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.

166. Are your photos backed up? Are you sure?

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 covers:

  1. Tip of the Day: Convert time zones
  2. Beginner’s Lesson: Backing up your photos
  3. App: Filmora Go
Continue reading →

165. How to Share your Photos using Google Photos

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 covers:

  1. Tip of the Day: Count your Steps
  2. Beginner’s Lesson: Sharing photos with Google Photos
  3. App: Runkeeper
Continue reading →

A better way to take selfies: use the timer

We don’t always take selfies … but when we do, it’s a happy moment

I like taking selfies, especially with a friend or two, but my arms aren’t long enough! I stretch my arm out as far as it will go to frame the people and the appropriate background, then I can’t reach the shutter button with my other hand, and the phone is too big to stretch my thumb over without fear of dropping the phone. When I’m using my Samsung phone, I can verbally issue the command, “Shoot” and it will snap the shutter, or I can press a volume button for the shutter release, but then I’m jiggling the camera and get a blurry shot. I’ve found that using the timer is the best technique for a stress-free selfie.

If the timer is set for 5 seconds, you tap the shutter button and then stretch your arm out to frame the shot. You’ll have 2 or 3 seconds left to summon your best smile and, click, the photo is taken. No stress over dropping the phone as you stretch your thumb to snap the shutter. No wondering if the photo will capture your mouth forming the word “shoot.” Just a nice easy way to take a selfie.

Using the timer on iPhone: On iPhones, when you open the camera you’ll see a timer icon at the top of the screen, just tap it and select 3 seconds or 10 seconds. When you tap the shutter button, the timer will count down and then snap the photo. It takes a burst of 10 shots just to be sure you get a good one. The timer setting stays on for a short time, then resets itself to the off position.

Using the timer on Android: this will be slightly different on every make and model of Android phone. On some models, you will need to go into the camera settings and find timer. On my Samsung Note 9 I open the camera app, then tap the timer icon at the top. I have the choice of 2 seconds, 5, or 10. When I want to take a photo, I tap the shutter button and it starts the countdown, giving me time to frame the shot and smile before it snaps the photo. It only snaps once. Note: the selfie timer and the rear camera timer can be set separately, and they stay set.

Your phone should be quiet when you’re asleep

Have you ever just fallen into a deep, relaxing sleep when your phone starts chiming that you have notifications? Especially if you’re part of a group chat, with members around the world, your phone could be beeping all night long.

Some people turn their phone off at night so it won’t make noise. You don’t need to turn your phone off if you know how to use the Do Not Disturb feature. You can turn Do Not Disturb on instantly by using your settings shortcuts:

iPhone – swipe up from the home button to reveal Control Center, (iPhone X – swipe down from top right) tap the Do Not Disturb button.

Android – swipe down from the top and you should see some shortcuts for settings, you may need to swipe down again to see more.

You can also turn on or off the Do Not Disturb by using your voice assistant: “Hey Siri! Turn on Do Not Disturb”, or “Hey Google! Turn on Do Not Disturb”.

Setting a schedule

To keep my phone quiet while I sleep, I want it to automatically turn on Do Not Disturb at 11pm every night, and automatically turn it back off at 7am.

iPhone: Settings, Do Not Disturb, Schedule = ON, then set your times. For more info on iPhone Do Not Disturb settings, like exceptions, bedtime, and driving mode, see the Apple Help.

Android: Settings, Notifications (or Sounds…), Do Not Disturb, Turn on as Scheduled, set your times. For more info on settings like exceptions, rules, and meetings, see Android help on Do Not Disturb.

Don’t miss an important call

Many people don’t want to turn on Do Not Disturb for fear of missing that middle-of-the-night emergency call from their kids. Don’t worry – you can set exceptions so that any call from a specific number will ring even when Do Not Disturb is on. The easiest way to do this is to make all your Favorite contacts be exceptions. You’ll see the Exceptions option in the Do Not Disturb settings.

YouTube: How to Watch Videos Later

Do you like watching YouTube videos, but you don’t always have the time? When you do have the time, how do you find those videos that you want to watch? Just mark them as videos you want to “watch later” – they will be collected into a playlist that you can access at any time as long as you are signed in to your Google account. You should see an icon in the upper right to show if you are signed in.

Mark a Video to Watch Later

Click clock to add

When browsing videos on computer: when you hover over the small image of the video, you should see a little clock button. Click that and it turns into a checkmark.

When viewing one video on computer: You should see an icon for “Add to playlist” It looks like:

The Add to Playlist button

When viewing a list of videos on mobile: you should see a 3-dot menu either to the right, or below the video. Tap that, then Watch Later.

When viewing one video on mobile: you should see the same “Add to Playlist” button as shown above. If you tap that quickly, the video is added directly to the Watch Later list. If you hold down on the button, you’ll see the list of all playlists and you can choose one – included Watch Later.

Watching Later

When you mark a video to watch later, it is collected in a special playlist called “Watch Later.” How nice is that? Just find the “Watch Later” list and click it to see all the videos you have marked.

On Computer: Be sure you are signed in, view the menu at the left sidebar. If it is not showing, click the 3-line menu at top left. Click Library in the menu, then you should see Watch Later.

On Mobile devices with the YouTube app,

  1. make sure you are signed in to your Google Account,
  2. tap the Library icon
  3. tap Watch Later.

Here is the official page from the YouTube help team:

How to add and remove videos from Watch Later

Add Geeks on Tour Videos

Whenever you notice a Geeks on Tour video you want to watch, but don’t have time – now you know what to do. Add it to your Watch Later list! Or you could even take a look at the Playlists we’ve made for you:

164. Gboard – a Better Keyboard to Type Faster on a Smartphone

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 covers:

  1. Tip of the Day: Reading a QR code from a photo
  2. Beginner’s Lesson: GBoard – a faster way to type
  3. App: InstaCart

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

Beginning

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is qt.jpg

If you see a QR code, but don’t want to read it right away, just take a photo!

Chris shows how they took a photo of a billboard with a QR code and then used Google Photos sometime later to read that QR code and watch the resulting video. Just open Google Photos, find the photo with the QR code and tap the Lens button – the third one from the left at the bottom of the screen. You’ll see a bunch of dots running around the photo. When it’s done you’ll see a link to tap on to view the results.

Try it! Take a photo of your screen with the QR code below, open it in Google Photos and scan it. It takes you to a form where you can sign up for our weekly tip newsletter.

5:52 Beginner’s Lesson – GBoard

If you hate typing key-by-key on these little phone keyboards, you owe it to yourself to try Glide typing.

Just using one finger, you drag over all the letters in your word and only lift finger in between words. It will notice every letter you touched, come up with all the possible combinations of those letters and compare them against a dictionary. When you lift up between words, it will automatically add a space.

Here is the video that demonstrates the basics
555.SM-What is Glide Typing?
Chris also demonstrates double-tapping the space bar at the end of a sentence to add a period and a space, and longpress on the period key to pop up all your punctuation marks.

Android – the built in keyboard can do this “glide” typing
iPhone – the built in keyboard cannot do “glide” typing

Here is the video that shows how to install GBoard on iPhone.
556.SM-iOS Install Gboard
First download the App – GBoard by Google – it’s free. Next you open your settings, General, Keyboard, select the GBoard keyboard and Allow Full Access. When you’re on a screen with keyboard, and you don’t see the multicolored G that indicates GBoard, you need to longpress on the globe button to the left of the spacebar and drag up to select Gboard. When you’re using GBoard, you may want to change settings. To get to settings you longpress on that globe button and choose Settings. Chris demonstrates changing the setting for “show number row.”

Here is the video that shows installing on Android:
557.SM-Install Gboard on Android

Use your Play Store to find and install GBoard by Google. Then go into your system settings, General, Language and Input, keyboards, onscreen keyboards, find GBoard and turn it on. When you are using a keyboard, look for the multi-colored G. If you don’t see it, you need to select the GBoard keyboard – look for the tiny keyboard icon at the bottom right, tap that and choose GBoard. To change settings, such as Top Row of Numbers, Tap on the G then you should see a gear for settings.

19:39

Security, I know people who have been scared away from installing GBoard because of the security message they get during installation. Actually, this is the same message you get with any 3d party keyboard. If you want to use its special features and you trust that the publisher (Google) is legitimate, then feel free to give it full access.

22:57 Demo – iOS

Here’s the video that demonstrates translation, GIFs, and Google Search
558.SM-Gboard Translate and GIF Search on iOS

Translate: just find the Translate button after tapping the G. Tap the Translate button and check that it is reading and writing the languages you want. Then you can type in your language – when you tap Translate – it will enter the other language in the results window.

GIFs: if you want an animated GIF, you start by tapping the emoji button to the left of the keyboard. There you will find emojis, emoticons, and GIFS. You can use the Search field to type something you want Happy, or Turkey, etc. and it will display matching animated GIFs. Tap the one you want and it will be copied, then you need to paste it into the message line. (this demo is on iOS, on Android the first tap inserts it into message AND sends)

26:33 Search: This is a Google keyboard after all! So you can search for a restaurant, for example, and then insert the results into your message without ever leaving the messaging app. To start searching, just tap the G and type what you’re searching for, tap Search. If you see what you’re looking for, tap it and tap Share.

28:01 Android demo Voice dictation is also available from the GBoard – just tap the microphone button at the right end of the line that starts with the G. You can see an indication that it is listening – speak and your words will be written for you. Tap the microphone again to stop it from listening. Note: on the iPhone the microphone button is on the spacebar – longpress it.

  • Deleting multiple words – start with your finger on the backspace key and drag from right to left.
  • Double-tap space bar to enter a period and a space
  • Fractions: long press on the first number e.g. 1 for 1/2
  • Punctuation: longpress on the period, OR longpress on a key with the symbol you want above it. Note: some letters have multiple options with the longpress – like the umlaut
  • To move cursor left and right – drag on the spacebar
  • Clipboard: GBoard gives you access to multiple items that you’ve copied. It remembers them for an hour. You insert items from your clipboard by tapping the G, then the clipboard button, then the item you want to paste. Note: this is not available on iOS … yet.
  • Translate: Tap the G – if you don’t see the translate button there, tap the 3-dot “more” button and you will see it there. Make sure the languages are what you want and just type your language – it will translate on the fly – no need to tap a translate button after a group of words.

39:51 App of the week InstaCart

InstaCart is a shopping app. Once you’ve installed it and created an account, complete with credit card info, it makes it VERY easy to shop items from a local store and get them delivered right to your door. The app makes it very easy, you can also use the website.

43:29 Review

163. Emergency! Configuring your phone to help

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 covers:

  1. Tip of the Day: Changing your phone’s wallpaper
  2. Beginner’s Lesson: Emergency! Configure your phone to help
  3. App: Living Wine
Continue reading →

Test your smartphone smarts

Every episode ends with Review Questions

We hope you have been watching and learning from our YouTube show called What Does This Button Do? Each show is about 45 minutes long and we present a beginner’s lesson on some topic of interest to smartphone users. We also present a quick tip and an app of the week. As of this writing, we have recorded 162 live episodes. All 162 episodes are archived on our website. Just go to GeeksOnTour.com and click the menu called Weekly Class.

At the end of each episode we have review questions about the topic in the beginner’s lesson. Here are a few samples. See if you can answer them. Use the comments for discussion.

  1. From Episode 162: T/F – if my phone is the same make and model as your phone, it will operate the same
  2. From Episode 162: Changing settings for Apps generally works differently for iPhones than for Android devices. The two methods are stated below, which is iPhone?
    A. Open Settings, then find the app
    B. Open the App, then find the settings button
  3. From Episode 156: T/F: you must install a dedicated scanning app on your phone in order to scan documents.
  4. From Episode 156: Can a .PDF file be edited?
    A. NO   B. Only if you buy the Adobe Acrobat software C. Yes, if your scanning app performs OCR  D. Yes, if you use Google Drive to scan, then open in Google Docs
  5. From Episode 155: If you paid for an App while using an old phone, when you get a new phone and want that app there will be no charge as long as: _____________________
  6. From Episode 146: T/F – A QR code is a link to a web page, that’s all.
  7. From Episode 146: To scan a QR code, you need a mobile device, an app for scanning codes and _____________________________
  8. From Episode 144: Camera Flash – should you leave it set to: A. on, B. off, or C. auto?
  9. From Episode 144: T/F: Panorama photos can only be taken from left to right.
  10. From Episode 139: How do you get the widgets on Android?
    A. Play Store, widgets  B. LongPress home screen, Widgets C. “OK Google” add a widget
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We hope you will check out the archives and also join us in future episodes of What Does This Button Do? You can watch any of the archived shows at any time. If you want to watch when we record a new show live, you need to subscribe to our YouTube channel and click the little Bell so that you get notified when we are live. We usually record on Sundays at 2pm Eastern time. If you are watching in real time, you can use the chat box to ask questions and we will try to answer during the show.