Wednesday, September 27, 2017

#125. Google Photos - What's New

This episode was streamed live on Sep 23, 2017. We webcast from our Roadtrek camper van parked in a State Park by New Orleans, LA. Geeks on Tour members can view the Show Notes here. This is a live / taped show and we had a little bandwidth trouble with the sound, be prepared for a few skipped words here and there. The show notes will help fill in the blanks. Because of this, we are making the Show Notes available to all.

Since Google Photos is a cloud-based product it can change with no notice ... and it does .... often! In this episode we try to summarize the important changes you should know about that have happened in the last 6 months.
  • Tip of the Week: Scanning documents with the Drive widget
  • App of the week: Facebook Messenger for sending money


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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

How Do I Print from my Smartphone? #76

This episode of What Does This Button Do was streamed live on Apr 3, 2016.
Have you ever had something on your smartphone's screen that you need to print? What do you do? We use services like Office Depot for documents and Walgreens, Snapfish, or Shutterfly for photos. You can also print directly from your phone to your own printer ... this encore episode will show you how!  Quick Tip: Facebook reactions, App: Snapfish

Geeks on Tour members: get your class notes hereYou might want to print them out and then join with some friends to take the class. Just play the parts of interest to you by using the timeline links in the class notes, pause the video and experiment on your own device. Then take the review questions at the end and see how you did.

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Wednesday, September 13, 2017

What Does This Button Do? Hurricane Edition

We have no regular What Does This Button Do? show this week. We've been running from Hurricane Irma. We are fine. See our personal blog posts: Hurricane Irma: To Go or Not To Go and Hurricane Irma - Evacuation Indecision

Hurricane Apps

But, I still wanted to post something about how we used our phones this week. First of all, of course, was the hurricane tracker. We used Max Tracker and waited on pins and needles for every new update. The "forecast cone" is what we relied on when deciding where to run. We also checked the radar using The Weather Channel. If you don't know how to take screenshots from your phone, like mine below, here's the Quick Tip on Taking Screenshots

Notice how the entire state of Florida seems to have disappeared in the image above on the right? Here's the best explanation I've seen. It moved north!

Charging your Phone

Your phone won't do you any good if it's dead! Make sure you have a good battery/travel charger. We really like the HooToo because it does so much more than just charge, see How to use a USB drive with a smartphone or tablet. The HooToo is a 10,400mAh (mili-Amp-Hours) battery. That will fully charge your phone roughly 3 times.  If all you want is a battery, then we recommend the Anker 20,000 mAh. These are both about $40 - just search Amazon or your favorite tech store for HooToo or Anker. As a bonus, these could also power something like a USB Fan!

Gas Buddy New Feature

Another app we used a lot was Gas Buddy. As gas stations started running out of fuel supplies, the Gas Buddy app added a feature to indicate whether a station had gas or not. Below are short, 2 minute videos.

Google Maps

And then there's Google Maps! We used two special features of Maps a lot this week:


The app that I found invaluable for staying in touch with friends and family, letting them know how we were, and finding out how they were - is Facebook. With just one post on Facebook, we can let everyone know where we are and how we're doing. Since most of our real friends are on Facebook as well, we know the same about them. During natural disasters, Facebook turns on a feature called SafetyCheck which gives us all a place to check in and report our status. But more than that, I relied on Facebook for eye-witness reports. Information from Apps is great, but it's information like this from people we know that really tells us what's going on:


You may have heard a lot about this Walkie-Talkie app called Zello. It was instrumental in Houston for finding people who needed rescuing. We did not use it, but I downloaded it just to see how it worked. It's a free app. It uses your microphone for you to talk and people who are monitoring that channel will hear you. It's like a CB radio, or a marine radio, in that you set yourself up with a name like a CB Handle, and then you choose a channel listen to and talk on. You can see a long list of channels to choose from and you can search for "Hurricane Irma"
I can see where this could be a lifesaver in emergency situations, but don't believe it when you hear that it works without an Internet connection - it does not. It needs either cellular data or a working Wi-Fi hotspot to connect to.

If you were affected by either of the recent hurricanes, first of all, we hope you fared well - then, we'd love to hear about any ways that your smartphone helped you. Leave a comment below.

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Wednesday, September 6, 2017

#124 The First Four Buttons you need to Learn

This episode was streamed live on Sep 3, 2017. We webcast from our home studio in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Geeks on Tour members can view the Show Notes here.

Are you just starting to use a smartphone? Or have you had one for a while, but still don't understand much about it. There is so much to learn, it can be overwhelming. That's why we made this episode to give you a place to start. The first four buttons all have very basic and necessary uses for your phone, but they also have some functions that even advanced users may not know. After watching this episode, you can impress your friends with some new tips!
  1. Tip of the Day: Downloading pictures from Google Photos online to your device
  2. Beginner’s Lesson: The first four buttons you need to learn
  3. App of the day: Magnifying glass

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