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 use your smartphone to listen to music without the headphones, you know that the sound volume can be less than optimal especially in noisy environments.
Well a new company in the smartphone business claims they have the ‘loudest mobile phone on earth’ for music fanatics.
Marshall, the company known for its legendary guitar amps and headphones is about the launch their first Android-based smartphone in Europe they’re calling London.
There are some unique features that are clearly focused on creating the ultimate phone for music lovers like two forward facing speakers, a dedicated music sound processor, Bluetooth with CD quality sound and two headphone jacks with separate volume controls.
It’s got me intrigued!
Unfortunately, it’ll be a while before it’s available in the US, but if you want to keep tabs on their progress, you can get on their e-mail list at https://www.marshallheadphones.com
Today’s tip is designed to help you put your best foot forward no matter what you’re doing.
If you’re favorite pair of shoes have seen better days and you aren’t sure repairing them is cost effective, checkout a site called http://www.cobblerconcierge.com.
It’s a high-tech solution for a low-tech problem with a very simple process.
Their no matter what the problem pricing takes all the guess work out of whether repairing is more cost effective than replacing.
Men’s shoes cost $80 flat, even if you need new soles, heels, patching or stitching work, womens shoes are $40 flat and handbags are $100 flat and all include shipping.
They’re like the Warby Parker of shoe repair!
Checkout the details including before and after pictures at CobblerConcierge.com.
How many pictures and videos do you have on your smartphone? What do you plan to do with them?
If you plan on posting them one at a time to one of the many social networks, you know that most of them will never see the light of day.
If you want an easy way to take a large number of images or video on your smartphone and create a quick movie, checkout the latest version of the FlipaGram app.
You can select a large number of images, arrange them in any order, add effects and text captions in a matter of minutes.
To give it a little punch, you can choose to add music from your own library or use one of the many 30 second music beds from popular artists that are part of the app.
Choose how long you want each image to display or the app can automatically set the timing based on where you plan to post it.
FlipaGram is available for iOS, Android and Windows based smartphones.
As inefficient and potentially dangerous communicating by e-mail has become, it’s still the primary way most of us communicate in business.
If you’re finding that your e-mail messages are not getting a timely response, it could be because of the day of the week or time of day that you’re sending it according to a recent study.
A company called Yesware analyzed over 500,000 sales emails and found that email open and reply rates are higher on the weekends. Why? It could be because there’s significantly less email being sent on weekends.
They also determined that sending messages in the early morning (between 6 and 7) and evening (around 8) were the most effective at getting a response.
With this in mind, you may want to learn how to schedule your important email messages if your email system offers that option; most of them do.
If you want to see the details of the Yesware study, I’ve posted the link at DataDoctors.com/radio
As good as mapping apps are for getting us from point A to point B, they become a lot less useful when a physical address isn’t available.
For example, you can get to the park for a big festival, but once you’re there, using the mapping app to connect with your friends is pretty useless.
If you’re a hiker, trying to coordinate with others in the middle of nowhere can be a challenge, unless you know how to use longitude and latitude.
A company called What3Words is attempting to solve these location problems by converting geographic coordinates into 3 word addresses.
The What3Words app is a global grid of 57 million 3 by 3 meter squares with a unique 3 word address assigned to each square.
So instead of confusing numbers, directions or relying on visual landmarks, you can tell your friends to meet you at crush.green.hilltop.
It’s actually a pretty simple, but brilliant location addressing solution.
Learn all about it and download the free app at http://what3words.com.
Transferring files between your smartphone and your computer is becoming a more common need for many of us.
Whether it’s a large video you shot on your smartphone that you want to edit on your computer or a bunch of PDFs that you want to review on a flight with no wifi, there’s an app for that.
Infinit is an entire suite of free apps for all your computers and mobile devices that makes transferring files between them a snap.
Anyone that uses multiple platforms on a regular basis, will find Infinit infinitely faster to use than Dropbox, iCloud or Google Drive because it bypasses the upload download process.
Infinit is a peer-to-peer transfer tool, so files are directly transferred between your devices.
For example, I can quickly share files or folders between an Android smartphone and MacBook laptop with no file size limitations that all the cloud-based services impose on users.
It’s a great group sharing tool as well, so check it out at https://infinit.io
If you find yourself using your smartphone for productivity more often these days, you’ve probably already recognized one of the biggest challenges: the keyboard.
On-screen keyboards can be a challenge for even the smallest of hands when you’re trying to get a lot done.
One alternative is to get better at using voice recognition as an input, but most of us are just too keyboard concentric.
Typing a lot of text or working with various cells in a spreadsheet is more efficient when you have a real full size keyboard, so make it so.
Tablet users are pretty familiar with connecting a Bluetooth travel keyboard to their tablets, but haven’t thought about using them with their smartphones.
The pairing process is pretty much the same as with any other Bluetooth device, so it’s easy to do.
Just about any Bluetooth keyboard can be attached to any mobile device, so if you have one for another device, don’t forget you can use it on your smartphone too!
I recently discussed the growing dangers of using Adobe Flash and posted an article with suggestions on how you could test to see if you still really needed it.
If you found that many of the sites you frequent do still require Flash, take a minute to learn how to enable the click to play feature in your browser.
By enabling click to play, your browser will no longer automatically load Flash content which gives you an extra bit of control and protection.
Malicious Flash attacks count on your browser automatically processing the code that’s been posted to attempt drive-by downloads of malware, but with click to play enabled, it won’t happen.
You’ll have to click on a specific Flash container in order for the content to load, which gives you ultimate control over what Flash code does run.
Each browser has different steps to turn on the Click to Play option, so I’ve posted a link at DataDoctors.com/radio with instructions for every major browser.
If you’re an outdoor person, keeping your iPhone protected while you’re out and about is generally accomplished with a good case.
A good case can protect your phone from the two most common problems: dropping it and getting it wet.
If you’re really hard-core, you may want a submersible waterproof case that still allows you to take great pictures above and below water.
This crazy combination can be achieved with the Optrix adventure cases from Body Glove.
They’re waterproof to one atmosphere for all you scuba divers, that’s 33 feet for you snorkelers and they’ve been drop tested up to 20 feet.
What really separates them from all the other cases I’ve seen are the interchangeable lenses that add telephoto, wide angle and macro capabilities to your camera while it’s still in the case.
You can get that great shot or video without having to worry about hurting your expensive phone.
If you spend a lot of time outdoors, checkout all the options and accessories for iPhones at http://Optrix.com that’s O P T R I X.com.
Robotics is a huge growth field that’s evolving quickly; it’s something our kids will likely take for granted 20 years from now.
With that in mind, when is it time to introduce today’s kids to concepts like robotics and coding?
Well, one company thinks 6 is not too early and they’ve got a Kickstarter project to create something they call Vortex the robotic toy reinvented.
It’s a small round robot that kids can play with and actually build programs for without having the learn any serious code.
It pairs with a smartphone or tablet so it can be maneuvered by tapping on the screen and controlled with various commands and game objects.
The real interesting part is the drag and drop function modules that can get your child started on basic programming concepts.
This open-source project could get very interesting down the road!
Vortex hasn’t reached it’s funding goal yet, but if you want to learn more or back the project, checkout the link I’ve posted at DataDoctors.com/radio
We’ve all been in a public space using our laptops, tablets or smartphones with the feeling that someone is snooping to see what we have on our screens.
So much sensitive information can be gleaned by others if we aren’t careful...it’s even got a name: Visual Hacking.
Whether you’re concerned about the nosey passenger sitting next to you on a flight or the shifty guy sitting near you at the coffee shop, there is something you can do.
Privacy screens have been around for a while and you can get them for laptops, tablets and smartphones.
They work by obscuring your display unless you’re looking directly at it, so those off to the sides only see a black screen.
On your portable devices, they provide privacy and an extra layer of protection for the glass.
They’re easy to install and remove, so if you spend a lot of time using your tech in public places, checkout the link I’ve posted to 3M’s protectors at DataDoctors.com/radio
When you take high definition video with your smartphone, sending the video to someone else can get to be a challenge.
Many of today’s phones create videos that can be over 100 megabytes per minute, so e-mail is out of the question.
Uploading it to Facebook or YouTube can reduce the quality and make it public, which you may not want.
A two minute HD video is generally even too large for one of the many free file transfer services so a file sharing service usually works best.
I use Google Drive and DropBox for files that I care about and use Mega for temporarily sharing large files with others.
http://Mega.nz actually offers 50Gbs of free space, but it’s owned by New Zealand’s Kim Dotcom, a controversial figure in the tech world so I’m not comfortable using it for anything permanent.
There’s nothing wrong with the service itself, I’m just not convinced it will be around forever because of his legal troubles, so user beware.
Just about every digital camera or smartphone is capable of taking very high resolution pictures these days, but there’s a side effect of all those extra pixels
High resolution images means large file sizes, which can start to fill up your computer if you aren’t careful and lead to big trouble!
Depending on far back you’ve been storing digital images on your computer, it’s possible that you’re taking up a bunch of unnecessary space with duplicate images.
Trying to find those duplicates manually would be an exercise in futility, so you’ll want to get some help with one of the many duplicate photo finder apps.
Since duplicates don’t generally reside in the same folder, these apps can scan all your picture folders to determine how many duplicates you have and where they are stored.
It’s the easy way to clear large chunks of space from duplicate pictures on your hard drive.
If posted links to a couple of free programs for Windows and Mac computers at DataDoctors.com/radio.
No matter what your age, there’s a decent chance that at some level, you’re a Star Wars fan.
I myself got hooked starting with the original movie when it took the world by storm back in 1977.
Well even if you aren’t ready to line up at midnight for the premier of Episode VII in December, you may want to checkout the new Star Wars App.
It’s loaded with great time wasters like official videos and news feeds, animated GIFs and even a Force training game so you can learn how to Use The Force.
The Sound Board and themed weather forecasts are kinda cool too, but my favorite feature is taking Star Wars selfies.
It allows you to take and share selfies in iconic costumes and settings that range from Princess Leia to Han Solo with Darth and Yoda in tow.
This isn’t one of those apps that’ll stay on your phone for very long, but it is a lot of fun for a while.
May the app be with you.
Remembering passwords continues to be one of the biggest challenges we all face and password management tools continue to be developed by a whole host of companies.
Well, you can add Google to that list with their newly launched Smart Lock feature that works on Android devices, Chromebooks and with the Chrome browser on your computer.
You’ve been able to tell the browser on your computer to save a password for years, but when you use your smartphone to access the same site, you have to remember your password.
Google Smart Lock aims to give you a way to sync your passwords, so passwords saved on your smartphone will be saved on your computer and vice versa.
The Android app is designed to keep your phone unlocked when it’s safe by recognizing things like location, other devices or even your voice and locked when it senses it may not be safe.
It’ll help cut down on the frustrating ‘forgot password’ routine on your trusted devices.
Learn all about it at http://google.com/smartlock
Smartphones are pretty awesome, but they’re only as smart as the user using them, right?
What’s the likelihood you’ve mastered all the features and hidden tricks that these modern marvels of technology have to offer?
Well, if you want to get smart and discover new tips and features on your smartphone, there’s an app for that!
It’s called Drippler and it’s a free app available for iPhone and Android users.
The app provides helpful tips, features and updates as well as how-to articles to help you with everything from extending battery life to discovering things that you had no idea your phone could do.
Think of it as the answer to the question “how do I keep up with all the changes on my smartphone?”
Each app is platform specific, so you’ll only get information that pertains to your operating system and device.
Personalized tips and tricks for your smartphone are just a download away.
Just search the Apple and Google App Stores for D R I P P L E R
Adobe Flash has long been a target for hackers because new flaws are discovered on a regular basis and they know that many users don’t keep it updated regularly.
There have been 7 critical updates published in just the last 7 months; how many of them have you missed?
To add to the risk, sophisticated phishing scams are in circulation via social media and email, encouraging you to secure your computer by clicking on the update link.
There was a time when Flash was a pretty important tool if you wanted to play games and watch videos, but much of the Internet has moved away from it, so you may not really need it.
Uninstalling it will instantly improve the security of your computer, but may reduce functionality for some websites, so running a test first makes more sense.
I’ve posted instructions on how to figure out whether you really need flash any more along with the proper link to update the tool if you do at DataDoctors.com/radio
The recent hack of the US Office of Personnel Management is one of the most prolific in history, with over 21 million potential victims.
That means roughly 1 in every 14 Americans has had personal information exposed from just this one breach.
Anyone that’s ever worked for the government, been a contractor, has ever applied for a job or is a spouse or child of those that have are at risk.
OPM is working with a company called CSID to alert and provide ID protection for those that are at risk and one of the ways that they’ll communicate is by email.
Don’t take any email alerts at face value because scammers have all the information they need to create very convincing phishing scams to trick you.
If you believe you are at risk and you get one of these emails, do not click on any links to enroll for the protection.
Play it safe and go to http://CSID.com/opm to enroll.
I’ve also posted the legit link at DataDoctors.com/radio
Twitter is an excellent communication tool but if you’re tweeting at the wrong times, your posts won’t get much engagement.
There are a lot of resources that generally suggest the best times and days to post your tweets.
One researcher suggests that brands get better engagement on weekends, while another suggests that late weekdays are better.
General trends are all well and good, but you’re better off figuring out when your network is active for the best results.
A simple free resource for analyzing your network is at http://Tweriod.com.
By analyzing your actual followers and your past tweets, Tweriod can provide insight into when you’re likely to get the most exposure and the most real-time engagement.
It breaks it down by weekends, weekdays, Sundays and Mondays so you’ll no longer have to guess when it’s best to schedule your posts.
Tweeting without a strategy is why so many people give up on the network, so checkout http://Tweriod.com for your best times to tweet!
Summer’s here and it’s getting hot enough to make us uncomfortable and cranky during the day.
Do you know what else gets uncomfortable and cranky from the heat?
Heat is the #1 enemy of the batteries in all your gadgets and being mindful of this can help extend their life.
Leaving your phone, tablet or laptop in a hot car, especially if it’s exposed to direct sunlight will definitely take its toll.
Also, if you notice that your electronics are warm to the touch from being in a hot setting, try to avoid turning them on until they return to room temperature.
You need to also be careful not t o block the exhaust vents on your laptop; using it on a pillow or thick bedspread is a very common way they get overheated.
If you’re going to be outside with your smartphone, do your best to keep it out of direct sunlight for extended periods of time.
Remember, if you’re uncomfortable from the heat, so are your gadgets!
Smartphone camera technology keeps getting better.
Apple has always excelled in this area and the iPhone 6 is certainly no exception when it comes to the quality of the optics.
Low lighting situations are generally the most difficult for most smartphones, but learning how to use some of the manual features can vastly improve the outcome.
If you always leave your camera in the auto mode, you’ll usually end up with a grainy image with no flash or a blown out image with the flash.
A 17-year old professional photographer has put together a very helpful site that shows how he uses an iPhone with a free app called VSCO Cam to capture images in various challenging lighting situations.
Each image shows which preset he used in the app and a brief description of what he was focusing on to get the shot.
If you’re interested in taking your smartphone photography to a new level, checkout the link that I have posted at DataDoctors.com/radio.