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!
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.
If you’re into photography, you probably know about Adobe’s Lightroom, which is one of the best programs available for image editing.
Well, this super powerful suite of tools is also available as a free app for all you smartphone photographers that are trying to take it to the next level.
The more refined controls will surpass the basic filters and options you have in the built-in camera apps or just about any other third-party app you’ve downloaded.
With more than 40 fine-tuned presets that let you enhance with just a tap of the screen, you can harness the power of the tool even if you’re a novice.
As you learn how to use all the manual adjustments, you’ll find you can achieve edits that were never possible with your old editing apps.
You can even copy your favorite edits across multiple photos to save time.
Lightroom is available for iPhone, iPad and Android users and will open up a whole new world of editing if you’re looking to step up your game.
We’ve all heard about the future of the connected car and the promises of digital integration to automatically monitor everything while you're driving.
But if you own a car that’s from 1996 or newer, you already have the capability to achieve this digital monitoring through the diagnostic port in your car.
A company called Automatic makes it easy to unlock all the digital data that’s being generated by your car every day.
Just plug their dongle in the diagnostic port and it will start transmitting data to your phone via Bluetooth whenever you drive.
Track mileage, review maps of your trips, locate your parked car and monitoring your engine’s health are just a few of the features available.
It even provides automatic crash detection to alert emergency services in the event of an accident.
You can even integrate Automatic with other apps, so your Nest thermostat can automatically change the temperature as you approach your house for example.
Learn more about everything it does at https://automatic.com
We all know the importance of CPR when someone is in distress, but many of us still don’t really know what to do.
The difference between life and death can literally be a few minutes, so the more of us that know what to do, the better.
There are dozens of other first aid situations that may come up, that many of us aren’t particularly prepared to deal with either.
If you’d like to be a little more prepared to deal with life’s unexpected situations, download the Red Cross First Aid App.
They’ve compiled expert advice for everyday emergencies so that it’s in the palm of your hand when you need it.
The information is pre-loaded in the app, so even if you don’t have signal, you can still view the step-by-step guides to many common situations.
This isn’t an app you’re going to use on a regular basis, but it’s obvious why you should consider getting it.
The download links are posted at DataDoctors.com/radio
Anyone that’s ever called tech support has been told that the first step in troubleshooting is to restart your computer.
It’s surprising how many issues that it can solve and when it comes to Internet problems, there’s an equally simple step most people overlook...clearing your browser cache.
The cache, spelled C A C H E is a collection of items that you’ve already downloaded from previous sessions.
By reusing items that’re in the cache, your computer, smartphone or tablet can load a page much faster because it doesn’t have to download everything from the Internet.
But sometimes items pulled from the cache can actually cause a page not to load properly, especially if it’s a site that requires you to log in.
The next time you’re having a problem with a specific site, try clearing the cache as your first fix.
Not sure how to do it? I’ve posted a link to instructions for the most common browsers at DataDoctors.com/radio
What do math and bedtime have in common?
It turns out that adding math to stories at bedtime is a good way to improve your child’s math skills, according to research from the University of Chicago.
The study shows a measurable increase in math achievement among children whose families used an app called Bedtime Math.
By combining images, stories and math that kids and parents solve together in a fun way, the study showed improvement even if the app was only used once a week.
Of course, whenever I hear of a research study that supports a specific product, I get a little suspicious, but these apps are free!
It can be especially helpful for parents that have math anxiety, which the study showed also had an impact on a child’s achievement.
AND it’s not just for really young kids; there are varying degrees of difficulty that can challenge everyone in the family.
If you’re looking for a fun way to improve math skills, checkout http://bedtimemath.org.
iPads are a great tool for education and entertainment, but they can also keep kids from interacting in the real-world.
If you’ve got younger kids that are iPad addicts, checkout an interactive system called Osmo that bridges the digital world with the physical world through the iPad.
It’s part educational, part game play that uses physical objects that interact with the app to extend the activities beyond the iPad.
The basic elements of the system are a stand and a mirror that fits over the iPad's front-facing camera, which allows the app to see what’s on a surface directly in front of the screen.
The starter kit comes with different activities that range from puzzles to word games, but my favorite is called Masterpiece.
It’s a virtual lightbox that allows your child to trace anything displayed on the screen to a piece of paper in front of the them.
Osmo is designed for kids 6 and older and you can learn more at https://PlayOsmo.com
Raise your hand if you’re one of the millions that have been waiting for Facebook to add a ‘Dislike’ button!
Well, you can put your arm down because Facebook isn’t going to do that, but they did unveil what they do intend to offer...more emoticons.
They’re currently testing six new ways to react to a post other than ‘Like’ in Spain and Ireland.
The options for the test include: "love," "yay," "wow," "haha," "sad," and "angry," and look like emojis used in text messaging.
They’re describing the new "Reactions" as alternatives to ‘Like’, so users will have more appropriate ways to express how they feel.
I’m happy to see that it might finally cut down on all the LOL and Haha posts that are currently being used ad nauseam.
They haven’t indicated how long the trial will last or if it will be expanded beyond Spain and Ireland, so don’t expect it to pop up on your screen just yet...but, stay tuned!
The flu season is right around the corner and taking steps to avoid those that are infected is always a good idea.
Just as Doppler radar scans the skies for indicators of bad weather, an app called Sickweather scans social networks and collects reports from users near you for signs of an outbreak.
It allows you to check for the chance of sickness in an area as easily as you can check for the chance of rain.
Sickweather searches for Facebook and Twitter posts like "I'm sick," "the doc says I have bronchitis" and "My son has chicken pox."
Public posts that include location information get added to the report database in real-time along with reports of other users of the app.
They detected the early start of the flu season six weeks ahead of the CDC in 2012, so this app could be just what the doctor ordered!
The Sickweather app is available for iPhone and Android users or you view live map online at http://sickweather.com
In the technology age, smartphones have become digital pacifiers for so many parents because, frankly, they get the job done.
It can be a lifesaver in a crowded restaurant or in social settings where you want to keep a restless child from causing disruption.
But giving a child full access to everything on your phone is a pretty dangerous thing to do, so understanding what you can do to childproof your phone is essential.
Both iPhone and Android users have lots of built-in controls that simply need to be turned on, but so many parents don’t seem to be aware of them.
Limiting what apps they can open, whether they can get on the Internet, make purchases or the really dangerous in-app purchase option are just a few things that need to restricted.
Each platform has its own options and procedures, so if you’re not sure how to get started, I’ve posted links that cover the most popular types of phones at DataDoctors.com/radio
iPhone and Android: http://www.pcworld.com/article/2921718/2-easy-ways-to-child-proof-your-android-or-ios-device.html
Windows Phone: http://lumiaconversationsuk.microsoft.com/2015/01/27/how-to-set-up-my-family-parental-controls-on-lumia-530
Pandora is a great way to discover new music based on the music you know you like, but you either have to listen to commercials or sign up for a subscription.
If you love new music discovery, but would prefer to avoid subscriptions and commercials, there’s a lesser known option out there called Earbits.
Earbits puts the emphasis on discovering new music, so you aren’t going to hear anything from the heavyweights of music.
The playlists are curated by music experts and presented as genres that let you quickly get into music that fits your taste.
My favorite genre is the Festival Guides because I love going to music festivals and discovering new artists in person.
You can listen to playlists that will let you hear what you can expect when you go to some of the most popular festivals in the world.
Or skip the festival and discover them from the comfort of your easy chair
Listen for yourself and download their streaming apps at http://EarBits.com
It’s hump day, so if you need something amusing to help you get through the week, an app called Chatterpix may get the job done.
Chatterpix lets you make anything in your pictures talk - pets, people, buildings, landscapes or anything your imagination can come up with.
You simply open a picture in the app, draw a line where you want the mouth to be and record what you want to say...the possibilities are endless.
You can also add stickers, frames and photo filters to really bump up the fun, then share it via email, Facebook or Youtube or save it to your photo roll.
If you want a child friendly version that doesn’t include the sharing option, there’s a ChatterPix Kids app that should provide hours of fun for any digital native.
Both apps are free but currently only available for iPhone and iPad users.
The company that makes these apps has a really nice collection of twenty one kid friendly apps at http://www.duckduckmoose.com
If you’re in a line of work that requires you to log your time and location in order to bill clients or generate reports, your smartphone can make the tracking process much easier with an app called Instant.
Instant bills itself as a lifelogging app that gives you a detailed overview of your daily activities, including daily device usage, where you’ve been and how long you stayed there as well as fitness tracking and daily travel times.
If you want to reduce the urge to constantly check your phone, you can set usage limits with reminders to help you change your subconscious urge to constantly look at your screen.
It’s also an app that helps in the quantified self movement which allows you to view your life through unemotional data so you can make measurable changes.
Whether you’re interested in fitness, wellness, time tracking or mindfulness, the Instant app can be a big help.
It’s available for iPhone and Android users at http://instantapp.today
Text messaging has become the go to communication tool for so many of us because it’s an extremely efficient way to have multiple conversations throughout the day.
And as always, the flies go where the honey is...that is to say that spammers and scammers are increasing their attempts to trick us via text messaging.
Another issue with text messaging is sometimes you don’t know who someone is because they aren’t in your contacts list.
If you’re looking for a better way to manage both of these situations, checkout a free app called Truemessenger.
Truemessenger is part of the Truecaller community of over 100 million members that join together to report spam and automatically block known junk messages.
It can also use the community to help identify who is texting you when they aren’t already in your contacts, so you can avoid the awkward ‘who is this’? response.
It’s not perfect, but if your looking for some help, I’ve posted the link at DataDoctors.com/radio.
The world of comics continue to grow in popularity because it lets us all relive our childhood pretending to be a superhero.
If you’re not quite ready to get dressed up to go to Comic-Con, you can use an app to fulfill your dreams of becoming a comic book hero.
Seedlings Comic Studio is an easy to use iPhone app that lets you create your very own comic book story starring yourself, your co-workers or your kids.
Take any picture you have, easily cut out the background and add props and costumes to create your superhero.
Then add speech bubbles, thought bubbles or captions and top it off with the classic KAPOW, BAM and ZAAP effects.
Then choose a cool background theme to really make your story come to life.
Even if you aren’t big comic book fan, this app is a clever way to communicate just about anything you want to say in a very fun way.
Check it out at https://www.seedling.com/comic
A new form of pop-up security scams seems to be catching a lot of people off guard with their cleverly designed schemes.
You’ll essentially get a popup that appears to lock up your browser and warn you that you’ve been infected and that you need to call a toll free number so a certified security expert can help you.
This scam is not limited to Windows users as a Mac specific version of the scam has been planted around the Internet as well.
The scammers plant malicious links on social media, in clever phishing email messages, in user forums and in the comments section of popular websites.
Here’s the thing, none of the legitimate antivirus programs will post an 800 number as your first course of action, because they actually don’t want you to call them.
Good security software will block known attacks and malicious websites and will only detect infections during a scheduled or manual scan.
They won’t ever pop-up their 800 numbers so now you know it’s a red flag.
One of the most requested features by Facebook users for years has been a Dislike button, which Mark Zuckerberg recently revealed is in the works.
He didn’t indicate when it would be released or even if it will be called a Dislike button, but that didn’t stop scammers from jumping on the pent up demand.
The most convincing scam appears to be an early invitation to test out the new Dislike button, which is actually either a survey scam or an attempt to steal a user's login credentials.
If you see a headline that says “GET NEWLY INTRODUCED FACEBOOK DISLIKE BUTTON ON YOUR PROFILE.” don’t click on it.
The scam even goes so far as you urge victims to share this ‘invitation-only’ offer with their friends, which is pretty clever.
If you fall for this scam, make sure you do a thorough malware scan of your computer and change your Facebook password.
Remember, real Facebook announcements can always be found at http://newsroom.fb.com
If you’ve updated your Apple device to iOS 9, you’re probably noticing some things just seem to be a little different.
If you noticed something seems a little strange when you’re typing, you’re not imagining things.
Most people can’t figure out what’s changed, because it’s a really subtle tweak.
On past keyboards, the displayed letters were always capitalized but you needed to hit the shift key to actually type capital letters.
The iOS 9 keyboard now defaults to lower case and switches to caps only when you hit the shift key.
I’ve seen this cause people to think that the keyboard is smaller, which it isn’t, it’s just an optical illusion.
If you want to go back to the old all caps keyboard, just go to Settings, then General, then Accessibility and under the Keyboard option, turn off Show Lowercase Keys.
It’s interesting how something so subtle can have such a big impact on some people.
If you’re an iPhone or iPad user, you’ve probably been presented with the most recent update, iOS 9, which is full of lots of new features.
If you’ve updated to iOS 9 already, there are two things you should know: a minor update has already been released and a lock screen bypass bug has been discovered.
iOS 9.0.1 has already been released to fix a few minor bugs but it doesn’t fix a lock screen bug that makes use of Siri to gain access to pictures and contacts on a locked device.
Apple will certainly publish another update to fix this bug, but in the meantime disabling Siri from the lock screen or changing to a alphanumeric passcode will keep you safe from this exploit.
In the grand scheme of things, this exploit isn’t really that dangerous, but it does underscore the value of waiting to update to the latest and greatest version of any new operating system until the kinks get worked out.