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!
The process of flying from one destination to another involves a lot more than just the getting the ticket purchased, if you think about the trip from the door-to-door perspective.
Everything from where to check-in, knowing which terminal has the best food or amenities during a layover or finding the best choice for ground transportation can come into play.
If a ‘day of travel’ assistant sounds like something you’d benefit from, checkout the TravelNerd website before your next trip.
You can get help getting to and from the airport as well as finding your way inside of it.
Simply select your airports they will show you detailed terminal maps, with restaurants, shops, airport lounges, and amenities such as Wi-Fi availability, where to find the family bathrooms, and ADA specific information.
TravelNerd also provides a nice list of ground transportation options that include shuttles, public transportation and taxis with phone numbers, as well as nearby parking options.
You can use their website on your mobile device or download the iPhone app so you can get to the information at any point on your trip.
Very helpful airport information awaits you at TravelNerd.com
If you’re in charge of a business website in any way, you’ll want to listen up to this tip.
We’ve all experience the situation where you click on a link from your smartphone for a specific bit of information, but get redirected to a generic mobile homepage instead.
This annoying tendency by some websites is considered a faulty redirect by Google and they are going to start calling those websites out in search results.
Google is now warning mobile users when it detects that a site is generating a faulty redirect in an effort to spare users from the frustration.
What this will mean to your business website if it’s guilty of this error is a reduction in traffic from mobile devices.
You’ve probably noticed that you are using your mobile device a lot more these days and you are not alone.
Mobile is such a large percentage of Internet traffic these days that you must properly configure your web properties to accommodate 3 screens: the computer, the tablet and the smartphone.
Google has posted their advice for avoiding this loss of traffic, so make sure someone in your organization is reviewing these tips.
I’ve got the link posted at DataDoctors.com/radio
If you’re any kind of a road warrior, you know that two things are a constant issue for your mobile devices: storage and battery power.
No matter how much storage capacity you have, you eventually run out and are faced with the “what can I get rid of” question.
And no matter how you setup your device, you inevitably end up with a low battery situation when you’re nowhere near a power outlet.
These two common issues along with some other potential mobile challenges are the focus of a product called MobileLite Wireless from Kingston.
It’s a card reader that attaches to any phone, combined with a portable charger that also has built-in wifi.
So it becomes an external storage device that can charge your phone and stream content to 3 different devices at once.
It also allows you to upload images to your social networks from any standard digital camera without having to connect to a computer.
It’s a pretty unique device for less than $50 that addresses many issues and expands what you can do while you are on the go.
Intrigued? Get the link to learn more at DataDoctors.com/radio
I’m a huge fan of sunrises and sunsets and I’m sure I’ve taken over a thousand shots as they never get old for me.
One problem with capturing the sunset and anything in the foreground is that the camera can only set the exposure for one or the other.
So you either end up with dark silhouettes or a washed out sunset because the light is so different for each object.
That’s why so many camera’s now have an HDR setting, which stands for High Dynamic Range, so you can get the light right in these situations.
The HDR setting essentially takes two pictures in succession, one that focuses on the backlight and one that focuses on the foreground and combines the two.
If you take a lot of these types of shots, a professional photographer introduced me to an amazing app called Pro HDR that’s the best.
Not only does it do a better job on each image, it gives you lots of adjustment options before you save the shot.
The links to both iPhone and Android versions of Pro HDR are posted at DataDoctors.com/radio
One of the world’s largest sporting events is underway in Brazil and if you’re listening to this tip, you didn’t get to go either!
But just because you didn’t score tickets and book your flight for the World Cup doesn’t mean you can’t experience what it’s like to be there.
The Google Maps team has released a new feature that will allow anyone to explore all the stadiums and the surrounding areas right from your computer using the Street Views feature.
Every four years, Brazilians come together to show their love for soccer by painting their streets and this year, you can take a virtual stroll down all of these famous streets with your mouse.
In addition to the stadiums and painted streets, images from hundreds of famous sites across Brazil can be discovered from these special pages.
If you’re lucky enough to be going, make sure you have the latest Google Maps for your mobile device as it’s been beefed up with transit information for all 12 host cities as well as indoor maps for over 100 venues.
Your ticket to ride is posted at DataDoctors.com/radio
Bluetooth speakers are a great way to improve the sound from smartphones, tablets and laptops, but if you want to hear the music wherever you are, you have to carry the speaker around with you.
If you’re looking for a Bluetooth enabled speaker system to setup synchronized music throughout your house,
take a look at Pure’s Jongo wireless speaker system.
Pure’s flexible system has both fixed and portable wireless speakers that can all play the same stream of music from your smartphone or tablet.
What’s unique about the Jongo system is something that they call CaskeID which allows for exceptionally accurate synchronized wireless multi room playback of your streaming content.
This means that any bluetooth device in range of any Jongo speaker can control all the other speakers inside and outside of your home that are within range of your wifi network.
This unique approach combines the convenience of Bluetooth with the bandwidth and range of wifi to provide a truly flexible whole house sound system.
There’s even a device to turn any traditional stereo and speakers into an extension of the entire system.
Check it out at http://Pure.com
If you’re a science fiction fan and you love taking photographs with your iPhone, today’s tip will be out of this world.
If reality is too boring for your images and mindless photo editing buttons are even more boring, why not let your imagination run wild with the Alien Sky app.
Why use common colorization filters to make your images stand out when you can really stand apart with awesome space effects.
Alien Sky allows you to create futuristic images by adding high resolution space objects and vivid lens flares to any of your images.
You can add space objects such as Planets, Moons, Bright Suns, Distant Stars,
Comets and even galaxies to really spark a conversation on your social media posts.
With over 150 effects, Alien Sky gives you complete control over sky customization, allowing you create fantastic visions and otherworldly photos that will stop your friends in their tracks.
You can take all those old ho hum photos and turn them into fantastic visions with this two dollar app.
I’ve got the direct link to Alien Sky examples posted at DataDoctors.com/radio
The summer travel season is underway and your smartphone is a great way to discover interesting things all around you.
Location based augmented reality apps can make you aware of historical items nearby, even if they don’t exist anymore.
One of my favorites is Google’s Field Trip app which I originally discovered when I started testing Google Glass.
Field Trip is a hyperlocal tour guide that will help you discover interesting and unique things that are generally hidden from most people.
It can help you learn about everything from local history to the latest and best places to shop, eat, and have fun.
You select what you like and the information pops up on your phone automatically, as you walk next to those places.
I have actually learned so many interesting historical tidbits around where I live and work because of this awesome app.
It’s especially helpful when you’re visiting an unfamiliar area because you can quickly discover hidden gems as if you were a local just by walking down the street.
What have you been missing on your daily commute all these years? Find out with the Field Trip app at Fieldtripper.com
When it comes to physical fitness, having a personal trainer can certainly accelerate your progress and the same holds true for mental fitness.
If you’re like me, as you age, you realize that some of the mental sharpness of your youth has diminished and it’s irritating at times.
If you’re in the same boat as me and interested in trying out a personal brain trainer, checkout an app called Elevate, which is available for both iPhone and Android users.
Elevate uses games based on extensive scientific research that are designed in collaboration with experts in neuroscience and cognitive learning.
You start by choosing what you want to work on: focus, speaking skills, processing speed, comprehension and more.
Elevate then creates a customized daily challenge based on those choices and keeps track of your progress in each area.
The basic daily challenges are free or you can pay for unlimited usage if you really get into it.
One user referred to Elevate as taking a daily mental multivitamin, so if you’re looking for a better way to kill time than Candy Crush, checkout Elevate at http://elevateapp.com
If you have an iPad with a camera built-in, you probably know by now that the quality of the images it produces isn’t nearly as good as an iPhone.
The primary reason is that the optics in any iPad camera are less sophisticated, but many people like having the large display to get the shot.
If you tend to use your iPad for photography, you can improve the capabilities by using a photography app specifically designed to boost the images on your tablet.
Blux Camera for iPad offers a whole host of features that can help you improve the quality of the images you take.
Instead of giving you filters and photo adjusting setting after you take the image, Blux gives you a series of on-screen controls that lets you make adjustments before you take the shot.
It also has an interesting feature they call PEAR, which stands for Photographic Environment Analysis and Recommendation.
Think of it as a photo assistant providing guidance on how to improve the image based on the environment you’re in.
The direct link to Blux for iPad is posted at DataDoctors.com/radio
Apple created a pretty slick way to have your photos show up on all your devices, as long as they are all made by Apple.
Photo Stream is Apple’s automatic backup and sharing system for photos that assumes you’ll do something with the images within 30 days.
If you’re diligent, you’ll grab the ones you want and move them over to your iCloud account and sync your phone with your computer on a regular basis.
If Apple’s way of automatically handling your images isn’t to your liking, there are lots of other ways to automatically get your images uploaded without the limitations imposed by Photo Stream.
One of those options is to use the Google+ app for iPhone, which unlike photo stream will push both your images and video up to your Google+ account.
Google also provides you with 15 gigabytes of storage instead of the 5 gigabytes that Apple’s iCloud provides and they don’t count lower resolution images or videos under 15 minutes against your total.
But remember, because Google+ is a separate app from your camera, it must be open or running in the background in order to upload your media automatically.
Any trip or vacation these days generates a lot of great photographic memories especially when they are put together as a story.
The problem for most of us is that we never get around to pulling together the images while the details are still fresh in our mind.
If this sounds like you, checkout an iPhone app called Tripstr that could make it much easier to create those memories on the fly.
Because it’s a mobile app, you can pull together an awesome sharable story in minutes so that you are more likely to actually do it.
Think of it as an easy way to create a blog of your adventures while you’re still on the road, so you don’t have to make time after the trip is over.
You can pick a series of images by date or location, decide which ones to keep, add captions, a quick journal entry for the day and Tripstr does the rest.
Tripstr is a great way to fill the time on your way home from any trip that will create lasting memories of your adventures.
The link to download Tripstr is waiting for you at DataDoctors.com/radio
At the risk of grossing you out, I have to bring something to your attention: your smartphone is a filthy breeding ground for bacteria.
A recent news article claims that your smartphone has 18 times the bacteria that a typical public restroom door handle has, you know the one that you try to avoid touching.
To make things worse, smartphones typically are warm and get placed in insulated places like our pockets and purses which encourages the bacteria to breed.
Your first thought might be to wipe your phone down with antibacterial wipes, but the chemicals in those cleaners can be harsh on touchscreens.
A properly formulated screen cleaner is a better choice but it may not completely sanitize your handset.
If you’re really looking to safely sanitize your smartphone on a regular basis, checkout an interesting device called Phonesoap.
Phonesoap is a box that bombards your phone with UV light to disinfect it while it’s being charged.
Skeptical? I was too, but they have a pretty convincing Discovery Channel lab test video with impressive results.
Even if you aren’t a germaphobe, check it out for yourself at PhoneSoap.com
The summer travel season often leads to a road trip filled with amazing and unexpected memories; some good, some bad.
I love finding those off the beaten path and quirky places on my road trips but they usually only come from a chance meeting with a local.
This desire to find the fun and unusual is the focus of a great web resource at Roadtrippers.com.
You start by setting your starting and ending points so you can search for attractions, accommodations, entertainment, food and drink, history, nature or just about anything that will make your road trip interesting.
You can easily add stops along the way to see how long it will take and get an estimate of what you will spend in gas to complete your road trip.
Once you create your road trip, you can use their mobile app to sync it to your phone for turn-by-turn directions to every destination.
If creating your own road trip sounds like too much work, you can start with pre-existing itineraries like Route 66 or Haunted Hotels and modify them for your taste.
If you’re taking a roadtrip this summer, checkout RoadTrippers.com
If you’re a frequent flyer, you likely have a handful of go-to apps and websites that help you make the best decisions.
One of my first go-to resources when my travel plans are flexible is Google Flights, because it’s fast and full of filters to hone in on what I want.
Unlike other travel resources, when you make a change to the filter, the updates are instantly displayed so no more waiting for the data to get resorted.
You can filter results by airline, number of stops, price, takeoff or landing time, flight duration and even have the results displayed on a map.
It also includes price unknown for airlines such as Southwest, so you’ll at least know if a flight is available.
But my favorite part of Google Flights is the Lowest Fares icon on the far right side, which displays a bar chart at the bottom of the calendar showing when the lowest fares are available.
Once you select your outbound and return flights, you can save the info or pop over to the airline’s website to book the flight.
See for yourself at Google.com/flights
Despite our love for technology, nothing compares to curling up to a great book on a lazy weekend afternoon.
Whether you prefer books that focus on business, self-help, science, history or fiction, getting references from others is always a great discovery tool.
Amazon is great at recommending books based on what you have already read, but a site called GoodReads.com takes it to another level.
Not only can you get suggestions based on what you’ve already read, you can connect with your friends that are avid readers and learn what they do and more importantly what they didn’t like.
Think of it as a virtual library that makes discovering new books a lot easier than roaming the aisles of a bookstore.
You can create queues of the books you’ve read, that you’re currently reading and the ones you want to read or you can create your own customized bookshelf.
Goodreads works best if you get a group of your bookworm friends to join in with you as sort of a private virtual book club.
If you’re really into discussing literature, you can join or start discussion groups that can be public or private.
Check it out at GoodReads.com
If you are using an Android based smartphone or tablet, you’re more likely to be more interested in all of the tweaks and utilities that the platform offers.
If you are the hands-on type of slightly more technical user, and you’re used to the Windows file manager, I’ve got a great suggestion for you.
It’s called ES File Explorer and it’s one of the more popular utilities for Android devices with hundreds of millions of downloads already.
ES File Explorer replicates a lot of the functionality you are used to in Windows, with folders that you can cut, copy, paste, move, delete, rename and use multiple select for faster management.
As with any file manager on any system, if you don’t know what something is, never delete it!
It also integrates with Dropbox, Google Drive, Microsoft Sky Drive, Sugarsync and other popular online storage services, so pushing files to the cloud is made simple.
You can also manage applications, kill background tasks and clear out junk files as well as manage the files on your SD card.
If you’re the tweaker type of Android user, it’s worth checking out
I’ve got the link posted at DataDoctors.com/radio
Sifting through the plethora of video on the Internet is one of the many challenges of digital life.
It’s a challenge that many companies are trying to make easier by making Internet video a lot more like the television experience that we are all used to.
One new attempt that looks promising is a project called EndlessTV because it breaks the videos down into categories and queues them on your device to avoid streaming issues.
Say, for instance, you’re interested in technology related video, you can download the TechTV app which curates short technology related video for you.
If the video you’re watching isn’t to your liking, simply swipe to the left and the next video will load up.
I’ve been impressed with the quality of the curation so far and find that just about all of the content has been relevant and useful.
At the moment there are 16 categories that include news, fashion, gossip, tech, sports, comedy, business and a handful of other popular subjects.
As the popularity of the service grows, more channels are likely to be added, so if you’re looking for a more efficient way to watching Internet vidoes, checkout Endless TV at endlesstv.com
Just about every airline is now offering wifi on lots of their flights these days, but the cost can range from five to fifty dollars, depending upon the device you want to use.
Today’s tip is a way to help you save money and be more productive on your next long flight.
Instead of paying for wifi to access content on the Internet, you can queue up lots of content before your flight on all your devices with an app called Pocket.
Pocket is one of the many ‘read it later’ utilities that make collecting content and accessing it later even without an Internet connection a breeze.
We’ve all been sucked down the rabbit hole of the Internet, so here’s a way to gather interesting items as you run across them, and view them later.
Pocket works across all your devices, so when you save a story from your computer and read it later on your smartphone or tablet or vice versa.
Pocket can’t let you view saved videos if you’re offline, but if you want to create a personalized newspaper for your next flight, it’s a great tool.
Check it our for yourself at Getpocket.com
The sophistication of the camera technology in smartphones has advanced so much in such a short time.
An average smartphone camera today has 2 to 3 times the resolution that the top of the line camera offered just 10 years ago.
With these higher resolutions came larger file sizes and sometimes you need to reduce the size of an image in order to e-mail or post it on the Internet.
Getting the image to an exact pixel width and height is also important when you create profile pictures for your various social media profiles.
The next time you need to make some quick adjustments to any image you have, checkout a website called WebResizer.com.
WebResizer lets you change the width, height, file size, image quality, exposure, contrast, tint, color saturation and makes it easy to crop or rotate your images as well.
While there are a lot of image manipulation tools on the web that can do all these things, figuring out where the tools are and how to use them can get confusing.
Webresizer is a one trick pony that does it’s one trick very well!
I’ve posted all the link at DataDoctors.com/radio
Instagram is becoming one of the more popular social networks with more than 200,000 million users that like the simplicity of just posting pictures.
The easy to use filters allow anyone to get creative with their pictures, which is adding to the popularity of the network.
At the moment, Instagram has no ability for you to schedule your posts, so you end up either mass posting pictures, which can turn your followers off, or you forget to post at all.
If you are a business that’s trying to engage with Instagram followers, overposting or underposting can be a big problem.
If you’d like to spread your Instagram posts around, you can get some help from an app called Latergram which is only currently available for iPhone and iPad users.
Latergram allows you to choose images, add a caption and attach them to a schedule so you can post it when the time comes.
To fight spammers, Instagram is very strict about third party posting services so Latergram will send the scheduled image with the caption to your phone so all you have to do is tap a button to post it.
It’s not perfect, but it is free and better than trying to remember on your own.