite, 22,000 miles away, took some serious fine-tuning, and a stiff wind could knock it off signal. How the heck they get that technology to work on a ship at sea is beyond me!
Companies who provide Internet for cruise ships and large yachts are MTN, KVH, and Inmarsat. But even people on small sailboats, African safaris, and Himalayan treks can get Internet using Satellite phones and service from Iridium. The phones will set you back at least $1,000, and you can also rent them by the week for $50 – $100. It’s the service that is the expensive part.
How long do you think it will take until we all have inexpensive ‘communicators’ (a la Star Trek) which work from anywhere?
Understand Verizon Data Roaming
While we were docked in Freeport, I thought I’d try getting email on my Droid smartphone. There was no Verizon 3G service, understandably, but I decided to see if there was a Roaming service available, surely they have cell towers in the Bahamas? My setting for Data Roaming is usually off. This is very important if you are in border areas. People in the US, but close to the Canadian border, for example, may find that their phone is connecting to a cell tower on the Canadian side of the border, and they don’t even know it. I’ve heard of cell phone bills in the thousands of dollars due to roaming fees.
Part of our job is to experiment with all the ways to stay connected while you travel, so I held my breath, turned on Data Roaming (settings, Wireless and Networks, Mobile Networks, Data Roaming), downloaded my email, and turned it off again. If the fees were based on time, it was less than a minute! But they’re not. The fees are based on the amount of data transmitted. My bill says that I used 1.4 Megabytes of data and the fee is $29. I don’t think I’ll do that again.
What about you? Have you ever had a substantial bill from your cellphone provider for data roaming?
Please leave us a comment.
Other Articles Published this Month
How to Block Apps and Game Requests in Facebook
There are some fun games that people play on Facebook. But what if you don’t want to play? How do you stop all those game notices and invitations without unfriending the person? Read the Full Article …
A Map of Visited States
Would you like to have your very own map of visited states or countries? Many travelers include this as part of their email signature, or in their blog posts or on Facebook. It’s easy and free Read the Full Article …
Fun with Picasa 3.9 Effects
Make a simple picture look like a professional painting with just a few clicks of the new Picasa 3.9 effects. Read the Full Article …
Picasa 3.9 Side by Side Editing
If you’re using Picasa 3.9, you can easily see the results of applying different editing effects by using the new Side by Side Editing. Read the Full Article …
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I think there are a lot of RVers who also take cruising vacations. Cruising is very much like RVing in that you don’t have to check in and out of a room for every destination. You keep your stuff all in one room, yet you travel to multiple locations. Then there’s the food. Sure wish I could have that available when we’re RVing!
The primary reason I love RVing is the complete freedom and independence of going wherever we want to go, whenever we want to go there. Although that does not describe cruising, I find cruising to be a nice change of pace where I don’t have any decisions to make. We took a short, weekend cruise to the Bahamas this past weekend with the family. Six of us. It’s a great way to spend time together and be sure that everyone is comfortable. The only decision I had to make was what to eat!
I was also looking forward to staying connected while we were on the cruise ship. I could have sworn I saw, “Free Wi-Fi on board” in the promotional literature. As it turns out, I was only half right. There was Wi-Fi in the public areas, but it was not free.
$24/hour for Wi-Fi!
And I thought $10/day was high the last time I was in a hotel! It is amazing that they have an Internet connection at all way out at sea, but for that price I decided to leave my computer in my bag! I can survive 4 days being disconnected, but not much more. We did find a free Wi-Fi hotspot at the Ferry terminal in Nassau so Jim used his new Droid phone to send a message to our blog letting people know that we were out of touch.
How about you? Do you like cruising? How do you stay connected when you go to sea?