Category Archives: Blog

Computer Tips for Travelers and anything else that these Geeks feel like writing about will show up here! For additional articles on Picasa, see our separate site PicasaGeeks.com
. For additional articles on Internet Connections on the Road, see our separate site WiFiSavvy.com

July 2021 News: Google Maps trick, Kindle, Emailing photos, Google Calendar and time zones

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  July 2021 | Issue 167  | Archives
What’s up with Jim and Chris – the Geeks


On the road and visiting friends along the way

On the Road Again
RVing is such a wonderful way to visit friends. Through Florida, Alabama, and Texas we “driveway camped” at several friends and were able to catch up on each others’ lives. Being on the road reminds us of important smartphone skills when you’re traveling. Below you will find articles on Google Maps, managing time zones, emailing photos, and reading Kindle books.
 
Upcoming RV Rallies
We are currently in Wyoming where there are 2 major RV Rallies happening. We will be presenting several seminars at each one. Whether you’ll be joining us in person or not, you can access the class materials for all of these seminars on the web pages we’ve made.
The Escapade is already sold out, but if you’re registered, there is still room in our pre-rally Smartphone Photography workshop.
 
 
What Does This Button Do? (YouTube shows)
June 27 #215 Trouble with Time Zones
 
June 22 Learn Google Photos open Q&A (make sure to use the chapter links in the description – they link to 27 separate questions!)
 
New Tutorial Videos
 


Geeks on Tour Member

  • Thank you to our premium members for supporting us and making this newsletter possible! If you learn something from us, and you’re not a member, consider joining us now.

What’s coming up – Our Calendar July/August 2021
We’re Presenting LIVE – online and in person!


View the Geeks' online Calendar

Lots of content on our calendar this month!
  • July 7-10 FMCA 103rd International Convention in Gillette, WY.
    • Wed at 2:30 MDT – Smartphone Photography
    • Thur at 1 MDT – Remember & Share your Travels: Photos, Maps, Blogs
    • Fri at 9am MDT – Google Photos
    • Sat  2:30 MDT – Maps & Apps
We’ll have a table in the FMCA Information Center for Books and Memberships
  • July 11, 2pm MDT Episode 216 of What Does This Button Do?
  • July 11, 3pm MDT Backstage Pass for Members Only Zoom meeting
  • July 16-17 Camp Reboot – Smartphone Photography & Google Photos
  • July 18-23 60th Escapade  in Rock Springs, WY
    • Mon at 3pm MDT Smartphone Photography
    • Tue at 8:30am MDT Maps and Blogs
    • Wed at 10:30am MDT RV Trip Planning
We’ll have a booth (63) in the Escapade vendor area for Books and Memberships
  • July 25, 2pm MDT Episode 217 of What Does This Button Do?
  • July 25, 3pm MDT Backstage Pass for Members Only Zoom meeting
  • July 30, 7pm ET Members Only Orientation and Q&A Live.
 
August is a travel month. Pay close attention to time zones.
  • Aug 8, 2pm MDT- 2pm MDT Episode 218 of What Does This Button Do?
  • Aug 8, 3pm MDT Backstage Pass for Members Only Zoom meeting
  • Aug 16, 7pm ET- Google Photos: Ask Chris Anything Live
  • Aug 22 2pm MDT- 2pm MDT Episode 219 of What Does This Button Do?
  • Aug 22, 3pm MDT Backstage Pass for Members Only Zoom meeting
  • Aug 27, 7pm ET- Members Only Orientation and Q&A Live
 
Live YouTube Shows Sundays at 2pm OUR LOCAL time “The Button Show” 
We are traveling. Our local time may be MDT, CDT, or EDT. Make a note.
July 11th and 25th
August 8th and 22nd
 
Stay safe. Wash your hands. Get vaccinated.

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. Uploading Folders and Duplicates?
  2. Photo Scan
  3. Creating an album cover for a video
  4. Mirror Google Photos on iPhone?
  5. Best way to save storage in Google Photos

Google Maps Quick Tip: How to see your destination when it’s in navigation mode

We use Google Maps to navigate all time. Sometimes, I need to remind myself exactly where it is navigating to. If you don’t know this trick, you need to stop navigating and back out to see what you entered for a destination, then start navigating again.
The trick? Just swipe up on the map, tap Directions, then scroll to the bottom. Here’s a 30 second video that shows how.

You don’t need a Kindle device to read a Kindle book


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The free Kindle app for both iOS and Android, gives us all the ability to read books using our smartphones and tablets. We can take our entire library of books with us everywhere we go.
Extra benefits of Kindle books is the ability to look up words, identify characters, and follow links.
For example, if you get the Kindle version of Learn Google Photos, when you come across a link to watch a tutorial video, you can click it and watch right from your phone. 
 
 
 

Emailing photos using Google Photos


emailing photos

Emailing sounds simple right? But there are actually several different ways to accomplish sharing photos using Google Photos. Many people use the first way of sharing photos “Send in Google Photos” and they are distressed when their intended recipient does not receive an email. This article explains the problem and specifies ways of sharing that DO send an email.
 

Google Calendar and Time Zones


Calendar

With just a little bit of effort, Google Calendar can keep track of those pesky time zones!
This article shows you exactly how to do it and why it’s important to do it right!
 
 
 
 
 

Learn Google Photos 2021 now available at Amazon


Learn Google Photos 2021 Kindle

Google Photos is changing all the time, and we have several ways of alerting you to the changes, but sometimes the changes are significant enough that we need to reprint the book. The Learn Google Photos book has been updated to reflect the changes that took place on and before June 1, 2021. If you click the image at right, you will go
to the Amazon page to look inside the book at the first several pages of the Kindle edition of the book.

Buy from Amazon: Kindle version 7.95 | Paperback 24.95

 

Make sure to tune in to Episode 214 of our YouTube show. We will be using the Learn Google Photos 2021 book to demonstrate how to use the Kindle app.

 
 
Leave us a Review


Review

Have you learned something from Geeks on Tour?

If so, we’d love to get a review from you. Click the link below and you should see a right sidebar with all Geeks on Tour stuff, scroll down a bit and you should see Reviews and Write a Review.

 

 
 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. If you’ve learned something from us along the way, we’d love a Google Review from you!

 

How to use Google Calendar in multiple time zones

by Chris Guld, GeeksOnTour.com

Create calendar events using the time AND the time zone.

Scenario: you are planning a visit to Buenos Aires and you’ve arranged to meet your friend Lisa for dinner at 6pm. You’re still in Denver when you make this date and you want to enter it in your calendar.

So, what’s the problem?

As you can see with the instructions above, it’s very clear how to enter an appointment in a different time zone. The problem is that, when you look at the calendar right after you create the entry, it won’t say 6pm because I’m not in Buenos Aires yet. On my calendar it says I’m having dinner with Lisa at 3pm! Don’t be confused. The calendar is displaying time according to where I am, the current time for my calendar is Mountain Time Zone. How do you see, and/or change, the calendar’s time zone? In the settings:

This is working exactly as intended. Think about it – if you weren’t physically traveling to Buenos Aires, but Lisa asked if you could join her on a Zoom call at 6p her time, you would want your calendar to alert you at 3 because there is 3 hours difference between your locations.

For even more about managing time zones, see Episode 215 of What Does This Button Do?


Chris Guld is President and Teacher-in-Chief at GeeksOnTour.com. She and her husband, Jim, produce a free YouTube show called What Does This Button Do?  They have been in the technology training industry since the 80s. Now, as semi-retired travelers, they specialize in teaching technology of interest to other travelers.

Tech Tip: The Benefits of reading books with the Kindle app

How to control Kindle books on your smartphone
Episode 214 - Kindle

In Episode 214 of What Does This Button Do? we go into detail on using the Kindle app on mobile devices.

 

 

 

 
You don’t need to own a Kindle device in order to read Kindle books. The free app for Android or iOS is perfectly capable. Using the app on your phone means you have your entire library of books in your pocket wherever you go. If you want a bigger screen, you can use the app on your iPad or Android tablet.
And, there’s more …
 

Words are defined

When you’re reading in the Kindle app and you see a word you don’t understand, just long-press on it and a dictionary definition pops up! The first time you try this, you will be prompted to download the dictionary.
 

Characters are explained

When you’re reading and see a character’s name that you don’t remember, you can long press on the name and a “X-Ray” box pops up that quotes a passage where that character was referenced earlier in the book. If that one reference doesn’t spark your memory, you tap the “Go to X-Ray” button to see all the references to that character. Not all books have the X-Ray feature. To see if your book does, open it in the Kindle app, then tap the 3-dot menu in the upper right – you should see X-Ray in the menu. If it’s not there, the book does not support it.
 

Bookmark and highlight places you want to revisit

To bookmark any page, just tap in the upper right corner. You should see a blue ribbon appear. Tap again and it will disappear. To see, and go to, a previous bookmark, tap the middle of the screen, then the notebook icon at top. You should now see all the bookmarks you’ve already created and you can tap on the one you want to visit. You will also see highlights you’ve made by dragging across text. You can see just the bookmarks by tapping on the filter button at
the top right and select Bookmarks.
 

Share passages with friends

Let’s say you learn something about using Google Photos by reading our book in Kindle version and you’d like to share this thing you learned with a friend who uses Google Photos. All you need to do is drag your finger across the passage in the book to highlight it. Then you tap the share button, choose your method of sharing – e.g. email or text message, and send to your friend.
 
We covered all these features and more in Episode 214 of our YouTube show, What Does this button Do? If you are a premium member of Geeks on Tour, you will also see the detailed show notes there.
 
Kindle version of Learn Google Photos 2021

Learn Google Photos 2021 Kindle

Because of the major change in Google Photos on June 1, we’ve published a new version of the Learn Google Photos book. 
 
If you use Google Photos and you haven’t bought the book yet, now is a great time. Even if you have already bought the book, we recommend now getting the Kindle version at just $7.95 it is a real bargain.
 
Because you can read it on your smartphone or tablet, it’s easy to bookmark and highlight important passages so you can easily return. I also means that the links will be live and they will take you tutorial videos and other resources. 
 

214. Using the Kindle App on smartphones

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

Scroll down to see the show notes, after 2 weeks, these will be available for 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:

You’ll learn how to read, control, and annotate Kindle Books on your phone. We’ll use the new Learn Google Photos 2021 Kindle Edition to demonstrate the Kindle app on your smartphone.

  • 0:00 Beginning
  • 2:38 Quick tip: A home screen widget for your Kindle book
  • 8:08 Kindle vs Phone
  • 9:36 How to buy Kindle books on the iPhone
  • 14:21 Demo on Android: Highlighting, Search, Page Flip, X-ray look up person or word
  • 23:08 Adjusting text for readability on phones
  • 27:24 Lock rotation, turn pages with volume controls
  • 31:33 Learn Google Photos in Kindle version, search, bookmarks, links
  • 48:45 Review Questions – Look up words, people, and places while you read.
Continue reading →

Travel Planning: Calculating Dates

We need to be in Gillette, WY no later than July 5 in order to present our seminars for the FMCA 103d Int’l Convention and RV Expo. We want to visit a couple of friends along the way, and perhaps even see some new sights. I use Roadtrippers to plot our route because it has the best features for adding or changing stops, but it doesn’t tell me what dates we’ll be where.

3 route planners that include dates:

Of these 3, RVParky is the simplest. Since I only want it for the one thing – calculating dates – I choose to use the simplest one.

I use RVParky for the big picture, including dates
I can even use RVParky for International travel planning

Calculating Trip Dates

To plan a trip on RVParky (or any of the 3 actually) you enter a start location and a start date. Then you enter a location for each night’s stop along the way and enter how many nights you will stay. It will calculate the dates along the way by taking the Start date, adding nights stays along the way to come up with an Arrival date at the next stop. If it doesn’t work out right, you can change the start date and it will recalculate. Although that makes perfect sense, there’s a big problem with how we plan our travels.

We don’t want to plan every night

We only plan known destinations, not every night along the way. For example, between Fort Lauderdale, FL and Gillette, WY we’ve planned one stop in Florida, one in Texas, and one in Colorado. All three of those are places where we will be visiting with friends. For the nights in between, we don’t want to plan. We just drive until we’re tired, then we look for a campground, or a Walmart, or a Cracker Barrel.

We don’t want to plan a location for those stops but we still need to account for the number of nights, so I add the travel nights to the previous stops and the calculation works out.

How about air travel?

We use this for International travel as well. After entering the start date of a Liveaboard (like a cruise), 10 days on the boat, then 4 days at a hotel, RVParky calculates the date we need to get a flight out. We use this for planning the trip before any reservations are actually made. This is how we sketch out our plans. Once reservations are made, we use Google Drive and Tripit to store and organize them. Tripit can also store any itineraries that a travel agent works out for us.

What about you?

Do you have and tips and tricks for how you do your travel planning? Leave a comment.

RV Travel Planning: Staying at Harvest Hosts

When you travel by RV, you don’t really need a place to stay, you just need a place to park. RV parks with full hookups are nice but not always necessary. If you’re willing to park somewhere without hookups, you have many more options. One of our favorites is called Harvest Hosts. Rather than pulling into a Walmart parking lot, or a Cracker Barrel, when we want something a bit more fun, we’ll check the map for host locations up ahead on our route. It might be a winery, a farm, or even a museum. Membership in the Harvest Hosts system gives you access to the contact information for the hosts, so we can email or call them and see if they have availability. We usually do that the day before we plan to get there. So far, everyone has said yes and we’ve had some memorable nights parked in picturesque vineyards, exciting air and space museums, delicious breweries, and tasty farms.

The Harvest Hosts website makes it easy to see the hosts along your route

Once you’ve joined Harvest Hosts, you can use the tools on the website, or the app, to plot your route and see all the hosts along the way. Click on a host to see the contact information.

As I write this article, I take a look at the map in the Houston area and see a host that is an air museum. I’m going to mark that as a favorite so that, when we get close to the Houston area, I will be able to find this place again.

Harvest Hosts have been some of our most memorable RV stops.

We’ve stayed at Air and Space museum hosts a few times and especially enjoy being amongst the rockets and planes in the evening when everyone else has gone home. The wineries are always good. One time we were treated to live music, and another winery stop was during the Solar Eclipse in 2017.

Just a few of the Harvest Host locations where we’ve spent the night. See our travel blog for details about these stays.

Google Lens will tell you about the things around you

I bought this plant to put in my back yard garden, but I don’t know if it needs sun or shade. If I knew the name of the plant, I would just google how to care for it, but I have no idea what it is called. This is where Google Lens comes in. You just focus on things in the real world and it will “google it for you.” Imagine being able to “Google it” for anything in the real world as well as online. Are you wondering where your friend bought that cool kitchen appliance? Just get out your phone with Google Lens, point it at the appliance and you’ll find out. You’ll even get a link for where to buy it. What is this menu item that’s written in Italian? Google Lens can tell you.

Using the Google Lens app, just focus on the object you want to research and tap the search button.

Google Lens will present you with its search results. If you see the correct object, tap it for further information.

How to access Google Lens

First of all, you need a mobile device, either Android or iOS. On iOS (iPhone/iPad) Google Lens is part of the Google app. You need to install the Google app, then you’ll see the lens button to the right of the search box. On Android, you need to install the separate Google Lens app, its icon looks similar to a camera but not exactly as in the iOS version.

Once you have it, just tap to open lens and focus on the thing you want to investigate. To search for the identification of that thing, just tap the Search/shutter button. Notice, however that there are other options: Translate and Text are amazing. Translate can interpret 100 different languages, Text can copy text from what it sees, even handwritten text!

Birds, Flowers, QR codes and more – take a photo

What if you don’t have the patience to point your phone at something and tap the right buttons? You can take a photo and let Lens investigate the photo at any time. For this, you need the Google Photos app. Just open any photo in Google Photos on iPhone or Android (not yet available on web) and then tap the Lens button. We demonstrate several examples in Episode 211 of “What Does This Button Do?”

Click here to watch the Google Photos and Lens portion of Episode 211. We demonstrate many capabilities, including:

  • A photo of a popular landmark – use Google Lens to learn the name of the landmark
  • Photos of birds – identify the type of bird
  • Photos of shells
  • Underwater photo to identify the type of turtle
  • Photos of trees – identify them
  • Pictures of QR codes will scan the QR code
  • A photo of printed text – you can copy that text and paste it elsewhere. It will be fully editable.

Try it by taking a photo of a business card. Open the photo in Google Photos and tap the lens button and you can save the information as a new contact, or just ask it to make a phone call or send an email, you’ll be amazed.

QR Codes are everywhere, do you know what to do with them?

Just point your camera at the code, then tap the notification that comes up. Watch a video here.

The watchword during a pandemic is “Contactless” – don’t touch anything. That’s why we’re seeing QR codes in restaurants these days. Instead of a menu that gets passed from hand to hand, the restaurant just prints a QR code on the table on on a stand up sign. Use your phone to scan the code, and you can read the menu on your phone.

That’s just one example of how QR codes are proliferating today. They’ve also gotten a lot easier to read. You don’t need any special app, just use your phone’s camera and focus on the code. So, for example, if you point your camera at the code on the left, you should see a notice pop up on your phone’s screen. Tap on that notice and it will open a document – the 2021 Preface to our Learn Google Photos book. If you focus on the code at the right and tap the message that pops up, it will take you to a YouTube video about editing photos. Other QR codes may give you discount coupons, maps, or contact information.

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Two QR codes. One opens a form, the other opens a YouTube video.

Did it work?

What if nothing happens when you focus your camera on a code? There are a few things it could be. Maybe there isn’t enough light, or you’re at a bad angle? You might want to just try it again. If it still doesn’t work (and you’ve never seen it work on your phone) it may be that you need to change a setting. All iPhones should be able to scan QR codes as long as the setting for Camera to scan QR codes is on. Most new Androids can also scan QR codes with the camera as long as the camera setting for scan QR codes is ON. Older or less popular models of Android may not have this capability and you’ll need to download a separate app, like QR Droid or Google Lens. On Pixel phones, QR scanning is a mode on the camera.

How do you make your own QR code?

Let’s say you’d like to put a QR code that links to your blog on your business card. A new browser feature has made it incredibly simple to make a QR code that links to a web page. Just click in the address bar of the web page and you’ll see a little square icon. Click on that and a QR code is now created that links to that web page! For a lot more information about making your own QR codes, see Episode 146 of “What Does This Button Do?”

A QR code can even be interactive. When you scan this last code, it will take you to a form where you can enter your name and email to subscribe to our Newsletter.

Presenting 4 tech seminars at an RV Rally

FMCA is an association of Family RVers. It is because of FMCA that Geeks on Tour exists. You can read some of the history in this personal blog post: Geeks on Tour–Ten Years Teaching Technology to Travelers. So, it felt like old home week when we were able to attend the March rally in Perry, GA. When we get to Perry we go straight to our spot. Most people attending a large RV rally like this are a little lost, but we’ve done this rally, in this location, at least 4 times: 2018201620142011. It’s beautiful weather and we are quite happy to be here.

In case you’ve never been to an RV rally, let me explain. It’s like any industry convention, but there’s no need for hotel rooms, everyone brings their own! Hundreds, or even thousands of RVs find parking places at a state fairgrounds or similar venue. There are social events, food, entertainment, and seminars. We’re there to present seminars.

At this rally in Perry, we were scheduled to present 4 seminars:

  1. Smartphone Photography: take a good shot and make it better
  2. How to remember and share your travels with photos, maps, and a Blog
  3. How to Organize your Photos using Google Photos
  4. How do I make my own custom Google Map

In the past, we’ve always had a printed handout for each seminar. This year we decided to make the handout available on a web page instead. And, because we can, we include the slides and the videos on that same web page. So, if you attended the seminar and wanted to review the material later, that’s available. And, if you didn’t attend, you could still learn a lot by reviewing the materials.

Check it out

The page where you’ll find all the seminar materials for the seminars we presented for FMCA is: GeeksOnTour.com/FMCA.

What do you think?

Let us know in the comments below if you learned anything by visiting the page with the seminar materials.

How to watch just the parts you want with YouTube chapters.

by Chris Guld, GeeksOnTour.com

Have you noticed the chapters in YouTube videos? They allow the viewer to know what topics are included in a given video and to jump straight to the parts they’re interested in.

As a creator of YouTube videos, it’s simple to create these chapters. All you have to do is edit the description of the video and include a list of time stamps along with words that describe what is found at that time stamp. There are only 2 rules:

  1. The first timestamp must be 0:00, marking the beginning
  2. The stamps must be the format hh:mm:ss

An example: if you go to the YouTube video for Episode 206 of What Does This Button Do, you’ll see a description under the video. When you click on “Show More” you will see the timestamps.

You’ll then see the list of chapters. Just click the link to go to the desired chapter.

  • 0:00​ Getting set
  • 2:40​ Apple watch as remote to iPhone camera
  • 8:49​ Send Bitcoin from one phone’s wallet to another
  • 13:53​ Make your own QR code
  • 19:56​ Putting text on a photo with Google Photos
  • 21:28​ Google Maps walking directions with augmented reality
  • 25:28​ 3D printing
  • 34:53​ Bitcoin, crypto-currency and Blockchain
  • 55:00​ Review

Creating the chapters is very easy, but it’s still time consuming. For example, our February “Ask Chris anything about Google Photos” was an hour long and included lots of questions and answers. I ended up creating 23 chapters to represent each question.

The ability to create chapter links in YouTube video was rolled out in May of 2020, so not all YouTube videos will have them. Even newer videos may not have chapters because it is up to the owner of the video to create them.

Timeline links (aka chapters) are something that we’ve always provided for our members in the show notes of our “Button Show” videos. Now that it is so easy to do it right in YouTube, everyone benefits.