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!
A great way to understand methods for protecting yourself online is to try to think like a hacker.
A very valuable thing sold on the Internet underground is your personal info, which is why tricking users into allowing remote hackers into your computer is one of the most common approaches.
But rather than targeting adults, hackers long ago figured out that it’s much easier to trick kids which allows them to get to you.
They often sneak malware programs in by pretending to offer free music, videos, games & programs that are usually expensive, which teens and kids are more likely to download.
Guess why this approach is so effective? Because so many parents allow their kids to use the same profiles as mom and dad with complete administrative access which allows them complete control over your entire computer.
If this is how you have things setup in your house, you should really make a change as soon as possible.
You need to setup a completely separate account and limit the access for younger users which will minimize the exposure to your sensitive information.
This is a really important security measure, so if you don’t have a clue on getting this setup, have someone help you as each operating system is different.
From time to time, most of us find ourselves in need of basic graphic design work, but it’s rarely important enough to spend the money on a professional, whether it’s for personal or business reasons.
If you don’t own the software or find that you don't have the talent to do it yourself, check out a website called Canva … like canvas without the s.
Canva is really simple to use, because it’s a template based tool that’s also web based, so you don’t have to install any software on your computer to get started.
With Canva, you can create flyers, posters, business cards, blog graphics and even perfectly formatted Facebook Cover images or any other social media related needs, Canva is a great DIY tool.
You begin by picking a design style, then you choose a template and make the changes to the text to fit your needs.
You can use your own pictures or choose from their large library of professional images; some are free while others may cost a buck to use.
It’s a beautiful tool because it’s easy to use, very cost effective and produces really great results in no time at all.
If you lack the skill, money, vision and time to create professional looking graphics, Canva.com is worth taking a look at...that’s C A N V A.com
Whenever a computer starts to slow down, often times too many people assume that it is time to get a whole new system.
Now, if your cpu is really old, it probably makes sense to replace it, but for most of you there is a much more cost effective option to get the system running fast again.
It’s called a ‘hybrid hard drive' and it is still one of the best kept secrets in the industry.
There are three primary components in your PC that will determine just how fast it will run: the processor, the RAM and the hard drive.
In every case, the hard drive will be the biggest bottleneck so opening it up will make an old system run like it’s brand new again.
AND it is much cheaper then buying a new computer.
What really makes the hybrid hard drive system unique is that it matches super fast Solid State circuitry with a standard magnetic drive and stores the files and programs you use the most on the faster partition.
If you do take this route, keep in mind that your old hard drive can become a backup drive by putting it in an external enclosure.
If you are one of the many that is looking for more speed from your system, look into upgrading to a hybrid drive. It can save you lots of money and make your computer speedy again!
We collectively deal with the recurring challenge of what to make for tonight's dinner but often times we'll end up choosing from one of a group of regular meals in our rotation.
If you're looking for a new 'spin' on this daily tasks, there's an app for that and it's called Dinner Spinner!
The app is made by the famous recipe website AllRecipes.com and it starts with you selecting the type of dish you’re interested in, like a salad or side dish or a main course and your main ingredient, such as pasta or fish.
Then you include the amount of time you have to make the meal and then give the app a spin.
I gave it a try by asking about main courses that includes chicken with under 20 minutes to prepare it and I got twenty five ideas, and they all looked pretty appetizing.
While you are viewing the potential recipes, you will also get a list of suggested recipes from other users that also includes their ratings.
If you're a little more adventurous, just try shaking your smartphone which will generate random recipes that you probably weren't even thinking about cooking.
If you have any dietary restrictions, you can use the built-in filters to improve the results, life if you are only interested in low sodium, vegetarian, high fiber or non-dairy options.
The app is great so Bon appétit!
If you are the do-it-yourself type of homeowner when it comes to all those home improvement tasks, you already know the more tools you have on hand, the better off you are likely to be.
Since most projects start with measurements and calculations, a smartphone app that may be a big help is Dewalt’s Mobile Pro App.
It was initially designed for construction pros so it is loaded with pro calculators, conversion tools and area calculators for both linear and sq ft calculations.
It's also a useful resource on those construction related questions that come with an assortment of e-books and other information accessible right in the app.
It will store your calculations for future projects or so you can share them via e-mail with others that helping you with your project.
Whether you are trying to calculate the amount of concrete you will need for pouring a slab, how many sheets of drywall and studs you'll need for a room addition or how many linear feet of crown molding you will have to buy, the Pro App from Dewalt Mobile can help.
This handy app is available for both iPhone and Android users and it's totally free!
We all love free apps on our smartphones, especially when they are so useful that we use them just about every day.
You probably know that these free apps are often ad based to pay for the development, but there's something you should be aware of, especially for those on a limited mobile data play or have a constantly dying battery problem.
It turns out that free apps that are ad driven can silently cost you by eating up your limited data & your battery in order to deliver those ads.
Researchers at various universities reported that these ads in a lot of free apps can eat up nearly 80% more data on your data plan than similar apps that don't contain ads.
They also reported that they used 22 percent more phone memory and 16 percent more battery life in order to constantly update new ads in the app.
If you have a phone that runs out of power in the middle of the day or you are constantly going over your data plan, these free apps may beon reason why!
Toss in the required permissions that many of them use which then adds privacy concerns to the situation.
The next time you are trying to choose between a free apps and one that charges 99 cents, it may be worth it to avoid the hidden costs of those free apps.
If you are one of the many that opted for one of Apple’s large screen iPhones but you only use it in the portrait mode or up and down mode, you are missing a lot of cool features.
In just about every app you use, from the calendar, to your mail and messaging apps and even simple notes, there are optional features when you flip your iPhone sideways to the landscape view.
For example, when you view your mail sideways, you can use the split screen option, which can show your messages on the left side, with a preview of the highlighted message on the right side.
Viewing stock quotes sideways will also makes use of the split-screen mode to provide more detailed info on the highlighted stock symbol on your list.
Typing with your iPhone sideways gives you slightly more room per key and in some cases, can add some very useful additional keys to the screen.
You will start discovering all kinds of new features just by turning your phone sideways, so remember this whenever you're using all your apps.
If you have ever had the need to create a floorplan for a room or an even worse, an entire building by hand, you know how much time it'll take.
Anyone that's in real estate, construction or regularly has to work with floor plans should look into the RoomScan Pro iPhone app.
The RoomScan app makes use of the awesome sensors in the iPhone to easily create a floor plan by putting your iPhone on each of the walls in a room.
You simply place your iPhone on the first wall and wait for a beep, then move on to an adjecentt wall to continue the process.
After you place it back on the original wall, you will get a double-beep to indicate that the measurements are complete, which allows the app to build the floorplan.
You can even build floor plans for an entire house using RoomScan including a feature for when you may not be able to physically reach a wall.
To see this five dollar app in action, check-it out at http://locometric.com
Whenever you have to deal with any kind of official documents, there is a good chance that you willl need to get them notarized.
This then requires that you track down a public notary and go to them in person, which can turn into a big hassle.
Well the next time you’re faced with this scenario, remember that there is now an app for that! It’s called Notarize.
Notarize is essentially a remote notary service that’s fully electronic and based in Virginia and legal in all fifty states.
The process is pretty straight forward; you start by uploading your document then provide identification, complete the necessary fields in the document and then connect via a video call with a licensed notary.
They will watch you sign your document, then they electronically notarize it through the app.
When it’s completed, you can print, save or share the officially processed document electronically.
While this approach is much more convenient, this convenience will cost you as the Notarize processing fee is $25 per notarization.
The actual Notarize iPhone only app is free, so keep it in mind the next time you need to http://www.notarize.com anything!
Many of you wake up to the rising sun without needing an alarm clock to wake you while lots of you may struggle even with multiple alarms.
If you are on the struggle side and have yet to find the right alarm solution, look into the Mimicker Alarm app.
What makes this alarm app different is that it will require you to ‘mimic’ a task in order to prove you’re wide awake.
You get to choose between repeating facial gestures by taking a selfie, capturing a specific color by snapping a picture of something or repeating a bit of a tongue twister that the app will listen to to determine if you are really awake.
Let’s face it, tapping the snooze button never requires much in the way of thinking, which is why so many of us have not been successful with it. This app will require you to actually process info and act on it accordingly.
The free Mimicker app is only available for Android smartphones; if you know someone who tends to constantly over-sleep, have them checkout this app!
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!