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!
As awesome as technology is, there’s still no substitute for reading a book in your favorite spot to relax.
Discovering new books to read is possible using algorithms, but I’d rather engage with other readers to find new topics and titles to dive into.
If electronic guides and suggestions for your next book aren’t quite cutting it, checkout ‘GoodReads.com’ for an alternative to algorithms.
They certainly can provide suggestions based on what you’ve previously read, but the site will also get you in touch with friends that also love to read to gather ideas on what you’d like to read next.
Think of it as an online book club that’s much more efficient than wandering around your favorite book store looking for that next gem.
Your community can see the books you’ve read, the ones you’re in the middle of reading along with the books that are queued up for future reading.
It’s really a great way to connect with your bookworm buddies in a private book club or engage with others that aren’t your friends in discussion group for everyone.
Learn more at: https://GoodReads.com
If you’re not the creative type, but have to come up with a name that can also be registered as a new website, today’s tip is for you.
https://PickyDomains.com was created to act as a naming service leveraging the ‘wisdom of the crowds’ to help you name a product, service or an available domain for whatever you’re working on.
By posting the details around what you are attempting to create along with an associated website address is needed, the creative community around the world can go to work.
If you want a specific number of characters or names that don’t include specific words or themes, you can post those instructions as well.
The great part of this crowdsourcing website is that it’s a very affordable way to get creative work done for as little as fifty dollars.
As people submit ideas, you can interact and guide them until you get the name you’re happy with for your project’s parameters.
Need to come up with a name for something quickly? Give https://www.pickydomains.com a spin.
Anyone that loves to collect things like stamps, baseball cards or coins knows the importance of cataloging that collection.
If you’re old-school, you use a spreadsheet or notebook to reference your current and future items that you’d like to add to your collection.
Connecting with other collectors that have your same interests that might want to buy, sell to trade items has become much easier with the community gathered at
It’s a vibrant collection of collectors that can make it a lot easier to manage your collection and trade with like-minded people.
The site allows you to let others know about things from your collection that you’re willing to sell or trade along with your desired collectables. They act as a sort of match maker for collectors by matching those with items available with collectors seeking those specific items.
The community is nearly world-wide and growing every day, so it’s about as good as it gets for collectors online.
Mobile apps and smartphones have dramatically shifted how we do virtually everything in the digital age.
Well, now you can use your smartphone to find someone to do odd jobs using a platform known as TaskRabbit.
TaskRabbit was designed to connect people that are willing to perform tasks with those that have things that they need to have done.
Simply define what task you need to have done as well as the timing and location of the work to get started.
If what you need to have done isn’t location specific, your pool of available helpers is much larger.
Another great feature of the service is that you don’t pay until the work has been performed and you are satisfied with the work.
Anyone that’s available on TaskRabbit must be thoroughly vetted including a background check. Another helpful feature are the reviews that each person will have posted on their profiles.
TaskRabbit could be a perfect fit for businesses that can use a temp staff person for short term projects.
Download the app and check out all of the available talent for just about any task you may have!
Here's an inquiry that's been a pretty regular theme and that is where employees can get help learning how to use software programs.
If you're older than 30, the obvious default is to take a class and read books to gain knowledge, but there are much more efficient options using the Internet.
Today's teaching tools are visual as well as interactive with large volumes of content to learn from. A website that's leading that charge is https://lynda.com
With over twenty five hundred courses that are video based, the topics include productivity software such as Word and Excel and expand to more advanced topics like 3D animation as well as important web languages.
The teaching platform is presented for beginners, intermediate and advanced levels of training with close captioning included as an option.
This subscription service offers unlimited use of the tools starting @25 a month.
You can access the courses on computers, tablets and phones using their mobile apps which then let's you start lessons on one device and continue to learn from another as you move around.
Anyone asking the "where can I learn xxx?" question should look into the resources available at https://lynda.com
Our pets are like members of our family, with one big exception: when they are sick, they have no way of telling us where it hurts or what's wrong.
A visit to your trusted veterinarian is your first option, but often times that's just not possible, so in those cases the https://PetMD.com website can act as a fallback.
It's our go-to resource for issues related to our pet's health including things like nutritional and dietary guidance.
We rely on the symptom checker when they're sick and learn a lot from their health library which helps us understand veterinary terminology.
When an unusual symptom or behavior appears, try scanning the 'emergency' link to find something similar to better understand your pet’s discomfort.
PetMD also has helpful info about your pet's breed, how to properly care for them and what and how often to feed them. They can even assist you when that newest member of your family needs a name.
Although dogs and cats are the most popular pets for most, alternative pets such as reptiles are covered on the site as well. Take our advice and bookmark this website!
Whenever you use the Internet for research, it’s common knowledge that you shouldn’t assume the info you pull up on any single site will be completely accurate.
Cross referencing other similar sites to help either verify or challenge the info you are looking into is one way of validating, but that approach can get time consuming.
If you ever want help in finding similar websites on the Internet, checkout the tool at http://www.similarsitesearch.com.
It’s actually a specialized search engine that will bring up websites that are either similar or related as well as alternatives based the original websites content markers.
Just type the website you want to reference into their search engine to get a list of similar websites based on their popularity.
It’s a much easier way of getting a comprehensive list of alternative sources for anything you are trying to research.
You can pitch in and help improve their rankings by clicking on either the thumbs up or thumbs down icons when you feel it was related or not.
It’s another one of the websites that you’ll love remembering on those rare occasions you need this type of help, so bookmark it for future use.
A vital component to navigating the Internet is something called ‘DNS servers’, which plays an important role in helping you to get to the websites you seek.
The Domain Name System (DNS) acts as a sort of traffic cop providing your computer with the directions to the websites that you type in your browser.
The DNS settings you use daily are usually provided by your ISP, but there are benefits to modifying your current settings.
3rd party DNS servers can improve reliability as well as Internet speeds and for parents, the ability to block adult content or malicious websites throughout your household.
Our go-to option is called OpenDNS because it is efficient, reliable, truly easy to setup while providing you complete control over what you want to filter out from the users on your network.
We highly recommend changing the DNS settings in the router on your network to improve the performance and protection:
The 4 primary cellular companies are constantly battling each other to get your business often times with what can look like a sensational offer.
But, keep in mind, that whatever they're offering means nothing if the service in your specific area is less than usable. Before you make any decision to try a new carrier, doing a little homework could save you a lot of heartburn.
An excellent website called "Rootmetrics" allows you to check out all the networks where you work, live and spend most of your time.
You can start by reviewing the overall ratings for your city based on reliability, data speeds, call and text quality so you can get a handle on the strengths of each one.
An excellent tool that gets very granular is the 'Coverage Map' which will provide you with a detailed map by cell of call quality, data speeds and whether you can expect to get the full 4G LTE signal where it matters most.
There are also mobile apps available so you can generate reports wherever you go and add to their database if you want to help build more reliable information.
City reports: http://www.rootmetrics.com/en-US/rootscore/map
Coverage Maps: http://webcoveragemap.rootmetrics.com/en-US
iOS app: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/cell-phone-coverage-map/id399701910?mt=8
Anyone that’s listened to our tips knows that we are always searching for that next app or tool to enhance our digital photos.
We are constantly taking pictures with our phones these days, but they’re often times less than great. Finding the right tool to improve your images is helpful.
One of our favs is both a website and an app called Fotor http://www.fotor.com because it’s full of awesome features.
Along with the list of usual editing tools is a unique feature that allows you to create HDR images.
High Dynamic Range or HDR is a process of combining multiple images that vary in exposure and then combine them into a single image.
The tools allow you to update pictures that were too dark and too bright and combine them to create a better image.
There are also lots of tools for beauty retouching on Fotor including wrinkle reduction, blemish removal & even teeth whitening. It’s also available as a mobile app for iPhone and Android devices.
This could end up being the only photo editing tool you’ll need.
If jogging or running is the exercise you prefer, you know how awesome music can be during your running sessions.
Not only will it help to keep you motivated, it often times can encourage you to continue your run a while longer when the music actually matches the pace of your running.
Some of you have probably attempted to create a playlist that matches your pace, but found it to be too time consuming of an ordeal.
If you want this motivation made easier, give the RockMyRun app a try. It makes it a whole lot easier to use music that matches your running style.
The app offers curated playlists that focus on a specific beats-per-minute range to give you a continuous group of songs that align with your running pace.
You can search for playlists by genres, beat-per-minute, overall length of the playlist and clean lyrics if you want them.
The basic service is free, but if you want more control over the exact, you can opt for their premium membership which includes the option to precisely control the tempo.
It will allow you to dial in the perfect tempo for your pace with better control for the entire playlist.
Whether you simply a power walker, casual jogger or serious runner, the RockMyRun app for iPhone and Android users is worth giving a try.
How many times has this happened to you: you're trying to check something on a website, but you just can’t connect to it. It could be your bank's site or even your favorite online retailer and you don't know if it's the website or your connection.
In general, when you try to visit a site and can’t get it to come up, you likely go through the “what is happening to my computer” questions. But sometimes, it's actually not your computer's fault.
Websites do actually go down, even for really big companies, So what can you do to figure out whether it’s the website or your connection?
Our tip: whenever you experience this issue, try using https://www.isitdownrightnow.com to see if it's down right now.
This free resource can monitor the status of any website and will check to see whether it's down or not at the moment you're checking.
It really easy to use their test tool, because all you have to do is type the web address you want checked and a test will begin running as you watch the screen.
You can also see what service aren't available and see how long ago it was checked along with a list of the latest sites that have been checked. They keep an active list for many of the most popular websites or just type in any web address to run your real-time test.
Today’s Tip is a simple, but very critical reminder to Back It Up.
A distraught student posted an online plea to the person that stole their laptop and said they don’t care about the laptop itself. They posted that they would pay one thousand dollars for certain files on the laptop.
The student's thesis along with five years worth of their work were only saved on the laptop. Imagine losing something that important that fast!
So what could they have done to avoid this major pain? Simply having a backup would have done it.
Way too many users purchase an external hard drive, which they call a backup but the way they end up using it, it’s nothing close to a backup.
A true backup allows you to locate the file stored in more than one place. If the only place that the document exists is on the external drive, it's not a backup.
It needs to be saved both in the 'Documents folder' on the laptop and a second copy needs to be stored on the external drive.
For the easy backup of important documents, such as a thesis, saving a second copy to a USB flash drive will also get the job done.
There are also a number of cloud services that will perform the backups automatically, like Carbonite, to make sure all your critical files are properly secured.
No matter what you decide to do, it's important to start doing something to make sure you have copies of your pictures, documents and other important files backed up regularly.
No matter what you do on the Internet, it seems that most of us waste a lot of time dealing with email every day.
One of the biggest ways to waste time is replying to multiple people with the same message, especially if you have to do it throughout the day.
If you have a Gmail account, today’s tip could help you reduce this waste.
A hidden feature in Gmail that you should activate is called ‘Canned Responses’ and it can be a real time saver.
Once you turn on the feature in the ‘Settings’ menu, you’ll then have the ability to copy any body of text and have it as a canned response that can be pasted with the click of a mouse.
The tool will eliminate the time consuming process of manually typing out any common responses, phrases or even different signatures for you various accounts, both when responding to or creating a message.
Here are the instructions for turning on this awesome option:
For anyone that see’s themselves as a travel junkie or for anyone that loves exploring the world, today’s tip is for you!
Google’s Arts & Cultural website is an awesome tool that you’ll want to bookmark.
Google created it to allow us to virtually explore destinations, art & museum collections complete with lots of historical information from your computer or smartphone.
Not only does it provide useful info and historical facts, it also lets you explore some of the sites as if you were on the ground through Google’s Street View technology.
Anyone planning to visit a world heritage site can get familiar with the area before leaving using this awesome tool.
Now you can get familiar with an area that you’re planning on visiting with extensive local perspective allowing you to get the most out of your trip.
The collection is searchable by a specific individual, time, place or event so it’s also a helpful homework tool as well.
Start your exploration here:
Do you know what people are saying about your business online? Knowing what people are saying about your business is critical these days, but what are you supposed to do to know what’s being said?
Monitoring your online reputation is an essential part of running a business in this day and age and a basic process you need to incorporate.
Google Alerts (https://www.google.com/alerts) is the first step for any business to monitor the chatter about their organization online.
Google allows you to set alerts so that anytime your business is mentioned anywhere online, you’ll get an email alert. Just type the name of your business and remember to use quotes if it’s more than one word to avoid getting alerts on each word seperately.
You shouldn’t fear negative comments ore even bad reviews, because knowing about a problem is half the battle. How you respond will show others how you conduct business when you are aware of a problem.
Doing nothing about negative reviews is the worst thing you can do. Not responding can easily be taken as you not caring, so make sure you know about posts as soon as they appear with the Google Alerts.
It’s important to be transparent, honest and aware with your online reputation.
Google alerts is just the beginning of your options as there are lots of other places and apps you can use to monitor your organization’s online reputation.
Camera’s with thermal imaging can detect infrared light in the dark, allowing you to see things around you thermally.
There have been a lot of devices that have been released that can turn any smartphone into a thermal imaging camera but most of them are really expensive.
But now, you can inexpensively turn most iPhone or Android handsets into a thermal camera that can clearly make out images in the dark using one of the ‘Seek Thermal’ camera attachment.
The small devices plug into the power connection on many smartphones and it lets you take both still images or videos in the dark.
The low resolution images are somewhat grainy, but if you need to see what’s lurking in the dark in your yard or down a really dark alley or parking lot, the Seek Thermal camera gets the job done.
The Seek attachment will also allow you to see where pipes might be clogged, where the hot air is seeping out of your house or check the temps of just about surface you point it at.
If you’re intrigued by thermal imaging, checkout Seek’s affordable devices at https://www.thermal.com/compact-series.html
Whether you like or despise Edward Snowden, one thing is perfectly clear - he certainly knows about cybersecurity.
So when Snowden endorses a messaging app that he says is secure that he personally uses, you can count on it being as private as any messaging system gets.
Snowden’s recommended app is called Signal and it made by Open Whisper Systems for iPhone or Android users.
Signal allows you to send secure messages using both text and voice and it won’t require you to go through a sign up process to use it.
The app uses your current phone number and contacts and doesn’t require a separate login or PIN.
Despite its very sophisticated encryption, the app is super simple to setup and use as your every day messaging app
The app also determines automatically if your recipient also uses the Signal app, so it will know not to secure messages that are sent to those that don’t have the app.
If you would like to have a more secure way of messaging, checkout the Signal app at https://WhisperSystems.org
I'm using today's tip to remind everyone to activate two-factor authentication for your online accounts because it's still an excellent extra layer of protection that's effective.
If you think about it, it's kind of like using your debit card where you have to have two-factors of authentication: your debit card as well as the associated PIN.
Just think how dangerous it would be if your debit card didn't require a PIN in order to get money out of an ATM. IMHO, it's what anyone that is not using 2FA is doing with their online accounts.
Once activated, a thief would be required to steal both your login credentials and your smartphone at the same time in order to sneak into your account.
This security layer also provides you with alerts to know when someone has stolen your credentials, because you'll get a security code out of the blue on your smartphone.
Virtually every major online account is now offering this extra layer of protection.
To see which of your online accounts offers the protection along with how to activate it, visit" https://twofactorauth.org
Our smartphones are marvels of technology and they are even more powerful than the computers used by NASA to get mankind to the moon, which is pretty amazing.
One of the best features of our smartphones is the high resolution cameras that pack a lot of technology into our pockets allowing anyone to take amazing pictures without having to be a pro photographer, or so we’d like to think.
Features such as auto white balance, focus, and exposure along with color correction are all great to have available but mean absolutely nothing when the person taking the picture doesn’t understand how to compose the picture.
The rule of thirds is a basic concept that appears to still be a mystery for most photographers but now there is an app for those people. Camera 51 focuses on the thing that most smartphone photographers seem to be clueless about, which is the all-important composition.
The app uses the sophistication of your phone to dissect the scene you are shooting, with an on-screen guide which allows you to know where you should point the camera.
Anyone that has no idea how to compose a photograph should definitely download this free app to start taking better pictures!