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Motorhoming | Family Motor Coach Association

Dear FMCA Computer Geeks:

On my latest trip to see the grandkids in Dallas we stopped and had lunch at one of the rest stops along the way. I was amazed to find that in Texas several if not all of the rest stops have Wi-Fi connections.  

As I read my e-mails, I had a sinking feeling about exposing myself to the public with my information. With all of the current news reports of identity theft while trolling a parking lot, I suddenly felt very vulnerable. My question is, how vulnerable am I? What information can someone obtain, and how? What shouldn't I do while on a public Wi-Fi connection? How best do I protect myself on Wi-Fi?

We're glad you liked the Wi-Fi in Texas rest areas! We were a small part of that project when it began in 2005 with Coach Connect.

As for security on Wi-Fi, you'll hear a lot of scare stories, but we believe they are just that -- scare stories. Stolen information in Wi-Fi hotspots happens about as often as lightning strikes a person! And, even less in RV parks and rest areas.

Connecting to the Internet via Wi-Fi is no less safe than any other method. If your computer is up-to-date, you have anti-virus and anti-spyware software running, and you know how to avoid obvious scams, you should be fine.

If your operating system is Windows XP, we do recommend turning off File and Printer sharing ... control panel / networks / right-click on your wireless network connection and choose properties / uncheck file and printer sharing.

If your operating system is Vista, make sure to select Public Network when first connecting to a Wi-Fi hotspot.

Picasa, photo-sharing web application from Google

Dear FMCA Computer Geeks: 

I have a picture in two albums. I want to remove it from one album and keep it in the other album and on the hard disk. How, please? Thank you.

The picture actually exists only in its original folder location. When you add it to an album, you are creating a “pointer” to the original. As long as you leave the original in its folder, you can add or remove it from as many folders as you want.

So, if it currently exists in album A and album B and you only want it in A, look at album B, click on the picture to remove and press your Delete key on the keyboard. That will remove it from Album B, but it will still be in its original folder, and it will still be in Album A.

Pay attention to the message that pops up when you press the delete key, because you don't want to delete the picture from its original folder location; if you do it will be gone for good from your computer.

From Gmail to Yahoo?

Dear FMCA Computer Geeks: 

I mostly use my Gmail account for e-mailing pictures, and do my main e-mailing with Yahoo. Sometimes someone replies to my Gmail and I don't see it for awhile. Is there a way in Gmail to forward them automatically to Yahoo? I do that with my Escapees account and it works great.

Yes! Gmail, Google’s webmail service, actually makes forwarding your mail quite easy. Just go to Settings, Forwarding and Pop .... You should see the place to put your e-mail in right there.

Good idea!

Blogger and Picasa Web Album

Dear FMCA Computer Geeks: 

When using Blogger [free Web publishing system owned by Google], I don't have any problems when adding photos to my blog. But what if I don't want to put a lot of photos in my blog but still want people to see the photos from that set if they choose to? How do I make that happen?

I think what you're talking about is the way I do it. I upload all my good photos onto my Picasa Web Album, and then I link a couple of them to the blog. See the video in our Blogger section: Adding Photos using Picasa Web Albums.


Whenever a reader clicks on a photo in my blog, they're taken to my Picasa Web album where they can see all my photos. I also add a caption to every photo on the web album. So, people who don't want to read the whole blog can get the condensed -- pictures only -- version on the Web album.


If you load photos thru the Web album, you also have the option of putting a slide show in your blog. That video is in the Picasa section: Put a Picasa Slideshow in your Blog.


Blogger question

Dear FMCA Computer Geeks: 

If I have already posted entries in Blogger and included photos, can I change the size of the photos now in mine, or would I have to reupload each picture?

It's really best, and probably easiest, to re-upload the photos and choose the new size. But, there is a way to resize by going into the HTML. You need to find the place where the width and height are specified. Then, get out the calculator, because whatever you do to one dimension, do the same to the other. So, for example here is the code to look for:

style="WIDTH: 400px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 218px"


If you decide to make the width 300px, then the height needs to be changed proportionately. Or, better yet, just delete the Height specification and Blogger will figure it out. Like so:


style="WIDTH: 300px; CURSOR: hand; "

— Jim and Chris


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