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!
How many times have we all said "darn auto-correct!"?
Most of us have a love-hate relationship with this common tool, but I may have a tip that may help get you over to the 'love' side of this technology.
You can hack auto-correct so you can use it as shorthand for your commonly typed chunks of text.
For example, you can add your address to your auto-correct database using an abbreviation like A D R S assigned to it.
Once it's been added, you can just type ‘adrs’ & then hit the space bar to make your address suddenly appear without all the extra keystrokes.
Any device that has an auto-correct feature, whether it’s a word processor or your smartphone, can be modified in this way to make it more useful.
There is really no limit to how many items you can add, you are only limited by your imagination, just remember to avoid using real words as your shortcut.
Using both numbers and letters in your shortcuts can help; give it a shot, I think you’ll love it!
The overwhelming majority of e-mail messages circulating the globe every day are useless junk messages but the filtering technology that tries to stop it all isn’t all that great.
Did you know that the words and other items you include in your message can make your messages look like junk messages to an automated spam filter?
Common things, like unneeded images or specific words can really increase your spam score and these filtering parameters continue to change.
Wouldn’t it be great to be able to test the spamminess of your messages to see if something you’re doing is causing your messages to get filtered?
Well, there is a free web tool for this exact purpose located at http://mail-tester.com and it can quickly evaluate your emails to give you a spam score.
It is really easy to use, because you simply send a message to the address they provide & then click on the link below it.
You will get an instant spam score along with a detailed report on your message structure including if you have been blacklisted which is really bad.
Start pre-testing your marketing messages at http://mail-tester.com
Browser tabs have changed the way most of us use the Internet because they allow us to open multiple websites during the same browsing session.
But it's really easy to get carried away by opening too many tabs, each of which takes memory, so it’s critical to close those unneeded tabs to prevent your browser from becoming slow as a slug.
But, haven't you inadvertently closed the wrong tab on occasion, making you have to wade through your History trying to figure out what you still want to read?
Well this tip is the solution for the errant closure of the wrong tabs.
The next time it happens to you, just hold down the Ctrl & Shift keys in any browser, then tap on T as in Tom.
The last tab you closed will automatically reappear in all of its glory without the hassle of searching through your browser history.
If you need to restore more than one of the closed tabs, just keep repeating the Ctrl, Shift T key combination & they will reappear in the order you closed them!
Documentaries have grown in popularity over the years especially with the help of companies like Netflix which make it easier to find great films.
The large uptick of great films in the documentary genre have created equally as great resources for discovery great documentaries.
One of those resources, 'Documentary Heaven' is exactly what their name is suggesting...an excellent way to discover documentaries.
This enormous online collection of films are organized into 39 categories, so you can quickly explore them based on your area of interest.
It's no surprise that I like both the technology & music categories including some of the 'Behind the Music' episodes that I really love.
The best part of this resource is that the documentaries are totally free to watch from your mobile device or computer.
New films are uploaded on a regular basis so there is likely something new for you to watch every week. It would take years of viewing just to watch what is already on the site.
You can check out these great documentaries at http://documentaryheaven.com
If you enjoy taking pictures with your iPhone and you've had it for a while, it’s probably full of images.
It's also likely that a large number of those images are useless or unwanted, but you haven’t had the time to get rid of them.
Deleting unwanted images from an iPhone is no easy task, because Apple makes you go through the process based on tiny thumbnail images.
If you're looking for a more efficient way to clear out all your old iPhone pics, take a look at a free app called Cleen, which is spelled C L E E N.
It's like the 'Tinder' app for managing your images, because it uses the same gestures as the popular dating app.
You simply swipe down to delete an image, swipe
up when you want to keep them and to the left if you just can’t decide,
which allows you to deal with it later.
After you swipe through all your images to let your wishes be known, simply tap the trash can icon and viola, they’ll be gone!
I can not believe that you were caught doing this on video! Have you seen this yet?
This is one of many 'social engineering' scams that are growing in popularity with the intent to dupe unsuspecting people all over the Internet.
They can get you so concerned about what the video contains, that you will likely let your guard down.
If you do fall for this scam message, the site you end up on that has the ‘video' will most likely tell you that you need to update something called a ‘CODEC’ or some random video player in order to watch the video about you.
If you are worried about what is on this incriminating video, you'll probably let your guard down and permit a malicious program to be downloaded and installed.
That will be all it takes to trap you in a silent scam that can allow any number of other attacks to occur.
If you allow this malicious software to be installed on your computer, it can allow remote hackers to do just about anything they desire!
Don’t expect to see a notice of their arrival as they won't announce themselves.
We have been seeing an uptick in this scam, so be on your toes and don’t ever install any video player or update that just pops up on your screen.
If you are like most people, you likely have a ton of info stored on many of Google's popular services, whether it’s your e-mail, contacts, pictures, or music.
If you are a regular Google user, have you ever worried about what would happen to all your personal files and information if suddenly you were to pass away?
It isn't the most pleasent thing to think about, but we should really all be thinking about our critical digital assets in this way.
Google has created an option that allows you to assign a 'trustee' to your accounts which can only access your information if you don’t log-in for an extended period of time.
You get to choose the inactivity interval which can be between 3 to 18 months which will automatically send trustees an access notification.
You can setup up to ten trustees and choose what information that they can access and by which trustee, so certain things can go to certain people.
It only takes a minute or to get it setup and it could really come in handy should anything unforseen ever happen.
I’ve posted the link to the instruction for the Google Inactive Account Manager at DataDoctors.com/radio
Popular search engines like Bing and Google are wonderful for finding what we want on the Internet, but the exchange for this service are that they are able to gather lots of valuable marketing information about us in the process.
Generally, the customized results for our searches are actually very helpful, but because of all the privacy concerns these days, lots of users want a more private way to search the Internet.
A web resource called Startpage is responding to this growing desire for privacy and offers what they are claiming to be the world’s most private search site.
Most search engines will log your IP address, what you're searching for, what sites you are coming from and which link you chose to click on in the search results.
With Startpage, none of these things are recorded, but they still allow you to take advantage of the power of Google but in private.
The site serves as sort of a security blanket between you and Google, much like Harry Potter's invisibility cloak when you're searching on the Internet.
Learn more and try it for yourself at https://Startpage.com
One of the best things about Google Maps is that it allows you to pop into a "Street View" of just about any street that their mapping vehicles have been on.
Google’s "Street View" Cars have been roaming and recording our streets since 2007, but in 2014 a new feature was added that many of you still may not know about.
After you grab the peg-man & drop him on your street, the initial images you will have are the most recent.
But did you know that you could travel back in time for the same street view by simply clicking on the small clock icon just under the address in the upper left-corner of the window?
In general, you will see dots on the timeline for each time that the view was captured going back to 2008.
You can not only see the current view from a previous year, you can also move around and see the rest of the street images from that year.
It is the closest thing to time travel we have available!
Go traveling for yourself at https://maps.google.com
One of the most common pleas for help I get almost daily is from folks that keep running out of space on their smartphones.
It’s an even bigger problem for iPhone users because there is no option to expand the memory like you can on many Android smartphones.
Dumping unnecessary apps will certainly free up a little room, but deleting old pictures and video will free up a lot more.
Getting rid of videos in particular will free up a larger amount of space since a two-minute video can take as much space as 80-100 images.
But an area of the phone that most users don’t think about are all those old text messages, especially if they came with photos and videos as attachments.
My wife’s smartphone had over five GBs of valuable space taken by old her text messages because so many of them photos and videos attached.
If you are one of the many struggling with an ongoing space problem, I’ve published a column with tips for freeing up storage on your smartphone at DataDoctors.com/radio
An e-mail address is often required as verification whenever you want to sign up for an online service or need to download some forms of information, but when you use your regular e-mail address, you’ll often end up with more than you may have bargained for.
When you don’t necessarily need to hear from a site after your initial interaction, using a temporary e-mail address allows you to get through the verification process without exposing your personal e-mail account to future unwanted messages.
While there are dozens of free temporary online mail services available, one of the easiest to use is called 10MinuteMail.com.
You simply go to the site to get a disposable e-mail address that is usable for 10 minutes. Everything you need is on a single page, including any of the messages that get sent to your temporary address.
If you do need more than 10 minutes, you can just tap the link for 10 minutes more which will extend the time before your address expires.
But keep in mind that 10 Minute Mail accounts aren’t usable to reset passwords down the road, so make sure you use them wisely!
If you are an avid outdoor enthusiast, you know that keeping your iPhone protected while you’re in the wild is best accomplished with a solid phone case.
A well designed case will protect your phone from the 2 common threats: getting it wet and dropping it.
If you are a really hard core adventurist, you'll probably benefit from a submersible/waterproof case that will still allow you to take excellent shots below and above water.
This wacky combination has been created by Optrix, which are called adventure cases from the Body Glove company.
They are waterproof all the way down to 1 atmosphere for you scuba diving fans, which is 33 feet for you snorkeling fans AND they have been drop tested up to twenty feet.
What makes these cases different from all the others that I’ve seen are the unique lenses that are interchangeable and add features like telephoto, wide angle and macro image capture to your iPhone all while it is still in its case.
Now you can capture that awesome photo or video without having to stress out about ruining your expensive phone.
Before you go on your adventure, checkout the interesting options at http://Optrix.com that’s O P T R I X.com.
We're all aware that phishing scams and spam are often used by hackers to set booby-traps that can allow them to exploit us.
Most savvy users have their guard up when using their e-mail service, but that isn't the only way that you will run into these clever traps.
Something that's been around for a while that's referred to as ‘comment spam’ and it is on the increase.
Before, you could spot these "out of context" posting with things like work from home offers mixed in the comment thread, but they are getting more devious.
When breaking news hits any of the social media networks or popular news sites, user comments are always going to follow.
You may now see another user making a solid point with a link to learn more about it, but you need to be extremely careful just like you are in email.
From now on, even when you think the user and their post may be legit, avoid clicking the link...instead, do your own search using their title for the info just to play it safe.
If you are a devoted iPhone photographer, there's little more frustrating than lining up for that perfect shot just to have the image come out blurry.
You can tak several pictures in a row as one way to help improve your odds, but a lot of times the movement is caused every time when you tap on the screen to take the shot.
Holding still while gently tapping will go a long way to reducing these useless images, but there are other ways to take the picture that many of you may have forgetten.
The first is by using the volume button on the side of your phone, which will make it seem more like a traditional camera when you're holding the phone sideways.
If you use those famous 'white headphones' plugged into your iPhone, you can also use the volume buttons to takevpictures as well.
Using your headphones to snap pictures can come in very handy, especially if you are trying to take a candid shot or you're using a tripod.
Whatever you do, just remember to hold still longer!
Hey sweetheart, I need to print something from my smartphone!
This tech request was from my wife and it reminded me of a tech tip I provided years ago that is more relevant today.
Since most of you use some type of Google service daily, why not include the ability to print just about anything from anywhere with the Google Cloud Print option.
Anyone with any type of Google account, can simply configure their printer connected to their computer so that it’s available through the Internet.
This will allow you to print from mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets but it also allows you to send print jobs from your work PC to your home printer or vice versa.
In fact, you could even invite others to print to your printer, if they needed to, like a friend that’s having a printing emergency.
Google’s Cloud Print will work with both cloud-ready and traditional printers and also allows you to send print jobs from a variety of apps and devices.
To get started with this super useful tool, go to http://Google.com/cloudprint
That smartphone in your hand has substantially more processing power than the entire group at NASA had for the 1969 lunar landing.
Your phone also holds virtually every private thought
& a large amount of sensitive information that you wouldn't want just anyone to see.
For whatever reason, many don’t think of their smartphones the same way they do their computers, but it's essentially the same thing when it comes to your sensitive personal information.
That may be why so many of people still have not taken the simple step in protecting all your valuable info by turning on the lock screen.
A common reason that many don’t turn it one is that don’t want to be bothered with tapping in a lock code every time you want to use the phone, but you should know that the alternative is scary.
The likelihood of you losing a phone or having it stolen is very real, so take a second to protect your phone right now.
All the other powerful security features built into your phone are useless if you don’t take the time to lock the front door!
Trying to remember all your passwords continues to be one of today's biggest tech issues that we all face. Password management tools to help with this problem are being developed by a large number of companies.
You can add Google to the list with their 'Smart Lock' feature that works on Android devices, Chromebooks and with Chrome browsers on your various devices.
You have been able to save a password in your computer's browser for years, but when you pick up your smartphone to access the same site, you'll have to remember your password again.
The 'Google Smart Lock' option is designed to give you a way to sync up your passwords, so when you save passwords on your smartphone, they will be saved on your computer as well and vice versa.
Their Android app is also designed to keep your phone unlocked when it is in a safe place by recognizing variables like location, your other trusted devices or even from your voice and then lock things down when it appears that it may not be safe.
It can help reduce the frustrating forgotten password scenario on your regularly used devices.
Learn what it's all about at http://google.com/smartlock
Most of us have been in a public setting working on our laptops, tablets or smartphones with the creepy feeling that someone may be snooping to see what you have displayed on your screen.
Lot's of sensitive information can be seen by nosey people nearby if we aren’t careful; it even has a name: Visual Hacking.
Whether you are dealing with a nosey passenger sitting right next to you on an airplane or the questionable guy sitting behind you at a coffee shop, there's something you can do to protect yourself.
They're called 'privacy screens' and they've been around for a long time to protect your laptop, tablet or smartphone from snooping eyes.
The way they work is by darkening your display unless you are directly in front of it, keeping those off to your sides in the dark.
When it comes to your portable devices, they also provide an extra layer of screen protection for your glass in case you drop it.
They are simple to put on and remove, so if you're one of the millions that spends tons of time working with your tech in public spaces, take a look at 3M’s protectors which I've linked to at DataDoctors.com/radio
If you're like me and find that you're using a smartphone for productivity tasks these days, you have probably already realized the biggest bottleneck: the keyboard.
While today's on-screen keyboards are great, they can be a bit of a challenge even for those with small hands when trying to type a large amount of text.
An alternative that's effective is using the voice recognition option as an input, but so many of us are still too keyboard concentric.
If you have to type a lot of text or work within a spreadsheet, a full-size keyboard is just more useful, so you can make it so!
Most tablet users are already familiar with connecting a wireless Bluetooth keyboard to their large devices, but haven’t thought about connecting it to their phones.
The setup process is much the same as with all Bluetooth devices, so it is easy to get connected.
Virtually any Bluetooth keyboard has the ability to attach to any mobile device, so if you've already bought one for another device, now you know you can use it on your smartphone as well!
The Web is an incredible tool for researching comparisons between products and services, but what can you do when you aren’t sure what to compare?
Here is what I learned to do when I know of at least one product but don’t necessarily know about the competitive items.
I just type the letters ‘ S' (as in versus) after whatever it is that I am searching for.
For example, if I’m shopping for cars and want to see the comparisons to Honda's Civic, I would put 'Honda Civic vs’ as the search condition, then hit the enter key.
I find this approach really helpful when I’m for mobile apps in just about any category. Once you know of one app, you can quickly discover lots of others you didn’t know existed using this tip.
It’s especially effective with anything in tech, since there are so many resources online comparing gadgets, software and websites from around the world.
Now, this isn’t a fool-proof method for every item, but I’ve found that it’s pretty useful lots of times because Google’s algorithm uses the keywords you’re typing with their powerful popularity ranking.
Try it for yourself!
"If you come to fork in the road, take it!"
When you hear or read a 'famous quote' and wonder who said that, this tip is for you.
A handy web resource called Quotery.com has compiled a comprehensive database of famous quotes in an easy to use interface.
You can now search over 125,000 quotes & proverbs directly, by author or topic.
Whether you are researching something, working on your presentation or updating a blog, Quotery.com is a useful resource for accurate quotes.
It’s billed as an encyclopedia of wit and wisdom, so it can be fun just to randomly snoop around in the database for interesting quotes.
What I like about this resource over so many others is that they provide sources and context around the quote & author.
They also allow users to suggest edits to keep the resource as accurate as possible.
Here’s fun suggestion: read all of the rest of the amazing quotes from the great American philosopher 'Yogi Berra'.
You aren’t going to need Quotery.com that often, but when you do, it’s an invaluable tool!