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

How to create an Excel spreadsheet when you don’t have Excel, and you don’t want to install any software

We taught our Cloud Computing class today for the Deerfield Beach Computer Club and we’re always excited to see the lightbulbs go off in people’s eyes when we demonstrate creating an Excel worksheet without using Excel, or any other software installed on our computer! Cloud computing is a huge topic, and we try to give an understandable overview of what it’s all about. You can see our seminar handout here. Also see Episode 100 of our Button Show: Using OneDrive

How to use Excel in the Cloud

It just takes no time at all to demonstrate how to use Excel in the cloud.

  1. Browse to Onedrive.com, that is Microsoft’s cloud storage service.
  2. Log in with a Microsoft account username and password. If you don’t have one, you can click the Create New Account button. (important note: if you use a Windows computer, you most likely have a Microsoft username and password. It pays to find your existing account credentials rather than creating a new one which will later complicate your life no end! (See Episode 137: Accounts)
  3. Click the +New button, then Excel workbook
  4. You should now see an Excel workspace where you can create your spreadsheet – this is Excel Online.
  5. When you’ve completed your worksheet, you may want to give it a name. Just click at the top where it says Book1, and type the name you want.
  6. Your sheet has been saved in your Onedrive account automatically, you can just close out the window. If you want to share it with someone first, click the share button in the upper right and enter an email address.
  7. If you want the sheet on your computer, click the File menu, Save As, Download a Copy

That’ all there is to it. You’ve just created an Excel spreadsheet, sent it to an associate, save it to your computer, all for free without using any software on your computer. That’s Cloud computing!

My secret for taking lots of travel photos and not deleting any of them

We are currently traveling in New Zealand and taking lots of pictures! I’ve taken about 1200 pictures so far, and Jim has probably taken nearly the same. How would you like to see a slide show?

I think not! But, here’s our trip album with just our selected photos – just click this link to view the album.

The conventional method of photo organizing teaches to:

  • Keep the best
  • Delete the rest

But, I am way too lazy! Deciding which pictures need to be deleted is both time-taking and stressful. That sounds like work to me. I avoid work! I will certainly delete the obvious garbage – the mistakes when my phone took a photo of the inside of my pocket, or my foot, but, at the Hobbiton movie set yesterday, everywhere we turned was a beautiful image. Our phones take great pictures, and Google Photos stores them in the cloud, unlimited and free, so why not take every picture you see. I am not even close to being a professional photographer, but if I take enough – I’m bound to catch a good one here and there! Here is what my phone’s Google Photos screen looked like yesterday:

This is about 1/4 of the pictures I took at the Hobbiton movie set

I can’t delete any of those! But, I can pick out 3 or 4 representative shots to put in our New Zealand trip album, so that’s what I do. My method is:

  • Keep them all
  • Pick a few for the album and add them

That’s easy, actually it’s fun. I can even accomplish that, using my phone, on the tour bus on the way back to the RV! I love looking at the pictures I just took, adding a few of them to the trip album is as easy as tapping the 3-dot menu, selecting Add to Album, and tapping the New Zealand album. Before I go to bed at night, my friends and family are all able to see the wonderful things we did that day by viewing the album.

Just a few pictures made it to the album

I cringe when I hear people say, “I took so many pictures on my vacation, now I have to spend a few days deleting and organizing them once I get home.” How many people never get around to that? That’s work. What a shame.

What about photos on your computer?

I took the pictures with my phone, Google Photos uploads them to the cloud. I can view all those photos using my computer as long as I have an Internet connection. So easy! If I add photos to an album using the phone I will see them in that album using the computer. If I use the computer to do the work, I’ll see it on the phone. So easy! But, what if I don’t have a connection? What if I want my photos on the computer? That’s when I download the album to my computer by clicking the 3-dot menu. Voila! I’m not taking up unnecessary hard drive space, but I have my best photos on the computer. Essentially it is a backup of my best photos.

For more details and a complete photo management workflow, see my book, Mrs. Geek’s Guide to Google Photos, chapter 11. Geeks on Tour membership includes free access to the .pdf of the book here.

Learn more

What is Google Plus and how does the shut down affect my Blogger blog?

A lot of people are getting emails lately, “Your Google+ account is going away.” People have then been asking us, “What is Google Plus, and should I care that it is going away?”

First of all, please realize that Google+, aka Google Plus, was a separate service by Google. It is not your Google account. Google+ was Google’s attempt to have a social network similar to Facebook. If you did not use Google+, then the fact that it is shutting down will not affect you. Your Blogger blog continues on, your Google Photos will all still be there, your thousands of Gmail messages in your inbox aren’t going anywhere, and your appointments on Google Calendar are safe. The only thing that is going away is the website with the red G+ icon shown above.

However, Google+ was not completely separate. It had fingers in the pie of other Google applications, it was an add-on to your Google account and, for a period of time, everyone who created a Google account got the Google+ add-on whether you wanted it or not. It was referred to as your Google+ profile, as opposed to a simple Google profile. The idea was for Google+ to be the hub of all your Google services. So, as Google+ is closed down, it unravels some of that connectivity. This is happening over a period of time, everything I know about it is subject to change as the shutdown unfolds.

How is your Blogger blog affected?

Your Blogger blog will continue and all your posts will still be there. Only if you took advantage of Google+ special features will you see any change. See the official Google info on Blogger and Google+ here. If you set up your blog using a Google+ profile, you should change it to a simple Blogger profile. It is still using your same Google account, just without those “Add-ons” mentioned above, and you need to supply a screen name for use with Blogger. Find this setting under User Settings, General, User Profile. If the Google+ profile button is selected, change it to a Blogger profile.

If you checked the box to use the Google+ comment system for your blog, all comments written using that system will disappear. I’m afraid there is nothing you can do about that. To see if you are using these features, go to Blogger.com and be sure you’re signed in with your Google account, select your blog from the left sidebar, then click Settings, and Google + Comments. You should see a screen like this:

If you have been knowingly using Google+, please read the linked articles above in detail. You may also want to download your Google Plus data. Another good resource for more info is PeggyK’s weekly update for Google+ and Blogger.

What’s wrong with this picture? It’s blah

Jim and Chris in Brisbane, QLD, Australia

You might look at that picture and say, “That’s a nice picture, there’s nothing wrong with it.” But, I don’t want you to look at my picture and say, “That’s nice” I want you to look at it and say “Wow!”

With just a couple of clicks, you can take a good picture and make it gorgeous.

  1. To crop: open the photo using Google Photos and click (tap) the edit button then the Crop button . Drag the edges of the photo in closer to the subject and then tap Done.
  2. To make it “Pop”: Still in Edit mode, tap the adjustments button (same icon as Edit) Find the Pop slider (it may be under Light, tap the down arrow to see) drag the pop slider to the right. You may also want to drag the color slider to the right a little.

Learn to Edit

Every phone with a camera comes with editing tools. I like using Google Photos, but if you don’t – you can also use whatever Gallery or Photo app that came with your phone. They all will have features to crop, brighten, and enhance colors. Here are a few videos to show you how to use the editing tools in Google Photos:

If you want to learn the free companion app called Snapseed, we have a complete Learning Guide for Snapseed.

How to follow our travels by joining our photo album

When we travel to beautiful places, we take a lot of photos. Google Photos makes it so easy to pick the best ones, fix them up a little, then put them in an album we can share with you. Chris and Jim’s Australia/New Zealand photo album. Anyone can click the link and view the photos and videos in the album. If you are signed in to a Google account, you will see a button to “Join” the album. Once you join, you will get notified whenever we add new photos to the album. You will also be able to leave comments. Comments can be left on the album as a whole, or on individual photos and videos. It’s like having our own personal social media site just for our trip.

Click here to view the photo album

Once you are viewing the album, you’ll see pictures, videos, text blocks and maps. The album starts at the beginning and builds, with the most recent additions at the bottom. Using the Google Photos album means you can follow our trip even if we are not friends on Facebook, and you don’t use Instagram. Be sure to click on individual pictures to see them full screen, and certainly click on any videos then click the play button to view them. When you see a speech bubble in the corner that means there are comments. Click the bubble to read them.

You can always click (or tap) a back button – upper left corner – to get back to the overall album view.

If you are interested in reading stories about our trip, we do the writing in our Blog. You can visit it any time at GeeksOnTour.blogspot.com. If you want email notification of new blog posts, just enter your email address in the space provided in the right sidebar.

Visit our Blog for the rest of the story

Make your own albums

To learn more about making your own albums with Google Photos, here are the articles and videos we’ve made for you:

How your phone can tell you the time of two places at once

We are currently traveling in Australia and New Zealand. We use our phones to know the current time – that’s a given – but it is also important to us to know what time it is at home. Home is in Eastern time, aka Miami.

Android: Dual Clock Widget

On my Samsung (Android) phone, I use a widget called Dual Clock. If you don’t know about widgets, see Episode 139: Widgets.

To add this widget to your home screen:

  1. Long-Press on a blank spot on your homescreen and then tap the button that appears called Widgets
  2. Find the widget for Clock and tap it, you should then see a button for “Dual Clock” – touch and hold (longpress) on that, then drop it off on the home screen location where you want it
  3. You should now see the local time and a link to tap to add the second time you want.

iPhone World Clock

On an iPhone, you have an app called Clock. The icon for that app on your home screen is a live analog clock showing you the current local time. To see the time in any other part of the world, tap the clock to see the full screen with all the options. You can also reach the clock from any screen by getting to your control panel. In all but iPhone Xs, you reach the control panel by swiping up from the bottom. In iPhone X, you swipe down from the upper right corner. Then you’ll see an icon for clock. Tapping on that is the same as tapping on the clock icon from a home screen.

Once you open Clock, select the World Clock option

The clock has several purposes: World Clock, Alarm, Bedtime, Stopwatch, and Timer. Notice all these options at the bottom of the screen. Tap World Clock to see the time in other cities. To add a city, tap the +, to change the order of cities, tap Edit.

Google can remind you where you went in 2018

As we travel more and more, remembering where we’ve been gets harder and harder. I take lots of pictures, I make my own maps, and I write in my personal blog. I like documenting my life.

If I just want to remember where all I went last year, Google’s location history is the quickest way to do that. If you have Google Maps set to record your location history, viewing a map of everywhere you’ve been in 2018 is as easy as 1-2-3:

  1. On a computer, go to Maps.Google.com and be sure you are logged in with your Google Account.
  2. Click the 3-line menu in upper left and choose “Your Timeline.”
  3. Click Year to drop down your choices and choose 2018.

That’s all it takes to view this map. To keep it, I just take a screenshot (Windows: use Snipping Tool, New, drag the area; Mac: use CMD-Shift-4 drag the area).

If you don’t see any places, it means your Google Location History has never been turned on. If it is on, and this is the first time you’ve seen your Google Timeline, it may freak you out a bit. It’s so easy to view your location history that you may feel anyone can do it – but they can’t. That is, they can’t see your location history. My map, the one you see above, is a screenshot of what I see after logging in with my Google username and password and verification code. Google does not even give me a way to share this with anyone – only I can see it. If it still freaks you out, you can turn it off. You can also delete what has already been saved. You can delete individual places, or your entire location history. Here is the official

Google help page on managing your location history

2019 Learning Survey

Help us pick our topics for 2019 by rating your interest in these suggestions.
We’ve listed 35 possibilities, don’t fret over each one, just click level 4 or 5 if you’re interested, level 1 or 2 if not. Mark 3 if you have no opinion.
There’s room at the end to tell us about anything else you’d like.
The survey will only take you a couple minutes, please help us pick our topics.

2018 was a good year for old dogs to learn new tricks with technology.

If you think technology is passing you by, Jim and Chris, of Geeks on Tour are here to help.They love to teach, so they pick a topic every week or two and produce a live YouTube show. Below are links to all of the episodes they recorded in 2018. Take a look and see if any topics peak your interest.

If you like the shows, you’ll love the show notes! If the list below looks interesting to you, but you’re not interested in watching 27 episodes of a 45 minute show, then you’ll really appreciate our show notes. If you are a Geeks on Tour member, you can enter your username and password after clicking on any link below and skim thru the notes. There are timeline links throughout the notes where you can click and go to that specific spot in the video. Also, if you are a member, you get an email after every show with a link to the .pdf version of the written notes.

What Does This Button Do? All episodes recorded in 2018

132. Google Photos for Picasa Users
133. Facebook Privacy
134. Scanning photos with Google PhotoScan
135. Copying files from USB _thumb_ drive
136. Editing photos with Snapseed
137. Understanding Accounts
138. Google Photos_upload from computer
139. What are Widgets on Smartphones
140- Facebook Privacy, 5 action items
141. Music on Smartphones
142. Using Snapseed with Google Photos on a Chromebook
143. Scuba Diving videos, Sharing Google Photo
144. Smartphone camera tips
145. Google Photos – Your Questions Answered
146. QR Codes and Smartphones
147. Video Editing on Chromebook with Quik
148. Geeks on Tour Live Seminars – how to learn when you can’t attend
149. Internet and Battery when you’re Off-Grid
150. Using Google Photos to Edit Videos
151. Trip Planning
152. Trip Planning Apps – International
153.Favorite Apps with Eric and Tami of TechnoRV
154. Cellular Boosters
155.Apps-Install Uninstall Organize
156.Scan to PDF
157.Sending photos from phone
158. Choosing a phone case

Is that all?

That list is just our “Button” shows, we also posted over 50 of our short tutorial videos, created new Learning Guides, answered hundreds of questions, and updated Mrs. Geek’s Guide to Google Photos to the second edition.

We also presented live seminars at events all across the country. At 22 events from Las Vegas to Gillette, Wyoming, Sevierville Tennessee, and Tampa Florida we taught 7,500 learners in 55 different seminars. You can see a map of all our stops on our travel maps page.