Showing posts from 2010

Liquid Gold or Daylight Robbery?

Having worked for HP for almost 15 years, I would always purchase HP cartridges for my printer, rather than having them re-filled. “Why are you doing that? You can save so much” my friends would say. However, I still felt a certain loyalty to my old company. I knew that it costs a lot of R&D to develop ink, and I also knew that even though $8,000 a gallon
does seem a little excessive, it pays for the R&D and means that we can buy printers for $100 as opposed to $400. Plus I know that you could have problems with warranty and print quality. I feel so foolish now, but I actually felt a little bit proud when I saw the ‘Genuine Printer Cartridge” installed on my printer screen.

Imagine my surprise then when I got an email from HP announcing “Notice of Proposed Settlement of HP InkJet Litigation”. What could this be about? According to the email, the first claim was that:“certain HP inkjet printers used "low on ink" messaging technology to indicate that replacement of a car…

Great feedback from Ida (Spruce Grove, AB)

"This company sells superior products and on top of that they are actually concerned about the customer. When the company saw how much the shipping costs were they emailed me prior to shipping to see if I would prefer the cheaper snail!!!"

Huge Gift Wrap Order

Just packed a huge FREE gift wrapping order this afternoon for the holidays (or should I say, Tracey actually did - if you saw my gift wrapping you'd pay me NOT to do it!).

Have you got yours yet?

Why I don't recommend the Eye-Fi Memory Card

For those of you who don't know, the Eye-Fi combines an SD memory card with a WiFi radio. The idea is that it will automatically transfer photos from your camera to your computer using your WiFi network. Sounds good right, especially for us RV'ers who are always taking photos? Also, it claims to offer geo-tagging support which will add the location of where the photo was taken to the photo itself so that you can search by location in programs such as Picasa or iPhotos.

So why aren't we selling them? Well, the concept is good, but after spending a couple of weeks testing one, I found it had a number of drawbacks, especially for RV'ers:-

It requires a local WiFi network, so you need a router in your rig.It's quite hard to set up, especially if you're not familiar with WiFiYou need to lchange your camera's auto-power-off feature since the camera needs to be turned on all the time it is copying photos. That can take quite some time (see below) which means that m…

Gabbing with the Geeks

At the recent Escapade show in Goshen, Tracey, Ally, Josh and myself were interviewed by our friends Chris and Jim Guld of the Geeks on Tour for their excellent video series called 'Gabbing with the Geeks'. They focus on computer education for travelers and offer exceptional booklets and tutorials on a wide range of topics, including Picasa, Computer Essentials, Blogging, Google Earth to name but a few.

Have a look at the video and see a tour of some of the hottest products from our booth!

How to Add Captions to Photos

"We have several pictures in folders on our computer. I would like to transfer them to a DVD; however, captions do not transfer with the pictures. We have put captions on all of our pictures to identify them. Any Suggestions????

PS I love the back up drive we purchased at the RV Rally and love your article about the kindle."Microsoft Galley is good for quickly looking at your photos on your computer, but I wouldn't recommend it for organizing and tagging your photos. Not only is it limited in it's features (as you've found), but it's not portable across platforms (e.g. if you got a Mac).

To solve your problem, I'd recommend Picasa from Google. For a start, it's free. Second, it has a lot of great functionality that will make your life a lot easier and save you a lot of time (including the ability to export photos with captions onto a DVD). To get it, Google Picasa and download it.

If you'd like more information on how to use Picasa, I'd highly…

How to tether your Blackberry to your laptop

I got this question from Penny and thought I would share it:
"I have a Verizon Blackberry Bold 3G Smartphone. I would like to know if I will be able to connect my lap top computer to my phone internet instead of paying for a modum via cable company for when I travel."Penny, first of all, you will need to contact Verizon and tell them that you want to tether your laptop to your phone. They will (unfortunately) charge you $15 extra for that feature, but it's a lot cheaper than buying an aircard. They should provide you with a user name and password which you will need later.

Once you have the feature enabled, you will need to connect your phone to your laptop. There are two ways of doing this. First is to connect using the USB cable that came with your phone (if you don't have one, they are available quick readily, or let us know). The other option is to use Bluetooth which is a wireless connection between your computer and your phone. To use this feature you need a B…

Where is Picasa putting my photos?

Here's a question that I got from Roger which is a common question from Picasa users:
"Help - I do not know what has happened to my pictures. I used to stick in my SD card from my camera, to the computer and dowload them to My Pictures and now it seems to that every time I put the card into the computer and it puts them into the Pisca file intstead of my pictures and I have to transfer them to my pictures. Any idea what has happened?"Roger, the first thing to remember is that you cannot 'put your pictures into Picasa'. Think of Picasa as a tool to allow you to see and manage the photos on your computer. If you have Picasa installed, when you load an SD card or your camera, Windows detects that event and then depending on it is configured, will load the right program to transfer the files. To find out how Windows 7 is configured, open the 'Control Panel', go into 'Hardware and Sound' and then select Autoplay (the second item down). Here you will see…

How to Reset Locket to Factory Settings

Sometimes during the installation process, something can go wrong and you are unable to login to your new Locket. The most likely cause is that you inadvertently used a different password during the installation process to the one you are trying to login in with.

If for what ever reason, you need to reset Locket to its factory settings, here's what you need to do (remember that THIS WILL DELETE ALL THE DATA ON YOUR LOCKET. ONLY USE THIS OPTION IF IT IS A NEW LOCKET OR ADVISED TO DO SO BY EITHER LOCKET OR TECHNORV SUPPORT.

First, download the Locket program files from the TechnoRV website
Save the file to your desktop or documents folder (this is a large - 200 MB - file so be patient and ensure that you have a good internet connection, preferably not on an air-card)
Insert your Locket drive into the computerOpen My Computer, and open the drive with the Locket icon
Navigate to the downloaded file ( and double click it to open the compressed folderSelect all the files (Ct…

Escaping the Cubicle to the Great Outdoors

Here's your chance to learn the inside scoop on the May family and TechnoRV. Our adventures over the last 4 years were recently featured in an article (Escaping the Cubicle to the Great Outdoors) on

Take a look and if you like it, feel free to pass the link on. A big thank you to Tanushree at for her help with the article. Which reminds me, I need to get back and finish the final edits on my book!

Why won't my Road Mouse Work?

Don't worry, it's probably something simple. First of all, let's check the batteries.

Hold the mouse upside down with the front of the car facing upwards. The batteries should be inserted with the left battery positive (the end with the bump) facing down, and the right battery's positive facing up. As soon as you put them in, the red optical sensor light should illuminate. If your mouse is misbehaving, you should also try new batteries as when they are getting low the light still works but it becomes 'jumpy' and hard to use.

If that doesn't fix the problem, let's make sure that you've synchronized the mouse to the transceiver. Put the transceiver (the short black stick) into a free USB port on your computer.When you do so the green light on the end should illuminate. Next, press the button on the transceiver and the green light should blink slowly. Then, press the button on underside of the mouse, normaly located above and to the right of the red ligh…

How to Use Locket to Track Expenses

I got this question from one of our Locket users (Lana in St. Louis). She wanted to know how to use Locket to track her expenses.

Good question Lana. The Expense Tracker is actually a summary screen of the transactions that have been entered from within the Asset screen. So for example, let's say that you have a bank account called Wells Fargo in the Assets screen. If you go into that screen, you can enter individual transaction for that bank account, be they deposits or withdrawals. The Expense Tracker screen will then list and summarize those transactions, for Wells Fargo, and any other accounts that you have set up.

To use Locket to track cash expenses, simply go into the Assets screen, select Other Fixed Assets for example, and then create a category called Expenses (for example). Go into that category and there you can enter the transactions which will show up on the Expense Tracker.

Murphy Getting Ready for some Midnight Bone Hunting

Even Murphy Knows Who Makes the Best Reading Lights

New Technology from CES 2010

Although it seems like a long time ago, this is the first chance I've had to sit down and write a little about what we saw at CES 2010 (the annual consumer electronics show). I posted some of my photos on the TechnoRV Facebook Fan page, but here's a couple of highlights for you.

This is by far and away the coolest 'toy' I've ever seen. If anyone has the impulse to get me an early Christmas present, this is it. It looks and behaves a lot like the 'hunter-killer' drones in Terminator 3. It's a quadracopter (helicopter with 4 blades) that uses your iPhone as a control platform, providing a visual view of what the AR 'sees' through a WiFi link and your iPhones screen.... Watch the video, it's awesome.

Samsung Ultra-thin TV
Just got yourself the latest in plamsa TV's? Well, I'm afraid you're already out of date. Samsung's new 50" plasma screen is less than 0.4" thick. Check out the video.

Naan Bread

Naan is a leavened, oven-baked flatbread that is popular in many Asian countries (and the UK!). This is THE bread that you should make to go with the butter chicken. It's amazing and you'll never want rice again! I've tried all sorts of different naan recipes and keep coming back to the one that I got with our Panasonic Break Maker about twenty years ago! You don't need to make it in a bread maker, in fact, it's easier and quicker if you don't.

Fast acting dried yeast - 1 tsp
Strong white flour - 1 lb
Sugar - 1 tsp (I use honey or maple syrup because it's healthier)
Baking powder - 1 tsp
Olive oil - 2 tbsp
Plain yogurt - 4 tbsp
Warm water - about 1 cup

Add all the dry ingredients to the bowl of a food processor using the blade attachment.Turn on and slowly add the water until the ingredients clump together into a ball and start being 'dragged around'. If your ingredients are still dry and more like flour than dough add more warm water …

Butter Chicken with Home Made Naan

Being British, you may not realize it, but our staple food isn't fish and chips, it's actually curry. And the best curry, bar none, is butter chicken (or chicken tikka masala as we call it in England). Butter chicken (or murgh makhani) is an Indian dish from Punjab, popular in countries all over the world. Although both Tracey and I have often cooked Indian food, we wanted to take it to the next level and see how we could make really authentic Indian food.

To that end, we attended a cookery class by Chura Prakash (Fremont, CA). She showed us how to make the most AMAZING butter chicken, and this is her recipe below. It consists of two parts, first you have to make and cook the chicken tandoori, then you make the butter chicken sauce. It's a little fiddly, but it makes a LOT and it freezes very well. You can even make more of the chicken tandoori and save it to have cold with salad or on top of pizza (try it, it's awesome). The tandoori masala and garam masala are availab…

Top 10 iPhone Apps for Traveling

Got an iPhone? If so, you can probably relate to this scenario. You meet someone else with an iPhone. What's the first thing that you do? Swap apps of course. Well, here's your chance to share apps with your fellow RV'ers.

Here's how it works. I'll start the ball rolling with some cool ones that I've collected along the way. If you have some to share, just use the comments section at the bottom of this entry and I'll update the blog as they come in. We're looking for the Top 10 best and most useful apps. You never know, we may even run to a prize for the No.1 app! As with most competitions, the judges decision is final (i.e. mine) and no whining if you don't win!

So here goes (in order):

1. FaceBook (free)
Got a spare moment in the laundromat? Sat around listening to someone boring in the evening and need a distraction? Waiting for the RV to get serviced? This is THE app for keeping in touch with family and friends. You can even upload your iPhone photo…

New TechnoRV Shipping Options Save you Money

We've just added some new shipping options to! While sticking to our policy of never earning a cent from shipping, we now offer USPS First Class Mail as a low cost shipping option. This is especially useful for lighter and smaller opbjects such as extra batteries, flash drives or LED caps. If the weight of your object is less than 13 ozs (the limit for First Class Mail), our website will make this option available. One of our best sellers, the Road Mice Optical Mice will ship for around $4 vs the $5.99 priority rate saving you a couple of dollars. In today's climate, every penny helps!

If perhaps you've left that special birthday gift until the last minute, our Express Mail option may be right for you. It's not cheap, but if we ship it, we guarantee to deliver your gift the next day or your money back.

Finally, remember that we will never charge you more than $5.99 for Priority Shipping, even for our larger products like the Belkin laptop workstation or Swif…

Avoiding Serious & Costly Towing Accidents

This seminar reviews problems that can be encountered when towing a vehicle behind your motorhome and how to avoid them using the latest technology. It also includes a review of a pre-travel checklist and a detailed discussion about new systems that can be combined to actively monitor your towed vehicle while on the road. Since not all towing problems are avoidable, early identification of an issue with your towed vehicle can help minimize the severity of the problem and significantly reduce the cost of repair! Audience participation is encouraged during the question and answer session. For a copy of the slides, click here or on the photo.