Panama Canal Cruise Technology Recap

Well, now that I’ve been back from my month-long hiatus, it’s time to review the technology used while travelling.  Here is a listing of what hardware I took along as well as software used to blog and/or communicate.

Acer Aspire One NetBook Computer

Flip Video Camcorder

HP Photosmart R817 camera

SkyFi3 Satellite Radio with antenna

Sanyo cell phone on Bell Mobility network

Windows Live Writer


The Acer was great.  I could take it anywhere on the ship.  I could fit it into my Holland America bag or just hang on to it as it virtually weighs nothing.  After a few days of typing my blog I got quite proficient at using the keyboard though I’m still debating on getting the newer 10.1” model – just as light but screen and keyboard are a little bigger so it may not fit as easily into handbags and totes. There were some problems getting the Internet at some places onboard including our stateroom and I’m not sure whether it was the strength of the wireless in the Acer or problems with the ship’s wireless.  There were times when their Internet was extremely slow.  Several people had complained as you pay by the minute and most of that time was spent waiting.

I took hundreds of video clips with my Flip but I found one major flaw.  Uploading video to YouTube to attach to my blog was unbelievably slow and with a minimum of $.40/minute, it was just too costly.  There has to be a faster way to upload videos.  Hopefully I will find it before the next trip.  The nice thing about the Flip is that you can get stills from your video so if I didn’t have any good pictures from my camera I could check the video and create a picture to upload to the blog.  In fact, next time I may leave my camera at home altogether.  With the camera you’re always getting that split-second shot where someone usually has their eyes closed or someone has walked into the picture.  You know how that is.  With the Flip you can take video of everyone and everything and then step though it to find the best shot AND the pictures seem to be much clearer than with the camera.

As stated above, I didn’t use the camera too much and when I did I found that a lot of the pictures were somewhat blurry.  Don’t know if it was me or the ship moving… Anyway, it was a pain to carry both camera and Flip around so I am seriously debating leaving it at home in the future.

Fortunately before I left I decided to download some of my favs onto my SkyFi3 just in case the satellite didn’t work.  Even though the headset (antenna) is supposed to pick up signals when you are outside, it didn’t.  Basically I used it like an iPod instead.  XM Radio is not available everywhere!

Communications, other than email, were at a stand-still.  Once we left Fort Lauderdale I had no service at all until San Diego.  My travel partner, Rick, had a Blackberry on the Rogers Network, and he had service at every port.  He would get this really nice Welcome text message from whatever network was in that particular country and all his text and voice messages would come through.  What I found interesting though is that my Roger’s Internet stick did not work at all.  Isn’t it the same network?? Guess not.  So I guess it’s time to breakdown and get a “blackberry” and change networks.

The Windows Live Writer is a great tool.  I could start drafts of the days ahead of time if I wanted and then add things as we went along.  It was really easy to add pictures, hyperlinks and tags without using any Internet time.  So I could take my netBook anywhere to write and when I was ready I’d go find a place where I could get access and then press the Publish button and away it would go.  The Publish is very fast – even with pictures – so it didn’t take a lot of Internet time.  I’m really impressed with the way Live Writer interfaces with the Internet to publish blog entries.  Fast and efficient.  Got to like that.

So before my next trip I need to find a faster way to upload videos to my blog and get a new cellphone/blackberry on a different network, The XM Radio I guess I can do without as long as I have My Music filled with good beach tunes..

If anyone has any solutions or recommendations for the two major problems I encountered, please feel free to share!

Testing Microsoft’s LiveWriter

Thanks to Bonnie Sainsbury at Connect the Dots for recommending this package. She always has great ideas of time savers that I need.  I was looking for a way to write my blog offline and then upload and publish it when I get to port.  I’m heading off on a cruise for 3 weeks and I don’t need a thousand dollar Internet bill at the end.

So, I’m testing my old HP Photosmart R817 camera with a 2 GB SD card for videos and Microsoft’s LiveWriter Software.

Animal Testing????

I think the camera could be upgraded.  I just saw a couple of 10 mp cameras at The Source.  That’s twice what this one is, as well as I may want a stabilizer.  I’m hoping to get some fun videos on the ship and maybe a few interesting ones on the beaches….

I found loading the video to YouTube was VERY SLOW so unless I can find a free Internet cafe, that may not happen.

Setting up LiveWriter to work with my Blog was very simple – much simpler than the instructions WordPress has for setting up emailing to your blog.  AND Microsoft Installer even told me where I had to go in WordPress to change an administrator setting to get it to work.

So, I’m down to the last part – which is uploading this to my blog.  I’m going to try it now and will let you know how it went.

Ciao for now.


Well, that was REALLY SIMPLE.  I pressed the Publish button and Tah Dah, there it was on my blog.  That was pretty quick.  It may make up for the YouTube speed.  I would highly recommend this package to bloggers everywhere…..

Canada Marketing Summit

The Canada Marketing Summit kicks off next week, March 26-29.  Possibly the biggest event for internet marketing and direct response marketing with 16 of today’s top names flying into Vancouver, BC for 4-days of specialized money-generating training.

Regular ticket prices are already a very low $1397, that’s less than $87 per speaker and includes luncheons and strategic networking opportunities.

However, YOU now have a VIP coupon code saving you an impressive $1000.

Just enter your Twitter name and password under the Canada Marketing Seminar to the left and click Tweet Now!.  This will entitle you to a $1000 discount off the regular price.

If you don’t know what a “tweet” or “twitter” is, you need to learn fast! (sign up free). Once you have set up your Twitter user, you can Retweet from this page to get your $1000 discount.

I think this will be a very exciting summit with so many teachers to help us through the Internet Marketing Maze.  Hope to see you there.

Gmail Offline Application

How many times have you wanted to look up an email someone sent you to, let’s say, find the address that you are trying to get to because you forgot to print the email out or write it down, or are working on a project but need some info that you can’t get to because you don’t have Internet access?

I do this all the time and even though I have an Internet stick to get wireless just about anywhere, I really don’t want to waste my valuable data time looking something up.

WELL, now you can now look up anything that’s happened in your gmail for the past 3 years without connecting to the Internet!!

The Google Applications is Gears.  Gears is open source that allows you access to Web-based applications even when you are not connected.  This can be particularly handy if you are using HotSpot wireless or the Internet Stick to access as you can view past emails and compose emails without it costing you money.  Any messages you compose while offline will be sent automatically once you are connected again.  In the meantime they are stored in your Outbox.  Just think of the amount of airtime you can save by preparing the emails ahead of time and then connecting to send.  It gives you more time to surf while you are connected.

Installing Google Gears

Go to http:\\ and click on Install.

Run the installer and restart your browser when requested.

Log into your Gmail and click on the green Labs beaker.  If you don’t have a green labs beaker, refer back to blog post:

Once you are in Google Labs, Find the application called “Offline.”  Click “enable” and “save changes.”  Once you have saved, there will be a new tab called “Offline” right next to your green labs beaker. Click on the “Offline” tab to get the following message:

Click on next.

Click on “I trust this site” and “Allow”.

Decide what shortcuts you would like on your desktop and then click “OK”.  Offline will then start downloaded all of your emails, attachments, etc to your computer for the last 3 years.  Unfortunately, there is no option to tell Offline that you want a shorter period.  There is a little trick though.  The copy starts at the newest and works its way backwards.  If you disconnect your computer from the Internet at the point you don’t want any more data, it will stop downloading.

Once you have enabled “Offline” it will copy everything you send and receive to your computer as you work. Also, now that you have it installed, whenever you happen to browse an application on the Internet that has links to Gears, it will come up with the Gears Security Warning to set it up for that application.  There are not a lot of applications at this point, but like all Google Apps, there are developers out there looking at how they can integrate this feature into their web applications.  If you don’t want to add it, just click on “Deny”.

This is another great Add-on to Google and I think it will fast become one of my favourites.

22 Signs You’re a Geek

Today there was a cute article from called “22 Signs You’re a Geek”  written by Diann Daniel.   I guess I’m just a partial Geek as I love my Wii; I don’t have a Blackberry (I have a dumb phone and an Acer Aspire instead) let alone two; I have a few more clothes than just t-shirts with logos (though I did pick up a few new ones at BlogWorld Expo 2008); and I’ve never played Dungeons and Dragons.

My daughter, the doctor geek, calls me a Dork!! Not sure what the difference is and I thought I raised her better than to make fun of Mom’s quirkiness.  Guess not.

You can watch the slideshow at:


Are you a Blogger? Blink!!

This seemingly innocent question was asked of my friend and I many times at the BlogWorld Expo 2008 – usually by female exhibitors. Interesting, don’t you think? At any other event we might not have thought it an inane question to ask.  BUT since we were at the BlogWorld Expo showing our FULL ACCESS passes, it was rather ridiculous and insulting.  Why would we pay the Full Access conference fee and spend 2 gorgeous days in sunny, hot Las Vegas indoors at seminars, workshops and exhibitions if we were not bloggers?

My friend and I are older, voluptuous females who have been in the IT world longer than most of our cohorts have been alive.  The constant learning of new technology keeps us young and vital.  Unfortunately, we live in a society that discriminates against women in technology (and women in general), overweight people and “seniors”.  Talk about a triple threat!!!

Exhibitors need to review how they address people who visit their booths.  Are they projecting conscious or unconscious prejudices based on first impressions?  Most likely.

I am currently reading an interesting book called “Blink: The Power Of Thinking Without Thinking“.  Blink looks into how we make our first impression judgments based on previous encounters or by what has been drilled into us by society, media, culture, etc.  The author, Malcolm Gladwell, first goes into how our initial impressions are usually right but then goes on to explain that initial impressions can also be tainted by our history and knowledge or lack thereof.  The better you know your subject, the better you become at “Thinking without Thinking”.

As far as exhibitors or salepeople in general are concerned, they really should be more observant of the people they are talking to if they really want to sell their products.