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!
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
If you’ve been using word processor and spreadsheets for a long time, you know all about the power of using macros to record a series of command that can be executed with a simple key combination.
Well a similar tool exists for iPhone users in the form of an app called Workflow.
Workflow allows you to automate manual processes and interactions between multiple apps by dragging and dropping a combination of actions.
With over 200 actions that work with contacts, Calendars, Maps, Music, Photos, Cameras, Reminders, Browsers, AirDrop, Twitter, Facebook, Dropbox, Evernote, iCloud Documents and more.
For instance, if you travel a lot and often find yourself searching for a nearby coffee shop, you can do it with a single tap in the Workflow app.
What’s even better is that others that have created workflows have shared them in the gallery, so you can make use of other people’s great ideas.
If you’re looking to kick up the power of your iPhone, checkout Workflow in the Apple App store.
Whether you’re a fan of Edward Snowden or not, he certainly knows a thing or two about cybersecurity.
So when he tweets about a secure messaging app that he says he personally uses, you can bet that it’s about as private as messaging gets.
The app Snowden tweeted about is Signal from Open Whisper Systems, a messaging app available for both iPhone and Android users.
The Signal app allows for secure messaging by text or voice and doesn’t require you to sign up for an account to use it.
It uses your existing phone number and address book, and requires no separate logins, usernames, passwords, or PINs.
Although it uses very sophisticated encryption technology, it’s very easy to setup and use as your primary messaging app
It can automatically determine if a recipient has the Signal app, so it knows not to encrypt messages sent to people that don’t have the app.
If your line of work would benefit from secure messaging, learn more at WhisperSystems.org
If you live on email, you probably spend a good chunk of time every day getting interrupted by unimportant messages because you’re on various mailing lists.
You probably don’t even know how you got on half of the lists, but with today’s auto-opt in mailings, it’s going to keep happening.
If you’re drowning in daily junk mail and newsletters, a free service called Unroll.Me is worth checking out.
Once it scans your inbox, it’ll alphabetically list every subscription it recognizes so you can choose to keep, unsubscribe or add messages to your roll-up.
The Roll Up is a daily digest of all the subscriptions that you do want to see combined in one message, so you don’t get them all day long.
For important items, you click on Keep in Inbox so that you see them as they’re sent.
Unroll.Me currently works with Gmail, Yahoo! Mail, AOL, iCloud, and Outlook.com accounts. Learn more about the service and their new iPhone app at https://unroll.me
Having long complex passwords that are unique for each of your online accounts is an essential component to protecting your personal information.
Trying to remember lots of complex passwords is impossible, so finding a password management program that you can use is essential.
If you haven’t found a management system that works well for you yet, checkout the offerings at http://RoboForm.com.
Not only can RoboForm become your password manager, it also helps you fill out forms with your frequently used information; a huge time saver for avid online shoppers.
Another cool feature is their batch login capability...it can simultaneously log you into those 3 or 4 four sites you use everyday with a single click.
As with any other password manager, once you set it up, you only need to remember the main password for Roboform to securely sign into all your important online accounts.
The basic service, which covers 10 online accounts, is free and there are mobile apps as well at RoboForm.com
One of my all time favorite web resources is getting a bit of a facelift to make searching the web’s history a little easier.
The Wayback Machine which is part of the Internet Archive has been documenting the web since 1996, so you can actually go back in time to see what the web looked like.
They periodically take snapshots of the web and currently have over 439 billion web pages saved.
Want to see what your company’s website looked like 10 years ago?
Just go to the Wayback Machine and type in the web address and you’ll get a timeline of all of the available snapshots.
Past snapshots just grabbed homepages, so that’s all you’ll be able to see, but the overhaul of their technology could allow more items to be archived in the future.
It’s a lot of fun to see what big name tech firms like Microsoft and Apple looked like in the early days, check it out at http://Archive.org/web
As the parent of an infant, you may be asking yourself “to iPad, or not to iPad, that is the question”.
A lot of people have anecdotal advice for new parents when it comes to when and where to introduce technology, usually based on personal biases.
Well, the American Academy of Pediatricians has chimed in and they say that iPads are OK for infants.
They’ve determined that TV, smartphones and tablets are all okay for young children but with lots of caveats.
They’re still recommending against screen time for children under two and limiting it to two hours for children over two, but their recommendations have been updated to reflect the digital age that can’t be ignored.
Understanding the difference between passive media like television shows and interactive media like iPad apps as well as when to introduce them is an important parenting skill these days.
The full overview is a good read for anyone raising digital natives, so I posted the link at DataDoctors.com/radio
We’re all paying more attention to what we eat these days and if you have food allergies or other special dietary needs, you really need to pay attention.
Whether you need to eat gluten free or avoid dairy or shellfish, finding recipes that work for your diet can be frustrating.
If you or someone you know has to manage this constant ordeal, have them check out an app called kitchology.
Kitchology is designed to help families dealing with special dietary needs find, modify, and cook recipes that are adapted to their lifestyles.
The app allows you to filter recipes that won’t work for you by selecting food items that you want to avoid, so you don’t waste time with great looking dishes you can’t eat.
Nutrition and allergy information is integrated right into each recipe and you can even use the app for shopping lists.
The Kitchology app is currently only available for iPhone and iPad users or you can use the website to create your food profile at https://www.kitchology.com
I’ve covered a large number of travel apps over the years, but when my wife tells me she’s found the ultimate app, I pay attention.
My wife is the most detailed trip planner I’ve ever known and my past app suggestions just haven’t worked out.
An app called Trip Rider seems to have cut through the pack and actually got my live-in travel agent to gush about a travel app.
Trip Rider allows you to store and track every detail of your trip in one place and it’s extremely flexible, so you can make changes to your itinerary without disrupting everything.
You can add quick notes before, during and after your trip, so it’s easy to journal your adventures too.
It also has a virtual wallet for all your important travel documents, ID cards and credit cards.
If you’re a hardcore travel buff, checkout http://triprider.com, which is only available for iphone users at the moment.
What makes you happy? Do you know? Would you like to know?
Well, there’s an app for that and it’s called Track Your Happiness.
Track Your Happiness is actually a Harvard scientific research project that’s trying to investigate what makes people happy.
By using the app, you’ll be able to track your happiness and find out what factors — for you personally — are associated with greater happiness.
A few times a day, you’ll get a notification and be asked some questions about your experience at that moment. The idea is that by measuring your experience at many individual moments, you’ll get an accurate picture of your life and the drivers of your happiness.
You’ll also contribute to the research project to help with the scientific understanding of happiness.
Users of the app seem to get a heightened sense of focus on happiness, so if you’re looking for happiness, you might want to give the app a try at https://www.trackyourhappiness.org
Twitter is continuing to introduce new features in hopes that they can attract more users.
One of their latest attempts to get user engagement is through their polling feature that is now available to any user.
In the past, if you wanted to use Twitter to take a poll, you had to use hashtags or third party polling sites, which could get a bit complicated.
The new polling feature isn’t going to replace your market research tools, it’s just a simple and quick way to get some feedback.
You’re limited to two answers and the polls will only be available for twenty four hours, so it can be useful for really simple polling questions; nothing more.
If you vote in a poll, your response is private, so there is no tracking of who voted for what.
Twitter is slowly rolling it out to their apps and on their website, so watch for a pie chart icon with the word Poll next to it when you compose your tweets.
In-flight wifi is becoming more common with just about every airline these days and it can be especially useful on long haul flights.
It’s not the fastest connection you’ll ever use because everyone on the flight is sharing the same connection, but it’s better than nothing.
If you’re like me, you often have multiple devices you’d like to connect, but aren’t willing to pay the extra.
In those cases, don’t forget your laptop can become a wifi hotspot allowing you to share your connection with other devices.
Both Mac and Windows users can setup Internet sharing options which will allow your smartphone or tablet connect via the same connection.
It’s also helpful when a hotel charges by the device for Internet access.
I’ve posted links with instructions for both Mac and Windows users at DataDoctors.com/radio
If you’re a Windows user and find the steps for setting up a hotspot to be a bit overwhelming, checkout an app called Connectify Hotspot which makes it much easier.
Mac - http://imore.com/how-turn-your-macs-internet-connection-wifi-hotspot-internet-sharing
Windows 7 - http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/set-internet-connection-sharing#1TC=windows-7
Windows 8/10 - http://howtogeek.com/112050/how-to-turn-your-windows-8-laptop-into-a-wireless-access-point
Connectify Hotspot - http://www.connectify.me/hotspot
If you’re like most of us, your mobile phone has become your primary communication device, but there are times when you would rather not give out your cell number.
If you’re selling something online or doing business in another state or country for instance, it would be nice to shield your personal number.
For any situation that might require a special phone number check out an app called TextMe Up.
TextMe Up will allow you create special phone numbers for those special occasions so you can keep your personal number private, even if you need an international number.
It also allows you to text anyone in the world through the special number, but you’ll have to put up with ads in the messaging app.
If you want separate numbers for different parts of your public and private life, TextMe Up makes it easy.
The app and your first number are free and available for both iPhone and Android users at http://TextMeUp.com
The power of search engines, especially Google, have dramatically changed how we get our information.
Those of us that grew up using encyclopedias and phone books can really appreciate having them around.
Well the search game just got another major player...Facebook.
Up to now, Facebook’s search has been a bit limited, because it only showed you results from your friend’s posts or from sponsored posts from advertisers.
The newly updated Search feature in Facebook now allows you to mine information from any public post, so it’s exponentially more useful for current events.
When you use the search function, it defaults to Top Posts, which is a bit of a popularity contest, so if you want to see what’s happening right now, click on Latest
This also means, anything you’ve ever posted as Public is now easily accessible by the entire Facebook universe.
If you want to see what the world can see on your Facebook profile, I’ve posted the link at DataDoctors.com/radio
By now you’re probably aware that the credit card industry is transitioning to the new chipped or EMV standard cards to help fight fraud.
While it has shown to reduce common fraud in other countries, scammers are taking advantage of the change over in another way...phishing scams.
Because so many of you are still waiting for your replacement cards, the scammers are sending cleverly worded emails that claim to be your bank trying to send you an updated card.
They generally ask you for personal information under the premise of account verification, but it’s not how banks operate...ever.
By the way, there have been some instances of this scam being attempted by phone as well, which your card issuer won’t do either.
If you haven’t received your chipped card yet and want more information, call the number on your card.
The complete transition to chipped cards, especially debit cards could take another two years, so expect to see this scam continue for a while.
Zombies are such a thing these days, especially with the Halloween season coming up.
If you’re a big fan of The Walking Dead television series, I’ve got an app for you to download this weekend.
It’s called ‘The Walking Dead: No Man's Land and it recently launched in the Apple App store.
Based on the wildly popular zombie apocalypse series, this is a turn-based role playing game that ties into the series.
If you’re binge watching the series and haven’t gotten through season five yet, I’d suggest holding off playing the game until you get there.
The tie-in to season five and six will make playing the game a little more integrated into what you are watching along with behind the scenes and teaser videos.
Android users will have to wait for this official AMC version of the game, but can try another version called Road to Survival.
If zombies are your thing, I’ve posted links to both of these free downloads at DataDoctors.com/radio
The battle of the media streaming boxes heated up recently when Apple announced their latest version, the Apple TV 2.
The Apple TV may seem like the obvious choice for Apple users, but the competition is pretty stiff from the likes of the Roku 4 or the $35 Google Chromecast.
AND If you’re an Amazon Prime member, you should take a good look at the new Amazon Fire TV as well.
It’s not just well suited to Amazon’s streaming service, it also has Netflix, HBO Now, and ESPN streams available.
Add in 4K video support and Alexa, which is their version of Siri and you have a pretty solid combination of features not available from any of the other devices for $99.
The Roku 4 includes Amazon’s streaming service, but it doesn’t have HBO Now or the more sophisticated voice search technology and it’ll cost you $30 more.
This holiday season will be a great time to buy, if you’re in the market for a new streaming box.