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.

July 2019 Newsletter: 5 Years of our Button Show, Google Drive changes, Google Maps elevation

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Monthly Issue #142 July, 2019
GeeksOnTour.com | Newsletter Archives | Become a Member

Geeks on Tour is member supported. This FREE newsletter is made possible by our paid (Premium) members.  Member benefits include access to over 500 tutorial videos, asking questions on ‘Ask the Geeks’ forum, Show Notes for our weekly show, “What Does This Button Do?” and all our eBooks including Mrs Geek’s Guide to Google Photos. Already a member? THANK YOU!

Geeks in June

#UnderseaAdventures

The whole month of June we were home in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.  The photo is of one of the many Royal Poinciana trees in fiery bloom around our neighborhood. On June 19 we were guest speakers on Dottotech‘s Webinar Wednesday – covering Google Photos. The webinar is over an hour including lots of questions. Steve Dotto has an impressive following for his technology teaching channel and we were excited to be a part of it with 380 attendees viewing our live webinar! Here is our 24 minute recorded portion: Mrs. Geek’s Guide to Google Photos

We always continue to learn about technology! And, we share it with you on our weekly class, What Does This Button Do?

By the way, our pictures, Blogs, Photo Albums, maps, and videos are all examples of what we teach.  You can learn how to plan, navigate, and remember your life’s events.  It makes the experience that much more enjoyable to get creative and share pictures, maps, stories, and movies with friends and family. Check out our Learning Library of Tutorial Videos, just go to GeeksOnTour.com and click the menu for Tutorials. There are plenty of free videos in addition to our members-only content to whet your appetite for learning.


Calendar

Here’s our speaking request form if you’d like to have us speak to your group. We’re in Fort Lauderdale until August 10 or so, then heading up the east coast.

  • July 3 5pm ET: Member Meetup with Premium Geeks On Tour members. It’s a Zoom video meeting where you can connect with us.
    July 4 Happy Independence Day! and Happy 21st Anniversary, Chris and Jim!
  • July 14 – Episode 170 of the Button Show

No work travel is planned for this month. We’re concentrating on the website and local events.

What Does This Button Do? continues to improve.

Subscribe to our YouTube Channel for notifications of Live Streams from Geeks On Tour! Be sure to click the little bell to confirm delivery of notifications.

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See our Calendar



Ask the Geeks Q&A Forum

Here are some of the topics that have been discussed recently. Anyone can read the forum, only members can ask questions. This is a valuable benefit of membership. Join Today!

  1. Arranging Photos in Google Photos Albums
  2. Photos, Shared and Blogger
  3. Duplicate Photos
  4. Naming Faces
  5. Delete photos from iPhone, Google, and OneDrive?

If you are a member, ask a question! Go to GeeksOnTour.com then click the Q&A menu. Make sure you are logged in (there’s a form on the Q&A page), select a category (Photos, Maps, Blogs, Other) then click Add Topic. When finished scroll down to Submit Topic.


5 Years of What Does This Button Do?

5 years of our YouTube show

Have you watched any of our weekly YouTube shows? We’ve been making them for 5 years now, and we feel like we’re just getting started. We call it “What Does This Button Do?” to indicate that we teach technology at a beginner’s level. That’s a pretty long title though, so we call it The Button Show for short. We keep a listing of all episodes on our website which you can access with the URL – TheButtonShow.com

Read More


Questions about how Google Photos and Google Drive are changing?

Michael Daniel's YouTube show

Google has announced that they are changing how Google Photos and Google Drive work together. See our YouTube discussion with Michael Daniels here. Don’t worry, this probably doesn’t affect you. Nothing is changing about how the Google Photos app works. Your photos are all being uploaded to Google Photos from your phone. That is where they are stored, for free, and they will continue to be stored there. But, if you had been using the features where Google Photos pictures showed up in Google Drive, and maybe even got synced down to your computer, then this is a heads up. That is changing on July 10.

Read More


Google Maps can show elevation changes

Steep grade

Steep roads can be dangerous, sometimes impossible. Does your engine have the power to get you up? Do your brakes have the power to slow you on the down side? There’s a simple trick in Google Maps to give you advance warning.

Read More


That’s all for now. We hope you learned something. Your next issue will be next month. Any questions, please visit our forum. 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,

Happy Computing!

The Geeks on Tour website is an online learning library for Travelers who want to learn to use their computers and mobile devices for managing digital photos, making blogs, using maps and other online resources. Anyone can get our free weekly tech lesson, read articles on our Technology Blog, sign up for our free newsletter. A small fee makes you a ‘member‘ and you can then ask us anything on our Q&A page, view any of our 500+ video tutorials on these subjects in our Learning LIbrary, and get written notes and eBooks of our lessons.

5 years of “What Does This Button Do?”

Have you watched any of our weekly YouTube shows? We’ve been making them for 5 years now, and we feel like we’re just getting started. We call it “What Does This Button Do?” to indicate that we try to keep it at a beginner’s level. That’s a pretty long title though, so we call it The Button Show for short. We keep a listing of all episodes on our website which you can access with the URL – TheButtonShow.com

Do you think your smartphone is smarter than you? Do you have questions about your Android, iPhone, or other personal technology? How do you learn about these amazing devices?

Lifelong Learning

These shows are intended to be taken like a regular class, 45 minutes each week. You can watch live and be able to ask questions, or you can watch the recording any time. The bulk of the 45 minute show is devoted to a Beginner’s Lesson on a particular topic, but there’s more. We start each episode with a quick tip and we usually have an App of the week as well. We always finish with review questions to sum up the teaching in the Beginner’s Lesson. We name each episode after the topic of the Beginner’s Lesson. For example:

  • 124. First Four Buttons to Learn on your Smartphone
  • 125. Google Photos_ What’s New
  • 139. Widgets
  • 149. Internet and Battery when you’re Off-Grid
  • 161.Remember your Travels-photos, maps, Blog
  • 163.Emergency-how your phone can help
  • 165. Sharing Photos w Google Photos

We demonstrate on several devices. iPhones, Android phones, Chromebooks, Web … we don’t just talk, we show you what we’re talking about.

It’s Free

All episodes are recorded on YouTube and you can watch them for free. If you are a premium member of GeeksOnTour.com, you get an extra benefit in the form of written Show Notes. The notes are like little ebooks, with complete instructions plus timeline links to go directly to the video at the places where the topic is being demonstrated, plus links to further videos and other resources on the topic.

If you watched our 5 year anniversary episode (169) live, we gave you a link to all 168 show notes in .pdf format. If you are a premium member you can still get them. The link to all 168 .pdf files is included in the show notes for episode 169.

Keep Pushing those Buttons!

Technology isn’t going to slow down any time soon. Keep trying new things and know that Chris and Jim from Geeks on Tour are here to help. Tune in every week. Whether we’re live with a new episode, or you watch a previous episode, you’ll learn something. We always do!

169. Five Year Anniversary, Home Button Revisited

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: Using our Show Notes
  2. Beginner’s Lesson: Home Button – revisited
  3. App: Keyring

Continue reading →

168. Staying connected while traveling abroad – with Ron Brown

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: Searching for Photos in Google Photos
  2. Beginner’s Lesson: Staying connected while traveling abroad – guest Ron Brown
  3. App:

Continue reading →

Questions about Google Drive breaking up with Google Photos

I wrote a recent article called What’s Happening with Google Drive and Google Photos, where I tried to clarify Google’s announcement that they’re Changing how Google Drive and Google Photos work together. My intention was to calm fears. The sync between Drive and Photos is not essential to how Photos works. In fact, by default, the sync settings are off. Unless you have turned on either of the 2 settings involved, then this change does not affect you at all.

So, I was surprised when I received a few questions from panicked people.

I don’t understand what I must now do to automatically store my pictures safely, and to have access to them within the limited storage space on my phone. Please clarify what I must do quickly!

I received this note from Google photos about upcoming changes. What do I need to do, if anything?

You’re probably not affected

Nothing is changing about how the Google Photos app works. Your photos are all being uploaded to Google Photos from your phone. That is where they are stored, for free, and they will continue to be stored there. They will still be accessible from all your devices and shared with your designated partner. 

Google Drive is a separate service, mainly for storing files other than photos. Documents, spreadsheets, slideshows. Google Drive has been around a lot longer than Google Photos. The two products have had some overlapping areas. The breakup on July 10 is intended to show that Google Photos is now completely independent – it’s left the nest if you will.

Before the breakup

Google Photos setting: Sync photos and videos from Google Drive

This setting means that IF you ever uploaded or saved photos directly to Google Drive, they will appear in Google Photos. If you have never specifically saved photos to Google Drive, this will not affect you at all.

Google Drive Setting: Create a Google Photos folder in My Drive

This setting meant that all photos in Google Photos ALSO showed up in Drive – in the cloud. Some people depended on that because there are things you can do with photos in Drive that you can’t just using Google Photos. Two examples:

  1. A photo stored in Drive can be embedded in some other web page.
  2. Photos stored in Drive can be automatically synced down to a computer using the Backup and Sync software on Windows or Mac

You can leave the setting on and your photos will continue going to both places until they turn it off. After that, no new photos will be showing up in Drive, but they will all still go to Google Photos.

After the breakup

The 2 settings that connected Drive to Photos will be gone.

  1. You won’t be able to send photos from Google Photos to Google Drive.
  2. You won’t be able to automatically get all photos from Google Drive in Google Photos. They do promise to give us a process to import selected photos from Drive to Photos.

Who does this affect?

There are people, lots of them actually, who want to have all their Google Photos automatically downloaded to their computer. With the current settings, they could automatically collect all Google Photos in a folder in Google Drive, then, using the Backup and Sync software for Windows 10 or Mac, that folder could be synced down to their computer.

This method of getting photos from phone to computer will no longer be possible. You can still view your photos from the computer at Photos.Google.com but they are not stored on the hard drive, they’re in the cloud.

If this affects you, what should you do?

You need to find an alternate method for your secondary backup. Dropbox or OneDrive can do this nicely. I use Microsoft OneDrive.

Any other questions? Leave a comment below.

Google Maps can show elevation change

I’ll never forget when we were traveling in New Mexico and asked Google Maps to plot our course from Carlsbad to Alamogordo near White Sands National Park. I didn’t understand why it was telling us to go many miles out of our way to the north, then around and down. When I looked at the map I saw a much more direct route – thru Cloudcroft. Let’s go that way.

Well, we learned the hard way. That is a very steep climb up and an even steeper trudge down. We’d already burned one set of brakes, we had to be very careful not to burn another.

That was some years ago and we didn’t have the separate programs that would tell us what the elevation was. Today it is super simple, right in Google Maps. Just tell Google Maps that you’re on a bicycle and it adds a panel to the left sidebar with the elevation changes along the selected route. Make sure to select the car once as well, just to check that the route is the same. The elevation profile will only show up when you have bicycle selected.


To learn more about navigating with Google Maps, see our Member Learning Guide:

167. Video Editing Basics with Filmora

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: Snap a photo while recording video
  2. Beginner’s Lesson: Video Editing basics with Filmora
  3. App: Filmora Go
Continue reading →

Yes you can read books on your smartphone.

Original artwork painted by Ruth Godbolt Kennedy

Original artwork painted by Ruth Kennedy

Do you remember reading a book as a kid? In bed, under the covers with a flashlight? Maybe that’s why I think of reading as a “guilty pleasure.” I have several memories throughout my life of spending hours, even days, engrossed in a novel. Grapes of Wrath kept me sequestered for several days, The Thorn Birds even more. I have been accused of getting sick, just so I would have to stay in bed, then I could read a book without feeling guilty for not doing my work. My friend, Ruth Kennedy, had just read The Count of Monte Cristo when she was inspired to create this painting. Magic indeed.

Kindle Generation 1Then came the Kindle eBook reader. My sweet Father-in-Law gave me a first generation Kindle when it came out in 2008.  I could now carry around a library full of books in my purse and read them anywhere! I’ll never forget taking that Kindle with me to the dentist. It changed my relationship with dentist appointments – I looked forward to them because it gave me time to catch up on my reading. When the dentist came in and noticed me reading, she asked what the book was, I told her Water for Elephants, and it’s wonderful but I’m almost finished. She told me the book she was reading, My Sister’s Keeper, and I immediately downloaded it. We discussed it at our next book club meeting, err I mean dentist appointment. (see personal blog post from February 2009)

Reading on smartphones, or listening with Alexa

Today, I don’t even need the Kindle reader because the Amazon Kindle app works just the same on my Android phone, my iPhone, my iPad, or my Android tablet. If the book has an audible version, Alexa will even read it to me. Jim’s and my primary method for passing time on the road is to have Alexa read to us.

Reading on a phone is so convenient

I actually prefer my phone for reading over paper books and also over tablets/iPads or eBook readers. Why? Because it’s small enough to hold with one hand, (leaving the other hand free for that glass of wine) and light enough that my hand does not get tired. I can set the font size and the screen lighting/colors so that it is comfortable for my eyes whether I’m in a beach chair in the bright sun, or in bed in the middle of the night.

The main reason I like the phone app is because my phone is always with me. I’m prepared with a book to read any time I might catch a bit of time to do so. If you’re worried about how your book looks on that little screen, realize that there are a lot of adjustments available.  Check out this little video to see how it works.

Buying new books – instant gratification

It’s so easy to get a new book. Last week while on vacation, I finished the book (Mrs. Hemingway) I downloaded for the trip and started asking the other people in our group for recommendations. At least 2 people highly recommended Where the Crawdads Sing. As soon as I got back to my room I could purchase, download, and start reading that book. Imagine how many days, weeks, months, -or never- that would be if I insisted on reading paper books?!

Google Play Books

Actually, I didn’t even use the Kindle app this time. Google Play Books is very similar, and it comes on most all Android devices. Just look in the Google group of apps. As long as you have a Google Account and have attached a credit card to your account, you can purchase books. For Kindle, you need an Amazon account. 

If you have an iPhone, you can still use the Google Play Books app to read a book, but to buy a book you have to use a Web browser to go to Google Play Books. Same with Kindle on iPhone – you need to use a Web browser and go to Amazon.com to buy a book, then you can read it on the iOS Kindle app.

Searching and highlighting passages

One other feature I really like with books on my phone is that I can highlight passages and I can search. Those books, and those highlighted passages are accessible to me forever. This is especially useful for non-fiction books. Let’s say you got the Kindle version of my book – Mrs. Geek’s Guide to Google Photos – and you wanted to remember how to set up a group photo album. You could highlight the passage and quickly find it any time just by opening the book on your phone and searching for “albums.” Your search results would show any highlighted passages with the word “albums” first. If perchance you didn’t highlight that part, search will show you everywhere the word appears in the book and give you the context. You can then click on an item from the search results and be taken to that page in the book.

Amazon Kindle vs Google Play Books

I have discovered 2 differences between Kindle and Google Play Books. #1 favors Kindle and #2 favors Google.

  1. When you buy a book using Kindle, you are prompted to add the audible book to your purchase if there is one. I often buy both the eBook and the Audible version. For some books I also have the paperback version! One way or another, I’m going to finish that book. In the Google Play Books version, the eBooks are completely separate from the Audible books. Pricing example: Homo Deus = Kindle: 14.99 + 12.99 for audible, Google Play Books: 14.99 19.95 audible.
  2. When you highlight sections of books using the Kindle app, those highlights stay with the book. With Google Play Books, your highlights are all collected in Google Drive. Very handy.

Download a sample

I was just watching TV and saw an interview of an author promoting a book. I have no idea if I’ll really like the book, but it sounds intriguing. Both Kindle and Google Play Books allow me to download a free sample. So I can read a bit and decide whether I want to buy it. I love that.

So, what are you reading? And, how are you reading it? Paperback? Tablet sized eReader? Anyone else like reading on your phone as much as I do?