Archive | August, 2011

Eye-Fi Memory Card

30 Aug

Hi Guys

I’m Elza Visser, the Techspert writing to you from onboard the ms Maasdam Digital Workshop which is currently docked in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island.

By chance I stumbled across this little accessory and thought I would share this with you.  They call it the “Eye-Fi Memory Card”

So having read through this website I think this could def. be a very great tool to have.

Eye-Fi claims…”It all started with a very simple idea: what if photos could just fly to where you want them to be? That’s how a memory card with antenna and magical superpowers was born.” 🙂 “memory + Wi-Fi = Eye-Fi”


In a nutshell, a SD memory card with built in Wi-Fi and you just send your pictures off into space from your camera in a jiffy!! (Providing that your camera is compatible!) This you can even check on their website as well. They provide a list on there of brands and camera’s that does support this card and function.

The Eye-Fi wireless memory cards stores media, and fits into cameras just like a regular SDHC card. On top of that, the Eye-Fi card has built-in Wi-Fi that effortlessly transfers photos and videos to your iPhone, iPad, Android device or computer.

Some of the features:

· Endless memory

· Online Sharing

· Geotagging

· Hotspot Access

Rated Class 6 in the speed department, the new Mobile X2 card is SDHC compatible and supports JPEG and most video formats for transmission at an 802.11n speed rating. (If you need to transmit RAW files wirelessly, check out the Eye-Fi Pro X2 memory card).


Among the new card’s amenities is the Select Share Option (Online Sharing), which allows you to select which image files you want to transmit, while blocking access to those images you wish to lock on the card.

Along with mobile devices, the Eye-Fi Mobile X2 card can also upload image files to your computer network with equal ease, enabling you to back up data to a remote location on the fly, not to mention clean the card and return it to active service with minimal down time.

Eye-Fi uses your home Wi-Fi network

Upon setup, specify which networks the Eye-Fi card uses to transfer your media. Add up to 32 networks for your card to use. The next time your camera is on within range of a specified network, your photos and videos will fly to your computer and to your favourite sharing site.

Instant uploads anywhere

If you are away from home, you can simply set up Direct Mode. Whether you are at the beach, on top of Yosemite, or visiting the Golden Gate Bridge, your Eye-Fi card can directly transfer photos and videos from your camera to your iPhone, iPad, or Android device.

Gets media where you want it

During the quick set-up, you customize where you want your memories sent. The Eye-Fi card will only send them to the computer and to the sharing site you choose. Pick from one of over 25 popular sites.

What you’ll need

· An SDHC compatible camera. The Eye-Fi Connect X2 card works in hundreds of cameras, including Canon, Nikon, Casio, Panasonic and more. Not sure if yours is one of them? Find out by visiting

· A broadband Internet connection to set up your Eye-Fi card

· A Wi-Fi router compatible with 802.11b/g/n on the 2.4GHz band. Note: 5 GHz band is not supported.

· A computer with Windows XP (SP3)/Vista/7 or Mac OSX (Intel) 10.5, or 10.6 (Snow Leopard)

· 100MB of free space

· A compatible iOS or Android device (required to use Direct Mode only)

For more information on this please visit

I really hope that this was as interesting to you as it was to me.

Elza Visser

Techspert, ms Maasdam

How to Split Music in Windows Live Movie Maker

25 Aug

Hello folks,

     Kristin here, writing direct from the Digital Workshop aboard the beautiful Ms Eurodam currently docked in Dover, England.  We as Techsperts are blessed with a job that allows us to see and experience people and places that few people may ever be able to witness, as such, we all have MANY photos and videos to show for it.   I for one like to create two things with my photos and videos, detailed photo books and movies that I burn DVD’s to highlight my travels and exploits.  Concerning the creation of the movies, I always use Windows Live Movie Maker to create my films.  By combining the photos and videos that I’ve taken into one file, adding music, animations and visual effects, I get an end result that will last me through the years. 

     While teaching the Making Movies class in the Digital Workshop I always get the question of how to move around the music into certain places. And some people don’t want music to play over their videos that they have taken for various reasons.  Below I have given an example of the splitting music tool to fix this little problem.  While on the Volendam in Australia and New Zealand I was able to watch a Maori tribe do a traditional sing and dance.  I took photos as well as videos, added them into the Movie Maker program and then added music.  But I didn’t want the audio from the music to override the music and singing of the performers.  So I proceeded to “split” the music. 

After I have added the photos, movies, transitions, visual effects to the movie I then add the music.  I then proceed to the “options” panel under Music Tools.

After having gone to the options panel, I then drag the black line that you will find in your slideshow area to the very beginning of my video that I have taken. After dragging the line to that point you will then go back up to the ribbon in the top and select the “split” option.  The split does not actually delete any of the music, it simply cuts it at the point that you have placed the black line on.  This allows you to then move the music.  To move the music, place your cursor over the green line that represents your music, then left and hold and drag the green line to the end of the video and release.  You should be seeing complete white (no green line) over the part of your video.

After accomplishing this task I can go straight to save my movie by going to the file panel in the top right hand corner on my ribbon and going to save movie and then to my computer. 

Well folks, hope this helps you to accomplish more with your videos and makes everything a little easier. 

Cheers from the Digital Workshop,


Techspert, Ms Eurodam and the Digital Workshop powered by Windows

The Quick Access Toolbar speeds up your day!

19 Aug

This is Chris Jackson, the Techspert, writing you from Alaska onboard the ms Volendam in the Digital Workshop sponsored by Microsoft.

The Quick Access Toolbar is within the ribbon of most Microsoft software programs. This tool can be your best friend when you do routine tasks that are accessible within those multiple tabs.

I will be demonstrating applying the Panorama Stitch feature of Windows Live Photo Gallery to the Quick Access Toolbar. Always look to use the quick access toolbar in all of the Windows Live Essentials Software programs and for that matter look for this option in most other Microsoft’s software programs as well.

Open Windows Live Photo Gallery and left click on the ‘Create’ tab


Find ‘Panorama’ within the ‘tools’ segment of the Create tab


Right click on ‘Panorama’ and a drop down menu will appear. At the top of the drop down menu you will see ‘Add to Quick Access Toolbar’ left click


Look up to the top left corner of Windows Live Photo Gallery and above the ‘Edit’ tab you should see the icon for ‘Panorama’.


Now you do not have to go to the Create tab to access the Panorama tool.

Applying tools and features that you use all of the time within Windows Live Essentials will save you time by saving you clicks!

Chris Jackson – Techspert – ms Volendam

Be Safe, Not Sorry

18 Aug

Did you know that Microsoft Internet Explorer 9 is the safest web browser of them all?

In a recent evaluation by NSS Labs of Carlsbad, California, IE9 was found to successfully block 100% of web-based Internet threats. No other web browser that was tested fared nearly as well in the evaluation. Here is a link to more information about web-based Internet threats and the NSS test results:

Web-based threats take the form of fraudulent web sites and inadvertently-downloaded socially-engineered malicious software. They try to compromise your private, sensitive information or invade your computer. This can lead to identify theft and fraud or can impair your computer’s operation.

But, don’t be scared: Internet Explorer 9’s markedly superior SmartScreen feature protects you in two ways. The first is a URL (Uniform Resource Locator; basically, the web address) filter, an Internet-based system that checks URLs against a master database of known threats. A user will receive a clear warning if attempting to access a web site that is found in the security definitions database.

The second way Internet Explorer 9’s SmartScreen feature protects you on the web is with Application Reputation, which offers browser users a remarkably effective level of file download protection. This is the first attempt by any vendor to create a definitive list of every downloadable application on the Internet, good and bad. If a user attempts to download a suspect file, SmartScreen will provide a clearly-worded warning advising against it and allow the user to decide what to do. Threats such as this can appear on the Internet quite suddenly and without warning. When a threatening download is discovered and reported, it is added to the security definition database almost immediately and you are protected as efficiently as possible.

Be sure you are protected by turning on the SmartScreen filter. Here’s how: Select the Tools menu (or click on the Safety button in the toolbar), find the SmartScreen Filter menu item and then select Turn on SmartScreen Filter, if necessary.

The Internet is an unprecedentedly valuable resource and we want to be able to use it with confidence. Internet Explorer 9 with SmartScreen can freely provide you with that peace of mind.

John Busey
Techspert, ms Zuiderdam

Retouching Photos Made Easy

14 Aug

One of my favorite things about traveling is taking photos.  As we sail around the world on Holland America Line, there is no shortage of photo opportunities.  Sometimes when we take pictures though, they do not always turn out perfect.  There are certain things we cannot control, like what gets into the background of a photo, or the weather, or the people around us.  That’s why my approach to taking pictures is to take them the best I can, and I try to enjoy my time wherever I am.  Then once I am home and at my computer, I can very easily go in and make some enhancements by using Windows Live Photo Gallery.

One of my favorite tools in Windows Live Photo Gallery is the retouch tool.  See below how it helped me get rid of the telephone wires in the background of this photo.

In order to use the retouch tool, open Windows Live Photo Gallery and double click on the picture you want to work with.  When you double click, the picture will open nice and big and the ribbon across the top will look like this.

Click on retouch and move your mouse onto the photo.  Your pointer will change from an arrow symbol to a cross bar.  The cross bar will help you draw a box over the problem area, like the telephone wires in the above example.  To draw a box click, and hold your click down, and at the same time start to move your mouse.  When you let go of your click, the computer will try to match the surrounding color and blend the problem area away.  It’s like magic!  Remember though that the retouch tool is for small areas.  I cannot make one big box and in one click have a perfect picture.  The computer will do most of the hard work for us, we just need some patience.  We make small boxes to chip away at the problem area and make small changes along the way.

Here I gave you an example of using the retouch tool to get rid of telephone wires from the background of a photo.  You can use retouch in so many ways.  Try it on your face and erase the years as we get rid of wrinkles…who doesn’t want to look younger, right!  You can use it to get rid of a blemish, or a scar.  What if you had the date stamp on your camera turned on, but you really don’t want it in your photo…retouch can help.  Or maybe if it was raining and there’s a small water spot on your photo…try retouch, it just may help.

Think creatively and explore, and I think you just might find some things you love about Windows Live Photo Gallery!

~Hana                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Techspert, Ms Zaandam

Family Fun on the Volendam

13 Aug

There is something for everyone on Holland America Lines’ cruises. The beauty of the Alaskan cruises is not just the incredible glaciers, nor the majestic fjords, nor the expansive national park and wilderness areas, nor the abundance and diversity of wildlife. Often overlooked is the joy the families experience just being with each other on these magnificent cruises.

One particular family came to my attention during the clip_image010scenic cruising of beautiful Glacier Bay. While magnificent views abounded, it was a typical coastal Alaskan summer day; cold, blustery and wet, and few of the 1400 plus guests onboard the MS Volendam stayed outside on deck for the glacier viewing. However, I spotted Kathryn and Christina, nestled in the beams of the open deck and sheltered from the wind as well as the views, happily playing with each other, oblivious to whatever else was going on. These 8 year old cousins, born just a month apart, are known affectionately as the "Chocolate and Vanilla Twins.”

I found out  that three generations were represented on this cruise. Here, joined by more family members, are, pictured Left to Right, James Pierno, Kathryn Grillo, Christina Pierno, Wendy Pierno, and James’ mother, Patricia Pierno. And still other family members also cruising were not pictured.


At one point Christina took over her dad’s considerably hefty camera and began photographing her probable favorite subject – her cousin Kathryn, as her brother, Harrison, who later joined, looked on:


And here is her result:


This is very impressive photography for an 8 year-old. And the victory sign Kathryn is displaying could be construed as multi-dimensional. A few days after this event, James found out that his house had flooded. With the help of Holland America’s staff, he was able to make contact with his father-in-law who took care of things, enabling the vacationing Piernos to continue to enjoy their holiday. A victory for the Pierno and Grillo families, and for Holland America.



This photo courtesy of James Pierno.


Techspert / MS Volendam

Windows Troubleshooter Helps Fix Common Computer Problems!

4 Aug

Hi everyone! It’s Chase onboard the Elegant Explorer, the ms Prinsendam. We’re currently sailing around the North Sea and Arctic Circle – beautiful scenery but very chilly too!

Windows 7 has some great troubleshooting features built in, so if you ever run in to a troublesome error message, be sure to check Windows Troubleshooter first. It can often fix problems with just one click! Or even if you aren’t having problems with your computer, you can check out the various Troubleshooters to improve your computer’s performance. For example, did you know you can help improve your laptop computer’s battery life in just a few clicks with the “Improve Power Usage” Troubleshooter? Windows scans  your computer’s power settings and automatically optimizes them so you get the most battery life possible! Here’s how:

1. Click Start and in the “Search programs and files…” box, type Action Center.

2. Click “Troubleshooting.

3. Click the Troubleshooter you want, such as “Improve Power Usage.”

4. Watch Windows fix your computer automatically!

5. Windows Troubleshooter is complete, and lets you know what fixes, changes and improvements it has made.

6. Enjoy your upgraded computer!

It’s just that easy. Be sure to check out more Troubleshooters, built right in to Windows 7, and be sure to join me in the Digital Workshop onboard the ms Prinsendam to learn more great Windows features!

Digital Fun With Holland America!

3 Aug

Who says that Carnival are the fun ships? On Holland America Line, the staff and guests always have fun together and capturing the great moments with digital photography is a big part of it!  After our guests take their photos and videos, they enjoy spending some time in the Digital Workshop to edit, retouch, fine tune, and create movies with their footage.  The Digital Workshop is powered by Microsoft and all the fantastic programs we use to create digital magic are free! Here’s where to get them:     

Enjoy these photos taken by one of our passengers here on the Veendam!

Captain and Hotel Manager making pizza!

pizza dutch tea cupcake tea chocolate extravaganza-1 (989x1280)

Our talented culinary team creates “Dessert Extravaganza”!

Dessert extravaganza (989x1280)

Fantastic cupcakes!


Say Cheese!

IMG_2759          IMG_1063


These great photos were taken by Mark F Abraitis. He is a photo enthusiast, Digital Workshop attendee, and Holland America Line 3 star Mariner.


Thank you Mark!


Trevor – Veendam Techspert

Meet Your Very Own Personal PC Expert Shopper!

1 Aug

Are you considering buying a new PC, but are overwhelmed by all the different brands, options and even some of the terminology involved in the buying process?  Well, Microsoft has an amazing tool called “PC Scout”, which will guide you at your own pace through all the terminology you may be wondering about, ask you questions to determine what type of computer is right for you and give you recommendations for a computer that will meet your needs at your price level.  Scroll down to read more about it or click the following image to open this site in a new window and explore it for yourself:

PC Buying

One of the best things about PC Scout is that it gives you the information you want, allows you to control how in-depth or technical that information gets and will skip or repeat any information as you desire.  For example, you can choose to take “Laptop 101” if you want to learn about the terminology (i.e. Processor, RAM, Hard Drive, etc.) or skip that information and get right to finding the best computer for you:

Laptop 101

You’ll be able to control every step to decide what information you want to learn more about:

Processor Capture

The entire PC Scout process is guided by you in this way and is brilliantly narrated throughout.  PC Scout is specifically tailored to meet your needs so that you can find a computer that will do the same.  Even if you’re not in the market for a computer, it’s fascinating to experience the interaction that takes place with PC Scout.  You’ll wish you had a guide like this for every aspect of your life!

Wishing you all the best, at sea or ashore,


Techspert, ms Statendam

Holland America Line Digital Workshop Powered by Windows