Category: Photos

Holiday Photo Tips and Tricks

Are you capturing lots of great memories with photos this holiday season?  Here are some great techie tips about photos from my news feed.

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Remove the background from photos for free

From Beth Zensies, Your Nerdy Best Friend   “Just upload a pic to remove.bg and the site instantly removes the background. Where was this all my life??? It takes less than 5 seconds, instead of an hour with me in a cheap Photoshop alternative.”

Making digital Photo Collages

(Some of you have used Picasa in the past but Google is not supporting it anymore and it may stop working soon.)  From How To Geek:  How to make a digital photo collage

An Alternative to Photoshop That Runs in Your Web Browser

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From Kim Komando Photopea

Best Photo Editing Apps for Android

From Kim Komando:  Best Photo Editing Apps for Android

How to Make Your iPhone Photos look better

From Kim Komando:  How to Make Your iPhone Photos Look Better

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Snapseed for Chromebooks

Chromebooks support Android apps now and Leo Laporte, an avid photographer, has found the Snapseed app to be just as capable as Photoshop.

An Amazing photo presentation that gives us a different perspective on life

Screenshot 2018-12-21 at 12.54.51 PM

Shared by a fun client: Smile from Cosmic Eye by Dan Apps

Websites for sending free ecards

From How To Geek: Websites for sending free ecards

And a goofy Merry Christmas video…

Screenshot 2018-12-21 at 12.51.37 PM

My Merry Christmas Video courtesy of Office Depot

You can make one too at https://www.elfyourself.com/

Please share these techie tips with your loved ones.

Have you tried any of these?  I’d love to read your comments below.  Thanks!

In joy!
Mardi

Shutterfly for Photo Sharing

Are you taking lots of photos this summer?

I got a call this week from a client who had just returned from an amazing caribbean vacation with family and wanted to know the best way for them to share their photos with each other. What fun!

I thought you might like to know about it too. It’s Shutterfly.com. Are you familiar with it?

Shutterfly offers free, unlimited, secure photo storage! They also offer photo prints, photo books, cards, stationary, calendars, and personalized gifts like coffee mugs.

It’s very easy to set up a free private website where a group of people can upload their photos to share and then everyone has the opportunity to download their favorites to their computers, and order prints or other items from Shutterfly.

My nieces send my mother little books with photos of their children after they visit and she loves them.

I’m eager to know if you use Shutterfly and what you think about it.  Send me a message below.

If you are trying Shutterfly for the first time and have questions or want me to help you set up a site, let me know that too.

If you have any other questions about photos, I’m always happy to help.

Use the handy form below:

 

Best Photo Printing Services

Best Photo Printing Services

I’ve been working with a lot of people who wanted a little help learning the best way to store and share the many photos they are taking with their new smart phones.  It’s so much fun when they get excited about their new skills. There are a lot of adorable grandchildren out there and some budding art photographers!

Even though it’s easy to share photos online, there are times when we like to have prints for our homes or offices.  So this week I thought I would share some easy and affordable ways to do that.

I have taught several people how to use Walgreen’s website to order prints online and pick them up in the store.  They have been really happy with it. Now, Walgreen’s has an app so you can order prints right from your phone!  Apps are often easier to use than the websites.  Try it, you might like it.  They are offering 33% off your first order!  Click here to learn more

I did some research to find other options for you.  I found a great article that explains what to look for and has reviews of the top sites, including Walgreens, CVS, Walmart and Costco.  It’s really everything you’ll want to know.  Just click here to read it.

I hope this techie tip inspires you try ordering prints online or helps you find the best service for your needs.  Please let me know if it does. You can respond to this email or post a comment below.

If you feel like you need a little coaching to do your first order, let’s set up an appointment.  It’s easier than you may think.

Great Apps for Computers and

Apps are not just for smartphones and tablets. Many apps are web based and accessed through your web browser. You don’t have to have a smart phone or tablet to use some of the most popular apps.

However, when people buy smartphones or tablets, they often ask me what apps they should know about.  I’m always happy to make suggestions based on antheir lifestyle and interests.

Since you may have received a gadget as a holiday gift, I thought it would be a good time to tell you about a few of my favorites apps and programs. You may already be using some of these but you may discover some new ones to try. Enjoy!

Entertainment and Media:   

NetflixNetflix let’s you watch an unlimited number movies and television shows online for only $8.95 mo. You can train it to make suggestions for you based on the movies you watch and how you rate them.  You can even set up separate profiles for individual family members!  And, there are no commercials!!!

You can connect your gadget to your TV and watch movies on it too.

chromeCast

 

Chromecast from Google $35


roku

Roku Streaming Stick $50

 

appleTvApple TV $99


spotify

 

Spotify let’s you listen to music for free.  It even has playlists by subject or genre. The variety is astounding and there are no commercials!!!

 

YouTube

 

YouTube is a must for doing research on any topic that can be best explained with a video.  Think recipes, repairing things, movie previews, songs, lyrics, instructional videos, and answers to absolutely any question under the sun.

shazam

Shazam listens to songs on the radio, TV or movies. It identifies the song title, shows you the performer, album, lyrics and links you to sites where you can purchase.

 

 

Productivity:

dropboxDropbox is a great app for cloud storage and sharing.  When you put files in there, you can access them from anygadget or computer.  I use the phone app to play audio files of lectures and seminars. It’s super easy to learn and you get 2GB of storage for free.  By referring your friends to Dropbox, you can earn up to 16GB of additional space.  Sign up here

 

office 365

One of the most popular productivity tools for home and business is Microsoft Office. Unfortunately, Office documents don’t always play nice with third-party apps. Now Microsoft has released the Microsoft Office Mobile app.   It lets you open, create and perform basic editing on Word, Excel and PowerPoint files no matter where you are.

 

mintMint.com and its app  (Free, and available for Android and iOS) links to your all your bank accounts, credit card accounts and loans so you always know just how much money you have and how you are spending it. You can set up spending categories and create a budget for each category. I love it for keeping track of my income and expenses for paying my taxes.

 

The weather channelThe Weather Channel app and weather.com show you the current temperature, the hourly forecast and the next 10 days of weather.  Also you get a customizable radar map, video clips, severe weather alerts and beach conditions. It’s better than your gadget’s built-in weather app.

 

 

free wifi finder

You don’t want to burn through your cellular data plan when you are out and about or on a trip, so you need to useWi-Fi whenever possible. You can find free Wi-Fi locations with the Free Wi-Fi Finder app.

 

Dating:

match

 

Match.com app has earned the top spot in dating apps and is my favorite.

 

 

pof-logo

 

POF.com (Plenty of Fish) is very popular here in the desert and is free.

 

google mapsNavigation:

Google Maps is my favorite navigation app.  I especially appreciate that it invites you to submit corrections.  Youget an email thanking you for your help and then a follow up email when the corrections have been made.

uberUber is an app-based transportation network that uses a smartphone application to receive ride requests, and then sends these trip requests to their drivers. Customers love using the app to request rides and to track their reserved vehicle’s location.  Uber’s drivers use their own cars and there is a variety of types of vehicles available, from Town Cars to SUVs and more.  One of my friends is a driver for Uber and just loves it.  It’s a win-win for everybody.

Other Popular Apps

Here are some other popular apps that I don’t find the time to use very often, but you might enjoy.

Save Money  

RetailmenotThe RetailMeNot app helps you find promo codes and coupons for more than 50,000 physical and online stores, including grocery stores. You can save and store coupons for later, and share the savings with your friends through social media.

 

 

Photo EditingSnapseed-icon-medium

Snapseed is the top app for photo-editing and VSCO Cam is gaining ground in popularity.

Social and Sharing

Pinterest

 

Pinterest, WhatsApp and Snapchat are the top apps in messaging and texting.

 

instagram

 

Instagram and Facebook are considered the must-haves for social sharing. The Facebook app got me interestedin using Facebook more often because it is so easy to use.

Sports

watchESPN

 

WatchESPN.com is the most popular app for sports fans.

 

 

 

Fitness

MyFitnessPal is the top fitness app.my fitness pal

 

 

 

 

Do you have any favorite apps to share?

There are thousands of apps and recommendations from friends is the best way to sort through the maze.  Do you have some favorite apps not mentioned here?  Post your comments below so everyone can benefit from your ideas.

Amazing Uses for Photos

Amazing Uses for Photos

This past week I did a lot of instruction in photo management and it wasn’t with vacation photos as you would expect for this time of year.  Of course, the techniques are the same but it’s amazing how many interesting things clients are doing with photos.

Even more important to me, is that three wonderful clients have a more positive attitude toward technology and their ability to use it.  They are excited with the work they have accomplished, are eager to do more and are using technology to build their businesses.  These success stories light up my life and I’m so grateful for the opportunity to help.

53885 Avenida Martinez, La Quinta, CA 92253 Photo 1

Marcia, a busy Realtor learned how to get photos from her camera to her computer automatically, and how to quickly upload professional listing photos from her photographer’s website to her listing in the MLS.

Marnell relaxes at home.

Marnell, an enthusiastic, Yoga instructor learned how to get photos from her smartphone into her computer, upload the photos to her Facebook page, her Twitter profile and her business website, and use Google images to get the logos for her Chair Yoga class. YogaWithMarnell.com

Fairy Taking A Bath

Mahara, a gifted artist, learned how to create an online portfolio for 80 amazing and beautiful fairy paintings, and send it to a publisher.  Best of all, she gained confidence in her ability to use technology. She is feeling really good about her accomplishments instead of feeling afraid she wouldn’t remember how to do it.  She has uploaded additional pictures on her own and shared her portfolio with friends.  Now she is prepared to share her art with the world, and, hopefully, make some income from it.  So exciting!

Would your life, or the life of someone you care about, benefit from learning about photo management?   I’m here to help and I promise to make it as easy and enjoyable as possible. Call or email me ASAP.  You’ll be glad you did. (And I always send a thank you gift for your referrals.)

Looking forward to hearing from you…

In Joy,

Mardi

Pre-purchase Consultation Questions

One of my services is consulting with people to help them choose the best computer or gadget for their individual needs.  So much frustration can be avoided by buying the right product in the first place, and I have already test-driven quite a few of them in order to pave the way for others to have a more pleasant experience.  See my previous posts for the gruesome details.  LOL

Here are the questions I use for my consultations.  Please forward this to your friends and relatives so they will have it when they are considering a computer or gadget purchase.   They will thank you for it.

1. What is your budget?

2. What is the size of the notebook that you are considering?

3. What screen resolution do you want?

4. Do you need a portable or desktop replacement laptop?

5. How much battery life do you need?

6. Do you want to play games with your laptop? If so then please list the games that you want to with the settings that you want for these games. (Low, Medium or High)?

7. What other tasks do you want to do with your laptop? (Photo/Video editing, etc.)

8. How much storage (Hard Drive capacity) do you need?

9. If you are considering specific sites to buy from, please post their links.

10. How long do you want to keep your laptop?

11. What kind of Optical drive do you need? DVD ROM/Writer, Blue Ray ROM/Writer, etc ?

12. Please tell me about the brands that you prefer and the brands that you don’t like and explain the reasons.

13. What country do you live in?

14. Please tell me any additional information if needed.

Additionally… you should consider available support options in your area. If you buy something abroad, will you be able to have it fixed near where you live? Does the warranty apply? How quickly do local accredited technicians fix laptops?

Your Holiday Photos

How are you going to organize, share and protect your holiday photos this year?

Here are my recommendations:

First, and most important, is backups….

Android can back up photos to Google+ automatically.  I was surprised and amazed when my new Android phone did it.  Really great!

iPhone owners can get Dropbox and enable Camera Upload to do it automatically.  I just set this up for a client last week.  Really slick because you don’t have to plug your phone into your computer and you can share Dropbox files with others.

You might also want to occasionally make full backups onto an external drive and store it somewhere in your home or off-site.  One of my clients had spend a gazillion hours scanning 100’s of heirloom family photos after her parents died, and I showed her how to save them on flash drives for each of her siblings.  What a special Christmas gift!!!

If you just want to order prints, you can upload your photos to Walgreens’ or CVS’s website and pick them up in one hour.  You just go to their website, set up an account, upload your photos and select sizes.  It’s very clear and easy to use.  I’ve taught several clients to do this and they love it.

If you want to share your photos and order prints or other products like calendars, photo books, coffee mugs, etc., here are some other options.

2. Photobucket is a well-organized and easy-to-use photo sharing web site. You can customize and display albums, including adding music for slide shows. A scrapbook builder allows easy drag and drop organizing. You can post to most of the popular social networking and blogging sites.  There is a huge variety of cards, mugs, posters and other gift items available.  Your friends and family don’t need an account to view the photos and there are multiple privacy options available.   Web site: http://www.photobucket.com  Cost: Basic: Free; Pro: $24.95/year

6. Snapfish is a photo sharing site but with the emphasis on ordering prints and personalized gifts.  It’s well designed and easy-to-use and has online editing features to enhance photos and fix problems like red eye. It works with any device that can run a web browser. There is downloadable software available to help transfer photos from your camera.  However, there is no upload application for gadgets, so photos on phones and other mobile devices have to be e-mailed to your account.  You can set up private “group rooms” for family and friends and they can add their photos too.  I taught a client how to create a room for a trip to Hawaii with her old college friends.  She uploaded hers and then emailed and invite to the gals to do the same.  This is a great feature for group events like weddings and anniversary parties too.  Everyone can share their photos in one place and choose which ones to print.   Web site: http://www.snapfish.com  Cost: Basic: Free, plus 20 free prints when you sign-up

7. Shutterfly is another popular site for uploading photos and turning them into greeting cards, posters or calendars.  It has easy routines for uploading and sharing and free, unlimited storage space. You can create a customized web site to display and share your photos and allow others to add comments. It includes downloadable software to organize and edit your photo collection. There is a video sharing version of Shutterfly also.  You get 50 free 4×6 prints when you sign-up!   Web site: http://www.shutterfly.com  Cost: Free, and you get the 50 free prints

8. Flickr is owned by Yahoo and is one of the most popular sites for posting and sharing photos.  Now it’s offering 1 terabyte of online storage for your photos. That makes Flickr the cheapest and largest option for storing all your digital photos on “the Cloud.”  However, you will have to upload the photos manually from your hard drive.  No big deal, but it’s not automatic like with Google+ and Dropbox.

Once your photos are in, you have Flickr’s photo organizer to manage them.  If you have hundreds and hundreds of photos, and they’re roughly organized into events, you can do some sorting, searching, and set-making to get your stuff together.  You are the one who will need to name the folders, set them into the online filing cabinet, and decide which photos are worth saving, and which are just extras.

One terabyte gives you a lot of space, and your photos are away from your house and your techie mistakes.  You can store full-size, original-resolution photos.  It is the most long-term means of backing up your photos — depending on Yahoo’s long-term prospects, but Yahoo is likely to give everyone a notice to transfer their stuff if the worst comes to pass.

In Other Words, Use Flickr as the destination photo keeper–after you’ve sorted them out in iPhoto, Picasa, or other photo-sorting software.

Google+ and Picasa
Google now offers 15 GB of space for full-size photos uploaded to Google+ (shared with your Gmail and Google Drive space. That’s the middle range of free options. The tiers for upgrading are not very costly.

How do you get your photos into Google?  If you have an Android phone, you can activate “Auto Backup” (formerly dubbed “Instant Upload”) in the Google+ app. You can also tap a button to upload everything on your phone, and choose whether you’re uploading full-size or otherwise. On the computer, your best bet is to install Picasa for Mac or Windows and use it to find and upload all your photos.  You can have it search your computer, external drives, DVDs, or whatever.

As for organizing, Google does some of it for you. Photos in Google+, are broken up into broad date and location categories, so that the 50 photos you took at one beach outing are together, as are the slow trickle of personal shots snapped over a 5 or 10-day period. Each photo is auto-enhanced, and the effect is generally positive, especially for low-light and off-color smartphone shots (You can turn off the auto-enhancement). Perhaps most importantly, all the photos you “Auto Backup” to Google are stored privately by default, and you don’t have to use Google+ in any fashion to store, view, or download your images.

So use Google+ For: auto-organizing huge sets of vacation photos and Android backup.

Use iCloud and Dropbox: for just backing it all up (and for apple die-hards)

iCloud gives you 5 gigabytes of storage for all your iCloud things: documents, non-iTunes-purchased music, tiny calendar/contact things, and photos. It’s $20 per year for another 10 GB, and up to $100 per year for 50 GB.  The best part of iCloud is the seamless synchronization between your MacBook, your iPad, your iPhone, your Apple TV.  When you shoot a photo on your phone, it’s visible in the Photo Stream on all your devices, and backed up from your Camera Roll.  The best tool for organizing all those photos is iPhoto.

If you’d rather separate your photos from Apple’s cloud, or save your free 5 GB for your device backups, you can back up your photos to Dropbox. The iPhone and iPad app offers an automatic Camera Upload option that’s remarkably simple and easy to use, and it’s even polite–it scales itself back when you’re getting close to your data limit.

There isn’t any photo managing software with iCloud’s Photo Stream or Dropbox.  You have to manage it yourself, using iPhoto, Picasa, Aperture, or whatever you like best, but you can use these as a secondary backups since they give you the space for free.

In Other Words, Use iCloud/Dropbox For: Sheer peace of mind about photo storage, and easy iPhone backup.

Your own photo software and hard drives are the option you don’t appreciate enough.

Whatever huge online space you use for free, always keep a local copy–that is, something on an external hard drive at your house. Computers get coffee in them, big companies occasionally close services and discontinue features, and your memory of where everything is can be faulty. Online and auto-organized photo collections are convenient, but will your grandchildren have easy access to your Google account?

In Other Words: Always back up your own stuff at your own house. You will certainly outlast a few of these big data companies.

If you use any services or products not named here, please let me know.  I’m always eager to learn new things and share them with my clients

If this is newsletter seems like it’s written in a foreign language or you have no idea where to begin, let’s get together for some instruction.

We can do my usual private sessions or you can invite up to 7 friends to a “Play Shop” at your home or office.  (8 gadgets is the maximum for home Wi-Fi routers).  The host is free and the other participants only pay $20 for the 2 hr. play shop. (The minimum requirement is $80)  I will also be happy to do more Play Shops at the Mastermind Seminars’ office on Date Palm.  Just let me know the best days and times for you.

May you have a very, very happy holiday and take lots of amazing photos to share.

In Joy,
Mardi

“Restoring peace and joy to the world through computer education.”

Hear Me on 1450 AM Radio

My interview with Dominique Fruchtman on “The Most Interesting People in the Desert” on 1450 AM was so much fun! I hope you will enjoy listening as much as I enjoyed sharing about my work.

1450 AM Radio Interview

Radio cropped

What Is The Cloud?

I’ve been explaining “The Cloud” to a lot of people lately and decided that a visual would help. The Cloud is just a sexy name for server computers that host your stuff–your email, your photos, your docs, your blogs, your Facebook pages,

etc. The companies that run the server computers are constantly adding new ones and improving security for you. The reason “The Cloud” has become so important, is that so many of you have multiple computers and gadgets. When you use the computers and gadgets to go to The Cloud, you see everything in real time and you don’t have to synchronize changes between gadgets. Also, if your computer breaks, you can see your stuff using any computer–at your neighbors, your kids, or the library. Another advantage is that your stuff is secure–if you choose the right company to host it. You should always have a backup on The Cloud. Much of my tutoring these days involves teaching folks how to do cloud based backups and how to use web mail.
Facebook’s Arctic Server Farm – wordlessTech  www.wordlesstech.com 
Facebook announced that the social network will locate its new data center in The North Pole.

Aerial Panorama Virtual Tours

 

Panoramic View of Moscow

Air Pano.ru 360 Aerial Panorama Virtual Tours is Amazing. Not only is it beautiful, but it is a stellar example of how technology is bringing the world closer together and fostering peace and understanding.

Of course it takes a loving and peaceful consciousness, but the truth of our Oneness struck me so powerfully as I viewed Hagia Sophia at Sunrise.

It was interesting to me also, that this is a Russian project, because the US and Russia have been adversaries for so many years.

On a human, rather than political level we are all the same…appreciative of beauty and impassioned with creativity.

AirPano is a Moscow based non-commercial group of photo enthusiasts, dedicated to creating hi-resolution aerial panoramas.

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