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!
Just about all of us became fascinated at a young age with the exploration of outer space and to this day, it’s just as interesting to me.
If you or a loved one loves all things space-related, a must-see website has been assembled by the folks at NASA.
You would expect to see lots of amazing pictures and videos but what you may not expect is all of the interactive possibilities from their various apps.
You can access tens of thousands of images, interactive 3D images and endless videos that are awe-inspiring.
There are also options to view live HD video feeds that are being sent from various crafts.
Another great reason to download the app is so you can get notified when space-related events are in the near future.
What a great way to get younger children intrigued with space exploration and maybe inspire them to pursue the idea of becoming an astronaut.
Pop over to https://www.nasa.gov to get started and use the ‘Downloads’ link to get their apps for your mobile devices and major streaming devices.
Many of you became first time RVers because of the pandemic and discovery this amazing way to explore the vast beauty of our country.
The larger your rig, the more expensive it can become because of fuel prices, so learning how to find lower priced fuel a bit off the beaten path can save you big dollars.
Having gas prices show up in Google Maps is great, but it doesn’t provide nearly as much detailed info as my favorite app known as Gas Buddy.
It relies on its 70+ million users to update the pricing in both the United States and Canada.
You can save by planning ahead which is made much easier via the app or simply pop it open when you want to see the best deals within a reasonable range.
Not only do you get the most recent prices, it will show you the last time someone confirmed the stated price, which is usually that same day.
If you need the best price on diesel or premium only, the filtering option in the app makes it your default.
Just search for Gas Buddy in the major app stores to get started.
No matter who you are, it’s likely that you have or will get a call from someone claiming that your computer is infected and they can help you.
If you entertain their claims, they’ll ask you to run certain ‘tests’ on your computer to confirm what they claim is true.
These ‘tests’ that they’ll walk you through are nothing more than simple commands that will always provide the ‘results’ they say is proof of an infection…it’s like a card trick where they guide you to the card they want you to pick.
The technical words that come up on the screen may seem convincing for less technical folks, but remember, they’re guiding the process with a known outcome.
The worse case scenarios are when they convince victims to allow them to remotely access the computer to get rid of the malware.
The inevitable request for a credit card to cover the fix is a big-time red flag and part of the scam.
All you need to know is that no legitimate tech company will call you out of the blue to claim they detected something bad on your computer and you should only allow remote access to those you trust.
Don’t you hate when you print something from a website and it ends up spewing lots of useless ads out of your printer?
Even when they try to convince you to use their printer-friendly version of the page, you can waste lots of ink or toner on images and junk you don’t want.
There is a tool that will actually give you control over what you want to print called Print What You Like: http://Printwhatyoulike.com
There’s nothing special to download or install because you simply place the web link into their website to regain control over what you’re going to print.
I use this tool to eliminate all the wasted ink when I’m printing a recipe that I want to take to the store to pick up ingredients. I don’t need to see the picture of the food or any of the sponsor ads while I’m shopping.
Give it a try for yourself at: http://Printwhatyoulike.com
Getting in shape is a goal we all share, but finding something that will allow you to be successful can be tricky, especially if you have to commit to an expensive piece of equipment or a long-term membership.
Until you know you’ll make the commitment to keeping at it, skipping the expense may be a good idea.
The good news is that you don’t have to spend the big bucks to get started because there are free options such as https://darebee.com that you can use to get started.
This donation-based website offers lots of visual instructions for a variety of exercises that don’t require any fitness equipment.
Darebee doesn’t just provide ways for you to move and get fit, they also provide guidance in an equally important aspect of fitness which is what you eat.
Anyone looking for a simple way to get motivated in the world of fitness should look into the wealth of help being offered at https://darebee.com
As much as tech has changed the way we read, anyone that grew up reading physical books knows the joy of holding it in your hand while reading.
If you love to read but want help finding new titles to read, especially from those that have a similar taste in topics, today’s tip is for you.
A website called GoodReads.com has created an option to all of the algorithmic sites that make suggestions depending upon what you have already read.
They certainly use that approach to making suggestions, but they also want to help you create a network of like-minded readers to make human-based suggestions for new books.
We’ve come a long way from browsing the shelves of your local book store to find new authors and topics that we enjoy.
The best use of this platform is for those that create their own book club with a number of friends that also love to read.
The bottom line on this web resource is that it’s specifically designed to help bookworms find other bookworms and books in a more efficient way: https://www.goodreads.com
An unusual question was asked via social media that at first glance seemed a bit silly: How do I add a timestamp to my photos?
After thinking about the questions for a bit, we came up with a number of situations where this could be helpful.
One was as an easy visual method to provide the age of the image along with a way to maintain this detail within the photo itself.
There are hidden details on photos that can include a lot more than just the date which is contained in what is called the ‘metadata’.
Apps the are designed to read the metadata can extract this useful information and in the case of timestamps, incorporate it into the image itself.
There are several apps that can do this including “TimeStamp It” for Apple devices https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/timestamp-it-photo-stamper/id327756085?mt=8 and Camera Timestamp for Android devices https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.ascendapps.cameratimestamp.trial
Fear not, these apps offer an updated look and feel for the timestamp as well as the ability to move then to any of the corners.
The concept of a ‘bucket list’ is well known by most of us, but how serious have you ever been about creating one?
Most experts say that creating an actual list goes a long way to actually achieving those bucket list ideas.
And as you may have guessed, there’s an app for that and it’s called Soon.
You don’t have to be on a pursuit to change your life to make use of the app as it can help you keep track of lots of normal things you want to remember to do.
They use categories to help you file your items so you can keep things in perspective as you go about life.
A really cool feature is that when you add certain items to your list, the specific details about it can be automatically gathered for you so you don’t have to go searching for them yourself.
With the ability to add notes, you can personalize all of your items before or after you do them.
Get started at: http://www.soonforever.co
Using Apple’s operating systems for your phone and computer provides some convenient features, especially when it comes to notifications.
Since Microsoft and Google aren’t sharing operating systems, this integration isn’t the same unless you use a 3rd party app such as Crono.
Crono allows you to unify notifications no matter what OS you’re using on your computer and smartphone.
It will bring all those notifications that generally only appear on your phone to start popping up on your computer, so you no longer have to reach for your phone every time.
It also provides cut and paste integration between your phone and computer, which can be a real time-saver when you need to share information.
And just like with your phone, you can dismiss calls and send text messages right from your computer once it’s set up.
All of the downloads and options are posted at: https://crono.app
There’s a really cool technology called VOIP, which is an acronym for Voice Over Internet Protocol that is the subject of today’s tip.
You’ve likely used a VOIP service such as Skype without realizing just how powerful this technology can be because Skype charges you if you want to call a regular landline.
A free option is actually available to anyone that has a Google account that can appear right in your Gmail menu screen.
The service Google offers is called Voice and it a very easy service to set up.
You start by downloading and installing a simple Google plug-in that then allows you to take full advantage of the service.
If you like using Gmail shortcuts, once the plug-in is installed, you can bring up a Voice dialer by pressing G and then P.
The coolest thing is that from now on you can click on any formatted phone number in any message, such as a signature to make a call.
If you’re interested in setting this up, here are some excellent instructions: https://www.lifewire.com/how-to-make-and-receive-phone-calls-in-gmail-1171944
The Internet has become such an essential communication tool that everyone is trying to use, but when it comes to images on the Internet, you have to be very careful.
Don’t assume that if you find an image online via a search, you can use it for yourself on a website or a blog.
Doing this seemingly innocent action can result in an expensive legal bill because you inadvertently violated an image copyright.
If this makes you cringe at the thought of the potential violations on your own website or blog, it’s in your best interest to go back and review what you’ve used so you can remove copyrighted materials.
If you understand the terminology, there are places where you can freely use images so long as they are showing a creative commons license.
If you want to be absolutely sure to steer clear of legal actions from copyright owners, you can inexpensively purchase images from sites like Canva.com or BigStockPhoto.com.
I’ve written in detail about this expensive mistake at https://www.datadoctors.com/help/columns/21988
‘What’s for dinner?’ is a question every one of us deals with every single day and when you don’t have any new ideas, you’ll tend to default to your usual list of options.
Wouldn’t it be great to have an easy way to be inspired to try something new?
If so, we’d recommend that you take an app called Dinner Spinner for a spin.
It was created by the folks that run the popular AllRecipes.com website that starts with a specific ingredient or ingredients that you have on hand.
You then tell it the amount of time you’re willing to spend making the dish and give it a spin.
When I’ve tested the app, I found that it provided a large number of options that I would never have thought of making.
And just like with lots of other websites, it includes other recipes that you may have an interest in when you select any of them.
When you’re completely open to anything, you can shake your smartphone with the app open to get a bunch of random recipes.
If there are specific ingredients that you can’t eat, adding them to the filter will ensure that you don’t get recipes you can’t eat.
Learn more at:https://dish.allrecipes.com/mobile-apps
I always stress that one of the most important steps anyone can take to protect their online accounts is 2-factor authentication (2FA).
It’s a way of securing your accounts by typing your phone number into their security process.
It’s something you’ve been doing for as long as you’ve had a debit card because the two factors are the card itself and the PIN that you set up for the card.
To illustrate the dangers of having online accounts that are protected with 2FA, imagine having a debit card that didn’t require the person that was in possession of it to also provide the PIN. Easy money!
Think about how difficult it becomes when someone has to steal both your credentials and your smartphone to break into your accounts.
Another great feature of this security setup is that you’ll know when someone has stolen your password because you’ll get a security code from out of the blue for the compromised account on your smartphone, but the bad guys won’t be able to get in.
It’s something that virtually every one of your important accounts offers, so search their help or support resources for the instructions or check out this list of popular sites from Pc Mag: https://bit.ly/3sGKJFy
There are many reasons why you might want remote access to one of your computers, but most solutions that used to be free now charge for that access.
There is one, however, that’s still completely free and very powerful: Google’s Remote Desktop via the Chrome browser.
It’s incredibly easy to set up with a quick download of a tool from their website that integrates with the Chrome browser.
Once you’ve spent a minute or two configuring the tool along with your Google account, it makes the computer accessible by a myriad of devices through your account.
It’ll even become accessible via your smartphone or tablet, which can be a lifesaver in certain situations.
You don’t have to be a brain surgeon to get this tool to work, so if you don’t have anything set up yet, we love this for users of all skill levels.
Here are the links to the downloads:
Chrome Remote Desktop Add-on: https://chrome.google.com/remotedesktop
Android remote app: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.google.chromeremotedesktop
iOS remote app: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/chrome-remote-desktop/id944025852?mt=8
By now, most everyone understands how ingrained our smartphones have become in our lives and that includes the bad guys.
Security experts have been concerned for years about the various methods being tested by hackers to compromise smartphones.
One of the latest attack vectors is malicious apps since apps are so popular.
There have been very crafty ploys in the past that leverage apps which mimic legit companies which can provide full remote access to compromised iPhones.
These malicious apps are posted as downloads outside of the App Store which is why they can bypass the security set up by Apple.
Links to these tainted apps are posted all around the Internet or via compromised social media accounts in an attempt to fool friends that are connected.
It’s common knowledge that iPhone apps should only be downloaded via the official App Store, but the malicious tactics continue to evolve, so make absolutely sure you know where you are whenever you download an app.
For most projects around the house, taking accurate measurements is a critical step in ensuring a successful outcome.
Once you have those measurements, documenting them for yourself and especially if you are going to involve others becomes just as important.
It’s not uncommon to take a picture and send along some notes when communicating with others, but there’s a better way.
Why not include annotations, measurements and notes right on the picture to reduce the chances of creating confusion?
An app called My Measures will allow you to do just that!
Now instead of sketching out what you’re working on or using multiple ways of conveying your needs, you can snap a photo with your smartphone and quickly add the details that will make it very clear for others.
It’s an easy app to use and the visual guides will be much more efficient and accurate, so if you’re interested, check it out at: http://www.mymeasuresapp.com
As time goes on, we hear of more and more Mac-specific security issues because so many new users have migrated to Apple’s operating system.
There was a time when there was no reason to install a third-party Internet security program on a Mac, both those days are long gone.
Despite the excellent tools built into the macOS, there are still points of exposure that should be addressed, especially with all of the browser-specific exploits.
The more careless the users, like with those youngsters in your household, the more important it is to have that extra layer of protection.
Users that spend a lot of time downloading and installing new programs, games and apps are at a much higher risk of exposure to new risks.
Cyber-thieves have also learned that those using the more expensive Apple computers are more likely to have more money, making them a more appealing target.
Remember, the Internet provides direct access to your computer from anywhere on the planet, so adding layers of security is always a good idea.
An essential component of doing business these days is having a website, but it’s only effective if it’s available.
Ensuring that your window to the world is up and running is the focus of this tip.
If you own or are in charge of any website, there’s a free tool available that will automatically monitor your site called “Up Time Robot” you should know about.
It checks your site every five minutes and only sends you an email when it can’t access it, which generally means that it’s down for the entire world.
If you operate more than one website, there’s still no charge as you can monitor up to 50 sites with a free account.
Since there are so many possibilities that would suddenly make your website inaccessible, it’s best to know as soon as there is a problem so you can address it.
This resource only takes a minute or two to get setup, so if you don’t already have something that monitors your website, get that extra layer of comfort at https://uptimerobot.com
Many companies try to lure you into a paid service by offering what appears to be a free credit reporting service.
Ongoing credit reporting service generally charge a fee, but you can get a free report once a year using https://www.annualcreditreport.com
If you’d like more of an ongoing resource for monitoring your credit files, a website now owned by Google called CreditKarma is an option.
The basis for this free service is that it will offer you deals on various financial services based on your actual credit scores, so you’ll have to be OK with providing even more info to Google.
CreditKarma can be accessed via your computer or mobile devices via the web or by downloading their app.
Keeping track of your credit files to avoid becoming an ID theft victim is important and CreditKarma https://creditkarma.com provides lots of great tools for doing just that.
One of the most important things in achieving goals is actually putting those goals in front of you so you can keep them front of mind.
Most people that use the Google Calendar may not have noticed an option for creating an event called Goals.
Google’s developers felt that if you treated goals like calendar events, you’d have a higher chance of achieving them.
Unlike standard events that get added to the calendar, goals are managed to avoid time conflicts and can be kept on the schedule so you eventually can mark it as done.
The Goals feature will only appear when you are using the Calendar mobile app, but once it’s on your calendar, it will bug you on your computer and your smartphone.
You can now have your calendar nag you to accomplish tasks that you aren’t all that motivated to complete on your own via the calendar you use every day already.
If you’re interested in experimenting with this feature, here are the instructions: http://bit.ly/2QgxFFp
Covid has restricted travel in so many ways, but taking a road trip in the U.S. is still a viable option.
There are plenty of resources for the obvious places to visit, but if you’re looking to experience locations that aren’t where all the crowds go, check out a web resource called Road Trippers.
You start by typing in where you will start and end you trip to find lots of options in between.
What’s great about this tool is that you can see how long it will take to get to each destination, so you can be more strategic about your trip as well as calculate the fuel expense.
Even after you’ve decided on the major points of interest, you can discover a plethora of additional sites to see using Road Trippers zoom tool.
If creating your own itinerary is too much for you, you can start with lots of existing trips on the site and modify them to appeal to your senses for a quick way to create a plan.
Check it out at: https://roadtrippers.com