Showing posts from April, 2013

Gadget of the Week - USB WiFi Repeater

Almost all WiFi boosters need to be plugged into a computer and require drivers to be installed, which can be quite troublesome. Not any more. This gizmo requires no drivers and lets multiple computers connect to your booster.

As long as you have one of TechnoRV's Boosters, simply plug it into the Alfa Repeater. That's all the installation that is required.

What the repeater does is take the boosted WiFi signal and then repeat it or re-broadcast it over a new local WiFi, kind of like your own WiFi hotspot.  Each of your devices then connects wirelessly to this new hotspot and can thereby talk to the boosted WiFi signal and hence the internet. It's very cool. You can even give your hotspot signal a name and password protect it to stop those pesky people from trying to use your cool gear.

Here's a diagram (okay, I know it's a house but your RV is a house, right, it just has wheels):

Those devices can be other computers (PCs or Mac's running any operating system)…

App of the Week - GasBuddy

I recently drove from Lakeland, Florida to Goshen, Indiana. On that trip, I saw gas prices vary from $3.89 in Florida to as low as $3.11 in Costco, Charleston, SC. That's a 78c / gallon difference! Just with my little RV, that's $50. So the trick that we all face is to figure out where to fill up and where to just put in the minimum to hobble through.

Enter GasBuddy. GasBuddy uses customer input to compile a US wide database of gas and diesel prices. You simply press the home button and it will display all the nearby prices in a list or on a map. What is also very useful is the ability to enter a city (e.g. your destination) and see if the gas is cheaper or more expensive there. I used this quite effectively just recently to make sure that I arrived in South Carolina empty and made sure I filled up, since IN was a lot more expensive. It works better if you have a larger tank than my piddly 70 gallons, but hey, every penny counts!

There are other gas pricing apps, and like eve…

iPhone vs Android - Getting Started (Part 1)

This series of articles is meant to provide you with a perspective on Android Smartphones from the perspective of someone who is very familiar with the iPhone. It is intended to be impartial (as best I can) and does provide some comparison of features, although is not a detailed manual or training class. For that, I would suggest attending the TechnoGeek Learning Rally or becoming a member of the Geeks on Tour to access their training videos. It might prove useful if you are considering a Droid or iPhone, or have just bought a Droid and want some help figuring it out. Good luck! By the way, I do not profess to be an expert on Droids. If I say something that is incorrect or misleading, I apologize. Let me know and I will correct it. Promise.

First DayMy first task on my new adventure was to decide which Droid to purchase. You will recall that the term Droid (short for Android) is actually the operating system that these phones run (like iOS that the iPhones run). It is the software th…

iPhone vs Android - Photos (Part 4)

I can't remember exactly when it happened, but it happened fairly quickly. I just stopped carrying my camera around. Perhaps it was a couple of years ago, it doesn't matter. But, what is important is that before that I always had my camera with me. It was just something I did. That's why I liked the small pocket size cameras with as good video as possible (I had a Sanyo which was a pistol grip, pocket size and shot HD quality when most people didn't even know what it meant).

There were a couple of things that spurred me to do this. First was the ease of sharing. No more copying photos over to the computer, organizing, editing and then uploading. One click of the button and my photos were shared with Facebook, PhotoBucket etc. Second was the fact that my phone had a built-in GPS which meant I could always see where my photo was taken - so many times before when we traveled I forgot where the photo was taken. Thirdly, it was just pure convenience. One less thing to carr…

Personal Update

There's an old Chinese saying (actually more of a curse) which says "May you live in interesting times". Just when life begins to settle down, it becomes "interesting" again. For the last 2 weeks of February and first 2 weeks in March, Tracey, Ally and I were in Mexico on a working vacation. Our friend has a house just outside Puerto Vallara and offered for us to stay there. It's a block from the beach and is wonderful. Since we were down there we decided to have some medical work done (see my article). Long story short, Tracey had a mammogram and it turns out that she has breast cancer. I must admit, it was unexpected as she's not even 50 yet and there was no lump. Following so close from the loss of our son Josh last year it tested all of our strength and then some.

The good news is that we caught it early (stage II) and it hasn't spread too far. If we hadn't gone to Mexico I really don't know what would have happened. So in a way, it was…

WiFi Boosters - A Case Study

We're staying at the Florida Grande Motor Coach Resort just outside Webster Florida. It's a very nice class-A only resort, but it doesn't have any in-park WiFi. It does have WiFi in its recreation room, but that's about 250 yards from where we're parked. I tried looking for it on my laptop and nothing. Not a peep. What's a TechnoGeek to do? Consider it a challenge of course!

The first thing to try was my range of external boosters. These are mounted on the back of my rig and I've been experimenting with different brands and configurations so this was ideal timing. Interestingly, none of them was able to see the rec-room signal which surprised me as their theoretical range is 0.5 to 1 mile. After investigation, the problem was two-fold.

First, I took a look from the roof of my RV. Instead of a clear line of sight over to the rec-room, there was a metal roofed building in the way. This is one of the biggest problems with WiFi - you need as clear a line-of-si…