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!
When friends, family or a business associate flies to your city, coordinating the pickup at the airport is always an exercise in guessing.
Invariably, we end up at the airport too early or too late because one of the many variables changed and we didn’t catch it.
When should I leave for the airport?
Is the flight on time?
When did the plane actually land?
Which terminal will they be in?
If you want a better way to track all the variables and get an alert when you should leave for the airport, checkout an app called Just Landed.
Instead of counting on the person that’s flying to notify you of changes, Just Landed tracks everything for you automatically.
It even tracks your current location and changing traffic conditions against real time flight data to adjust your alerts.
That means you can run errands while you’re waiting for them to land and know when to head to the airport no matter where you are.
It’s simple to use and it’s free, but at the moment, it’s only available for the iPhone.
You can get Just Landed at http://GetJustLanded.com
From time to time, we all find ourselves trying to sell something we own.
If you’re trying to sell your car, there are plenty of resources such as KBB.com that can help you determine market pricing.
But if you’re trying to sell electronics, toys, clothing or just about anything else, you have to manually search around sites like eBay or Craigslist.
The next time you’re trying to determine a price for something that you want to buy or sell, checkout a resource called Bidvoy.
Bidvoy aggregates the data from over 150 million auctions on eBay to help you understand a lot more than just the best price for your item.
You’ll get trending data, what the current price is for a new one and even the best time to buy or sell the item on eBay.
Whether you plan to use eBay or not, getting a detailed report from one of the largest marketplaces online is really helpful.
You no longer have to wonder if you sold something too low or are asking too much for just about anything you want to sell.
The link to Bidvoy is posted at DataDoctors.com/radio
Does it seem like your mobile data usage has gone up over the past couple of months?
If you’re an active user of Facebook on your smartphone, that might be the reason.
You’ve probably noticed that posted videos will automatically start to play as you scroll past them these days.
While this can save you time by not making you tap to see it, it can also cost you if you don’t have an unlimited data plan.
Take a minute to look at the settings on your Facebook app to see how the Video Auto-play is set.
If it’s set to on, it’s chewing up your data plan every time you scroll past a video.
If you like the convenience of video auto-play, change the setting to Wi-fi only to reduce your mobile data usage.
If you could care less, change it to off and tap the videos when you want to see them. And if they start autoplaying again, you’ll know the setting got changed.
I’ve got the link to instructions on making this change for iOS and Android devices posted at DataDoctors.com/radio
Shooting video with your smartphone is great as long as you aren’t walking while shooting the footage. We’ve all seen those unwatchable videos posted online.
Movie crews solve this problem using expensive stabilization equipment like Steadicams and some attempts have been made to create something similar for smartphones.
But now you don’t need to buy any special clunky hardware if you own an iPhone. The folks at Instagram just released a free app that makes it possible to get smooth video even while you’re moving.
It’s called HyperLapse and it’s a stand-alone app, so you don’t have to be an Instagram users to take advantage of this cool technology.
By using the gyro in your iPhone, the engineers at Instagram have created a clever way to stabilize video without having to use expensive video editing software.
They also added the ability to create time lapse video in the same app, so it’s a no-brainer for anyone that loves capturing movement with an iPhone.
It’s also a really easy app to use because the only setting is the speed of the playback.
Search the Apple App Store for Hyperlapse to learn more!
Google Maps has become the de facto mapping system that most of us use when we’re out and about, but if you spend a lot of time in a car commuting, there’s a better way.
Waze is a community based traffic and navigation app that is the best way to get real-time traffic and road condition information on your commute.
Waze is so awesome, Google acquired them last year and started incorporating some information from Waze users right in Google Maps.
But if you want the ultimate commuters tool, get the Waze app on your phone today.
Not only can it help you avoid traffic, road hazards and rubber necking from accidents, it can help you find the cheapest gas along your route.
Just by having it running in the background, you passively contribute real-time data to help your fellow Wazers
Waze is also a community edited mapping system so it can also be a more accurate way to navigate cities that you aren’t familiar with.
As much as I like Google Maps, when it comes getting the best navigation info, Waze is the way that’s W A Z E.com
Are you going to do something worth remembering today?
That’s a question that an app called 1 Second Every Day will make you answer every day.
The app was inspired by Cesar Kuriyama who chose to chronicle a year long trip by recording one second of video every day.
Once compiled, he was able to recall so many moments of his previous year that would normally have just drifted away.
It sounds like a crazy idea at first, but it’s actually an amazing way to capture a huge number of events in your life in a way that’s consumable.
Just seeing a quick clip of video can remind you of an entire day of activities.
If you’re going on a vacation, it’s a great way to help you remember what you did each day in a really short video format.
Think of it as a way to make a documentary about your life that only you will fully appreciate.
Imagine being able to review every day of a decade of your life in about an hour...thought provoking, isn’t it?
You can checkout Cesar’s video and download the app at 1secondeveryday.com
If you’re a fan of e-readers and like to use them outdoors, having the paper-white display makes a huge difference.
Full color displays become almost unusable in direct sunlight, and their more expensive, but if you want to take outdoor reading to another level, you should WaterFi it!
WaterFi‘s a company that can waterproof your e-reader so it can be used in the pool, bathtub, sauna or on your next beach vacation.
Unlike water-resistant coatings, WaterFi offers true waterproofing so you can submerge it to depths of over 200 feet.
They don’t have to open the device, it doesn’t alter the appearance and the waterproofing doesn’t wear out.
WaterFi offers their waterproofing service on only a few devices like the Kindle Paperwhite e-reader, Nike Fuel Band and iPod Shuffle for around $100.
If you’re in the market for a new device, you can buy them pre-treated with the WaterFi process as well.
If you like to spend a lot of time around water and want to be able to read your e-books without worrying about it, checkout Waterfi’s technology at http://WaterFi.com; that’s Water F I.com
You may have recently heard about a group of security researchers that published a paper showing how they hacked many popular apps with a high degree of success.
The Internet went wild with stories about how apps like Gmail, WebMD and the Chase banking app could be easily compromised.
The researchers presented this proof of concept hack at a security conference, but it’s not something that you should spend any time worrying about.
Despite what many of the headlines may have led you to believe, this not something that’s happening in the real world.
The scenario laid out by the researchers is more like a phishing scam and pretty unlikely at the moment, especially if you follow the standard guidelines for app safety.
Since it requires you to install a malicious app to even have a chance, don’t jailbreak your phone and don’t get apps from third party resources.
Stick to the official channels like Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play store and avoid apps that have few downloads or no reviews.
App safety is important, but this most recent story has been way overplayed, so you can relax on this one!
One of the most interesting ways to capture a sunset, sunrise or any setting that has slow movement in it, is through time lapse photography.
Time lapse video is a compilation of a bunch of still images taken at a set interval and mashed together.
Lots of digital camera’s have this capability built in, but if you’d like to have the option on your smartphone, check out an app called Lapse It.
Lapse It allows you to choose an interval in minutes, seconds or even milliseconds to accommodate just about any scenario and it’s really easy to use.
It can even guide you through the process of creating stop motion video, kind of like those old claymation shows we all grew up with.
Time lapse photography is a great way to capture slow moving objects like the tide going out or pillowy clouds overhead and turn them into really beautiful videos.
Once you get the basics of using time lapse photography down, you can do some really creative things.
Lapse It is available for both iPhone and Android phones and can be downloaded at http://www.lapseit.com
When you travel to new places, often times the only memory of your trip are pictures, which leaves out a lot of the details.
If you’re disciplined enough to keep a journal while everything is still fresh in your mind, you can create a much more vivid memory.
But lets face it, that’s just not that likely to happen for most of us, especially if we’re on vacation.
You can, however, leverage the power of that digital assistant better known as your smartphone that you’re carrying around everywhere with an app called Heyday.
Heyday is an automatic journal app that makes remembering what you did and where you went effortless.
Instead of looking like an oversharer on social media to document your trip, Heyday lets you keep a private journal that has a lot more useful detail in it.
You can also choose to only store the info on your phone, so you’re in complete control of who can see it.
If you want this level of detail without having to remember to do anything, Heyday’s worth a look.
Check it out for yourself at http://www.hey.co; that’s H E Y . C O
If you’re looking for a way to take more creative pictures, today’s tip is just for you.
Imagine combining the best of charades, improv and a ticking clock to turn mundane pictures into a hilarious performance piece!
That’s what a free iPhone app called SnapDash offers to do for you.
SnapDash is an unpredictable photo game that will definitely make for much more interesting pictures.
You can choose from over 1700 scenarios that they refer to as snaptions that you read aloud to your subjects.
This app works best with a large number of people that don’t take themselves too seriously but you can use it inspire more creative selfies as well.
Yell out a scenario like ‘you’re riding a roller coaster for the first time’ or ‘you’re in a shampoo commercial’ as the time counts down to get the shot.
Whether it’s one person or a whole group, your pictures will never be the same again.
This app may not be for everyone, but if you’re tired of boring group pictures, give SnapDash a try.
You can see examples and download the iPhone app from http://snapdash.net
We all take lots of individual pictures, but generally way too many to share, so most of them end up filed away on our computers.
One way to share lots of photos with your social networks is to create slideshows, which are pretty easy to do.
The next time you have a large number of pictures from a wedding, child’s performance or any other special event, make a movie out of them.
One of my favorite tools for generating creative presentations in just a few minutes is called Slidely.
Slidely works with lots of online accounts like Facebook, Instagram, Picasa, Flickr and Dropbox or you can upload pictures from your computer.
It allows up to 90 images and gives you a library of great songs to add as a music bed.
You can choose music from lots of great artists or theme songs from movies and TV or upload your own music to maximize the impact.
If you already have albums setup on Facebook, you can create an animated keepsake in a matter of minutes.
It’s much easier to use than most; try it for yourself at http://slide.ly
Social media and the Internet allow us to keep tabs on our favorite celebrities but doing so can actually be dangerous.
Hackers are both evil and psychological in their methods and they know how to take advantage of our celebrity obsessed culture.
They routinely create online scams designed to allow them to sneak into your computer using celebrities as bait.
The most recent example is the fake post circulating on Facebook claiming to be a goodbye video from Robin Williams.
In most cases, if you click on the link, you’ll be told that you need to update your video player in order to watch the video.
If you fall for this, you essentially just granted remote access and control of your computer to a remote hacker.
Whenever you see a site telling you that you need to update your media player, that’s a huge red flag.
Why would you suddenly need something special when you view online videos almost every day. The answer is you don’t.
Celebrity based scams have long been one of the most effective tricks in the hacker’s playbook, so don’t let your guard down!
Keeping our mobile devices charged continues to be one of the biggest challenges in the digital age.
Having the right cable and the right charger for each of your devices means lugging around a small warehouse of cables and wall plugs...I can’t wait for universal wireless charging to get here!
The promise of a truly wireless future is something we all look forward to AND one of the more promising technologies for wireless charging is called WiTricity.
Originally a research project at MIT in 2007, it’s slowly evolving into a technology that we could see all around us in the near future.
Imagine having wireless charging transmitters hidden under desks, kitchen counter tops and the center console of your car.
Everything from our smartphones to our electric vehicles may be recharged wirelessly just by being near a charger when WiTricity based products eventually hit the market.
WiTricity achieves wireless energy using resonant energy transfer based on Synchronized Magnetic-flux Phase Coupling phenomenon; yeah I don’t get it either, but I want it.
You can check out existing products that are being tested and the potential applications for this exciting technology at http://WiTricity.com
To understand how to better protect yourself online, it helps to take a slightly different tact from the norm by thinking like a hacker.
Your personal information is very valuable on the black market, so finding ways to sneak in by tricking humans is a very common plan of attack.
They figured out a long time ago that the best way to get to mom and dad’s information is through your kids.
Enticing your kids to download free games, screensavers, music, movies or programs that would normally cost hundreds of dollars allows them to sneak malicious programs into your computer.
One of the reasons that this is so effective is often times, mom and dad are using the same user profile as the kids and they generally have full administrative rights.
If this is how your home computer is setup, I strongly recommend you make some changes.
Setting up a separate user account for your kids and limiting the rights of that account can go a long way to protecting everyone in the house.
Each operating system is different, so If you don’t know how to do this, get someone technical to help you...this one’s important.
There are a lot of different tools available that allow you to remotely share your desktop with someone else on the Internet.
Most of them require you to install special software on your computer and on the computer that’s remotely sharing your screen.
Other tools may allow the person on the other end to see more than you intended to share, if you aren’t paying attention.
A tool that’s easy to use, doesn’t require any special software and completely limits the sharing to websites is called Surfly.
It’s the perfect tool for demonstrations, helping friends and family or sharing web-based content with a group.
The hosts pointer is shown with a red glow around it and remote users can’t click on anything, so you’re in complete control.
It won’t allow you to share video content, but for helping non-technical people with basic website issues, it’s pretty handy.
Once you setup a free account, you simply create a special web link with the site you want to share and email it. Your viewers don’t have to sign up for an account, they just click on the link you sent and BINGO, they see what you’re seeing.
Try it for yourself at Surfly.com, that’s S U R F L Y.com
One of the great things about taking pictures with our smartphones is that most of them can automatically push the pictures up to a cloud service by themselves.
But smartphones don’t do a great job in low lighting and they lack optical zoom, so sometimes a real digital camera is a better choice.
Some digital cameras now come with built-in wifi so you can push images directly from the camera, but most don’t.
An inexpensive way to add wifi capabilities to an older digital camera is with the EyeFi Mobi wireless SD card, which has been around for years but is still relatively unknown by non-technical folks.
A recent update to the line added an unlimited cloud storage option called Eyefi Cloud for $49 a year.
This seamless photo storage service can essentially give your traditional digital camera the same auto upload capabilities your smartphone has.
It also works with other cloud storage services such as DropBox or can push them to a Mac or Windows computer.
You can check out the various cards, which cameras they work in and where to buy them at Eyefi.com, that’s E Y E F I.com
If you recently turned on 2-factor authentication to protect your online accounts, there’s an additional step you should make if you travel a lot.
2-factor authentication prevents unauthorized users from accessing your account by sending you a text message whenever an unfamiliar device attempts to use your password.
If you’re on a flight that has wifi and you attempt to access your account, your phone can’t get text messages, so you won’t be able to get in without a backup code.
It may not be a big deal for things like Facebook or Twitter, but e-mail is a different story especially if you’re a business traveler.
Go back to where you setup 2-factor in all your accounts and search for backup codes or something that talks about what to do if you don’t have your phone.
Most sites will generate 10 temporary one-time use codes that you should copy and store somewhere in your travel gear.
You can also store them in a password protected text file on your phone or computer or an unlabeled piece of paper in your wallet or purse.
I’ve got links for many of the major sites posted at http://datadoctors.com/radio
Or search “2-factor backup codes for XXXX” where XXXX is the name of the online service
Are you one of those folks that needs some form of noise to distract your mind in order to go to sleep?
I am, so I’m constantly looking for something that will help my mind slow down but not annoy my wife.
My latest discovery is an app called Relax Melodies and it’s the most flexible sound generating sleep app I’ve ever used.
It has dozens of soothing sounds that can be mixed together to create your own customized sleep inducing sounds.
Everything from a running river to a waterfall or the slow waves of an ocean can be combined wit h chirping birds, a crackling campfire or the sound of rain hitting the roof.
Add some ethereal music from a piano or flute and you have the makings of a sleep inducing soundtrack that will help you reach the right state of mind quicker.
Relax Melodies is a free app that’s available for iOS, Android and Windows Phone users and I’m really glad I found it.
In fact, I find myself using it at the office in the middle of the day as a relaxing background.
Sounds good doesn’t it?
I’ve got the link posted at DataDoctors.com/radio
Let’s face it, we’re all slaves to our email to some degree or another. Finding better ways to manage the deluge is a key to staying productive.
One of the concepts that many companies are attempting to perfect is turning your inbox into a CRM tool.
CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management and it’s the backbone of the offerings from companies like SalesForce.
If you haven’t already found something that works for you, an interesting attempt to turn your Inbox into a CRM tool is being offered by a company called Streak.
It was born out of the frustration of constantly having to switch between the inbox and various other systems to keep track of things.
Streak is a free Gmail add-on that has specific templates for everything from sales to customer support, bug tracking to hiring processes.
It also has snippets which are preformatted chunks of text that can be used to quickly respond to a common interaction.
There’s also an iPhone app so you can use their tools while you’re on the go.
If you use Gmail and struggle with the overload, give Streak a look at Streak.com
If you travel for business, you know that a solid Internet connection is a pretty important factor when you choose a hotel.
Unfortunately, most of us learn about a less than desirable level of speed only after we check-in to our rooms.
Well now, you can tap the wisdom of the crowds with a website called HotelWifitest.com.
The data is collected by users that perform speed tests from within the hotels that are listed, so it’s actual data from the actual hotels.
So now, if Internet access speeds are crucial, the next time you want to find a hotel, start with HotelWifiTest.com.
Just type in the city that you plan to travel to and you instantly get a clear picture of the best speeds in the area.
You’ll get hotels sorted by the highest expected speeds along with other useful data such as confidence levels and whether wifi is free or not.
As a road warrior, you can help the community by running a speed test whenever you’re at a hotel to help build the database.
HotelWifiTest.com is a definite bookmark alert for all you road warriors out there!