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 popularity of smartphones and tablets continue to grow primarily for one simple reason: apps!
Anyone thinking about creating apps for their organization generally runs into a budgeting problem, so today’s tip is for those facing this common hurdle.
A startup called ‘AppMachine’ has created a platform that allows anyone to simply create mobile apps in a few minutes even without any coding experience.
This simple Do-It-Yourself builder isn’t going to create apps like a professional app builder would, but for those that want to create a truly simple app, it’s worth checking out.
Their site shows examples for musicians, restaurants, athletes, healthcare, tourism and many others. If you have an app idea, this easy approach may be just what you need.
Using the app builder is free but you will have to pay monthly fees if you decide to submit your app to the various app stores.
Start building your first app or learn much more at http://appmachine.com
The awesome blockbuster summer movie season is in swing and ducking into an air-conditioned theater with a tall cool beverage is ab excellent way to escape the heat.
Today we remind you of one of our classic tips that will help when that massive drink causes you to need the loo in the middle of the movie.
RunPee is a free app that lets you know when the most opportune times are to run to restroom during the movie.
Rather than randomly guessing when to go, the app will vibrate your smartphone during slow portions of the movie so you can avoid missing important scenes during your restroom break.
The app finds 3 to 5 minutes of the movie that are less important to the story so you’ll not miss funny, exciting or crucial moments important to the movie’s plot.
Parents will love using RunPee to be pre-emptive with your child’s bathroom breaks to avoid missing anything important.
Runpee provides you with a brief overview of what you missed while you were away, so no whisper updates are required from your friends.
RunPee works for iPhone and Android users and can be downloaded all at https://RunPee.com
We have come to expect a high level of performance whenever we connect to the Internet so when things don’t go the way we’ve come to expect, frustration is sure to set in.
When you don’t know if it’s the computer you’re using, the connection or any of a number of other confusing possibilities such as a DNS issue or a firewall preventing your access can make solving this common problem complicated.
This issue can be even more problematic when you’re on the road, especially when you have a deadline and are forced to use a connection at a hotel or coffee shop with questionable service.
A diagnostic from Google for their Chrome browser can help demystify your connection issues. It’s called the ‘connectivity diagnostic browser app’ and it can be a quick way to diagnose most of the issues that can impact connectivity.
Once installed in your browser, you can click on it and a thorough test is run which checks nine connectivity items and then it lets you know which one may be causing your problem.
Even when you have no idea what the tool is telling you, the info will be useful if you have to call someone for help!
Get it here:
Apple's iPad has always been a wonderful tool for both education & entertainment, but used improperly, they'll tend to keep youngsters from interacting in the real world.
Anyone with kids and an iPad should checkout the Osmo interactive platform which combines the digital world and the physical world using the iPad as a base.
It provides educational game play by using physical items that will interact with the app which extends the activities outside of the physical iPad.
The basic components of the platform are the stand and a plastic cover with a mirror in it, which sits over the iPad's front-facing camera. This is what allows the app to see items on the surface directly in front of the iPad's display.
The startup kit offers various activities ranging from word games to puzzles, but I really like the Masterpiece activity.
Think of it as a 'virtual lightbox' allowing young aspiring artists to trace out items displayed on the screen to the paper right in front of the iPad.
The Osmo platform is for kids six or older, with all the details at https://PlayOsmo.com
What are the chances that you’ll do something really worth remembering today?
That is the question that the ‘1 Second Every Day’ app is designed to make you answer.
It was inspired by a gentleman named Cesar Kuriyama who decided to record a year-long trip by simply recording 1 second of video each day.
When he completed the compilation, it allowed him to easily recall lots of moments of that year that for most of us would just drifted away.
It may sound a little crazy at first, but it can be an awesome way to document a the many events in your life in a way that is a lot easier to digest.
Simply viewing a one second video can easily take you back to an entire day of memories.
Anyone going on a summer vacation will find this an easy way to record what you did each and every day in a short but enjoyable video form.
It’s essentially a way to make a short documentary video that you will most fully appreciate.
Checkout the original video that inspired the app and download it as well at: 1secondeveryday.com
One of the many ways that today's Internet has become so dangerous to use is because of something called 'scripts'.
Scripts are essentially good technology, something like a macro in a word processor. It's just a simple list of commands that will automatically run when you visit certain websites.
These helpful scripts range from creating animations to delivering ads, but unfortunately, they are also used to tell your computer to run dangerous commands, silently in the background.
A solid way to avoid becoming the victim of rogue scripts is to install a popular Firefox add-on called NoScript.
'NoScript' stops any script from running unless it is being generated at a trusted website that you have confirmed is OK, which allows you to slowly customize the tool.
Many scripts are helpful and need to be run in order for specific functions to properly work, so the add-on puts you in ultimate control over when and if they run.
Keep in mind, the NoScript add-on is an open-source free tool, so it will require you to spend the time so you understand how it works, but from a security standpoint, it is time well spent.
Learn more at https://noscript.net
Anyone that's used their iPhone for a while is likely to have an enormous number of old pictures on their camera roll.
And it's also likely that a good percentage of those images are useless or meh images that you really don't want, but you have not taken the time to delete them.
As brilliant as the iPhone may be, getting rid of a lot of images on it really isn’t very easy when you're needing to see them with more than just a thumbnail.
An app for iPhones called 'Cleen', makes the task of getting through the camera roll to delete unwanted images a lot faster.
This free app shows the images in full size and uses swiping gestures to efficiently determine what you want to do with each image.
You will swipe up when you want to keep them, down when you want to delete them and to the left when aren't sure what you want to do putting it into a 'do-it-later' queue.
When you are done with a session, you just tap the trashcan to delete them all the junk at once!
Google Maps is an obvious go-to when you're connected to the Internet and a lot less useful when you aren’t.
If you happen to know where you are going to be and you know it won't have access, you can in advance download offline maps, but that doesn't help if you don't.
If you know you'll be in this situation frequently, the 'Maps.me' app will allow you to have offline maps for entire countries or regions which will provide detailed info when you're not able to get online.
As with all mapping apps, it provides basic directions from your location to the destination of your choice without any type of signal.
It's an excellent electronic version of those old-school paper maps without dealing with the ‘get it folded back properly’ problem.
With over 300 countries and islands available in the app, it’s a really helpful app for any international travelers.
It different from Google Maps functionality, so be sure to play with it before you get to your destination.
The free app works with Android and iPhone handsets, so check it out at: https://maps.me/download
Basic smartphone-based translation apps have been around for years but my all time favorite has always been 'WordLens' because it could visually translate words through your smartphone camera.
Google acquired the company quite a while ago and they did 2 things that I really like: they made it free and they incorporated it into the powerful 'Google Translate' app.
This one app can provide visual word translations as well as handwriting and spoken translations.
Beyond using your phone's camera to perform real-time word translations, you can use your mic to translate speech or use the handwriting recognition and keyboard to translate what you want to say.
As translation goes, it isn't perfect and will always work best with short phrases, but it's incredibly helpful, nonetheless.
The instant translation works with a varitey of languages including English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish any many more languages that will help you navigate foreign lands.
Anyone planning to visit a foreign country this summer should download and practice using the most current version of the Google Translate app before you head out on your adventure!
Reminders from our smartphones have become a critical component of our daily lives, but most users seem to set reminders based on time only.
I find that setting reminders more based on a location comes in very handy as well.
For example, iPhone users can ask Siri to ‘remind me to buy air filters when I am at Home Depot’ provided they have a ‘Home Depot’ address set up in their address book.
For you Android user, you can ask Google Now to do the same thing, but because it is highly integrated with ‘Google Maps’, you won’t necessarily have to have the location in your address book.
If you set a Home Depot reminder and choose ‘any location’, you will get a pop-up notification when you enter any Home Depot, which is much more useful.
iPhone smartphone users can also use Google Now through the Google Search app, if they want to use location reminders for locations outside of what’s in their address book.
If you’ve never used location-based reminders, when you do, you will wonder how you’ve ever lived without using them.
We have all seen useful video captured by dash cams that are in taxis, police cruisers and even from citizens that have them in their cars.
These videos can be very handy in many instances, but they can be expensive or complicated, but did you know that you could use your Android phone?
Using the DailyRoad Voyager app turns Android smartphones into a dash cam, provided you install a mount for your phone as well.
Once the app is activated, it will auto-record everything right onto a SD expansion card, but then only critical events will be saved for future reference.
You choose those critical events by simply touching the screen, which is very handy should you ever get in an accident or are a witness to an accident.
The app can also auto-tag locations for photos and videos and when you’d like to share various travel videos with others, you can simply upload them to the DailyRoads website.
There are other potential uses that you may find interesting at: http://DailyRoads.com
Inexpensive and easy to install home automation devices were everywhere once again at this year’s CES with many more companies promoting their special systems.
It’s no doubt that low-cost and the easy to install options can be very interesting, choosing a limited platform can cause integration problems down the road.
Anyone that’s seriously considering any Do-It-Yourself home automation devices should look for platforms with open standards that support a large variety of gadgets that are on the market.
I continue to favor the SmartThings platform because they’ve created a more open system that also works with lots of different popular automation devices including Phillips Hue lightbulbs and Belkin WeMo devices.
Another benefit to the platform is that anyone who’s using it can create custom uses and share it with the rest of the SmartThings community.
But be warned: all of these automation devices work off of your wireless network, so it is essential to setup security protocols on your wireless network before you begin to add devices.
Learn more about the SmartThings platform at http://www.smartthings.com
If your vehicle begins generating strange noises, you’ll be sure to pay attention, right?
If you said yes, then you should start doing the same with your computer as those new noises could be a big warning that your device is about to meltdown.
No matter if it’s a grinding, whirring and/or buzzing sound, it is most likely the sign that one of your computer’s moving parts is beginning to wear out.
For example, your cooling fans are a common point of failure and when they stop making noise, it generally means the fan stopped spinning altogether, leading to a meltdown.
Heat is a primary threat to any of your electronics, so when cooling fans to stop spinning it’s the equivalent to your car’s radiator being empty while the motor is running.
If you should ever hear a clicking sound, and your computer won’t start up, your first reaction should be to immediately shut it off and seek help. Most clicking sounds coming from your computer could mean your hard drive is failing.
Trying to repeatedly restart a clicking computer in an effort to try to get it to work can often cause irreparable damage. This type of damage often leads to permanent data loss, so you should be extra careful when you hear any clicking sound.
Checkout more of our tips on noises at http://www.datadoctors.com/help/columns/21814
Anyone investigating investment strategies knows that the Web is an endless bucket of advice that can range from just tossing darts at a list to sophisticated algorithms that claim to track millions of variables.
If you’re still in search for a reliable resource, have you thought about tracking what billionaires do with their investments?
Well, the ‘iBillionaire’ app does just that; it analyzes the investment portfolios of many famous billionaires like Warren Buffett and Carl Icahn.
It can provide insights into investment strategies used by leading hedge fund managers as well, which can help you confirm your strategies or learn new approach with a different stock invested in by the billionares every day.
These investment strategies are primarily based on the ‘billionaire index’ which was created back in 2013.
If you’re looking for better investment decisions by gleaning from successful billionaires, you should checkout the free iBillionaire app.
If you’d like to compare your portfolio to the world’s wealthiest investors, you can download the app for iPhone and Android smartphones from their associated app stores.
As a travel buff, I’m constantly searching for useful travel apps, so when my wife says she has discovered an amazing travel app, I sit up and listen.
My spouse is a very detail oriented trip planner and most of my past suggestions for apps feel flat for her.
The app she discovered is called ‘Trip Rider’ and if it impressed my in-house travel agent spouse, I knew that I should take a look.
The app is designed to track and store every possible detail of our travels in one place but remains flexible, which makes changes to your itinerary an easy thing to handle.
If you add simple notes before, during and after your trip, the app easily creates a travel journal of your adventures.
It also includes a digital wallet for your important travel documents, like ID cards, passports & credit cards.
Even if you’re an occasional traveler, the http://triprider.com app is awesome.
One of the most common things we hear these days is "damn auto-correct"!
It's one of those love-hate situations with autocorrect, but this tip may help see it more from the 'love' side of the ledger.
Did you know that you can 'hack' your autocorrect to turn it into your own personal shorthand. which is very useful for commonly used chunks of text.
For instance, you can add your address to your autocorrect databases by using abbreviations, such as ADRS as your shortcut.
Once added, you simply type ‘adrs’ and tap the space bar which will cause your address to suddenly pop-up with a minimum of keystrokes.
Every device using autocorrect from your word processor to or your smartphone, can be hacked to make them much more useful.
There's realistically no limit to the number of hacks that can be added, as long as you remember to not use any real words as your shortcut.
Bonus Tip: Use numbers & letters to create shortcuts that aren't real words!
Tabbed browsers have dramatically changed the way we surf the web because it allows us pull up multiple websites in a single browsing session.
But this convenience allows us to get carried away opening way too many tabs, which takes up a lot of memory. That's why it’s prudent to close tabs that you no longer need to keep your Internet browsing to slow to a crawl.
As a result of this housekeeping, you'll likely close the wrong tab on various occasions, which can result in scanning your History file to figure out which site it was that you still wanted to read.
Today's tech tip is an excellent solution to the inadvertent closing browser tabs.
When it happens, just press the Ctrl-Shift keys (Command-Shift for Macs) and tap the letter 'T' in any of the popular browsers.
When you do, it'll re-open the last tab that was closed automatically reappear bypassing the major hassle of searching your browser history file.
Whenever you want to re-open more than one closed tab, just keep tapping the same key combination & they too will magically re-appear in the order that you closed em!
Today’s tip is on a subject that's a bit uncomfortable: passing away
Now that most of our daily activities are tied up in online accounts, should you meet with an untimely passing, your survivors could be confronted with a time-consuming set of tasks while grieving.
Should you pass without providing a survivor with access to your passwords, the process for gaining access to locked online accounts will be different for each account, so the it becomes both time consuming and frustrating.
Remember, sophisticated security measures are in place designed to keep hackers out of your accounts and will become just a much of a hurdle should your family need to attempt to regaining access.
Keeping passwords in safety deposit boxes or using a secure password management program can be a good option, but remember that passwords tend to change over time.
The single most important password that you need to leave for your family is for your email account, because they can use it for sending password reset requests from all your locked accounts.
The party responsible for managing your affairs will also be able to use your e-mail account to learn the various online accounts you've used in the past and get passwords reset sent to get in.
It’s not natural to think about death, but it is the reality that we all should be considering when it comes to our digital assets.
Your smartphone’s camera technology has advanced so much in a relatively short period of time, if you think about it.
The image capturing capability of today’s average smartphone camera is 2 to 3 times the resolution of what would have been a top-of-the-line camera just 10 years ago.
But, super high resolutions means much larger file sizes and often times these huge files need to be reduced in the size in order to e-mail them or post them online.
Reducing huge images to an precise pixel width & height is also very important when you’re creating profile images for your various social media accounts.
The next time you’re in need of some simple adjustments to large images you’ve generated, check out a web-based tool called http://WebResizer.com
The WebResizer tool allows you to change everything from the width, the height, the file size, the image quality, the exposure, the contrast to the tint and color saturation while also making it quick to crop or rotate the images too.
http://www.Webresizer.com is a really simple a one-trick-pony tool and it does its one trick very nicely.
Sweetie, I have something on my smartphone that I need to print!
My wife’s recent request reminded me of a tip from years gone by that’s even more useful today.
We’re all using some sort of Google-based service on a regular basis, so including their tool that allows you to print anything from just about anywhere is a no-brainer.
With any type of Google account, you can setup any printer connected to your computer to be available to you via the Web.
Once you’ve set it up, you can print from any smartphone, laptop or tablet to your Google Cloud printer. You can even send print jobs from your work computer to your home printer using their system.
You can also allow others to print to your cloud printer - say a visiting friend or someone experiencing a printing problem with their primary printer.
Google’s web printing system works whether your printer is cloud-ready or not and it supports the printing from a wide number of apps.
To get setup with this incredibly useful tool, checkout http://Google.com/cloudprint
Your mobile devices are likely to be a ‘digital pacifier’ in most households today because, frankly speaking, they keep kids occupied.
It can be very effective in crowded restaurants or in any situation that keeping a restless child from turning disruptive is the goal.
But giving a small child full-access to the entire contents of your smartphone is a pretty bad idea, so you need to learn how to 'childproof’ devices before you hand them over.
The Android and iPhone platforms have lots of built-in option available that will control user access but they need to be turned on, but so many people don’t seem to be aware of how to do it.
You can control what apps the child can use, limit Internet access, lock down purchasing options and block the famous ‘in-app purchases’ if you just take a few minutes to set things setup.
They all have their own setup options and procedures, so if you need guidance, here’s a good starting point:
iPhone and Android: http://www.pcworld.com/article/2921718/2-easy-ways-to-child-proof-your-android-or-ios-device.html