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Thousand Trails Park, Chesapeake BayIn October we invited Chris' Mom, Marilyn, to join us in RVing from Ohio to Florida. The 3 of us enjoyed being tourists in Washington D.C., staying at the Thousand Trails park at Chesapeake Bay, and making a couple beach stops before arriving home in Fort Lauderdale. We'll be staying here for most of the winter at Paradise Island RV Park.

Our big news coming up is that Google has invited us to speak at an internal conference in Mountain View, CA. No, we won't be driving the RV! They agreed to fly us out there and put us up at a hotel. We will also be co-hosting a webinar on Picasa. See article below for details.

October Articles

So you don't miss anything, here's the other articles we've written this past month.
Rallies and Seminars
Tribute to Early RVers: My Parents
Florida State Parks: Sebastian Inlet
The Best Wi-Fi in RV Parks
Windows 7 Launch
Picasa 3.5 New Import Screen
Picasa: Getting Professional Prints
Picasa: Better Pictures
Picasa: Managing Thousands of Photos on External Hard Drives

In this newsletter


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Geeks on Tour and Google Present a Webinar on Picasa

On November 13, at 1pm Eastern time, you can watch a webinar (seminar delivered over the web) on the basics of using Picasa for managing your digital photos. Jaysie, from Google, will introduce Picasa and Chris, from Geeks on Tour, will show you how to make your photos look better with just a few clicks from her favorite software. We hope you can all join in. Please take a moment now to register for the event. It's one hour long and it's free.

We couldn't be more excited about this opportunity. Jim promises to take loads of pictures so we can share the whole experience with you. Google is well-known as being Geek-Heaven, and a great place to work. We've been promised a tour of the Googleplex (Google's Headquarters in Mountain View, CA) as well as lunch in one of the many employee cafes. Oh Boy!

 

Thousands of POIs for Streets and Trips

Back in 2004, we attended Life on Wheels, a week-long school for RVers. One of the best things we learned was about the Discovery Owners website and all the GPS data files they made avaialble for programs like Streets and Trips. In case you're unfamiliar, this data is called 'Points of Interest' or POI's for short. The data file needs to have the name of the POI and the Latitude/Longitude coordinates. Then, when you load them into your program, they become markers on the map.

Our favorite file was a listing of all Passport America RV parks. We take advantage of the Passport America half-price deal whenever possible, so, having them show up on our Streets and Trips map that we use when we're on the road is extremely handy.

Another time, we knew we were going to be driving till late and we just wanted a place to park and sleep before starting early again the next morning. The perfect scenario for Walmart. So, we downloaded the POI file for all the Walmarts and installed that on our Streets and Trips program. It helped a lot that day, but we really didn't want *all* those markers on our map all the time, so we uninstalled it. That was a cumbersome process, one that prevented us from downloading and using very many POI files.

Install all POI's then use Show/Hide

All that has changed. You can now get a file with over 200 POI sets, all the Flying J's, Cracker Barrels, low bridges, Thousand Trails parks, Walmarts, and, of course, Passport America parks - just to name a few. All of these sets are in one data file. You can load it into Streets and Trips, then, with a feature new to S&T 2010, you can simply hide or unhide each pushpin (POI) set individually. At any time you can make one set of POIs visible, or invisible.

The usefulness of this mega-file and the show/hide feature of S&T 2010 cannot be overstated - we used it all the time during the last month. Jim says, 'We're getting low on gas, can you find where the next Flying J is?" I say, "Just a sec" I find 'Flying J' listed as a pushpin set, right-click on it and choose 'show.' I can see a Flying J on our route in a short distance. I can even add it to our route so that Streets and Trips can remind us at the correct exit because I'm bound to find myself spacing out looking at the scenery at just the wrong time. Don't you just hate it when your first view of the Fying J sign is in your rear view mirror? Whenever I feel that the Flying J icons are cluttering up my screen, I can just right-click on the set again and choose Hide.

If you have Streets and Trips, you can read more about this file, view a short video, and download the file for free at LaptopGPSWorld.com.

Q&A from our Members

One of the benefits of becoming a Geeks on Tour member is the private Q&A forum. Here is a sample Q&A from the past month:

Upgrading to Windows 7:

Q: Is it true that Windows 7 does not come with an email program?

A: Yes. Windows XP came with Outlook Express and Windows Vista came with Windows Mail. Windows 7 does not come with an email program, but you can easily download Live Mail from Microsoft for free.

Adding Video to your Blog

Q: I just made a video using Photo Story 3. How do get it into my Blog?

A: First, make sure the video is located in a folder that Picasa is watching. That way, you can double-click on it from within Picasa to view it. While you're viewing it, you will see a button to 'upload to Youtube.' You'll need a youtube account (it's free.) Youtube then, gives you tools to embed any video into your blog. Just copy the code provided and paste into the HTML on your blog.

Sharing a Verizon Aircard

Q: I use a Verizon air card on my laptop, both at home and on the road.  I also have a cable modem that is connected to my home network and desktop computer.  Rather than continue to pay for both a cable connection and an air card, I'd like to be able to connect the air card to the home network and use it for both computers.  Is this possible, and if so, how is it hooked up?

A: You certainly can use your cellular connection for your home network.  It won't be quite as fast as your cable connection, and you have to keep an eye on your usage so you don't go over the 5 Gig monthly Verizon bandwidth limit.
In my opinion, the best way would be with the excellent Cradlepoint MBR1000 router from the 3G Store.  Click on the links for more information.  This will replace your current network router.

A more complicated solution would be to use Internet Connection Sharing (ICS) on your laptop.  Configuration can be a bear, and the laptop would have to stay on when sharing the Internet.

Somewhere in the middle is the Cradlepoint MBR350 solution.

The people at the 3G Store are the real experts and they have the best prices we have found. 
Like so many questions, the answer is "It Depends." 

That's all for now. We hope you learned something. Your next issue will be next month. Any questions, please email us. 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 www.geeksontour.com/newsletters.

Happy Computing!


The Geeks on Tour website is an online classroom for Travelers who want to learn to use their computers for managing digital photos, making blogs, using maps and other online resources. Anyone can watch our free sample videos, read articles on our Articles and Links Blog, sign up for our free monthly newsletter, or Picasa weekly tips. A small fee makes you a 'member' and you can then view any of our 150+ video tutorials on these subjects.