The Maps App: A Handy Travel Tool

9 Oct


Hello Everyone!

Kristin here, writing from somewhere in the South Pacific aboard the beautiful Volendam on our way to Australia.  I wanted to write a little something about one of my favorite built in apps that come with the Windows 8.1 operating system, the Maps App.  I absolutely love to travel, not just by cruise ship, but also by other means.  Many times when I am in a different town, state or country it can be pretty intimidating trying to navigate around on your own, especially if you are trying to use public transportation.  I always try to use public transportation when possible which can save time and money but trying to figure out which buses or trains to catch (especially in different countries) can sometimes seem to be more daunting than just flagging down a cab.  The Windows Maps App has come to my aid many times in these situations.  Here are the steps to be able to utilize this handy app. Enjoy!

Bon Voyage,



Step 1: Open the App

Step 1


Step 2: Select Search and get directions.


step 2


Step 3: Select Direction

step 3


Step 4: Select the bus which is for public transportation (train, bus, subway).

The other two icons are the car (private transport) and a human figure (for walking)


step 4


Step 5: Type in the where are you (or are going to be) in the A and then the destination in B

step 5


Step 6: Choose a Route

Step 6


Step 7: Once  you have chosen the route it is then displayed

step 7


Step 8: You can then choose an action to print, share or create a favorite

step 8

What is Spyware?

30 Jul

Hi there folks,


Techspert Kristin here writing from the Nieuw Amsterdam currently docked in Rome, Italy. Today I would like to talk about Spyware, what it is and how it is possible to get your computer infected.  Have you ever experienced your computer running so slow that you could go and fix yourself a pot of coffee before returning to the computer and even then your media player hasn’t even opened you.  You might be infected with Spyware.


Spyware is basically any type of program that gets into your computer and runs in the background without your permission.  It sits there in the background while it makes changes to your computer, uses up your processing speed, tracks your internet surfing and nags you with unwanted ads and offers.


Spyware usually gets onto your computer by an errant click on a pop up window, you’ve installed a software package and given it permission to add other software or you’ve opened a fake security alert pop up. 


Spyware can accomplish a multitude of different things on your computer like running applications in the background using up all your RAM or opening some many pop ups that your Web browser becomes extremely slow.  Some spyware directs your searches to specific webpages and specific results.  Then there are some types that truly spy on you.  They are designed to intercept personal information like user names and passwords from the websites that your visiting and forward that information on to others.


Some good rules of thumb to keep in mind when trying to prevent spyware is to be suspicious of installing new software that you don’t recognize like Flash, Java etc.  Also, get to know where certain computer messages pop up and the standard look of them.  If you get some weird pop-ups coming up on your computer screen avoid the cancel or no thanks button, they have the potential of still downloading spyware onto your computer.  Click on the X button on the windows or use the key stroke to close the window.


Hope this information helps some of y’all in the future to avoid any mishaps.





NEW Windows 8.1 Updated

21 May

Windows 8.1 Update is largely a collection of tweaks to the interface, rather than the type of feature improvements we saw with Windows 8.1 last year. A new title bar will be displayed at the top of Windows 8-style apps with the latest update, making it possible close these apps with a mouse and keyboard. Microsoft has also tweaked the hot corners that typically appear for the Charms and quick app switching in the desktop, adding a delay so they don’t pop up unexpectedly when you go to close a desktop app or navigate backwards in a browser.


Your Desktop taskbar with your Start Screen apps.

Changes and tweaks has also been extended to the taskbar, where Start Screen apps can now be pinned and accessed directly from your Desktop taskbar. The Windows Store app will be pinned by default, a change designed so that desktop users will still be able to discover new apps. This change makes it definitely much simpler for the desktop users to only use the all the apps on Windows 8.1 on your desktop.


Right Click Drop Down Commands.

A real nice change also came for mouse users with the right click in the Start Screen. When you use right click on an App tile in the Start Screen you get a drop down menu with commands and not the command bar at the bottom of the screen, which makes it easier and faster for mouse users to access commands.


 Start Screen Power and Search Buttons

Other tweaks and changes include a new shutdown and Search button the Start Screen. “The number one question I get on the ship is ‘I don’t know how to shutdown my machine is there an easier way to do so?’. The new shutdown button only appears on desktop PCs and laptops (similar to boot-to-desktop) and you won’t see it at all on your tablet devices. The search option will appear on every machine, but you can still use the easy search by just typing in the start screen. Microsoft has also tweaked the way new apps are installed on your device, with a notification on the Start Screen for each new app that’s installed from the Windows Store.



YouTube Microsoft Video.


TehSpert | Abrie Venter

ms Maasdam



Get Busy More Quickly: How to avoid the Windows 8 lock screen and log in automatically

16 May

By default, when your Windows 8 computer goes to sleep and then wakes up, it will display the lock screen. This is similar to the lock screen on most smart phones that appears each time you turn the screen on. You see a nice graphic and perhaps info such as the number of new email messages and upcoming calendar events. On a tablet or phone, it sort of makes sense; on a desktop or laptop, maybe not so much. If your computer doesn’t have touch-screen support, click the mouse or tap a key to “raise” the lock screen. Then you see the log-in screen where you enter your password.

If you’d prefer not to encounter these screens before you get to your desktop, you can disable the display of the lock screen with a simple change to the local Group Policy. 

Be sure you’re logged on as an Administrator and do the following:

  • To open the Group Policy Editor, press Win+R and enter gpedit.msc.
  • At the Group Policy Editor console, in the left console tree pane, navigate to Computer Configuration/Administrative Templates/Control Panel/Personalization as shown here:
  • In details pane on the right, double click the setting labeled Do not display the lock screen.
  • Click the Enabled option, then click OK.

Now, you’ll go straight to the log-in screen without seeing the lock screen.

If you are the only user on this computer, you can even bypass the log-in screen if you wish. However, be aware that access to your computer will not be as secure as before.

  • Log in as an Administrator. Press Win+R and enter netplwiz.
  • In the center section of the User Accounts window, select your User Name, the one that is an Administrator.
  • Uncheck the box at the top and click OK.
  • You will then be asked for the password. After entering it twice, click OK again and you’re done.Image

Now, when you wake or boot your computer, you can get busy right away. 

Techspert John B.
ms Eurodam



Get ready for the Alaska Season!

4 May

Hello everyone! This is Techspert Scott posting from the beautiful MS Volendam! We are ready for another exciting season in Alaska!  Our ship is hosting another photo contest in coordination with our photography department.  Let us use the skills we learned here in the Digital Workshop to edit, stich, create and save our photos! We are encouraging everyone to take advantage of “Techspert Time” to stop by the Digital Workshop where we will assist with transferring your photos to the computer and then using Windows Photo Gallery to edit, retouch, and create beautiful works of Art! Use fun effects to make your photo look Black and White or apply a Sepia Tone to get a rustic look, giving you an artistic upper hand in the photo contest! We’ve seen some beautiful photographs that have been edited using Windows Photo Gallery! See you during Techspert Time!

Have fun in Alaska!

Techspert Scott

MS Volendam

Bring back my lovely Windows 8 Start Screen please!!

12 Apr

Windows 8.1 received a necessary update on Tuesday April 8, 2014.  You should always download and install updates for feature and security reasons.  This update had me puzzled though…after 2 years of LOVING Windows 8 with the Start Screen tiles and teaching in my Digital Workshop how truly easy and fabulous this new style is to use I found my computer had basically reverted to mostly a Windows 7 Desktop environment.  For those of you who love your Windows 7 I will admit it was a great operating system, but I made the switch to 8 because I HAD to have the live tiles with all the great information!!!  But I also chose to have a non-touch screen computer due to cost.  Users of 8.1 with tablets will see no noticeable change to their machines, but desktop users may get a shock when they don’t boot to their tiles or return to the Start Screen when pressing the Windows key or after closing open programs.

If you would like to bring back the familiar Windows 8.1 way of working after you finish installing your April update follow the instructions provided here:

Step one:  Reveal your charms (Windows key + C)

Step two: Click search charm

Step three: Search for “taskbar” and select the search result “Taskbar and Navigation”

Step four: On the Navigation tab match the checked and unchecked boxes as shown. 

Step five: Click to the Taskbar tab and uncheck the “Show Windows Store apps on the taskbar” box.  (I realize after taking these screenshots that I have the box checked for auto-hide the taskbar, as that is a preference of mine, but you do not have to check that box if you like the taskbar to stay on your desktop).


Cheers from the ms Oosterdam from Trisha the Techspert!!



How to use Movie Moments

30 Mar

Movie Moments helps you turn your videos into short movies you’ll love to share. You can trim scenes to keep only your favorite parts, highlight key moments with stylish captions, and add music to set the mood. Then share the finished movie without leaving the application.

This app is meant for making quick, fun changes to short videos. The final movies are all  60 seconds or less. If you are interested inn making more advanced edits or working with longer movies, check out Movie Maker in Windows Essentials 2012.

Install Movie Moments;

1. From the Start screen, open the Windows Store. You need to be connected to the internet and you’ll need to sig I using a Microsoft Account.

2. Enter Movie Moments in the search box in the upper-right corner of the search bar

3.Tap or click Movie Moments in the results,

4. Tap or click Install.

Open Movie Moments

1. Go to Start

2.Slide up from the Start Screen.

3. Enter Movie Moments in the search field

4. Tap or click Movie Moments

Create a Movie

1. From the Start screen open Movie Moments

2. Pick a video or take a new one

3. You cn do ay of these things when making your movie;

Delete scenes; Move the handles to where you want the movie to start or stop

Add a title or captions; tap or click the Caption button and enter your words and tap or click Done.

Change the style of the title and captions: tap or click the caption button then tap or click styles.

Add music: tap or click Music and then choose a song.

Next tap or click preview.

Next click or tap save.

Now go to the charms bar and share your masterpiece.

For the Holland America Digital Workshop powered by Windows, I am

Frank Barcelona Techspert Eurodam.

Beautiful Indonesia

7 Mar

Hey Folks,

Rob here on the ms Rotterdam. This time of year the Rotterdam is the one lucky ship in the entire fleet to be doing regular trips around the islands of Indonesia and this country sure does offer a huge variety of things to do. Whether it’s the bustling city life of Jakarta, the ancient religious grounds of Borobudur or the beautiful islands of Bali, Lobok and Komodo.

To demonstrate, here are a few examples of those fantastic islands… (editing and panoramics with the help of the ever useful Windows Photo Gallery of course!)

Bali Rice Paddie 1 (1280x457)

Bali Volcano (1280x765)

DSC_0010 (887x1280)

DSC_0024 (850x1280)

DSC_3126 (1280x729)

DSC_3201 (1280x850)

Komodo Stich (1280x523)

Just a little taster of one of the many fantastic destinations Holland America cruises.

Safe sailing, folks. See you in the Digital Workshop soon!

ms Rotterdam

OneDrive :: The New SkyDrive

22 Feb

Hello Everyone,

Techspert Erika here, writing to you from the Elegant Explorer MS Prinsendam. We are currently 49 days into our 68 day Grand South America and Antarctica Voyage. What a tremendous experience this has been, from rainforests and beaches to icebergs and penguins, definitely an experience of a lifetime!

I’d like to take a moment to talk about Microsoft’s personal cloud storage service. Microsoft announced on February 19 that their personal cloud storage service, formerly known as SkyDrive, has been renamed to OneDrive. The name change came about because of a trademark dispute with another company, BSkyB. You may have noticed the change on your own computers.

OneDrive still offers the same great service, giving you one place to store your important photos, documents, and videos online. You can think of OneDrive as an external USB flashdrive (of sorts) instead of placing your photos or files to share on a flashdrive, you can place them in OneDrive and send an email sharing those files to whomever you want. This is a great way to get around those pesky email size attachment limitations. Signing up for a OneDrive account gets you 7GB of free storage.

If you want more information on OneDrive, I suggest to head to this website:

Or you can always book a cruise with Holland America Line and join your onboard Techspert for a session on Discovering OneDrive.


Hope to see you soon!

Techspert Erika :: MS Prinsendam

Six Cool Ways to Shut Down Windows 8.1

22 Jan

Windows 8.1 offers diverse ways to get things done. At the very least you have three ways to do a particular task. But with shutting down there are even more options. Take a look below;

1.Use the New Start Button;

Simply right click the Start Button and left click the command to shut down option.

2. Launch the Charms Bar;

Use key strokes (Windows Key + C) and then, click or touch on “Settings” then click on the power switch.

3. From the Desktop press “Alt + F4”;

The Shut Down window will appear and give you several options – See Rob’s great blog below for more on this method.

4. Use the Log-in-Screen;

From the Start Screen, click on your account photo in the upper right hand corner and select the sign out option. Once you are logged out, tap or click any key to get past the lock screen. Then just click Shut Down in the lower right hand corner.

5. Set up your Power Button to do the work;

Those of you who simple like to use the power switch or closing the lid on a laptop will love this feature. Go to the Desktop, right-click on the battery icon locate in the lower right hand side of the screen. Click on “Power Options” and click on the setting to choose what the power button does. You can now change the settings for “on Battery”, “Plugged in” or both to tell the computer to shut down when you press the power button or close the lid. Be sure to hit the “Save Changes Button” when you exit this menu.

6. A great method for touch screen devices;

Last but not least, open up the “File Explorer” (it’s the littler file folder on the lower left hand side of your screen). Navigate to C:\windows\System32 folder. Scroll down the folder’s contents until you see a file named “SlideToShutDown.exe. Double click that file, and the lock screen appears at the top half of the screen promoting you to slide your finger down to exit Windows. Just slide your finger to power down. To make this method even more useful, right-click on the “SlideToShutDown.exe” file and select the option to “Pin to start”. Now you have a tile to click on or tap whenever you wish to shut down Windows.


Enjoy trying out these methods and select the one that works best for you.


Frank Barcelona Techspert Eurodam for the Holland America Digital Workshop powered by Windows.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 809 other followers