Geeks On Tour Newsletter Subscribe to this FREE Newsletter January 31, 2010
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Cruising the BahamasFor January we're still in Fort Lauderdale, Florida with an occasional excursion. To celebrate New Years , we took a weekend cruise to the Bahamas with our parents. Then, at the end of January we presented our Computer Boot camp plus 3 computer seminars for the Computer Club at Holiday Travel Resort in Leesburg, Florida.

Next week we will be at the FMCA SE Area Rally in Brooksville, FL. We hope to see many of you there. We will have a booth in the exhibitors area (#106) and we'll be presenting seminars on Picasa, Internet on the Road, and Google Earth.

January Articles

So you don't miss anything, here's the other articles we've written this past month.
The best way to learn PicasaTurn your Computer into a TV
Cruising vs. RVing and Wi-Fi
Computer Backups are Worthless
Picasa Tip: Avoid the 5 Deadly Sins
Picasa Tip: Find Duplicate Pictures
Picasa Tip: Taking Video with your Laptop's camera
Picasa Tip: Capture one Shot from a Video

In this newsletter

  • Does your community have a Computer Club?
  • Use Copy/Paste to backup files to USB 'Thumb' Drives
  • Wi-Fi: A better antenna will get you a better connection.

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Does your Community have a Computer Club?

Last week we saw how valuable a Computer Club can be. We presented our hands-on Computer Boot Camp and whether they had been using a computer for 15 years, or less than 1, everyone told us they learned something useful.

Computer Club at HTRThe great part is that we knew our students would have someone to help them when we were gone because they belonged to the computer club. We teach in 1.5 hour seminars or sometimes in day-long classes, but we know it takes a lot longer than that to get comfortable with new material. The Computer Club meets twice each week. They offer lots of special presentations plus 'help each other' sessions all the time.

Computer Clubs use Geeks on Tour Videos
At Palm Creek RV resort in Casa Grande, Arizona the computer club is using our tutorial videos as special workshops after the regular meeting. At a school in Australia who contacted us, we provided our videos with permission to install them on the classroom servers. So students can watch our videos in the computer lab. Another school in Port Charlotte, Florida is doing the same.

We love supporting other organizations who aim to help people use their computers. If you belong to a computer club, please contact us.

If you are looking to join a computer club and you are in Arizona, here is a listing of Arizona Computer Clubs. For Florida I found this listing of Computer User Groups. I couldn't find a similar listing for Texas, but I do know of a very active club at Sun City.

Become a Fan

For Beginners: Use Copy and Paste to Back Up Files

This was one of the exercises in our Boot Camp last week and we think everyone should know how to do it. We preach backup all the time, but we don't preach a particular way to do it because there are so many choices. As long as you know that your important files are being duplicated somewhere outside of your computer, and you know how to get a file back if needed, then we're happy. We don't care how you do it.

Thumb DrivesIf you don't currently have some way to do backups, you need to know at least the very basic way of copying files. That is to use the copy command and then paste the file to an external location - the easiest being to a USB drive.

USB 'Thumb' Drives are Everywhere
These little USB drives, aka 'Thumb' drives or 'Travel' drives are available at any electronics store for around $10. Actually, I've seen them at convenience stores they're so popular now. Sometimes they're even given away as advertising specialties. Jim has a Swiss Army Knife with a USB drive as one of the attachments! They act just like the disk drives in your computer in that they can hold computer files. You can copy computer files to them, delete files, rename files, and overwrite files. If you remember the old floppy disks - you get the idea.

Copy and Paste can be used to Copy Files
So, if you have files on your computer - probably your C drive in My Documents - you can Copy them. Then, using My Computer, navigate to the USB Drive and Paste them.

When you plug the thumb drive in to a USB port - it will probably show up as drive F: or G:. If you don't know what drive letter it is, here's a trick: with My Computer open - you should see your drive letters show up. Unplug the USB drive. You'll see one letter disappear from the screen. Plug it back in and you should see a letter appear. That's it! Double-Click on it to open. Now you can Paste. The file(s) that you copied from your C drive will now be duplicated on your little thumb drive.

There are a variety of reasons to do this. Usually it's because you want to give the file(s) to someone else. Just hand them the thumb drive and they can reverse the process: plug the thumb drive into their computer, find the files and copy them, open their C drive, find an appropriate folder and paste. We often copy files to a thumb drive in order to go to a copy center and get a document printed.

Watch the 'Show-Me-How' Video
We made a video on this process just for our Boot Camp class. You can watch it here for free - Show-Me Video on Copying files to a USB Drive.

Other Show-Me-How Videos:
Cut, Copy and Paste (Membership Required)
Navigating Files and Folders (Membership Required)
Backup to External Hard Drive (Free)

Wi-Fi - A Better Antenna will Get You a Better Connection

We've said this time and time again, but it's been a while and we have a lot of new readers. If you're using a Wi-Fi hotspot and it's not working so great, get an external Wi-Fi adapter. Something like one of these:

USB Wi-Fi adapters

It's important to understand that these do not 'boost' the Wi-Fi adapter built in to your computer. They 'replace' it. You should turn off the internal adapter in your computer in order to properly use an external adapter.

Improving our Wi-Fi Experience
When we parked at our current RV park, and tried to connect to the Wi-Fi, it took a while to make the connection and browsing was very slow. We recently purchased the Hawking HWDN2 (similar to the 3d one above) so we took it out of the box, used the included CD to install the drivers, plugged the adapter into a USB port and turned off the wireless switch on the computer.

This time the connection happened a little faster, but, more importantly, the browsing was faster. Still not as good as our DSL at our home park, but better nonetheless. Wi-Fi is 2-way radio. Low-powered, 2-way radio. It only travels a few hundred feet. The radio and antenna built in to your laptop computer is often not good enough for the distances and obstructions in an RV park. Plugging in an external adapter (radio and antenna) with a wire to your USB port allows you to move the adapter over to a window, or even outside a window so as to get an unobstructed line-of-sight to the source of the Wi-Fi - the Access Point. Unobstructed line-of-sight is the most important factor in a good Wi-Fi connection.

For other, past articles on this topic:

The #1 Best way to Improve your Wi-Fi Connection
WiFire Long Range Adapter
Get the right Wi-Fi Adapter

54Mbps is Not better than 11Mbps

Wi-Fi for Beginners

 

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 Computer Tips for Travelers 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 160+ video tutorials on these subjects.