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!
Hackers spend so much of their time focusing on ways to trick individuals via phishing scams because it allows them to parley stolen access into a major data breach.
Since it only takes one person in an organization to fall for a fake message, they have refined their development tools to improve their chances of success.
We have for years stressed the value of using the hover method for uncovering mischievous links in email messages.
When you hover the mouse pointer over the link either a smart icon will pop up or the destination will be displayed on the bottom left corner.
This allows you to examine the actual destination that the link will take you so you can see if it looks suspicious.
Another great way to learn common tricks is by taking the various phishing quizzes that are posted online at places like:
Those ads that appear to be following you around the Internet aren’t your imagination as the industry uses something known as ‘retargeting’ to remind folks of an item that they previously showed interest in.
There was a time when we all saw the same thing when we surfed the same things on the Internet, but those days are long gone.
Virtually everyone one of us has a customized view of the Internet based on what we’ve previously viewed and purchased, our location and a myriad of other variables used by marketing algorithms.
This can also impact the final price you may see for an item as some researchers have discovered.
I have personally seen slightly different offers and pricing in the past based on whether I was on my computer or my smartphone.
Because of that, I started checking with both devices on any large purchases, especially when it’s travel-based just to make sure there isn’t a better offer.
You may not see this very often, but to me, it’s worth the few extra minutes to ensure I’m getting the best price.
The most accurate way to transcribe a spoken word recording is manually, but that can get complicated.
For starters, you’ll generally need to use two programs - one to listen to the recording and another to type what you are hearing.
Starting and stopping while switching back and forth adds to the fun.
If you’re ever in need of doing this with any type of sound file, there’s a free web tool at https://otranscribe.com that can reduce some of the complexity.
It’s not going to do the transcription for you automatically, but it will put all of the tools you need to do the job on one screen.
Once you upload the sound file, the ability to type as well as start and stop the playback are all on one screen.
The ability to change the speed can make it a much more fluid transcription that meets your typing speed.
It’s not something most of us need regularly, but when you do, it can be a huge time saver!
The typewriter was replaced by word processors years ago and today’s equivalent is Microsoft Word.
An advanced tool in Word is a feature known as Macros, which allows you to record a series of strokes and save them to a keyboard shortcut.
If you’ve switched to Google’s online alternative known as Docs, you can add this awesome productivity feature to it as well.
An add-in for Chrome called ‘Magical Text Expander’ gives you the same ability to save a combination of keystones to a shortcut.
I love using it as a way to pop in large chunks of text like an email signature or the mailing address for my office.
The best part of this utility is that it’s not limited to Docs as it’s actually an add-on to the web browser, which means it can be used anywhere you use Chrome.
Start using it today by downloading it form here: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/auto-text-expander-for-go/iibninhmiggehlcdolcilmhacighjamp
The dangers associated with being online are evolving and learning ways to protect yourself can be a little easier if you think like the bad guys.
They’ve gotten really good at developing social engineering tactics that simply trick people into their traps.
If you think about the people in your household that are online, it’s a bit easier to trick children than it is to trick adults.
Why is this? Because younger users of the computer aren’t nearly as concerned about security and are easily tricked by free items such as movies, games or software that would normally cost money.
The reason that this approach has been proven to be effective is that so many households have a computer shared by parents and kids alike.
The real problem is using the same user profile for everyone in the family, so if you aren’t having your kids use a separate account, consider changing that immediately.
Creating a limited access account for your kids is possible in every operating system, so if you don’t know how to do it, get some help ASAP!
The old saying “if it’s sounds good to be true, it probably is” is something that we all need to remember when shopping online.
The Internet is a great way to find those special deals but it’s also an easy way to get sucked into a low-priced scam.
Fortunately, there are some simple tools that can help you evaluate any shopping website that you’re not familiar with.
‘Scam Advisor’ offers a simple check by going to https://www.scamadviser.com and typing the website address into their search bar.
Another great tool that we’ve recommended for years is ‘Web of Trust’ https://www.mywot.com because you can add a simple plug-in to your browser for insight into any website that you are about to visit.
Tip #2 when doing business with anyone online is to always use your credit card instead of your debit card.
Debit card fraud can directly impact your checking account balance which can cause lots of other financial issues, so always use a credit card and pay it off immediately.
It’s no secret that cyber thieves go after our personal information because they can sell it to others in the underworld.
While it may seem that stolen credit card info is at the top of the list, but there are lots of other bits of your info that they seek.
A couple of the items they really like to acquire are stolen PayPal accounts and Uber accounts.
There’s a desirable outcome to stolen Uber accounts known as ghost rides that get used by the hackers along with info that can assist in ID theft.
With this in mind, be sure to review your Uber account on a regular basis unless you’re not using it anymore.
If you don’t really use it, to be safe you should delete your account altogether.
The process for deleting your account can be found at: https://ubr.to/3swlVlb
I love exploring new restaurants especially with lots of my foodie friends, which can lead to the inevitable math challenge at the end of the meal.
If the entire group agrees to split everything equally, there are a number of apps designed to manage the math, but they aren’t necessary when Google can do the math for you.
Just search for ‘tip calculator’ via Google to generate a simple form that only needs three pieces of information:
The total bill, the tip percentage and the number of people splitting the check.
What’s great about this calculator is that once that math has been done, the results separate the tip for each person so those that want to make adjustments can easily do so.
Before using this calculator, make sure the gratuity isn’t already included as many restaurants will do that with large groups.
The best part of this tool is that anything that can connect to the Internet can use it!
The likelihood that you have important personal information stored by Google on one of its various platforms is high, which is the subject of today’s tip.
In general, you don’t want others to have access to this information unless something unexpected happens to you.
While not the kind of thing we like to think about, it’s a good idea to review what would happen to your digital data should you pass.
The folks at Google created a process to allow up to 10 trustees access to your various data after a period of inactivity that you choose.
The period can range from three to eighteen months before automatic messages start getting sent to your trustees.
Each of your trustees can be assigned to everything or just certain accounts.
This process could help your next of kin should an untimely event occur, so it’s worth spending a few minutes to look into this option.
To get more information including a link to your management screen, go to:
Whenever you’re looking for an image to use for any number of reasons, it’s likely that you will turn to Google to find those images.
A common misconception is that if it comes up in a Google search, you’re free to use it but nothing could be further from the truth.
Most images that come up will be protected by copyrights, so using them without permission can actually become an expensive mistake.
The good news is that Google allows you to filter the search results by Usage Rights so that only images that are available through a Creative Commons license.
This filter option is available by going to the Tools option on the far right side of the menus above the images.
If you are ever caught using a copyrighted image, you can end up with an expensive fine for using it without permission.
For those with a lot of web pages that include images of unknown status, you may want to review what you’re using to avoid becoming the recipient of a demand letter from an attorney!
Understanding your customer's needs is an important component in business and one of the ways of learning about them is through surveys.
You can hire companies or use elaborate tools such as those available through Survey Monkey, but there is a free tool that you might want to check out.
The combination of tools available via the Google Docs suite makes it easy to create surveys and collect the results.
Start by creating the survey in Forms, which provides the structure for just about any type of survey question that you may have.
Another good option will randomly display the responses that participants choose from to help improve the quality of the data.
After you test it out yourself, you can simply post the associated weblink online, via email or any other method you choose to start generating responses.
As the results are collected, they’re chronologically stored in a spreadsheet via Sheets for you to dissect and sort.
It’s really easy, so give it try yourself at https://Google.com/forms
You're probably used to seeing generic email signatures that tell you that the message was sent from one of the popular devices such as an iPhone or Samsung Galaxy.
These default signatures are purposely created so they can get some free exposure from the tens of millions of daily users that haven't figured out how to change the default.
It's clearly working for them as evidenced by the number of messages that we stil see with these free ads at the end.
The good news is that you can change that default signature fairly easily and it may actually provide you with some additional benefits.
If you're in business, you email signature is a great opportunity to do some subliminal marketing by including your website, blog or any contact info you want to distribute to the world.
If you aren't sure how to do it, here are some links for the current and older smartphones:
iPad, iPhone and Android devices: https://www.pcmag.com/news/how-to-change-your-mobile-email-signature
If you spend most of your day in front of a computer screen, finding ambient sounds or music to accompany your work may be beneficial.
The right kind of music can uplift you or get you to focus, but the wrong song can be counterproductive.
Something that likely works for everyone are the ambient sounds of nature.
The sound of rain storms work really well for some, so that's where the website called Rainy Mood comes in: https://Rainymood.com
It's awesome because it's a simple website or app you can use to generate the calming sound of a gentle rain and distant rolling thunder.
If other sounds of nature like the ocean, birds chirping or a gentle wind is more your cup of tea, check into the Calm Sound website: https://calmsound.com
Exploring these sonic enhancements can change your whole work day, so if you don't already have something that works, give these sites a try!
If you're one of the many that loves to travel, it's most likely because you enjoy discovering new experiences that wouldn't be possible at home.
Most of us have been on a trip only to find out about an amazing experience after it's too late to enjoy.
If you've got the time and patience, you can go searching around online to find those unique experiences or try a website specifically designed to help you called Get Your Guide.
It can shorten the amount of time it will take to find great activities and sights for just about any major city in the world that won't be the obvious.
Beyond just getting to know that these experiences exist, the site includes the details you'll need to see if it's well liked, in your budget and what others have to say about it.
It's got various sorting options to help narrow down you choices based on your needs and is a great way to discover awesome activities in foreign countries as well.
Check it out at: https://getyourguide.com
Unless your line of work involves complex mathematics, it's quite likely that your child will bring homework to your attention that will challenge your math skills.
The critical part of solving a math problem isn't getting the answer as much as it is about making sure your student understands how it's solved.
A tool that I've suggest to parents for years to help in this situation is called PhotoMath.
It uses your smartphone's camera to view a math equation and then it shows you how it solved it, step by step.
It's a tool parents can use to help when their child asks them for help on higher level math problems.
It may seem like an easy way for them to cheat, but that's more of a question of their approach to learning as many options exist for them to do so if they're motivated in that way.
It's a parenting tool that takes advantage of all the trappings of the digital age - learn more at: https://photomath.net
Someone asked for an app recommendation so they could record phone conversations on their Android smartphone because they were interested in generating training files for their company.
While this seems like a perfectly normal thing to want to do, I started by warning them that in some states, recording a phone conversation without the consent of all parties on the call could get them into legal trouble.
With this in mind, my first suggestion was to have them check with the state or states that could dictate whether they should be doing this or not.
For those in states that allow call recordings without dual consent, of the various apps that I've tried, one called ‘Call Recorder’ seems to get the job done..
The app, once installed and opened, creates a red dot that floats over the screen when in the phone app which is how you start and stop a recording.
The app will document the time, date, length and the caller ID of the call and generate a file that can be easily shared.
This app has kind of a generic name, so if you're interested in testing it out, here's where to go: http://bit.ly/2Zkue3L
If you check your junk message filter on the regular, you'll notice that a large percentage of messages that you're sent are in there.
The reason that junk email is so common is because it's easy to send and unfortunately is somewhat effective, which is why they've turned to text messaging as another way to annoy us.
Remember, the junk message senders don't care about the laws that any country has to fight their spam, so they'll continue to send junk any way they can.
The good news is that you can help fight the spurge whenever you get spam via text messaging by forwarding the entire message to 7726 which spells spam on your phone's keys.
When you do this, it forwards the critical information to your carrier, which helps them keep others from getting the same message.
This problem isn't going to go away any time soon, but we can all pitch in to help reduce the junk messages that we're likely to get down the road, so do you part!
If you love live music as much as we do, today’s app will be just what the doctor ordered!
Getting tickets to your favorite band’s concerts requires you to be aware that they’re coming to a venue near you and preferably before all the good seats are gone.
A long-standing favorite of ours known as Bands In Town does all the work for music fans that want to see their favorites live.
It’s both a website and an app that can notify you when bands that you like are booked to play a concert nearby.
You don’t have to manually add every band you want to track because they provide a number of ways for you to have your music libraries scanned to compile your list.
It can also help you track the local bookings of any bands that you’ve ‘Liked’ on Facebook.
No more hearing about a great concert from a band you love after the fact from others when you use https://www.bandsintown.com
The process of packing for any trip, whether it’s for business or pleasure can determine how well your trip will go.
Forgetting something important can dramatically impact the quality of your trip, so that’s where an app called Pack Point can come to the rescue.
It’s a pretty cool tool to remind you of the items that you might need based on where you’re going, the upcoming weather and the length of your stay.
You simply answer questions about your upcoming trip for the app to start compiling a list of items based on those answers.
The items that come up in the app as suggestions can be added to your list by tapping on them and then the list can be printed, emailed or texted to others in your traveling group.
It’s a beneficial tool for road warriors and those that rarely travel because it can make sure you’re properly packed: https://www.packpnt.com
One of the techniques for creating stunning photos is to use an expensive camera’s depth of field capability.
That’s where the subject is in perfect focus and the background is blurred and out of focus.
Now, some of the newer more sophisticated smartphones have a portrait mode that provides a similar capability.
If you have an older device or you can’t quite get the images to look right with the limited portrait shooting mode, there’s an app for that!
It’s called After Focus and that is exactly what it allows you to do.
You just drag your finger over the areas that you want in focus and then the areas that you want out of focus to get your results.
It’s a really great option because you can add this effect to any image after you take it: http://appm1.com/afterfocus
Whenever you check into a hotel for either business or pleasure, one of the first things you’ll do is connect to their Wi-Fi in hopes that it will be decent.
Finding out that the hotel you chose has useless Wi-Fi speeds after you’ve checked in is aggravating, so here’s how you can avoid it from now on.
There’s an awesome website called Hotel Wifi Test and it’s created a user-generated database of hotel wifi quality: https://www.HotelWifiTest.com
This means other guests of the hotel have performed actual speed tests and reported their results to the database.
Not only can you avoid hotels with slow speeds, but you can actually find the best speeds in any city before you book your stay.
Everything you’ll want to know about the wifi at any hotel in the database can be found in seconds.
If you decide to start using this for yourself, do your part and test the speeds for others wherever you stay.