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

Updates in Process

You have my Google Photos book, but have you read it?

My book, “Learn Google Photos” is available on Amazon in Print or as Kindle eBook. A lot of people have purchased it, I don’t think many of them have actually read it. This is not intended to be a guilt trip, I’m just recognizing that reading a comprehensive manual from cover to cover is not something that people want to do. They’re overwhelmed, I get it. I would hope that you would skim it from page 1 thru page 151 in order to be aware of what is between the covers. That way, if you hit a problem with Google Photos, or you have a question, you’ll know what is contained in the book and it will help you when you need it.

Updating the Printed Book

The book was written 2 years ago. A lot changes in web-based products like Google Photos in that amount of time. Reading the book and understanding the concepts will help you even if the step-by-step has changed. When you understand the purpose of a feature, you can figure out how to make it work even if the menus have changed.

My dillemma is whether or not to do the work to update the book, when I know that the update will soon be out-of-date again. But, yes, I need to do the updates. I am working on it and have about 1/3 of the book updated. If you are a premium member of GeeksOnTour.com you can access the updated version, in .pdf format, on the eBooks page. Meanwhile, I am keeping a running list of changes in the Google Photos product at GeeksOnTour.com/GPUpdates. Please check that out if you are interested in what has changed.

Top Tips

I am interested in teaching. I want people to learn what they came here to learn. If I recognize that people are not going to read a book cover to cover, what else can I do to help them learn? More and more I understand that people learn in bite-size pieces. Short tips are more easily digested than full chapters. Sometimes, after reading a short tip, people are ready to dive in and learn more. People learn when they are ready to learn. It’s called “the teachable moment.” My latest endeavor at GeeksOnTour.com is called “Top Tips.” Our website has been gathering video tutorials and other written lessons for nearly 20 years. There’s a lot of content here. If you look on the Tutorials menu, you’ll see a new option called “Top Tips.” That is where I create short, written tips on things I think people want to learn. At the bottom of this short tip there is a section called “Learn More.” Tutorial videos, articles, and other links are listed here, easily available when people are ready to dive in to further learning.

Learn Google Photos Tip by Tip

It occurred to me that maybe the entire “Learn Google Photos” book could be better digested with Top Tips. What I have done is to create one tip per chapter. Each tip gives a brief summary of the chapter and then lists further resources if you want to “Learn More.” The list of Chapter Summary, “Top Tips” are shown in a Learning Guide. It’s called “Learn Google Photos Tip by Tip” and it looks like this:

For members only

I teach because I love it. And I’m always trying to get better. The only way to be sure I’m giving value is if people are willing to pay. There is a LOT of free material on our website and on our YouTube channel but we still need to charge for our premium content. I consider these “Top Tips” to be premium content. You must be a premium member, about $60/year, in order to have access to these tips.

Hands-on Classes to Learn Google Photos – Members Only

I don’t think anyone can argue with the fact that the best way to learn technology is hands-on. When I started teaching in 1983, we had a classroom of computers. Students sat at those computers and I had hands-on exercises so they could learn Visicalc, WordStar and later, WordPerfect.

We no longer have classrooms or students sitting before us in chairs, but I still believe in hands-on teaching. Zoom is the best approximation we have these days, so I have begun to offer Zoom-based classes to teach Google Photos. These workshops are free for our premium members. It takes at least 4 sessions to cover the contents of the book:

  1. Gathering your Lifetime of Photos and Videos (covering chapters 1-3)
  2. Exploring your Google Photos Library and Backing Up (covering chapters 4-6)
  3. Editing to Improve your Photos and making Creations (covering chapter 7 and 10)
  4. Organizing and Sharing your Photos and Videos (covering chapters 8-9)
  5. Getting the Most from Google Photos (overview and workflow)

The first workshop was held on Feb 6. Workshop # 2 is scheduled for March 5. Pre-registration is required. You can see all scheduled workshops listed on our Classes page. The goal is to offer one a month.

Google Maps shows the Price of Gas … and Diesel

When we lived on the road, we used an app called Gas Buddy all the time. We could see at a glance if gas (or Diesel) was cheaper on this side of the state line, or the other. We still use it for that when we travel, but Google Maps is catching up. Search for gas stations in Google Maps and it will pop up the price of regular gas for each station.

Here’s what’s new

When you see a gas station and you see the price of Regular, you can tap on it to open up more information. Below the photos, and the menu headings, you now see the prices for all the grades of fuel available.

Google Maps may be the only travel app you need!

How to Change the Frame of an iPhone Live Photo

Question from Mary:

Sometimes when I take a photograph with my iPhone, the snapshot moves briefly when I view it. Why?
Sometimes this exceedingly brief “video” has an image I would like to save and print at the beginning and not at the end of the movement. Specifically dolphins leaping from the water. Is there anyway I can stop the motion where I need to?

The snapshot that moves is called a Live Photo and it has been a feature of iPhones since the 6s. Turning on the Live option in the camera will result in 3 seconds of video being captured along with the still shot. You know if your Live option is turned on if the bullseye at the top right of the camera does not have a line thru it. If it does have a line thru it then Live is OFF. Just tap it and you will briefly see the words LIVE or LIVE OFF.

When I learned  about Live Photos, my first reaction was “Cool! A way to pick the best frame from 3 seconds of video for the perfect photo, without using Burst shot.” This is what Mary wants to do in order to get the shot of the dolphins in mid-air, not just the splash.

How to See the Video Portion of a Live Photo

Using the Photos app that comes with your iPhone, you will see a brief glimpse of the live photo as you view the photos in your camera roll. To see the entire 3 seconds of video, you must press and hold on photo. You will see – and hear – the 3 seconds of video.

Using the Google Photos app, when you view a Live Photo on an iPhone, you will see a button that has two positions, play and pause. When it is in the play position, the video portion will play over and over. When in Pause, you see the still photo.

play-pause

The Easy Way to Change the Frame

What shows up as the still in an iPhone Live Photo is called the Key Photo. It is easy to change the key photo to another frame using the Apple Photos app that comes with your iPhone.

A different procedure using Google Photos

Using Google Photos, you can view the Live Photo, play it, then tap the 3-dot menu in the upper right (or just swipe up on the photo) scroll to the right and you’ll see an option to Save as Video. This will separate the 3 seconds of video and make a standalone .mov file. Then, when you view the video, you can tap the edit button and see a filmstrip of every frame. Tap the frame you want and then tap “Export frame.” This results in a new photo of just that frame. If that’s all you want, then you can delete the original Live photo and .mov file since they are all separate files.

Learn more about Live photos, as well as motion photos on Android?

The “Motion Photo” button on Samsung camera

Episode 223 from November of 2021 is a show we did on “Why do my photos move?” On December 5, 2022, we were guest speakers on the Tech for Seniors show and presented lots of smartphone photography tips including Live and Motion photos. The video below starts at the point we demonstrate Live and Motion photos.

Hawaii – our 50th State!

Jim’s 70th birthday was this January, we had to celebrate big. He wanted to go to Hawaii, it’s the only state he had not visited. We decided to do a cruise on NCL’s Pride of America because that way we could easily visit 4 different islands in one week. We have now visited all 50 States … together! (If you want to make your own map of visited states, see this article.

For this birthday celebration, Jim said “the more the merrier” so we invited family, friends, and Geeks on Tour friends too. We ended up with 14 people on board the “Pride of America” cruise ship. Starting at the port of Honolulu and including ports of call at Maui, Hilo, Kona, and Kauai. We get it now – why everyone speaks so highly of Hawaii, it is beautiful both in natural beauty and in the beauty of the “Aloha Spirit.” We’re so glad we went, and the cruise was a great way to visit 4 different islands in a short time. Here is the group photo album. Everyone went to different places, so it was great to get photos from everyone. Stay tuned and we will be teaching exactly how to make a group album in Fun with Photos set to stream on Sunday 2/11/24.

Meanwhile, here is a highlight video:

If you want to learn how to make a video like this one … here’s your tutorial!

Zoom Meeting Views

We are in Zoom meetings multiple times each week and we’ve noticed some new issues recently.

  1. A barely noticeable dialog box is preventing people from unmuting or turning on their camera
  2. If your view is set to “Full Screen” (which happens by default when someone shares screen) you do not have access to top, bottom, or side bars.

Dialog Boxes

It’s normal for a dialog box to suspend all other screen activity until the dialog box is handled. For example, when you click a command to Print you will see a large dialog box appear in the middle of your screen with all the print options. It’s clear that when this dialog box is up, you cannot click on anything in the screen behind it. The problem with this Zoom dialog box is twofold:

  1. It’s easy to miss because it is a single line at the top of your meeting screen rather than a big white box in the middle of the screen.
  2. The position of the OK button might mean “Ok, leave meeting” rather than “Ok, this meeting is being livestreamed.”

While that dialog box is up you may not be able to unmute or turn on your camera (the buttons at the lower left.) Click the blue OK button to make the dialog box disappear and release the hold on the mute and camera buttons.

Full Screen View

A Zoom meeting may be viewed in Full Screen mode. When that is the case, your Zoom meeting takes over the entire screen – as if it is the only thing going on with your computer. You will not see the Windows Task bar at the bottom and you will not have your normal Window controls at the top (minimize, maximize, restore.) If there are other people in the meeting, their boxes will be covering up some of main person talking or their screenshare. If you are not in Full Screen view, then the people can move to their own row at the top of the screen, any chat screen can be pinned to a right side bar, and you will regain your window controls and taskbar.

To switch between Full Screen View and not Full Screen View, click the “View” button in the upper right. You will either see “Exit Full Screen,” meaning that you are currently IN Full Screen View, or “Full Screen” which will take you to Full Screen view.

Full Screen View
Not Full Screen View

We hope these tips help you feel a little more in control when you’re in a Zoom meeting.

January 2024 News: Artificial Intelligence, Hawaii, Early trials in Live Streaming

Newsletter: January 2024 | Issue 197 | Archives 

If this email was forwarded to you sign up for your
own copy here.

Image

December Photo

Home for the Holidays

The Video intro for this newsletter!

January Newsletter Promo

Calendar of Upcoming Events

January

  • “What Does This Button Do?” 2 pm ET Sunday
    Live on YouTube

    • January 21  Episode 269
    • Members Only Backstage Zoom after the shows
  • January 7th and 28th Fun With Photos Podcast at 2 pm ET
  •  Tech For Senior’s
    Selected Mondays at Noon ET “Fun With Photos”

February

  • “What Does This Button Do?” 2 pm ET Sunday Live on YouTube
    • February 4th and 25th  Episodes 270 and 271
    • Members Only Backstage Zoom after the shows
  • Feb 6 3pm Google Photos Workshop and Chat. A zoom meeting for members-ony Registration required.
  • Feb 19 at 7pm ET Google Photos Open Q&A
  • Feb 26 at 10pm Eastern Golden Gate Computer Society class over Zoom

Ask the Geeks Q&A Forum

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

  1. Google Photos: Backup & Edit
  2. Photos Not
    Uploading
  3. Resize Photo for Printing
  4. Specify Folders on Phone to Upload

Are you ready for Artificial Intelligence?

Is AI a force for good or bad? Curious about what AI truly is? It’s important to learn about it. Some of it can be extremely useful to you right now, and some of it is reshaping our world.  In this article, Chris, of Geeks on Tour, gives us her take
on the topic. She writes in a simple, practical style. We think you’ll like this article …

Hawaii Photo Album

We leave January 3 for a cruise in Hawaii. It is our habit to start a photo album even before we leave. Then we send the link out to everyone. If you “Join” the album you will be notified whenever we add new photos. You don’t need to join though just to
click the link and see the photos. Here’s the link to our 2024 Hawaii Trip photo album.

Here’s the tutorial video that will show you how to Organize and Share your Travel Photos:

Organizing And Sharing Your Travel Photos - Fun With Photos Podcast 8

Blast from the Past – 2014 and the Start of our Live-Streaming adventure.

We’ve been making videos and giving live seminars on tech topics since the 80s. It was in 2014 that we started Live-Streaming, and I just ran across this article we wrote at the time. The title of the article is To Boldly Go where Technology
Takes Us, and it concludes with “Like moths to the flame Jim and I are drawn to technology and live presentations. Tune in on Sundays at 2pm Eastern time, and watch us burn!” It’s a fun read.

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For Members Only

Are you ready for Artificial Intelligence?

I dare you to find a list of 2024 technology predictions that don’t mention Artificial Intelligence. So, what do we need to do to be ready? The first thing is to keep reading and experimenting. Here at Geeks on Tour, we try to keep informed on the day-to-day realities of A.I. Here are some articles we’ve written so far:

Is A.I. Good or Bad?

The answer, of course, is that A.I. has the potential of being very good, AND very bad. A.I. is the tool we have for solving the problems of the 21st century. With its help, we can solve climate change, overcome health care challenges, and cheaply produce enough electricity, food, and water to support all people on the planet. But, it is also possible that A.I. can create and distribute deadly viruses, hack into and disable power grids, and create deep-fake videos that are so believable that they could start wars. Think of the invention of electricity. Initially, many people thought it was simply too dangerous to use. They wanted to ban it. Can you imagine a world without electricity? Ways had to be found to use it safely, to impose safeguards and regulations. The same goes for A.I.

What to do?

The only way to control the direction of A.I. is with knowledge. All of us need to pay attention. Learn how to spot the deep fakes. Learn how to use personal A.I. to further our own goals. The more you explore A.I. the more you understand. The more you understand, the more you are able to vote intelligently when A.I. regulations are proposed.

An easy way to play with a personal A.I.

If you have an Android device, I recommend you install the Microsoft Copilot app. What is so fun about the Copilot app is that it can create images as well as written content. If you have an iOS device, I recommend you install the ChatGPT app by OpenAI. ChatGPT was the first A.I. chatbot and it is still the gold standard. It can’t create images, but it can let you ask questions by speaking and it will speak back to you. Once you have an app, ask it a question like: “Summarize the GeeksOnTour.com website.” or “Write a limerick about my dog Rex running on the beach.” For copilot you could ask: “Draw a cartoon style image of my Golden Retriever, Rex, running on the beach.

What exactly IS Artificial Intelligence?

A.I. is the next level of technology. I see it as a continuation of humanity’s development of tools. It started with fire, then steam, electricity, computers, and Internet. That is a bit of an over-simplification, I know, but the point is that A.I. ranks up there with the top milestones of humanity’s progress. In fact, it may be the most impactful of all. It enables technology to perform tasks that only humans could do before. The characteristic of A.I. that stands out from all other technologies, making it human-like, is that it can learn and grow all on its own. When Deepmind’s AlphaGo A.I. beat the world champion GO player, it was first given the rules of the game, then it basically played against itself millions of times to learn what works and what didn’t. Go is an ancient board game that is much more complex than Chess. AlphaGo stunned the world in 2016 when it beat the world champion using moves that had never before been seen.

A.I. is many things both large and small. When ChatGPT responds to my prompt to write a poem about scuba diving – that is A.I. in action at a small level. When scientists use A.I. to find a cure for cancer, and every child has a free, private, personal A.I. tutor – that is large scale A.I. If you were around in the 80s and 90s, what would you tell someone who asked you what computers can do? You could have answered that they can sort names and addresses by last name or by zip code in a matter of seconds – a little thing. You could also have answered that they would make global, instant communication possible – a very big thing.

The realm of A.I. is expansive and multifaceted, encompassing a vast array of technologies and applications. Attempting to write a single description is like trying to capture the complexity of an entire galaxy with a snapshot.

We are currently at the stage with A.I. that we were with the Internet in the early 90s – it’s a proven technology with an unlimited horizon of possibilities ahead. There is no simple answer to “what is A.I.” The Internet was a novelty in the 90s. Within 20 years it was running our world. A.I. is advancing much faster. According to Peter Diamandis (my favorite technology optimist)

By the end of this decade (2020s) there are going to be two kinds of companies: those that are fully utilizing AI and those that are out of business.

Peter Diamandis

A final note – I am trying to understand A.I. just like you. I have been fascinated with technology since the early 80s and I try to see the big picture. Here are some of the resources I used:

Learn Google Photos – the Book Summarized Tip by Tip

There’s a LOT to know about Google Photos. The book is 150 pages long. If you take the time to read thru it, you will learn a lot! It is intended as a complete reference to Google Photos and I’m most proud of how I broke it down into thirteen chapters. Now, 2 years after writing the book, I still feel like all the knowledge, tips, and help I’ve given on Google Photos can fit into one of those chapters. I am continually on the hunt to make the information more accessible and more up to date. My latest effort is to summarize each chapter into a Tip. The tip is short and sweet, explaining what is in the chapter. At the bottom of the tip are links to “Learn More.” So you can spend as little or as much time as you like on that particular subject.

These Tips are in our “Top Tips” section of the website and they are for premium members only:

Note: Google Photos is changing all the time. If your screens don’t match that in a video, you may need to hunt around. Having trouble? Ask about it on our Q&A page.

If you use Google Slides, you have a Free A.I. Image Generator

If you’ve watched any of our YouTube shows, you may notice that we have slides to guide us through whatever topic we are discussing. I use Google Slides to create these. Often I add an image to the slide. These images come from a variety of places, some are our photos, some are screenshots, but sometimes I have an idea for an image that illustrates a point. I can spend hours looking for an image that illustrates my idea, or now with Artificial Intelligence I can type a description of the image in my head (that’s called a “prompt”) and maybe it will draw something I like in just a few seconds.

Up until now, I’ve needed to go to specialized websites or apps like Dall-e or Stable Diffusion to create the image, then copy it and paste it into my slide. Imagine my delight when, while using Google Slides, I clicked on Insert, Image, and one of my options was “Create image with Duet AI.” When I select that it opens up a right sidebar where I can type the description of the image I want.

For the article about Google deleting accounts, I thought up an image of a woman looking into an empty closet and being worried about losing all her stuff. I wrote a “prompt” for my worried woman and in seconds I had some drawings to choose from. I find that duet is much better at drawing from prompts about fantasy – like an alligator on a surfboard.

In any case, give it a try, you might be pleasantly surprised with your results.

Then there’s the gifs and stickers. No prompt necessary here, you just scroll thru all the possibilities and pick one. There’s a clear winner here!