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!
Anyone responsible for generating presentations or reports which needs to include website references has probably gone through the long process required to capture a thumbnail to add some graphics to your info.
You can certainly use screen captures along with image editing tools to accomplish this laborious task but we have a better way.
It’s called https://thumbalizr.com and it’s a really easy to use option. Simply type the web address of your desired website into the box and tap on the ‘Thumb It’ button.
This tells the tool to go out and gathers up the elements, assemble them and create a thumbnail image that can range from tiny to very high resolution.
http://Thumbalizr is spelled T H U M B A L I Z R and the basic service is free. It’s sure to improve any presentation of info that includes a website and it’s much more engaging than just the link.
Anyone with a dog that likes to take their furry family member along when they travel knows that you’ll have to spend some time ahead of time making sure wherever you are going is dog friendly.
Dog-friendly hotels are just the start of the research; you’ll want to find dog-friendly restaurants and sometimes even dog-friendly public transportation.
You’ll also likely want to find local dog parks, dog beaches and dog friendly tour operators.
If including fido in all your travels is important, you can find a treasure trove of dog-friendly travel info at http://dogfriendly.com
Their city guides can help you discover the dog-friendly hotels, campgrounds, attractions, parks, outdoor restaurants, beaches and using their highway guides can help you setup a cross-country trip showing all the pet friendly hotels on your route.
They can even help you understand what is involved in domestic or international airline travel for your dog.
How about figuring out which rental car company is more tolerant of dogs and which ones you’ll want to avoid? Sure enough, you can find it all at dogfriendly.com.
There are many situation where scheduling the delivery of an email message can be very useful, like when you don’t want to miss a friend’s birthday or anniversary.
Microsoft Outlook has had this ability for years, but if you have migrated over to Google’s excellent Gmail for email, you probably noticed that you lost this ability.
That is until you install the Boomerang for Gmail add-on, which is a free tool that does a lot more than just schedule e-mails for delivery.
The ‘Send Later’ option that will appear after you install it, makes it simple to schedule any message for delivery, but Boomerang can also help you stay organized. It can mark messages in the Inbox that you want to read later and schedule them to appear in your Inbox as a reminder.
It also lets you track any message you send and generate a reminder if you have not heard back from them, to allow timely follow-ups in an efficient manner.
Anyone that spends their day using Gmail will be more productive with http://Boomeranggmail.com
Anyone that’s a writer, leads a team, teaches, trains others or has to create any type of outline will want to checkout today’s tip on a simple but powerful tool.
Workflowy is one of the more useful sites that we’ve found for those that need help keeping things organized.
It’s an easy to use web app that leverages easy to create ‘nested lists’, that can start out as a basic outline and end up being a fully fleshed out lesson plan, training guide or user’s manual.
Those that teach can use it to develop a syllabus that can be easily shared as a lesson plan for their students.
The tool allows you to search, tag and filter lists as well as quickly move or duplicate sections, export and print the resulting outlines.
Sound interesting? Check it out for yourself at https://workflowy.com to see if this helps you stay organized!
Everyone that is now an expert programmer started at the exact same point….the beginning which meant that they knew nothing!
Anyone that’s ever thought about learning a little bit about how web and software programs are created, just to be a little bit smarter about today’s world, will love today’s tip.
Codeacademy.com http://www.codecademy.com is an incredible Do-It-Yourself, learn at your own speed tool that can teach anyone the basics of coding.
The website walks you through simple, step-by-step lessons to start writing simple code that anyone can follow.
If you or someone you know has had the curiosity to learn but didn’t know where to start, have them checkout CodeAcademy.com.
Want to see if your kid is the next Zuckerberg? Get them started at CodeAcademy.com and you may just bring out their inner geek on put them on the path to a digital future.
Anyone that doesn’t know the difference between a derivative and a triple tax free municipal bond shouldn’t feel bad because you are not alone.
The technical terms in the investing world, much less the investments themselves can get pretty overwhelming for average non-financial people, so finding help is a must.
One web resource that’s full of information on investing, digesting the markets, understanding active trading or just about anything to do with investing is at investopedia.com
The website offers tutorials, explanations of investment terms along with a dictionary that includes related terms.
It even offers a simulator that will allow you to test out the things you’re learning using virtual money.
So now when you hear ‘gap risk’ or ‘reciprocal currency arrangement’ on a financial news segment, you’ll know where you can go to understand what they’re talking about!
Google Maps is everyone’s go-to resource for directions or finding a nearby store or restaurant, but what about when you want to share a map that needs more vital details for your needs?
When you need to create that next map for a backyard BBQ party or a get together in a remote place, wouldn’t it be great to be able to scribble your own notes on the map?
Well, that’s what an awesome tool at http://ScribbleMaps.com allows anyone to do! It allows you to add text, special markers, custom images and other overlays to any Google map.
If you have ever needed to create a customized map like you may have seen from news organizations, give ScribbleMaps.com a try.
Do you need to explain to attendees where to park for your next party?
Want to retrace the path of an epic hike and add various pictures you took along the way? This is the perfect tool for either!
At ScribbleMaps.com you can easily loads their tools into any browser and start scribbling!
Even though we all have our calendars and to-do lists and reminders to help us stay efficient, what about when you want to remind someone else of something they need to remember?
You can certainly use shared calendars or a whole host of other complicated tools when it’s someone close or you for those more random situations, use Alertful.com to make it simple.
Getting that timely reminder message is one of the easiest ways to ensure you won’t forget tasks and events; Alertful.com makes it really easy to schedule those e-mail reminders.
Whether it’s a one time reminder, once every day, every week, every month or even yearly, the website lets you set it and forget it!
Everything from birthdays to common ‘to-dos’ to appointments and renewals or shopping lists, meetings or just about any type of reminder you can need can be scheduled for you or your forgetful friends and associates.
Anyone that needs a little extra nudge remembering things can use the free and simple to http://Alertful.com to git er done!
Today’s tip is for anyone that has lots of friends or family that ask them for help on topics that they could have used Google to get the answer for themselves.
If you’re the go to answerer of questions for everyone around you, congrats, you’re awesome!
But how often do you get those annoying questions that make you ask yourself “why can’t they just go to Google for this question?”
Without making them feel bad, wouldn’t it be awesome if you could drop the hint that in the future, they should just use Google to try to answer their questions?
A website called https://LetMeGoogleThatForYou.com or https://lmgtfy.com is a great way to do just that! It will create a link that starts an animation that will literally show them step by step, how they could go to Google and type in the question to get their question answered!
It is a pretty humorous way to still provide them their answer, but also show them how they to find many answers themselves in the future, if they’ll simply try using Google it first!
http://LetMeGoogleThatForYou.com …bookmark it today!
If you still don’t have a star gazing app on your smartphone, we have a couple of free suggestions for you.
These apps are helpful in identifying constellations as well as planets and in some cases, use augmented reality to assist you in seeing why a constellation is named what it is.
iPhone smartphone users should checkout ‘Star Chart’ which includes the augmented reality views and is free for the basic options. If you really want to dive in, you can purchase upgrades to extend your learning.
Android smartphone users can checkout ‘Sky Map’ which is free and works using the same process of holding the phone up to the sky to identify or track down anything you see in the night sky.
These apps are a great way to get kids interested in the amazing light show that goes on just about every night but so many of us take for granted.
We recently had a question asked on our Facebook page to see if there was a way to put timestamps on photos taken by the user’s iPhone.
At first glance, we thought this was a silly request, but upon further review, there are some cool reasons for this old school method of including a visible time stamp, including organizing and verifying for a third party.
Your smartphone images all contain date and time info in what’s called the ‘metadata’, so an app that reads this hidden info can easily add the requested timestamp to any picture.
iPhone users can checkout a free app called ‘TimeStamp-It’ while Android users can checkout a free app called Camera Timestamp.
Both apps will allow you add various font-based time stamps and add it to any of the four corners so you can avoid looking like you are stuck in the last century.
One of the many inspirations of traveling is to discover new things and experiences of the area that you’re visiting through various activities.
But how many times have you gone on a trip to an awesome location and said afterwards “I wish I’d known about this place before I got there”?
You can obviously spend a ton of time manually searching through Google search results for info on what you can do before you go or you can use today’s tech tip as a shortcut by using the
Whether you’re interested in guided tours, sightseeing tours, a local cooking class or a sunset cruise, you can do all of the above by putting in your upcoming destination and the dates you will be there and let the GetYourGuide resource do all the work for you.
You will get lists of the available activities, what they’ll cost, ratings and reviews all on one screen, which allows you to quickly educate yourself for more extensive research on Google.
The tool lets you sort by price and even language when you are headed abroad, so look into expanding your next adventure via https://GetYourGuide.com
Virtually every type of mobile tech we have includes the ability to capture high-quality videos, but the editing of those huge video files afterwards can get a bit complicated.
For the majority of users, investing in expensive, complicated video editing software doesn’t make much sense, so that’s where a cool and free option is the subject of today’s tech tip.
A web-tool called https://wevideo.com is a pretty powerful, but easy-to-use video editing system that allows you to start in a beginner mode and move up to an intermediate or expert mode that canmmakes full use of timelines.
Even if you have never ever edited any video before, you can simply trim unwanted sections, add a title, a little background music and even special effects in just a few minutes.
There are even apps for most popular mobile devices, which allows you to edit video while on the go.
The beginner’s tools are free to try, so you can easily test out your skills (& patience) with no risk of an expensive program!
Popular online shopping websites like Craigslist, eBay and Amazon are an excellent way to get good deals, especially when you’re looking for something unique or used.
But prior to making a buying decision, you’ll typically end up going from site to site, searching for the best deals for those special items which is a big pain, not to mention a huge time suck.
Even worse, when you live close to 2 metro areas, you have to go through two separate searches on sites like Craigslist to make sure you don’t miss any nearby deals.
But not anymore, because you can now quickly search all three of these popular sites and allows you to expand the radius beyond your primary metro area with https://SearchTempest.com
The site allows you to search by radius, state or the entire country as well as filter results for those that have pictures or by minimum and/or maximum price.
They can even include search results from https://Oodle.com which increases your efficient searching to even more options that might have your long lost GI Joe with the kung fu grip.
https://SearchTempest.com is worth a look for any avid online shopper!
If you have a school-age student that tends to struggle with subjects such as math, science or history, we have a web resource that can make learning a whole lot easier for today’s digital generation.
It’s called the Khan Academy http://khanacademy.org and it’s simply brilliant!
It’s an absolutely free web learning tool that’s excellent for students, teachers, tutors and parents because it provides the lessons in easy to understand short videos.
Kahn Academy is a lot more than a site full of bunch of videos, because there are various interactive challenges, badges for achieving goals and assessment tools to see how your child’s performing.
Because it’s a self-paced system that’s designed to teach today’s kids in a way that they like to explore…they can start with one pause one and make their way all the way up to calculus.
It’s the step by step assistance that they’ll ask YOU for just a couple mouse clicks away.
Parents and tutors of all types should be bookmarking this site!
The fax machine has become a bit of a communications relic, but every now and them, you might run into an organization that will insist on using the fax system to send them a document.
In general, simply scanning the document and e-mailing it should be good enough, but when they insist on it being sent to their fax machine and you tossed yours years ago, here’s a solution that should work.
It’s called Fax Zero at http://FaxZero.com and it will be free if you have 3 pages or less to send and don’t mind a small ad on the cover page of whatever you’re transmitting.
For those with more pages, they’ll charge $1.99 for up to 15 pages or you can opt to send it in 3 page pieces for free.
All you do is upload your Word or PDF file, enter your recipient’s information, tap out what you want on your cover page and off your fax goes.
The next time you’re forced to send something via a fax, remember http://FaxZero.com.
Anyone that travels on a regular basis knows how valuable it is to understand the ins & outs of various airports or airlines.
Everything from flight delays to weather to on-time rankings are just the beginning of the info that can make a difference when you want the best option.
Whether tracking a flight in real time or seeing a map of the various delays around the country, the website and apps at
http://FlightStats.com do an excellent job of providing a solid picture of what’s going on.
Not only can you use all of the resources at their website, their apps offer features like an interactive terminal ‘Airport Zoom’ for the iPad or the ‘Traveler app’ for Android devices.
It lets you setup flight alerts for incoming flights so you’re alerted of any delays, diversions or cancellations along with getting arrival notifications when that flight that you’re tracking arrives.
http://FlightStats.com has gathered just about every type of data that impacts airlines and airports, so take a look before you book your next flight!
Yo Brandon, time to take a note with today’s tech tip.
For those that are still using a pencil and a pad of paper to make notes during meetings because they haven’t quite found the right process for doing it electronically, we’ve got a suggestion for them.
Instead of manually writing the notes by hand and then having to go back to your computer to type them at your desk so you can share them with everyone, go test out http://Minutes.io for your next meeting.
It a really simple put very powerful note taking web-app that can be used to track participants, assign tasks, document the decisions or gather ideas during the meeting and then easily distribute them after the meeting.
The platform is also tablet friendly and can store the notes in a browser when you don’t have an Internet connection.
Anyone tasked with the note taking during meetings may likely find that Minutes.IO can make this important task a snap to execute and make them look like a super organized person.
Anyone that spends most of their day on their computer may find music helps you focus and possibly makes you more productive.
For some, music can be a distraction depending upon what you’re listening to, so there may be something a bit more soothing, like ambient noise.
Anyone that finds the sound of a gentle rain storm to be soothing should checkout the website at: http://Rainymood.com.
There is nothing to download or setup; just land on the page and hit the play button to listen the recording of distant thunderstorm and gentle rain that loops until you turn it off.
For those that prefer the sound of an ocean or a rainforest waterfall or birds in the trees over a rainstorm, checkout http://calmsound.com
If you like what Calmsounds.com provides, you can download an entire album of nature’s soothing sounds.
Setting up a conference call or online meeting or even an in person meeting with a number of people outside of your company can be a bit challenging and time consuming when done in the traditional way.
Anyone that’s still manually e-mailing attendees to ask if they can meet on a certain day knows that they will end up spending way too much time trying to figure out everyone’s schedule.
Now you can streamline this common process when you go to https://ScheduleOnce.com and let their online system do the work.
Schedule Once allows you to schedule group meetings, to accept appointments or offer multiple meeting types and even at multiple locations.
It can work with your own calendar and it also takes care of time zone issues even when you are working with people from the other side of the world.
It only takes a few minutes to setup your personal ‘Meet Me’ page that also allows attendees to select their preferred meeting days and times with their mouse or phone!
This tip shouldn’t be something that you will use on a regular basis, but when you need to find a hotel room in a pinch, you will be glad you learned about this.
The HotelTonight app specializes in last minute bookings for hotels, so instead of having to pay a huge bill because you didn’t have the ability to plan ahead, find a room near you that’s more of a deal.
Remember, hotels all want to fill each and every room, every night so they offer last minute deals as a way to do just that.
Whether you are unexpectedly spending the night in a strange town or are just spontaneous when you travel, using the HotelTonight app might save you big bucks.
In our random tests of the app against the popular booking sites, Hotel Tonight was generally lower on last minute offerings and they also offer a price guarantee.
The app is available for both iPhone and Android smartphones and can be used in the US, Canada, Mexico and many European countries.
Just pick your city and the # of nights you want to stay to get their best deal on last minute options.