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.

Nov 2019 Newsletter: GPS Navigation basics, Google Maps Live View, Google Photos Memories, Smartphone Auto-Rotate

Geeks on Tour

November 2019 | Issue 147  | Archives

What’s Up with Jim and Chris – the Geeks?

Sunset on Erie

We finished our TOUR!

We started October in Chicago and presented our Google Photos seminar at 2 Chicago computer clubs.

We ended the month back home in Fort Lauderdale after a whirlwind 3 month, 5,000 mile tour. We loved every minute (well except when the RV broke down) of it. We presented 17 seminars over 12 venues. Some were RV rallies and others were computer clubs or Senior Centers.

In between gigs, we enjoyed traveling in our little Roadtrek camper van and staying at some beautiful places. We made lots of new friends and met up with many old friends – including one I hadn’t seen since high school – thanks Randy! If you hosted any of our seminars or met up with us anywhere along the way, THANK YOU!

The photo above is in Quad Cities/Moline, Illinois where we participated in a Scott Kelby World Photo Tour. See our October Google Photos album for lots more pictures.

Chris has been invited once again to Google’s Product Experts Conference, this time in Boulder, Colorado Nov 11. We’ll fly there.The recently opened Senior Planet in Denver wants us to present our Google Photos Seminar we did in NYC. We are planning programs there for a full day on Nov. 15th as we will be in Colorado for the Google event. Then back to Florida.

What Does This Button Do?

We delivered one of our YouTube shows from the road this month:


What’s coming up – Our Calendar

  • Nov 11-13 Google Product Expert Event in Boulder, CO
  • Nov 15 all day Senior Planet Presentation in Denver, CO.
  • Nov 25 7pm Valencia Reserve APCUG Presentation in Boynton Beach, FL.
  • Nov 28 Happy Thanksgiving for our US friends.
  • Nothing on the calendar for December. Happy Holidays!

Ask the Geeks Q&A forum.

Anyone can read the forum, only members can ask questions. This is a valuable benefit of membership. Join Today! Here are some recent discussions:

  1. More Picasa stuff
  2. Merge two Google Photos accounts
  3. Chromecast and Apple Albums
  4. Password Manager update
  5. Google Maps not speaking in background

Google Maps Live View

Google Maps gives us arrows on a heads up display for walking directions.

This is augmented reality. Have you ever used Google Maps for walking directions and started walking the wrong way? It’s hard to tell which way is left or right until you start moving, right? So, you walk a block before you can tell if you’re walking in the right direction.

The new “Live” view fixes all that. We’ll give you a glimpse in Episode 178 of our YouTube show, What Does This Button Do? The Beginner’s Lesson is how to navigate with Google Maps and our Quick Tip is showing you the new Live View.

Watch Episode 178


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Google Photos Memories

If you tend to forget about your old pictures and never look at them again, this feature is for you.

Just open Google Photos app on your iPhone or Android device and you’ll see round bubbles at the top of your screen representing the years of your photos. Click on one and enjoy.

Read the article


Auto Rotate setting

Auto-Rotate and your Phone

Sometimes you feel like rotating, sometimes you don’t.

This article explains how you can control it for both iPhones/iPads and Android devices

Read the Article


Navigating using Google Maps

Google Maps Navigation Basics

How to navigate using Google Maps. That was the topic of our Beginner’s lesson for episode 178 of our YouTube show “What does this button do?” It only seemed appropriate after just navigating over a 5,000 mile tour around the Eastern US.

If you watch this episode, you’ll learn step by step how to use navigation on both Android and iOS devices. You’ll also see some of the newest features in Google Maps. If you are a Google Maps newbie, or a seasoned pro, you will learn something watching this episode.

Watch the Video


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178. How to navigate using Google Maps

Everyone can view any episode for free. Just click on the play button above.

Scroll down to see the show notes, these will be available for all for one week after the webcast. Then it goes back to Members Only.

Members get access to the extensive show-notes Chris writes up after each show. 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: Google Map’s Live View for walking directions
  2. Beginner’s Lesson: How to navigate using Google Maps
  3. App of the Day: — CoPilotGPS – offline navigation for RVs

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

1:38

Quick Tip: Google Maps walking directions with “Live View”

If you open Google Maps, select a destination and tap Walking as your transportation mode, you should now see an option called Live View. What it does is views your realtime surroundings and places augmented reality arrows on top of the scene in front of you so you are clear which way to turn.

If you’ve ever tried using walking directions in an unfamiliar place, you know that it can be confusing exactly what direction to go. Now there’s a feature, using augmented reality, to see your surroundings and place arrows right in front of your face making it very clear which way to turn.

Here’s the video 590.GM-Walking directions AR

 

5:54  Hello

Hello from Fort Lauderdale, Florida. We just got home after 3 months on the road that we called our “Back to School Tour” We traveled in our little Roadtrek motorhome and drove over 5,000 miles, presented 17 seminars in 11 venues. THANK YOU to everyone who hosted us or met up with us and shared some time together.

7:56

Beginner’s Lesson: How to Navigate using Google Maps

We depend on Google Maps as we travel. This is a beginner’s lesson. We’ve done this before – see Episode 87 and Episode 74. You could still learn lots from those episodes, but the app has changed quite a bit in the last few years, so we thought it was time to revisit the basics of navigating using Google Maps.

Google Maps can do many things. What this lesson is about it turn by turn, voice directed navigation. Navigation requires a mobile device with GPS capabilities. We like using our iPad mini for our navigation device. Note that it must be a cellular-capable model, not the Wi-Fi only model. It doesn’t need its own data service, it just must be that model.

You do need an Internet connection to use Google Maps. It gets the map data from the cloud. It gets your position from the GPS receiver – no cloud needed there. So, if you establish a destination and a route while you’re in a Wi-Fi hotspot, you can now get on the road and navigate to that destination without a connection. You won’t be able to deviate from that route however.

If you know you’ll be without Internet, you can download sections of the map. Here’s a video: 481.GM-Offline Maps

Navigating basics: 589.GM-Start Navigating

Step 1: find your destination. You can search for an address or a place name, you can tap a location on the map.

Step 2: tap Directions and make
  check that the correct travel mode (car, walk, bus, bicycle) is selected.
  check that the starting location is set to “your location”
  check the selected route and see if it’s ok, otherwise select an alternate

Step 3: tap Start

You should now be hearing her talk and tell you exactly where to turn. If she is simply telling you to “turn right” without telling you the street name, you should check your settings, navigation, voice selection. Only the first, default, voice speaks street names.

Search along route. See video 587.GM-search along route Google Maps has information about everything, if you’re traveling you only care about finding places near your route. You can do that with Google Maps IF you are navigating a route. Then tap the magnifying glass and search for what you want, it will only find items that are near your route. If you search for gas stations, it will include the current price.

Map North Up. See video: 586.GM-Navigation views Sometimes you want to see the big picture, sometimes you want just the next turn. Make sure the setting, navigation, map view has the NOrth Up view UNchecked. Then, when you’re navigating, the view will be closely following you. When you want to see the big picture, tap the route button in the bottom right – wavy arrows. It will zoom out and put north at the top. When you want to return to closely following you, tap ReCenter. 

24:35

What does this button do?

Chris goes thru each of these buttons on both her Android and iPad. 

Report Road issue – this button is like the Waze app where crowd-sourced information keeps us apprised of road hazards. This feature is now on Google Maps.

Settings – directions gives you all your turns. It’s useful to look at the final destination using this setting.

iOS has one other button, the red and white compass needle. One tap sets north at top, tap again and its back.

Settings: if your voice directions do not include street names, you may have a different voice selected. When you choose a specialty voice, like UK English, or Cookie Monster, it does not speak street names. Settings, Navigation, Voice selection – choose the default with speaks street names. 

This setting apparently is only available on Android.

34:24

Customizing your directions. Sometimes you want to go a different way than Google Maps offers. To force it to go that way, you need to add a stop along your route. See this video: 487.GM-Forcing Directions

To add a stop after getting directions, tap the 3-dot menu at top right of the app and select add stop, then search for what you want and tap the place in the search results. Now drag the stop into the correct order. 

More settings

Demonstrating on Android. Settings – Edit Home or Work. This is where you enter your home address or work address so you can later just say “Take me home”

Route options: Avoid Ferries, Tolls, Highways.

Use Help! It’s on the Settings menu at the bottom. You learn lots more by browsing thru help.

Low Clearances – Google Maps knows nothing about low clearance obstacles. You can import a database of low clearance locations and see it on your Google Map, but your directions will not avoid them. Here’s a video of importing a database of POIs (points of interest). 380.GM-Import a POI Data Set to My Maps

43:49

This is an app for either Android or iOS. All maps reside on the device, and there is an RV version which understands low clearance issues and routes you accordingly. Here’s their website: CopilotGPS.com

47:37

How to Control the Auto-Rotate on your Smartphone or Tablet

Isn’t it cool that your phone or tablet automatically rotates the contents when you change the way you’re holding it to see a picture take up more of the screen?

image

Isn’t it annoying that your phone or tablet automatically rotates the contents when you lie down to read your book in bed?  Especially when you’re in that reclining position just between vertical and horizontal and your book keeps flipping back and forth!

image

There’s a Setting for That!

On an Android device, access your quick settings by swiping down from the top of the screen.

  1. You should see an icon for auto-rotate.
  2. If it’s ON your screen will adjust
  3. If it’s OFF your screen will stay the same regardless of how you are holding your phone. Note that, if you were holding the phone vertical (portrait) when you tap the Auto-Rotate button, then your phone will be locked in portrait mode. If you were holding it horizontal (landscape) then it will be locked in landscape.

auto rotate android.gif

On an iPhone or iPad, access your quick settings on the Control Center. 

  • Swipe up from the bottom of the screen to reveal the Control Center
    or – on iPhone X and higher, swipe down from the upper right corner
  • You should see the Auto-Rotate/Orientation Lock icon right there

On the Kindle App

  • If your only need for controlling the rotate is for reading books on your Kindle App, there is an option right in the Kindle App.
  • Tap once, anywhere on your page and you should see a little padlock icon appear in the lower right corner.
  • Tap the padlock to close or open the lock.  When the lock is closed the orientation will stay put.

Still doesn’t rotate?

If you make sure that the auto-rotate setting is on, aka the portrait lock is off, and your screen still isn’t rotating, then something is wrong. I’ve seen this many times and each time, rebooting the phone has fixed the problem. Just power it off and back on, or restart your phone and odds are that the rotate will work now.

177. What is the cloud? How do I use it?

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

Members get access to the extensive show-notes Chris writes up after each show. 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: Identifying flowers and birds using Google Photos
  2. Beginner’s Lesson: What is the cloud? How do I use it
  3. App of the Day: —
Continue reading →

176. How to make a map with Google My Maps

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

Members get access to the extensive show-notes Chris writes up after each show. 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: Order prints from Google Photos
  2. Beginner’s Lesson: Google My Maps – Making your own maps
  3. App of the Day: Hiya
Continue reading →

October 2019 News: Print Photos, Voice navigation with Street names, Geeks on Tour: our story

Geeks on Tour

October 2019 | Issue 146  | Archives

What’s Up with Jim and Chris – the Geeks?

Sunset on Erie

We are ON TOUR!

We started September by presenting our Google Photos seminar at Senior Planet in New York City. Next came the Roadtrek RV rally in Foxborough, MA, then in traveling through Ohio to Chicago, we presented to five technology User Groups. One more to go in October then a couple of RV related rallies as we head south.

In between gigs, we enjoyed traveling in our little Roadtrek camper van and staying at some beautiful places. The photo above is sunset over Lake Erie, just a short walk from where our RV was parked at an Elks Lodge in Ashtabula, OH. See our September Google Photos album for lots more pictures.

Chris has been invited once again to Google’s Product Experts Conference, this time in Boulder, Colorado Nov 11. We’ll fly there.The recently opened Senior Planet in Denver wants us to present our Google Photos Seminar we did in NYC. We are planning programs there for a full day on Nov. 15th as we will be in Colorado for the Google event. Then back to Florida.

During September, we were able to produce 2 of our “Button Shows” from “Studio R” the back of our Roadtrek camper van!


What’s coming up – our Calendar


Ask the Geeks

Ask the Geeks Q&A forum. Anyone can read the forum, only members can ask questions. This is a valuable benefit of membership. Join Today! Here are some recent discussions:

  1. Dates on Old Photos
  2. How Do I Print an Album in Google Photos?
  3. Sharing Videos in Google Photos
  4. Apple iOS Update
  5. Storing a Document on iPhone

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Order photo prints

Order Photo Prints within Google Photos

Google announced a new feature in Google Photos this month … Printing!  Apparently lots of people still want a photo they can hold in their hand, put in a binder or add to the fridge with a magnet. You can pick up your 4X6 prints on the same day at a Walmart or CVS of your choosing.

Read full article


Image

Turn by turn voice navigation with street names

Sometimes Google Maps, or Waze tells us simply “in 1/4 mile turn right.” Other times I hear “in 1/4 mile, use the right 2 two lanes to turn right onto West Lake Road.”

I so prefer the more detailed instructions. It’s taken me a while, but I finally found the setting to make this happen.

Read the article


Jim and Chris - Geeks on Tour

What’s our story?

You may know that we have a pretty cool life, we spend most of our time traveling and we make our living from subscriptions to our website. Did you know we’ve been living this way since 2003? This past month we’ve given presentations to audiences who did not know us, so we had fun putting together this story with pictures to introduce ourselves.

See the rest of the story here

by the way – this presentation is an example of using a Google Photos Album to tell a story.


If you like this newsletter, please forward it on to your friends! If you received this issue forwarded by a friend you can subscribe to get your own copy delivered to your in box – it’s free. You can also visit the archives of past newsletters.

Turn by Turn Voice navigation with street names

I’ve been known to tell people that Google Maps is better than Waze because Google Maps gives me much more detail when the voice gives me turn-by-turn directions.

When Waze would tell us “In 1/4 mile turn right.” Google Maps would say “In 1/4 mile, use the right 2 lanes to turn right onto West Lake Rd.” I so prefer the latter – the one in the blue bubble above. We are usually in areas where we’ve never been and we need all the detail we can get to be sure we’re taking the right roads.

Change the Voice

What I’ve learned is that both Google and Waze can navigate with or without street names. It just depends on which voice you choose.

In Google maps:

  1. 3-line menu, Settings, Navigation
  2. Voice selection – choose Default (English) speaks street names

In Waze:

  1. Search then tap Gear in upper left
  2. Voice and Sound – choose English (US) – Jane. including street names

No more wrong turns!

Order Photo Prints within Google Photos

Google announced a new feature in Google Photos this month … Printing! This has been a highly requested feature. Apparently lots of people still want a photo they can hold in their hand, put in a binder or add to the fridge with a magnet. With just a couple of clicks and 25 cents per photo, you can pick up your 4X6 prints on the same day at a Walmart or CVS of your choosing.

With one photo open in Google Photos, you can click the 3-dot menu and choose from
Order canvas print or Order photo prints

Ordering 4X6 prints

As with everything Google, they’ve made this drop-dead simple. You can start from the Assistant and click the Prints button, or you can start by selecting your photos. I choose my photos first:

  • Select multiple photos. Computer: click upper left corner of each photo Phone: long-press on first photo, tap on more
  • Click the little shopping cart button in top right and choose Photo prints
  • The next screen gives you an opportunity to change the quantity of prints for each photo, and to do a little editing if needed. If you need to select more photos, use the add to album button at top right
  • Click Next
  • Choose a location – either a Walmart (matte finish prints) or a CVS (glossy finish prints)
  • Confirm your order and click Place Order
  • You should be able to pick them up within the hour.
  • You pay for them when you pick them up.

What about sizes other than 4X6?

Can I get any other size besides 4X6? No – not with the prints feature in Google Photos. You can use the Walmart or CVS in-store options to print other sizes.

What are the canvas prints? When you use the Assistant, or you open just one photo and click the 3-dot menu, you’ll see the option for Canvas prints. These come mounted on a frame that is 1.5 inches deep. You have 3 choices for what to do with the sides: white, black, or stretch the photo over the edge. If you see a red exclamation mark, it means your photo is not high-resolution enough to print in that size. They come in 3 sizes:

175. Google Photos – questions answered

Episode 175 was live on YouTube Sunday 9/8 at 2pm Eastern
Be sure to Subscribe and click the little bell to be notified whenever we’re live.

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

Members get access to the extensive show-notes Chris writes up after each show. 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: Swipe email messages in gmail
  2. Beginner’s Lesson: Google Photos – Questions answered
  3. App of the Day: Zoom
Continue reading →

2020 Camp Reboot! Smartphone Photography and Google Photos

Why settle for pictures that look like these:

Take better photos with your smartphone

When they could look like these?

How to take better photos with your smartphone

“Camp Reboot” has come to mean the technology workshop alternative to “RVers Boot Camp” at the Escapees events. If your partner is registering for the RVers Boot Camp, but you would prefer to learn about technology, we are offering two sessions of a special pre-rally workshop at the 2020 Escapade in Rock Springs, WY.  Hands on with your smartphone or tablet, exploring the camera-related features.

9-noon Camp Reboot! Hands-On smartphone photography classSmartphone Photography and Google Photos

For people with iPhones/iPads or Android phones and tablets – from beginners to advanced, everyone learns something in this class. If you’ve never taken a selfie, or figured out how turn your flash on or off – not to worry, that’s where we’ll start. The class is hands on. You need to bring your phone or tablet as we will have you exploring and experimenting with all its camera-related features. Like learning to swim by jumping into the deep end, you will have assignments and you will need to discover the way your device works to accomplish them. The workshop will be held over 2 mornings (iPhone) or 2 afternoons (Android) and you will have homework assignments in between!

image

imageIn your pocket you have one of the most sophisticated cameras ever developed, it can do things that Ansel Adams never even dreamed of! Just a tap on the HDR button produces results that took hours of preparation in Ansel’s day. Don’t know what HDR is? We’ll teach you! Want to show that masterpiece to friends and family around the world? It’s a simple click on the Share button.

Google Photos provides unlimited cloud storage for your lifetime of photos all for free. Automatically backup all your pictures for safekeeping by using the free Google Photos app. Never worry about losing your phone again. We will also explore the photo editing capabilities of Google Photos and make a shared photo album for the class.

The camera in your phone also does more than take photographs – it can file receipts and save them for Tax day, it can scan QR codes, and deposit checks.

This is a 6 hour workshop, limited to 16 participants. Bring your iPhone/iPad or your Android phone or tablet fully charged, and also bring your charger because 3 hours of constant use can drain the battery quickly. Pre-registration is required including a fee of $59, call Kim at the Escapees office: 888-757-2582.

 2-5pm: Android – Repeat of Smartphone Photography

This is a 6 hour workshop, limited to 16 participants. Same description as above. Pre-registration is required including a fee of $59, call Kim at the Escapees office: 888-757-2582.