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 a true foodie, you may know that carrots were originally purple or for those history buffs, that Lincoln created the secret service on the day he was shot.
If you love factoids, there’s no better place than the world wide web to learn things that aren’t important but very interesting.
With the popularity of inane posts on social media, you’re bound to run across these factoids in your weekly reviews, but if you want a more direct path to great tidbits, today’s tip is for you.
A website called Now I Know https://nowiknow.com is a treasure trove of useless factoids that also provides a daily newsletter for those that want to be spoon-fed info.
If you’re a trivia buff or like to play trivia games, consider this resource a training ground. T
The database has been building up for more than a decade, so there’s plenty of things to randomly discover by clicking on the Archives link.
It’s hard not the take the sophisticated technology packed into our smartphones for granted, but it’s an incredible feat of engineering.
What should never be taken for granted is protecting all of the sensitive items that are stored throughout the device.
It’s important to remember that your smartphone needs the same protection your computer is set up with.
Just as you wouldn’t want a stranger to be able to pick up your laptop and have total access to everything on it, your smartphone is even more at risk.
Your first line of defense from this type of compromise is setting up some form of access lock that can be a code, your face or your fingerprint.
Remember, mobile devices are exponentially more at risk because they can be lost or stolen virtually anywhere.
It’s silly to worry about back doors if you haven’t even locked the front door first!
If you spend all day on your computer, having dual screens to spread your work out is a must.
While this may be obvious for when you are at your desk, wouldn’t it be great for the road as well?
Well if you own an iPad you can easily extend your screen with either a Windows or Mac laptop with the help of an app called Duet Display.
By downloading the app to your iPad and installing the companion program on your laptop, this can all be possible.
Once you have it all set up, it’s similar to having dual displays when you are sitting at your desk, complete with drag & drop functionality.
The wonders of a mobile dual-screen setup is waiting for you at https://www.duetdisplay.com
Our smartphones continue to improve with new features all of the time, which can often translate to higher power consumption leading to the need to recharge.
While on the road with minimal time for charging, maximizing what you do get is important.
If you can, shut the phone off while it’s charging so 100% of the current is going to the battery.
If shutting the device off isn’t possible, you can opt to place the phone in airplane mode to shut off the various wireless radios and any background app usage.
If you get separated from your charger, don’t forget that the TV in your hotel room likely has USB ports that can provide at least a trickle charge.
If you do opt for this method, make sure you turn the TV on for the power to flow out of the USB port to your smartphone.
While you’re traveling, remember that heat will impact your battery life, so avoid direct sunlight and charging while the phone is overheated.
Business communications often come in the graphic design form, which isn’t something that just anyone can do - or is it?
You may think that it takes an expensive and hard to learn graphics program, but it’s as easy as going to a website called Canva.
Instead of having to start from scratch every time, you simply choose a category to find an existing template that speeds up the whole process.
Everything from business cards, to flyers to presentations can be quickly put together at https://canva.com
Even professional images can be purchased to make your design really pop or you can use your own images.
No longer will you need to rely on others for simple graphic design projects and all you need is a web browser to get it done.
One of the downsides of our addiction to our tech is that our general level of vocabulary has diminished.
There are so many made-up words and phrases along with our dependence on auto-correct, but you can do something about it.
The next time you have time to kill and want to improve your vocabulary, check out this site https://www.vocabulary.com
Whether you’re learning English as a second language or it was your major in college, there’s always more you can learn.
It’s fun because your interactions have been ‘gamified’ to help the site understand your current level of understanding.
One of the many features of the sites will explain commonly confused words and you can even get involved in group competitions.
It’s a really entertaining way to use your spare time and add to your own vocabulary.
Our smartphones have changed our lives in so many ways and because we always have them with us, we try to use them for just about everything.
One of the things that’s a bit difficult to pull off is traditional productivity tasks such as word processing or spreadsheet input.
Voice recognition has come a long way, but it still requires that you spend the time to review what was captured to be safe.
There’s nothing like having a full-size keyboard for those tasks and if you have a Bluetooth keyboard for your computer, today’s tip is for you.
Virtually any Bluetooth keyboard can connect and be functional on virtually any mobile device, including your smartphone.
You go through the same steps to pair it with a smartphone that you would for any computer, so it’s not complicated.
It may seem a bit strange, but for those that need to type a lot of info, it is exponentially more efficient.
We’ve become pretty dependent on our mobile devices when it comes to getting directions to a specific location.
They’re pretty awesome until you’re in a situation where there is no address, such as out in the wilderness or at a large outdoor gathering.
The accuracy when you drop a pinpoint on a map isn’t very reliable and can lead to great disparity when you’re trying to get everyone to the same point.
An interesting solution to this problem has been developed by an outfit that calls itself "What Three Words".
Instead of using confusing numbers associated with longitude and latitude, they’ve created a global grid system that’s based on three unique words which each represent a specific 3x3 meter square space on the planet.
If both parties are using the What3Words app, you simply provide the three words associated with the location that you want to meet at.
It’s an interesting option for those that need this type of accuracy: https://what3words.com
A side effect of the aging process it that what was once easy to remember becomes harder to articulate.
Us older folks can contend with the issue of knowing what we want to say but just can’t seem to figure out how to say it.
Because of this problem, I went on a search for some help and found the OneLook Reverse Dictionary website.
Now I can try typing in what I’m trying to say to find the concise word or words that I’ve been trying to remember.
This awesome resource can help you when you type in a very focused term or when the words you can come up with are rather general in nature.
This is the ultimate resource for those of us that constantly find ourselves saying ‘I know what I want to say, but it’s at the tip of my tongue'.
This is one of those links you’ll want to save for those senior moments that we all experience:
Hackers spend so much of their time focusing on ways to trick individuals via phishing scams because it allows them to parley stolen access into a major data breach.
Since it only takes one person in an organization to fall for a fake message, they have refined their development tools to improve their chances of success.
We have for years stressed the value of using the hover method for uncovering mischievous links in email messages.
When you hover the mouse pointer over the link either a smart icon will pop up or the destination will be displayed on the bottom left corner.
This allows you to examine the actual destination that the link will take you so you can see if it looks suspicious.
Another great way to learn common tricks is by taking the various phishing quizzes that are posted online at places like:
Those ads that appear to be following you around the Internet aren’t your imagination as the industry uses something known as ‘retargeting’ to remind folks of an item that they previously showed interest in.
There was a time when we all saw the same thing when we surfed the same things on the Internet, but those days are long gone.
Virtually everyone one of us has a customized view of the Internet based on what we’ve previously viewed and purchased, our location and a myriad of other variables used by marketing algorithms.
This can also impact the final price you may see for an item as some researchers have discovered.
I have personally seen slightly different offers and pricing in the past based on whether I was on my computer or my smartphone.
Because of that, I started checking with both devices on any large purchases, especially when it’s travel-based just to make sure there isn’t a better offer.
You may not see this very often, but to me, it’s worth the few extra minutes to ensure I’m getting the best price.
The most accurate way to transcribe a spoken word recording is manually, but that can get complicated.
For starters, you’ll generally need to use two programs - one to listen to the recording and another to type what you are hearing.
Starting and stopping while switching back and forth adds to the fun.
If you’re ever in need of doing this with any type of sound file, there’s a free web tool at https://otranscribe.com that can reduce some of the complexity.
It’s not going to do the transcription for you automatically, but it will put all of the tools you need to do the job on one screen.
Once you upload the sound file, the ability to type as well as start and stop the playback are all on one screen.
The ability to change the speed can make it a much more fluid transcription that meets your typing speed.
It’s not something most of us need regularly, but when you do, it can be a huge time saver!
The typewriter was replaced by word processors years ago and today’s equivalent is Microsoft Word.
An advanced tool in Word is a feature known as Macros, which allows you to record a series of strokes and save them to a keyboard shortcut.
If you’ve switched to Google’s online alternative known as Docs, you can add this awesome productivity feature to it as well.
An add-in for Chrome called ‘Magical Text Expander’ gives you the same ability to save a combination of keystones to a shortcut.
I love using it as a way to pop in large chunks of text like an email signature or the mailing address for my office.
The best part of this utility is that it’s not limited to Docs as it’s actually an add-on to the web browser, which means it can be used anywhere you use Chrome.
Start using it today by downloading it form here: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/auto-text-expander-for-go/iibninhmiggehlcdolcilmhacighjamp
The dangers associated with being online are evolving and learning ways to protect yourself can be a little easier if you think like the bad guys.
They’ve gotten really good at developing social engineering tactics that simply trick people into their traps.
If you think about the people in your household that are online, it’s a bit easier to trick children than it is to trick adults.
Why is this? Because younger users of the computer aren’t nearly as concerned about security and are easily tricked by free items such as movies, games or software that would normally cost money.
The reason that this approach has been proven to be effective is that so many households have a computer shared by parents and kids alike.
The real problem is using the same user profile for everyone in the family, so if you aren’t having your kids use a separate account, consider changing that immediately.
Creating a limited access account for your kids is possible in every operating system, so if you don’t know how to do it, get some help ASAP!
The old saying “if it’s sounds good to be true, it probably is” is something that we all need to remember when shopping online.
The Internet is a great way to find those special deals but it’s also an easy way to get sucked into a low-priced scam.
Fortunately, there are some simple tools that can help you evaluate any shopping website that you’re not familiar with.
‘Scam Advisor’ offers a simple check by going to https://www.scamadviser.com and typing the website address into their search bar.
Another great tool that we’ve recommended for years is ‘Web of Trust’ https://www.mywot.com because you can add a simple plug-in to your browser for insight into any website that you are about to visit.
Tip #2 when doing business with anyone online is to always use your credit card instead of your debit card.
Debit card fraud can directly impact your checking account balance which can cause lots of other financial issues, so always use a credit card and pay it off immediately.
It’s no secret that cyber thieves go after our personal information because they can sell it to others in the underworld.
While it may seem that stolen credit card info is at the top of the list, but there are lots of other bits of your info that they seek.
A couple of the items they really like to acquire are stolen PayPal accounts and Uber accounts.
There’s a desirable outcome to stolen Uber accounts known as ghost rides that get used by the hackers along with info that can assist in ID theft.
With this in mind, be sure to review your Uber account on a regular basis unless you’re not using it anymore.
If you don’t really use it, to be safe you should delete your account altogether.
The process for deleting your account can be found at: https://ubr.to/3swlVlb
I love exploring new restaurants especially with lots of my foodie friends, which can lead to the inevitable math challenge at the end of the meal.
If the entire group agrees to split everything equally, there are a number of apps designed to manage the math, but they aren’t necessary when Google can do the math for you.
Just search for ‘tip calculator’ via Google to generate a simple form that only needs three pieces of information:
The total bill, the tip percentage and the number of people splitting the check.
What’s great about this calculator is that once that math has been done, the results separate the tip for each person so those that want to make adjustments can easily do so.
Before using this calculator, make sure the gratuity isn’t already included as many restaurants will do that with large groups.
The best part of this tool is that anything that can connect to the Internet can use it!
The likelihood that you have important personal information stored by Google on one of its various platforms is high, which is the subject of today’s tip.
In general, you don’t want others to have access to this information unless something unexpected happens to you.
While not the kind of thing we like to think about, it’s a good idea to review what would happen to your digital data should you pass.
The folks at Google created a process to allow up to 10 trustees access to your various data after a period of inactivity that you choose.
The period can range from three to eighteen months before automatic messages start getting sent to your trustees.
Each of your trustees can be assigned to everything or just certain accounts.
This process could help your next of kin should an untimely event occur, so it’s worth spending a few minutes to look into this option.
To get more information including a link to your management screen, go to:
Whenever you’re looking for an image to use for any number of reasons, it’s likely that you will turn to Google to find those images.
A common misconception is that if it comes up in a Google search, you’re free to use it but nothing could be further from the truth.
Most images that come up will be protected by copyrights, so using them without permission can actually become an expensive mistake.
The good news is that Google allows you to filter the search results by Usage Rights so that only images that are available through a Creative Commons license.
This filter option is available by going to the Tools option on the far right side of the menus above the images.
If you are ever caught using a copyrighted image, you can end up with an expensive fine for using it without permission.
For those with a lot of web pages that include images of unknown status, you may want to review what you’re using to avoid becoming the recipient of a demand letter from an attorney!
Understanding your customer's needs is an important component in business and one of the ways of learning about them is through surveys.
You can hire companies or use elaborate tools such as those available through Survey Monkey, but there is a free tool that you might want to check out.
The combination of tools available via the Google Docs suite makes it easy to create surveys and collect the results.
Start by creating the survey in Forms, which provides the structure for just about any type of survey question that you may have.
Another good option will randomly display the responses that participants choose from to help improve the quality of the data.
After you test it out yourself, you can simply post the associated weblink online, via email or any other method you choose to start generating responses.
As the results are collected, they’re chronologically stored in a spreadsheet via Sheets for you to dissect and sort.
It’s really easy, so give it try yourself at https://Google.com/forms