Tag Archives: Blogger

Blogger and Live Writer

imageGeeks on Tour teaches that Every Traveler Needs a Blog! We teach how to use Google’s Blogger program to write your blog because we think it is by far the easiest, and most reliable system out there. We’ve been keeping our travel blog on Blogger since 2003 and we are still very happy with it. Its main competitor is WordPress. We use WordPress for our entire business website (what you’re looking at right now) and it is a wonderful system, but way more complex than is necessary for a personal travel blog.

Blogger is Online

Blogger.com is entirely web-based, you don’t need any software on your computer in order to use it, just browse to Blogger.com, log in to your Google account and start blogging. Hey! You don’t even need a computer! We were teaching our Technology for Travelers seminar at an RV park last week (Thousand Trails, Peace River) and we spend, at most, 15 minutes on teaching Blogger. After showing this video: Create a Blog in 3 Steps with Blogger #036 *FREE we asked the audience, “How many of you think you can make a blog now?” Everyone in the room raised their hand, and we heard one voice from the back saying, “I just did!” Using her smartphone, and watching the video, she created a brand new blog while she was sitting in the class!  … and that happens often.

Live Writer can be used Offline

What you do need for Blogger is an Internet connection. Lots of people, especially travelers, tell us they want to write a blog post when they are offline and upload it later. The native Blogger.com has no facility for that, but there is a free software from Microsoft, called Live Writer that can. Rather, there was a free program from Microsoft. That program is now obsolete, at least for using it with Blogger blogs. Microsoft decided is was not a priority and they discontinued support and upgrades. So, when Blogger.com changed the way logins work, the Live Writer program no longer works to upload to Blogger. Oh No! Some people depended on Live Writer to the point where they really did not want to use Blogger.com’s native facility for writing their blogs.

Luckily there are some dedicated, volunteer, programmers out there willing to take over the project and Open Live Writer (OLW) was born. It was released on December 9, 2015. You can go to the link to download it. Please notice that Open Live Writer is a project by volunteer programmers, you know what volunteer means right? They’re gluttons for punishment! There have been many problems since it was first released, but it seems to be clearing up. I used the new OLW and consistently got errors trying to publish to my Blogger blog. Today, I uninstalled OLW from my computer, re-downloaded the installation file from http://openlivewriter.org/, installed that and everything is working just great.

Watch these Videos (Premium membership required)

Blogger.com is Good

Open Live Writer is Windows software, so if you have a Mac, it won’t work. There are alternatives (ScribeFire, MarsEdit, Article on Desktop Blog Editors for Mac) but I haven’t used any of them and cannot recommend. Blogger.com can be used directly from any computer, phone or tablet, and Google is updating it all the time. Blogger.com works really well with pictures in Google Photos. I can take a picture with my phone, open Blogger.com on my computer and add the picture to my blog that I just took by using the “Add Image … from Phone” option. SO quick and easy.

It appears that Google is very committed to Blogger, there are important recent updates such as HTTPS support coming to Blogspot, and Highlight the posts that matter the most.

Use them Both!

Bottom line: there is no reason why you can’t use them both. I use Blogger.com when I want to use my Google Photos that are online and not on my computer, I use Open Live Writer when I want to work offline, or I need one of the special features like making tables.

The Way We Learn

For the last year or so, I had been using the native Blogger.com for making my blog posts, so I was blissfully unaware of the problems with Live Writer. Thank you to Sharon DelRosario and her blog, Gypsy and the Mariner, for alerting us to the Open Live Writer launch, and to  Rick Doyle for – all sorts of Tech news and advice, but specifically for getting Sharon’s blog back up and running with Open Live Writer!


To enjoy full access to the Geeks On Tour Library of “How To” Videos for Blogger and other topics including the Weekly Show Notes sign-up for a membership today!

Can I use my Google Photos Pictures in my Blog?

imageIf you’re like me, you are using the amazing capabilities of Google Photos as a home to your lifetime of photos. Also, if you’re like me, you have a blog and you want to add photos to your blog posts. I’ve been getting a lot of people lately asking the question, Can I use my Google Photos pictures in my Blog?

The answer is Yes! But, the process differs depending on what you’re using for your Blog. The most common blogging platforms are Blogger.com and WordPress.com. I’ll cover each of them separately.

Using your Google Photos Pictures in your Blogger Blog

This better be simple! After all, Blogger is also made by Google. Well, even though it is easy, it’s not exactly simple because there are 6 ways that Blogger can insert pictures, and all but the last one involves Google Photos for hosting the picture. When you are creating or editing a post in a Blogger blog, you click the “Insert Image” tool to get a picture.


Then you will see several choices. I almost always use option #3.

  1. Upload: this option gets a picture from your computer (it doesn’t work on mobile devices.) It uploads that picture to a special Web Album just for that Blog. For example, if your blog is My Excellent Adventure, then you will have an album with the title My Excellent Adventure. This album is hidden from view in Google Photos, but is still visible using the Picasa Web Albums interface. www.picasaweb.google.com  When you view that album, you will also see the image Blogger logo, and a link to View Blog.
  2. From this Blog: This refers to the special Web Album for this blog. It contains all the previous pictures used in this blog that were either uploaded from your computer, or copied from your phone. I have never felt the need to add a picture that was already on my blog somewhere else, so I don’t use this option.
  3. **From Picasa Web Albums: This option gets any picture from your Google Photos library that has been collected in an Album. It is misleading that the name is from Picasa Web Albums. It does not need to be an album created by Picasa. An album created strictly with Google Photos will be available here. This is the option I use most often, because the first step in my photo process is deciding which of my photos are the best and putting them into albums. Those albums then become my source of pictures for my blog.
  4. From your phone: This does not mean directly from your phone. This assumes that you have Google Photos installed on your phone and you have the Backup and Sync turned on. If that is the case, then all the pictures you take with your phone are in your Google account, and you can use them in your blog with this option. If you do pick a photo using this option, it will be copied to the special photo album for this blog – so you need not fear it being deleted from your main photo library.
  5. From your webcam: This means to take a picture (or a video) with the camera built into the screen of your laptop. If you use this option, the picture will be stored in the Web Album for your blog.
  6. From a URL: This means that there is a picture somewhere on the Web, maybe even one that does not belong to you, and you want it to show up in your blog. URL stands for “Uniform Resource Locator” – it is simply the Internet address for any given picture. For example, I have a Facebook friend who is a great photographer. If I want to talk about him and put one of his pictures on my Blog, I can go to where he posted a picture in Facebook (he must have posted it publicly, or this won’t work) using Chrome I can right-click and Copy image URL. Now I come back to Blogger, Insert Image, From URL, and paste what you just copied. You should see the picture, then click OK.

Using your Google Photos Pictures in your WordPress Blog

imageWordPress can host your pictures directly, unlike Blogger. When you have a WordPress blog, you have a media library folder. You can use the “Add Media” button and the “Upload Files” to add a picture, from your computer to your media library. But that’s not what we’re covering here. What this article is covering is how to use a picture that is already uploaded to your Google Photos library. WordPress is not owned by Google (WHAT?!) so it doesn’t work directly with Google Photos. There may be plugins that can do this, but that’s another topic.

To insert a picture from Google Photos to a WordPress blog post:

  1. Click the button for “Add Media”
  2. Choose the option to “Insert from URL.” it’s located in the left sidebar
  3. In another Chrome browser tab, visit www.Photos.Google.com click on Collections, then click the down arrow and choose Albums. It is very important that your desired picture be located in an Album, otherwise only you will see it.
  4. Once you’ve found the album, locate the picture and click it so you are seeing just that one picture. Now right-click the picture and choose “Copy Image URL”
  5. Go back to the WordPress tab that you just left and paste the URL. Then click “Insert into post” – it’s a blue button in the lower right corner. When you do this, the picture will show up in your blog post, but it will not be taking up any space in your blog’s server structure. It is just referencing the photo in your Google Photos Library. If the picture should ever get deleted from Google Photos, or moved from the Album it is in, then the picture disappears from your blog post.

Note Aug 2016: this technique no longer works! see this post: embedding photos from Google Photos.

Do you have any other techniques for inserting pictures into Blog posts? Please leave a comment – we’d be happy to hear them.

341.BL-old-Uploading Pictures to Google+, then using in a Blogger Blog

*Note: Google Plus photos is referenced in this video. It is now Google Photos (no Plus!) but the process is the same.
This tutorial video starts with pictures on your computer, uses Picasa to upload the best pictures to your Google+ Photo Albums online, then adds those pictures to a Blogger blog. The online photo album used for the example is our Google+ Photo album from July 2014.
Continue reading →

Using a Blogger Blog for your Club Newsletter

glamaramaWe like Blogger.com as a free place to make a website.  We teach Blogger to travelers as an easy way to keep a travel journal, but we also recommend Blogger to clubs and small businesses who need a  website.  We’ve written about this before:  Use a Blogger Blog for a Club Website

We’re excited to see that the next rally we’re going to is using Blogger for their rally website.  Check it out at http://glamaramarally.blogspot.com/.  You’ll notice that there are several pages listed in the right sidebar, including a link to their newsletter, and links to forms to submit for registration.  They are using Dropbox.com to store their linked documents.  A great system, and super simple.  Here’s how it’s done:

Using Dropbox

  • Sign up for a free Dropbox account.  This will set up a dropbox folder on your computer.
  • Create your newsletter and save as a .pdf file in your dropbox folder.  Dropbox will automatically make a copy of that file online in your dropbox.com account.
  • Locate that file and right-click on it and choose “Share Dropbox Link.”  You have just copied a link that will take anyone to the online copy of the .pdf file

Using Blogger

  • With the link from Dropbox freshly copied, and a Blogger blog already open and logged in as an administrator
  • To add a link on an existing post or page: Just type “Here is our current newsletter.”  Select the words, “Current Newsletter” then click the tool for Link, paste in the dropbox link and click OK.
  • To create a ‘Page’ that goes to the newsletter: From you Blogger dashboard, use the dropdown list and select the option for Layout, then Add a Gadget in the location you want it to appear (tabs under header or list of links in sidebar) choose the “Pages” gadget, then “Add External Link” and fill in the field like the image below.
  • page link

Show the Newsletter on a Blog Post or Page.

If you wanted to embed the actual newsletter, you could use Google Drive to store the .pdf file.  Then open that .pdf in Google Drive Viewer.  Now you have a menu including “File.”  On the file menu is “Embed this .PDF File.”  If you choose that, you will see a box with the code you need:

Copy that code and use Blogger’s HTML view to paste it into the post or page where you want it to appear.  You will probably need to adjust the height and width settings in the code snippet.  You can see an example of this on a sample page I made using the Fulltime RVers newsletter as a sample.

If you are a Geeks on Tour member, you can check out the Blogger Videos to learn the basics.  If you are interested in viewing tutorial videos specifically on how to do what is in this article, please comment below.  If I get enough comments, I’ll do the videos.

Backup Your Blog!

imageDo you have a blog?  I hope so! If you have more than just a few entries, you may have wondered, “what if something happens to files on the Internet?”  What if you tried to view your blog one day and it was blocked, or something was missing?  Or simply, what if you neglect your blog for a few years and then can’t find it?

We’ve been keeping the GeeksOnTour.blogspot.com blog since 2003 and we have nearly 2,000 posts!  This blog/journal is very precious to us – we would hate to lose it! So, how do we back it up?  Unfortunately, there is no one perfect way to back up a blog.  Because of its hybrid, multimedia, nature, you can’t get one backup that can do all things, so you need to know the purpose for your backup.

Different Backups for Different Purposes

  1. Restore your blog to the Blogger platform.  This would be necessary if, for some reason your whole blog got lost, deleted, or blocked.  Then you would want to be able to create a new blog and use your backup to Restore all the entries.  The only way to do this is if you used the “Export” feature of Blogger.com to export all the entries to a text file which can be later used for Importing to Blogger.
  2. Move or duplicate to another platform like WordPress.com.  You can use that same Export file to Import into WordPress.com.  I even do this when I don’t want to move to WordPress.com, I just want to see my blog in a separate place to know that I am safe.  I make the WordPress blog private – just as a backup.
  3. Save a copy of all posts, including pictures, in a way that can be viewed offline.  This is a very different proposition.  When you use the Export option above, all you’re getting is text – the text includes links to pictures that are stored elsewhere on the Internet.  If the picture is no longer located at that linkURL, then you will see a blank white box.  The special way to save everything, is to use a Browser command called Save Page As Webpage Complete.  I do this with my blog by month.  So, with one month’s worth of posts displayed on the screen, I use the Browser’s menu and chose Save page as ….  I leave it set as Webpage Complete, then choose a location on my USB External Hard Drive to store it.  The end result is HTML files that can be viewed offline and include all the text, sidebars, and .jpg pictures.
  4. 2014-04-29 11.30.04Be able to print the blog, including all pictures, without the Blogger header and sidebars.  Here is the easiest, most complete, and most long lasting method of preserving your blog …. make a book from it!  The website is www.Blog2Print.com and it is as easy as can be!  Just enter the URL address of your Blog (www.geeksontour.blogspot.com),  tell it the date range to print and what size to make the pictures, and they’ll do all the rest.  For roughly $75, you can get a beautiful hard-bound, full color, coffee table book of your Blog!  I look at mine all the time!  I have made two so far, one for 2004 and one for 2005.  My goal is to have a yearbook for each year we’ve been RVing.

If you are a Geeks on Tour member, you might want to watch these tutorial videos:

Backup Your Blog with a Book

blogbookIf your blog is precious to you, you’ve probably already backed it up with one of the methods we show in our Blogger Tutorial Videos.  Those techniques provide ways to restore your Blogger blog if something should go wrong, or to make web pages out of your Blogger monthly archives if you just don’t want to use Blogger anymore.  But, what if you just don’t want to use computers anymore?  You’d like future generations to be able to peruse your Blog just like they do your other photo albums and boxes of letters.  If your Blog is solely a web thing, it will dissolve into the ether one of these days, certainly in a generation or two!

It is so easy now to convert your blog into a book!  When my Mom traveled with us in the RV for 6 weeks, I took just those 6 weeks and turned them into a beautiful hard-back book.  I used Blog2Print.com and it was just a few clicks to specify what part of the blog to use and what format I wanted.  The woman in the photo likes to have her blog in book format just for herself – so much fun to flip thru the pages and revisit her travels. 

Make a .pdf Document of your Blog

Those hard-back books can get expensive.  See the image below showing $44.67 for a hard cover book, and I only selected a couple of months!  But notice the $7.95 Digital File format.  And, that remains $7.95 no matter how many pages are involved.  Then, you can print it yourself if you want.  At least you have a complete copy of all your posts and pictures in a file on your computer!


Our Blog covers 10 years and 1600+ posts.  I decided to make one book for each year.  2012, for example, uses 122 pages in a book created by Blog2Print.  Here are the possible prices they offer:

  • Deluxe Hard-Cover:$65.67
  • Hard-cover book:$60.65.
  • Soft Cover (color):$50.65
  • Soft Cover (B&W):$21.15
  • Digital File Download (.pdf):$7.95

There are probably other services like blog2print, if you have any experience printing your blog, please leave a comment below.

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.

March 2013 Newsletter: Back to our Roots: Blogger, Picasa, Streets and Trips

Geeks on Tour

Monthly Issue # 65 March 31, 2013                                                    www.geeksontour.com
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March TechnoGeek Learning Rally

ImageAs I write this, we are at our TechnoGeek Learning Rally in Bushnell, Florida.  This is a joint rally between TechnoRV and Geeks on Tour .  A small group of dedicated learners gathered with their RVs for our third Learning Rally.  We  offered special sessions on the latest topics of Smartphones and Cloud Computing, but we also taught our old favorites of Picasa, Blogger, and Streets and Trips while TechnoRV taught RV Electrical Safety, LED lighting and Induction cooking.  We had lots of food and fun.  We all met some new friends.  To learn more, check out the Facebook page for TechnoGeek Learning Rally.

Our Rally attendees were so eager and full of questions over Picasa, Blogger, Streets and Trips and more, that it reminded me how many people need to know this stuff.  With each newsletter over the years, we try to produce new information about Technology for Travelers.  This time, we’re going to get back to basics, realizing that a lot of you may have joined us recently and probably haven’t read every previous newsletter!

Our primary program for planning our travels has always been MS Streets and Trips. We love Picasa for making our pictures look so good, and helping us to organize and share thousands of them – all for free!  And, we couldn’t imagine life without Blogger as our free home on the web to keep and share our stories.  So, in this issue of GeekNews, instead of high-tech tips on the latest smartphones, or Internet services, we’ll be getting back to basics.  This month’s articles give you some detail and background of why we use Streets and Trips, Picasa, and Blogger to Plan, Preserve, and Share our travels. 

Calendar: Coming up in April/May

TechnoGeek Learning RallyAs we finish off the winter season and get ready for the summer tour, we will be trying our hand at doing seminars remotely so we can be wherever you are!  We have used Skype before, and we’ve tried Google hangouts.  Skype seems to be a bit more dependable for what we want to do.  We much prefer being in the seminar room in person – to interact with the people in the room and not be dependent on an Internet connection.

But, we can’t be everywhere at once! With the help of people who are in the seminar room, we’re going to try using Skype to project from our computer to the big screen in the seminar room, and Hangouts to connect our iPad to an iPad in the seminar room that can be passed around to the attendees for questions. We’ll see how it goes and report back to you next month!


For more details, see our website Calendar. 

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Q&A Forum

Some Geeks on Tour members tell us that the Q&A forum is worth the entire cost of membership!  Here are some of the topics that have been discussed this month:

  1. Picasa: Import does not work!
  2. Picasa and Carbonite Backup problem
  3. Problem playing video files using Picasa
  4. Blogger Header Bar not displaying
  5. Installing Streets and Trip 2013
  6. Android Jelly Bean is not compatible with FoxFi

RVTravel.comFree Admission during National Park Weeks.  Read about that and more RV news in the current issue of RVTravel.

Picasa for all your Digital Picture Needs

Picasa for all your Digital Picture NeedsSometime in our second year of RVing (2004), we discovered Picasa.  Instead of taking an hour or two to go thru our pictures from each day, pretty them up, identify them, and pick the best ones to share in our blog, it now only took a few minutes.  Picasa was just SO much easier than any other photo editing software!  We would tell anyone who asked that Picasa was the software they should get if they take a lot of pictures.  And, it is free.

We soon started teaching little seminars at the RV parks where we stayed, and by 2006 we taught Picasa seminars at the FMCA Conventions.  We developed quite a specialty in teaching Picasa, and our tutorial videos even caught the attention of Google – they own Picasa.  In 2009 Google flew us out to their headquarters in Mountain View, CA …

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Use Blogger to Keep your Journals

Blogger automatically formats to smartphone size.Did you keep a diary when you were a kid?  I did.  I love being able to go back in time and find words that express exactly what was going on.  Many of my paper journals have been lost or destroyed over the years, I wanted something better for our travel logs.  When we started thinking about traveling in an RV back in 2003 – I found Blogger.com and decided to keep my journals there.  Tioga and George were my inspiration.  A solo, fulltime RVer, George used Blogger and wrote every day – he still does!  Because of reading his blog, we met up with George on the road a few times.   We credit Blogger with making us many friends over the years.

Most everyone we meet who travels wants some way to record and share their travels.  Some keep a paper notebook just for themselves, some send an email blast to their list of friends.  We think Blogger is the easiest way …

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MS Streets and Trips to Plan your Travels

ImageLong before we took to the road in our RV, we had a computer training center in Fort Lauderdale, Florida called Computer Savvy.  We were a Microsoft Authorized Training Center and one of the classes was Mappoint.  Mappoint was a very expensive mapping, routing, and demographics database program.  As an authorized training center we had our own copies of all the software, including Mappoint.  So, after we sold the training center and became RVers – we figured we’d give Mappoint a try for planning and navigating our travels.  Mappoint’s inexpensive little brother is called Streets and Trips .  We installed it on our laptop, bought the USB GPS receiver for it and found a place to mount the laptop in the cab of our 30 foot Class C motorhome …

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Become a Geeks on Tour Member! And learn from our online library of Tutorial VideosFacebook, Picasa, Photo Story 3, Smartphones, Streets & Trips, Google Earth/Maps, Blogging, Boot Camp Class, Vista/Windows 7, Internet on the Road, Safe Computing only $7/monthly $58/yearly or $68 one year = access to ALL videos plus the Forums. Click here to Join

That’s all for now. We hope you learned something. Your next issue will be next month. Any questions, please visit our forum. 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. To see the archives of past newsletters, go to https://geeksontour.com/category/newsletter/.

Happy Computing!

The Geeks on Tour website is an online learning library for Travelers who want to learn to use their computers for managing digital photos, making blogs, using maps and other online resources. Anyone can watch our free videos, read articles on our Computer Tips for Travelers Blog, sign up for our free monthly newsletter, or Picasa weekly tips. A small fee makes you a ‘member‘ and you can then view any of our 200+ video tutorials on these subjects in our Learning LIbrary.

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