Tag Archives: Blogger Tutorial Videos

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:

Pictures from Picasa to Blogger thru Google+

Don’t make it hard!  I’ve seen people go thru so many steps to get their pictures to show up in their blog.  They think that now, with Google+, the way they used to do it with Picasa Web Albums is all gone.  No!  It’s easy.  Google+ is the same thing as Picasa Web Albums.

Here’s my process. 

  1. I take pictures all the time and import them to my computer. 
  2. Using Picasa, I make them look better with a few clicks. 
  3. I upload the pictures that I feel are the best, or at least the most representative of my life at any given time.  I have joined Google+, so the button in my Picasa that used to read “Upload” now reads “Share with Google+”  I share with the public.
  4. Using Blogger I start a new blog post and, when I want to insert a picture, I use the Add Image button and then select the option for “From Picasa Web Albums.”  Remember, Picasa Web Albums and Google+ Photos are the SAME THING. 

Yes, it would be nice if Google could be more consistent with their language.  They’re calling it Google+ everywhere else, but they still call it Picasa Web Albums on this window in Blogger. 

From your Phone?

Did you notice the option for “From your phone”?  How does that work?  This is a Google+ feature.  If you have Google+ installed on your phone, there is a setting to automatically upload all pictures taken by your phone to a private album in your Google+ account.  I believe this setting is on by default, so it’s happening even if you don’t know it!  That album is what you’ll see when you click the option for “From your phone.”

Want to Watch the Tutorial Video?

If you are a member of Geeks on Tour, we have a whole series of tutorial videos on using Blogger.  Here’s the video that shows how to insert pictures from the web.  If you’re not a member, you can sign up here.

Geeks on Tour Newsletter June 2011: Picasa Tutorials, New Blogger Videos, Change your Time Zone, USB Car Chargers

Geeks on Tour
Classic Amish horse and buggyWe spent the entire month of June at the Elkhart County Fairgrounds in Goshen, Indiana.  We participated in two RV Rallies while we were there: the Heartland Owners Rally and RV Fest

Goshen is in the middle of Amish Country.  We took advantage of the good food, gaining a couple of pounds!  We also took advantage of the fine woodworking crafts and had some custom RV Furniture made by FocalWood Products.  We thought our new RV was a palace before!  Now it’s a palace with furniture fit for royalty!  Thank you Gypsy Journal for recommending FocalWood.   Geeks' New Furniture: Amish-madeSee June’s Blog posts for more on Jim and Chris’ adventures.

Name the RV

In last month’s newsletter, we asked for suggestions to name our new motorhome.  Thank you to all who responded!  Suggestions that we especially liked included: Big Boy (since our first RV was Oh Boy), suggested both by Nick Russell and Al Wilson, GOT To Go (GOT=Geeks on Tour) suggested by Judy Gales, and Geek Mobile suggested by Pat Barrow and Barry Keen.  I’m afraid it still remains un-christened however, we just can’t make up our minds!  Here is a link to view all of the suggestions.

Upcoming Tour Dates

We’ll soon be on our way to Vermont  to present seminars at the FMCA NE Area Rally.  In addition to our standard Blogger, Picasa, Facebook, Streets and Trips, and Google Earth seminars, we’ll also be doing a new 2 hour hands-on ‘Editing Digital Photos with Picasa’ class.  The hands-on class is limited to 20 participants and you must register ahead of time at the rally.  The $40 fee includes a USB ‘thumb’ drive with sample photos, tutorial videos and a workbook.

Here’s our schedule for the rest of the summer.

July 21-24: FMCA NE Area Rally (NEAR) Essex Junction, Vermont
Aug 10-13: FMCA Convention Madison, Wisconsin
Aug 28 – Sept 2: Escapade, Gillette, Wyoming with pre-Rally Computer Boot Camp
Sep 23-24 Gypsy Journal pre-Rally Computer Bootcamp, Celina, Ohio
Sep 26-30 Gypsy Journal Gathering, Celina, Ohio

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Geeks on Tour Members’ Forum

Our Q&A Forums are a good place to ask questions (anyone can read the topics, you must be a paid member to ask a question.)  We promise to respond to any questions posted here, and we have several active members who also respond with valuable information as well.  Here are a few topics from the past month.

Picasa Tutorials Website

Geeks on Tour's PicasaTutorials.com websiteDid you know ??  … We have a separate website *just* for our Picasa tips.  It’s called Picasa Tutorials, and it contains the full text of every tip that has been sent out via our weekly email Picasa Tip.  Check out the Table of Contents – it’s arranged by topic and includes the full title of each tip.   It’s really pretty impressive!  A tip has been published nearly every week since January of 2006.  And, make sure to sign up for the Tip of the Week to be notified each time a new tip is published.


Updated Blogger Videos

Blogger Logo - Geeks on Tour Tutorial Videos on BloggerBlogger has gone thru many changes in the last year, so we updated several of our Blogger videos accordingly.  Most of the videos in our Blogger Starter Lessons are new.  One of the tutorial videos is on our ‘Featured’ list this month: Blogger Pages for Websites.  “Featured” means that it is temporarily available for viewing by non-members as well as members and it is listed in the right sidebar at www.GeeksOnTour.com.

Change your Time Zone

Most computers do not have GPS built in, so, although they physically travel with us, their clock is still set to the previous time zone.  It’s very easy to change!

Read the complete article …




Powering your tech devices on the road

Dual USB Car Charger
Dual USB Car Charger

We may still call them cigarette lighters, but we know they’re not used to light cigarettes. I’ve never smoked cigarettes, yet I want as many lighters in the car as I can get! Why? Because they’re power sources for our many electronic devices that we use while traveling down the road.
The problem is that each device (GPS, MP3 player, cellphone etc.) needs its own adapter and we soon run out of cigarette lighters.

Read the complete article


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