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

September 2022 News: Google photos tip, Tech for Travelers, Drones, and Bitcoin


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  September 2022 | Issue 181  | Archives
This Geeks on Tour monthly newsletter will always be free, but we also have a premium membership with perks like private Zoom meetings, eBooks, tutorial videos, and complete classes. Our premium members support us, making everything else possible. It’s $58 yearly or $68 for one year only.

What’s up with Jim and Chris – the Geeks

August was a vacation month
The photo above shows us in our camper van at the Cape Hatteras National Seashore. When you put your camper on a ferry, you have a houseboat! We love ferries. We took 3 of them on our way up the east coast to New Jersey. Then we left the camper with a friend and flew to England
to visit friends and celebrate a 60th birthday. We partied hearty, then we played tourist for a few days in Southampton, Stonehenge, and Isle of Wight. Now we’re back to our camper in New Jersey and will head south via the Blue Ridge Parkway.
We are loving life! We wish all our US friends a fun and happy Labor Day holiday.
 

Classes

Just because we’re on vacation, it doesn’t mean we don’t give some classes! As long as we have good internet, we can deliver them from anywhere, even from our camper van in a national park! We gave 2 such classes in August. You can see all classes from past months on our Classes page. We call it a “Class” when we deliver a 1-2 hour seminar to a group on a desired topic such as Using Google Photos, Editing Photos with Snapseed, and Map-making with Google My Maps. The web page for each class includes a slide show, several videos and sometimes a written handout. If the class was delivered over Zoom, we may
also have the recording of the whole class. These classes are for our premium members, although we leave them open to the public for the first couple of weeks.

We also did 3 of our Sunday YouTube shows:

In this newsletter:

As usual, we have an eclectic mix of smartphone and technology tips for you.
  1. Google Photos Tip: How to capture a still shot from a video
  2. Technology for Travelers – when it works
  3. Jim is done with drones
  4. Chris thinks Bitcoin is fascinating, what do you think?
 
 


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 September and October
Back from our UK trip and headed home in the RV
Regular schedule of shows and some presentations


View the Geeks' online Calendar

 
Be sure to subscribe to our YouTube Channel, click on the bell for
notifications, and Like us on Facebook.
 
That way
you’ll get notified when we go live.
 

September

  • September 11 2pm ET Episode 242 “What Does This Button Do?”
  • September 11 3pm ET Backstage Pass Zoom Meeting for Members Only
  • September 19 3pm ET Google Photos
    Live “Ask Chris Anything”
  • September 25 2pm ET Episode 243 “What Does This Button Do?”
  • September 25 3pm ET Backstage Pass Zoom Meeting for Members Only

October

  • October 4 7:15pm ET Kentucky Indiana PC User Group Presentation
  • October 9 2pm ET
    Episode 244 “What Does This Button Do?”
  • October 9 3pm ET Backstage Pass Zoom Meeting for Members Only
  • October 11 10pm ET Laguna Woods Presentation
  • October 19 3pm ET Google Photos Live “Ask Chris Anything”
  • October 21 2pm ET Episode 245 “What Does This Button Do?”
  • October 21 3pm ET Backstage Pass Zoom Meeting for Members Only

 Stay safe. Wash your hands. Get boosted.


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. Google Photos vs. Gallery on Android
  2. Facebook app or browser
  3. Google Photos Face Recognition wrong
  4. Picasa Photo Format
  5. iPhone Storage

Google Photos Tip: How to capture a still shot from a video

 


Technology for Travelers – when it works


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Technology allows us to travel our way. It gives us complete freedom, but when it doesn’t work, it can be agonizing.

This article tells you about our recent experiences traveling in the UK. spoiler – we love trains travel.


Jim is done with Drones


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He got his first drone in 2014, and he crashed his last drone just this year while we were in Italy. He’s decided he’s too old for the stress of flying drones. “I think I’ll stick to flight simulators in virtual reality. When you crash them, no one’s heart or wallet gets hurt!”

Read the article to see why he thinks this way and be sure to click the link to his playlist of drone videos he’s done over the years. From a hot-air baloon
festival, to an RV park in Malibu, to a dive boat in the Indian ocean, there’s some pretty cool videos here.


Chris thinks Bitcoin is fascinating, what do you think?


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The world of technology changes fast. Chris is passionate about learning and teaching technology and she sees Blockchain and Web3 as the next big technology.
Bitcoin is just the tip of the iceberg.


Blast from past: Going way back this time


1993 New about Computer Savvy

Click the picture to enlarge and read the article about the Computer Training business that Chris owned from 1983-1996. Jim was the network administrator for Computer Savvy.

Read More

 
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I’m Done With Drones!

Jim here.

I’ve had three “real” quadcopter drones. The first one was a 3DR Iris in 2014. It was fun to learn. It needed several modifications to use a camera. The technology was still pretty new.

We were full-time RVers spending the winter in Casa Grande, Arizona, with a big area to practice flying.

Wide open spaces

The worst thing that ever happened with it was early on when I sent it into a tree. The camera continued to run and captured the short flight and rescue operation. It met its demise in the Bay just outside of where I’m writing this on Long Beach Island.

My second drone was specifically built for the GoPro Camera and was called the Karma Drone.

GoPro Karma Drone

That was in 2017. I have a few nice videos created with that one. I still have it and expect it would work if I wanted. The Karma is pretty large and the flight time is about 15 minutes.

The third drone was a DJI Mini 3. Very light and small when folded. Very stable, too. The problem was, that we are now settled in a townhouse near an airport which means I cannot practice flying unless I travel some distance out of town.

Drones really require practice to get good at, just like anything. I have seen professional videos from drones flying over the coastal villages and thought mine would look as good. Ha!

Time for a reality check, Jim. It takes dedication I’m not prepared to give it.

Because I didn’t practice, I was increasingly nervous and uncomfortable whenever I did fly. My Garmin smartwatch was repeatedly warning of an abnormally high heart rate! I crashed the DJI Mini 3 drone in Italy. I expect it will be my last.

I’m too old for the stress of flying drones. I think I’ll stick to flight simulators in virtual reality. When you crash them, no one’s heart or wallet gets hurt!

Here is a YouTube Playlist with my drone videos

What do you think about Bitcoin?

by Chris Guld

There’s news every day about the related topics of Bitcoin, Cryptocurrency, Blockchain and Web3. We think it is a technology worth following. We’ve even presented a few short zoom-based classes on it.

What do you think? People generally fall into one of 3 groups:

  1. I think it’s a scam, a ponzi scheme. It’s magic internet money only used by criminals.
  2. I don’t know what to think. How do I get educated?
  3. I think it is the future of money and the beginning of a new era in human history.

I’ve been fascinated with Bitcoin for a year or so now. There is a lot to learn. Here are the high points of what I’ve learned so far and why I think it is important.

What is Bitcoin?

Bitcoin is digital money. But, why do we need it? Don’t we already have digital money? I never get cash out of my wallet anymore. I just get a credit card and tap it to the store’s terminal. Isn’t that digital money? Yes, but you can only use that digital money if you have a credit card, backed by a bank account with a country’s currency – like US Dollars. There are lots of middle-men involved.

Bitcoin is not controlled by any company or country, it is simply software that lives on the Internet. To use Bitcoin, all you need is a smartphone and an internet connection and the money can move directly from sender to receiver with no entity in between. It’s like cash. As long as you have it, you can give it to someone else in exchange for something without involving a bank, or exchanging any personal information. This allows the millions of “unbanked” people in the world to participate in the global economy. No monetary system in history has been open to everyone … until Bitcoin.

Imagine Maria in Peru who wants to sell her embroidered blouses to tourists. All she has to do is install a bitcoin wallet on her phone. (yes, she has a smartphone and Internet access – more people have that than bank accounts!) When a tourist with some bitcoin in a wallet on their phone, wants to buy a blouse, Maria taps a button on her wallet app that displays a QR code with the cost of the blouse embedded. The tourist opens their bitcoin wallet, scans the QR code, and the money (Bitcoin) is transferred from their wallet to Maria’s. No banks involved. Now imagine that the tourist is in Denmark. No problem, the same transaction can be accomplished remotely. Maria can participate in global commerce without a bank account. Of course, she will still need to mail the blouse! By using something called a “smart contract” it could even be specified that the money doesn’t transfer until the blouse is received.

How did Bitcoin get started?

Digital cash was tried before Bitcoin, but they couldn’t make it work. If you sent digital cash to someone over the internet, there was no way to prevent you from sending the same cash to another person. This is known as the “double-spend” problem. Think about it, the Internet and the web was designed to make it easy to send information all over the world. It didn’t matter how many copies were sent, in fact, that was often the point – send the same email to hundreds of people – great! But that’s not so great when it comes to money. Someone named Satoshi Nakamoto came up with a methodology that tracked every transaction of digital cash and could therefore prevent double-spend. It used an Internet based system called blockchain. Blockchain is a ledger overlayed on the World-Wide-Web that will track every time digital currency changes hands. Each transaction, when completed, is written to the blockchain ledger and, once written, it cannot be changed. This way it keeps track of all the bitcoin and who owns it at any given point in time. It’s an accounting system. There’s a lot more to it, but right now just think of a “Ledger Layer” to the World Wide Web. The Internet has revolutionized the sharing of data around the world, with the addition of a “Ledger Layer” it can revolutionize accounting for things of value.

Blockchain was invented to enable Bitcoin, a global, peer to peer digital cash system. This happened in 2009. Does that date ring a bell? Our financial system in the US and around the world came close to collapse with the irresponsible behavior of the big banks. Our financial system, our global well-being is controlled by the profit motive of big banks and governments. If there was a de-centralized, self-validating system for managing money that existed outside of any bank or government we could avoid the disasters like 2008-9. That’s where Satoshi Nakamoto came in. He developed this system in 2009 and it has proven itself over the last 13 years. It works. The value of bitcoin goes up and down – wildly – and that can be a problem, but the process of the blockchain works.

The blockchain technology is about a lot more than Bitcoin

I became aware of Blockchain a year or so ago by following Peter Diamandis. He is a technology optimist. He’s authored several books and he runs the X-Prize that awards millions of dollars to technology teams that solve the worlds most important issues. He says the time is now to learn about this new technology. I took that to heart and signed up for an account with Coinbase, a cryptocurrency exchange, where I could buy a minimal amount of Bitcoin just to learn how it works. 

Since then I’ve been studying and I’m fascinated with the possibilities that this new technology offers. Blockchain is more than money. It is accounting for any item of value and tracking it thru various transactions. Think of property deeds. They can be recorded on a blockchain and be immutable, anywhere in the world. Think of people’s identification and health histories – blockchain could give every individual an unhackable record of their identity. With the Ethereum blockchain, and the smart contracts that it creates, a musician can put their music on the blockchain and programmatically require anyone listening to it to pay a certain amount. Payment is guaranteed because, in order to use the music system, a listener had to link to their wallet, so the smart contract automatically executes the transaction. Each time the song is played a small amount of money is transferred. The smart contract can autonomously charge a different amount if you want to use the music as a soundtrack, and yet another amount to license it for your brand advertising. With blockchain the musician is guaranteed fair payment for their work.

Learn more

Regardless of what you think about Bitcoin, it’s time to learn more about it.

  • If you ticked #1 above – Bitcoin is only used by criminals, I urge you to watch this TED talk by Katie Haun. She was a federal prosecutor who was involved in taking down the dark web operation called “The Silk Road.” She explains how this drug-trafficking website was financed by Bitcoin and how the blockchain that drives Bitcoin made it possible to track them down. For the entertaining movie of the whole story, see The Silk Road.
  • If you ticked #2 – learn more, I encourage you to find more on GeeksOnTour – just use the search box at the top of our website and search for Bitcoin.
    Other sources that I have learned from include Coinbase Learning, the YouTube channel for 99Bitcoins, the books Blockchain Revolution and Bitcoin Evangelist, and, probably my number one recommendation, is the excellent documentary called Cryptopia.
  • If you ticked #3 – it is the future, I’m with you! No one has a crystal ball. Bitcoin and blockchain could take us to a utopian future, or it could crash and burn. Personally, I like to dream about how Blockchain could level the financial playing field and help create global prosperity.

What have you learned about Bitcoin and Blockchain? Leave us a comment below.


About the author: Chris Guld has been teaching technology since 1983. She owned and operated a computer training center, Computer Savvy, from 1983-1996. She started with Visicalc and AppleWriter on the Apple IIe computer which was even before mice and the graphical user interface! With the advent of the Web, she recognized the world (literally) of opportunities that had opened up. She sold the computer training business and, along with her husband Jim (who was the network administrator for Computer Savvy) started living in an RV with a Datastorm Internet Satellite dish on the roof! Then came smartphones in 2007. Now, in 2022, 83% of the world use smartphones. The world of technology changes fast. Chris is passionate about learning and teaching technology and she sees Blockchain and Web3 as the next big technology. Bitcoin is just the tip of the iceberg.

Technology for travelers, when it works

Scanning your ticket is oh-so-convenient – when it works

We love to travel and technology is just so helpful … when it works! We book our accommodations online, we book our plane, train and bus travel. We use google maps to help us walk around town and find restaurants, pubs, and attractions. Google search tells us everything we want to know about the history and culture of a place. The Tripit app collects all of our reservations and, of course, the camera app lets us capture our memories every step along the way.

When technology doesn’t work, you can get lost or stranded.

We’re currently on a train headed back to Gatwick airport after 10 days in the UK. We’re commenting on how efficient the process is now: Jim makes the reservation and pays using the Trainline app on his phone. No need to make the reservations in advance – we usually did it on the day of travel. When the transaction is complete it delivers a QR code. You scan that QR code at the turnstiles in the train station, the gate opens and you’re on your way. Or not. At one gate I brought up the QR code on my phone, held my phone to the scanner and… nothing. I held it the other way around … nothing. I asked Jim to bring up the code on his phone since he had the original – I held that to the scanner and … nothing. That is so bloody aggravating! (See how I’m trying to fit in with my language here in UK?😀.) We finally looked around for someone official, she smiled and opened the gate for me, not even asking to see my ticket.  We all commiserated about %#*technology. 

Then there’s our walking directions. That technology in Google Maps gives us complete independence when we’re traveling to unfamiliar places. When it works. It doesn’t help much when your phone announces to turn left at Castle Way, when you’ve already passed Castle Way!    And, walking directions won’t work at all, even with downloaded offline maps, if you have no cell signal/Internet connection. We think that problem has something to do with Jim having an old phone. Either that or the internet connection was slow. But I was navigating as well, using my slightly newer phone with the same Google Fi cellular connection and my directions were spoken promptly. In any case, I will chalk that one up to our equipment.

All-in-all you’ve gotta admit that the problems are slight compared to the benefits. The QR code issue only happened once in more than a dozen train rides. 

We’ve enjoyed traveling by train in the UK. It is so civilized.

Our biggest transportation problem in this whole trip was the distance between the New Jersey shore, where we left our RV, and JFK airport. After our experience here in the UK (and in Italy) we would expect to catch a train from JFK that would take us South with stops along the way between NYC and Atlantic City. But, alas, there is no such thing. We still don’t know exactly what we’re going to do.

Our combined road-trip and UK visit

The UK portion: all trains, buses, and boats. All planned and executed on-the-fly with our smartphones.

Naples Technology User Group (PCBUG) What is Bitcoin and why you should care

Description

PCBUG welcomes us back to present to their group via Zoom: Guest speakers Chris and Jim Guld will present a talk about Bitcoin. One lucky attendee will receive $20 worth of bitcoin, while everyone will see how it’s done.

  • What is Cryptocurrency and Bitcoin
  • What is Blockchain
  • How do you get, and spend, Bitcoin

Private link for Chris/Jim to edit slides

Article: How to make the Bitcoin ₿ symbol with your iPhone

Here is the Link to the recording of the Zoom meeting:

Continue reading →

239. Don’t backup, Sync your phone’s data instead

  • 0:00 Begin
  • 1:58 First tip about “Know your Google Account”
  • 6:37 Hello and Intro
  • 10:22 Terminology and Concepts
  • 15:49 History
  • 19:06 What happens when you lose your phone?
  • 29:25 Q&A
  • 34:58 Where are your files stored? Device? Cloud? Both?
  • 46:50 Your Mileage May Vary
  • 48:17 Learn more: Episodes 137, 171, 177
  • 49:04 More Q&A
  • 54:51 Review

Smartphones, and the cloud, have changed our processes for “backing up” our data, Once you establish accounts in the cloud – Google, OneDrive, Dropbox etc. – then you can set all your data to “sync” and never have to worry about backing up again. In this seminar we focus on the Google apps because they work the same on Apple and Android, Mac and PC. The goal is device independence. In this presentation, we’ll show you how.

Show Notes (for members only) coming soon …

Continue reading →

August 2022 News: Digital Estate Planning, Snapseed, Google Fi, Hero Cape

  August 2022 | Issue 180  | Archives
This Geeks on Tour monthly newsletter will always be free, but we also have a premium membership with perks like private Zoom meetings, eBooks, tutorial videos, and complete classes. Our premium members support us, making everything else possible. It’s $58 yearly or $68
for one year only
.
What’s up with Jim and Chris – the Geeks

July was a stay-at-home month
We celebrated July 4 with an all-American cookout of hot dogs and hamburgers. Our guests were vegan so they brought their own Portobello mushrooms and rice. We both enjoyed some fine wine!

Classes

We delivered 5 separate classes in July! You can see all classes from past months on our Classes
page
. We call it a “Class” when we deliver a 1-2 hour seminar to a group on a desired topic such as Using Google Photos, Editing Photos with Snapseed, and Map-making with Google My Maps. The web page for each class includes a slide show, several videos and sometimes a written handout. If the class was delivered over Zoom, we may also have the recording of the whole class. These classes are for our premium members, although we leave them open to the
public for the first couple of weeks.
    As usual, we have an eclectic mix of smartphone and technology tips for you.
    1. What happens to your digital assets when you die?
    2. Don’t just take photos, make them better with Snapseed
    3. Google Fi cellular service
    4. Google Photos Q&A
    5. Blast from the past – Google awarded Chris with a cape this year, but she’s been waiting for it since 1998!

    • 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 August and September

    Getting ready to hit the road and the skies this month.
    Regular schedule of shows and some presentations
    Be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel, click on the bell for
    notifications, and Like us on Facebook.
    That way you’ll get notified when we go
    live.
    August
    • August 7 2pm ET Episode 239 “What Does This Button Do?”
    • August 7 3pm ET Backstage Pass Zoom Meeting for Members Only
    • August 14 2pm ET Episode 240 Snapseed presentation
    • August 15 time tbd Google Photos Live “Ask Chris Anything”
    • August 18 PCBUG Presentation on Google Photos over Zoom
    • August 21 2pm ET Episode 240 “What Does This Button Do?”
    • August 21 3pm ET Backstage Pass Zoom Meeting for Members Only

    September

    • September 11 2pm ET Episode 237 “What Does This
      Button Do?”
    • September 11 3pm ET Backstage Pass Zoom Meeting for Members Only
    • September 19 3pm ET Google Photos Live “Ask Chris Anything”
    • September 25 2pm ET Episode 237 “What Does This Button Do?”
    • September 25 3pm ET Backstage Pass Zoom Meeting for Members Only

    Stay safe. Wash your
    hands. Get boosted.

    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. Transferring a GMail account
    2. Bitcoin
    3. Google photos editing
    4. Changing order of photos in an album
    5. iPhone Storage

    What happens to all of your digital assets when you die?


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    You’ve met with your lawyer and set up a Will and Power of Attorney, but that won’t help your executor when they need the password to your Google account. Have you thought about what should be done with your account? Should it be deleted? Maybe you have some YouTube videos that you want to continue on after you’re gone.
    In that case you want your Google account to remain active.

    Read More


    Don’t just take a picture, make a better picture with Snapseed


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    Invariably, when someone looks at one of my photos and says, “Wow!” it means they’re looking at a photo that I tweaked using Snapseed. It’s free, it’s easy, you should try it.

    Read More


    Do you know about Google Fi Cellular Service?


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    In the U.S. most people use Verizon, AT&T or T-Mobile. We like Google Fi instead and this article tells you why.

    Read More


    Blast from past:

    Google awarded Chris with a superhero cape this summer, but she’s been waiting for one since 1998!


    1998-2006 our business image before Geeks on TourChris is a Google Photos Product Expert. In this article she’ll tell you what that is, why she got the award, and how long she’s been waiting for her superhero cape.

    Read More


    Google Photos Q&A, July 18
    Chris answers 20+ questions in this YouTube Live-Stream, complete with demonstrations on computer, iPhone and Samsung, Android phones.
    Leave us a 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!
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    Do you know about Google Fi cellular service?

    A cell phone needs a service plan if you want it to work when you’re not connected to Wi-Fi. In the U.S. most people get a plan from the likes of Verizon, AT&T, or T-Mobile. We use Google Fi as our service plan. There are 3 main reasons we like Google Fi:

    1. Because it works just the same overseas (even in the Maldives) as it does at home
      • High Speed Internet
      • No extra fees
      • Nothing to set up before you go – it works as soon as your plane lands and it can find the local cell tower
    2. On the Unlimited Plus plan, we get 50GB of high-speed data and we have unlimited tethering. With many company’s plans, when you hotspot (tether) your phone you are limited to the amount of data you can use on the hotspot.
    3. There’s no contract, it’s month to month. Our cost for 2 lines is $110/month – $55 each. We can change it at any time, choosing to go down to the $18/month “Flexible” plan when we’re home and don’t need the data.

    When we traveled to the Maldives in the Indian ocean, and then later to Italy for a month, we depended on our Google Fi cellular data plan to give us Internet, and it worked great. Now we’re getting ready to pack the RV for a short trip and we no longer have a dedicated hotspot device to provide Internet to our computers. No worries – Jim’s Pixel phone, with unlimited Google Fi service, can be a hotspot for the rest of our devices.

    Drawbacks

    Google Fi primarily uses T-Mobile towers, so if T-Mobile is not good in your area, Google Fi may not be for you. Also, if you have an iPhone, you need to understand that it is adapted to the Google Fi network and does not have all the features that a “designed for Fi” device (like the Pixel) has. iPhones work on the Google Fi network, but cannot be used as a hotspot. Lastly, Google Fi is meant to be used primarily in the U.S. If you are out of the country for more than a year, you may get a letter something like this:

    As a reminder, Fi’s Terms of Service requires you to use our service primarily in the United States (territories not included), and it looks like you’ve been predominantly using Fi abroad. Your international roaming data capabilities have been suspended, and will be reinstated once you start using Fi predominantly in the United States (territories not included). Your calls and texts have not been impacted.

    Learn more

    To see lots more detail and current updates, see Mobile Internet Resource Center: Google Fi

    Also, see our “What Does This Button Do?” show, Episode 233 Cellular Phone and Data for International Travelers. If you decide to get it, here’s your link for $20 off Google Fi :https://g.co/fi/r/VYM26F .

    https://geeksontour.com/2022/04/233-cellular-phone-and-data-for-international-travelers/login

    Don’t just take a picture, make a better picture with Snapseed

    Ansel Adams, a famous photographer of the early 1900s is quoted as saying, “You don’t take a picture, you make a picture.” He was referring to the skills of the photographer, but with today’s digital photography, I say its about photo editing.

    These are my photos, but I didn’t “take” them.

    I am not a professional photographer, nowhere near. I do have a digital SLR, and for the first few years I tried to learn all the ins and outs of F-stops, shutter speeds, ISO settings and more, but I just didn’t have the perseverance to get good at it. I got decent results when the camera was on its auto setting, so that’s where I left it.

    Now I take all my photos with my smartphone, and it does a great job. I’m not trying to get photos worth selling, I just want to capture my memories. That said, I love it when someone looks at my photo and says, “Wow!”

    Snapseed is a free app for iOS and Android

    Snapseed App

    Invariably, when I hear that “Wow!” they’re looking at a shot that I tweaked using Snapseed. Snapseed is a free app by Google and is available in the Apple App store as well as the Android Play Store. Just install it, open it, and choose a photo from your device to start editing. It can do all the basics that any photo editor can do like crop, rotate, brighten, and auto-correct. What I use it for are some special tools: Ambiance, Details, Brush, HDR-scape, and Shadows. I can so easily bring out the detail in the shadows, make the sky bluer and the grass greener, and just give a photo that je ne sais quois, that I call Beautify.

    It’s SO easy. Believe me, I wouldn’t do it if it wasn’t. Many photos get all the beauty I can handle just by adding the Ambiance feature. It’s all done right on your phone or tablet, so you tap the tools icon, then the Tuning button and swipe right on the Ambiance option. Voila! You’re done. If you are a GeeksOnTour member, you can watch a video on how to use the Tuning Tool for Ambiance. Or you can watch our YouTube show:  Episode 228: How to Beautify Photos with Snapseed, a free app for iOS and Android

    Below, you’ll see the pictures I took (Before) and you can grab the middle line and drag left to reveal the picture I made with the tweaks in Snapseed. The caption of each pair of pictures tells what features of Snapseed were used.

    Just 2 tweaks: Ambiance and Structure
    3 tweaks: Shadows, Ambiance, Structure
    2 tweaks: Ambiance, Structure
    4 tweaks: Ambiance, Brightness (down), Structure, Brush temperature (blue) on river
    3 tweaks: Ambiance, Structure, brush light on faces

    Don’t be satisfied with the photo you took, when just a couple of tweaks can make a photo worthy of WoW!