Data Doctors Tech Tips
Tech Tips for Non-Tech People
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The power of Amazon’s business is impacting so many of us because you can find just about anything you could ever want to buy.
But did you know that not only can you buy the latest and greatest, you can trade your old stuff in to help pay for it.
Their online trade in guide will provide you with an estimated trade for your older electronics, books, video games and more.
Choose a category for your trade, use the filters to narrow it down or use their search by name option to find your exact item.
Once you’re there, you’ll be asked various question that will help to establish an estimated trade value along with a range that will be determined once your item has been inspected.
To have it inspected, you’ll need to ship it to Amazon, but they cover the shipping costs to get it there.
Anyone that wants to declutter their house or office and save money should look into this option before the value of those items gets even lower: https://amzn.to/2DLzAwR
There is no shortage of options for storing things ‘in the cloud’ with options from Apple, Google, Dropbox, Microsoft and more.
Most of them incorporate a ‘freemium’ model by giving you a small amount of free space with hopes that you’ll fill it up and buy additional storage when you do.
While you can get as much as 15gbs of free storage, which sounds like a lot, you can quickly max out if you are constantly taking pictures and video with your smartphone.
If you’re one of the millions that finds themselves maxed out of their current cloud storage choice, I have a suggestion that you may not thought about.
Google’s online photo and video storage offers unlimited space for free by installing the ‘Google Photos’ app on any smartphone.
It’s not just for Android smartphones, so even iPhone users can take advantage of this awesome storage option just by installing the app and setting it to automatically backup.
This is especially good news for the many long suffering iPhone users that keep running out of space on their phones…move them to Google Photos and free up lots of valuable space!
Depending upon your age, you may have viewed text messaging as being impersonal at some point in the past, but you've figured out just how efficient it is as a communication tool.
Apple iPhone fans probably don't realize how unique their messaging platform, known as iMessage, is in the smartphone world.
If you have a lot of friends and family that also use an iPhone, iMessage provides some exceptional features that you don't have to learn how to use.
The first is that encrypts everything for you and the second is that it doesn't require a cellular connection in order to work with other iPhone users.
This means you can still get text messages if all you have is a wifi connection, like when you travel to other countries.
There are a host of other options that many of you may not even know exists, so that's what today's tip is going to point out.
Even if you use a lot of the extra features available in iMessage, you may not know about all 15 of these power user tips: http://bit.ly/2PFkQUJ
Language translation apps for your smartphone have been getting much better.
One of my early favorites was an app called WordLens primarily because of it’s ability to translate items that appeared via your camera.
Fortunately, they were acquired by Google some time ago and turned it into a free feature that is now incorporated in the Google Translate app.
What used to take multiple apps to accomplish, written, spoken and visual translations can now be achieved in this one app
It offers hand writing recognition, two-way real-time verbal translation and visual translations of signs, menus and other important items in your environment.
As helpful as the app can be, it’s far from perfect, so try to keep your translations to short couple of words for the best results.
It now supports 32 languages on the fly, while recognizing 103 languages by text and 38 in the image conversion mode.
Anyone headed to a foreign country should put this app front and center on their smartphones to make communications much easier.
Popular online services such as Netflix, Hulu and Spotify that offer a buffet style option are popular for a reason: you get lots of choices for a fixed price.
If you like these kinds of offers and you also like to read magazines, there’s a service for that and it’s called Magzter!
The primary “Gold” option provides an unlimited collection of over 5000 magazines from around the world to its subscribers.
For about $10 a month, you can read your favorite magazines from any of your devices as long as you have an internet connection.
For about $5 a month, you can go with their ‘Lite’ option which gives you the option of reading up to five magazines.
There are lots of popular magazines available on the service, but premium magazines that have their own subscription package, such as the Harvard Business Review are not included.
You can checkout the plethora of options including lots of lesser known magazines from around the world at: https://www.magzter.com
Today's tip is for all of you that love music but have no idea what the lyrics are for just about every song you know.
An app called Musixmatch could be the best thing that ever happened to you and make it possible to know that words you should actually be singing.
The app can work with just about any other app that plays music including popular streaming services like Spotify.
It does require you to be connected to the Internet in some way or it can't pull down the lyrics for the song while it's playing.
One of my favorite features of the app is the ability to 'Identify' songs playing in the background in a public place, like a coffee shop or club and bring up the lyrics for those songs as well.
It's a free app that works on both iOS and Android devices as well as your desktop computer: http://bit.ly/2UWHe1R
Setting up 2 factor authentication will keep others from getting into your accounts because it sends a special code to your phone when it doesn’t recognize a device, location or browser.
Hopefully, you’ve listened to the advice of many tech security experts and activated it on all your important online accounts.
If you have, you need to do one more thing to make sure you can access your accounts when you’re on a flight or if you lose your smartphone.
If you’re in either of these situations, you won’t be able to get the special code because you can’t get text messages on while flying or if you no longer have your phone.
To prepare for these events, it’s important to have backup codes available to you to get back into your accounts.
The steps for what to do if you don’t have access to your phone should be in the same place that told you how to initially setup the security.
In most cases, you can generate a number of one time backup codes that you should stash in your travel gear or password protect in a file on your computer, smartphone or tablet, especially if you’re a road warrior.
Here are the instructions for some of the most popular services:
You can also do a Google search for backup codes and include the name of the service you’re trying to setup.
Today’s tip is specifically for those road warriors that are on the road constantly and want to avoid all the hassles of packing and doing laundry for every trip.
A service at https://www.dufl.com was setup to provide an easy way to hit the road.
Once you get setup and registered, the company will ship a large suitcase to you so you can pack what you’d like for future trips.
When you’re packed with all the items that you may need for various types of trips, they’ll come pick it up from you, launder your clothes and store them for your next trip.
You then ‘virtually pack’ for any future trips by picking the items that your previously packed and provide the address where you want the bag sent.
This means you’ll never have to haul a big bag around again or even worry about getting everything washed for your next trip, because they take care of shipping and cleaning after every trip.
Of course, anything this convenient isn’t going to come cheap, but if you’re already paying checked bag fees every time, their $99.95 fee per trip may be worth considering.
See how it works at: https://www.dufl.com
Fully functional maps on your phone are awesome when you’re on the road and have a solid connection, but if you spend any time off the grid, they can be pretty unhelpful.
If this scenario is something you experience or expect to experience down the road, an app called Anchor Pointer might be something to consider downloading.
It’s essentially a very powerful compass program that makes use of the GPS that will still function without a signal from a cell tower.
It allows you to create waypoints or ‘anchors’ along any path that you can use to help you return back safely.
You can place anchors all around the back country areas you’re visiting to help you keep tabs on where all the important locations are and how far away they are.
Just like the old timers that navigated the entire world with a compass, the app makes it easy to keep your bearings wherever you go.
It’s also helpful for creating a meet up point with others that have the app.
Check out the reviews and download it at:
Connecting people with similar needs is one of the greatest aspects that the Internet offers.
When it comes to those that travel, connecting those that have an unneeded hotel reservation with those that need one is being done by a website called Roomer.
It’s like those services that connect people around sporting or festival tickets.
They take all the complexity of trying to offload unused hotel reservation nights by selling them to other that want them.
When I took the site for a test run, the best results were clearly in larger cities.
For instance, I found a hotel room in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York City for $76 a night that normally costs $170 a night as long as you’re able to stay the 6 nights of the original reservation.
If was able to track down a hotel room in an expensive part of Manhattan that was less than $100 a night as long as you used the entire reservation.
The best deals will also be available for those that are flexible on their dates.
Should you ever get stuck with a non-refundable reservation or if you want to find a smoking deal from someone that’s stuck with a reservation, check out: https://www.roomertravel.com
Most of use are involved with various groups that can range from community charities to sports teams for our kids that require that we contribute money to the organization.
If the groups you’re involved in still ask you to reach for your checkbook, write a check, get an envelope and stamp and mail it off, there’s a platform you should make them aware of…it’s called ‘Cheddar Up’ and it could save everyone lots of time and hassle.
In just a few minutes, any organization can setup a digital fund collecting account that’s easy for anyone to use.
The best part is that it doesn’t cost the organization anything to use the service.
It allows you to provide a single point for collecting money that also tracks everything for the organizers and gently reminds members automatically when a deadline is approaching.
It’s also something to consider for gathering funds for large family functions, such as a wedding or funeral.
Get the details on how everything works at: https://www.cheddarup.com
Whenever you need to send a large file to someone via email, you end up with a complex set of choices to make in order to get the file sent and received.
For those Dropbox fans out there that also use Gmail, there’s really simple solution to this common problem.
An awesome Chrome browser add-on called ‘Dropbox for Gmail’ makes this complex problem super simple to deal with even if your recipient doesn’t use Dropbox themselves.
It completely eliminates the need to upload the file to your email account or deal with the size limitations on both ends, because it simply creates a link to the file that you already have stored on Dropbox.
You’ll never have to send one file at a time or jam everything into a Zip file in order to get your files received.
If you have a large number files, you can share a link to an entire folder in your Dropbox account and the tool makes adding files that you receive via Gmail easy to upload to Dropbox as well.
Get it here: http://bit.ly/2XiM325
Using one or more social media platforms has become standard operating procedure for virtually every business out there, but many smaller businesses are still struggling with just how to best leverage these powerful tools.
It starts by getting some of the basic precepts down which will lead to building your organizations strategy.
Anyone struggling with basics can actually just take a course to get started.
Not the kind of course that requires you to go to a classroom for hours on end, but one that gets delivered to you and only takes a few minutes per lesson to learn something new.
This option is available from the social media posting company known as Buffer which offers a free daily course that only requires you to spend a few minutes every day reading.
It’s not going to make you an expert next week, but it will help you get started on the building blocks necessary to be successful.
If you’ve been avoiding social media for your business, see if this approach gives you what you need to feel confident in moving forward: https://buffer.com/email-courses/social-media-101
If you're like most Internet users, you know that you should be using long unique passwords for each of your online accounts in order to stay safe from breaches.
Most people don't follow through on the essential security step because they continue to use passwords they can easily remember.
It's nearly impossible to be safe without using some type of password manager, so if you still haven't found one that works for you, checkout the offerings at https://www.roboform.com.
It started life as a form filling utility, but now also offers full password management functionality.
Roboform also has mobile option and their basic service is free to use!
There are some interesting features including their batch login option that will auto open browser tabs and log into your primary sites just by tapping one button.
The value of any password management program is that you can create lots of unique complex passwords for each online service you use, but you'll only have to remember one master password.
Major tragedies that happen around the world shouldn’t be the only time we collectively think about donating to help others.
If that resonates with you, checkout an app from Google called “One Today”.
The app shines a spotlight on a different charitable organization each and every day, along with an overview of their work and an easy way to make a small donation.
You can also use the app to get your friends to join in using the match donation or pay it forward option designed to help a group raise funds.
If you really get into the kindness of daily giving, you can make your donations in a lump sum which can result in a tax receipt when you give more then $250.
Why not help others on a regular basis, which will help you feel good about helping others every day?
This app is encouraging a lot of people to give a little bit on a regular basis, which can add up to a large impact: https://onetoday.google.com
Gaining access to sensitive information is a crime that was popular way before the computer and technology age.
Thieves go where the honey is and in this case the honey is your personal data.
One simple rule to keep in mind is that whenever a company that you do business with has been breached, whatever you have been using as a password for that site can never be used again.
Cyberthieves have been amassing enormous databases that collect all the passwords and associated email addresses or usernames for years, hoping that you'll continue to use these compromised passwords on other accounts.
This makes targeting specific people a lot easier, because they can simply cross reference their stolen password database with your email address to start wreaking havoc.
Fortunately, there are several online resources you can use to know whether your various email addresses, usernames and even passwords have been added to these underworld databases.
When you see that an account has been compromised, make sure to immediately change the password and never use the old one again!
For more information on how to use these sites, go here: https://www.datadoctors.com/help/kenscolumns/22233-Have-I-Been-Compromised
Youtube has become the single most popular video streaming site on the Internet, which is great as long as you have a connection.
For those times that you know you won't be connected, but would like to watch a video, did you know you can use tools to download them beforehand?
The one I like to use is at https://dirpy.com because it's fast and simple to use.
Simply grab the link on YouTube for the video you want and give it to Dirpy to start the process.
You can choose either video with audio or just the audio for a live concert video for instance.
For downloading complete videos, you can choose highest quality or lower quality to save space.
Once Dirpy is done, you have a file that can be played on your computer or transfer it to one of your mobile devices for listening anywhere, anytime.
Think of how great this tool is for parents with kids going on a long trip with no Internet connection!
In my never ending quest to find new ways of getting our tech to work for us, I bring up one of our favorite integration tools: IFTTT
It stands for If This Then That and it allows you to integrate lots of your various internet services using recipes for actions.
Want a reminder on your phone when you star a message in Gmail? There's a recipe for that! Want a text automatically sent to your wife when you leave work? There's a recipe for that too!
The site works with hundreds of online service with lots of recipes that have already been put together by other members of the service.
Feel like contributing to the community? Create you own unique recipes and post them up for others to enjoy.
With apps for all major mobile devices, you can even create recipes on the fly.
If this is the first you have heard of https://ifttt.com, do yourself a favor and jump in with both feet!
How many times a day do you find yourself using Google to look for information? It’s pretty constant for most of us, but there’s one type of search that you’ll want to be especially suspicious of the results: tech support.
Scammers have created lots of elaborate companies online that may even include Google’s advertising network to pose as legitimate tech support companies.
It can become especially confusing when you search for a specific big name company’s tech support resources to tell who’s legit and who’s a scammer.
One huge red flag to watch for is a toll free number that pops up in the description before you even click on the link.
Avoid calling those numbers until you’ve verified that it’s the actual big name company’s website.
The bad guys are constantly gaming the system, so just because it shows up in a Google search result does not make it legit.
If you want to go to the legitimate support page for any tech company, simply type their website address followed by /support. ex: Microsoft.com/support
For more of our tips on avoiding these scams, go here:
How often are you in the last minute mode of thinking about what to have for dinner tonight? How often do you resort to the usual handful of options?
Maybe it’s time to shake up the status quo by introducing new options with an app called “Dinner Spinner.”
You can use the app to pick the type of meal you thinking about having from the first course, salads and main dishes.
Throw in your available time and give the app a spin.
I was able to generate over twenty ideas for a meal that was easy to make in less than twenty minutes that used chicken as it’s main protein.
If you don’t like a specific suggestion, you can also see suggested options from your fellow home cooks that include a rating.
If your mind is wide open, you can go with the random suggestions simply by shaking your phone with the app open.
The best part is that you can filter out recipes based on your dietary needs so you don’t waste time scanning recipes you can’t actually eat.
It’s a whole new way to deal with the ‘what’s for dinner tonight” question:
Whether you know someone that lives in an area that is prone to experience earthquakes, you’ve seen how quickly social media goes crazy whenever a tremor hits an area.
Researchers at a major technical university have created an initiative to use volunteer’s smartphones to help detect tremors in real-time.
They’re doing it through an app that they created called MyShake designed to use the sensors in Android smartphones to measure seismic activity.
The goal is to create a massive warning system that can warn others much quicker than any of the current detection systems as it moves away from the epicenter.
If you have friends or family that live in earthquake zones, let them know about this ambitious project so they can help grow the sensor network.
You can learn all about the project and download the app by visiting: