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!
Understanding your customer's needs is an important component in business and one of the ways of learning about them is through surveys.
You can hire companies or use elaborate tools such as those available through Survey Monkey, but there is a free tool that you might want to check out.
The combination of tools available via the Google Docs suite makes it easy to create surveys and collect the results.
Start by creating the survey in Forms, which provides the structure for just about any type of survey question that you may have.
Another good option will randomly display the responses that participants choose from to help improve the quality of the data.
After you test it out yourself, you can simply post the associated weblink online, via email or any other method you choose to start generating responses.
As the results are collected, they’re chronologically stored in a spreadsheet via Sheets for you to dissect and sort.
It’s really easy, so give it try yourself at https://Google.com/forms
You're probably used to seeing generic email signatures that tell you that the message was sent from one of the popular devices such as an iPhone or Samsung Galaxy.
These default signatures are purposely created so they can get some free exposure from the tens of millions of daily users that haven't figured out how to change the default.
It's clearly working for them as evidenced by the number of messages that we stil see with these free ads at the end.
The good news is that you can change that default signature fairly easily and it may actually provide you with some additional benefits.
If you're in business, you email signature is a great opportunity to do some subliminal marketing by including your website, blog or any contact info you want to distribute to the world.
If you aren't sure how to do it, here are some links for the current and older smartphones:
iPad, iPhone and Android devices: https://www.pcmag.com/news/how-to-change-your-mobile-email-signature
If you spend most of your day in front of a computer screen, finding ambient sounds or music to accompany your work may be beneficial.
The right kind of music can uplift you or get you to focus, but the wrong song can be counterproductive.
Something that likely works for everyone are the ambient sounds of nature.
The sound of rain storms work really well for some, so that's where the website called Rainy Mood comes in: https://Rainymood.com
It's awesome because it's a simple website or app you can use to generate the calming sound of a gentle rain and distant rolling thunder.
If other sounds of nature like the ocean, birds chirping or a gentle wind is more your cup of tea, check into the Calm Sound website: https://calmsound.com
Exploring these sonic enhancements can change your whole work day, so if you don't already have something that works, give these sites a try!
If you're one of the many that loves to travel, it's most likely because you enjoy discovering new experiences that wouldn't be possible at home.
Most of us have been on a trip only to find out about an amazing experience after it's too late to enjoy.
If you've got the time and patience, you can go searching around online to find those unique experiences or try a website specifically designed to help you called Get Your Guide.
It can shorten the amount of time it will take to find great activities and sights for just about any major city in the world that won't be the obvious.
Beyond just getting to know that these experiences exist, the site includes the details you'll need to see if it's well liked, in your budget and what others have to say about it.
It's got various sorting options to help narrow down you choices based on your needs and is a great way to discover awesome activities in foreign countries as well.
Check it out at: https://getyourguide.com
Unless your line of work involves complex mathematics, it's quite likely that your child will bring homework to your attention that will challenge your math skills.
The critical part of solving a math problem isn't getting the answer as much as it is about making sure your student understands how it's solved.
A tool that I've suggest to parents for years to help in this situation is called PhotoMath.
It uses your smartphone's camera to view a math equation and then it shows you how it solved it, step by step.
It's a tool parents can use to help when their child asks them for help on higher level math problems.
It may seem like an easy way for them to cheat, but that's more of a question of their approach to learning as many options exist for them to do so if they're motivated in that way.
It's a parenting tool that takes advantage of all the trappings of the digital age - learn more at: https://photomath.net
Someone asked for an app recommendation so they could record phone conversations on their Android smartphone because they were interested in generating training files for their company.
While this seems like a perfectly normal thing to want to do, I started by warning them that in some states, recording a phone conversation without the consent of all parties on the call could get them into legal trouble.
With this in mind, my first suggestion was to have them check with the state or states that could dictate whether they should be doing this or not.
For those in states that allow call recordings without dual consent, of the various apps that I've tried, one called ‘Call Recorder’ seems to get the job done..
The app, once installed and opened, creates a red dot that floats over the screen when in the phone app which is how you start and stop a recording.
The app will document the time, date, length and the caller ID of the call and generate a file that can be easily shared.
This app has kind of a generic name, so if you're interested in testing it out, here's where to go: http://bit.ly/2Zkue3L
If you check your junk message filter on the regular, you'll notice that a large percentage of messages that you're sent are in there.
The reason that junk email is so common is because it's easy to send and unfortunately is somewhat effective, which is why they've turned to text messaging as another way to annoy us.
Remember, the junk message senders don't care about the laws that any country has to fight their spam, so they'll continue to send junk any way they can.
The good news is that you can help fight the spurge whenever you get spam via text messaging by forwarding the entire message to 7726 which spells spam on your phone's keys.
When you do this, it forwards the critical information to your carrier, which helps them keep others from getting the same message.
This problem isn't going to go away any time soon, but we can all pitch in to help reduce the junk messages that we're likely to get down the road, so do you part!
If you love live music as much as we do, today’s app will be just what the doctor ordered!
Getting tickets to your favorite band’s concerts requires you to be aware that they’re coming to a venue near you and preferably before all the good seats are gone.
A long-standing favorite of ours known as Bands In Town does all the work for music fans that want to see their favorites live.
It’s both a website and an app that can notify you when bands that you like are booked to play a concert nearby.
You don’t have to manually add every band you want to track because they provide a number of ways for you to have your music libraries scanned to compile your list.
It can also help you track the local bookings of any bands that you’ve ‘Liked’ on Facebook.
No more hearing about a great concert from a band you love after the fact from others when you use https://www.bandsintown.com
The process of packing for any trip, whether it’s for business or pleasure can determine how well your trip will go.
Forgetting something important can dramatically impact the quality of your trip, so that’s where an app called Pack Point can come to the rescue.
It’s a pretty cool tool to remind you of the items that you might need based on where you’re going, the upcoming weather and the length of your stay.
You simply answer questions about your upcoming trip for the app to start compiling a list of items based on those answers.
The items that come up in the app as suggestions can be added to your list by tapping on them and then the list can be printed, emailed or texted to others in your traveling group.
It’s a beneficial tool for road warriors and those that rarely travel because it can make sure you’re properly packed: https://www.packpnt.com
One of the techniques for creating stunning photos is to use an expensive camera’s depth of field capability.
That’s where the subject is in perfect focus and the background is blurred and out of focus.
Now, some of the newer more sophisticated smartphones have a portrait mode that provides a similar capability.
If you have an older device or you can’t quite get the images to look right with the limited portrait shooting mode, there’s an app for that!
It’s called After Focus and that is exactly what it allows you to do.
You just drag your finger over the areas that you want in focus and then the areas that you want out of focus to get your results.
It’s a really great option because you can add this effect to any image after you take it: http://appm1.com/afterfocus
Whenever you check into a hotel for either business or pleasure, one of the first things you’ll do is connect to their Wi-Fi in hopes that it will be decent.
Finding out that the hotel you chose has useless Wi-Fi speeds after you’ve checked in is aggravating, so here’s how you can avoid it from now on.
There’s an awesome website called Hotel Wifi Test and it’s created a user-generated database of hotel wifi quality: https://www.HotelWifiTest.com
This means other guests of the hotel have performed actual speed tests and reported their results to the database.
Not only can you avoid hotels with slow speeds, but you can actually find the best speeds in any city before you book your stay.
Everything you’ll want to know about the wifi at any hotel in the database can be found in seconds.
If you decide to start using this for yourself, do your part and test the speeds for others wherever you stay.
Adding new programs and apps to your computer can make it more useful, but if you’re not careful, it can have an irritating side effect.
Subtle tweaks to your computer such as changing the search engine, start page or adding those useless toolbars can actually be changes that you approved.
You see, the software companies know that very few of you are going to read the various screens while installing any new program, which is how this happens.
The 'next, next, next, I agree' process is so common that especially free programs will use this sneaky approach to gain access to your desktop.
From now on, always choose the expert, custom or advances options so you can actually see what they’re trying to add before they do it.
The software companies don’t want you to change your behavior, but we do to help you keep your system clean!
As our use of both smartphones and computers converge, integrating information across our devices is becoming more of a need.
Those that have an Apple computer and iPhone have seen lots of new options for this integration, but if you use Windows or macOS and an Android device, you’ll need an app to do the same.
A platform called Push Bullet will provide this interoperability for when you find things on your computer that you want to have access to on your smartphone.
The communication is established via the combination of a browser-based web app and a mobile app which can both be downloaded here: https://www.pushbullet.com
Once set up, it’s easy to share lots of different files, pictures and web links without having to sent them via email.
And just like with the Apple combo, notifications that would normally only appear on your phone will start to appear on your computer.
If you spend all day popping back and forth between your phone and your computer, this may reduce some of that wasted effort!
No matter how deep of a connection we have with our pets, they can’t talk to us when they aren’t feeling well.
We can try to figure out what might be causing their discomfort and getting them to a qualified veterinarian may be a challenge, which is where PetMD.com can be of help.
This very comprehensive online database of symptoms and pet health advice is second to none.
It can help you with everything from general care to emergency situations and it can also be breed-specific.
In those situations that appear urgent, their symptom checker and emergency guides can be very comforting.
I’d suggest checking it out for non-urgent situations as it’s packed with great advice and information.
If you have a pet, you’ll want to bookmark PetMD for that next time you really need a helping hand: https://www.petmd.com
I can still remember all of the conversations that I had with older folks about how unsociable using text messaging appeared to them.
Well, it’s hard to find anyone that thinks that way anymore because of how efficient and useful text messaging has become.
If you message using an iPhone, you’re using Apple’s own messaging app known as iMessage.
Not only will it automatically secure every message you send, unlike other messaging platforms, but it can also be used when wifi is the only way to connect to the Internet.
This makes it so much more useful when you are roaming around the world.
What has become obvious to us is that users of iMessage have no idea how powerful it can be, so that’s the focus of today’s tip.
We’ve posted a link to all of the amazing and lesser-known features of iMessage at: https://bit.ly/3gJ6DTZ
An essential task in fighting off the constant attempts by hackers to compromise your data is reviewing security settings regularly.
We all have Google accounts, so this is a reminder to take a few minutes to look over your account settings and security reports.
They’ve created a security dashboard that will provide everything you need to know about current activity, devices that have recently connected and any new options for making things more secure.
The list of the devices that have successfully logged into your account will also include general location info to help you determine if it was you or not.
If you see something strange, let Google know through this interface and change your password ASAP!
Reviewing these settings every 30 days or so will help prevent major issues: https://bit.ly/2Z6FTVm
The complete security interface is located here:
One of the daily tasks that those in the cybersecurity world do is to check for newly discovered breached passwords.
The underworld is constantly posting these huge lists on the dark web because they know that so many people still use the same password on multiple sites.
Your breached passwords are a big business for hackers, so it’s a good idea to keep tabs when someone you’ve got an account with has been breached.
One tool that will let you know whenever you want is called Breach Alarm https://breachalarm.com
Their database will cross-reference any of your email addresses to see if they have been included in any breaches.
When you learn that an account you have has been breached, it becomes imperative to stop using that password anywhere online.
Breaches are becoming so common that it’s a safe bet to assume that any password that’s more than 2 or 3 years old has most likely been acquired, so consider changing them to stay ahead of the hackers.
It goes without saying that we all want to be happy, but how often do you actually focus on your happiness?
If you said rarely, there’s an app that could be helpful in actually tracking your happiness.
The Track Your Happiness app was specifically created to help you figure out what actually makes you happy.
By tracking your state of mind, the app can learn the variables in your life that lead to being happier.
The process is driven by pop-up questions that ask you how you’re feeling at that moment so it can track the variables.
Over time, it can provide some guidance to help you understand and focus on your mental health on a regular basis.
Collectively, the data generated by the app helps the researchers that created it to better understand happiness as a whole.
Whether it actually has an impact or not, the mere fact that you’ll suddenly be focusing on your happiness has its appeal.
For the iPhone app, go to https://www.trackyourhappiness.org
There isn’t an Android app yet, but their web interface works just as well: https://go.trackyourhappiness.org
One of the benefits of being a kid around technology is that you aren’t afraid that you’re going to break anything like most adults do.
This is the perfect time to provide them with avenues to explore things like basic coding to see if it’s something they enjoy.
For younger kids, an app called Hopscotch could be the entry in discovering this creative skill based on things that a kid will enjoy creating.
It’s a visual tool that uses a graphical interface that eliminates the need to type anything to create games and animations.
The key to learning is curiosity and Hopscotch could be a great starting point that might lead to an amazing career.
Although it’s designed for younger children any adult could learn the basics with it as well.
Looking to raise an in-house coding geek? Check out https://www.gethopscotch.com
Technology that really helps people is always an amazing discovery, which is the focus of today’s tech tip.
An app and organization known as Be My Eyes was created for those with vision to help those with poor or no ability to see at all via their smartphones.
Sighted users of the app act as volunteers for those in need of visual assistance using the visually impaired person’s phone camera.
This allows you to help with important daily tasks such as reading a sign on the street or the expiration date on a perishable item.
It’s a really simple but life-changing service that is fueled by volunteers all over the world.
As you help users, your rating will go up, which will in turn provide you with more opportunities to help others.
Learn more by visiting https://bemyeyes.com
If you have children, you know the challenge of teaching them how to do their laundry in a way that won’t destroy the clothes.
A well-meaning but small excuse for our kids not knowing how to clean their own clothes the that they don’t know how to do it…but you can tell them, there are apps for that!
These apps don’t just show them how to clean their clothes, they also show them how to fold and iron them too.
How about helping them understand the various symbols on clothing that explain proper care?
Use their devotion to the smartphone to your favor when it comes to teaching them the fundamentals of laundry.
Imagine how much money you can save when they go to college and don’t ruin all their freshmen clothing.
By the way, these apps don’t just apply to young people as folks of all ages could use some assistance in this routine task!