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March was an odd month for us. Still parked at Paradise Island in Fort Lauderdale, we had two airplane trips. At the beginning of the month, Chris and her Mom flew to Reno, NV for a visit with an old friend. Picasa seminars at FMCA in AlbuquerqueAt the end of the month Jim and Chris flew to Albuquerque to present our seminars at the FMCA Convention.

Both trips were successful ... and COLD. We've seen enough snow to last us a while, and we're happy to still be in Florida. Next week we'll be driving the RV to Longs, South Carolina to present our seminars at the RV-Dreams rally.

March Articles

So you don't miss anything, here's the other articles we've written this past month.

Cell Phones, Rallies, and Internet Connections
The best way to learn PicasaInternet by Droid
Windows 7 = Wi-Fi Hotspot
Windows 7 After 4 Months
Picasa Tip: Error when Emailing with Gmail
Picasa Tip: Have you Backed up Your Pictures Lately?
Picasa Tip: Find Pictures by Date
Picasa Tip: Backup and Tree View

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DroidBoth Jim and I now have shiny new phones - Motorola Droid for Verizon. It's so hard to call them phones though since they do everything but brush our teeth!

As Jim wrote in another article, they are actually full-fledged computers that happen to make phone calls. I use mine to:

  • Send/receive email on Gmail
  • Manage my calendar with Google Calendar
  • Take pictures with automatic GPS location data (geotagged) and upload them to Picasa Web Albums
  • Listen to my favorite radio shows on NPR
  • Watch Youtube videos
  • Be a flashlight (a really good one, using the flash)
  • Navigate in the car (free)
  • Browse the Web

And, I've only had it for a couple weeks! This is the biggest change in my technology life since email, and I LOVE it! People with iPhones have had these benefits for quite a while, but they need to be on the AT&T network. Now those of us on Verizon can be part of the new world too.

Uploading Pictures to Google Earth

Google Earth is the coolest way to explore our world and plan our travels. One of my favorite parts is the Layer called Panoramio.

Google Earth Pictures

Seeing Local Pictures with Google Earth

With the Panoramio layer checked 'On' you will see little blue boxes when you're zoomed in to a particular location. Click on one of those blue boxes and you'll see a picture. What a great way to look around. As you zoom in, more of the little blue boxes will appear. And, as you zoom out, they will disappear.

Panoramio Pictures of Hearst Castle

Uploading your Pictures

You will see many wonderful pictures this way, but what if you want to see *your* pictures in Google Earth's Panoramio layer? Notice the circled link in the image above 'Upload your Photos.' That's how you do it. Click there. You can log in with your Google account since Panoramio is now owned by Google.

Upload photos to Panoramio

Be sure to save any changes in Picasa

If you use Picasa - realize that this procedure is accessing the photos without Picasa - so you will need to save any changes you made with Picasa in order to see the changes in the picture you're uploading to Panoramio. In Picasa, open the photo in question and choose File Save. (see this video for more instruction: Ways to Save your Pictures in Picasa - membership required)

You can upload as many photos as you like. If they have already been geotagged (by Picasa or by your camera or Droid), they will automatically be placed on the map accordingly. If they haven't been geotagged, you will have the opportunity to find your picture's location using Panoramio. (see video: Picasa 3.5 Geotagging - Free)

Will others see your Photos in Google Earth?

Panoramio goes thru a very defined process before approving a photo for viewing in Google Earth. At minimum, it takes a week. You will be able to see your own photos in Google Earth by logging in to your Panoramio account and clicking the link to view in Google Earth. They may or may not end up being viewable by others when they look at Google Earth. In the image below, notice the circled icons below the 3d picture. The red marker means it has been located on the map, the blue Panoramio marker means it has been approved for viewing in Google Earth by anyone.

Your Panoramio Account

New Improved Blogger

Our Geeks on Tour personal travel blog is created using Blogger is also the system we teach on our website. I set up our blog over 7 years ago and have been very happy with Blogger *except* for the limited choices in templates. Templates are what create the layout and the colors for your blog. A few years ago, I went thru the time and effort to purchase a template created by someone outside of Blogger. I liked it, but it was a bit more work than I thought most other bloggers would want to do, so I didn't recommend it. I thought for sure that Blogger would add some more choices sooner or later.

Blogger Templates

Well, it turned out to be *much* later. I finally gave up about a month ago and wrote an article on how to find and install 3d party Blogger Templates. I even recorded a free Video on how to download and install the templates.

So now what has happened? You guessed it! Blogger has new templates. Plus a whole new way to customize these templates. You can choose one, two, or three columns for your blog layout. You can also use hundreds of high quality stock photos for your backgrounds. If you log into Blogger the normal way, you won't see any of these new templates. You must log in to Blogger in Draft. Before you do that, you should read all the details straight from the Blogger staff.

And, you may still want to look at third party templates - Blogger didn't add enough for my taste.

Blogger Pages

You may have read about Blogger Pages in last month's Geeks on Tour newsletter. This is a great new feature but, with the old templates, there was not a good way to display a menu of the pages. Now, with the new templates, there is. With the old templates the pages looked like a simple link list. The new templates show pages in a real menu bar.

No More FTP

If you've been with Blogger for a while, you may have an 'FTP' blog. That means that, instead of being stored on the Blogspot servers, your blog was re-written every time to be stored on your own self-hosted space. You had to pay something for that space and you use FTP (File Transfer Protocol) to upload your content. Blogger can do a much better job of managing your blog when it's hosted on the Blogspot servers dynamically working with content in Blogger's database.

So, they've decided to completely do away with the old FTP blogs. You will know if this affects you by logging into your account and looking at your dashboard. Any old FTP type blog will include 'Template' whereas, in the newer type you will see 'Layout.'

Blogger Dashboard

You will also get a message at the top that, "FTP publishing will no longer be available after May 1, 2010. They make the upgrade process very easy ... just click on 'Start Migration Now' and follow the instructions.

Blogger Migration

If this affects you, make sure to migrate soon - certainly before May 1. If you have pictures hosted on the same FTP site, realize that they need to remain there. The migration tool does not move all your pictures.

For more detail, see the official Blogger FTP Information.


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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 sample 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 160+ video tutorials on these subjects.