Tip of the Day – Set an alarm with OK Google (or Siri)
Simply talk to your phone: Android = OK Google, Set a timer for 15 minutes.
Apple: Siri = hold down on home button until she’s listening, then “Set a timer for 15 minutes”
Interview John and Kathy Huggins of LivingTheRVDream.com
John and Kathy have been fulltime RVers for about 10 years. They are best known for their weekly podcast, “Living the RV Dream” and for their extremely popular Facebook Group: Living the RV Dream. Over 34,000 members and growing daily! They’ve also written a couple of RVing books. So You Want To Be An RVer? will tell you everything you might every want to know about RVing!
John and Kathy discuss how RVing has allowed them to see so many things in the United States. Especially Mr. Rushmore!
Note: we had a little technical difficulty with the video for a while, but we covered with photos – and the live video does pick up here.
Eric and Tami bought TechnoRV from our friends Phil and Tracey May. Years ago, we put together our own RV rallies called Techno-Geek Learning Rally. Phil and Tracey have since moved back to their home in the UK. We are enjoying getting to know Eric and Tami.
They talk about how they made the decision to go RVing. With 3 kids in college, they have a few more considerations than many of us!
Eric and Tami are continuing the TechnoRV process of evaluating, using, and supporting products that are useful to RVers. They’ve done a great job of vetting their products, teaching how to use them, and supporting their customers.
Like water and electricity, Internet usage may be metered.
Many travelers use their cellular devices as Wi-Fi hotspots. For example, we have smartphones with a Verizon Data Plan for Internet access. We turn a phone into a hotspot and connect our computers’ Wi-Fi to that hotspot. When the computer is working on the Internet, it is consuming Internet resources from our Verizon Data Plan. Many other people have a mobile hotspot called a MiFi or a Jetpack that their computers connect to. These are also powered by a cellular contract for data (Internet usage.) If your cellular contract has data limits, Windows 8 refers to it as a “Metered” connection. That means it is not free and usage needs to be watched.
Everyone’s limits are different. You need to know what your cell provider contract specifies. Let’s say you have a 5 Gigabytes/month plan. If you download a 2 Gigabyte Windows update, and watch a 2 hour movie on Netflix, you’ve used up the majority of your plan – and you may only be 2 days into your month! If you go over your limits, there will probably be a charge. This also depends on your contract. Some mobile internet providers do not charge for overage, they throttle your connection, meaning they slow it way down.
Other Wi-Fi connections, like a free RV Park Wi-Fi hotspot, or a home network, may be unlimited. That would be considered an UNmetered connection to the Internet.
There are three things that Windows 8.1 can do for you:
Track the amount of data (Internet usage) that is happening over a given connection
Define a connection as metered or unmetered
Limit the Internet usage when connected to a metered connection
You can see your possible Wi-Fi network connections by clicking on the 5-bar Network icon in the task bar (bottom right.)
If you don’t see the taskbar, just move your mouse to the bottom of your screen and it will appear.
You will see something like this (with different names.)
In that list, MrGeek is the name of our smartphone’s hotspot. If you right click on the name, you’ll see: Choose “Show estimated data usage” and the number of Gigabytes used will show up: Click on “Set as metered connection” and special rules will now apply when this connection is in use.
Settings while using a Metered Connection
Updates: While connected to a metered connection, Windows Update will only download priority updates, not all updates.
Store: The Windows Store will pause downloading apps — including updates for apps.
Start Screen: live tiles on your Start screen won’t update.
Search: Bing search will not automatically give search suggestions or web results
OneDrive Synchronizing: You can choose to allow (or not) OneDrive to upload and download files while using a metered connection. Open (or search for) your PC Settings->OneDrive->Metered Connections.
Upload and Download files over metered connections. Turn that OFF
Sync and backup settings over metered connections. Turn that OFF (although this uses less bandwidth and you may choose to leave it on)
Learn more about Wi-Fi and Mobile Internet
If you use Internet while you travel there is a lot to know. If you like using public Wi-Fi hotspots and want to learn how to get better results, we recommend the booklet from our friends at TechnoRV titled: Guide to Boosting your RV’s WiFi. It’s a quick read with plenty of pictures. You will understand a lot more of what’s involved in connecting to a Wi-Fi hotspot so you can be an educated consumer. The booklet also details the 3 levels of solutions that TechnoRV sells. We know that they use everything they sell and they know what they’re talking about.
If you want to learn everything about mobile Internet – not just Wi-Fi, but cellular and satellite as well, check out our Technomadia friends. They are devoting themselves to keeping up with all the options and they have a website and a book focused on RV Mobile Internet. See RVMobileInternet.com
April was a busy month. First we got all packed and left Fort Lauderdale. Easter weekend we were at an old high school friend’s (Alex) for the weekend along with other high school alumni of Chris’, some of whom are excellent musicians. We were treated to 3 days of music, party, and friends in the beautiful wooded area east of Gainesville, Florida. Alex’s property included a perfect RV site complete with electric hookup! For more details, including videos of the music, see our Blog Post.
Then came our very special Rally. The rally was a joint effort between TechnoRV – aka Phil and Tracey May, and Geeks on Tour – aka Jim and Chris Guld. What fun we had! All 36 people who attended seemed to have only one word to say … WOW! Here’s a video overview of the rally:
A Different Kind of RV Rally–Learn about cameras, computers, smartphones and more.
We covered so much information at the rally, we’ve decided to use this newsletter just to highlight some of the learning from last week. See the rally’s daily schedule to see all that was covered.
New Tutorial Videos
You can always see the most recent Tutorial Videos on the Geeks on Tour membership site by going to www.geeksontour.com, clicking on the Learning Library menu and then choosing ‘Recent Videos.’ These videos are for members only unless specified as free. For April, the new videos are:
Our Techno-Geek Learning rally was a learning experience for us too! We decided to use Facebook’s ‘Page’ feature rather than have a traditional website. It was great to be able to have other people post their pictures and comments as they attended the event. Over the course of the week, over 300 people ‘Liked’ the TechnoGeek Learning Rally page. This meant that we were actually sharing our learning rally with all of them in addition to the people who were actually there. That’s pretty cool!
Even if you don’t have a Facebook account, you can view the page just like any other web page on the Internet. For those that do use Facebook, they could click ‘Like’ and know that they wouldn’t miss anything because whatever we posted on our page would show up on their Facebook Home Page ‘Newsfeed.’
It is so easy to post pictures and stories that the page collected a lot of information in a short amount of time. Any general learning information we tried to post on the main page. Any information specific to last week, we entered on the April 2012 Event page. If you visit that page, be sure to scroll down to the bottom, then click ‘Older Posts’ – you’ll need to do that 3 times to get to the beginning of the rally.
The biggest problem we found with using the Facebook page is that you can’t control the layout of the page. When it starts to get full, it can be very hard to find anything. When people post pictures, instead of all pictures going into a photo album, each picture needed it’s own post. And, only official posts by the organizers (us) show up in full in the main column of the page. Other posts are collapsed and stuck in a box at the right. You need to learn to click the tiny ‘See All’ link in order to see what other people are saying.
All in all, we consider the Facebook experiment a success. The layout will continue to evolve. Meanwhile everyone learned a lot. One attendee said, “I never used Facebook much, but since I learned so much more about it this week, I’ve been able to see pictures of my grandkids that I haven’t seen before.”
Whether you use a point-and-shoot camera, a digital SLR, or just your smartphone for taking pictures, there are a lot of settings and techniques for taking better pictures. Phil May, from TechnoRV, presented the ‘Getting the Most from your Digital Camera’ seminar on the first day of the rally. Then he took people out on ‘walkabout’ to try their skills with their cameras. One of the prime directives in taking pictures was to ‘get closer’ … no really, I mean GET CLOSER!
Participants learned about the Macro modes on their cameras as well as fill-flash and scene settings. Then, on the second day of the rally, Chris taught the hands-on class for editing your pictures using Picasa. Even people with their Macintosh computers, who were accustomed to iPhoto, attended that class and commented on how many more editing tools were available in Picasa.
At Geeks on Tour, we’ve been evangelists for Picasa over 7 years now. It’s a free program that you download to your computer from Google. We teach several seminars on it, produced over 60 tutorial videos, have a website dedicated to Picasa, and wrote a book on it! But, we know it’s not the only game in town. Many people with Macintosh computers are very happy with iPhoto which comes preinstalled on their Macs – even though Picasa does have a fully compatible Macintosh version. On Windows computers, the gold standard photo editing program is Adobe Photoshop ($700!) or Photoshop Elements ($99.) There are also several free programs, including Microsoft’s offering – Windows Live Photo Gallery, and a full featured, Photoshop workalike called GIMP.
Everyone at the rally either had a smartphone, or was thinking about getting one. Both Android and iPhones were represented, but Androids were in the majority. For iPhone users, the most popular navigation app was Waze. Androids come with Google Navigation and we love it!
After a delicious breakfast, every day of our rally started with a panel discussion. If someone had a question about technology for travelers – any question at all – this is when we answered it. Impromptu topics that got a lot of attention included Dropbox. Both of us (Geeks on Tour and TechnoRV) use Dropbox all the time and we love it. I wrote a previous article: Dropbox-Free Synchronizing Among Computers, and Phil recently wrote Dropbox – the Best little App You’ve Never Heard Of. One morning an attendee wanted to show something on her computer to the group, so we used www.Join.me to connect her screen to one of our computers at the front so it could be displayed thru the projector. Join.me is the free app we use for computer support. With just a few clicks we can see your screen on ours. Evernote is another device-independent application. Use it for taking notes on your iPhone or Android phone, and that same note is available on the web using your laptop or tablet. Although photography related topics was the bulk of our rally, some people said that learning about the Streets and Trips POI Megafile was worth the price of admission. The megafile was just updated in April. For our members, here’s the video on using the POI Megafile. I also notice there is a video you can watch on the Streets and Trips blog. At the rally, we were able to help people hands-on install the megafile on their computer and even set it as their default template for Streets and Trips.
There was a lot more … if you attended the rally and learned something that I didn’t mention here – please leave a comment ok?
Become 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 $58/yr= access to ALL videos plus the Forums. Click here to Join
That’s all for now. We hope you learned something. Your next issue will be next month. Any questions, please visit our forum. If you like this newsletter, please forward it on to your friends! If you received this issue forwarded by a friend you can subscribe to get your own copy delivered to your in box – it’s free. To see the archives of past newsletters, go to https://geeksontour.com/category/newsletter/.
It’s still 10 days away, but, since we are in the general area, we decided to stop by the RV park where our Techno-Geek Learning Rally will be held.
The park is Paradise Oaks in Bushnell, Florida. We’ve stayed here once before and were impressed with the facilities. That’s why we chose it. But we weren’t sure of the details like the kitchen facilities, the Wi-Fi etc. We can still take more registrations, if you’re interested you can learn more here.
It’s a pretty new park, so the sites have good 50amp hookups and large paved pads. And they just completed an upgrade of their Wi-Fi system.
One of my requirements is a nice hot tub – so that was my first stop!
See that big white screen in the background? We didn’t remember that. It’s a movie screen! Oh Boy! We can have an outdoor movie night during our rally and show our favorite RV movie – Long, Long Trailer with Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz.
Our main questions were about the kitchen. This is the first rally we’ve ever done, it’s small enough (about 30 people) that, between the TechnoRV folks and us, we should be able to handle the food preparation if the kitchen has everything we need.
It does … and then some!
4 ovens! 2 stovetops and a microwave. A full size refrigerator and a full size freezer side by side.
and plenty of equipment like coffee urns, chafing dishes, roasters and other food warmers.
There’s even a Kitchen Aid mixer available! Not that I’d have any idea what to do with it but maybe Tracey, Phil, Ally, or Josh do?!
And the meeting room is very nice. The only problem is it may be difficult to get it darkened for the projector.
We were also happy to see that there is a second, smaller room. So we can break the group into two. A couple of our hands-on segments were aimed at beginners and our survey of attendees indicates that most people are more advanced than that. So we’ve revised the rally schedule and I’ll take the folks wanting basic Windows 7 training in the small room, while Jim and Phil show off mobile Internet devices and explain how best to use antennas and routers.
Most everyone is interested in photo editing with Picasa, so we’ll do that hands-on class in the big room. But, the little room will still be available if a small group wants to work on something else.
I am most looking forward to the every morning panel discussion where we’re asking for questions from the audience on anything! This is where we’ll all get to learn something. I love questions that bring new topics to our attention. And I know we’ll learn some things from our audience as well. There is so much cool, new technology coming out every day, no one can possibly know it all. We will also have that most knowledgeable of all computer resources … teenagers! Phil and Tracey’s kids, Ally and Josh, will be with us during this rally. Ally makes great videos, and Josh is our Macintosh expert! They are home-schooled using online curriculum while traveling the country with their parents. See our video about Phil, Tracey, Josh, and Ally for more info.
Hopefully, this will be the first of many Techno-Geek Learning Rallies. We’re already looking at dates in November, after the Good Sam rally in Daytona.
The image above was created using Picasa. I was showing off Picasa’s ability to combine the faces feature with Collage and the Text feature. As it turned out, I really like it as a promotional picture for our rally!
A joint RV rally with Geeks on Tour and TechnoRV. Spend some time learning about cool things to do with your computer (Windows *or* Macs *or* Android *or* iPads/iPhones), digital camera, Smartphones, GPS, and other gadgets. We’ll have a lot of fun too!
Every day of the Rally we plan to ..
Start the day with Tai Chi
Continental Breakfast and a panel with open Q&A ..
give a photo/video assignment and have photo editing and movie-making clinics ..
Show and Tell of useful gadgets – Computer and RV and Smartphones ..
present Geeks on Tour topic seminars .. (Picasa, Blogger, Streets and Trips, Facebook, Droid, Google Earth)
PLEASE MAKE YOUR OWN RV RESERVATION WITH PARADISE OAKS GOLF AND RV RESORT. WE HAVE NEGOTIATED A SPECIAL RATE OF $25. JUST CALL AND ASK FOR LIL NEWCOMBE (352-793-1823). This is not included in your Rally Tuition.
The fee for the event is $199. One registration is for one RV and 2 people. Geeks on Tour Members get a discounted rate of $165 Please Log in to see the button.
If you could backup your computers without any fuss, would you do it?
We’ve told you to backup, but do you?
Everyone knows you are supposed to backup your computer. Backing up your files requires effort and organization. Right? You had to know which files to backup and where they were on your hard drive. Some programs have their own backup utility. Then, what do you use to hold the backup? CD? DVD? USB thumb driive? The Cloud?
Yes. You need to back up in order to recover from a catastrophic loss of data. Like if your computer crashed or was stolen. Multiple backups in an offsite location are best. That is one reason “Cloud” or Internet based backups are popular.
I prefer to make my own backups. I still archive my important data onto DVD disks and store them offsite.
Backup software has become less of a chore and disk capacities have increased, but you still need to configure the program.
If you can plug it in, you can make your backups
Backing up your important files is so easy now with a Clickfree backup.
Let me show you how.
Unpack the drive and plug it in to the computer. Some embedded software wants to install on your computer. It’s OK. Accept the end user agreement, and you are done. Within a minute, the program accesses your drive and begins looking for file types associated with data. It continues on to back up all those files to the Clickfree hard drive.
That is all there is to it. At least, that is the way it worked with our computers.
Notice I said “computers.” Plug the same Clickfree drive into another computer, and the Clickfree will back up the files it finds. Separately. Automatically. Do all the computers in your place.
And, get this. With our Clickfree C2N, if you have a local network with a router, you can keep the Clickfree device on one computer, and the other computers will find it and back up according to a schedule you set.
Subsequent backups take much less time as only the newly changed files are backed up.
Now there is no excuse for not backing up your computers. You just need to get a Clickfree and plug it in.
We got our unit from our friends at TechnoRV. They they are wonderful folks who have some really cool products at good prices and offer knowledgeable support.
The Clickfree comes in several capacities and prices, so you can choose the one that fits your needs. Ours is a 640GB C2N. We really like it.
What about Restoring Files?
We can all agree that Clickfree makes backing up easy, but what about restoring files when you need them? The Clickfree software has a simple Restore button on the main menu, then you have a choice for Quick Restore – or Advanced Restore. Quick Restore will restore everything to the original locations. Advanced Restore allows you to specify which files you want to restore and where you want them.
What if you lost the Clickfree software? The backed up files are available thru the Windows Explorer as well. This is something I really like in a backup system. If I have the hard drive, I have my files. Even if I’ve lost the software somehow along the line. You can browse the Clickfree drive.
In this episode, we introduce you to some other ‘Geeks’ – Phil and Tracey May from TechnoRV.com. In addition to living on the road and selling cool geek toys at RV rallies, the teenage members of the family, Ally and Josh, are able to manage their schooling by using the Internet and being home-schooled. Watch the video below and enjoy meeting Phil, Tracey, Ally, Josh, and Murphy!