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!
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 https://www.datadoctors.com/radio
Or you can search “2-factor backup codes for XXXX” where XXXX is the name of the online service
Once again, a compromised Gmail user asked for help because they were locked out of their own account because they were compromised.
Google has a number of resources for recovering an account that's been compromised, but something they should have done long ago would’ve prevented the being a victim in the first place.
I’m talking about 2-step verification and it’s really simple to setup.
With 2-step verification activated, even if a hacker steals your password, they wouldn’t be able to gain access to your account and here’s why:
Google can track when a strange computer tries to access your online accounts and they will text a short code to your phone when it detects any unusual access.
Without having the special code, whoever stole your password won’t be able to get in. It is also the perfect way to know when your password has been stolen.
With it turned on, when you get an access code message on your phone out of the blue, you’ll know that someone has acquired your password and you’ll know it’s time to change it.
Gmail isn’t the only account you can protect, as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Paypal, Microsoft, Apple and just about every online service offers some form of 2-step verification.
If you’d like instructions for most major sites, I’ve posted a link at DataDoctors.com/radio.
The next time you’re confronted with a new project that requires some creative thought and for you to come up with an appropriate name or slogan, remember this website.
PickyDomains.com is a crowd-sourced service designed to help you come up with a domain name, slogan or product name for just about anything.
It lets you tap into the ideas of thousands of creative folks around the world by posting a brief of what you are trying to express and especially if you need the website url to be available.
You get to decide the max number of letters or words & any specific words you do not want to use in the name, like a words that competitors might already be using.
You pay a ‘reward' for coming up with a name for your project, which starts at a only $50 and on average, you'll get hundreds of suggestions.
To help the process, you give feedback to all participants to shape the suggestions & when you get that great new name, you pick the winner for your project!
Got a challenging naming project that you’ve been struggling with?
If you are a parent of teens, you’re familiar with the frustration of getting them up to speed on doing their own laundry.
The biggest excuses is always “I don’t know what to do” If that’s a fair excuse, well there’s an app for that!
A free app called Complete Laundry Care for the iPhone has instructions for proper washing, ironing, folding and includes a chart to explain what those 'machine wash symbols' on the tags mean.
The app will walk them through the step-by-step process from sorting, setting timers for washing & drying and provide timer alerts for each load as them are done so they aren’t forgotten.
It’s a pretty solid way to ensure your new college freshman doesn’t destroy their wardrobe in the 1st semester of school using the 'throw it all in together’ method of laundry.
The app can also help save your child from burning holes into their clothing if they decide to attempt ironing.
The Complete Laundry Care app is for anyone of any age that just hasn’t gotten their arms around the whole 'laundry thing’. It could end up saving thousands of dollars over the years.
Hyper Text Markup Language or HTML is truly the base language of the Net.
If you have have a youngster that is interested in learning how to create websites, starting with an understand of the basic code that’s used to build things is the key.
While you may see companies telling you that you can build your own website with their easy-to-use-tools, the reality is that it's limited to their pre-designed templates and tools for creating a site.
HTML may look like a foreign language at first, but once they get started learning the primary building blocks, it suddenly becomes a lot less mysterious.
A great way to start learning web skills is from Mozilla’s Webmaker web resource where you can use simple pre-made test sites to tinker with to see what happens.
It turns out that breaking things can be a really great way to learn basic web skills and Webmaker allows you to it without causing any problems.
A solid understanding of HTML has become a primary skill for more than just website creators and Mozilla’s aim is to move millions of people from just using the web to helping create it.
Mozilla’s project is at http://Webmaker.org and it is a good place for anyone that’s inquisitive about how the web really works!
A pretty consistent question that I have been asked by businesses, is where to send employees to get software training.
Old timers like me, generally think about taking a class or reading a book to learn what we don’t know, but that isn’t the way most people learn these days.
The Internet allows for a much more interactive and visual way to learn things and a website that offers a comprehensive online library of easy to follow lessons is at Lynda.com.
They have over 2,500 courses using video that range from common programs such as Microsoft Word & Excel to 3-D animation and virtually every type of web programming language or platform in use today.
10’s of thousands of training videos are categorized as beginner, intermediate & advanced and also offer videos with the close captioning option.
Lynda is a subscription service that starts at around 25 dollars a month for unlimited access to all their training videos.
They also offer mobile apps, which allow you to watch courses on your laptop or mobile devices, and switch back & forth without losing your place.
If you are part of a business that’s looking for an inexpensive online visual training system, give http://lynda.com a good look.
Just about every ‘reality show' incorporates some form of ‘makeover', but not many of us want to become a public spectacle while doing it.
If you have ever considered some radical new hair style, a complete makeup makeover or just wanted to see what you would look like with different color eyes, I've got a tool for you!
A site called Taaz, that’s T A A Z.com has an interesting virtual makeover platform that is really simple to use and generates results in just minutes.
You simply upload a head shot of yourself and then start modifying your lips, skin, eyes, hair or even add accessories.
Better yet, if you have always wondered what you’d look like with a certain celebrities look, you can get that look on your head shot with a click of a button.
They even include Halloween ideas so you can see your Mad Hatter look, become a character from Avatar or see which one of Lady Gaga’s styles fits you best.
While Taaz is clearly setup to help women in makeover decisions using specific brands of makeup, us guys can also use it for more subtle makeovers as well.
If you’ve got younger kids, using some sort of a baby monitor is standard practice these days.
If you’re looking for something that’s really convenient or as an alternative for when you take your little ones on a trip, look into an Android app called Dormi.
The Dormi app can turn just about any 2 Android devices into a fully capable baby monitor system that can work from any distance.
Unlike those traditional baby monitors, the Dormi app works with either wifi or cellular connections, so it works in the next room or the next state.
You even have a push button to speak to your child if they need to be calmed by your voice and the app also keeps you posted on the battery level of the monitoring device.
The free basic service allows for up to four hours of monitoring per month or for a one time $7 purchase, you can get unlimited usage forever.
If you have an older unused Android device sitting around somewhere, this is a perfect way to bring it back to life.
If your smartphone is on a limited data plan, keeping data usage under that limit is important.
One really good way to do that is to switch to the Opera Mini browser on your smartphone for your web browsing.
Opera has a built-in ability to switch to "off-road" mode which automatically reduces your data usage while surfing the web and displays how much data you saved by using it.
Opera Mini incorporates sophisticated compression before your phone starts to download the info, thereby using less data than other browsers when you use the off-road mode.
Often times, this extra compression will actually speedup your page loads especially when you’re on a slow connection but it can cause issues on dynamically generated sites, which is why there’s an option for turning it on or off.
Opera Mini also incorporates speed-dial for your most visited websites, like a more visual display of your traditional bookmarks.
If you want to give Opera Mini a, just use any mobile device and go to m.opera.com and you’ll automatically be provided with the proper link.
Most of us pop between a computer and a smartphone on a daily basis, so wouldn't it be helpful to be able to push information between these two devices?
We constantly find ourselves in a situation where we find something on our smartphones that we’d like to push to our computer and vice versa. Well you can if you use the free solution at Pushbullet.com
Pushbullet is a Google Chrome add-on paired with an app for both Android or iPhone users that makes sending things between your computer and your smartphone a snap.
Whether it’s a note, web URLs, physical addresses, lists, pictures or even data files, they can be sent from one device to the other with the greatest of ease.
Pushbullet eliminates the process involved with services such as DropBox or Google Drive because what you ‘ ush’ can easily be accessed without having to go through the download process or go to special apps.
Pushbullet also allows you to send directly to family, friends or co-workers.
If you have an Android device, you can also mirror the notifications on your smartphone on your computer screen.
If you are intrigued by this service, the direct links for getting the mobile and web apps is posted at DataDoctors.com/radio
Android App: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.pushbullet.android
iPhone App: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/pushbullet/id810352052
Web App: https://www.pushbullet.com