Windows Keyboard Shortcuts

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Keyboard shortcuts can make it easier to interact with your computer. They are combinations of two or more keys that, when pressed, can be used to perform a task that would typically require a mouse or other pointing device.

Shortcut keys that I frequently use:

F1 – Display Help
Ctrl+C (or Ctrl+Insert) – Copy the selected item
Press this keyCtrl+X – Cut the selected item
Press this keyCtrl+V (or Shift+Insert) – Paste the selected item

For a comprehensive list:
http://windows.microsoft.com/en-ca/windows/keyboard-shortcuts#keyboard-shortcuts=windows-7

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PowerPoint Dos and Don’ts

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This is a great video Entitled Life after Death by PowerPoint by Don McMillan. It really gets the point across.

ps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KbSPPFYxx3o#t=55

I personally think PowerPoint is a good tool if done well. The best PowerPoints use great images and few words.

Here’s a resource I found on the microsoft.com site, “Presenting with PowerPoint. 10 dos and don’ts”. It’s a quick read and provides great advice. Not humorous like Don’s video link but a good reference.

http://www.microsoft.com/canada/smallbiz/themes/marketing/article5.mspx

Bloggers Beware – Image Copyright Laws

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Here’s an article worth reading.

A company that writes blog posts for commercial clients was sued $8,000 for posting a copyrighted photo on a blog site. Through lawyer negotiations that amount was reduced to $3,000. Apparently this is becoming more common as there are services for hire that run programs 24×7 to search web pages for copies of your work.

The key is to be aware and stick to the rules!

http://www.contentfac.com/copyright-infringement-penalties-are-scary/

Here’s a link to WikiHow’s page on avoiding copyright infringement.

http://www.wikihow.com/Avoid-Copyright-Infringement

Travel Tips – Car Rentals

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Airport car rentals are typically more expensive than in town rentals. This past summer we arranged to pick up our car rental at the airport in Toulouse, France. However, it was questionable if our flight would arrive before the rental desk closed so we scheduled the pick up for the next day. I had hoped if we arrived in time that we could arrange the pick for that night, but since we had pre-paid through rentalcars.com as opposed to specifically with Budget, that wasn’t an option. That meant we had to get into town for our night’s accommodation and then travel back out to the airport the next day to pick up the car. In hindsight, it would have made more sense to arrange the pick up for the in town location, and as I later learned, it would have been less expensive as well.

Travel Tips – Accommodation Alternatives

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If you are interested in alternatives to staying in hotel rooms, here are some options to try. The sites list private accommodation for rent. You pay less than hotels and can get an entire apartment or home to yourself. I have used both with the following advantages:

• Savings
• Comfort
• Privacy
• Kitchens for home cooking

I have rented a studio in Paris, apartments in Barcelona and Venice and a yacht in Yaletown’s Quayside Marina in Vancouver (that was fun!). There are many sites to choose from but here are two that I have used.

Vacation Rental By Owner (VRBO) – http://www.vrbo.com
FlipKey by Trip Advisor – http://www.flipkey.com

Another interesting alternative for renting local accommodations on a budget is Airbnb. This site lists B&B accommodation. My daughter and I tried this out in Verona, Italy and had an excellent experience.

Airbnb – https://www.airbnb.ca/

I highly recommend it. Give it a try!

TIP

If you arrange private accommodation as opposed to through a hotel or B&B, make sure you, and your travel companions, have the renter’s contact information with you at all times. (It seems pretty obvious now). We rented a studio apartment in Paris through VRBO. The very first day we lost the key to enter the building. I had left virtually all the contact information in the apartment and there’s no doorman to let you in! Fortunately, I had a little notebook with me that had a contact number. It took several anxious hours but we did eventually get back into the apartment. Not exactly how we had intended to spend our daughter’s 21st birthday.

North To Alaska!

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On May 30th, 2009, after years of talking about it, the trailer was packed and we started our road trip to Alaska! First stop, Mission, BC, to meet up with my brother and sister-in-law. We travelled together, each with our own trailers, for fun and support.

Here’s some quick information to get started.

STATS
• Nights away from home – 35
• Kilometers travelled = 9,324
• Litres of gas consumed – 2,542
• Gas – $2,666
• Campsites stayed at – 30 (mostly Provincial and State Parks, not RV Parks)
• Campsites – $504
• Lowest gas price – Hope River, BC at 0.999 per litre
• Highest gas price – Dawson City, Yukon at 1.329 per litre

HIGHLIGHTS – in no particular order
• Summit Lake, BC
• Muncho Lake, BC
• Lliard Hot Springs, BC
• Top of the World Highway, Yukon
• Fairbanks University of Alaska Museum of the North, Alaska
• Denali Park Visitor Centre and film, Alaska
• Denali Park wild flowers, Alaska
• Seward Kenai Fjord Boat trip, Alaska
• Yukon Beringia Interpretive Centre, Whitehorse, Yukon
• Yukon-White Pass Rail trip to Skagway, Yukon
• Boya Lake, BC canoeing

DISAPPOINTMENTS
• Generators!

SURPRISES
• Hot Yukon weather and semi-arid climate
• Lack of BC tourists
• Lack of traffic in general
• Less wildlife than expected (only saw one moose)
• Higher than expected fuel consumption

More to come!

Maui, January 2013

Maui SnorklingMolikini Crater, located three miles off of Maui’s shore, is known as a favoured snorkling location. It is a crescent shaped volcanic crater that is partially submerged. Declared a Marine Life Conservation District in 1977, it has crystal clear sheltered waters and over 200 species of fish. Another popular Maui snorkling locale is Coral Gardens. It has lots of coral and tropical fish and is a good spot to see turtles.

We joined good friends in Maui for 4 days in January 2013 and a snorkling cruise was a “must do” for our short trip. On a glorious, sunny afternoon, it was one of these two locations that would be the destination of our snorkling charter. Molokini was our first choice but since the afternoon winds were usually too strong to make the trek there and back in the time allowed, Coral Gardens was the typical destination.

The charter was advertised as a whale watch and snorkel cruise but I admit I was skeptical on the whale watch part. Boy was I wrong!  The captain was knowledgeable and shared much information about the whales.

Humpback whales are a species of Baleen whale. The adults range in length from 12 to 16 metres and weigh approximately 36,000 kg. Many of the humpbacks migrate 3,500 miles in less than two months, from Alaska’s arctic to Hawaii’s warm waters. Hawaii’s annual humpback whale migration season is December through April. They calve, mate and rear their young, making the Maui waters known as the “cradle of the humpback”. The humpbacks are protected animals in US Waters; it is unlawful to approach closer than 100 yards.

On this day we were lucky, the winds were cooperative and we were heading to Molokini Crater! But on the way we were treated to an amazing number of whale sightings. Among the varied sightings, we saw a mom and baby resting with their escort whale. From the colour of the baby’s skin, the captain estimated it was no more than a week old. We saw a whale breach. Awesome! Plus whales spouting (breathing), slapping their flukes (tails), and a female slapping her flipper. The captain said it was thought the females did this to advertise their presence and attract the males. And sure enough, not long after, there were several other whales that arrived on the scene nearby.

Later, snorkling at the crater, we were delighted to hear the songs of the whales underwater. Only the males sing and apparently their songs can last from 20 to 40 minutes.

All and all, a fabulous day!

For more information on these magnificent creatures see http://www.enchantedlearning.com/subjects/whales/species/Humpbackwhale.shtml

The benefits of being an airline employee!

Canadian Airlines Employee IDOver the years I have been fortunate to do quite a bit of travel. Let me tell you how.

I joined CP Air in the IT department in 1975. CP Air was the predecessor to Canadian Airlines (remember them?). I didn’t even consider the flight benefits when I applied for the job; I wasn’t aware there were any. I soon learned that after 6 months I could start flying on both CP Air and other airlines. My boyfriend’s family (now my husband) live in the Comox Valley and I remember asking some co-workers if I would be able to fly to Comox. They just looked at me and said “Oh Theresa, you really need to set your sights a little higher!”

So how did the benefits work?

  • Rules change but when I was an active airline employee I was eligible for unlimited travel on my airline. I could also travel on other airlines that we had an agreement with (called Interline agreements).
  • The costs to me were really low. At that time we only had to pay a service charge; there weren’t all the taxes and fees that are added on now.
  • All my travel was on a standby basis. Anyone who paid more than I did would be boarded before me, even employees from other airlines. After that, I was boarded based on my seniority. So an employee with 25 years’ service would be boarded before someone with 2 years.
  • When I first joined, the wives of male employees could travel on passes but the husbands of female employees could not. Go figure! Fortunately that changed soon after. What a long way we have come!

For the first few years when I was young and childless, the hardest part was I got unlimited travel passes but only 2 weeks of annual vacation. We would catch a flight to Hawaii after work on a Friday and return on a Sunday midnight flight arriving at 6am on Monday and go straight to work! With luck you were able to sleep on the plane. Those were the days!

The travel opportunities were amazing. How else could our family of four travel to Disneyland, DisneyWorld, Australia and Hawaii? But it could also be really stressful travelling standby knowing we had to be back at work and the kids back at school. I tried to plan trips for less busy periods (ie not at Spring Break) but a flight could be “wide open” (meaning it had lots of seats available), and then another competing airline’s flight has a mechanical problem and all the passengers are transferred to your airline. Bingo….no more seats. And while it sounds wonderful to be “stuck” in Hawaii, it is really no fun having to traipse back and forth to the airport standing by for flights. Not to mention the expense of hotels, meals and transport.

Oh and that’s another aspect; the planning. Deciding which route to take that had the greatest likelihood of success. Most of it fell to me since I was the airline employee and knew which airlines and routes we were eligible for. I used to tease my husband (and still do) that all he has to do “is show up”.

Canadian Airlines closed their IT department in 1994. As part of my severance package I was able to take early retirement (very early) with lifetime “retiree” flight benefits. Things changed when Air Canada bought Canadian in 2001, but I was fortunate to retain my basic benefits. Some aspects were taken away and I have a lower boarding priority but it is still a tremendous perk for which I am very grateful.

Happy travels!

Theresa