The Digital Workshop blog has moved

8 Jun

Thanks for visiting the ship’s website!  We haven’t shut down our blog operations, but rather we have moved all of our efforts into one main blog.  This is to ensure that the experience for you, the guest, is one that is slightly easier because of more frequent posts, fresher content, and knowing that everything is in one great place.  The URL for the new website is:

At this site you’ll find new content, great feedback from all of our Techsperts, as well as useful links like Handout Downloads, and great information from Windows.

Thank you all for your support and for following along with the Digital Workshop.


Panoramic Photo Winner!

17 May

Congratulations to Lisa McBailey , our FIRST panoramic photo winner of the Alaskan season! Lisa snapped this photo off the starboard side of the Oosterdam as we sailed from Sitka, Alaska and stitched it together using Windows Live Photo Gallery!

P1010179 Stitch (640x222)


Here were some of the other amazing entries!


P1010306 Stitch (640x484)


P1010229 Stitch (640x468)P1010151 Stitch (640x370)

New Techspert joins the Oosterdam!

11 May

Hi! My name is Bryan Roper, I am from Tampa, Florida; and I am taking over as the on-board Techspert aboard the beautiful MS Oosterdam! I look forward to helping all our guests see how simple it can be to capture Alaska with amazing photos and videos!


Changing the Guard

6 May

It is now time for me to leave the beautiful ms Oosterdam as she repositions from Mexico to do Alaska runs for the summer. I’ll be leaving the Digital Workshop in the hands of the incomparable Bryan Roper. Have fun with all the whale watching, Glacier Bay days, and the crisp Alaskan weather.

Signing off,

Craig Louis

Online Backups and File Sharing

22 Apr

You’ve probably heard that you should always backup your files. With traveling to so many exotic, once-in-a-lifetime ports and experiencing so many adventures it is important to secure those memories by creating backup copies of your pictures and videos.

One interesting way of doing this is to backup those files to an online drive. While there are many companies offering this style of service, Windows Live seems to be the most comprehensive and user friendly.

Windows Live SkyDrive offers 25 GB of online storage that comes free with every Windows Live ID, which are also free to signup.

You have the ability to upload pictures, videos, documents, and Microsoft Office files that can then be accessed and shared across the Internet; share individual pictures or entire albums. You choose the privacy settings so that your files are open to the public, available only to your network of friends or specific email addresses, or made completely private.

When you upload pictures, you have the option of having them automatically resized or you can upload the original files. This allows you to be able to share full-sized images to an unlimited number of people without having to email the picture as an attachment.

With Windows Live SkyDrive, you can create, view, edit, and share Microsoft Office files online, even if your computer doesn’t have Microsoft Office.

If you’re interested in signing up for a Windows Live ID so that you can start using your own SkyDrive, visit

Just Search For It

6 Apr

Admittedly, one of the features in Windows 7 that I use the most is its Instant Search. The aptly chosen name should clue you in to how quickly you can search your computer for anything. Where in the past a full-system search could take anywhere from five minutes to an hour, the Instant Search takes only a few seconds at most!

To use the Instant Search, simply click on the Start Menu Button on the bottom left-hand corner of the taskbar. You should notice at the bottom of the Start Menu, directly above the taskbar, your cursor is flashing in front of the words “search programs and files.” That’s the Instant Search field. As soon as you click on the Start Menu Button you can begin searching!

Search results are broken down into different categories based on types. Generally, programs are on the top of the list, followed by the Control Panel, then things like documents, pictures, music, and videos follow that.

So what does it search for?

First and foremost, it searches for filenames – everything on the computer has to be called something. If you have added any digital keywords to a program, document, or picture, it will pick up that file too. This makes finding pictures with captions or tags easy to locate. The Instant Search also searches the text inside documents. For example, if I write in a journal every day that is called “Craig’s Journal” on the computer, chances are that for today I will write about this blog entry. If I were to search my computer for the words “instant” or “search” or anything else written in that journal, the document “Craig’s Journal” would come up in the search.

One of the best features of the Instant Search is something I call the “How To Manual.” If you don’t know how to do something in Windows 7 you can search for how to do it. If you want to know how to change your screensaver, type in “screensaver” and the Instant Search will give you different options related to your search keyword. In the screensaver example, I have the options to “change screen saver” or “get more themes online” or “turn screensaver on or off” or “set screensaver password.” The “How To Manual” results will always be listed under the Control Panel category of the Instant Search.

So the next time you need to know where something is or how to do something on your computer just Instant Search it!

Capture the Moment

23 Mar

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 mode) 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. 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 this:

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

Something to Geek-Out About…

8 Mar


Looking for cool, new features in Windows 7? You don’t have to look any further than the Calculator. That’s right! Microsoft has beefed up the Windows 7 Calculator with some amazing features.

In addition (no pun intended) to its standard arithmetic features, the Windows 7 Calculator can also double as a scientific calculator, as a programmer calculator, and as a statistics calculator. While all of these modes may help for a more specified individual, the average user will find some other settings extremely useful.

The Windows 7 Calculator comes fully loaded with a full unit conversion feature. If you ever need to know how long a yard is in inches, or how much a pound is in kilograms, this is your tool. It comes with an array of unit conversions for: angles, area, energy, length, power, pressure, temperature, time, velocity, volume, and weight/mass.

Not cool enough? It also comes with a date calculator to measure the difference between two dates – how many days are left until your birthday or New Year’s Eve or until you have to buy a gift for Valentine’s Day.

Still not cool enough? How about using the four worksheets built into the Calculator to simplify your life. It can help with your mortgage payments, vehicle leasing, and fuel economy!

This ain’t the same calculator you took to grade school. Do more with the Windows 7 Calculator.

New Techspert on the block…

19 Feb

Hey everyone,

My name’s Craig and I’m the new Techspert on the ms Oosterdam, taking over from the incomparable Anthony. I’ve worked as a Techpsert in Holland America Line’s Digital Workshop powered by Microsoft for six months, although I’ve worked for Holland America Line since 2003.

If you’re going to be cruising aboard the ms Oosterdam, be sure to check out its best kept secret – the Digital Workshop. We offer complimentary computer classes; that’s right, no charge! There’s also no signup required and workshops are repeated throughout the cruise’s duration.

Be sure to drop by to say “Hi” or stop in for a workshop.

Craig Louis
ms Oosterdam

How To Take A Still Picture From A Video File

16 Jan

Hello Everyone,

This is Anthony your Techspert reporting from Mexico. I have been taking great still pictures all around Mexico and having fun using them in Windows Live Photo Gallery.  I also have been taking a lot of video and have notice that there are many time that I want to make a still picture out of one of the frames in the video file.  With Windows Live Movie Maker this is no problem.

When you have a video file in your storyboard of Windows Live Movie Maker all you need to do is adjust your timeline to the point of your video that you want to capture as a still.  Once that is set and you see it in your preview screen, click Snapshot in the add section in the ribbon at the top. (As seen above). After you click snapshot you can save the still picture in your Windows Live Photo Gallery.  This will also put the still picture after your video in Windows Live Movie Maker. 

This button was added to the 2011 Windows Live Movie Maker which can be downloaded at

Anthony, Techspert for Holland America Digital Workshop, Powered by Microsoft