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!
Anyone that is a regular business traveler has a well tested routine along with timelines to minimize delays and travel hickups.
But even if you are a seasoned road warrior, there is one thing that has always been a variable in the airport: security checkpoint lines.
Those that travel the same basic routes regularly might have a good idea of what to expect, but anyone can do much better than simple gut feel with the WhatsBusy website.
WhatsBusy shows you how long you can expect to stand in a security line at most major airports based on when you are arriving at the airport.
Just pick an airport, the day you'll be traveling and what time you plan on getting to the airport and It will analyze the historical data from the TSA and give you an estimate of the security wait times.
It will break the info down by terminal, the various gates and in half hour increments, which allows you to see if you should consider getting there a earlier or a little later to avoid long lines.
WhatsBusy is available as a web-based service on any computer or mobile device
Most of us have some form of 'bucket list' of things we want to do before we pass on.
A site called 'BucketListly' is an online community for bucket list fans that wants to help inspire users to leave a mark on this world.
Bucketlistly aims to assist anyone unlock achievements in the real world and inspire others to follow in those footsteps via their interactive community.
You begin by compiling your own bucket list by posting all the goals you want to achieve. This beings your community discussions and helps you get advice, tips and tricks from others that have already done your bucket list items.
You can even join others online that share your same goasl to encourage each other to help make it happen.
No matter what you want to do, learn to surf, hike the Himalayas or meet with the Dalai Lama, there are members of the community on the site that have likely 'been there and done that' and they are willing to share how they made it happen!
Get a jump on your bucket list today at: http://www.bucketlistly.com
Most of us have been on the cruise ship we call Facebook for quite a while, which means you will have accumulated what we refer to as Facebook barnacles on your account.
The barnacles are all those apps that have attached themselves to your profile whenever you checkout a new app or try that new game and end up never using it again.
Even when you don't ever use these apps, you still gave them permission to connect to your account below the 'waterline'.
If you've never take a look, you'll be shocked to see how many apps haveyou your permission to access your profile info.
It’s time for a little clean up, so take the time to review the list of apps that have your permission to access your profile.
Click on the icon in the upper right corner, then on Settings to get to the 'Apps' section.
Once you see the list, just start tapping on the 'X' next to all those old apps you don't use anymore…your profile info will no longer be accessible in the future for those apps.
Just about everything you use regularly online is sped up through the use of something called the ‘cache’ which is what stores various elements from your previous web visits on your computer.
Using this cache allows websites to load much faster because your computer doesn’t have to download every image, frame, video or body of text from the site you are visiting every time.
Loading these items from your computer's hard drive is much faster, but in some cases, this process can work against you.
If you have ever landed on a website looking for information but you can’t find it or the site just won't properly load, there is a possibility that your being presented with an incomplete cached version of the website from your computer.
If you ever want to bypass the cached items on your computer, try this: hold your CTRL button down and then tap on the 'F5' key along the top of your keyboard.
This universally used shortcut works for most major browsers and is shortcut keystroke that tells the computer to bypass the cache altogether and download everything from the Internet.
This turns out to be a really easy way to troubleshoot website loading problems as if it works, you will know its time to clear out the cache in your browser.
Instructions on clearing your cache: http://www.wikihow.com/Clear-Your-Browser's-Cache
Since Facebook has become a such a fundamental form of communication for so many of us, we tend to use it wherever we are.
But, if you have ever used a friends computer to log into your Facebook account and later realized that you neglected to sign out before you left, you were kind of at your friends mercy if they decided to be a prankster.
Well, if you ever forget to sign out of any computer, whether it belongs to a friend or it's a company workstation, there is a simple way to protect your account.
Facebook gives you the ability to review your active profile sessions in the Security section and allows you to terminate any of them if you so desire.
It provides you with a list that includes when it was accessed, what type of device was used and the general location of that connection, which will allow you to determine which session was the one you neglected to sign out of and kill it!
It’s also a very good way to routinely monitor your profile to make sure that no one else has acquired your password and is making use of it without your knowledge.
Just to play it safe, be sure to review this section of your settings on a regular basis: https://www.facebook.com/help/211990645501187
One of the reasons we love our smartphones is that there is no end to the useful or entertaining apps available for downloading.
Most of us will generally look for free apps that fill any given need before we opt to spend any money.
Finding those apps as they become available means that you have to spend your time searching for them or if you listen to this tip, download an iPhone app called ‘Apps Gone Free to do the work for you.
Did you know that every day there lots of apps that offer their apps that usually cost money for free but only for a short period of time. They do this to generate downloads when things slow down, but when you are not aware of free deals, you miss out on the short window of opportunity.
Apps Gone Free uses human editors that save you lots of time and frustration because the staff hand picks every app and they write a basic summary to help you decide if it’s worth downloading.
There are a handful of featured apps each day that you can review to decide whether any of them fill a need…great app discovery that allows you to save money!
Apps Gone Free is for the iPhone only:
A similar app is available for Android users: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=net.tsapps.appsales&hl=en_US
Let’s begin today’s tip with some geek speak: ‘VOIP’ or Voice Over Internet Protocol refers to the process of generating a voice call over the Internet.
Skype is a great free VOIP service as long as you both have a Skype account, but when you want to have Skype make a call to a regular land line or cell phone number, it will cost you.
Anyone looking for a way to make a free call from their computer to any type of traditional phone line in the US and Canada should look at their Gmail account.
Long ago, Google harnessed the power of Google Voice within Gmail so it’s super easy to make a call.
Once you have the required Google Hangouts plugin installed, you can click on the telephone icon in the lower left column and tap in the phone number for any phone in the US or Canada.
Or with Gmail shortcuts enabled, you can simply tap the letter ‘G’ followed by the letter ‘P’ as in Phone to launch the number dialer.
You can also click on any properly formatted phone number in email messages to bring up the dialer using that number!
Get complete instructions here: https://www.lifewire.com/how-to-make-and-receive-phone-calls-in-gmail-1171944
If your regular business activities include building things or managing tasks for a large group, you’ve already found a sophisticated, and probably expensive, software program that handles project management.
But for those of us that just want to get things accomplished, either personally or professionally, project management software is overkill.
For the rest of us, Trello was created as a simple but powerful tool that can keep our projects organized.
This easy to use platform can turn any computer, smartphone or tablet into a digital version of the cork board with index cards.
It’s great for to-do’s, random ideas or any important project that you’re trying to put together because Trello uses a simple drag & drop interface which can bring clarity to the chaos of life and best of all, it is free!
Trello allows you to attach pictures or files, web links, generate checklists, use color coded labels and even add people to a card so you’ll know who’s responsible for what.
If you’ve been looking for a tool to get organized, Trello could be just what you’ve been looking for: https://trello.com
Complex data presented in a visual form is a lot easier to digest and understood which has led to the popularity of something called an ‘infographic’.
Trying to present a bunch of complex info in a clear concise method using a spreadsheet isn’t very effective.
Infographics are now everywhere, especially on research and news sites but looking at them, you’d probably assume that it takes some heavy lifting in a graphic design sense in order to create.
But there’s a tool that will allow you to easily create your own infographics and it’s called Easel.ly!
You can start with a template or create yours from scratch by, dragging and dropping objects, adding text, uploading images and before you know it, your information comes to life in a beautiful infographic (and it’s free).
Infographics aren’t just for all those ‘hipster graphic artists’ any longer!
Looking for inspiration on a home decorating or remodeling project and looking for something more rounded then Pinterest?
Why not look to a website where the pros are?
From remodeling a room to building a brand new home, getting inspiration from others is an excellent way to get started.
Our go to online resource for these situations is Houzz.com.
It has a plethora of photos from top designers that can help you with your dream home. House lets you browse by room, create Idea books and get in touch with local pros that can turn your dream into a reality.
You can also ask the Houzz community for input on any questions you have on just about any project.
All you design or remodeling professionals should look into using Houzz to show the world what you can do and engage with new prospects.
Get your own very visual inspiration for your next project at https://Houzz.com, that’s H O U Z Z.com or checkout their mobile apps which allows you to take those inspirations to the home improvement store!
Their is no shortage of travel sites online that will try to find you the best price on everything from airfares to hotels to rental cars or anything else you may need, but what about the final part of any adventure to an unfamiliar destination?
Directions to any major airport are easy to come by, but what about what it will take to get you to the front door of your BnB or hotel. What are the ground transport options?
Waiting to determine how you'll get to your BnB after you land in a foreign country will be more stressful or expensive then it needs to be.
A website called rome2rio.com is offering to show you every leg of what it'll take to get you from your home to the actual location of where you will stay.
Whether you need info on flights, train rides, bus rides, ferry rides or a taxi or even driving directions, you'll get them all with this resource so you'll actually have every leg of your trip covered.
If you're going to multiple destinations, you no longer have to go to multiple websites because https://www.rome2rio.com can handle it all
We all hate it when our computer’s take forever to shut down, but your temptation to smack the power button to shut it down quickly is a very bad thing to do.
Computers by design, use lots of temporary files during normal daily operations and they are marked for removal when you put it into shutdown mode.
There’s actually an extensive process of housekeeping that is setup to run whenever you shut down, which you can witness by watching the flashing of your computer’s hard drive light.
When you force a shutdown and don’t let it finish, it will fill your hard drive with files you don’t need.
Any time a computer starts getting low on free disk space, it will greatly impact performance.
So anyone that is guilty of this mistake should take the time to track down those unneeded space hogging files and toss them using the Windows Disk Cleanup utility.
Patience is a virtue and a huge benefit when it comes to your computer shutting down and all those Mac users hearing this should also operate with the same guidelines to keep things running smoothly.
Publishing just about anything on the Internet is certainly easier for non-tech folks, but for those with no experience, it can still become overwhelming, especially if you choose the wrong tool.
What if there was a free online tool that anyone can use to create a simple single web page in less than one minute?
This is without having to sign up for any accounts, no need for special tools, no registering a domain - just type, click and publish!
A web resource called http://Pen.io is an easy to use gem of a tool that totally embraces the KISS system for publishing web pages.
Let’s say you are throwing a party or a yard sale or fund raiser or company event and you want a simple process for publishing info online; for those situations, Pen.io could be a quick and dirty solution.
You can publish anything you want in text; random thoughts, poetry, memories, announcing the arrival of a baby or sharing notes with others, the Pen.io tool makes extremely simple to do.
You just select a URL, create a password and start creating your site.
Here’s a link to an example page that I created in less than 60 seconds: http://ddrtest.pen.io
or make your own page at: http://pen.io
Here's a scenario we've all experienced: while on a cross-country airplane ride, you look out the window and see something unusual but can't begin to figure out what it is.
You can try taking a picture to remember it and later attempt to research it once you land, but who's got time for that?
So of course, there’s now an app for that and it has been designed to provide help even if your smartphone is in airplane mode.
The app is called 'Flyover Country' and it helps you identify items when you pre-load the features that are likely to be viewable on an upcoming flight, which is why you won't need an in-flight connection.
You pre-load it by choosing your two points of travel for the upcoming flight so it can download geomaps and points of interest along you flight path.
Once you are in the air, it only needs the GPS in your device to determine your approximate location and based on that, provides visual info with points of interest that you can tap on, all along the way.
The 'Flyover Country' app is free works on both iPhone and Android devices.
We all have various selfie obsessed mates that are always holding their arm out to take a selfie or it’s possible that you’re that person.
In any case, if taking selfies is a regular exercise, it makes sense to put your best face on it which can be done with the Facetune app.
Facetune provides simple tools to make adjustments to any selfie; they say ‘don’t wait for the perfect shot, when you can Facetune it’.
The app lets you do everything from whiten your teeth to removing blemishes to getting rid of those dark circles under your eyes and allows you to improve your smile with the reshaping tool.
It also provides a defocus option which can make your selfie look like it was taken with a professional camera!.
Let’s face it, anyone that is self-obsessed with taking selfies allay will enjoy the ability to touch up their images as well.
Reworking your image isn’t just be for celebrities, so anyone committed to the awesome selfies should checkout the Facetune app for iPhone, iPad or Android.
Whether shopping for furniture, building something for your house or petitioning help from a neighborhood hardware store, making sure you have accurate measurements is essential.
Accurately conveying those measurements to others is equally as important.
We can easily take pictures using our phones, but including the measurement details ususally ends up being sent seperate from the picture.
For those situations, the 'My Measures' can make it much easier to include dimensions right on the picture you're taking, which reduces the chances of miscommunications when working with to a third party.
You no longer need to sketch something out on a piece of paper or pray that the recipient does not confuse the seperate measurements.
The app allows you to add arrows and dimensions to your images in seconds, then save and share the instructions, making it excellent for real estate agents, construction professionals or all you Do-It-Yourself fanatics.
The My Measures app works on iPhone, Android and Amazon mobile devices: http://www.mymeasuresapp.com
Our smartphones will generally be safe from malicious apps as long as we only get our apps from the associated app stores and avoid jailbreaking or rooting your phone.
Jailbreaking or rooting phones allows users to sidestep controls the manufacturers install in their devices and mostly performed by tech savvy users.
But a scam is in circulation that will allow malicious apps to sneak onto your phone, even for those that haven’t modified the controls on their smartphones.
The scam generally begins with a well-crafted text message or email with a link to an interesting app download.
When you tap on the link, it can start the process of exploiting just about any phone, even if the security is still in place.
This further stresses the importance of my long standing advice: If you did not specifically go looking for an app, never install it.
These scammers are able to create very persuasive communications that can often appear to be from one of your friends through the use of hacked accounts, so always stay alert.
For more real-time protection for your smartphone, checkout the security apps at http://lookout.com
Doesn’t it seem like some smartphone chargers can take longer to charge then some of the others?
Well you are not imagining this difference as the power output by each charger (aka amperage) and faulty cables can make a huge difference.
Understanding that the lower the amperage, the longer it will take to charge anything.
Always try to use the charger from the manufacturer, but when you can’t, use a charging device with the proper amperage rating for the best results.
In general, it takes special devices to properly measure output current, but anyone with an Android device can use an app called Ampere that makes it simple to see the variations in charging of your chargers and cables.
This ‘Ampere app’ monitors both battery charging and drainage as well as temperature and overall health of your batteries.
Monitoring the app while you are using the collection of chargers and cables in your bag, quickly reveals which combination will do the best job.
Ampere app at Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.gombosdev.ampere&hl=en
Most cyber-security organizations have been warning us all that those beloved mobile devices we use every day, will become the most desirable target for hackers.
They know that we all love downloading new apps so this has become the new attack vector being used by the bad guys.
Nothing underscores this concern more than the discovery of cleverly crafted malicious apps that looked very legitimate used in something called ‘masque attacks’.
The convincing apps look like popular apps such as Facebook, Skype, Whatsapp and Twitter and if you fall for them, they can allow remote hackers to monitor just about everything you’re doing on your device silently.
They primarily try to trick users into downloading what appears as one of many popular apps, so it’s very important to pay close attention to where you are downloading our apps.
These malicious downloads are often presented to your through links on social media or through email. As always, only get your apps directly from the Apple App store.
One of our favorite features in Google Maps allows anyone to switch to the Street View of virtually any street that Google’s mapping vehicles have driven on.
Their Street View vehicles have been cruising and recording the streets of the world since 2007, but it’s a feature added in 2014 that very few people seem to know about.
After dragging the yellow peg man & dropping it on any street, the default images will be from their most recent drive-by.
What seems to be less well known is that you can travel back in time in the exact same view by clicking on the little clock icon in the upper left-corner, right under the address.
You should see dots on the timeline that represent each year of the view was captured all the way back to 2008.
Once you’re in a previous year, you aren’t limited to the current view because you can move around and view all the images on the street from that same year.
It’s about as close as we’ll ever get to time travel courtesy of Google https://maps.google.com
A very unique web resource that's always been one of our favorites got a bit of an overhaul, which makes searching the web's past a lot more fun.
It's called the "Wayback Machine" and it's part of the Internet Archive project, which has been capturing elements of the Internet starting in 1996. You get to go back in time to lookup what various websites looked in the past.
Wouldn't it be great to see what your favorite websites looked like many years ago?
You can by going to the Wayback Machine website and typing just about any website to get a calendar of the available dates for past versions.
The original captures grabbed just home pages, so don't expect the full site, but their updated technology may allow more of the websites to be captured in the future.
It is really fun to see old versions of big name websites from companies like Microsoft and Apple! Check out all your favorites at http://Archive.org/web