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!
Any child of the 70' and 80's likely grew up on a steady diet of the Pacman game in arcades & bars.
I actually had a friend that purchased a machine for his house so he could master every level.
If Pacman brings back those memories, check out a new "endless" version of the game called "Pac-Man 256".
The 256 is a reference to a well known glitch in level 256 of the original game, which they've taken to another level in this updated game.
In the original game, you could win by completing all the levels, but this game has no end.
The controls use swipe motions on your screen, so you will have to get used to no joystick, but it doesn't take that long.
There are a number of new "power capabilities" you can acquire as you chomp up those famous pellets, so if you're ready for a little bit of nostalgia, I've posted the download links at DataDoctors.com/radio
Anyone that's just beginning the exploration of the wonderful but often confusing world of wine, now has a new wine club that may be just the answer.
It is aptly named the "Tasting Room" and it is almost what can be referred to as the "Netflix of wine".
Their process starts by helping you set up a 'wine profile' through a six bottle tasting kit they send you after you sign up for their service.
When you get the kit, you simply go online for their guided tasting challenge which helps them learn the various flavors you prefer.
Based on your initial profile, you will start to get shipments of wine or for those with a sense of what they like, order whatever you'd like to try.
Each bottle is guaranteed, so if anything you don't care for can be replaced or credited towards another bottle.
As you continue to update your ratings as you taste the wines, the system can refine its recommendations to find more favorable wines.
Learn more at https://www.tastingroom.com
The wonderful world of comics has grown in popularity because it lets anyone re-live their childhood by pretending to be a superhero.
If you arn't quite the 'get dressed up and go to Comic-Con' type, you can still fulfill your dreams of becoming a comic book hero with a simple app.
Comic Studio from Seedling is a powerful iPhone app that lets anyone create their very own comic story starring themselves, thier co-workers or their kids.
You can use any picture you have, quickly cut out the background and add various props and costumes to become a superhero.
You then add speech bubbles, thought bubbles or captions and can even top it off with the classic "KAPOW, BAM and ZAAP" word bubbles.
Add in a background theme and suddenly your story comes to life.
Even if you aren’t a big comic fan, this clever app is an excellent way to communicate just about anything you might want to say in a very entertaining way.
Download the app at https://www.seedling.com/comic
Amazon has always been a great place to find just about any item you need, but many avid customers still don’t know that they can trade-in their old stuff to pay for their new stuff!
The Trade-in program at Amazon can buy old smartphones, tablet, cameras, laptops and lots of other electronics as well as movies, books and even video games.
You start the process by clicking on the category of the item you want to trade-in & then use the filters to find it or simply search by name for the item.
Once you locate the item, you will see a yellow Trade In button with an "up to" price that will get the process started.
Signing-in to your Amazon account will get you a price based on the general condition it is in -acceptable, good or like new.
If you do decide to trade it in, you will have to send it in for inspection, but Amazon will cover the shipping.
Any Amazon regular can start making use of the trade-in offers which will declutter your life & save some money, so it’s worth taking a look.
I’ve posted the direct link at DataDoctors.com/radio
Who amongst us doesn't have many devices that need to get charged via a USB cable, requiring adapters for standard power outlets in order to get it charged up?
The result is having to gather all the devices in one place instead of simply plugging them in wherever an outlet exists.
Anyone looking for a solution to make charging USB devices anywhere around the house or office convenient should look into the Snap Power Chargers.
Snap Power offers replacement power outlets that include a USB port on the side for charging most mobile devices.
The prices start at $20 with various discounts if you buy packs of 2 to 10 wallplates.
The install takes jut a few minutes as there are no wires or batteries requried for these specially designed plates that have built in power prongs.
So by simply replacing a wallplate anywhere in your house, you can add a charging station.
Learn more at https://www.snappower.com
We've all been taught the importance of performing CPR when someone near you is in trouble, but frankly, most people still have no idea what they should do.
A few critical minutes can be the difference between life and death, so having knowledge on what can be done can have a life changing impact.
There are also many other first-aid scenarios that you could encounter, but again many of us just aren’t prepared to deal with those either.
Anyone looking to be a bit more prepared when on of life’s many unexpected situations arises should look into installing the "Red Cross First Aid" app on their smartphone.
The Red Cross has created a resource with lots of critical advice for many common medical situations so that you can have it in the palm of your hand whenever you are in a critical situation.
The content is sotred within the app itself, so you won’t need a cellular signal to look things up for many common medical situations.
This, hopefully, isn’t going to be an apps you will use every day, but when the time comes, it’s a pretty good app to have on your phone.
I posted the link to download the free apps at DataDoctors.com/radio
Anyone that works with spreadsheets all day long knows that working with large data sheets can make it very difficult to analyze the data.
Graphs and charts are an excellent method of taking large data sets and turning them into more digestible or understandable reports.
While the built-in tools for generating charts and graphs can be adequate, there are more elaborate resources available if you want to step up your game.
An open source and free option that’s available is called RAW.
As the missing link between spreadsheets & vector graphics, this tool is really cool.
You start by using copy/paste or drag a file into the interface.
Next, you select a layout type and then drag datasets to map the dimensions you want to display to the categories you want to use.
Once the basic data is setup, you can customize what will become the visualization of your data to fit your needs.
When it's finalized, you can download the graphics and use them any way you want.
It’s really powerful stuff!
The link to RAW is http://raw.densitydesign.org
The influence of social media has become very apparent in virtually every aspect of our lives.
Everything from basic buying decisions and politics to the financial markets and global conflicts are being influenced by social media every single day.
This popularity has created a technology known as the 'social bot' which is simply software programs attempting to appear as humans.
They are often used by companies for creating automated posts while spammers use them to hit our profiles with junk advertising and in some cases, governments use them for propaganda campaigns.
On the dark side, social bots can be used to infect other accounts by circulating malicious links, so it is always best to avoid them if you can.
Twitter in particular seems to have a large percentage of profiles that seem to be leveraging social bots, which was the impetus for a research project at Indiana University.
The "Truthy Project” Botometer tool was created to try to analyze Twitter profiles for signs that they are using social bots.
While it’s far from a definite analysis, it can be a helpful tool to avoid getting tricked by a profile that may seem to be a real human user.
I’ve posted a link to the project at DataDoctors.com/radio
If you are ever the one stuck with the task of transcribing a recording, voice message, interview or any sort of spoken word sound file, it can be an inefficient process.
You will need to use multiple tools on your screen and bounce between them to start/stop the audio in order to have the time to properly capture all of the words.
There's a much better way to get the job done by using a simple utility, whether it's a regular task or a once in a while need.
The website is called oTranscribe.com and it is really simple to use.
You simply upload your audio file via their web interface and suddendly, everything to complete the job will appear in one place.
They have a simple word processor which also has controls for the audio file built-in to the tool with basic keyboard controls for all your commands.
When you need to slow down or even speed up the playback to match your typing speed, it's no sweat.
Starting and stoping the playback won't require you to reach for your mouse; you can simply tap the Escape key.
This web resource is certainly bookmark worthy - http://otranscribe.com
Twitter is a great business communication tool but if you are posting tweets at the wrong times, they aren't going to get much engagement.
There are a plethora of sources that can suggest the best times and days to post your tweets, in general.
One researcher says that brands will get better engagement on weekends, while another suggests tweeting late on weekdays is better.
All these 'general' suggestions are all well and good, but for the best results, you are much better off determining when your network is active on Twitter.
A free and very simple resource to use that will analyze your actual network is at http://Tweriod.com.
By specifically analyzing your followers and your past posts, Tweriod can generate insight into when you are most likely to get the best exposure and real-time engagement.
It breaks the data down into weekends, weekdays, Sundays and Mondays so you will no longer be guessing when the best time to schedule your posts.
Using Twitter without any type of strategy is why most give up on the network, so look into http://Tweriod.com for best times for YOU to tweet!
For any avid iPhone smartphone photographer, there's little that's more frustrating than taking what looks like "the perfect shot" just to have the image come out all blurry.
Taking several pictures in a row is one way to improve the odds of a better shot, but many times, movement is being generated every time you tap to snap the image.
The art of 'holding still' and gently tapping to screen goes a long way to help create better pictures, but there are several other ways to take the shot that a lot of people may have forgetten they have.
One option is to use either of the volume buttons on your phone, which feels a lot more like an old-school camera when you're holding phone sideways.
If you have those famous white Apple headphones plugged in, you can use also use the volume buttons on the headphones to snap the picture as well.
Using your headphones to snap the picture comes in very handy, especially when trying to capture those candid shots or when you're using a tripod.
Whatever you do, remember to always hold still longer!
Anyone that's in a job where tracking your mileage is necessary has probably seen that there are numerous apps that will allow you to manually track mileage, but why not use the built in GPS in your phone to make the task more automated?
An app called "TripLog GPS Mileage Tracker" is designed to use the 'smarts' in your smartphone to make tracking mileage much more efficient.
The app can also track toll charges, parking fees, fuel costs or other driving related expenses to create a complete trip report.
The best part is that all that's required for it to work is to plug the phone into a power source or connect to something via Bluetooth, like your car stereo and it'll automatically begin the tracking process once you go faster than five MPH.
When you disconnect the phone or turn the car off, it automatically stops the tracking so it’s dead simple to use.
Triplog is a free app for both Android and iPhone users with some additional premium features available at:
Yesterday, I shared tips for iPhone and iPad owners on how to restrict access to their apps and today, I’ve got the same advice for Android users.
An awesome app called 'Hexlock' is a very flexible way to control privacy & security on any Android device.
Hexlock lets you lock down individual apps with a special passcode or pattern lock screen, which allows you to lend your device to others with complete confidence.
This level of control is also very handy when a child gets to use their parent's phone or tablet.
Hexlock can also act as a security barrier if your device gets lost or stolen while it is still unlocked.
The app allows you to create 6 different profiles; work, home, kids, vacation, etc. which easily protects apps based on where you are using the device.
The free Hexlock app is easy to setup and using it is pretty straight forward.
If it's something you've been thinking of using, simple search for 'Hexlock' in the Google Play Store or go to:http://liquidum.com/hexlock
The iPhone and iPad have become defacto "electronic babysitters" for millions of moms and dads, but handing over a device with full access to a child is pretty risky.
A lesser known feature in all iOS device can easily safeguard any mobile device before you hand it over to a child.
The feature is called "Guided Access" and it lets you to lockdown the device to only allow one app to run.
Once you turn it on, you choose the app you want to run then it locks the system to that one app so you'll know the child can’t get into anything else.
If you want to allow a number of apps to be accessible, using the "Restrictions" setting instead can safeguard individual apps.
Either of these features can quickly get setup in the 'Settings' menu and fortunately, it won't take a rocket-scientist to make it happen, so it’s truly convenient.
I have posted the links with How-To instructions for both of these features at DataDoctors.com/radio
Tomorrow, I'll help Android Users do the same!
Setup Guided Access: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT202612
Setup App Restrictions: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201304
The social networking world continues to grow and not just by the most well known ones like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
Specialty networks that are based on religion, race, age, gender or just about any special interest are up an running and if you are an enthusiast of fishing, there is now a social network just for you.
“FishBrain" has millions of downloads of the social app that "connects fishing fanatics in over two hundred countries.
It’s a huge resource loaded with information and connections for those that love to fish.
Share or track new fishing spots, compare techniques & baits and even compete on a leaderboard as you record your catches to become the “King of the Water".
There are more than 330,000 catches and 50,000 baits so you can learn from thousands of other fellow anglers right from your smartphone.
The FishBrain network and apps are available for both iPhone and Android users
Anyone on the creative side that owns an iPad should checkout a pretty cool app called ‘Paper'.
Paper by Fifty Three is powerful but easy to use app for Sketching, Writing, Drawing, Outlining and Coloring.
The concept is to allow you to flexibly use an iPad like it's a piece of paper.
You can draw and write using your finger or buy the optional Bluetooth pencil for better accuracy if you’re a serious artist.
What makes this sketch app so powerful is its simplicity; it tends to work the way you think, making it pretty intuitive.
You can also take advantage of their community of 'creators' to discover pre-existing templates so you can avoid having to start from scratch on a new project.
The actual Paper app is free to download and if you wan the accuracy of a stylus, the Pencil sells for about $60.
Checkout examples of what others are doing with this app and download it if you want to give it try at http://FiftyThree.com ; that’s fifty three spelled out, not the numbers.
Cameras that use thermal imaging are able to detect infrared light even when it's dark, allowing you can see things ‘thermally'.
There’s been a recent increase in these devices that work with your smartphone to turn them into thermal imaging devices but they’re pretty expensive.
But now, for around $200, you can convert just about any iPhone or Android device into a thermal imaging device with the 'Seek Thermal' camera.
The three inch device just plugs in at the power connector on many popular smartphones allowing them to shoot video or capture photos in the dark.
These images are going to be grainy, low in resolution, but you’ll be able to see if something is lurking in the dark.
This thermal imaging capability also allows you to see where pipe may be clogged, where hot air might be escaping or check the surface temperature on just about anything.
If you have been curious about this technology but the price was too high, checkout Seek’s devices at http://thermal.com
Cloud-based file storage is available everywhere these days: iCloud, Google Drive, DropBox, OneDrive and many more.
They typically start you out with some free storage that ranges from 5 to 15 GBs, which is enough for users that don’t generate much content.
But for all those avid smartphone photographers and videographers, that isn’t nearly enough.
The majority of companies use the “freemium” service model; they give you the basic offering for free and charge for premium options.
If you have topped out on the free limit of your cloud storage mainly because of all your pictures and videos, I have some great news for you.
Google updated its 'Photos’ app and storage system so now you can get unlimited storage for absolutely free.
Both Android and iPhone users can simply install the Google Photos App to start using the unlimited storage service.
Google isn't over-compressing your smartphone pictures or video like they did with Google+ either.
Get this app now especially all you frustrated iCloud users out there!
Surveys are an important process for just about any business and because of that, there are numerous options available.
Popular options such as https://surveymonkey.com provide plenty of great features, but unless you need to send surveys out on a regular basis, it’s probably overkill.
Anyone looking for a simple option should consider the free & easy option through Google Docs.
Using Google Forms, you can create solid surveys using 9 different optional question types which include common text, checkboxes and multiple choice questions.
It allows you to randomly shuffle the order of the options to help with the quality of the data & include required questions.
Once the survey has been created, you just use the associated URL in an email or a web post to start generating responses.
The results are gathered in a Google spreadsheet which allows you to sort the collected data for generating reports.
The next time a simple survey is something you need, checkout https://Google.com/forms
When news breaks of just about any event, most of us jump onto Google to try to get up-to-the-minute details.
Most users believe they can trust the results that come up from a Google search, but I am here to tell you that you can not and should not, especially with breaking news.
Malware creators routinely target breaking news seekers with fake news sites, often with claims of having exclusive images of horrific events.
Google is doing its best to monitor and kill this type of scam, but frankly it is virtually impossible to catch every single thing that gets thrown at them.
The easiest way to avoid these scams is to use your trusted news resources instead of doing a general Google search.
Save your favorite news sites in your browsers bookmarks or use smartphone news apps from your favorite news sites.
Scammers will always study our actions so they can target us, so this is one action that you should consider changing!
Have you heard? Zuckerberg is giving away all his money to one thousand lucky users Facebook. He is getting rid of forty five billion dollars and if you'll just copy and paste this message, you could get a pile of money!
It’s simply amazing how so many of our friends can still fall for these outlandish hoaxes by becoming copy/paste zombies when they see a post that they think everyone should know.
A big part of the problem is that far too many users assume that if their friend posted it, the info must be true and OK to repost.
A single misguided post can get out of hand in a hurry when lots of mindless users become copy - paste Zombies.
We have seen this mistake so many times that we decided to create an amusing warning video that we post whenever we see our friends or family posting things they didn’t bother to checkout first.
The next time you see a friend or family member turning into a copy/paste zombie, feel free to post a link to our video warning yourself which I have posted at DataDoctors.com/radio