How to count how many photos you have in Google Photos

I'm in the process of copying all my photos from over the years to Google Photos. They currently reside in Apple Photos, which reports exactly how many photos I have. But this seems to be a feature missing from Google Photos. I'm using the Google Photos Backup utility to upload all the photos, and it reports a count. But to be extra confident I'd like to see a count of how many are actually in Google Photos now. This article is about how I was able to get a count of photos from Google Photos.

How to draw a travel time boundary on Google Maps

If you have a specific destination in mind, then Google Maps is perfect for estimating how long it will take to get there, by various modes of travel. But if you just want to know how far you could travel from a given address in an hour, then it isn't much help.

Perhaps you're visiting somewhere new and just want to see what you could walk to within an hour of your hotel. Or you want to make a day trip somewhere and want to see where you could drive in a couple of hours.

Handheld Vibrating Timer Prototype using Trinket

There are times while exercising when it would be useful to have a simple one-button hand-held 30-second timer that vibrates. At least that's what my wife tells me. This seemed like a good excuse to play with Adafruit's mini microcontroller called "Trinket". These are an $8 tiny board built around the Atmel ATtiny85.

The idea of the device is simple. You press the button, and it vibrates quickly to notify you that it is armed. Then after 30 seconds it vibrates again to say the time is up. I might modify it later so that two quick pushes sets a 60 second timer, but I'm starting simple.

How to make a $30 internet connected door alarm

We run a vacation rental and have always wanted a simple way of knowing when our guests have checked-in. Some owners have a security system or electronic door lock that notifies them. But these often come with a subscription fee and seemed overkill for our purposes.

What I'll describe in this post is how we built a simple device that sends us an email each time the front door is opened or closed. We then use gmail filters to file these emails away most of the time. When we are waiting for a check-in we adjust the filters to bring our attention to it using the LED gmail notifier that I posted about previously.


Calculating Distance between two locations in Google Spreadsheet

Google Spreadsheets provide a lot of useful functions, but unfortunately nothing that calculates the distance between two locations. However, this is easy to add as a custom function using the Maps service available in Google Apps Script.

Most of the other approaches I found online seemed to involve using the external APIs provided by Google Maps or MapQuest. But both these approaches required registering for a Developer API Key. The approach I describe here seems a lot simpler.

I'll show how to create the following functions and how they can be used in Google Spreadsheets

DrivingMeters(origin, destination) - Driving Distance in Meters
DrivingMiles(origin, destination) - as above but in Miles
DrivingSeconds(origin, destination) - Driving Time in Seconds
DrivingHours(origin, destination) - as above but in Seconds