Tag Archives: smartphone cameras

Dashcam Apps to Document your Travels

Would you like to have an automatic recording of the road you traveled? Think of the beauty you could capture driving through the mountains. Or how about just a documentary on getting out of town.  When that jerk pulled out in front of you, how would you like to capture that license plate?

Maybe it’s not important enough for you to buy a dashcam. Did you know you could use that tablet that’s just been gathering dust? Just add a free Dashcam app, mount it onto your dash (velcro will do) and turn it on! No data connection required. You do want to have it plugged into power though, since it is running all the time it will drain your battery pretty fast.  Here is a sample of the video and stills captured from our RV as we got out of town!

We used a 7 inch Samsung tablet and the Daily Roads Voyager app for Android. If you need an app for iPhone/iPad, we found one called DashCam. We discuss dashcams in our What Does This Button Do show #101. Here’s a link to the point where we start the section on dashcams.

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How Does a Dashcam Work?

If the dashcam is running all the time, how does it store all that video? Does it use the Internet? No – you do not need an Internet connection, everything is handled directly by the phone or tablet. The vidoe is stored on a loop. It’s recording all the time, but when it reaches the specified time limit, it starts deleting the beginning of the recording. Any time you want to keep a portion, just tap the screen to save and a specified amount of video, or still frames, will be stored in a separate file. If you’re in an accident, the accelerometer in the device alerts the app and it automatically saves that segment.

Some dashcams are now calling themselves “Black Boxes” because they can record not only the video out your windshield, but also audio, and diagnostic information from an OBD – On Board Diagnostic – device. We haven’t tried it yet, but CaroO is one that makes this claim. Next trip, we’ll give it a shot.

Print Photos, Pick up in an Hour

imageIf you want to get prints of your photos, and you don’t want them mailed home when you’re on the road, Walgreens has your answer.  It’s an App called Printicular and it allows you to select photos from your phone, OR from Google+, Instagram,  Facebook, Dropbox, Google Photos, or Flickr. It’s the only app I’ve found that allows you to select from Google Photos. To me that means I can select any picture from my entire lifetime, because they are all in my Google Photos account!

You can order different sizes at very reasonable prices:

  • 4X6 Prints – 0.29
  • 5x& Prints – 2.49
  • 8×10 Prints – 3.99

20161026_152435Before you select the pictures, you can choose to pick them up at the nearest Walgreen’s. A map with all the nearby Walgreens will display, allowing you to pick the one you want. You will get an email notice when they are ready – usually about an hour. I ordered on a Friday night and didn’t get an email till Saturday morning, but that seemed appropriate. I ordered 7 prints, picked them up the next day for $2.03.

One thing you can’t do, directly from the app, is to order gifts like mousepads or coffee mugs. I noticed that Walgreens advertises the ability to make these, but I’m sure they can’t be done in an hour!

  • App: Printicular, by MEA Mobile for Walgreen’s
  • Platforms: Android, iOS, Windows Phone
  • Cost: Free

Chris Guld is President and Teacher-in-Chief at GeeksOnTour.com. She has been in computer training and support since 1983 and owned a Computer Training Center called Computer Savvy from 1983-1996. She has been a Fulltime RVer, popular seminar presenter at RV Rallies, and regular contributor to RVTravel, for many years.

Technology for Travelers: Geeks Teach at an RV Rally

Getting ready to teach our first seminar, "Technology for Travelers", at the Living The RV Dream Gathering

Getting ready to teach our first seminar, “Technology for Travelers”, at the Living The RV Dream Gathering

We just spent last week at an RV rally called “Living the RV Dream Gathering.” People from all over the country who travel by RV gathered here to learn, make friends, and have fun. We presented 4 seminars and one day-long smartphone photography workshop. For RVers, we almost always start with the seminar we call “Technology for Travelers.”

What IS Technology for Travelers?

We have a very specific meaning of Technology for Travelers. We aren’t talking about the satellite dishes, tire pressure monitors, or GPS devices. Although that could also be called Technology for Travelers, we like to teach what can be done with computer technology to Plan, Preserve, and Share your travels.

We have been traveling by RV since 2003 and our most prized possessions of those years are our pictures, maps, and blogs. If you enjoy your memories as much as we do, we think you need to learn how to use your smartphone and/or your computer to do the same!

Photos

We take hundreds of photos every month while we’re traveling. We use our iPhone and Android phone most of the time, but also some ‘real’ cameras. We gather our best pictures, using Google Photos,  and put them into albums for each month. Then we make a page on our blog to show off those albums. You can learn how to use the free Google Photos from our Book, Tutorial videos, and more on our website.

photo albums

Maps

We use Google’s free My Maps to make our own maps for each year. We start planning for the next year by creating a map like “2017 Geek Travels.” Then as the year progresses, we keep modifying that map. We change destinations, add destinations, and populate each stop with photos and descriptions. At the end of each year, we add the map to a Maps page on our Blog. You can learn how to make these maps with the tutorial videos on our website.

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Blogs

Pictures and maps tell most of the story, but I also like to write out my memories journal-style. Facebook is great for sharing small moments, but to have a complete journal I like using Google’s free Blogger.com. As noted above, you can also use your blog to create pages for other things, like pictures, maps, and videos. The blog is where I put it all together!  I created our blog when we were first just thinking about RVing. That was in early 2003 when Blogger.com was the only option available for a free journal/website. I still think it is the best option, and it is free and easy. Since our beginning in 2003, we have written nearly 2,000 posts. We are now ordering hard-bound, 4-color, coffee table books for each year on the road. Thumbing thru those books is one of my favorite things to do!

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Even if you don’t travel by RV, if you have memories you want to keep, check out our Tutorial videos on Photos, Maps, and Blogs. If you do travel by RV, we hope to see you at a Rally sometime down the road! There are hundreds of possible RV rallies to choose from. Most of them are organized by RV Clubs. Living the RV Dream’s website lists all the major clubs here. You can see where we’ll be on our calendar.

Adding Maps to your Blog Posts, using Screenshots

imageI really like the daily maps that Google makes of my whereabouts. It’s called my Timeline and it’s all done automatically as long as I have location services turned on. A few days ago, we took a cruise around Manhattan, and I think the timeline map will add a lot to my story. Don’t you agree?

Any map (or anything at all!) that you can see on your phone, or on your computer, can be captured as an image. Then it can be used in your Blog, just like any other picture.

To take a screenshot on a cellphone:

  1. View the screen you want to capture
  2. Phones with a physical home button: press and hold power button and home button at the same time, then let go
  3. Phones without a physical home button: press and hold power button and down volume button at same time, then let go
  4. You should hear a click and see a blink on your screen to indicate it has been captured
  5. Now go look in your photos/gallery app and you will see the screenshot along with your photos
    If you’re using Google Photos on Android, be sure the Screenshot folder is checked in Menu, Device Folders
  6. See this demonstrated as our tip of the week on our weekly show #81 about Location Services Here’s the part on
    How to take a screenshot
    image

To take a screenshot – of part of the screen – on a computer

  1. View the screen that includes a part you want to capture
  2. Windows: launch the Snipping Tool app (Start, Snipping, Enter)
    click New, then drag a rectangle around the portion of the screen you want to capture
    click File, Save As to save your picture in the My Pictures folder (or wherever you want)
  3. Mac: Command-Shift-4 – you should see a crosshairs on the screen
    Use the crosshair to drag a rectangle around the part you want to capture
    When you let go, you’ll hear a click and the image file, a .png, will be saved on your desktop

F Instructions above use techniques built in to the computer’s operating system. To get more functionality with your screen captures, we recommend Snagit.

Use Screenshot in a Blog Post

You can now use the captured image like any other photo. For example, if you use Blogger, you can insert the camera screenshot

  1. Click the Insert image button
  2. If you’re using Google Photos: choose “From my phone,” Select the desired screenshot, Add Selected
  3. If you’re not using Google Photos, the image will need to be on your computer, then choose Upload to get it, select it and Add Selected

Example: here’s a blog post of mine using a computer screen capture of Google Maps in Satellite view. Click on the image below to go to the Blog post and see the whole thing, including 2 maps.

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