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

188. How do I get my slides into Google Photos?

Everyone can view any episode for free. Just click on the play button above. Geeks on Tour premium members get detailed show notes below. (free for the first 24 hrs)

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

0:53 Start

Quick Start Tip: Using your laptop as a slide light table

See Video 618

To view your slides on a light table, all you need is a bright, backlit surface. Your laptop can do this. Just open something that will make the screen all white – Chris uses Notepad. Then turn the brightness up as far as it will go.

If your laptop converts to tablet mode, do that. If it doesn’t you can turn it over so that the screen is flat on the table and the keyboard is sticking up.

You can also use an iPad or other tablet – open an app that will make the screen white, like “Notes”.

4:44 Hello

We are following the social distancing guidelines during this CoronaVirus Pandemic and staying home. Fort Lauderdale, Florida is not a bad place to be “stuck.” Spring has sprung, the weather is warm and the flowers are beautiful. We did have to cancel our big dive trip, but the boat gave us a voucher and the airfare was refunded. We are continuing all our normal work with our website and this YouTube show.

Our purpose for teaching this topic is not only to give you instructions on how to digitize your old slides, but also to give you something to do while you are following the #stayhome directives for the Coronavirus. If you use our method of projecting your slides – we think you’ll have fun.

7:59 

If you have a closet full of slides that you never look at, it’s time to digitize them and clean out that closet. There are several ways:

The first way is to get some kind of scanning device. This will scan your slides and put them on an SD card, or onto your computer’s hard drive, then you upload them from the computer to your Google Photos account.

The slide scanner pictured here will also scan negative film. The option shown on the right is an attachment for your own digital SLR camera. If you use that, make sure you have a good source of light to show up the slide. We have not actually used these devices, but we’ve read reviews and listed some products on our Amazon store in the Video and Photo Stuff list.

There are lots of services for scanning slides. We like Costco because with just one final click, everything they scan will be sent to your Google Photos account. They even do old VCR tapes as well (See Episode 172) and put the videos in your Google Photos. I found prices ranging from .25 to $1.00 per slide. The price goes up as you ask for higher resolution.

If quality is your main focus, you might want to find a consultant thru APPO.org – Association of Personal Photo Organizers. You can also find learning materials on that site to help you learn how to digitize your old photo.

12:33

 We like the fast, fun way. If you have a projector, you can have one last slideshow. Make a bowl of popcorn, pour the wine, and enjoy. When you see a picture that you want to keep, snap a photo of the projected image.

  • Camera: you can use your digital SLR on a tripod, but then you’ll need to get them to the computer and upload to Google Photos (unless you have a new camera with built-in WiFi – then the photos can go straight to your phone and up to Google Photos)
  • Phone: if you use the camera on your phone, they can immediately be uploaded to Google Photos
  • Tripod? if you put your phone on a tripod, you can plug in your earbuds and use the volume buttons as a shutter release. I found hand-holding my phone to be just fine, and it made it easier to switch between vertical and horizontal. If you want a phone tripod, check out our Amazon store, video and photos list.

16:11 Editing

The beauty of taking the pictures with your phone is that you can immediately improve them using Google Photos and/or Snapseed editing tools.

Google Photos edits: crop and auto-filter

Snapseed edits: darken exposure on the mountains using the brush tool, add blue to sky also with brush tool

Snapseed Online Course at GeeksWhoTeach.com

21:39 Editing Demo

Chris uses her iPad for the demo and points out that the pictures were taken with her Android phone, but since they got uploaded to Google Photos, she can see them on her iPad.

all done with Google Photos – crop, auto-filter, pop

All in Snapseed (it’s a separate app, free from Google)
Healing tool to retouch dust spots, Portrait to smooth skin, brighten eyes

Old, yellowed slides can be improved. Sometimes just the Auto filter in Google Photos is enough, sometimes you need the White Balance adjustment tool in Snapseed.

29:57 Sharing photos with Jim (or anyone)

Chris demonstrates how she can just drag over all the photos that belong to Jim and tap the share icon, then choose Jim from her contacts. He will receive those photos and then he can tap where it says, Save to Library, and those photos will now be in his Google Photos library. Chris can even delete them from her Google Photos if she wants.

31:34

You don’t have to change the dates of these photos, but if you want them to show up in your Google Photos timeline according to when in  your life they were taken, then you can change the date. In Google Photos it’s easy, in the iOS version or on the Web version. The Android app doesn’t have the date editing feature.

on iOS: open the photo, swipe up and tap on the date. Now you can change it and tap done
on Web: open photos, tap the i for info panel, tap the pencil next to date, make your changes and tap done.

As long as you are using Google Photos to view your photos, those changed dates will be the ones that rule. BUT, if you download that photo to your computer it will revert to the original date. When you change the date in Google Photos you are only changing the date for Google Photos, you are not changing the metadata of the photo.

Changing date in Windows, view the photo and view the detail pane, click on the date and you can change it, then click save.

NOte: if you’re using an Android, you can’t change the date in the Google Photos app, but all you need to do is open a browser and go to the web version of Google Photos – photos.google.com Note: the photos that Chris couldn’t find in 1978 did show up.

43:48

48:54

Mrs. Geek’s Guide to Google Photos – an update

I first wrote Mrs. Geek’s Guide to Google Photos and published it in December of 2016. The second edition was published in July of 2018. I’ve been promising another new edition for a few months now because so much has changed.

I am working on it … honest! I am setting a launch date for May 1, 2020 for it to be available on Amazon, and we will be offering a special package just like we did in 2016. Stay tuned!

Meanwhile, to see what all has changed, see this post at my LearnGooglePhotos.com blog. It’s all about the changes I’ve noticed during 2019.

Other resources from Geeks on Tour include a Facebook group: Learn Google Photos, and an online course, Google Photos: 12 Steps to Success.

Tell me what you need

If you have particular requests for what you want covered in the book, now is the time to ask! Just leave a comment here and I’ll see if I can work it into the book.

Make your own map of scuba diving sites

Jim and I are scuba divers and I’ve come up with a way of plotting dive sites on a custom map. This same technique could be used for RV boondocking sites, or backpacking campsites, or fishing sites. These are all places that need GPS coordinates in order to locate them.

Click the picture to go to the live, interactive map – then you can click on markers and see photos. Notice the markers off the north shore? Those are the sites where we dove. How did I know where to place them? Read on …

Get the GPS Coordinates

The only way to plot these locations is with GPS coordinates. If you have your phone with you on the dive boat, and if you remembered, and if your phone has a data connection, you could open Google Maps and get the GPS coordinates for your current location, then copy and save.

I may never remember to do that, but I will think to take a photo with my phone. My phone has the setting turned on to record the GPS coordinates with the photo. Now, when I look at the photo using Google Photos, I can just swipe up to see all the “metadata” recorded with the photo, including a map. Just tap on the map and you’re taken to Google Maps. The GPS coordinates will show up at the top, in the search box. You can also tap on the marker and see the coordinates in a pop-up box at the bottom. Copy them for use in your custom map.

If your photos don’t have maps, that means your camera settings for location are turned off. Here’s how to turn them on:

  • Android: Open the camera: Camera setting, Location Tags (or GeoTags) Turn on
  • iPhone: Open the system settings: Privacy, Location=on, Camera – turn on
  • See episode 161 for demonstration

Make a map with Google My Maps

We use Google My Maps to create all our custom maps. For a new map:

  • Open MyMaps.Google.com – be sure you’re signed in with your Google account
  • Click in the Search box and paste the GPS coordinates, press Enter
  • Click on the marker that was created on your map
  • Click +Add to map

That adds the place to your map. Once the placemark is there, you can change the title, write a description, add photos, and more.

Learn More

We use Google My Maps a lot. For our Geeks on Tour members, we’ve created a Learning Guide here. Google My Maps – How to make your own maps

We’ve also done a few episodes of our YouTube “Button” Shows on Google My Maps: #176: How to make a map with Google My Maps #111 Adding Photos to Google My Maps And we just did a new one this week specifically about making maps with GPS coordinates using our Dive Sites example.

Geeks on Tour offer Live Remote Seminars using Zoom.us

As we travel the country, we’ve presented seminars from Southern California to upstate New York, and all points in between. But, what if your California group wants us to present a seminar and we happen to be in Florida at that time? That’s when we use an online meeting software called Zoom. It allows the audience to see and hear us and we can see and hear the audience. We can display powerpoint slides as well as demonstrate on our smartphones. In some ways, it can be even better than being there in person.

A computer club meeting (TPCUG) with Geeks on Tour presenting a seminar remotely

It’s gotten a lot easier

We have been in technology training and support since the ’80s when personal computers were brand new. Back then we had classrooms where we taught hands-on business software as well as how-to-use the technology.

We would occasionally address large audiences at special events. Today, most of our hands-on teaching is about smartphones and our live audiences are Technology Clubs, senior centers, and groups large and small of RVers gathered at a Rally.

Technology and Computer Clubs rely on educational presentations to sustain their memberships. That’s where Live Remote seminars with Geeks On Tour can help.

Live Remote vs. Recorded for Club presentations

Recorded tutorial videos can be a good addition to any meeting agenda. We have a couple of great ways clubs can use our recorded content.

  1. View episodes of our YouTube show, “What Does This Button Do?” in whole or in part. They can be projected, paused, and discussed. The Show Notes facilitate the discussion. The episodes run from 40 minutes to an hour and there are 184 episodes so far.
  2. Watch videos from the Learning Library of tutorial videos. Short, single-topic videos, teaching a single topic or feature. There are over 600 of these tutorial videos. You do need to have a Geeks on Tour premium membership to access all of these videos.

If we are traveling through your area when you have a meeting or event on the calendar, we’d love to present in person. Audience size doesn’t really matter. It’s the interaction and Q&A we think are important.

If we’re not traveling thru your area, we offer Live Remote seminars using Zoom Meetings. With the proper hardware and planning, a Live Remote is (almost) as good as us being in the room. As an added bonus, the seminar is recorded and available afterward.

You probably already have the minimum hardware needed to make it happen.

  • a good, fast Internet connection
  • a screen and projector setup
  • sound system for computer audio and PA
  • Sometimes it’s a big-screen TV connected to a computer. That’s enough for you to see and hear us.

A camera and microphone make it possible for us to see and hear you the audience, the facilitator and the all-important Q&A interaction. Most laptops have built-in cameras and microphones. An external USB camera and mic will probably look and sound better and may be easier to place for better effect.

Using Zoom

Zoom (zoom.us) is a software to create online meetings. It’s a two-way conversation. A host (that’s us) starts the meeting and guests join in at their end. The software is easy to use and it works well under most conditions. A good, stable Internet connection is important at both ends of the connection.

You’ll see our faces as well as our screens for demonstrations. We try to make it as interactive as we can.

A little preparation is important. We always do a test run before to check the connection and equipment. We’ll teach you what you need to know about using Zoom.

For our online Live Remote Seminars, we use Zoom to connect to the club’s presentation computer. That computer will also have a camera and microphone attached. A club facilitator should stay close to monitor the connection and repeat any audience questions if necessary. We should be able to see and hear the audience at our end.

Check out our planned route and calendar. Get in touch if you would like a Geeks On Tour Live or Live Remote appearance!

Ready to give it a try? Let us know! There is no charge for the seminar, but the club should have a premium Geeks on Tour membership in order to access all the other materials.

Our current list of popular seminars is on our website geeksontour.com/seminars

Another picture of how it looks in the room. Laptop in room should have camera facing people in room, as well as an active microphone. This way presenter can both see and hear the room.

You don’t need Google Maps to give you directions to a restaurant when it can deliver your food to you.

Both Jim and I were relaxing at home when we started to get hungry. We didn’t feel like cooking and we didn’t feel like going out. I had recently tried using the DoorDash food delivery app, but couldn’t find any restaurants in their list that I liked, so I just opened Google Maps on my phone and started exploring the restaurants.

Pretty soon I ran across an old favorite eatery and I notice a button that read, “Order” – so I tapped it. I could see the complete menu and choose whatever I wanted. I handed the phone to Jim and let him make his own choices. I tapped on Deliver and checked that they had our address correct, then I checked out with my credit card – already on file with Google Pay.

45 minutes later, we were sitting at the dining room table enjoying our hot meal.

Amazing.

How Google Calendar can keep you from missing an event by setting your default notifications.

Don’t you just hate it when you see your friend and they say, “Where were you last night? We missed you at the party.” When the only reason you missed it was that you forgot!

I’ve been using Google Calendar to notify me of upcoming appointments ever since I started using a smartphone, and yesterday I found it especially useful. I want to make sure that all of you know how to set the default settings so that you get a notification before any upcoming event.

I had completely forgotten about my Yoga class at 10:30. I also completely forgot about a dinner party we were going to at 6pm. Because of my default settings in Google Calendar, I get a ringing automatic notification an hour before any appointment. Whew! I made it just in time. Thank you Google Calendar!

You can even set your default to give you two notifications if you want, like one at 2 hours and another at 1 hour before any event entered in your calendar. Here’s how:

  • Open Google Calendar (on Android or iOS – just make sure it is the Google Calendar, not Apple or Samsung.
  • Tap the 3-line menu at top left
  • Scroll down and tap on Settings
  • Tap Events (under your account)
  • Tap Notifications
  • Select your choice
  • You’re done, just tap the Back arrow at top left

Never miss a party, or a dentist appointment, or a meeting – ever again!

How to combine Travel Blogs and Travel Maps

A travel blog without a map is like cake without icing!  It’s good, but not as good as it should be.  And, sometimes don’t you just want the icing!  A travel map can give your readers everything they want to know.  Then, if they want more, they can click on a marker and follow the links to your blog posts!

When we started our fulltime RV travels back in 2003 I wanted some way to keep track of where we’d been so I started a blog, using the free tool from Google called Blogger.com. Nearly 2,000 posts later, I’m still writing in that blog. I even have a hard-bound book made of each year and they sit on a shelf in our living room now – a constant reminder of all the adventures we’ve had and a great way to spend a lazy afternoon. See this past article about how to make books from your blogger blog:  Save your Blog! Get a Printable Copy

Blog posts are where I write our stories, but maps are essential for the visual experience of where we traveled. I make a map for each year of our travels and I put them on a separate page of the blog. Using the free MyMaps tool from Google, each marker on the map is interactive. When you click on it, you can see photos and/or text.

Using Maps as a Blog Navigation Tool

Map markers can contain text. In addition to writing a short description of the spot, text can be used to insert links. Those links can be to your blog posts about that place. If you use this feature a lot, your map can become a table of contents for your blog.

For example, if you click the map above, you’ll be taken to the full interactive map. See the gold marker in North Florida? Click that and you’ll see some photos about the place. You should also see a link to our blog post. Click that and you’ll be taken to our blog and the post about our stay at that place. Many markers on this map link to a blog post. Try #3 in Raleigh, NC, or #6 in New York City.

You might say that this sounds like a lot of work. It certainly does take some time, but if you love looking at your photos and your maps as much as I do, it is truly a labor of love. If you want to learn how to make blogs and maps using the tools we recommend, we have Learning Guides for Geeks on Tour members. We have also covered these topics in our free YouTube show, “What Does This Button Do?”

Member Learning Guides

Here’s the first Blogger lesson, for free:

Free “Button Shows” on these topics:

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.

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: