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!
Virtual Reality headsets were all the talk of this year’s CES, but something a little more useful for the average consumer was also shown: Augmented Reality.
One shining example of how augmented reality can be useful was from Hyundai with it’s updated Car Care App which is a virtual owner's manual for their vehicles
Any time you get a new car, you can spend weeks, sometimes months figuring out where everything is and how it works.
Hyundai’s app allows you to point your smartphone at any part of the car to get an overlay description of each item and clickable instructional videos.
Where’s the windshield wiper refill under the hood? Where’s the cruise control and how to do you use it? Where’s the tire jack and where do you use it when you get a flat tire?
Augmented reality has been used as a gee-whiz feature in various apps for years, but we’re finally seeing really useful implementations.
Here’s hoping the rest of the automotive industry follows suit!
Smartwatches have struggled to provide true utility for the masses, not to mention they’re expensive gadgets that are very delicate.
At last week’s CES, Casio was showing a smartwatch worth looking at especially if you’re very active outdoors.
The WSD F10 Smart Outdoor Watch is Casio’s first product that uses the Android Wear platform and it’s pretty cool.
Not only does it connect to your smartphone and provide lots of functions outdoor enthusiasts will want, it’s built to last in the most challenging environments.
It’s ruggedized design meets military specifications making it virtually indestructible and water resistant to depths of over 160 feet.
It also has an analog display mode that will stretches battery life up to a month.
If you’ve been waiting to get a smartwatch that can go beyond being a simple extension of your smartphone, watch for Casio’s entry which is expected to hit the market in April.
An average smartphone camera these days has 2 to 3 times the resolution of what was considered state of the art just a few short years ago.
The sophistication of smartphone camera technology has advanced at an amazing pace in recent years.
With these amazing advances comes a first-world problem: large images that are so big they need to be reduced in order to share or post them.
Image file sizes as well as getting the pixel width and height properly set for your social media profiles can help you avoid stretched out or improperly cropped images.
Well, here’s a bookmark alert for whenever you need to make a change to your high resolution images: It’s called WebResizer.com.
The easy to use WebResizer tools allow you to change the file size, exposure, width, height, image quality, contrast, tint, color saturation and makes it simple to rotate or crop images with a few clicks.
There are lots of very sophisticated image manipulation tools on the web, but often times they’re very confusing to use.
If you want a simple one-trick pony that does it’s trick pretty well, bookmark Webresizer.com.
I’ve posted all the link at DataDoctors.com/radio
I can decide what I like more, sunrises and sunsets and that’s why I’ve probably taken over a thousand shots of both in my life!
The problem with attempting these shots is that the lens exposure can only be set for the foreground or the background
The results end up being either a dark silhouette or a blown out sunset because the lens can’t adjust for both at the same time.
To help with this common situation, most camera’s now have a HDR setting, which stands for High Dynamic Range. It’s the best way to get the light right in these situations when you being challenged.
The HDR setting allows your camera to take multiple images in succession, that focus on the foreground and the background separately then combines them.
The built-in HDR option on most smartphones is pretty limited, so checkout an amazing app called Pro HDR
It gives you a lot more control of the final image with a host of adjustment options that will create some of the best shots you’ve ever taken.
I’ve posted the links to Android and iPhone versions of the Pro HDR app at DataDoctors.com/radio
Think about how you use your smartphone in your car these days; it’s become your navigation system and music or podcast source whenever you jump in.
Fumbling around with your smartphone while you’re driving is a recipe for disaster, so getting it setup properly is a must for safety.
If you don’t have a solid smartphone cradle, checkout the unique options for positioning your phone on your dash Kenu.com.
The AirFrame is a simple light holder that clips to the air vents on your dash so that it’s in a better line of sight while you’re driving.
The AirFrame eliminates suction cups, adhesives, magnets or specialized covers and can accommodate just about any kind of phone or phablet.
The AirFrame or AirFrame+ range in price from $25 to $40 depending upon how big your phone is. By the way Kenu is spelled K E N U.
In the winter time if you’re blasting hot air through the vents, you may want to avoid using the AirFrame to avoid overheating your phone.
But most of all, no texting while driving please!
Whenever we want to learn anything about anything these days we turn to Google but when a problem pops up on your computer you need to be very careful.
A growing problem with Google searches is that fake tech support companies are posing as legitimate companies in order to victimize unsuspecting people.
Searching for ‘McAfee Antivirus Tech Support’ for instance will display,
many companies posing as tech support that have nothing to do with the software company.
They also know that if they post toll free numbers in the ads themselves, many people will just call the number when it comes up in a search result without ever clicking the ad to checkout the company first.
The bottom line is that you can’t trust companies just because they show up in Google as scammers have figured out how to game the system.
Here’s a tip to make sure you’re getting the legitimate resource for support from any company: manually type their address and add slash support to the end.
For instance, for McAfee you’d type mcafee.com/support to go directly to their support page.
I’ve got more tips for avoiding this growing scam posted at DataDoctors.com/radio
Those beautiful images where something in the foreground is in clear focus while everything in the background is blurred is described as depth of field, which can create visually stunning images.
Expensive DSLR cameras are awesome because of the depth of field that the lenses can provide.
If you are not ready to part with a stack of cash in order to get these killer shots, you should explore some of the smartphone background defocus apps that are available.
Start by checking for the HDR option in your smartphone’s native camera app as many have it built-in.
If your phone doest have the option, checkout an app called AfterFocus that’s available for both Android and iPhone users.
Afterfocus allows you to change the focus after you take the picture by dragging your finger over the areas that you want to be blurred and the areas that you want in focus.
This app’s pretty easy to use, so it doesn’t take long to get the hang of how it works.
For some really interesting shots, try choosing multiple items in the shot that are blurred and in focus!
Every hacker knows every password for every router on the market through sites like http://www.RouterPasswords.com which has led to a new threat to your security.
Internet security researchers have discovered an attack that’s sent via e-mail that allows cyber thieves to sneak into routers if they are still using the default password.
The wireless router in your home is the primary line of defense against common Internet threats, by preventing the outside world from having direct access to your computers.
Unfortunately, most people haven’t addressed a major security issue because they’ve left the administrative username and password at the factory defaults.
We’re not talking about the wifi access code, we mean the username and password that allows you to make changes to any part of the security device.
If they get in, they can change any setting they want, and monitor all your activity so they can steal online usernames and passwords for any of your online accounts.
And this isn’t something that your security software can detect or prevent from happening if you are targeted.
The only protection is to change the default password, so if you don’t know how, get some help.
If you’ve ever seen RSS on a website and wondered what it means, then today’s tip is for you!
RSS stands for Rich Site Summary or Real Simple Syndication and it’s a way to get information as it’s updated.
Just about every news or information site has an RSS feed that if you can tap into as long as you have an RSS reader.
If you’ve never played with RSS, you should checkout a website called http://feedly.com.
Feedly is one of the easiest and most powerful RSS tools available and also has an app for both iPhone and Android users.
You start by searching for sites you want to connect to based on topics or by directly searching by the name of a resource. Once you add it to your reading list, Feedly will automatically update any information published each site.
It’s essentially a customized dynamic newspaper of sorts that only provides you with information you’re interested in reading.
It’s really awesome! Give it try at http://feedly.com
How many different ways to you communicate with all the contacts in your smartphone?
Phone calls, text mesages, email, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Twitter, Instagram, Skype and the list goes on right?
Generally we have to remember which method is the best way to communicate with each of our contacts and manually go to each app.
Well if you use an Android smartphone, I’ve got a pretty cool solution to this growing communication problem.
It’s called Drupe D R U P E and it presents your contacts and all your communication apps together on one screen.
With Drupe, you simply drag your contact over to the communication app of your choice to reach out to them...it’s so much more efficient.
It can even work with your calendar, Google Maps, reminders and payment systems such as Paypal and Venmo.
It makes so much more sense, since interacting with your contacts has gone way beyond basic messaging.
Check it out for yourself at http://www.getdrupe.com
If you anyone on your team is responsible for social media posts, there’s a new app from Adobe that could really come in handy.
Adobe Post is a free app that allows you to create layered graphics on the fly with an iPhone or iPad.
Much like you can with Photoshop, Post gives you lots of flexibility in choosing the right font, layering text over graphics and making it just the right size.
Anyone in social marketing knows that the right image can dramatically improve engagement and with the huge growth of Instagram, getting your images right is becoming more important every day.
Adobe Post isn’t meant to replace your high-powered desktop tools, it’s simply an easy way to create solid marketing images when you’re on the go.
And unlike so many other mobile apps, you can reuse and re-edit any of the designs you come up with.
At the moment, it’s an iOS only app, but Adobe says it’s working on an Android version.
Did you hear? Mark Zuckerberg is giving away his money to 1000 lucky Facebook users. He’s ready to unload 45 billion dollars and you could be one of the lucky ones if you just copy and paste this message yourself!
Isn’t amazing that so many of your Facebook friends still fall for those ridiculous hoaxes and become copy-paste zombies when they see something they think everyone should know.
Part of the problem is that too many people assume that since their friend posted it, the information must be true and safe to repost.
One misguided post can quickly get out of hand when everyone becomes a copy - paste Zombie.
We’ve seen it so many times, we decided to create a fun warning video that we use whenever we see friends and family posting things they didn’t bother to checkout first.
The next time you see someone turning into a copy - paste zombie, feel free to use our fun little video yourself which I’ve posted at DataDoctors.com/radio
If you want to start the new year with a new face, today’s tip is for you.
When I say a new face, I actually mean a new face.
An iPhone app called Face Swap Live can actually take two people and swap their faces in real-time.
You don’t have to master Photoshop anymore if you want to transpose faces.
This might actually be one of the creepest apps I’ve ever suggested, but it is kind of fun.
Simply use the front facing camera through the app and get two people on the screen and it will automagically swap your faces.
Another fun face swap option is with existing photos of celebrities or any image you want to upload.
Want to see what you’d look like as The Donald, Richard Nixon or Abe Lincoln?
The app really shows off just how sophisticated the technology is in a smartphone
Just search for Face Swap Live in the Apple App Store; It’s a whole lot of fun for 99 cents
If you’re one of the millions that has cut the cord on cable or satellite, you know that one of things you gave up was a channel guide.
If your now watching content from a myriad of services like Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, HBO Now, you have to search each one of them to find a certain show or movie.
Well the folks at Yahoo are trying to address this first world problem with an app called Yahoo Video Guide, which is a sort of TV Guide for the cord-cutting generation.
The basic idea is to assist in the hunting side of these services as you can search across all the services at once when you’re looking for a specific show or episode.
You can also discover lots of other shows and movies through their featured or mood picker section, which present you with lots of suggestions based on what you’re in the mood for.
The Yahoo Video Guide app is free for both iPhone and Android users.
Tis the season to be gathering and if music is an essential part of your gatherings, I’ve got a democratic method for deciding what music gets played.
It’s a cool add-on service to Spotify called Festify and unlike other apps, it doesn’t require everyone at your party to download a special app.
Festify requires that you have a Spotify Premium account, which you can get right now for 99 cents for three months.
Once you setup Festify on a computer that is connected to your sound system, you simply give your guests a web link and a party code to attach to your partly playlist.
Your guests can use their smartphones to add any song that exists in the Spotify catalogue or vote songs up that are already on the playlist.
You can even send out the info in advance of your party so everyone can add their favorite songs before they arrive.
It’s the slickest group party DJ app that I’ve ever used.
Learn all about it at http://getfestify.com
Electronic gadgets are amongst the most popular gift items during the holiday season, but often times, they’re pretty expensive.
If you’re looking for an amazing holiday gift that won’t break the bank and will amaze techies and non-techies alike, I’ve got the perfect thing: Google Cardboard!
I’ve talked about this wonderful way to experience virtual reality in the past and if you’ve never seen it in action, I promise you, it will be the hit of any holiday gift giving party.
Google Cardboard is nothing more than a small kit that turns just about any smartphone into a virtual reality headset.
There are a bunch of amazing apps that range from concert videos with Paul McCartney to virtual field trips with the Expeditions app.
You can even watch 360 degree YouTube videos using Google Cardboard that will totally immerse you into what you’re watching.
For 15 to 30 dollars you can get one of the coolest gifts around or even make it yourself at https://google.com/cardboard.
By now, you’ve most likely heard about the controversy surrounding the so-called hoverboards that have been catching on fire all around the world.
The likely cause is from shoddy assembly processes from cheap Chinese manufacturers that dump untested products on the world’s markets in hopes of cashing in on a fad.
Improperly matching a charging system with lithium ion batteries is a recipe for disaster, and that seems to be one of the major issues with these hoverboards.
The lesson to be learned applies to everything you charge that has a lithium ion battery: make sure you’re using the proper charger.
We routinely see laptop owners with a multitude of problems because they purchased a cheap universal charger when their original charger went bad.
Not only can a mismatched charger cause overheating, it can shorten the life of your battery.
If you ever detect bulging or excessive heat from any of your batteries, especially while charging, you should stop using them and have them inspected or replaced.
LinkedIn has grown to be the defacto social network for business people and has become a favorite tool of recruiters as well.
But, as always, where there’s honey, there are flies.
Scammers are using fake LinkedIn profiles that appear to be recruiters in order to gather information on potential victims.
One of the goals of this gathering of data is to perpetrate spear phishing scams, which have a higher likelyhood of working.
Basically, the catfish scam has come to LinkedIn so you need to use the same tactics for sniffing them out.
Usually the picture on the profile was taken from stock images or real people, so doing an image search can be a quick of way of uncovering the scammers.
Either Google’s Image Search or the tools at http://www.tineye.com can quickly show you if the image appears elsewhere on the Internet.
The next time you’re not sure about a LinkedIn request, take a minute to do a little private detective work first.
Getting together with a group to discuss ideas that end up on a whiteboard or chalkboard usually requires someone to transpose the notes afterwards.
If you find yourself spending a lot of time gathering notes after meetings, there’s an app called Office Lens that you may want to check out.
Microsoft’s Office Lens makes it quick and easy to take a picture of any whiteboard or document and convert it into a PDF, Word or Powerpoint file.
It can digitize all your notes and even cleans up the image if you’re shooting from an angle.
The first time you shoot an off angle picture, you’ll be amazed how well the app works.
Once you’ve captured it, you can save and share it on various Microsoft systems that including OneNote and OneDrive or just save it as a document or picture.
It’s also a great way to capture business cards and keep them organized.
Office Lens is free and available for iPhone, Android and Windows Phone users
Shooting video with your smartphone is a growing trend, especially with all of the easy ways to share it afterwards.
Most of you have lots of image editing apps for when you take pictures, but when it comes to video, it’s generally shoot and upload.
Video editing can seem overwhelming if you’ve never done it, but there’s a simple app that can dramatically improve the quality of your smartphone videos.
It’s called Adobe Premiere Clip and it’s pretty fantastic, because you don’t really have to know anything about video editing to use it.
Simply upload one or several video clips to the app and either choose the automatic mode to have it generate a video with a soundtrack or go freeform so you can trim, sequence and manually edit your video.
The learning curve is pretty short and it will make all your video posts much more interesting.
The Adobe Premiere Clip app is free and available for iPhone and Android users from the associated app stores.
Understanding your financial situation and planning for retirement is something that we all know we need to do, but it can get overwhelming if you’re trying to manually track everything.
One tool that I recently tried that simplifies the tracking of all of my various accounts is at https://www.personalcapital.com.
In a very short time, I was able to put together a dashboard that shows me everything in one place.
It gives you simple tools to see your net worth, analyze your portfolio and do some ‘what if’ planning for the future so you can get a clear understanding of what retirement might look like.
This isn’t a tool for active traders, it’s for those that have to go to multiple places to gather their financial information and want a more concise way to do it.
There’s even a great mobile app, so you can quickly review everything, every day wherever you are.
Check out this free tool at https://www.personalcapital.com.