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!
Caching is an automatic process that occurs in your browser virtually every time you visit the websites that you use the most.
Think of it as storage space for your favorite websites as copies of the main structure of the site get saved to a special folder on your local hard drive.
Without this very simple process, everything on the web would take a bit longer, so it’s awesome except when it’s not.
Items in your browser cache can actually cause some problems when you visit sites that you’ve previously downloaded.
Today’s tip is for those rare occasions when a website seems to be having a problem loading.
You can tell your browser to ignore your local cache to see if it’s causing the problem by using the keyboard combination of Ctrl-F5 together.
If you’re a Mac user, the keyboard combo of Command -> Shift and the letter R will tell your computer to ignore the cache.
If you find that ignoring the cache lets the troublesome website to load, it’s a sign that you should clear the browser cache, which is detailed here:
One of the most amazing things you can do is learn another language, which is very common in so many other countries.
If you’re going to travel to another country down the road, you can get by with basic mobile translation apps, but it’s always more enjoyable if you can learn the language at a basic level.
As daunting as it may sound, technology has made learning a new language a lot easier and much more efficient.
Our go-to language training app and website is DuoLingo because it’s both engaging and free to use.
It’s especially engaging if you connect with friends or family that are also interested in learning the same language because they make it like a game.
The best part is that you don’t need more than 5-15 minutes a day to start to quickly learn that next language.
Choose from over 35 different languages with bite-sized lessons that can get you up to speed in a much more entertaining way at https://www.duolingo.com
One of the most common questions we all ask these days is “which cell service is the best in my area”, especially if you’re coming to the end of a restrictive contract.
It’s standard protocol to start asking friends and family which network they use and are they happy with their choice.
Although this can provide you some generalized recommendations, unless they live, work and play in the exact same areas as you, their experience isn’t going to be reflected in your area.
You can certainly start with anecdotal feedback from others, but if you want to make a decision based on data, head over to the Coverage Maps on the Root Metrics website: https://webcoveragemap.rootmetrics.com
It will show you the coverage you can expect down to the cell segments for each of the major carriers and their smaller affiliates as reported by other users of each network.
Both the website and the app can help you better understand coverage for the areas you care about and with the mobile app, you can join in on the reporting by submitting your own tests to help the rest of the community.
Powerful big-name software programs can get pretty expensive to use, but there may be a free or much less expensive alternative available if you know where to find them.
Many software programs have been developed via the open-source community, which means it’s a collective of programmers that help create and modify the programs and make them publicly available.
We refer to these lesser-known programs as alternatives which you can search for at a website called AltnerativeTo https://alternativeto.net
With over 90,000 apps that also have comments, reviews and recommendations from hundreds of thousands of users, it’s the most comprehensive way that we know of to find great software.
You simply put the name of the expensive program in the search bar to have it search for alternatives that work with every major operating system.
It’s especially useful when you don’t really need to use a program more than once or twice, so keep this in your favorites for the next time you need to find an Alternative To anything!
Apps are what make our smartphones way more than just a voice device and the great thing is that so many of them are free.
But you may not realize that there may be a hidden cost to those free apps akin to ‘there’s no such thing as a free lunch’.
A couple of the potential costs include battery life and excessive use of your cellular data.
Much research has been generated around the use of free apps because they are so popular and the results show that free apps can eat up your data plan.
In addition to reducing your data plan loading ads in the background, that process also requires more battery power and your working memory, which can reduce all-around performance.
If you get a data usage warning far before the end of your monthly billing cycle or you find yourself out of juice in the middle of the day, it might be good to watch to see how many apps are serving up ads.
Another way free apps pay for themselves is by sharing data about you and your usage, so consider that cost as well.
Keeping all this in mind, when an app is available for free or as an ad-free version for a few dollars, paying for the app could be much more cost-effective.
The iPhone has been available in larger screen sizes for some time now and to make the most of the extra real estate, Apple has added features that you can only see if you turn it sideways.
Many of the apps you likely use on a regular basis have these hidden features, like mail, messaging and your calendar just to name a few.
When you go landscape with the Mail app, you can opt for a multi-screen mode that will show you all your messages along with a preview of the current message.
If you’re into looking up company info in the stocks app, it also has some additional screen space for additional info on any particular stock you’ve looked up.
One of the most obvious benefits of going to the landscape orientation is that you’ll have a larger on-screen keyboard often with additional keys not seen in portrait mode.
Since so many apps have taken advantage of the extra screen area, be sure to start checking whenever you open any app so you can find all the hidden gems that you didn’t know about!
For most of us, email is a necessary evil that we have a love/hate relationship with, especially if the unread message count gets out of control.
It’s not hard to get far behind with the plethora of messages that can come from a variety of senders.
There’s a kitschy tech term known as ‘email bankruptcy’ that refers to the act of declaring that you’ll never get to all the messages, so you’re going to wipe them all out of your inbox.
After you delete all the backed up messages, you’ll want to let the people you care about know that you’ve gone bankrupt and that if they have any recent messages that they’re waiting for a response on that they need to kindly resend it.
If you’re list of important people is short, you can alert them one at a time, but if you plan on sending a single message to a large number of recipients, make absolutely sure that you put all the addresses in the Blind Carbon Copy (BCC) section, so the addresses are not visible to everyone on your list.
If running is your exercise of choice, today’s suggestion could help you pick up the pace.
How motivated to run will you be if you’re being chased by zombies?
Even if the Walking Dead isn’t your cup a tea, the Zombies Run! app could be an entertaining way to stay in shape.
You start with choosing one of the missions and then start your jog for the music and instructions to get going.
You become a runner headed to one of humanity’s last remaining outposts. Survivors need your help to gather supplies, rescue survivors, and defend their home while you’re on your run.
Combined with your favorite music, this approach to staying engaged in a regular exercise routine could be just what your boring runs have been looking for.
Get in shape and become a hero all at the same time with either the iPhone
Zombies Run app!
Whenever you’re interested in remodeling or even building something new, gathering ideas from others is always helpful.
The next time you’re in that position, remember a web resource with a huge library of inspirational images called Houzz.
Houzz https://houzz.com shows you what lots of pro designers have put together for their clients the can serve as the guidelines for your project.
You can search for specific ideas based on a specific room or style and save them to your own library and even contact the designers that did the work.
Posting your questions in their user forums is another way to get valuable input from those that have ventured down the path that you are beginning.
If you’re a construction or design professional, Houzz is a great way to show off your work and potentially generate new leads and customers.
Their mobile app allows you to explore on the go as well as provide visual aids when you go to the hardware store or furniture gallery.
No matter how big or small a home improvement project may be, in most cases, it starts with accurate measurements.
Making sure you have the right measurements recorded and have used the proper calculations for your job is made a lot easier with Dewalt’s free smartphone app called Mobile Pro.
Although it was initially designed for construction pros, it’s a great resource for any do-it-yourselfers.
With the various construction calculators and conversion tools, it’s very helpful when you are trying to determine the list and quantity of materials you’ll need for the task.
If your project involves others, it’s really easy to share the info you generate in the app via email.
Having pro tools and the right amount of the critical materials goes a long way to making any project go much smoother. Download the app at: https://dewalt.cengage.com/MobilePro/download
Lots of valuable resources on the Internet require you to provide a valid email address in order to gain access to their information.
In many cases, you may never have a reason to interact with that website again, but if you use your real email address, you’re going to hear from them again whether you want it or not.
For those instances, there’s a way to use a temporary but valid email address to gain access without exposing your actual email address to unwanted follow-up messages.
One of the simplest tools that I’ve used for years is one called 10 Minute Mail which offers exactly what their name suggests.
You simply go to https://10minutemail.com where you’ll be presented with a generic working address that is good for 10 minutes, more than enough time to access the info you seek.
It’s a web-based messaging platform, so everything that gets sent to that address will be accessible from the same page.
What’s nice about this quick and dirty tool is that if 10 minutes isn’t long enough, you can request an additional 10 minutes.
This site should never be used for anything that will require follow up down the road, so use it wisely!
Traveling around the world isn’t really much of a possibility at the moment, but that shouldn’t keep you from exploring the world online.
One of the best interactive websites available focused on arts and culture has been assembled by Google at https://artsandculture.google.com
It’s an amazing resource for learning about foreign countries, history, museums and other cultural attractions virtually from your computer, tablet or smartphone.
One of the great features is the ability to leverage Google’s Street View technology as well as other virtual mapping efforts that can place you right in the middle of any location.
It’s a great travel planning tool as you can dig into options that you’re interested in exploring before you even book your next trip.
Understanding the details of an area you want to explore helps to ensure you get the most from your trip.
Not only is it a great travel planning resource, but it can be extremely useful in many homework assignments that involve history, foreign countries, culture and even science.
To get started, click on this link
Social media posts have become a living record of our lives that provide great memories as we reflect back on the past.
Even though those memories exist, much like the traditional photo album, unless you take the time to go back and review them, they can be forgotten.
Facebook started providing the ability to revisit memories based on each day a while back, but there’s so much more to remember.
An app called TimeHop has been around for some time and it allows you to expand this ability to review the past on a daily basis.
Not only can you revisit Facebook posts, but you can also include Twitter, Instagram, and even your own photo library on your smartphone.
Once you’ve decided what you want the app to share, you’ll get a daily review of all of the items from that day going back as far as your library stores.
It’s a really easy way to keep old memories alive; learn more at https://TimeHop.com
The essence of any social network is to connect people with common interests or relationships, no matter where they live.
Everyone knows about the major networks, but there are so many specialty social platforms that focus on so many common interests that include fishing.
For those looking to connect with other anglers from around the world, there’s a popular and growing social network called Fishbrain.
No matter where you want to fish in the world, there’s likely someone on the network that has left notes or valuable information.
You can gain local knowledge for a fishing hole near you or discuss baits and equipment along with strategies for the best results in a specific area.
Imagine having the power of local knowledge from those that have been fishing in thousands of locations around the world right from your smartphone.
Get started with this free and easy to use app/network by visiting https://fishbrain.com
If you drive your own vehicle for work and are required to keep track of your mileage in order to be compensated properly, today’s tip is for you.
There are countless ways to manually track your mileage, but since you have your smartphone with you at all times, why not leverage the technology built into it?
The Triplog GPS Mileage Tracker makes this possible for both Android and iPhone users.
In addition to auto-tracking your mileage, it can track other important fees from things like parking, tolls and your fuel costs.
The beauty of the system is that you just need to be plugged into power or have an active Bluetooth connection to activate the auto-tracking of your vehicle's miles when you move faster than 5 miles per hour.
The tracking automatically stops based on your car being turned off or if you disconnect from the Bluetooth device.
They’ve got a number of interesting options for those that need this simple but valuable tracking service at: https://triplogmileage.com
We’ve been providing data recovery services for decades, so we’ve heard just about every story you can imagine that led to someone needing our help.
The one recovery we can’t ever accomplish is when the only copy of a file is on a device that gets lost or stolen.
Over the years, we’ve had lots of college students and even some professors come to us hoping we can find an old version of a paper they’ve been working on for years.
One student, whose laptop was stolen, offered a $1000 reward not for the return of their laptop, but for the single file that was his thesis.
A simple backup wouldn’t have helped with the pain of a stolen laptop, but it would have at least provided comfort that the critical data on the laptop was safe.
A common error we see with folks wanting to backup their data is they buy an external backup drive, then proceed to use it as their primary storage.
If there aren’t at least two copies of a file on two different devices, even if was a simple USB drive, you don’t have a safe backup.
Our recommendation for the greatest protection of your data is an automatic cloud-based backup service such as Carbonite.
If you know that you aren’t protecting your data, consider this an incentive to avoid the potential pain of data loss!
If you’re in business, it’s a must to have a fully developed presence on the #1 business social network known as LinkedIn, but the business itself should also have a presence.
All of the networking benefits that an individual can make use of are available to companies as well through the use of the company page feature.
It’s just as easy to set up as your personal profile and will give your company the opportunity to market itself to all the other business professionals on the platform.
You can list the products or services your company offers, post jobs, link to your website, and post articles so that others can follow the updates to your organization.
For those interested in joining an organization, it’s a great way to learn a lot more to see if there’s a good fit or to see who you may know that’s already working there.
As with your personal profile, customers can post their comments and reviews of your business for others to see.
It’s a no-brainer for every company to get set up, so if you haven’t done it, you can learn more at: https://business.linkedin.com/marketing-solutions/linkedin-pages
It’s highly likely that you’ve come across an odd-looking vehicle that appears to have a large number of cameras mounted on the roof with Google’s logos all over it.
This ambitious project to offer street views of as many places in the world as possible started in 2007 and continues to this day.
Whenever you enter into a street view in Google Maps, you’ll start with the most current image, but there’s an option to see what was captured on that street in previous years.
Just look for the little icon that looks like a clock in the box located in the upper left corner of the image.
There will be dots on the timeline that each represents an image for all of the previous years the vehicle drove down the street.
The best part is that as you move around, all of the images in the rest of the neighborhood will from the same time period.
It’s an amazing way to explore places all over the world, like the first house you ever lived in, to see how much things have changed over the years.
Unless you’re fairly technical, you probably don’t know what a word cloud might be.
It’s a data analysis tool that can extract themes from a sea of text because it highlights the most prominent words with larger, bolder letters of colors.
The various words that were used the most in the body of text will make themselves known quickly.
We’ve used this to extract the sentiment from our daily customer surveys that help us to improve our services.
A very easy to use word cloud tool that we love is located at https://tagcrowd.com
You can simply copy and paste a huge text file with all the data you want to analyze or have the tool analyze a specific web link for the most prominent words.
You can also upload files in a raw text file with all your raw data to be analyzed as well.
It’s a really powerful way to impress a point with others in your organization with simple, bold words that make things very clear to everyone.
Staying fit can only be achieved if you can find the right workout that you can both enjoy and stay committed to.
If a gym membership works for you great, but for a lot of people it just isn’t cost-effective or motivating.
If you’re searching for a method of staying fit, maybe a simple program that doesn’t require fancy equipment or an expensive annual membership is just what you need.
There’s a treasure chest of exercises available in a visual instruction set at a website called https://darebee.com.
Whether you’re looking for a short term motivator or a long-term plan that includes exercise and a diet plan, this could be your best bet.
It can start with some basic daily exercises that could lead to a whole new approach to physical fitness and general health.
Today’s tip is for anyone that’s either searching for a way to get started or just isn’t that motivated by their current fitness approach, so check out all the great options at: https://darebee.com
The ongoing battle against unwanted commercial pitches in our email, also known as spam, has led to tools that don’t always get the job done correctly.
Simple mistakes or the use of certain words or sentences in your message can get it tagged as either a potentially unwanted message or filtered out altogether.
The automated spam filters in use around the Internet run a scan of each message to generate a spam score which ultimately determines what happens.
Knowing specific keywords or elements of your message that can increase the spam score will help you avoid this common problem and a web tool at http://mail-tester.com can be very informative.
Any time you have someone telling you that they didn’t get a specific message you sent or they tell you it ended up in their junk folder, check the spam score of that specific message.
The website provides you with a special email address to send the message to, which will be processed to show you how it scored.
When you click on the link to get your score, you’ll get some great detail into what caused your problem so you can avoid making the same mistake in the future.