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How I Love Google Maps

August 8, 2014 by Chris Guld · Comments Off 

If you're new here, you may want to subscribe to our E-mail Digest or RSS Feed. We will then send you the stories that are posted each day in an e-mail digest. We use a service called Feedburner for delivery of these emails. You will receive an e-mail from Feedburner after you subscribe and you must click on that email to activate your subscription. Thanks for visiting and enjoy all the information! RV.Net Blog AdminIf I could only have one App on my smartphone, it would be Google Maps. How do I use the Google Maps App on my smartphone or tablet? Let me count the ways: I just look at it to see where I am. I get a quick idea of how long it will take to get from point A to point B, whether that is driving across the country, or bicycling to the store. I search for a good restaurant nearby, see a menu, check the hours, read reviews. I view a tourist attraction and look at pictures of the location I ask for directions to the nearest Walmart, Post Office, Trader Joe’s, or Camping World. And, by the way, I can ask by typing my desired location into the search box, or by clicking the microphone icon and literally “asking” Google Maps to give me directions. I ask Google Maps to give me voice-directed, turn by turn , directions.  To Navigate to the desired location. I save a location with a little star on Google Maps so I can get back there again sometime. I look at the 360 degree photographic “Street View” of a location to see if there is a good bicycle path, or to read... Read more



Teaching Technology at the Escapade RV Rally

June 20, 2014 by Chris Guld · Comments Off 

The Escapade is an annual rally for the Escapees RV Club. We’ve been teaching technology topics at RV rallies for 10 years now, but this Escapade had more people who were more interested in the topics of computers, smartphones, maps, pictures, and Blogs than any other we’ve experienced. In this post we’ll take you day by day thru the Geeks on Tour activities at the Escapade rally held in Goshen, Indiana at the Elkhart county fairgrounds. I’ve written this blog post with enough detail that I hope our readers feel like they’ve been to the seminars as well. Pre-Rally Windows 8 Workshop First came a hands-on, 6 hour class on Windows 8.  The people who came to the class saying, “I Hate Windows 8!” had all changed their tune by the end of the day.  We taught them how to make the tiled Start Screen more useable by customizing it, or to bypass it altogether and just use the old-fashioned desktop.  We taught them how to use the OneDrive folder on the computer to automatically backup and/or share files in the Cloud with OneDrive and their Microsoft account. We taught them how to Search, so they didn’t get frustrated by not finding stuff.  And, we taught them how to specify that they were using a “Metered” Internet connection.  That way, Windows 8 will refrain from doing all those big Uploads and Downloads when you’re using that connection. Pre-Rally Smartphone Workshops Next came two half-day classes, the first on Android phones and tablets,... Read more



Get Together with RVillage

March 16, 2014 by Chris Guld · 1 Comment 

by Chris Guld, www.GeeksOnTour.com We are here at the Fairgrounds in Perry, GA (in the rain) getting ready for a week of seminars and fun at the FMCA Convention.  We will have an informal get together this evening at 5 in the Multi-Purpose building by the Geeks on Tour table and the computer help desk area.  How did we arrange this get together?  With a new website meant specifically for just this purpose.  It’s called RVillage.  It’s for RVers, but we pronounce it like Our Village, a social network just for RVers. Now, before you immediately say, “I don’t need another social network” check out the special features RVillage.com offers.  Each one who joins RVillage can easily ‘check in’ whenever you pull into a new RV park, and when you do, you get an icon on the map so friends can easily see where you are.  You can also join all sorts of special groups within RVillage.  Here is a map of just the RVillagers who have added themselves to the Geeks on Tour group.  And, notice that clicking on one icon shows you the details of who that is: Whenever you check into a park, you can immediately see if any other RVillagers are there and if any get-togethers are planned.  So, for example, here at the Georgia Nat’l Fairgrounds, there are currently 9 people checked in, and there are two get-togethers planned. RVillage.com is a brand new website.  It’s been in private development for 6 months or so.  It just opened to the public... Read more



The Best Tablet for Travelers

December 8, 2013 by Chris Guld · Comments Off 

We won’t even pretend to be able to compare all the different tablets available today.  We do have our opinions however!  And, a few specific features that we think are important to travelers.  We own 3 tablets, a Nexus 7, an iPad mini, and an MS Surface Pro.  We highly recommend any of them, but be sure to read the section below on features and accessories. . . Four Categories There are generally 4 choices in tablets, divided by their operating systems: iPad and iPad mini with the iOS operating system from Apple.  If you already have an iPhone, then this is probably the right tablet for you.  We like the size of the mini.  It’s easier to hold in your hand, and it fits in a small purse/bag … and it costs less. Android tablets like Nexus, Samsung, and countless others.  We have the Nexus 7 and think it is the most bang for the buck.  The Samsung is currently the most popular brand. Kindle Fire HD and HDX.  Although this is based on the Android operating system, it needs a category of its own because it is highly customized by Amazon.   You can only download Apps from the Amazon store and that does not include Google Maps or Gmail.  The HDX is the one with the nifty “Mayday” feature where a live person appears on your screen and can help with anything about your tablet.  FYI you don’t need a Kindle to read Kindle books.  All of these devices have Kindle reader apps. Windows 8.1 tablets like the Microsoft Surface Pro or Surface RT and many others... Read more



TECH: The New Kindle Fire HDX

November 7, 2013 by Loloho.com · Comments Off 

We enjoy using tablets to browse the Internet when RV camping. While Apple practically invented the tablet category with the iPad (http://goo.gl/9dyKVN), Amazon has upped the ante with its Kindle Fire series. The new Kindle Fire HDX (http://goo.gl/KkEQ0U) takes on the iPad Mini (http://goo.gl/8huRKu). With the HDX, Amazon has delivered a powerful tablet with premium features that goes head-to-head with the iPad. Yet it costs almost half the price. Over the past couple of years, it’s become clear that consumers love the small 7-inch tablet size. Steve Jobs swore that Apple would never make a smaller iPad; well, even ol’ Steve was wrong about a few things. The new Kindle Fire HDX is powerful and lightweight. (Click the pic for more info.) Shortly after Steve moved on to that great product launch in the sky, Apple unleashed the iPad Mini. For many people, the 7” size simply feels right; it’s about the same as a traditional book. It’s easy to slip into a bag or purse (or “murse” if you’re so inclined) and take it wherever you want to go. Let’s take a look at some highlights of the Kindle Fire HDX. LIGHT WEIGHT The Kindle Fire HDX is light as a 10.7-ounce feather. That light weight means you can hold the Kindle Fire HDX for lengthy periods of time without getting fatigued. It makes a difference when you’re relaxing in bed with your evening reading. BEEFY PROCESSOR This year Amazon has beefed up the Kindle Fire HDX processor to a quad-core... Read more



Get More “Cigarette Lighter” Power Outlets with this Handy Device

September 2, 2013 by Loloho.com · Comments Off 

One of the most useful devices we carry in our RV tow vehicle SEEMORE is a 12V socket duplicator. What is a socket duplicator? It’s a little adapter cable that gives us more “cigarette lighter” 12V charging receptacles. This guy gives you FOUR 12V "cigarette lighter" adapter outlets instead of one! (CLICK THE PIC for more info.) These days, it seems we’re always charging something like a phone or tablet. Then there’s our GPS, which requires 12V socket power. We also carry a radar detector. With a socket adapter, we have all the charging recptacles we need. I like the XTG socket adapter, because it not only includes FOUR 12V sockets, but also a USB charge socket (for phones and tablets). If you travel extensively, you need a socket adapter! ‘Nuff said.  Read More →



Don’t Settle for the Camera that Came with Your Smartphone

August 16, 2013 by Chris Guld · Comments Off 

by Chris Guld, GeeksOnTour.TV Your smartphone has a camera lens, a sensor, and a shutter, but it’s the software, the Camera App that makes it a camera.  All smartphones come with a stock Camera app, but there is so much more!  Here is an article by CNET on the 12 best Android camera apps around.  And, here’s an article from howstuffworks on 10 Great iPhone Camera Apps. What is HDR I just want to tell you about the one extra camera app that I use – it’s called Pro HDR.  No, HDR doesn’t stand for High Definition something … it stands for High Dynamic Range.  It is a special photographic technique intended for scenes that have a wide range of exposure needs.  A lot of light, and a lot of dark. The HDR technique takes 3 separate photos of these scenes at 3 different exposures.  This way it can get the perfect exposure for the light parts AND the perfect exposure for the dark parts.  It also takes a middle exposure.  When these three pictures are put together, you not only get a great exposure but also depth in the color.  I love taking HDR photos – they look so special. Professional photographers actually take 3 different exposures manually and put them together later to produce HDR photos.  See some excellent examples here. HDR on a Smartphone To take an HDR photo with a smartphone, you just need an app that automatically takes the 3 exposures and puts them together.  On the iPhone with iOS 6 HDR is a simple on/off option on the stock camera app.  It takes... Read more



Using DropBox to get Pictures from your Smartphone

July 8, 2013 by Chris Guld · Comments Off 

If you’re like us, you find yourself taking more and more pictures with your smartphone instead of your normal camera.  That really messes up our procedures of getting the pictures from the camera to the computer and organizing them there.  How do we get the pictures from the smartphone to the computer?  If you are a Geeks on Tour member, you can watch some past tutorial videos on how to transfer pictures by attaching a cable from the phone to the computer: Import Pictures with Android and Import pictures from an iPad/iPhone.  But now, there is an even easier option. Dropbox, is the indispensible Cloud storage and synchronizing utility.  We’ve written about it several times, and mention it in almost every seminar since it’s our Dropbox folder where we store all our seminar materials!  Dropbox also has a special feature called “Camera Upload.”  It is nothing short of magic!  Now I take a picture on my phone and the next time I sit down at my computer, that picture is there in the Dropbox/Camera Upload folder. Add More Dropbox Storage Space by Using Camera Uploads The Free version of Dropbox starts you out with 2GB of storage space.  If you’re going to upload pictures from your smartphone to your Dropbox account, you’ll need more!  The folks at Dropbox realize this.  If you install the latest version of the Dropbox App on your Android or iPhone, you will earn up to 3GB in additional storage.  You will earn... Read more



Using an Apple iPad 4 as a Camera

June 18, 2013 by Loloho.com · Comments Off 

For many of us, our favorite souvenirs from RV travel, shows, and events are the photographs we bring home. Over the years doing the Long Long Honeymoon website, I’ve used a lot of cameras – from burly $10,000 professional rigs to rinky dink $100 point-and-shoot models. Since many people ask me for camera recommendations, I thought it would be helpful to put together a series discussing my favorite (and/or recommended) cameras. My first camera recommendation is a surprising one, even to me: the Apple iPad (4th Generation). I have a basic 16GB iPad 4th Generation with wifi only. It’s the cheapest “new edition” of the iPad. This model is equipped with two cameras: a 5-megapixel camera on the back, and a 1.2MP camera on the front. Both of these cameras were upgraded from the 3rd Generation version. I must admit that the first time I saw someone using an iPad to take photos, I thought they were crazy. Yes, it does look a little strange to be holding a tablet aloft at eye level, composing a photograph. So why am I recommending using an iPad 4 as a camera? There are several reasons. First, my iPad 4 is capable of surprisingly good image quality. I am impressed by the sharp resolution (2592 x 1936, plenty of detail for making prints) and pleasing color that the camera captures. This is the most important criteria for judging a camera: it can be used to take great pictures. I’ve taken several photos with my iPad that have left me pleasantly surprised. The... Read more



What is Cloud Computing?

May 17, 2013 by Chris Guld · Comments Off 

We (Chris and Jim of Geeks on Tour) are currently in Colorado Springs at the RVSEF Lifestyle, Education, and Safety Conference.  We are presenting two seminars today for the RVers in attendance.  The first one is on Cloud computing and how we take advantage of it in our Fulltime RVing lifestyle.  We thought our online RV.net readers might want to come along for the ride! The ‘Cloud’ is simply The Internet – but it is taking on special meaning as Apple, Google, Microsoft, and others are offering accounts where you can have your own slice of the sky.  They also offer device independence.  If you can start a document with your computer, finish it on your tablet, and view it on your smartphone, you’re using Cloud Computing.  With names like DropBox, Google Drive, iCloud, or SkyDrive, it no longer matters what device you have in your hand because the application, and the content is in the Cloud. The Cloud is the Internet So, where is this cloud?  And who owns it?  Remember … the ‘Cloud’ is simply a synonym for the Internet.  The Internet is made up of thousands, maybe millions of Server computers, connected by millions of miles of cables, and thousands of routers.  It’s all linked together with an agreed upon system, an Internet Protocol.  Nobody owns the whole thing, although Google, Microsoft, and Apple do own some pretty large chunks.  It is the mother network of networks, it is vast... Read more



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