Archive | February, 2012

The Raspberry Awards Aboard the MS Prinsendam

29 Feb

Hello all you out there.  We just wraped up production on the Oscar spoof awards called the Raspberry Awards here on the Prinsendam somewhere in the Amazon River!  Myself and the Digital Workshop helped in part with this production by doing a bit different kind of Photo Competition to be included in the awards show.  Normally we go for your best shot….  Well on a trip as amazing as the Grand Voyage of South America we though… Well great shots are easy.  Lets go for unique!!!  And it really did lead to some fantastic images being submitted.  Below I thought I would give you a chance to look at some of the best images that were submitted!  Enjoy.  BTW – The winner Rosemarie Szalich is the big one first up!!

Will Bossen – Techspert MS Prinsendam


 Rosemarie Szalich- Rm 458- Jellyfish jamboree

This is the Winner: Rosemarie!!


Runner up 1: Keith Roy

Beryl Jacobson 127

Runner up 2: Beryl Jacobson

John Crook 470JoAnne Orndorff 14Robert Murnane164Paul Rankin 347Marcel Villeneuve rm 511Chao Teng  158Patricia Moir 446Philp Szalich-Rm 458-Trawler10X8 VALPARAISO,CHILE Port ( DON ARPIN Rm. 058) (Reflections)Tina Lee 397Marion_Brown_153Nancy Teng  158Kay Collins 030Ann Crook 470norbertweber226Jeff Gentry Cabin 121Theodore Watson 166Joan Murnane 164SR 267 Ann SchultzAnneke Koorn cabin 053John_Mahler_447carolweber226Marianne Villeneuve rm 511SR 267 Ron SchultzKurt Soldenhoff 034Ken Nadler 408Dale  Graham 407Ellen Stokes 305

Music/Sound Editing in Windows Live Movie Maker

27 Feb

Hi all!

During the Making Movies class in the Digital Workshop we cover the basics of quickly making a slideshow of photos and videos using Windows Live Movie Maker.  Movie Maker has a lot of great features, and we only just scratch the surface during our class.  I get lots of questions about music and sound during this class, so I thought I’d cover some of the more specific music features that some guests have been asking about.

Question:What if you have a slideshow that includes photos and video and music?  Can you edit the music and video sound so that they don’t conflict?

Answer: YES! Once you have your pictures and video in the correct sequence, go ahead and add music (either do this when it prompts you if you’re adding an automovie theme, or click “add music” in the ribbon and choose the music file you want to use.) 

Once it’s added, your storyboard will look something like this:

The video is the slide with the hatched edges on the ends, making it look like a film strip.  Your music is represented by that light green bar running across the tops of your slides.  If there is a green bar over the slide, there will be music playing during that photo or video.  As you can see, we have music playing over our video clip in the example, which means that the sound from the video and the music may conflict.  If you don’t want this conflict, you have a few options:

1) Eliminate the sound from the video, so just the music plays over the video

2) Eliminate the music during the video, so that we only hear the video’s sound.

3) Lower the volume of the music so that the sound from the video can be heard, but with a quieter layer of music underneath it.

Option 1: First, click on the video clip.  Next, click the yellow “Video Tools” tab at the top of your screen. 

This brings up a new ribbon that gives you video editing options.  On the far left you can click where it says “Video Volume.” 

Left click and hold on the rectangular slider, drag it all the way to the left so the video is muted. 

Now there will be no video sound, you’ll just see the action and hear the music you’ve chosen.

Option 2: There’s a few ways to do this, but I’m going to walk you through what I think is the easiest way.  Let’s say we want to stop the music before the video clip starts, and pick it up where we left off once the video is completed.

First, click on the video clip.  Notice that long black line.  That’s your placemarker.  Wherever your placemarker is, that’s where the edit takes place.  We want to make sure our placemarker is at the beginning of the video clip.  If it’s not in the right place, you can always left click and hold, and drag the placemarker to the correct location in your storyboard.

Now click on the green “Music Tools” tab at the top of the screen.  This brings up a ribbon that gives you options to change your music.  Click the button that says “split".”  Splitting the music clip will simply cut it in half.

Now you have two separate green bars (notice that space between them) for your music, rather than it all being in one bar, stuck together.

You don’t lose any of the music, but now you have two parts to work with instead of just one, which means you can make changes to one part, without affecting the other. 

Now left click and hold on the second music bar, and drag it to the end of your video clip.

See how there’s a space between the two green bars?  The video clip is between them, and now the sound from the video can be heard, while the music is only heard before and after the video clip.

If you want, you can also fade the music out before the video, and in again after the video so the change is less abrupt.  Click on the green bar, and then choose a fade option on the ribbon (slow, medium, or fast). 

Option 3: Click the video clip.  Notice that your placemarker is at the beginning of the video clip.  If it’s not in the right place, left click and hold, and drag it to the correct location in the storyboard.  Click the green “Music Tools” tab at the top of the screen.  Click the “split button.”  Click on the photo right after the video.  Make sure the placemarker is at the end of the video clip.  Now, click on “split” again.  When you’re finished you should get something that looks like this:

See how we’ve divided our music into three parts?  It’s all there, and can be heard correctly in sequence, but now we can change the volume on the middle section, without changing anything on the sections before and after the video.

Now click on the middle section of music.  In the “Music Tools” ribbon (again, you might have to click on the green tab at the top that says “Music Tools) You can adjust the volume by clicking “Music Volume” on the left side.  Left click and hold on the slider and drag it a little to the left, lowering the music volume for this section. 


Those are just 3 common music and sound edits, but feel free to experiment with other options using some of these tools I’ve mentioned!  Make the music loud and the video sound soft.  Practice fading in and fading out your music or your video sound.  Don’t be afraid to click around and experiment with the MANY features Windows Live Movie Maker offers!

Happy Movie Making!

Techspert Krista, ms Statendam


To download Windows Live Movie Maker, click here.

Find more instructions for Windows Live Movie Maker on the Digital Workshop Making Movies Handout.  You can download it here.

For online help in Windows Live Movie Maker, click here.

Duplicates, Be Gone!

23 Feb

Windows Live Photo Gallery is a terrific, free program you can use to manage, edit and share your photos and videos. It’s also really easy to import them from your camera or phone with Photo Gallery.

The import process allows you to break out a large group of photos into smaller, more manageable-sized groups, based on when they were taken. That’s why it’s practical to make sure the time and date in your camera are always set correctly.

When you import photos, Photo Gallery gives you the option to erase the pictures off the memory card. That’s not a bad idea, because your photos will now live on your computer so you can free up the space on the memory card for new photos.

If you choose to leave the photos on the memory card, put it back in the camera, take new photos and then run Photo Gallery’s import process again, Photo Gallery is smart enough to know which are the new photos and will not ask you about importing the old ones. This is a very handy feature and helps you avoid ending up with duplicates on your computer.

However, when managing your gallery or while importing photos to your computer, you sometimes may inadvertently end up with duplicates. But, fear not. There’s a nifty free program you can download called Awesome Duplicate Photo Finder that’s really free, really safe and really finds duplicates. I’ve tried it myself, and it does precisely what it should do. You can scan multiple folders at once and then decide what to do with the duplicates that it finds. Click here to go to the download site.

John Busey
ms Ryndam

Operation Nicaragua

20 Feb

To learn more about Operation Nicaragua and the people who started it, visit this web site:

To learn more about this Holland America Line excursion contact HAL Travel Guide, Lisa Kimsey at:

– Rotterdam Techspert, Trevor 

Lets get digi with it 

Additional New Features in Sky Drive

13 Feb

Here is another useful new feature in SkyDrive. Its called “arrange photos” and it works like this;

Open up your SkyDrive account by going to “” and typing in your windows live login ID and Password.

Skydrive signin snip

Next, go to the “photos” section of your SkyDrive account and open up the folder you wish to re-arrange. You will notice that the picture of “Cadiz” is not in the first position as I would like it to be. So I will left click on the word “arrange” in the upper right hand side of the picture.

Skydrive arrange snip 1

Now I can simply left click and drag my photos to the desired positions and then “save” my folder’s pictures in the order that tells my story in the best way possible.

Skydrive arrange snip 2

With each new revision, the Windows Live family of software gets even more useful and fun. Hope that you enjoy these new features of Skydive.


For the Holland America Digital Workshop Powered by windows, I am

Frank Barcelona Techspert MS Oosterdam

“Microsoft” Email and Phone Scam Awareness

10 Feb

Teaching the PC Security class for the Digital Workshop on Holland America Line ships has really opened my eyes to the vast array of email and phone scams that try to trick you into giving away information or money because they look or sound legitimate.

Not a week goes by that I don’t hear a sad story from a cruise guest about what happened to themselves or a friend.

You do not have to be a victim. There are several things you can do to protect yourself from fraud and identity scams. You can use an email provider that utilizes phishing filtering. It is also important to find out what threats are currently circulating (but also more importantly know what real companies won’t ever do in an email or phone call).

I’ve included excerpts from two different articles at Microsoft sites that explain these ideas from their standpoint.

1. Use an email account that provides phishing filtering. Phishing is when an email message looks so slick it lures you into giving away your user name, password, credit card information, etc.

This excerpt was taken from the Windows Live Hotmail junk mail website regarding their fight against phishing attacks:

Phishing (pronounced Fishing) is a form of identity theft and one of the fastest growing threats on the Internet. You can often identify a phishing message by the fact that it requests personal or financial information or includes a link to a website that requests such information. Hotmail offer phishing protection as part of the patented SmartScreen® filter technology. SmartScreen® analyzes emails to help detect fraudulent links or spoofed domains to help protect users from these types of online scams.
To learn more about this technology, please visit

2. Be aware of current scams. When you get these types of emails or phone calls you can know it is a fake.

The following excerpt is from an article on the security website regarding recent ploys using the Microsoft company name. It is lengthy but good information.

Avoid scams that use the Microsoft name fraudulently
Cybercriminals often use the names of well-known companies, like ours, in their scams. They think it will convince you to give them money or your personal information. While they usually use email to trick you, they sometimes use the telephone, instead.

Common scams that use the Microsoft name
Someone from “Microsoft Tech Support” calls to fix your computer

“You have won the Microsoft Lottery”

Microsoft “requires credit card information to validate your copy of Windows”

“Microsoft” sends unsolicited email messages with attached security updates

Avoid these dangerous hoaxes
We do not send unsolicited email messages or make unsolicited phone calls to request personal or financial information or fix your computer.

If you receive an unsolicited email message or phone call that purports to be from Microsoft and requests that you send personal information or click links, delete the message or hang up the phone.

Microsoft does not make unsolicited phone calls to help you fix your computer
In this scam cybercriminals call you and claim to be from Microsoft Tech Support. They offer to help solve your computer problems. Once the crooks have gained your trust, they attempt to steal from you and damage your computer with malicious software including viruses and spyware.

Although law enforcement can trace phone numbers, perpetrators often use pay phones, disposable cellular phones, or stolen cellular phone numbers. It’s better to avoid being conned rather than try to repair the damage afterwards.

Treat all unsolicited phone calls with skepticism. Do not provide any personal information.

If you receive an unsolicited call from someone claiming to be from Microsoft Tech Support, hang up. We do not make these kinds of calls.

If you think you might be a victim of fraud, you can report it. For more information, see: What to do if you think you have been a victim of a scam.

You have not won the “Microsoft Lottery”
Microsoft customers are often targets of a scam that uses email messages to falsely promise money. Victims receive messages claiming “You have won the Microsoft Lottery!” There is no Microsoft Lottery. Delete the message.

If you have lost money to this scam, report it. You can also send the police report to Microsoft and we will use it to help law enforcement catch the criminals who send out these e-mail messages.

To help protect yourself from these e-mail hoaxes, you can use the same general guidance that you use to protect yourself from phishing scams.

Microsoft does not request credit card information to validate your copy of Windows
We require that your copy of Windows is legitimate before you can obtain programs from the Microsoft Download Center or receive software updates from Microsoft Update. Our online process that performs this validation is called the Genuine Advantage Program. At no time during the validation process do we request your credit card information.

In fact, we do not collect information that can be used to identify you such as your name, email address, or other personal details.

To learn more, read the Genuine Microsoft software program privacy statement.

To learn more about the program in general, see Genuine Windows: frequently asked questions.

Microsoft does not send unsolicited communication about security updates
When we release information about a security software update or a security incident, we send email messages only to subscribers of our security communications program.

Unfortunately, cybercriminals have exploited this program by sending fake security communications that appear to be from Microsoft. Some messages lure recipients to websites to download spyware or other malicious software. Others include a file attachment that contains a virus. Delete the message. Do not open the attachment.

Legitimate security communications from Microsoft
Legitimate communications do not include software updates as attachments. We never attach software updates to our security communications. Rather, we refer customers to our website for complete information about the software update or security incident.

Legitimate communications are also on our websites. If we provide any information about a security update, you can also find that information on our websites.

I hope this information helps you feel more confident while checking your emails. You can be safe when you choose a quality email provider like Microsoft Hotmail.

– Trisha the Techspert on the ms Nieuw Amsterdam

Help Protect Your Privacy While Traveling With InPrivate Browsing

9 Feb

Have you ever been concerned about privacy when using a public computer in a hotel lobby or internet café? This is understandable. After all, you don’t want to leave behind information including your web browsing activity on that machine.

One thing you can do to help protect yourself in this situation is to turn on InPrivate Browsing in Internet Explorer.

InPrivate Browsing is designed to keep Internet Explorer from storing any information about your browsing session on the PC that you are using. This is especially useful on a public computer that you might find in the lobby or business center of a hotel or even one in an internet café.

1. Open Internet Explorer.

2. Click the Safety menu underneath the address bar and click InPrivate Browsing.


3. Once you open the InPrivate Browsing session, a new Internet Explorer window opens and the InPrivate icon shows on the left of the address bar at the top of the window.


Once InPrivate Browsing is enabled, Internet Explorer will stop storing data about your browsing session on the public computer that you are using. This includes cookies, temporary Internet files, history, and other data. Toolbars and extensions are disabled by default. To turn off InPrivate Browsing, simply close the InPrivate browser window.

InPrivate Browsing is one more tool you can use to help protect your privacy online. For more information on this and similar topics, check out our session “PC Security” on your next Holland America Line cruise in the Digital Workshop Powered by Windows.


John Roberts – Techspert – ms Noordam

Windows Phones

2 Feb

Writing from the Digital Workshop on the ms Maasdam in St. Johns, Antigua.

Windows Phones……How much do we know about them?!

So Microsoft’s Windows Phone has got a bit of a “Mango” flavour to it. Well no really its platform is code-named “Mango” Smile

We’ve spoken a lot in our blogs about the Windows Live Essentials 2011 and our amazing Skydrive which we can apply and use on a Windows 7 or Vista Operating System.

However, we don’t always carry our laptops with us but there’s a solution.

Mobile phones still stay one of our most convenient tools for when it comes to staying connected and being “mobile” in every sense of the word.  With the instant “all-in-one’ communications factor these days apart from tablets – emails, built in Wi-Fi, web browsing, video calling, sharing photos and smarter apps by the day.

The layout itself: Aimed at being very user friendly with its design namely “The Live Tiles”.


You have the ability to customize the Live Tiles to your heart’s content which is great as everything you need will be at your fingertips pretty much literally.

Add as many apps as your heart desire with a choice of thousands in the Windows Phone Marketplace Store by visiting the following link


Of course it is very important to be able to access your Windows Live ID no matter where you are and for that all you need to do is set up your Windows Live ID on your mobile phone and you will have instant access to your emails.

  1. On Start, flick left to the App list, tap Settings Settings icon, and then tap Email + accounts.
  2. Tap Add an account > Windows Live.
  3. If you haven’t signed in with a Windows Live ID yet during setup, the Before you sign in screen appears. On this screen, tap Next.
  4. Tap the Email address box, and then type your Windows Live ID.
  5. Tap the Password box, and then type your Windows Live password.
  6. Tap Sign in.
  7. Your Windows Live email, contacts, calendar, photos, and feeds will be synced to your phone.


Get the latest Skydrive App on your phone and you will always be connected to your Skydrive. Instant access to all your files and photo’s.


· Upload Photos and Videos


· View and manage your files

WP5_Files Viewed

· Share your pictures

WP5_Files Shared

For any further assistance on the Skydrive App please visit the following link:

If this has made you a little bit more curious about the Windows Phones, please have a look at the Windows Phones on our Microsoft Website at to see what is available.


Now there’s def. no reason not to keep in touch and to share all those great memories!!

Happy blog reading.

Elza Visser

Techspert | ms Maasdam

Taking better pictures by taking MORE pictures

1 Feb

How many times have you tried capturing a moment with your digital camera, but it happened too quickly? This seems to be a common occurance amoungst people worldwide.

Maybe a whale was breaching during your sail away from Cabo San Lucas and all you got was a picture showing a beautiful splash. Maybe the grandkids move too fast to take a decent shot. Or, maybe your children are running a race and the one picture you take is of the back of their heads as they dash past your seat.

There’s a solution that can help fix this problem.

Continuous shooting (a.k.a. burst setting) will allow you to take pictures in rapid succession on your digital camera. When this setting is active all you have to do is hold down the shutter button and your camera will continue to take pictures. How many pictures and how fast the pictures can be taken will depend on the individual camera and the memory card in the camera. Some cameras only allow you to take three shots at a time, while others increase this limit to ten; most cameras, however, have no limit on the amount of pictures it will take as long as the shutter button is held down.

Check out your digital camera for a setting, mode, and/or button that looks like three rectangles stacked ontop of one another. Note: on most digital cameras, the continuous shooting setting cannot be active while in the regular automatic mode; try switching your camera to a scene such as “Sports/Action” or “Kids & Pets” or to the “P” mode first.


Be sure to play around with all the modes and settings on your camera to fully understand all that it can offer. Enjoy snapping!

Craig Louis
ms Eurodam