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!
The Internet is plagued with malicious websites that are almost like virtual ‘venus fly traps’ that are waiting for you to land on them.
Staying away from websites that you’ve never heard of is the usual general advice, but that really isn’t very practical, so what are you supposed to do to stay safe?
A useful and free resource from the folks at Trend Micro, which is one of our favorite Security companies, is what we recommend.
They have one of the largest online ‘site reputation’ databases that’s constantly being updated, so when you paste the web address of any site into their tool, they’ll run a quick safety check.
Within seconds, you will get one of several safety ratings: Safe, Dangerous or Suspicious or if the website has yet to be tested, Trend Micro will add it to their tests.
You will also be presented with a summary of the content that you will find at the website, so you won’t end up at an inappropriate site.
Making the assumption that a website is safe is a really bad strategy these days, so before you visit any strange website, get a security opinion from Trend Micro!
Most of us continue to get many e-mail messages that end with things like ‘Sent from my iPad’ or ‘Sent from my Samsung Galaxy S8’.
These default ‘signatures’ on most mobile devices are designed to advertise for the manufacturer of your device without your input.
They know that many of you won’t bother to change the defaults and they end up with millions of free mini-ads.
With the number of messages that we still see using these free mini-ads at the end, it’s pretty obvious that this approach is working for them.
Proclaiming that you’ve sent a message from your mobile device can in some cases be a minor security risk, so we should all take a minute and update our smartphones email messaging signature today.
For business users, an updated signature is a great way to send contact info with every message and help recipients become aware of your company’s blog, website or other important marketing tools.
We have posted the links to provide step by step instructions for iPhone, Android and even Blackberry devices to stop you from being a pawn for smartphone companies.
iOS & Android: https://www.pcworld.com/article/2052156/how-to-change-your-email-signature-on-your-smartphone.html
When you are trying to decide on watching new movies, TV shows, or listening to new music, respected critics are one source of information.
But often times, don’t you find that you’ll love a movie that a famous critic hated?
Unless your tastes are exactly the same as any critic, you really should be looking to see what a number of them are saying to get a consensus.
Many websites have ratings from several critics, but if you want to really tap into the wisdom of the crowds, visit https://metacritic.com
The Metacritic website will combine the opinions of the most respected critics into a single number that they call their ‘metascore’.
The algorithm they claim is unique takes the averages of well-known critics so you can avoid having to click around to a bunch of sites to see what the critics are saying.
Metacritic.com quickly shows you all the movies that are showing in the theaters, available on DVD or are coming soon along with the consensus of the critics.
This resource is also a great way to discover new music as well, which is why we think this is a worthy bookmark site.
Did you all know that carrots were actually purple in the beginning or that Abe Lincoln formed the Secret Service on the day he was shot?
The web is loaded with useless information that not going to change your life, but will make you say, huh!
Most of us learn about these interesting factoids by chance or randomly from a social media post but why allow this type of knowledge to come to you by chance?
Anyone that loves factoids as much as I do should checkout a website called NowIKnow and subscribe to their daily emails.
Every day, you will receive an interesting email message with something that will most likely make you say “huh” or in some cases make you a bit smarter.
With NowIKnow.com, you’ll learn something new daily such as the world’s shortest war lasted 40 minutes and how the turkey actually got its name.
If you have been wanting to learn how to speed read, but not bad enough to pay for a course, there’s an Internet site that you may want to check out.
It’s called Spreeder.com and it’s an online speed reading tool that can help you improve your reading speed as well as comprehension.
According to the site, it’s an art of silencing subvocalization, which is just another way of saying your inner voice that most of us hear when we’re reading.
The online app helps you improve the way that you read so you aren’t held back by your slower inner voice.
Reading skills are typically developed when we’re young and taught to verbalize all the words.
Spreeder allows you to break away from that learned approach by exercising your mind in a completely new way and it is free to use, so give it a try for yourself.
Anyone that works on their computer at night on a regular basis may find it hard to get to sleep afterwards.
That blueish light coming from the computer screen especially at night has been shown to keep people from getting to sleep afterwards.
Anyone experiencing this sleeping after use problem or anyone wanting to reduce the potential for eye strain from your computer screen should checkout a free app called ‘Flux’.
The Flux download will automatically warm up the computer screen at sunset and returns it to normal after sunrise because it will know the time zone of your computer.
It lets you adjust the warmth of the display at night or manually turn it off whenever you’re doing color sensitive work.
It may take a bit to get used to, but once you see the brightness of the normal setting on your display, you will understand why this change can help.
Flux is free and available for Windows and Mac users at Justgetflux.com
You’ll be paid just for taking surveys! You’ve likely seen these email and social media posts from unknown companies proclaiming that you will be rewarded just for sharing your opinion.
While some can be legitimate, most should be considered scams, so unless you have done your research, you should always be skeptical.
But what if there really was a legitimate company that was truly willing to reward you for taking surveys on your Android smartphone?
Well the folks at Google created the Google Opinion Rewards app which will allow you to earn credits in the Play Store for taking those surveys.
It’s an easy system that will only show up once a week or so and every time you answer their simple questions, credits are added to your account so you can purchase apps, movies, books or music in their store.
Sample questions include “which logo is best” or “what was on your TV last night”. The app will notify you whenever a new survey is available.
Search for Google’s ‘Opinion Rewards’ app in the Google Play store.
The Android OS is the most popular mobile platform on the planet, but along with that leadership comes the bad news: it’s also the most targeted mobile OS on the planet.
Infected apps are most commonly posted on sites outside of Google Play, so only downloading your apps from Google's store is a solid strategy.
But even with all the security Google has in place, it’s still possible for an occasional malicious apps to sneak by, which is why having a second layer of protection, like the free Malwarebytes app is a prudent step in security.
The app will scan your smartphone for anything questionable that's already installed and scan every app you download in the future to provide you with a report automatically.
It also runs background scans regularly to ensure infected files did not sneak in and includes a privacy scanner to show you what an app will access to on your device.
Malwarebytes has been an excellent tool for Windows users for along time and now their method of fighting malware is available for Android users…for free!
We're all becoming more focused on the importance of eating a balanced diet, but for most , 1/3 of your caloric-intake comes when we eat away from home.
Until recently, there just wasn't that much info readily available that would help diners make the best choices, but thankfully we can find nutritional information for many restaurants online, as long as you are willing to take the time to find it.
A website that is making it a lot easier to find is called 'MenuStat' because they've created a database of nutritional info that can make it much easier to analyze what you are interested in ordering.
This free nutritional database has over thirty five thousand items served by many of the country's largest restaurant chains which it has aggregated from nutritional info posted on websites going back to 2012.
Hungry for some Kung Pao chicken or a chicken caesar salad with an acceptable calorie count? Just type the items into the Quick Search menu to see your options.
If you want to dig deeper into the dishes that are still using high portions of trans fat, cholesterol or sodium, just search for it.
MenuStat.org can help you avoid something that is listed as gluten free, but that loaded with calories for instance.
This resource is very bookmark worthy: http://menustat.org
Anyone that is a regular business traveler has a well tested routine along with timelines to minimize delays and travel hickups.
But even if you are a seasoned road warrior, there is one thing that has always been a variable in the airport: security checkpoint lines.
Those that travel the same basic routes regularly might have a good idea of what to expect, but anyone can do much better than simple gut feel with the WhatsBusy website.
WhatsBusy shows you how long you can expect to stand in a security line at most major airports based on when you are arriving at the airport.
Just pick an airport, the day you'll be traveling and what time you plan on getting to the airport and It will analyze the historical data from the TSA and give you an estimate of the security wait times.
It will break the info down by terminal, the various gates and in half hour increments, which allows you to see if you should consider getting there a earlier or a little later to avoid long lines.
WhatsBusy is available as a web-based service on any computer or mobile device
Most of us have some form of 'bucket list' of things we want to do before we pass on.
A site called 'BucketListly' is an online community for bucket list fans that wants to help inspire users to leave a mark on this world.
Bucketlistly aims to assist anyone unlock achievements in the real world and inspire others to follow in those footsteps via their interactive community.
You begin by compiling your own bucket list by posting all the goals you want to achieve. This beings your community discussions and helps you get advice, tips and tricks from others that have already done your bucket list items.
You can even join others online that share your same goasl to encourage each other to help make it happen.
No matter what you want to do, learn to surf, hike the Himalayas or meet with the Dalai Lama, there are members of the community on the site that have likely 'been there and done that' and they are willing to share how they made it happen!
Get a jump on your bucket list today at: http://www.bucketlistly.com
Most of us have been on the cruise ship we call Facebook for quite a while, which means you will have accumulated what we refer to as Facebook barnacles on your account.
The barnacles are all those apps that have attached themselves to your profile whenever you checkout a new app or try that new game and end up never using it again.
Even when you don't ever use these apps, you still gave them permission to connect to your account below the 'waterline'.
If you've never take a look, you'll be shocked to see how many apps haveyou your permission to access your profile info.
It’s time for a little clean up, so take the time to review the list of apps that have your permission to access your profile.
Click on the icon in the upper right corner, then on Settings to get to the 'Apps' section.
Once you see the list, just start tapping on the 'X' next to all those old apps you don't use anymore…your profile info will no longer be accessible in the future for those apps.
Just about everything you use regularly online is sped up through the use of something called the ‘cache’ which is what stores various elements from your previous web visits on your computer.
Using this cache allows websites to load much faster because your computer doesn’t have to download every image, frame, video or body of text from the site you are visiting every time.
Loading these items from your computer's hard drive is much faster, but in some cases, this process can work against you.
If you have ever landed on a website looking for information but you can’t find it or the site just won't properly load, there is a possibility that your being presented with an incomplete cached version of the website from your computer.
If you ever want to bypass the cached items on your computer, try this: hold your CTRL button down and then tap on the 'F5' key along the top of your keyboard.
This universally used shortcut works for most major browsers and is shortcut keystroke that tells the computer to bypass the cache altogether and download everything from the Internet.
This turns out to be a really easy way to troubleshoot website loading problems as if it works, you will know its time to clear out the cache in your browser.
Instructions on clearing your cache: http://www.wikihow.com/Clear-Your-Browser's-Cache
Since Facebook has become a such a fundamental form of communication for so many of us, we tend to use it wherever we are.
But, if you have ever used a friends computer to log into your Facebook account and later realized that you neglected to sign out before you left, you were kind of at your friends mercy if they decided to be a prankster.
Well, if you ever forget to sign out of any computer, whether it belongs to a friend or it's a company workstation, there is a simple way to protect your account.
Facebook gives you the ability to review your active profile sessions in the Security section and allows you to terminate any of them if you so desire.
It provides you with a list that includes when it was accessed, what type of device was used and the general location of that connection, which will allow you to determine which session was the one you neglected to sign out of and kill it!
It’s also a very good way to routinely monitor your profile to make sure that no one else has acquired your password and is making use of it without your knowledge.
Just to play it safe, be sure to review this section of your settings on a regular basis: https://www.facebook.com/help/211990645501187
One of the reasons we love our smartphones is that there is no end to the useful or entertaining apps available for downloading.
Most of us will generally look for free apps that fill any given need before we opt to spend any money.
Finding those apps as they become available means that you have to spend your time searching for them or if you listen to this tip, download an iPhone app called ‘Apps Gone Free to do the work for you.
Did you know that every day there lots of apps that offer their apps that usually cost money for free but only for a short period of time. They do this to generate downloads when things slow down, but when you are not aware of free deals, you miss out on the short window of opportunity.
Apps Gone Free uses human editors that save you lots of time and frustration because the staff hand picks every app and they write a basic summary to help you decide if it’s worth downloading.
There are a handful of featured apps each day that you can review to decide whether any of them fill a need…great app discovery that allows you to save money!
Apps Gone Free is for the iPhone only:
A similar app is available for Android users: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=net.tsapps.appsales&hl=en_US
Let’s begin today’s tip with some geek speak: ‘VOIP’ or Voice Over Internet Protocol refers to the process of generating a voice call over the Internet.
Skype is a great free VOIP service as long as you both have a Skype account, but when you want to have Skype make a call to a regular land line or cell phone number, it will cost you.
Anyone looking for a way to make a free call from their computer to any type of traditional phone line in the US and Canada should look at their Gmail account.
Long ago, Google harnessed the power of Google Voice within Gmail so it’s super easy to make a call.
Once you have the required Google Hangouts plugin installed, you can click on the telephone icon in the lower left column and tap in the phone number for any phone in the US or Canada.
Or with Gmail shortcuts enabled, you can simply tap the letter ‘G’ followed by the letter ‘P’ as in Phone to launch the number dialer.
You can also click on any properly formatted phone number in email messages to bring up the dialer using that number!
Get complete instructions here: https://www.lifewire.com/how-to-make-and-receive-phone-calls-in-gmail-1171944
If your regular business activities include building things or managing tasks for a large group, you’ve already found a sophisticated, and probably expensive, software program that handles project management.
But for those of us that just want to get things accomplished, either personally or professionally, project management software is overkill.
For the rest of us, Trello was created as a simple but powerful tool that can keep our projects organized.
This easy to use platform can turn any computer, smartphone or tablet into a digital version of the cork board with index cards.
It’s great for to-do’s, random ideas or any important project that you’re trying to put together because Trello uses a simple drag & drop interface which can bring clarity to the chaos of life and best of all, it is free!
Trello allows you to attach pictures or files, web links, generate checklists, use color coded labels and even add people to a card so you’ll know who’s responsible for what.
If you’ve been looking for a tool to get organized, Trello could be just what you’ve been looking for: https://trello.com
Complex data presented in a visual form is a lot easier to digest and understood which has led to the popularity of something called an ‘infographic’.
Trying to present a bunch of complex info in a clear concise method using a spreadsheet isn’t very effective.
Infographics are now everywhere, especially on research and news sites but looking at them, you’d probably assume that it takes some heavy lifting in a graphic design sense in order to create.
But there’s a tool that will allow you to easily create your own infographics and it’s called Easel.ly!
You can start with a template or create yours from scratch by, dragging and dropping objects, adding text, uploading images and before you know it, your information comes to life in a beautiful infographic (and it’s free).
Infographics aren’t just for all those ‘hipster graphic artists’ any longer!
Looking for inspiration on a home decorating or remodeling project and looking for something more rounded then Pinterest?
Why not look to a website where the pros are?
From remodeling a room to building a brand new home, getting inspiration from others is an excellent way to get started.
Our go to online resource for these situations is Houzz.com.
It has a plethora of photos from top designers that can help you with your dream home. House lets you browse by room, create Idea books and get in touch with local pros that can turn your dream into a reality.
You can also ask the Houzz community for input on any questions you have on just about any project.
All you design or remodeling professionals should look into using Houzz to show the world what you can do and engage with new prospects.
Get your own very visual inspiration for your next project at https://Houzz.com, that’s H O U Z Z.com or checkout their mobile apps which allows you to take those inspirations to the home improvement store!
Their is no shortage of travel sites online that will try to find you the best price on everything from airfares to hotels to rental cars or anything else you may need, but what about the final part of any adventure to an unfamiliar destination?
Directions to any major airport are easy to come by, but what about what it will take to get you to the front door of your BnB or hotel. What are the ground transport options?
Waiting to determine how you'll get to your BnB after you land in a foreign country will be more stressful or expensive then it needs to be.
A website called rome2rio.com is offering to show you every leg of what it'll take to get you from your home to the actual location of where you will stay.
Whether you need info on flights, train rides, bus rides, ferry rides or a taxi or even driving directions, you'll get them all with this resource so you'll actually have every leg of your trip covered.
If you're going to multiple destinations, you no longer have to go to multiple websites because https://www.rome2rio.com can handle it all