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

Nov 2018 Newsletter: Geeks’ Summer Tour Map, Lesson Plans, Backup your Photos

A map is a great way to show your travel memories

We did a lot of RV traveling this summer. We take a lot of photos, and I keep a blog, but there’s nothing like a map to bring it all together. It’s the perfect souvenir of your travels.

Here’s the map of our summer – with just a glance you can see where we went, but wait … there’s more. The image here is just a screenshot image. If you click on it, you will be taken to the full-size, interactive map. You can zoom in and out. You can also click on the markers to see photos of that place and maybe even a link to a blog post.


How did I make this map? Using Google My Maps. It’s based on Google Maps, but it stores all of your places in your Google Account. All of the information is private, for your eyes only, unless you choose to share it like I did.

If you want to make a map of your travels, here’s what you do.

Go to Google My Maps

There are a few ways to get there. The simplest is to browse to the website MyMaps.Google.com and be sure that you are signed in with your Google account. You can also get there from any Google Maps screen. If you’re signed in, you can click the 3-line menu in the upper left, choose Your Places, then Maps. Either way you get there, you should now see a button for Create New Map.

Add markers

The easiest way to add markers for the places you visited is to search for them first. Once the location is found on the map, you will have the choice to “Add to Map.” This means to add a marker on your custom map for this place. However, you can also use the tool for adding a marker and place it at that location. I recommend the latter because you want the marker to be yours, and yours alone. You will be adding your photos to this marker. If you use the marker for the official location there will be public photos displayed as well as any you add. The add a marker tool is the 4th button:

Add photos to markers

See episode 111 of our YouTube show to see demonstrations. I love this part, and if you use Google Photos for your pictures, it’s really easy. Click on any marker, and click the little pencil icon to edit the contents. You should see a camera icon. Clicking that takes you to where you can Upload photos, or select them from your Google Photos Albums. Add as many as you like.

Add descriptions and links to markers
Just like adding photos, you click on a marker, then click on the edit pencil. You should see a text box where you can type whatever you like. There is no specific tool for adding links, but you can copy a complete link, e.g., to a blog post, and then paste the entire link into the text box.

Adding route lines

Do you really need lines like in the image above? I usually don’t add them – the markers are all I need to see where I’ve been. If you want to add lines along roads, you’ll need to understand layers. Click the tool for Draw a Line (the 5th button) and choose Add Driving Route. It will create a new layer. You can only have 10 destinations per layer, and you can have up to 10 layers per map. Isn’t this cleaner without the lines?


Share your map

Check out all of the Geeks on Tour annual maps on our Blog. Once you have a map you like, you can share it by simply copying a link. Then you can email that link to family and friends, or you can post it in Facebook or some other social media like RVillage.

Let us see your travels! Post a link to your map in the comments below.

Do you want to teach about smartphones but need some lesson plans?

We know that many of our members are teachers themselves. We get the most compliments from other teachers because they understand the importance of preparation, lesson plans, good examples with clear explanations.

If you have the opportunity to teach a group of adult learners about smartphones, but you don’t know what to teach them or how to present it, become a member of Geeks on Tour and use our show notes for lesson plans. We’ve now taught 155 episodes of our “What Does This Button Do?” Youtube show. For each episode Chris writes up detailed notes on everything that is taught. We encourage you to print out these notes and use it as both your lesson plan and the learners’ handout. Yes, it’s fine with us to make a copy for every student even though they are not members. We want to help, and we believe that some students may want more and then become members themselves.

Here is a sample of the show notes:

Every student could have a printout, while you, the teacher, use the web version so you can project it and play the linked videos for the class. Then your job would be to field questions and help them try it on their own devices.

Then, every episode ends with review questions that are included in the show notes. A perfect way to end your class. The notes include a link to the Youtube video at the exact point where we go over the answers to the review questions.

Think about it, and let us know how we can help.

 

155. Apps for Smartphones, Installing, Uninstalling, and Organizing

Show Notes for Members below

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

A great benefit of membership is access to the extensive show-notes Chris writes up every week. Read them online and follow links directly to the parts you’re interested in. We recommend you print them out and keep them in a notebook. It’s a great way to learn.

Not a member? Join here. This episode covers:

  1. Tip of the Day: Multiple users on Android devices
  2. Beginner’s Lesson: Facebook privacy, what you need to know
  3. App: Files Go by Google

Continue reading →

Smartphone Help Desk – One on One Teaching

by Chris Guld, aka Mrs. Geek

As Geeks on Tour, my husband Jim and I travel around the country and present seminars on personal technology like how to use smartphones, how to manage all those pictures you take with your phone, and how to use Google Maps, among other things.

This is usually done at RV Rallies. When we’re at a rally for 3, 4 or 5 days and we’re only busy in seminars one or two hours each day, I spend the rest of my time giving free, one-on-one half hour sessions to answer people’s questions about their devices.

Why do we do this for free? Because I get as much out of it as the people I teach. How else would I get to learn about LG phones, iPhone Xs, Moto phones, and Samsung tablets? We buy a lot of devices to play with but we can’t own them all!

I love hearing people’s questions. It helps me know what to teach in our seminars. For example, it is second nature to me to keep my appointments on a calendar on my phone. Only when I get so many questions about how to do that do I realize it is something we need to teach.

Easy Questions Sometimes their questions are easy, like: how to use their fingerprint reader, how to adjust their screen timeout setting, how to install my favorite app: Google Photos, or how to use the keyboard to type word by word – called swiping or gliding.

Hard Questions Sometimes their questions are harder, like: why does my iPad not automatically connect to the data on my iPhone like it’s supposed to? or How do I get back in to my original Facebook account when I forgot the password and mistakenly created another account?

One Person Teaches, Two People Learn Every time I teach a one-on-one I get a little smarter! Here are some more of the questions I get to help people with:

  1. Installing/uninstalling apps
  2. Rearranging app icons on the home screens
  3. Setting up widgets
  4. Recovering passwords
  5. Setting up email to sync to computer
  6. Taking screenshots
  7. Solving problems by rebooting phone
  8. Backing up contacts
  9. Backing up photos
  10. How to navigate with Google Maps
  11. How to make a blog with Blogger
  12. How to copy/paste with phone
  13. How to save photo received in a text
  14. How to send text to multiple recipients
  15. How to make a video call when you can’t use Facetime (because one person is on Android not iOS)
  16. How to record your location and send it to someone you want to meet you
  17. How to get photos from their Mac to show up on their Android device (Google Photos)
  18. and lots, lots more!

If you are a Geeks on Tour member, you can ask your specific questions on our Ask the Geeks: Q&A page. It’s not as good as sitting side-by-side, but it is specific to your question. And, if it really can’t be handled in writing, I’ve been known to arrange a phone call or a video call.

Keep on Learning!

 

Google Photos can make a phone call from a photo of a business card

Screenshot of my Business Card album in Google Photos (blurring added)

For years, I’ve wanted a simple system for storing business cards people give me along my travels. The operative word is simple! Sometimes they’re important, like my insurance agent’s card, and sometimes it’s just friendly, like the camper next door who tells us to stop by if we ever pass near their home. Sometimes it’s just a scrap of paper with a name and phone number written on it!

I like being able to see the actual card rather than the scanned information. I might remember the look of the card before the person’s name. So, I take a picture of the card – nothing special, just a picture taken with my smartphone. That puts it into Google Photos, then I have an album called business cards and make sure all those business card photos get put into that album so I can find them easily.

Google Photos can Read Business Cards

Here’s the magic part. If you open the card’s photo using Google Photos, you can tap the button called Lens, it’s the 3d button at the bottom and it looks like a square with a dot in the middle. Google then unleashes it’s artificial intelligence to read that card and shows you the name, address, phone number and email that it finds on the card. You then have the choice to add this information to your Contacts, or to use it right from Google Photos to make a phone call or send an email to this person.

In episode 153 of our YouTube show: What Does This Button Do? our guests were Eric and Tami Johnson of TechnoRV. We demonstrated the Google Lens technique on their business card. You can see that portion of the show here. Also, if you have Mrs. Geek’s Guide to Google Photos, you can read about the Lens feature on page 78.

153. Our Favorite Smartphone Apps with guests, Eric and Tami of TechnoRV

Show Notes for Members below

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

A great benefit of membership is access to the extensive show-notes Chris writes up every week. This week, you’ll find the names of all the apps we discuss as well as links to their websites. Read them online and follow links directly to the parts you’re interested in. We recommend you print them out and keep them in a notebook. It’s a great way to learn.

Not a member? Join here. This episode covers:

  1. Tip of the Day: Phone storage sizes
  2. Our favorite apps: we are joined today by Eric and Tami of TechnoRV.com – they are Full-Time RVers and they sell RV products like Cellular Boosters, WiFi Boosters, RV GPS systems Tire Pressure Monitors, and Electrical Protection Systems.
  3. App: lots of them!

Continue reading →

RVTC

We’re here at the Grand National Rally of the RV Travel Club in Sevierville, Tennessee and we made a Google Photos shared album where anyone attending can add their photos. We’re hoping to get quite a collection by the end of the rally. Just click the picture below to see the whole album. In order to add photos to the album, you need to use Google Photos. See more detailed instructions below.

Click here to view the Shared Photo Album and add your pictures and videos

How to use Group Photo Albums

Mounting phones and tablets to your dashboard

I like to use my phone and/or my iPad for navigating. We’ve used many different methods over the years for mounting our devices on our dash. In the past, we’ve used vertical surface area to attach Velcro, stick a bit of the other side of the Velcro to the back of your device and you have an easy dashboard mount, but the Velcro on the back of the device gets messy after a while. When we had a Rand McNally dashboard GPS, we used a beanbag type of mount up on top of the dash.

Currently we are quite happy with these magnetic mounts by Wizgear. The mount is a magnet on a swivel base with adhesive so you can just stick it to a flat part of your dash. Your phone or tablet must have a metal plate so it can connect to the magnet. Several stick-on metal plates come with the magnetic mount. These are so convenient! Just touch your device to the magnet and it’s mounted. Want to hold your device? Just grab it and pull it loose.

In addition to the mounts that stick to the dash with adhesives, you can also get ones that clip  on to the the air conditioning vents. We find these to be a bit more problematic, but we love to position our devices in front of the cold air to keep them from overheating when they’re navigating.

You might notice that the iPad mounted to the dash is in a case. We just stuck the metal plate to the back of the case. The mounts are inexpensive enough ($2-10) that you can keep a few extra around just to use as a hand-holder for the iPad as well.

Don’t magnets damage electronic devices like phones? Back in the day of computers and magnetic disks, this was a real problem, but not now. The data storage technology in phones is not magnetic and is not affected by magnets. A powerful magnet may possibly affect the compass in your device, but the small magnets used in these mounts, or other cases, are nothing to worry about.

Places we would have missed without Roadtrippers

The Roadtrippers website and mobile app is our favorite way to find places to see and things to do. You just tell it where you’re going in general and it will show you all the attractions, outdoor recreation, and other interesting places nearby. Could we have found these with other types of research? Sure. But nothing makes them as accessible as Roadtrippers. For example, Palo Duro Canyon and the outdoor musical theatre have been on our mental list for years, but it was the fact that Roadtrippers made it so easily visible along our route that brought it to our attention. We click it for more detail and find out the phone number to call for tickets.

Here are just a few of the places we visited because we saw them on Roadtrippers

What Roatrippers pointed out What we saw because of Roadtrippers

We discovered Stafford because of Roadtrippers, but we got to stay the night because of HarvestHosts.com