Tag Archives: Google Hangout

What Does This Button Do? November Recap

A few hearty souls have made it a regular part of their week to watch our live show every Sunday. It’s an educational show about smartphones and tablets. When they watch live, they get to ask questions in the comments and we try to answer them live on the show. Every show is automatically recorded as a YouTube video – so if you miss it live, no problem.  Here’s a list of the shows we did in November:


Episode and Date Topics Show Video with Notes for Members Free on YouTube
#20: 11/23/14 Scanning barcodes and QR codes, Google Goggles #20 w/Notes YouTube #20
#19: 11/9/14 Your phone and tablets’s pictures in the cloud using Google+ Photos. Discussion with guests Robin Seaver, Catherine Tracey, Judi McDowell #19 w/Notes YouTube #19
#18: 11/2/14 Swype Keyboard (followup to episode #7) Guests Bill Joyce and Diane Melde; Apps: First Aid and Urban Spoon #18 w/Notes YouTube #18


Sample of Show Notes

Column 3 refers to Notes for Members, let me explain. Each show is 30-60 minutes long. They are all free on YouTube for anyone to watch. Let’s say you missed episode 12. You see from our Weekly Show Archive page that we covered what to do when you lose your device. You’re interested in that topic but don’t want to spend 30-60 minutes watching the whole show, you could scan thru the show notes. If one segment is of particular interest and you do want to watch it, you want to go directly to the point in the show that your desired segment starts.With the show notes, you would see the following screen. Just reading thru it may tell you everything you want to know. If you do want to watch a segment of interest, you can click the link to start watching the video at the point where that segment begins.

Start at 3:07 Beginner’s Lesson: When you lose your device
iPad/iPhone Find my iPhone
If it’s lost, you should be able to go to iCloud.com and click on “Find my iPhone” This will give you a map of the last known location. You can also make it sound a loud noise, or you can put it in “Lost mode” which locks it and changes the password. If it has indeed been stolen, you can also Erase the device so the thief doesn’t get your information.
To turn this feature on, go to settings->iCloud->Find My iPad and turn it on
Start at 14:03 Beginner’s Lesson: When you lose your device– Android
If it’s lost, you should be able to go to Google.com/Android/DeviceManager and see a map with a marker at the last known location for your device. You also have the options to lock your device and change the password, or to erase the device if it has been stolen.
To turn this feature on, go to your device’s system settings->Personal Settings->Security->Device Administrators and check the box for Device Manager.

Warning! These are LIVE shows.



We produce these all ourselves. We use Google+ Hangouts On Air which is new and changing all the time. We run the cameras, the lights, the microphones, the computers, smartphones and tablets that are involved in delivering these shows – all while trying to remember the good stuff we want to teach. Sometimes we play small recorded segments to be sure it gets covered. We mess up ALL the time! We figure that’s what learning is all about. If we mess up really bad (like 12 minutes of ear-splitting echo that only the audience could hear) we will edit that part out of the recorded version. But the little flub-ups that happen in every episode are still there for your amusement!

Lifelong Learning

We think those hearty souls who make our show a regular part of their week are really smart! Regular, weekly learning is the best way to absorb and retain new knowledge. Like piano lessons, if you commit to learning a little bit, all the time, you’ll get good at it! We aim our show at beginners because we meet a lot of them in our travels! These devices can do so much that most information you’ll find is on the super-fancy bells and whistles. Beginners tend to get forgotten. After we do our beginner’s lesson, we will cover an App of the week, and some random tips. We also take viewer questions.

See you on Sundays

We picked Sunday as the day that the Internet is the least busy. We need a LOT of bandwidth to deliver this live online show and every little bit helps. It has been our experience that, if you use the Internet on weekday evenings, it is slower than on Sunday afternoons. We need all the speed we can get. Since we travel all the time, there are some times that we simply can’t get the Internet speeds to do it and we cancel the show. There are also times when we just don’t have the time to properly plan, prepare and produce the show. But, as often as possible, we will be doing our shows on Sunday afternoons. We usually will send an email announcement to our entire newsletter list when we schedule a show. But, we don’t always do that. We are very sensitive about sending too many emails, we don’t want to spam you! So, if you want to be sure to get the invitations and reminders, the best way is to “Follow” the Geeks on Tour Google+ page. That is where the shows originate.

August 2012 Newsletter: Google+ Hangout, Narrated Slideshows, Verizon 4G, CoPilot Live

Geeks on Tour

August in the MidwestPaula Sands Live interview - WKQC, channel 6 Davenport, Iowa

It’s all about learning.  In order to teach, we need to continue learning.  At the beginning of the month we attended the Screencast Camp held at TechSmith Corporation in Okemos, Michigan.  During August, we taught our hands-on Picasa Photo Editing class 3 times.  Twice in the Quad-Cities and once at the FMCA Convention in Indianapolis.  Click the picture at the right to see a video of us on the Paula Sands TV show in Davenport, Iowa.

Calendar: Coming up in September

  • Sep 3-7: Gypsy Journal Rally in Celina, OH
  • Sep 14-16: Hands-on ‘Camp Reboot’ at Escapee’s Rally in Sedalia, MO
  • Sep 16-21: Escapade in Sedalia, MO.

For more details, see our website Calendar.

Hang Out With Us

We will be trying Google+ Hangouts as a way to have impromptu meetings and training sessions.  But, first, we need to just get used to how it works.  If you’re interested in trying it with us, mark your calendar for Sep 25 at 4pm Eastern Time, and Sep 26 at 11am Eastern Time, then go to our Geeks on Tour Google+ page and leave us a comment.

Forum Topics

The Q&A Forums on the Geeks on Tour website are a great place to discuss the topics we cover.  This is where we answer our members’ questions.  Anyone can read the forums, you need to be a member to post.   Here are some topics of interest:

  1. Arrows on Photos with Picasa
  2. Picasa no longer Uploads to Blogger
  3. Facebook Pictures to Picasa?
  4. Facebook Access to my Contact List
  5. No charge for WiFi hotspot with your 4G phone

Chuck Woodbury of RVTravel.com
Chuck Woodbury of RVTravel.com

Our RVTravel.com Neighbor at FMCA

We’ve been followers of all the RV News and stories at RVTravel.com for many years.  Chuck Woodbury writes a newsletter *weekly* !!  Every Saturday morning you can depend on reading his personal RVing stories as well as industry news.  So, it was quite a treat when we discovered he was parked right next to us while at the FMCA Convention in Indianapolis.

Both of us were quite busy, but we found time to have dinner one night, swap RVing stories, and even record a couple of videos.

Sign up for your FREE RVTravel.com online newsletter and stay on top of all the news  information and advice to RVers about the RV lifestyle, plus tips about how to maintain your RVs.


Make a Narrated Slideshow – Easy and Free with Photo Story 3

ps3We’ve been teaching Photo Story 3 for several years now.  It is a free program from Microsoft that was developed for Windows XP.  In fact, the download page still says that it is only for Windows XP, and newer versions of Windows are not supported.  We use it on Windows 7 and it works fine.  The only quirk we’ve noticed is that, when you download it, it’s important to use Microsoft’s Internet Explorer to do the job rather than Chrome or Firefox.

We love teaching Photo Story 3 – it is the easiest topic we cover.  People who consider themselves computer illiterate leave our class and go straight to their computer to make a professional looking movie with their pictures, music, and narration.  We try to keep up with the times, so have been looking for a replacement for Photo Story.  We simply haven’t found one.

We just taught the seminar last week at the FMCA convention and we thought it would be the last time we taught it, but it was so well received!  One person told us afterward that it solved a dilemma for her in that she had been asked to provide videos of her Church project and she just didn’t know what to do since she had no experience with video.  With Photo Story 3 she could simply use the dozens of photos she’d already taken, add motion, narration, and music.  Voila!  She has a video of her project.

Make a Movie with Photo Story 3

When you first open Photo Story 3, you are prompted to begin a new project and import pictures.  We recommend using Picasa to prepare all the pictures you want to use and export them into one folder so they are easy to find.  Then, Photo Story 3 works like a wizard, when you’re finished with the first step, you click the button to continue, and it tells you what the next step is.  When you’ve run out of ‘Continue’ buttons, you’re done!

Narration is Easy

One of the steps is narration.  There is a place where you can write notes for yourself about what you want to say.  Each piece of narration is attached to a picture – which makes it much less intimidating than having to narrate an entire slideshow.  Just add narration to the pictures that need it.  The rest will just play to the music.

Let the Program Compose the Music

Lots of software, even Picasa, allow you to add a song – a music file – to a slideshow.  Photo Story will do that as well, but it has another option.  It will actually compose music.  All you do is pick a genre (classical, country, etc.) and a tempo, Photo Story does all the rest.  There are two reasons why this is so special:

  1. Timing: since the music is being composed to fit your slides, it has an ending at the appropriate time
  2. There is no copyright, so you can upload to public sharing sites like Youtube without running afoul of their terms of service.

Why settle for boring slideshows when you can direct and produce a movie for free.  We have 11 tutorial videos on Photo Story 3 that show you how, step by step.  Or you can just download the software and start playing!  If you make a movie and upload it to somewhere that we can see, leave a link in the comments OK?  Here is one that I made about my family’s early RVing experiences.

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Verizon’s Amazing 4G LTE Coverage – Good and Bad

We have been SO impressed with Verizon’s 4G service this summer!  As I write this, we are in the small town of Celina in northeastern Ohio.  There are NO major metropolitan areas anywhere near us, and we have blazing fast 4G LTE from Verizon. 

Earlier this summer, we were parked in a Thousand Trails campground called Carolina Landings, near the mountains in S Carolina.  When we first arrived we had a good 3G connection and since these Thousand Trails parks pride themselves on being in natural surroundings far from big cities, we counted ourselves lucky to get online at all.  While we were there, Verizon ‘flipped the switch’ on 4G in the area.  Wow!  Instead of clicking on a Youtube video and watching it painfully start and stop, the whole video would be loaded before I even decided whether or not I wanted to watch it!

Fast Speeds = More Data Used

With those kind of speeds, you can go thru a lot of data in a short time.  Luckily, we have an unlimited data plan, so we don’t worry, but if you have a 2GB, or even a 5GB plan, you need to keep a watch on it.  Every phone will have some way to check your data usage.  On my Motorola Droid Razr Maxx from Verizon, there is a Verizon widget right on my home screen that displays my current usage.  Your phone also has an app from your Provider (Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, etc.)  that gives you a way to see your overall usage.

You may also want to dig a little deeper to see exactly what is using the data.  On the Android 4 system, you can visit your System Settings, Wireless and Networks, Data Usage, and see the screen pictured above.  It sorts your data-using apps by the greatest usage.  You can see that Google+ is on the top of my list. That’s because I have it set to automatically upload all pictures taken by my phone.  You may also have that feature turned on – it’s a wonderful feature!

Use Wi-Fi When Available

If you have data limits, you can also change a setting so that Google+ only performs these uploads if you’re connected to a Wi-Fi hotspot and therefore, not using the limited data from your provider.

The screen at left shows what you see when you touch Google+ on your data usage screen.  At the very bottom is the option to ‘Restrict background data.’  You check the box for ‘Disable background data on mobile data network only.  Wi-Fi will be used if available.  To use Wi-Fi, you must be in a Wi-Fi hotspot, then go to your Wireless and Network Settings, Turn Wi-Fi on, and choose the name of the Wi-Fi hotspot that you have available to you.

Check your plan to see what you’re allowed and how much you pay for overages.  It’s not as bad as it used to be.  Most Verizon plans charge $10 for each Gigabyte of data over your limit.  So, even if you go 5GB over, that’s only $50.  It used to be hundreds of dollars for that kind of overages.

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CoPilot Live: an RV-Aware GPS for Mobile Phones and Tablets

clip_image002CoPilot Live Premium, North America Maps $17.99 for iOS and Android. For complete pricing and map availability, visit their website at www.copilotlive.com. There is a free version, but it does not offer voice-directed turn-by-turn instructions. Technology can make travel a richer experience. Teaching technology to travelers is what Geeks On Tour is all about. We have been using GPS for navigation since we started RVing back in ’03. Keeping up with this stuff is a full time job and we love it. Visit us at www.geeksontour.com.

Our Advice

Don’t get rid of your paper maps and atlases. Do get the CoPilot Live app for your mobile devices – we like it. It is available for Android phones and tablets, iOS iPhones and iPad 3G, Windows mobile, and laptops, too. Be sure to read thru the excellent user guide available on their website under the Support menu. ALK, the company behind CoPilot has been in the business since 1979. They know what they are doing, and they do it well. I first got the CoPilot app for my Droid RAZR phone and used it in our travels from Louisville, KY up through New Jersey, New York, and New England. While in Vermont, I bought the new Google Nexus 7 tablet. The main reason for getting the tablet was for navigation. This review is based on those 2 devices.

Read the Full Article …

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Facebook vs Google+

facebookI use Facebook a lot.  I frequently post pictures and little snippets about my life on Facebook.  My Droid smartphone has a Facebook app that allows me to upload the pictures I take with my phone with just a couple of taps.  I love the new timeline feature where I can see my life laid out by year and month.  Most of my friends are on Facebook.  I like being able to keep up with their lives all at once when I open Facebook and see my newsfeed.  I’ve been using Facebook since 2008, I’ve studied it in depth so I can teach it. I understand Facebook

Can Google+ Beat Facebook?

Google+ is a Social Network like Facebook.  Google+ was just launched in 2011.  We don’t know how many people are on it, but it has a long way to go to catch up with Facebook.  I’m trying to get to know Google+ and I’m not having an easy time of it.  Not because it’s more difficult than Facebook but just because it is different, and I already know Facebook.  Understanding Facebook does not directly translate to Google+.  With 850 million people on Facebook, I view it as a directory – the white pages – for the people of the world.  I don’t think there’s a place for two such directories.

Google That said, Google+ does have some cool features. 

  • Google Hangout gives you an instant, easy way to video chat with a group of people.  You can also share your screen, or watch a YouTube video together. 
  • Since Picasa is also owned by Google, you can expect more and more of Picasa’s features to be showing up in Google+.  They’ve already taken what used to be Picnik and put the basic editing features right in with the online pictures.  Google+ accounts allow you to upload an unlimited number of pictures.  With Picasa Web Albums, you were limited to 1GB.
  • I have installed the Google+ app on my Smartphone and now, any picture I take with my phone gets uploaded automatically.  They start out as private, but you can then share them with whoever you want.  Nothing to think about … I took a picture with my phone – I can look at it on my computer.
  • When I write a Blog post with Blogger (owned by Google) I can automatically share that to my Google+ profile

The biggest problem with Google+ as a social network is that all my friends are on Facebook!  Some have migrated to Google+ but, just like me, they keep going back to Facebook because that’s where their friends are!  That’s a big obstacle for Google+ to overcome. 

We had a question in our Forum this month from a member who was unhappy that her Picasa Upload button had turned into a ‘Share with Google+’ button.  She didn’t want to share with Google+ because she likes the specific features in Picasa Web Albums.  In the forum thread we discussed the procedure to remove Google+ so she could continue with Picasa Web Albums as before.  Check out the forum question and answer if you’re wondering the same. 

Better yet, register for our Techno-Geek Learning Rally April 22-28 in Bushnell, Florida.  We’ll be having lots of seminars as well as hands-on classes with Picasa.  We’ll be able to compare notes on Google+, Facebook, and Picasa Web Albums. Our co-hosts from TechnoRV use Macintosh and iPhoto.  This will be a valuable assembly of computer knowledge for travelers – and don’t worry, we’re known for being best with beginners!