Data Doctors Tech Tips
Tech Tips for Non-Tech People
We give quick, one minute tech tips each weekday! Join us on a radio station near you as we talk tech. It's Tech Tips for Non-Tech People! You can post questions on Facebook anytime!
These days, when we want to get info on anything we generally do a search using Google but when you’re searching for info when a problem pops up on your computer, you need to be extremely careful.
A growing issue with Google search results is with misleading tech support ads posing as legitimate companies in an attempt to victimize unsuspecting users.
For instance, if you search ’Norton Antivirus Tech Support’ you’ll get lots of companies posing as the official tech support site but they actually have nothing to do with the real company.
Another trick they employ is posting toll free phone numbers in the ads knowing that a lot of people will just call the number when it comes up in a search without ever clicking through to the ad’s landing page first.
For all intents and purposes, you can’t trust companies just because they show up in Google search result because scammers have figured out a way to game the system.
Here’s how to make absolutely sure you are getting the legitimate support resource from any company you do business with: just type their address in with a /support at the end.
For example, for Norton you would type Norton.com/support which will take you directly to their support page.
I’ve posted more tips for avoiding this growing scam at DataDoctors.com/radio
You probably know how important maintenance is for keeping things working smoothly, when it comes to your car, pool or your own physical fitness.
But when it comes to computers, for some reason, the concept of maintaince has never hit the general public.
Imagine how expensive (& painful) owning a car would be if you never did anything to keep it maintained!
With that in mind, I’m hoping to encourage you Windows users to take a simple first step in maintaining your PC by using the free built-in utility known as the 'Disk Cleanup' tool.
The tool pretty much does what the name implies, which will help to free up valuable disk space and make your computer run a little faster.
The utility resides in the 'Programs' menu under Accessories and then System Tools.
If you've never run the tool before or it’s been a long while, it'll likely take a bit of time for the program to do its job, so be patient.
I highly recommend that you start doing this at least once a month!
Anyone that has to work in an office of cubicles, a.k.a a cube farm, you know how easy it is for the wandering eyes of co-workers to see what you’re working on when you step away from the desk.
It can really be annoying if you happen to work with a bunch of pranksters when you don’t take the time to lock your computer down before stepping away.
You should get into the routine of locking your system down using a simple keyboard-shortcut before walking away, which will keep those snooping eyes off your screen and prevent the grief from your prankster co-workers.
Windows simply need to press the Windows Icon key and the letter “L" (as in lock) to make it happen.
If you’re a Mac user, just press Control+Shift+Eject at the same time to lock down your desktops.
If you're Mac doesn’t have an ‘Eject' key, just use Control+Shift+Power instead get it done.
This tip only makes sense if you’ve setup a login password, so make sure you remember this important step.
Parents can also use this process to keep young children from using the computer when they aren't supposed to be on it.
I’m taking the risk of grossing you out, but there's something I need to bring to your attention: that smartphone in your pocket is a breeding ground for filthy bacteria.
A news article claims that the smartphone you touch everyday has 18X the bacteria that an average public restroom door knob has on it, you know those handles that you always avoid touching.
Making things worse, your smartphones typically runs warm and gets placed in dark insulated locations like our pocket or handbag which helps the bacteria breed.
So you’re thinking you’ll just wipe your phone down with some antibacterial wipes, but the harsh chemicals in most cleaners can be hard on phone screens.
Properly formulated screen cleaners may be a better way to go, but it may not sanitize your handset properly.
If you are looking for a safe way to sanitize your phone on a regular basis, there’s a device called Phonesoap you may want to look into.
Phonesoap is a special container that can bombard your phone with powerful UV light to kill bacteria while you’re charging your phone.
Skeptical? Me too, until I saw the Discovery Channel lab test video that showed some impressive results.
Germ-a-phobes aside, check it out at PhoneSoap.com
Crowdsourcing is a terrific method of getting things accomplished ranging from developing a new logo to building a web site to getting admin tasks done through a virtual assistant.
Add to that the hiring a business consultant through a website called HourlyNerd.com.
Large expensive consulting firms are financially out-of-reach for small businesses or when it's a small project, which is the niche HourlyNerd is trying to fill.
Their aim is to match businesses with industry professionals and MBAs that can assist with just about any challenge.
As with many other crowd-sourcing resources, consultants bid for your tasks, which help to keep the costs much more competitive.
Whether you need a helping hand with a business plan, creating a marketing strategy, developing financial projections or any custom project, HourlyNerd offers consultants on an as-need basis.
The site's consultants are mostly current & former MBA students from over fifty colleges from around the globe, so it’s a truly diverse workforce competing for your business.
Checkout case studies & learn more at http://HourlyNerd.com
For you regular listeners to my daily tips, you know that I'm on an endless quest to discover the best ways to display all my digital photos.
If you have seen high-resolution images printed directly to glass at a fancy art gallery, you know how eye-catching the pictures are.
Well, you can create these same amazing glass photos right from your PC with a few taps of your mouse.
A site called 'Fracture' is a printing company online that lets you upload images then select one of five sizes that ranges from 5x7 to 22x30 printed in either portrait, landscape or square.
The entire process takes but a few minutes and the glass pictures range in price from $18 to $125.
Fracture prints your images directly to the back of a piece of flat glass, then they add a black backing and ship it to you, which generally only takes a couple of days.
This presentation of your best pictures makes for spectacular wall art or makes for a special gift that captures great people and unforgettable moments in your life.
You can even create Fractures from some of the famous art and photography in their Art Store.
Check it all out at https://www.fractureme.com
Fancy craft cocktails are a huge thing these days, but having them served to you at a local watering hole gets pretty expensive, pretty fast.
If you would like to avoid hipster bars and save a little cash, why not start making them yourself?
You can certainly buy loads of books full of drink recipes, but a smarter method is to tap into the awesome database in the Mixology app.
You begin by informing the app of the liquor and mixers you have on hand so you’ll get recipes for the stuff you available.
It’s always frustrating to find a new drink recipe only to see that you have to run to the store if you want to make it!
You can ask for random suggestions or use a specific liquor as a starter to get lots of suggestions.
The app's recipes go beyond just simple cocktails; you can learn to make specialty shots, punches, hot drinks & even non-alcoholic beverages for the DDs at your party.
The free Mixology app includes a complete bartender's guide and is available for both iPhone and Android users.
It’s a smart resource for increasing your mixology skills!
All of the current smartphones have many incredible features but unfortunately, those features suck...battery power that is.
When you’re on a trip and only have a few minutes to recharge, it’s important to maximize the small window of time that you have.
The best way to max out any quick charge is to shut down the phone completely while you are charging.
If you can’t, consider putting the phone in 'airplane mode’ so background tasks & power chomping radios like Wi-Fi & Bluetooth don’t eat up what little charge you’re getting.
If you check-in to a hotel room and have more devices to charge than power outlets, don’t forget that most newer TV’s have a USB port that can also be used as a charger.
It's not going to charge nearly as fast as the proper charger and you need to have the TV turned on, but in a pinch, it's a lifesaver.
One last thing to keep in mind; heat is a battery's biggest nightmare. Nothing will shorten the life of any battery more than too much heat, so try to keep it out of direct sunlight & don’t leave them in hot vehicles.
Also avoid charging any device when its hot to the touch.
If you've ever called tech support for help, you’ve been told that the 1st step to troubleshoot your issue is to restart your computer.
It’s amazing how many problems it can solve and when it comes to solving Internet problems, there’s an equally easy process most users overlook...clearing the browser cache.
Browser cache, spelled C A C H E is a host of items that you have already downloaded from previous surfing sessions.
By re-using the items that are already in your cache, all your devices can load web pages a lot faster because it isn’t necessary to download everything from the Internet.
But sometimes older stuff in the cache can cause a web page to load improperly, especially when it’s a site that requires log in credentials.
The next time you are experiencing problems at a specific website, you should give clearing the cache a try first.
If you aren’t sure how to clear your cache I’ve posted a link with instructions for the most common browsers at DataDoctors.com/radio
Being able to use wifi while flying has become more common these days with virtually every airline now offering it, it's especially useful on those long flights.
While it’s not the speediest connection you will ever use because you're sharing the same connection with the whole plane, it’s better than nothing.
If you are like me, often times you have several devices you need to connect, but aren’t willing to pay for each connection.
When that happens, don’t forget your laptop can serve as a wi-fi hotspot so you can share the connection with your other devices.
Mac & Windows users have Internet sharing options which will allow your other devices to connect via the same connection.
It’s also a money saver when your hotel charges by the device for web access.
I’ve posted links with the instructions for both Mac & Windows users at DataDoctors.com/radio
If you are a Windows user and find the built-in option a bit overwhelming to setup, there's an option from Connectify Hotspot that makes it much easier.
Connectify Hotspot - http://www.connectify.me/hotspot
Windows 7 - http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/set-internet-connection-sharing#1TC=windows-7
Windows 8/10 - http://howtogeek.com/112050/how-to-turn-your-windows-8-laptop-into-a-wireless-access-point
Mac - http://imore.com/how-turn-your-macs-internet-connection-wifi-hotspot-internet-sharing
Yesterday, I provided iPhone & iPad users a tip on restricted access to apps and today, I’m providing something similar for Android users.
The Hexlock app is a very powerful way to manage privacy and security on any Android device.
Hexlock lets you lock the various apps you want to protect with a special pass-code or locking pattern screen, which allows you to let someone use your device with complete security against snooping.
or dad’s mobile devices.
It can also act as a security barrier should your phone get stolen or lost while the phone is unlocked.
Hexlock also allows you to create 6 different profiles such as home, work, child or vacation and then protect those apps based on where your device is being used.
It’s a free app & getting it setup is pretty straight forward.
If this apps sounds interesting, just search the Google Play Store for ‘Hexlock'.
For millions of parents an iPhone or iPad have become an electronic babysitter, but just handing a young child unlimited access to everything on either device can be a little risky.
In those situations, a cool feature in Apple's iOS that many people don’t seem to know exists can easily protect your sensitive items when you hand your device to a child.
It’s known as 'Guided Access' and it lets you lock down the device and only allow one app to run.
Once you turn it on, choose an app and it will lock the system to just that app so you can hand it off knowing they can’t get into anything else.
If you have a collection of apps you want to give them access to, invoking ‘Restriction' settings can safeguard individual apps.
Either of these features can be setup quickly by going to the Settings menu and it won’t take a rocket-scientist to get it done.
If you need help I’ve posted how-to links for both of these useful features at DataDoctors.com/radio
Tomorrow, I’ve got a similar tip for all you Android users!
Setup Guided Access: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT202612
Setup App Restrictions: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201304
The folks at Google offer an amazing number of free tools, especially for the business community.
A lesser used tool but still one of my favorites is Google Trends.
Using Google Trends allows you to leverage Google’s enormous database for search-terms used by the world to see how often it’s typed in relative to the entire search universe.
It’s a great way to find relevant keywords that will attract desireable users to your website, so it’s a powerful market research tool as well.
You can search for trends and narrow the focus by country, state or even language and produce a chart showing the interest over time.
You can even adjust the timeframe from the past hour or start back in 2004 it can show you the relationship between multiple terms over time.
It’s an awesome way to find keywords that are seasonal, which can help with a variety of business marketing plans.
If you have yet to experience Google Trends, take a few minutes to learn how incredibly powerful this tool can be.
Just go to http://Google.com/trends to get started!
When you are having trouble getting to a website, often times the problem is with your equipment but sometimes it is the site itself that’s having the problem.
The next time you experience an issue with getting a website to load, before spending a bunch of time troubleshooting your own gear, take a couple of second to make sure that the site you’re trying to access is actually still working for others.
One website called IsItDownRightNow.com quickly gives you useful info to help determine whether it's you or it's them.
In addition to telling you whether a website is down or not, it'll tell you what the response time is & for most major websites, they include a recent history of their up-time.
If you do verify that a site is up, they provide troubleshooting tips to help try to figure out why everyone else can access the site, but you can’t.
If a lot of other users are having issues with the same site, you will also see their comments posted at the bottom so you’ll know not to waste your time.
If a site actually is down, they'll try to provide you with a list of similar sites in hopes of being able to get the info you from an alternative site.
IsItDownRightNow.com is bookmark worthy!
Augmented reality apps like Pokeman Go that superimpose info on your smartphone screen are all the rage these days.
One of my favs incorporates augmented reality for real-time translation of words in foreign languages, which is great restaurant menus, street signs and especially signs in museums.
Anyone traveling abroad, knows that key words can make all the difference in whether you get lost or not or eat something undesirable.
A real time translation app called CamDictionary is one of my favorites because it is much quicker than looking words up the old fashioned way.
You just open the app, line up your camera on a word and tap your screen to get an instant translation in one of 54 languages.
It turns your smartphone camera into a virtual dictionary that can translate any word you point at.
CamDictionary won't translate complete sentences at once, so it’s no where near a complete translator, but when you can understand a word or two, you tend to feel more confident.
The basic app is free for Android and iPhone users, so anyone planning a trip to a foreign country should get this app loaded before they leave.
I’ve posted the links at DataDoctors.com/radio
If you’re like me and millions of others that butcher song lyrics because you don’t know what they are, then today’s tip is for you!
For those that thought Elton John was saying ‘hold me closer, Tony Danza’ or that Jimmy Hendrix was singing ‘excuse me while I kiss this guy’ should checkout the Musixmatch website and apps.
Musixmatch, spelled M U S I X does a good job of grabbing song lyrics for most popular songs and displays the lyrics while the song is playing on your mobile device.
You will need to be connected to the Net so the app can pull the lyrics down, but it uses very little bandwidth to get it done.
Another great option in the app is the ability to get song lyrics for music that is playing in the background, like at a restaurant or club. Just tap the button to have it listen and you’ll be able to sing the right words!
Musixmatch is free and available for both iPhone and Android users.
LinkedIn has become the primary social network for business professionals as well as a powerful tool for recruiters as well.
But, as always happens on the Internet, where there’s honey, there are those pesky flies.
Scammers have been trying to use fake LinkedIn profiles that often appear to be a recruiter so they can gather info on potential victims.
A possible goal of this type of gathering of info is to it for spear phishing scams, which are much more likely to be successful.
The old ‘catfish' scam has come to LinkedIn so we all need to be on alert so we can sniff them out.
Often times, the image on the profile has been taken from stock photos or from other real people, so performing a quick image search can often expose the scammers profiles.
Use either Google’s Image Search or http://TinEye.com to show you if the profile picture appears elsewhere on the Internet as an unrelated person.
Always take a moment to do a little private detective work the any time you get a suspicious Linkedin connection request.
If you’ve seen a RSS button on websites and wondered what it actually does, then today’s tip is for you.
RSS stands for Real Simple Syndication and it is an automated process for getting information as it’s updated.
Virtually every news or info site offers a RSS feed that allows you to tap into through a RSS reader.
If have yet to try RSS, a website called http://feedly.com is a good place to start.
It's one of the easiest and most powerful RSS readers available and they also have an app for your smartphone.
You begin by searching for info sites you want to connect with based on topics or by directly searching the name of a resource. Once it’s been added to your reading list, Feedly automatically updates any information as it’s published to each site.
It’s essentially a customized and dynamic news source that only provides you with the type of information you are interested in gathering.
It’s pretty handy; try it out at http://feedly.com
The weekend is upon us and I have a fun tip for creating truly memorable videos of your weekend activities.
If you have ever wanted to direct a block-buster special effects action movie, did you know that you can with just your smartphone & an app?
An app called FXGuru is a pretty cool and makes it really easy to create special effects videos out of anything you record on your smartphone.
It includes twelve free effects in the basic program including UFO shuttles, satellites crashing & skeletons dancing with lots of other effects that you can buy for a buck each.
Unlike other movie effect apps I’ve used in the past, the FXGuru app has 'virtual decals’ which show you where on the screen your effect will be used. It makes it much easier to line up the effect when you’re shooting your video.
Your only limitations in awesome movie making this weekend is your own imagination, so if you want to record a UFO invasion in your backyard or blow-up your golf partner on the 18th tee box because he’s beating you, FXGuru can make it happen.
You can download the iPhone or Android version at http://www.fxguruapp.com
Most of us have a love-hate relationship with our tech gadgets because they keep us entertained and productive, but that also makes us slaves to the machine more often than not.
Most of us feel naked and uncomfortable if we're separated from our phones, tablets or laptops and can’t check social posts or emails.
If this description fits you or someone you know, it may be time for a ‘digital-detox' to introduce some balance into digital life.
An old friend of mine has raved about an unplugged-retreat he took among the redwood trees of California with an group called Digital Detox.
Think about it; no tech gadgets or screens, no clocks or networking...just the chance to get recharged and refocused without stressful technology.
Digital Detox offers device-free events, workshops, retreats, adult summer camps, corporate training and aims to help you bridge the gap between connecting & disconnecting in the real world.
If you’re looking for help in taking a step back from your fast-paced digital existence, something you see at the http://TheDigitalDetox.org website might give you the motivation to truly disconnect.
As I’ve suggest many times, 2-factor verification is one of the best ways to protect all your online accounts, but when you turn it on, there’s an additional step you’ll want to take.
Remembering that 2-factor verification incorporates your phone to prevent unauthorized people from accessing your accounts, the site has to be able to send a text message with a code whenever they detect a new device or location being used.
That means when you’re on an airplane and choose to purchase in-flight wifi, having 2-factor authentication activated presents a problem because you can't get text messages while in flight. Having backup codes stored on your computer will save the day!
Being unable to get into social accounts like Facebook or Twitter aren’t the end of the world but if you’re a business traveler and get locked out of your e-mail during a long flight, that’s a whole other story.
To find the backup codes, just go to the setup screen for your accounts and search for 'backup codes'.
Most often they’ll create up to 10 temporary one time use codes, so make sure you store them somewhere on one of your devices.
Or you can use the 'old school' write them down on a note or other non-descript document to keep in your laptop bag, purse or wallet.
I’ve posted links for most of the popular sites at http://datadoctors.com/radio
Or you can search “2-factor backup codes for XXXX” where XXXX is the name of the online service