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!
If you’re one of the millions that butchers song lyrics because you don’t actually know what they are, today’s tip is for you!
If you thought Elton John was singing ‘hold me closer, Tony Danza’ and Jimmy Hendrix was not saying ‘excuse me while I kiss this guy’ you need to checkout the Musixmatch app.
Musixmatch, which is spelled M U S I X match does a pretty solid job of grabbing song lyrics for just about any song and display the lyrics while the song is playing.
You do need to be connected to the Internet in order for it to pull the lyrics down, but the bandwidth it uses is pretty minimal.
Another cool feature of the app is the ability to get lyrics of a song that’s playing in the background, say at a restaurant or club. Just tap to have it listen and viola, you’re suddenly singing the right words!
Musixmatch is free and available for both iPhone and Android users.
If you’re an avid iPhone fan, you probably jumped for joy when Apple finally released a large screen option back in 2014.
But not everyone is excited with the larger screen because it turned what used to be a one-handed device into a two-handed device, especially if you have small hands.
So the dilemma becomes screen size versus the latest features.
If you’ve held off updating your iPhone because you’re not really all that excited about the larger screen, there’s a chance that a new option may be in the works.
Various rumors are circulating that a 4 inch version of the iPhone with many of the latest features may be available in the early part of 2016.
Faster processors and Apple Pay are only currently available if you’re willing to step up to a larger screen, but that may change in the near future.
If you’re on the fence about upgrading to a larger screen, hold off for little whle to see what shakes out.
There’s been a lot of buzz on the Internet about how Christmas lights can cause problems for your wifi network.
While it’s technically possible, the likelihood of this actually being the cause of any wifi problem is pretty low.
Make sure you’re not plugging your string of lights into the same outlet as your wifi router to play it safe and if you think there’s a chance that they are interferring, it’s pretty easy to figure it out.
Just test your connection speeds with and without them plugged in at a site like http://speedtest.net.
Wifi signals are much more likely to be impacted by microwave ovens, cordless phones, baby monitors or your neighbors competing wifi router.
If you’re wifi router doesn’t have the ability to automatically find the least congested channel, the best channels to try are 1, 6 and 11 because they have the least amount of overlap.
For Anroid users, there’s a free app called WiFi Analyzer that can also help.
It’s the holiday shopping season, and lots of us are buying as much as we can online to avoid the insanity in the stores.
When you buy things online, they’re often delivered to your front door while you’re at work, which has led to a new type of crime: Porch Pirating.
Porch Pirates often follow delivery vehicles around neighborhoods to stake out the best items to nab after they determine that no one is home.
To avoid becoming a victim, consider having your packages delivered to a neighbor that you know will be home or where you work, if possible.
You may also be able to provide special delivery instructions when you make the purchase or post a note at your door if you have a safer place for them to leave the package.
If you get a lot of packages delivered to your door throughout the year, consider setting up a motion detecting webcam that automatically records activity and sends your phone an alert.
Whenever there’s breaking news, it’s not uncommon for us all to jump onto Google to try to get more details.
Most people believe they can trust whatever comes up on a Google search, but I’m here to tell you that you can’t and you shouldn’t, especially when there’s breaking news.
Malicious groups routinely target breaking news stories with fake news sites, often times claiming to have exclusive pictures of the event.
They can also place rigged sites through sponsored links which can appear to be the first link.
Google does its best to police this activity, but it’s nearly impossible to catch everything that gets thrown at them.
The best way to avoid this type of scam is to stick to your trusted news sources instead of doing a Google search.
Bookmark your favorite news sites on your computer and smartphone or use news apps if they’re available.
Scammers study our behavior so they can target us, so this is one behavior that you should consider changing.
Surveys are an integral part of just about any business these days and there are no shortage of options available.
While services such as https://www.surveymonkey.com provide a lot of great features, unless you need to send out surveys on a regular basis, it may be overkill.
If you’re looking for a great alternative, there’s actually a free and easy option in Google Docs.
You can use Google Forms to create quick surveys using nine different question types that include text, checkboxes and multiple choice.
You can randomly shuffle the order of responses to help improve the quality of the data and include required questions.
Once you finish creating the survey, simply use the URL on a web post or in an email to generate responses.
The results are posted to a Google spreadsheet which allows for basic sorting of the collected data.
The next time you need to create a simple survey quickly, go to https://Google.com/forms
If you take a lot of photos with your smartphone, you probably have plenty of apps that allow you to change the brightness, contrast and color or add any number of filters.
Your smartphone probably has a pretty decent camera on it, but the wide angle lense can sometimes distort lines in some of your images.
Well, if you want a way to easily fix the distortion, there’s an app for that...it’s called SKRWT and it’s spelled S K R W T.
It bills itself as the missing link in high end smartphone photography.
The SKRWT app makes it pretty easy to adjust your images on the horizontal and vertical planes, which allow you to take the curvature from wide angle lenses out of your shot.
For 99 cents, it’ll be a one trick pony amongst your photography apps.
There’s also a mirroring app from the same company that looks pretty cool, so if your interested go to http://skrwt.com to learn more!
I recently had a parent tell me how proud he was of his daughter who was in her first year of college because she started an investment account.
His pride was really because he convinced her to start using the Acorns app, and it apparently worked for them.
Acorns automatically invests your spare change by using the rounding up method whenever you make a purchase.
It takes the rounded up change and invests it through it’s parent company, Acorn Advisors, which is an SEC registered investment advisor.
It’s really an interesting way to get younger people started on their investment portfolio, because there are no fees for anyone under 24. It’s also free for any aged student that has a .edu email address.
Once you setup the account, you choose one of five investment strategies that range from aggressive to conservative.
If you’re the parent of a twenty something and want to get them started on their investment portfolio, checkout the Acorns app at https://www.acorns.com
Yesterday, I talked about a Family Protection app for kids that use an iPhone, so today I wanted to provide parents of Android using kids an app.
It’s called Lock2Learn and it’s designed to encourage children that use Android smartphones and tablets to learn things in order to continue using their devices.
It works by periodically asking grade specific questions that your child has to properly answer in order to continue using the device.
Lock2Learn is attempting to make device obsession more productive for children in kindergarten through eighth grade by focusing its questions on math and English.
Parents can choose an interval that ranges from two to sixty minutes and can ask up to ten questions in order for their child to continue.
It’s an automated way for them to earn the privilege to use the device and provides parents with the opportunity to engage with them when they don’t know that answer to a question.
The Lock2Learn is free and available in the Google Play Store.
The iPhone and iPad have become ubiquitous devices in many homes with younger children and managing what they can do on them is important.
Apple provides some pretty solid parental controls, but if you’re looking for a more extensive solution, you may want to check out Intego’s Family Protector app.
It gives parents a lot more control over when and what a child uses on any iPhone or iPad, that can be remotely managed and monitored.
You can block in-app purchases, undesirable websites, disable the camera and facetime and view logs to make sure you know where they are going online.
You can also automatically lock devices during mealtimes or after bedtime to eliminate distractions.
For older kids, you can remotely lock down the device until your child checks in with you when they’re unresponsive.
You can try out the service for 14 days and if you like it, it’ll cost you $5 a month for up to 15 devices at http://www.intego.com
There are so many ways to discover new music these days through all of the streaming services that are available like Pandora and Spotify.
Youtube is actually a great place to listen to and discover new music if you don’t mind navigating around cat videos and ridiculous prank videos.
Well Google realized that it needed to make music discovery on YouTube easier, so they recently released a new app called YouTube Music which filters out all of the junk.
Once you download the app, you can easily find music videos, live concert recordings and even instructional videos that show you how to play your favorite songs.
YouTube Music has licensed over 30 million tracks that you can search or they’ll suggest daily playlists for you.
You can also switch to audio only mode to save bandwidth and play the music in the background while using other apps.
You can download the free app for your iPhone or Android smartphone at https://music.youtube.com
If the people gathering for your Thanksgiving meal aren’t all that interested in watching football after the big feast, you may want to checkout an app called Brainstorm.
Brainstorm is a group party app that runs on your tablet to allow two teams to compete as a group with many popular classic types of game play.
We all grew up playing one of many group games like pictionary and charades and for 3 bucks, you’ll get 9 categories of game play that include everything from charades to draw it games, trivia or memory based challenges and more.
It’s like having multiple party games at your fingertips that should keep the non-football watching group entertained for a good while.
If you’re looking for a way to fight off the sleepy effects of the big feast, Brainstorm might be able to help.
By the way, the L-tryptophan in turkey isn’t what makes you sleepy. Look it up!
The Brainstorm app is available for both iOS and Android users
Our national obsession with professional football has led to fantasy football leagues that range from one week to the entire season.
For many fans, fantasy football adds meaning to meaningless games, which is one of the reasons that it’s so popular with both the league and fans.
Well, to add another dimension to the fantasy of being part of the game, a company called iPro has created a real-time prediction app called ringit! Pro
ringit! Pro is a play-by-play fantasy app that lets you predict the next play while you’re watching live games.
You compete with others by racking up points for making the right picks throughout the game.
It’s a fast paced game that allows you to think like a coach during the game and compete with your fellow fanatics.
iPhone users can download the app from the App Store, but Android users can only download it directly from their website so you may want to wait until it’s available in the Google Play Store.
If you’re a business traveler and have ever used Uber, you know that it’s easy to accidentally use your personal credit card if you’re not paying close attention.
Keeping your personal and business uses of Uber just got a lot easier with their new Business Profiles option.
You can now create separate profiles in the Uber app and easily toggle between them before scheduling a pickup.
They’re also adding new functionality like entering expense memos or project codes, sending receipts for business rides to your work email address and weekly or monthly travel reports.
The frictionless transactions that Uber provides makes business and personal travel really efficient and now you don’t have to manually separate your excursions to file your expense reports.
Uber realizes that making it efficient for business travelers to use the network will increase their opportunities, so expect to see more business focused features in the future.
If you want to get the lowdown on this new feature, I’ve posted the link at DataDoctors.com/radio
This year’s holiday online shopping season is expected to be the biggest ever, which has both retailers and cybercriminals very excited.
Sophisticated social engineering scams, phishing e-mails and compromised social media accounts are just a few things you should watch out for.
Since UPS and Fedex will play a big role in getting items to you, expect to see the usual fake delivery messages in your Inbox, usually accompanied by an attachment that is the so called shipping manifest .
Scams focusing on credit card and gift card offers are also likely to appear again this year.
Also beware of what appear to be your friends proclaiming great deals on their social media profiles. Compromised accounts allow scammers to post links to fake deals that appear to be from your friends.
Fake websites claiming to have those hard to get items may actually appear in Google ads and search results, so I’ve outlined what you can do to help sniff out these scams at DataDoctors.com/radio
In my continuing quest to find photography apps and resources that let you better leverage the power of your smartphone, I bring you EveryStory.
Most of us have a tough time journaling our adventures; even remembering to add a caption that properly articulates the moment can be a challenge.
EveryStory is trying to make documenting your experiences much easier by allowing you to record your voice to explain the moment behind each image.
It’s an easy way to turn your photo albums into an interactive experience with a lot more depth, because your voice is leading the journey.
You can assemble your project via an app on your smartphone or use the website to bulk upload pictures from your computer.
Once you have the images you want in the album, you use your smartphone’s microphone to add your voice annotations.
You can even create groups so others can contribute to the album.
If you’re interested in bringing your photo memories to life, checkout http://everystory.us
Today’s tip deals with the ongoing issue that we all struggle with every week...grocery shopping.
Paper lists, text messages, emails, chalkboards on the frig and keeping track of what you have on hand play a weekly role.
The larger your family is, the bigger the problem is because requests for items can come from anyone on any day from any one of these communication channels.
Well, if you want to reduce the chances of missing something on your next grocery run, checkout an app called Capitan.
Capitan is a grocery list on steroids that can learn what you regularly buy as well as group things like they are displayed in the grocery store.
Using the location services on your phone, the app can also remind you to pick up items when you walk into the grocery store and also alert your family members that you are at the store in case they need you to pick up something extra.
Solve this problem at http://www.getcapitan.com
Smartphones are amazing marvels of modern technology; they’re more powerful than the computers NASA used in the 60’s to get us to the moon they say.
They’re also incredibly sophisticated cameras that have a lot of technology so we can all take amazing pictures without being professional photographers, right.
Well, yes and no.
Auto focus, auto white balance, auto exposure and color correction are all great but mean nothing if you can’t compose the picture properly.
The basics of the rule of thirds seems to be a great mystery for most smartphone photographers and now there’s an app for that.
It’s called Camera 51 and it focuses on what most people are clueless about...composition.
By using the power of your smartphone to analyze the scene you’re pointing at, the app can provide an on-screen guide to show you where to point the camera.
If you don’t understand what to do when it comes to composition, download the free Camera51 app from your app store today!
If you know any working musicians, you know how hard they work and how grateful they are for tips from the audience.
Running up to the tip jar is the status quo, but there are times when you may not be able to do that...like when you don’t have any cash on you.
We’re all less dependant on cash these days and people in the service industry often suffer as a result.
Well there’s an app that might make it a little easier for those in the service industry to get the tips they deserve.
It’s called Bravo and it makes it really easy to electronically tip guides, musicians, valets or anyone in the hospitality industry when cash isn’t an option.
My suggestion for musicians is the make a sign promoting the Bravo app near their tip jar, so audience members can download the app and e-tip them throughout the night.
Whether you’re the tipper or the tipee, I say Bravo to the Bravo app!
The Internet has made shopping so much easier when it comes to items that we know we want, but how much time do you spend researching items when you aren’t sure what to buy?
That’s the task the folks at Operator, a startup from the co-founder of Uber would love to help you with.
They recently opened up their invitation only service to anyone with an iPhone, so if you’re shopping for anything from concert tickets, to a romantic getaway or a new mattress, you can get human help from the Internet.
They’re trying to become that friend you ask whenever you want information on something you want to buy.
It’s kind of like a personal concierge service hiding in your iphone, or at least that’s what they are trying to accomplish.
This is a startup, so the speed in which someone responds may take some time, depending upon when and what you ask for, but it’s an interesting concept.
If you want to jump in on this new idea, search for Operator in the Apple app store.
If you’re like me, you grew up on a pretty steady diet of Pacman in arcades and bars.
I even had a friend that bought one for his house so he could master all the levels.
Well, if Pacman brings back memories of your youth, checkout a new endless version of the classic called Pac-Man 256.
The 256 refers to a well known glitch in level 256 in the original game, which is taken to a whole new level in the updated game.
Unlike the original game where you could win by completing all the levels, this game is endless.
To control the game, you use swipe motions on the screen, so you’ll have to get used to not having a joystick, which doesn't take long.
There are also a number of new power capabilities you can unlock as you scarf up the pellets, so if you’re interested in a bit of nostalgia on your phone or tablet, checkout the link I posted at DataDoctors.com/radio