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!
A great byproduct of the Information Superhighway is that it’s become the world’s greatest library of trivial knowledge at our fingertips.
Don’t we all reach for our smartphones during an argument over the most trivial of information these days?
It’s really great when we stumble on to some truly useful bits of information, especially when we weren’t even looking for it, right?
Well, if learning useful things on purpose is something you love, you should visit a website called Useful Science.
It’s an wonderful collection created by a group of Canadian grad students for all that love the useful trivia that exists online.
For instance, did you know that a quick look at the color green before you start a creative task can increase your creativity?
Or, did you know that tunes with heavy bass can make you feel more powerful?
The passages aren’t just random thoughts that someone came up with, they're directly related to research or reports with real context.
If you’re really into this kind of knowledge, you can submit your own articles and get useful science emails right to your Inbox if you subscribe to their newsletter.
Check it out at http://Usefulscience.org
It’s summer time, which means you’ll be dancing in the streets or twisting by the pool with this tech tip.
If you’re like me, having music wherever you go is a must, so finding a Bluetooth speaker that fits my lifestyle is an ongoing pursuit and I’ve found a winner.
The Boom Swimmer waterproof speaker is without question my favorite audio gadget, because it’s extremely flexible in how you use it and it sounds great!
The Swimmer comes with a rubber tail that allows you to wrap it around anything to provide sound just about anywhere.
The possibilities are endless: shower heads,
handlebars, backpacks and the list goes on.
It also comes has an optional suction cup mount, so you can slap it on most flat surfaces which also serves to enhance the bass as well.
This awesome speaker isn’t just water resistant, it’s waterproof, so if it falls into the pool or gets soaked when someone does a gainer, it just keeps on booming.
For around $50, the Boom Swimmer Waterproof Speaker is a summer must have gadget for music lovers.
If you feel like you’re living your life on e-mail these days, you’re not alone.
One of the biggest time wasters for all of us, is replying to multiple messages with the same response, when they are spread throughout the day.
Here’s an awesome tip for Gmail users! There is a free add-on that you can activate called Canned Responses that can save you tons of time.
Just turn it on and you’ll be able to copy any chunk of text and make it a canned response that can then be used in any message with just a few mouse clicks!
It eliminates the need to copy/paste any text, phrases or signatures that you use on a regular basis, when you’re responding to or composing messages.
This tool is part of the experimental ones that Google makes available via the Labs program, which is setup in Gmail’s Settings menu.
The link for step-by-step instructions on turning on this incredibly useful feature is posted at DataDoctors.com/radio.
Phishing scams are behind many of the major breaches you hear about these days because cyber theives need only to compromise one computer on a secured network to execute their malicious activities.
The sophistication of today’s phishing scams can fool even the most tech savvy amongst us, so remembering to use the hover trick can help sniff them out.
Whenever you see a link is included, simply hover the mouse over the link to see where it’s trying to take you.
Sometimes the destination address may not pop up, so make sure to look at the bottom left corner of the program you’re in to see the actual link address appears there.
Any time the displayed link doesn’t match the hover results, you should consider it to be a phishing scam.
If you want to improve your phishing scam detection skills, there’s a phishing quiz site that will determine if you can detect a phishing scam from a legitimate message.
I’ve posted the link at DataDoctors.com/radio
IOT or the Internet of Things was certainly one of the spotlights at this past Consumer Electronics Show as inexpensive connected devices were being shown by many.
Wireless sensor tags in particular are interesting, because they allow for the monitoring of your location through motion, temperature and even humidity, not just video.
Many of these devices are really inexpensive which allows you to monitor everything from a garage door opening and closing to a refrigerator door’s movement so you can be alerted whenever the fridge is being raided.
These small sensors work with apps on your smartphone to alert you to just about anything that you’ll want to monitor in your home.
While motion sensing is helpful, monitoring things like moisture levels can alert you when you have a leak in real time.
The great thing about using sensors that monitor everything you care about, is that they range in price from only 20 to 70 dollars.
Wireless tags can really step up your home security so if you want to learn more, checkout http://wirelesstag.net
Our smartphones are pretty safe from downloading malicious apps as long as we don’t jailbreak our devices and only get apps from the associated app stores, like Google Play and Apple’s App Store.
Jailbreaking an iPhone or rooting an Android phone allows you to remove the controls put in place by the device but should only be by tech savvy users.
Unfortunately, a new scam is in circulation that can sneak malicious apps into your device, even if you haven’t bypassed the security controls by jailbreaking it.
The scam appears as slickly crafted text message or email with a convincing link to download the app.
If you fall for the scam and click the link, it can lead to having a non-jailbroken iPhones or unrooted Android phone compromised.
With this in mind, we should all adapt the following mantra: If I didn’t go looking for it, I won’t install it.
Cyber-theives have been able to create some pretty convincing messages that often appear to be from a trusted resource via a hacked account, so be on the alert.
For a little extra protection from malicious apps, consider using this free mobile security app from http://lookout.com
The wireless router in your home is the primary line of defense against common threats, because it blocks the outside world from gaining access to your computers.
If you haven’t addressed this major security issue by changing the administrative password that came as the default, you’re at risk.
Now, I'm not referring to the WiFi password that allows you to connect, I’m talking about the administrative username and password which will allows for full control over your router.
Hackers know the default password for every piece of equipment available through resources such as http://RouterPasswords.com with which to attack you.
A group of security researchers have discovered a new type of attack that uses rigged e-mail messages which can allow thieves to sneak into routers if you’re still using the default login credentials.
Once they get in, there’s very little they can’t do because they can change the configuration so that they can monitor all your activity and grab your credentials for any of your online accounts without you knowing it.
This is one of those threats that your security software has now way of protect you if you click on the malicious link.
The best protection against this threat is to change the default password; if you don’t know how to do it, get some help!
Your smartphone has likely become your go-to music and navigation system in your car.
Placing your phone in the proper place is so much safer than fumbling about while you’re car is in motion.
A safer option for properly positioning your phone on your dash can be found at Kenu.com.
The Kenu AirFrame is a lightweight holder that just clips to most air vents in your car’s dash providing a better line of sight for your screen.
You don’t have to use adhesives, suction cups, magnets or special cases with the AirFrame and it can accommodate any size phone even if it’s in a case.
The units range from $25 to $39 depending upon the size of your smartphone. You can check them out at http://Kenu.com; that’s spelled K E N U.com
Just remember, when you’re blowing hot air through the vents in the winter, it could overheat your smartphone, so you should avoid using it those situations.
And most of all, no texting while driving!
If you or someone you know has a rental property or rents a place from a private individual, today’s tech tip is for you.
Whether you’re the renter or the property owner, if you’re still collecting or paying rent by check method, you know how inconvenient it can be for either side.
Well a website called Cozy can make this regular process much easier.
For landlords, it only takes a few minutes to register your rental property and banking info so that your renter can start paying you online.
For tenants with roommates, the pain of splitting the rent payments is a snap, so no one has to play the chase the roommates for the rent game any more.
While all that sounds great, the best part is that there’s no fee to use Cozy because it’s free for both the renter and the property owner.
They even have lots of other features for property owners, like online rental apps, renter screening tools and can list your rental on their online network.
If this sounds like a dream come true, checkout http://Cozy.co to learn more.
We all rely on our smartphones so much every day and if the battery goes dead or we suddenly can’t find our phone, panic mode sets in instantly.
An app called Hotel My Phone from a small startup in Canada is offering a potential solution to this all too common problem.
Think of it as AirBnB for smartphones, because you can grab a friend or spouse's phone and get full access to your contacts as well as make and take calls as if was your phone.
It’s designed to be used with people you know by having trusted people install the app on their phones which creates a 'trusted network’ which allows anyone in the group to borrow anyone else’s phone in an emergency.
If the batter on your phone dies just as you/re expecting a critical call or text, having Hotel My Phone setup on your spouse’s phone could save the day.
There can be charges for communication outside of your trusted network, but in network calls and messages are free.
You can checkout all the details at http://HotelMyPhone.com
Helping out charitable organizations with a donation shouldn’t happen only after we hear about a horrible tragedy somewhere in the world.
That’s the thought process behind an app from Google called One Today.
One Today presents a different non-profit each day by explaining their primary goals and makes it really simple to donate a small amount if you’d like to help them.
In addition, you can setup matched donations to get your friends and family to help generate donations or use the Pay-it-Forward option to increase the donation total from your circle.
When you choose to donate to various causes, you can pay it in a lump sum as it builds and when it reaches $250, you’ll get a tax deduction receipt from Google.
You know how helping others makes you feel and the One Today app can provide that feeling on a daily basis.
Think about the real impact that a couple million people can make by donating one dollar a day!
Get started today at: https://onetoday.google.com
When a tough situation rears it’s ugly head on your computer and you want to find a toll-free tech support number, Google’s a great place to find it, right?
So many people are being victimized because of this thought because they call what they believe to be an official phone number for tech support that they got from searching Google.
Searching for ‘Norton Antivirus Tech Support’ for instance, will display many companies posing as official tech support but they have absolutely nothing to do with Norton.
Many of them prominently post toll free numbers, knowing that lots of people will just call the first number that appears in the search results.
We know of one elderly victim that was scammed out of over $7,000 because she thought she was working directly with Norton.
If you want to avoid this con game for any company that you want help from, the best way to get the real number is to manually type the company web address and add the word support to the end.
Like norton.com/support for instance.
I’ve posted more tips for avoiding this clever scam at DataDoctors.com/radio
Popular startups like Uber and AirBnB have led to what is being called the sharing economy that leverage the power of the smartphone in your pocket or purse.
Well, now a startup called Roadie is attempting to compete with UPS and Fedex with a concept they call a neighbor-to-neighbor shipping network.
The service is designed to match people that have something they want delivered with people that are already going between those same two points.
These ‘Gigs’s as they’re called are insured up to $500 for your protection, so you can think of it as carpooling for packages.
You can post a Gig on the app simply by describing what you want delivered and the route which allows potential ‘roadies’ which are the drivers to complete the task.
The app allows you to track the progress of your delivery or even connect with your driver along the way.
Waffle House locations were one of the first official Roadie Roadhouses where you can meet to exchange packages with special treats for the drivers.
If you love the sharing economy and have something unusual to get sent somewhere, checkout http:\\Roadie.com as an option.
Hey honey, I need help printing something from my iPhone!
My wife’s recent request reminded me of a tip I gave a while ago that’s become even more useful today.
We all seem to use one of Google's services every day anyway, so why not start using their free remote printing service called Google Cloud Print from just about anywhere as well!
You simply need any type of Google account to get started with an easy setup of the printer on your computer to make it available via the Internet.
You can then print from any mobile device like your smartphone or tablet or you can send important print jobs from your office PC or Mac to your home printer and vice versa.
You can even invite your friends, family and colleagues to print to your printer; especially helpful when someone is having a printing emergency!
Cloud Print works with any cloud-ready or standard printer from a larger number of apps or programs.
Sound like something you’d like to have in your back pocket? Just visit http://Google.com/cloudprint to get started.
Bluetooth enabled speakers are a wonderful way to improve the quality of sound coming from smartphones, tablets or laptops, but that also means you have to carry them around with you.
If you'd prefer a Bluetooth speaker that can be synchronized to play music throughout the house, Pure’s Jongo wireless speaker system may fit the bill.
There super flexible system can make use of both fixed and portable wireless speakers that can play the same music stream coming from your smartphone or tablet.
Their unique 'CaskeID' technology that's built into the Jongo system allows for exceptionally accurate synchronization across all your speakers.
That means if you're in range of any Jongo speaker with any of your Bluetooth enabled devices, you can control all the other speakers throughout your house as long as they are within range of your wifi network.
This specialized approach leverages the convenience of Bluetooth with the bandwidth and long range of wifi to provide a flexible whole house sound system.
You can even turn any traditional stereo and speakers into an extension of the entire system with one of their extender devices.
Learn all about it at http://Pure.com
Have you ever seen a high-resolution image printed directly to glass at an art gallery and viewed it with awe.
Well, now you can have those same incredible glass photos hanging in your house with a few clicks of the mouse.
A web service known as Fracture and they allow you to upload any image and then choose from one of 5 frame sizes that go from 5x7 up to 22x30 in landscape, portrait or even square images.
The process of getting it setup takes a few minutes and you can choose from options that cost $18 to $125.
The selected image gets printed directly on the back side of a piece of glass, then completed with a black backing and sent to your house in a couple of days.
This way of displaying your favorite pictures makes for amazing wall art or an awesome gift for special moments in your life.
If you don’t have anything you shot yourself, you can select from the photos and art from their Art Store to create famous Fractures of your own.
Check it all out for yourself at https://www.fractureme.com
The hard drive in your computer is like your refrigerator; no matter how large it is, you’ll going to fill it up, eventually.
And just like with your frig, tossing out old or unnecessary junk is whole lot more cost effective than buying a bigger one.
The big issue for most of users is that they haven’t a clue what’s hogging up their drive space, so knowing what to get rid of is a little puzzling.
For starters, getting rid of old programs you stopped using is a great start and if you’re storing lots of video or have a massive music library that you no longer use, they’re taking up a good chunk of space as well.
Windows users that want a little help should checkout a free program called TreeSize.
Windows refers to its directory structure as a tree with each folder being a branch so the TreeSize program can show you how large each branch is so you can quickly track down the space hogs.
A Word of Warning: Never ever delete anything that you don’t recognize and make absolutely sure you’ve got a verified backup before you attempt any king of cleanup of your hard drive.
I’ve posted the link at DataDoctors.com/radio
Summer is here and so is travel season which can lead to vacation road trips filled with amazing and unexpected experiences.
I really enjoy finding those "off-the-beaten-path" or truly quirky joints on my excursions and generally find that talking to a local is one of the best sources of discovery.
If you love finding the fun and unusual on your road trips, checkout a website called Roadtrippers.com.
You can search for attractions, accommodations, entertainment, food and drink, history, nature or just about anything that will make your road trip interesting by setting your starting and ending points to get started.
By adding stops along the way, you can calculate how long the trip will take and even get a general prediction of what you'll spend in gas to make it happen.
After you've created your road trip, you can sync it to their mobile app for turn-by-turn directions to every destination on your road trip.
If all that sounds like too much of a hassle, you can use any of the pre-existing road trips like Haunted Hotels or Route 66 and then modify the itinerary to meet your needs.
Anyone planning a summer road trip should checkout RoadTrippers.com
Fashion magazines use the process of photo retouching to turn the ordinary into the extraordinary but usually with really costly software programs like Photoshop.
Not only are these programs expensive to buy, they are complicated and have a large learning curve.
The examples of them overdoing it are posted all over the Internet, but that shouldn't keep you from making use of basic touch-up tools for your own images.
An app called Perfect365 offers quick and easy retouching options which you can use on your smartphone or tablet, eliminating the need to download them to your computer in order to get the job done.
There are makeover settings and predefined one-touch clean-up settings or you can manually work with any part of a image on your own.
Perfect365 can remove blemishes and dark circles from your eyes as well as soften skin and whiten teeth with a few taps of the screen.
You can even get crazy and give yourself a virtual nose job or facelift.
If you get the urge to take your images from drab to fab, checkout Perfect365 for just about any mobile device: iPhone, iPad, Android, Windows 8 or Windows Phone.
Check it all out for yourself at DataDoctors.com/radio
Let's start today's tip with a review of a little geek speak: word cloud
A word cloud is a visual depiction of a large amount of text, with the most prominent words specially placed with bold colors or larger fonts.
I've found that the best way to easily pull important themes in large bodies of text is by using word clouds.
If you’re a business that with customer feedback, for example, instead of having to manually review each one to compile themes, you can quickly mine the data with an online word cloud generator.
One of my go-to tools is at http://tagcrowd.com because it's quick and easy and powerful.
You start by creating a single plain text file with all of the information you want to work with without worrying about formatting or structure.
You then copy and paste the text into the site or you can upload the text file, CSV spreadsheet or document or even point at test via a web URL.
I find TagCrowd, that’s T A G C R O W D.com to be an excellent tool for presentations and meeting especially when discussing large chunks of data.
Many of us have to use reading glasses to use our smartphones, but get frustrated trying to keep track of where you used them last.
Buying a large number of them so you can leave them where you typically use them is one solution, but wouldn't it be more effective to keep your reading glasses with your smartphone all the time?
A company called ThinOptics feels your pain and created a pretty clever solution to this common problem: super thin reading glasses that fit into your smartphone case.
The got rid of the arms and you just clip them onto your nose, making them thin enough to be stored in the case of your smartphone.
The cases work with iPhone or Galaxy phones directly or you can get the universal add-on pad for just about any case.
If you suffer from 'where did I put my reading glasses' syndrome, Thinoptics solution runs between $25 to $39, so it could be more cost effective than buying a large stash of glasses.
Learn all about them at http://ThinOptics.com