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
. For additional articles on Internet Connections on the Road, see our separate site

Playlist: Learning Snapseed

Getting started with LastPass Password manager on computers and mobile devices

In last week’s episode of our “What Does This Button Do?” show, we covered LastPass. See Episode 205: Password Managers – how to use LastPass. Please watch that show to learn more details about LastPass. This article will tell you how to get started on computers and mobile devices.

In today’s world where we all have dozens, if not hundreds, of passwords to remember, we think it is crucial to use a password manager. If you’re counting on yourself to create and remember your passwords, you’re probably using passwords that are too simple, and you’re likely using the same password for multiple sites. Using a password manager, like LastPass, means that you can have long, complex passwords that are different for every site because LastPass is remembering them for you. All you need to remember is the one master password.

There are many good password managers out there, LastPass is the one that we use, so that’s what we teach.

How to get started on a computer

First, you need a LastPass account. Just go to and click the big red button to “Get LastPass Free.” You can start with the free account and later graduate to one of their paid plans. We use Family plan account type for $4/mo. This includes 6 individual licenses, plus the ability to share folders of passwords. My husband and I have separate accounts, but put many passwords in shared folders. If either of us should change the password, it gets changed in that folder for both of us.

Once you have an account, you need it to remember all your current passwords. All you do is visit accounts like you normally do. LastPass will notice when you are typing in a password and offer to save it for you. The next time it will fill the password in for you. You can also manually type them in.

Getting started on mobile devices

A major benefit of using LastPass is that it works on your phones and tablets as well as your computer. You just install the LastPass app on your Android or Apple phone, make sure you’re signed in with the same Master Password that you created. Now when you visit a website that needs a username and password, you should see a way to ask LastPass to fill them in for you.

LastPass can even fill in usernames and passwords for Apps on your device. Here’s a video where you can see it in action.

It’s important to spend time learning

One word of caution. Password management is serious stuff. You need to take learning LastPass seriously. If you’re not paying attention, it is easy to overwrite or delete passwords. For example, I have a couple of sites where, after filling in the username and password, they give me another challenge like “What was the make of your first car?” or “What is your favorite food?” Once I answer “ice cream” LastPass pops up and asks if I want to update that website’s entry. If I mindlessly click on OK, I have just overwritten my password with “ice cream.” I need to pay attention and know NOT to update in that situation.

There’s lots of articles, guides, and tutorial videos available on the LastPass Support page.

Getting rid of passwords altogether

If you think that having hundreds of different passwords is an unsustainable proposition, you’re not alone. There is lots of work being done to have other ways to prove our identity. One that is gaining traction is called “Federated Identity Providers.” For example, most people have a Google account, and Google takes great care to make sure we keep our accounts secure. This means that other websites trust that you are who you say you are in your Google account. “Sign in with Google” is now allowed on many sites in lieu of creating your own username and password on that account. Here’s a video that shows you how it’s done.

Learn more with help from our friends

People often ask us, “How do you keep up? How do you learn?”

Our first answer is that we’ve been fanatic about technology since the early 80s. Both Jim and Chris have made their living in the technology support industry since those years. We live and breathe technology and soak it up like a sponge. We read incessantly, watch others’ videos and follow other YouTubers. And, we play. We download software and play with it. I recently bought an Apple watch so I could play with it. Jim bought a 3D printer for the same reason.

We also depend on our friends. These are people we have met over the years who share our passion for learning (and teaching) technology. We’ll start this month by telling you about 2 of them.

Tinkering with Tech

We need to keep making, and improving, our videos and our live-streaming on YouTube. We learn a lot in this area from Michael Daniels and Heather Kraafter, aka Tinkering with Tech. Michael is amazing with his mastery of all things Google as well as all the special tools for video production and Live Streaming such as Camtasia, YouTube, Streamyard, OBS, Stream Deck, and many more. Heather has been live-streaming her craft show for many years and If you are a content creator and want to keep up with the latest tech, you can’t do better than to join the Tinkering with Tech group to get daily tips and weekly workshops on the most important tools and techniques.

We’ve known Michael for many years, first interacting in the Google Plus group that got together to learn about using Hangouts on Air. When that was discontinued, he helped us learn OBS (Open Broadcasting Software) and other tools. You can learn lots from their public website at, but the real benefit comes from joining the private community for $10/mo then you get to attend meetings and get personalized help and support. To find out more, visit the public website and scroll down. You’ll see a video that explains it all, and a button to Join Now.

Tech for Seniors

What’s going on? Give me ideas! Tech for Seniors is a weekly, one hour variety show of Tech tips for seniors. It is hosted by Ron Brown and Hewie Poplock. We’ve known Ron and Hewie for many years through their computer clubs where we have presented seminars. Whenever we are free on Monday mornings, we join their Zoom meeting and relax as Ron, Hewie, and several others entertain and educate us on everything from how a smartwatch can save your life, to how to fly a drone, to Microsoft Word’s capability to transcribe an audio file. We always pick up something when we drop in.

The Tech for Seniors show is held on Mondays at noon Eastern/9am Pacific time. Everyone is invited to the Zoom meeting, but when the start time comes they lock the meeting. There are usually about 100 in attendance. If you don’t want to be in the meeting, or you are late, you can watch the live stream on YouTube on Ron Brown’s channel.

2021 – What you want to learn this year


Last month we sent out a survey to our newsletter subscribers listing 25 suggested topics for us to learn and teach in 2021. Here are the top 10 winners:

  1. Safety – what your phone can do for you in an emergency
  2. How to take better photos with your smartphone.
  3. Transferring photos and other data to and from your phone
  4. How to take care of your phone: battery life, data usage, file management, protection, cleaning
  5. What’s new with Google Photos
  6. How to organize your lifetime of photos with Google Photos
  7. How to use Google Maps for navigating
  8. Cloud computing: how to use Google Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive, iCloud
  9. Using Snapseed, Windows Photos, Amazon Photos or other photo apps besides Google Photos.
  10. How to turn photos and videos into movies with music.

What do you think? Leave a comment below.

How to use your phone to watch movies on your TV – and stay under your data limits.

Many of us have data plans on our phones that have Unlimited on-device data. What that means is that, as long as you are viewing online media on your phone, you can view as many hours as you want. But, if you turn on the hotspot feature for your other devices to share that data, there are definite limits and associated charges.

The problem

Let’s say you want to watch a Netflix movie. Just pull it up on your phone and watch right? Oh, but it looks SO much better to watch and listen on your TV’s big screen. And, for more than one person to watch, the TV is necessary. If you use your Smart TV’s Netflix, it will need to connect to Wi-Fi and that will cost you. Or, if you cast your phone’s screen to the TV using something like Chromecast, that is still using WiFi.

Here’s the answer

Play the movie on your phone, and connect your phone to the TV with a HDMI cable. In that case, the TV is just acting as an external monitor to your phone – no WiFi involved!

What you need

  • A mobile device with an unlimited data plan: All iPhone’s can mirror. My Samsung Android phone can mirror. I’m not sure about other Android phones, you’ll have to just try it or look it up in your phone’s documentation, or read the guide linked below.
  • An HDMI cable for your TV
  • An adapter for your phone to the HDMI. The iPhone will need a HDMI -> Lightning adapter. My Samsung Note 9 uses an HDMI -> USB-C adapter

Now all you need is the popcorn!

Note: for lots more information on how to best use your phone for streaming video, check out this guide from our friends at

2021 Learning Survey

Help us pick our topics for 2021 by rating your interest in these suggestions.
We’ve listed many 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.

Make a map for your 2021 travel plans

I don’t know about you, but we had lots of travel plans that never happened in 2020. I’m hoping we get to make up for lost time in 2021, so I’m going to start building my map now. There are several different tools I use for mapping out our travel plans, RVParky and Roadtrippers are important, but its Google My Maps that is my foundation. I add places to the map at the beginning of the year, then I edit those locations as we travel during the year and at the end, I have a history of where we went. Check out our collection of maps on our Blog here.

Google Maps vs Google My Maps

Most people have not heard of Google My Maps. It is different from Google Maps. My Maps is just that – it is for your maps. The base map comes from Google Maps, but you mark the places you want to go. You can also add lines, routes, comments, links, and photos to your places. You can get to My Maps by going to Make sure you are signed in to your Google Account, then you can begin to Create a Map. You can also get to My Maps from Google Maps – click the “Saved” button at the bottom, scroll down and you’ll see a tab for “Maps” at the right.

Markers and Layers

Markers are what you put at individual places. They may be general destinations, like Atlanta. They could be specific places like the Day’s Inn motel in a certain city. They can also be stops on a driving route. Markers on your map may be places you make up – like “Family Reunion” or they can be places that exist on Google Maps that you want to appear on your map. Markers can be customized with different colors and icons.

Layers are groups of markers. You may have a layer for work and another layer for play. You may have a layer for destinations and another for the driving route. You may have a layer for westbound and another layer for eastbound. You are limited to 10 layers per map. Each layer may have many markers. If the markers are simple places the limit is 2,000 places per layer. However, if it is a layer of directions, the limit is 10 destinations per layer.

The legend is on the left. On the map, the teardrop markers are on the winter layer and the stars are on the summer layer.

Start your map

All you need to do is go to, make sure you are signed in with your Google account, click Create a New Map, and then start adding markers.

Add markers by searching: If the place you want to mark has a name on Google maps, you can use the search box at the top to find it. e.g. “Disney World.” Click the search icon and it will take you there and open the info card for Disney World. Now you can just click on +Add to Map to place a marker there.

Add markers just by clicking: If the place you want to mark is unique to you, first select the marker tool from the toolbar (looks like a teardrop) and then click the spot on the map. Now you can give the marker a name.

In either case, you will see your markers appear on the map as well as in the left sidebar. You can give your map a name at any time by clicking on “untitled map” at the top of the left sidebar. You can leave your map at any time – it is automatically saved. Return to the map by visiting

View our collection of videos for learning Google My Maps on our Playlists page.

December 2020 News: Google Photos Free No More, Make a custom map from a photo

  December 2020 | Issue 160  | Archives
What’s Up with Jim and Chris – the Geeks?
We are Thankful for you!
To all of our newsletter subscribers and especially our premium members, Thank You! It is your curiosity and desire to learn that keeps us on our toes, and it is your financial support that makes possible. We miss seeing all of you in person this year as all our normal RV Rallies were cancelled due to the Pandemic, but we are thankful that online video meetings via Zoom have allowed us to stay in touch.

What Does This Button Do?

We added two new episodes to our YouTube “Button” shows in November.

Tutorial Videos – for members

What’s coming up – Our Calendar Nov/Dec 2020

We’re Presenting LIVE – online!
  • December 2, 10am – noon ET Google Photos Workshop $49. Must pre-register. Contact Us
  • December 9, 7pm ET: presentation for Sun City Center Computer Club “How to organize your photos” will be presented on their YouTube channel
  • December 11, 3pm – 5 ET Google Photos Workshop $49. Must pre-register. Contact Us
  • December 21 at 3pm ET  Google Photos Live Q&A streaming to Facebook and YouTube. Chris will demo and take questions.
Live YouTube Shows Sundays at 2pm Eastern time “The Button Show”
No shows in December – see you next year!Read Mor
Stay safe. Wash your hands. Wear a mask.

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. Connecting a Router to a MiFi
  2. Google Photos Map Info
  3. Loading a DVD to Google Photos
  4. Getting Google Photos Images to OneDrive

Google Photos Free Unlimited Storage is Ending

Google Photos has been known for offering free, unlimited cloud storage for all your photos and videos. With the billions of photos being uploaded to their service, it has become unsustainable for them to continue that policy. They have announced that, as of June 1, 2021 that policy comes to an end. However, all photos and videos already uploaded in High Quality will remain free, it’s just the
new uploads that will be subject to the new fees.

Making a custom map with Google My Maps

This video is about making a custom map using Google My Maps. What if the spots you want on the map are out in the ocean? Or in the middle of the desert? How do you get the coordinates to add them to your map? Take a photo! This video will explain. See Episode 185 of our Button Show for more info on how to make maps.How Do I Make a Custom Map Using GPS? Tutorial Video 612
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From the Archives: WordPerfect

by Chris Guld

Did you know that I owned and operated a Computer Training Center in Fort Lauderdale, Florida from 1983 to 1996? It was called Computer Savvy and, among other things it was an Authorized WordPerfect training center and I was a WordPerfect Certified Instructor.

Because of Computer Savvy, I wrote a regular computer training newsletter. Here is one from Spring of 1989. It discusses why you should update your WordPerfect software, why you should attend our company training fair, and then some tips on Lotus 1-2-3, DOS, and Pagemaker.

Need a new webcam? Use an old phone.

When you get a new phone, do you keep the old one? I want you to know that the old phone is still a great camera. Add a stand, and a little software app and you get yourself a high quality webcam.

I use my old iPhone and this $20 phone holder stand as a “Document Camera” for recording demonstration videos.

1. Demonstrating on an iPad 2. My old iPhone acting as a “Document Camera” to project what I’m doing 3. My computer, using iVCam to display what the Document camera is seeing

With the iVCam app installed on the phone and also on my computer, everything the phone is seeing below it is being displayed on my computer where it can be recorded with something like Camtasia, or Live-Streamed over Zoom or YouTube.

The same setup can be a camera for Zoom video calls.

I can use the same phone holder stand but set it behind my computer and adjust it so the phone’s camera is pointed at my face. Then, using the iVCam software, my old iPhone becomes a camera that is selectable in Zoom.

1. The same stand as the first example, just adjusted differently. 2. My old iPhone, running iVCam, with the main camera lens pointed towards me. 3. A zoom call using the iVCam as the selected camera.

To select your phone as the camera for Zoom, click the up arrow next to the video button in the lower left and, under “Select a Camera” choose e2eSoft iVCam. is the maker of iVCam.

The steps are:

  • You need an old smartphone, either iPhone or Android
  • Connect the phone to the same Wi-Fi network as your computer
  • Install the iVCam app on the phone and also on computer – Windows only. If you have a Mac, you can google for WebCam Phone software for Mac
  • Open iVCam on phone and point camera as desired. Note: if using it for a webcam pointed at your face, be sure to use the rear camera, not the selfie camera. The rear camera is much higher resolution.
  • Open iVCam on computer to record or live-stream your screen
    Choose e2eSoft iVCam as your camera in Zoom or other video calling service.

If you try it, let us know what you think in the comments below.

If you want to learn more about what to do with old phones, watch our “What Does This Button Do?” YouTube show Episode 201: What can I do with an old phone?