The Quick Access Toolbar speeds up your day!

18 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 and speeding up your day!

ms Volendam – Techspert – Chris Jackson


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.

Welcome to Alaska

31 May

The Volendam has begun its spring/summer season cruising beautiful coastal Alaska. We visit the ports of Skagway, Juneau and Ketchikan, with a day trip to Glacier Bay, home of the Grand Pacific and Marjerie glaciers, and also trips to the magnificent John Hopkins, Reed and Lamplugh glaciers. Along the way to Juneau we also travel Tracy Arm Fjord, the outlet of the twin Sawyer glaciers. While all these locations are spectacular, each offering its own unique charm, none may be quite so thrilling as the activity of the Marjerie glacier.

The Volendam comes within a mile and a half of this glacier. It is so massive it seems as if we are only a thousand feet away. Here we witness first hand the power of Mother Nature as huge chunks of ice break off the glacier and crash with tremendous force into the water. This phenomenon is known as "calving". Here is a video I was fortunate enough to capture last week:

Marjorie Glacier calving

For size comparison, here are a group of kayakers who passed by the glacier just minutes prior to the calving:

Kayakers exploring the Marjorie glacier tidewater area


The impact of the calving was so powerful it created a wave that mildly rocked our ship. What tremendous power to behold, and a fantastic opportunity aboard the MS Volendam to do so.

VODM Techspert|Jason Coleman

Koh Samui, Thailand

16 Apr

The Volendam is traveling through Asia.  There are so many great places to visit with lots of chances to snap some wonderful photos.  Here is a giant gold Buddah we saw the other day…

So Long Sydney

12 Mar

For the past few months the ms Volendam has been docking in Sydney every two weeks as our home port. Sydney has been a great city to explore and a beautiful port to call our home. Today is our last time in Sydney, as we now leave Australia for Indonesia and Singapore. I’m sure we will see some new and amazing things, but of course we will miss Sydney.

Win7 Service Pack 1

26 Feb

Updating our computers is really important because it helps keep our computers running safely and smoothly.  Microsoft has recently released Service Pack 1 for Windows 7.  For more information about how to install Service Pack 1, check out this website….

Sharing photos from Windows Live Photo Gallery

12 Feb

If you have been using Windows Live Photo Gallery to manage and edit your photos, you will love how easy it can be to share those same photos online.  The ribbon across the top of your screen is always your menu and your guiding map.  It is broken down into subsections as to group all of the related tools together into one common area.  Towards the very end of the menu you will see a section called ‘Share’.  Within that section you will see some icons representing different ways you can share your photos online.  In order to start sharing your photos, first select the photos you want to share.  You can do this by holding down the control key, located in the bottom left corner of your keyboard marked Ctrl, and clicking on each photo you want to share.  Once you have them all selected, they will be marked with a blue frame to indicate they have been selected.  Then look up at the ‘Share’ section of your menu and click on the appropriate icon.  You will see various icons representing things like Skydrive, Facebook, Youtube, Flickr, etc.  Whichever way you choose to share your photos, it is a such a great thing to be able to organize, edit and share our photos all from one easy place…Windows Live Photo Gallery!

Rating our photos

29 Jan

Rating our photos can be a very helpful tool when it comes to organizing.  Think of the ratings on a scale…a five star rating will be the best, and a one star rating the worst.  Ratings will be helpful later on.  For example, when we take a cruise, we take so many pictures, but lets be honest, they’re not all so great.  When you get home from your trip and want to share your photos with your friends and family, wouldn’t it be great to be able to click on a button and have all of my best photos brought together, but leave all those crummy ones out.  Well that’s exactly what rating does for us.

Here’s how to do it in Windows Live Photo Gallery. Look at the ribbon going across the top of your screen.  This is your menu and your guiding map.  The ribbon is always broken down into subsections to help group together all of our related tools.  Look at the third section from the left, it is titled organize (the title is at the bottom of the ribbon in little writing).  Within the organize section you should see a yellow star that says rate.  Click on it and you will get a drop down box with options from five stars down to no stars.  If you think your photo is a great picture you will click on the five stars to assign it a rating of five stars.  Once you have all your photos rated what can you do.  look at the fourth section in the ribbon, its titled quick find.  within the quick find section of the menu you should see again, a yellow star that says rate.  When you click on it you will see a drop down menu with five stars all the way down to no stars.  If you click on the five stars, it will automatically bring up all of your five star pictures.

It really is a great way to bring together all of your best shots, without letting those not so great shots get in the way.  Remember when it comes to organizing our photos, we all process and manage information differently, so it’s a matter of finding a system that works best for you.  This is just one of many things to try out!

Revert to Original

15 Jan

While we are editing our photos in Windows Live Photo Gallery, there is an important tool to remember.   It’s called Revert to Original and it’s a really great feature.  So the idea is that you are editing and changing your photos in Windows Live Photo Gallery, but what if in the end you don’t like the changes you have made.  Or, what if a few months from now you really need to get back to your original photo.  Great thing is…you always can.  Click on Revert to Original, it is the second to last item in your edit menu and it will jump you right back to your original picture.  I always think of it as a safety net to fall back on, because I can always get back to my original picture, that gives me the confidence to go explore and try anything in Windows Live Photo Gallery.

Auto Adjust

1 Jan

Auto adjust is a great feature in windows live photo gallery.  One click on the auto adjust button and the computer will analyze youre photo and come out with what it thinks is a better outcome.  It will look at your color problems and lighting problems and try to adjust them…really it is a quick fix to a lot of different issues.  Auto adjust can even straighten my photo for me.  Remember if you do not like the changes it makes, you always have ‘undo’ as an option in the top left hand corner.  Here are the steps to follow if you would like to auto adjust a photo:

1. choose the picture you would like to adjust and double click to open the picture nice and big.

2. find auto adjust in the ribbon across the top, click on it and watch as your photo changes.

you may see more drastic changes in some photos rather than others, and remember photo editing always has a lot to do with personal preference, but auto adjust is usually a great place to start the editing process because it will help guide you so you can figure out where you want to take your photo.