Author Archives: MrsGeek

Traveling the country in an RV with her husband, Jim. We present seminars at RV rallies and computer clubs all over the country and run this website.

My secret for taking lots of travel photos and not deleting any of them

We are currently traveling in New Zealand and taking lots of pictures! I’ve taken about 1200 pictures so far, and Jim has probably taken nearly the same. How would you like to see a slide show?

I think not! But, here’s our trip album with just our selected photos – just click this link to view the album.

The conventional method of photo organizing teaches to:

  • Keep the best
  • Delete the rest

But, I am way too lazy! Deciding which pictures need to be deleted is both time-taking and stressful. That sounds like work to me. I avoid work! I will certainly delete the obvious garbage – the mistakes when my phone took a photo of the inside of my pocket, or my foot, but, at the Hobbiton movie set yesterday, everywhere we turned was a beautiful image. Our phones take great pictures, and Google Photos stores them in the cloud, unlimited and free, so why not take every picture you see. I am not even close to being a professional photographer, but if I take enough – I’m bound to catch a good one here and there! Here is what my phone’s Google Photos screen looked like yesterday:

This is about 1/4 of the pictures I took at the Hobbiton movie set

I can’t delete any of those! But, I can pick out 3 or 4 representative shots to put in our New Zealand trip album, so that’s what I do. My method is:

  • Keep them all
  • Pick a few for the album and add them

That’s easy, actually it’s fun. I can even accomplish that, using my phone, on the tour bus on the way back to the RV! I love looking at the pictures I just took, adding a few of them to the trip album is as easy as tapping the 3-dot menu, selecting Add to Album, and tapping the New Zealand album. Before I go to bed at night, my friends and family are all able to see the wonderful things we did that day by viewing the album.

Just a few pictures made it to the album

I cringe when I hear people say, “I took so many pictures on my vacation, now I have to spend a few days deleting and organizing them once I get home.” How many people never get around to that? That’s work. What a shame.

What about photos on your computer?

I took the pictures with my phone, Google Photos uploads them to the cloud. I can view all those photos using my computer as long as I have an Internet connection. So easy! If I add photos to an album using the phone I will see them in that album using the computer. If I use the computer to do the work, I’ll see it on the phone. So easy! But, what if I don’t have a connection? What if I want my photos on the computer? That’s when I download the album to my computer by clicking the 3-dot menu. Voila! I’m not taking up unnecessary hard drive space, but I have my best photos on the computer. Essentially it is a backup of my best photos.

For more details and a complete photo management workflow, see my book, Mrs. Geek’s Guide to Google Photos, chapter 11. Geeks on Tour membership includes free access to the .pdf of the book here.

Learn more

What is Google Plus and how does the shut down affect my Blogger blog?

A lot of people are getting emails lately, “Your Google+ account is going away.” People have then been asking us, “What is Google Plus, and should I care that it is going away?”

First of all, please realize that Google+, aka Google Plus, was a separate service by Google. It is not your Google account. Google+ was Google’s attempt to have a social network similar to Facebook. If you did not use Google+, then the fact that it is shutting down will not affect you. Your Blogger blog continues on, your Google Photos will all still be there, your thousands of Gmail messages in your inbox aren’t going anywhere, and your appointments on Google Calendar are safe. The only thing that is going away is the website with the red G+ icon shown above.

However, Google+ was not completely separate. It had fingers in the pie of other Google applications, it was an add-on to your Google account and, for a period of time, everyone who created a Google account got the Google+ add-on whether you wanted it or not. It was referred to as your Google+ profile, as opposed to a simple Google profile. The idea was for Google+ to be the hub of all your Google services. So, as Google+ is closed down, it unravels some of that connectivity. This is happening over a period of time, everything I know about it is subject to change as the shutdown unfolds.

How is your Blogger blog affected?

Your Blogger blog will continue and all your posts will still be there. Only if you took advantage of Google+ special features will you see any change. See the official Google info on Blogger and Google+ here. If you set up your blog using a Google+ profile, you should change it to a simple Blogger profile. It is still using your same Google account, just without those “Add-ons” mentioned above, and you need to supply a screen name for use with Blogger. Find this setting under User Settings, General, User Profile. If the Google+ profile button is selected, change it to a Blogger profile.

If you checked the box to use the Google+ comment system for your blog, all comments written using that system will disappear. I’m afraid there is nothing you can do about that. To see if you are using these features, go to Blogger.com and be sure you’re signed in with your Google account, select your blog from the left sidebar, then click Settings, and Google + Comments. You should see a screen like this:

If you have been knowingly using Google+, please read the linked articles above in detail. You may also want to download your Google Plus data. Another good resource for more info is PeggyK’s weekly update for Google+ and Blogger.

What’s wrong with this picture? It’s blah

Jim and Chris in Brisbane, QLD, Australia

You might look at that picture and say, “That’s a nice picture, there’s nothing wrong with it.” But, I don’t want you to look at my picture and say, “That’s nice” I want you to look at it and say “Wow!”

With just a couple of clicks, you can take a good picture and make it gorgeous.

  1. To crop: open the photo using Google Photos and click (tap) the edit button then the Crop button . Drag the edges of the photo in closer to the subject and then tap Done.
  2. To make it “Pop”: Still in Edit mode, tap the adjustments button (same icon as Edit) Find the Pop slider (it may be under Light, tap the down arrow to see) drag the pop slider to the right. You may also want to drag the color slider to the right a little.

Learn to Edit

Every phone with a camera comes with editing tools. I like using Google Photos, but if you don’t – you can also use whatever Gallery or Photo app that came with your phone. They all will have features to crop, brighten, and enhance colors. Here are a few videos to show you how to use the editing tools in Google Photos:

If you want to learn the free companion app called Snapseed, we have a complete Learning Guide for Snapseed.

How to follow our travels by joining our photo album

When we travel to beautiful places, we take a lot of photos. Google Photos makes it so easy to pick the best ones, fix them up a little, then put them in an album we can share with you. Chris and Jim’s Australia/New Zealand photo album. Anyone can click the link and view the photos and videos in the album. If you are signed in to a Google account, you will see a button to “Join” the album. Once you join, you will get notified whenever we add new photos to the album. You will also be able to leave comments. Comments can be left on the album as a whole, or on individual photos and videos. It’s like having our own personal social media site just for our trip.

Click here to view the photo album

Once you are viewing the album, you’ll see pictures, videos, text blocks and maps. The album starts at the beginning and builds, with the most recent additions at the bottom. Using the Google Photos album means you can follow our trip even if we are not friends on Facebook, and you don’t use Instagram. Be sure to click on individual pictures to see them full screen, and certainly click on any videos then click the play button to view them. When you see a speech bubble in the corner that means there are comments. Click the bubble to read them.

You can always click (or tap) a back button – upper left corner – to get back to the overall album view.

If you are interested in reading stories about our trip, we do the writing in our Blog. You can visit it any time at GeeksOnTour.blogspot.com. If you want email notification of new blog posts, just enter your email address in the space provided in the right sidebar.

Visit our Blog for the rest of the story

Make your own albums

To learn more about making your own albums with Google Photos, here are the articles and videos we’ve made for you:

How your phone can tell you the time of two places at once

We are currently traveling in Australia and New Zealand. We use our phones to know the current time – that’s a given – but it is also important to us to know what time it is at home. Home is in Eastern time, aka Miami.

Android: Dual Clock Widget

On my Samsung (Android) phone, I use a widget called Dual Clock. If you don’t know about widgets, see Episode 139: Widgets.

To add this widget to your home screen:

  1. Long-Press on a blank spot on your homescreen and then tap the button that appears called Widgets
  2. Find the widget for Clock and tap it, you should then see a button for “Dual Clock” – touch and hold (longpress) on that, then drop it off on the home screen location where you want it
  3. You should now see the local time and a link to tap to add the second time you want.

iPhone World Clock

On an iPhone, you have an app called Clock. The icon for that app on your home screen is a live analog clock showing you the current local time. To see the time in any other part of the world, tap the clock to see the full screen with all the options. You can also reach the clock from any screen by getting to your control panel. In all but iPhone Xs, you reach the control panel by swiping up from the bottom. In iPhone X, you swipe down from the upper right corner. Then you’ll see an icon for clock. Tapping on that is the same as tapping on the clock icon from a home screen.

Once you open Clock, select the World Clock option

The clock has several purposes: World Clock, Alarm, Bedtime, Stopwatch, and Timer. Notice all these options at the bottom of the screen. Tap World Clock to see the time in other cities. To add a city, tap the +, to change the order of cities, tap Edit.

160. What Technology are we taking Down Under?

Show Notes for Members below

Everyone can view all the episodes for free. Just click on the play button above.

A great benefit of membership is access to the extensive show-notes Chris writes up every week. Read them online and follow links directly to the parts you’re interested in. We recommend you print them out and keep them in a notebook. It’s a great way to learn.

Not a member? Join here. This episode is Jim and Chris chatting about their upcoming 5 week trip Down Under with some show and tell about the technology they are taking along:

  1. Cameras
  2. Phones and data plans
  3. Tablets and computers
  4. Misc gadgets

Download .pdf (you’ll see a dropbox login, but you can just close it – no Dropbox account is needed)

Continue reading →

159. Organize and Share Google Photos Albums

Everyone can view all the episodes for free. Just click on the play button above.

A great benefit of membership is access to the extensive show-notes Chris writes up every week. Read them online and follow links directly to the parts you’re interested in. We recommend you print them out and keep them in a notebook. It’s a great way to learn.

Not a member? Join here. This episode covers:

  1. Tip of the Day: Results of our Learning Survey
  2. Beginner’s Lesson: Organizing and Sharing Google Photos Albums
  3. App: Google Photos

Download .pdf (you’ll see a dropbox login, but you can just close it – no Dropbox account is needed)
Download entire YouTube video (184MB)

Continue reading →