Data Doctors Tech Tips
Tech Tips for Non-Tech People
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Get paid for taking surveys! We’ve all seen the emails and social media posts from companies that you’ve never heard of claiming you’ll be rewarded for you opinion.
Some of them are legit and some are scammers, but unless you’ve done your homework, you need to be skeptical.
But what if we told you that a really well known company was willing to reward you for taking their surveys on your Android phone?
That’s right, Google recently launched the Google Opinion Rewards app and it allows you to rack up credits in their Play Store by taking surveys.
It’s a simple process that only shows up about once a week, but when you answer the handful of questions, you’ll get credits to buy apps, movies, books and music in Google’s Store.
The questions are simple like “which logo is best” or “what did you watch of television last night” and the app notifies you when a survey is available.
Google Opinion Rewards is a free Android app in the Google Play store.
A lot of the most popular iPhone apps these days are games, but most of them are mindless time killers.
Escaping for a few minutes by playing Angry Birds or Candy Crush can get addictive and end up wasting lots of time because they just keep you going.
If you’re looking for a more stimulating escape that at least has the chance to teach you something, checkout Quizup.
Quizup promotes itself as the biggest trivia game in the world with hundreds of topics and over 150,000 questions.
You can play against friends in real time or random trivia buffs from around the world in topics like Tv shows, books, movies, sports, music, art or even general knowledge quizzes like identifying logos.
It’s like your own personal on-demand version of Jeopardy that ends after a handful of questions, so you can get on with your life (or not)!
Quizup is only available for iPhone and iPad users at the moment, but they are working on the Android version if you want to be notified when its available.
Few things compare to getting lost in a good book that takes your mind on a magical trip around the
world or into deep space.
Often times something that’s mentioned in the book, like a location, a person, piece of music, an event or even an object can stir up your curiosity and that’s where a wonderful discovery website comes into play.
SmallDemons.com is a website that allows you to explore just about anything that you read about in
your favorite book, including other books that used the same word, location or music.
Let’s say a minor historical character in the book sparks your interest; just go to smalldemons.com and see if this character exists in other books.
Listen to the song that’s mentioned in the book and learn more about the musician, the era and other books that cover that period of time.
It’s a completely different way to discover new books, music, movies or lots of other things based on something you read in your book that will lead to some amazing treasures.
There’s a common problem that all of us technology junkies deal with; not enough power outlets and
too many charging cables and accessories.
Lots of companies have products that are trying to help us with this problem, but a cleverly designed
product from a startup called thingCharger may beat them all.
ThingCharger has a unique design that eliminates the need for a charging cable because your device sits on top of the outlet to charge.
What’s even better is that it has two standard outlets and two usb ports for additional devices when you need to load up and they can be stacked up to three deep.
You can charge smartphones, tablets and music players from just about any manufacturer because it
comes with a host of swappable tips that store neatly inside of the charging box.
Thingcharger’s design and flexibility makes it great for travelers that are constantly fighting to find
enough outlets on the road.
It’s currently a crowd funding project at Indiegogo so it won’t be available until the first part of next
year, but you can watch the video at their website and decide if you want to help fund them!
When it comes to deciding on new movies, music and TV shows, respected critics can be a big help.
But how many times have you seen a movie that a critic hated, but you loved?
Unless you have the exact same tastes as your favorite critic, you really need to see what a group of them are saying to get a decent consensus.
Some sites offer ratings from various critics, but if you really want to get the wisdom of the crowds, checkout metacritic.
Metacritic distills the opinions of the most respected critics online and in print into a single number that they call a metascore.
Their proprietary algorithm uses weighted averages of the published critics so you don’t have to go clicking around to dozens of sites to see what the world is saying.
They can quickly show you the movies that are in Theaters, on DVD or coming soon and what the consensus of the critics are for each.
And It’s a great way to find new music too! Bookmark this one folks!
If you work on your computer a lot at night, it may actually cause you to have trouble sleeping.
The blue light coming from your computer screen at night has been shown to keep people up later than they wanted.
If you’re experiencing this problem or you just want to reduce the eye strain from using your computer at night, check a free utility called Flux.
Flux automatically warms up your computer screen at sunset and returns it to normal at sunrise because it knows the general location of your computer.
You can adjust how warm the display becomes at night and manually disable it whenever you have color sensitive work.
It takes a bit to get used to the warmer display, but once you see how bright the normal display was, you’ll understand why flux can help.
Flux is a free download for Windows and Mac users available at Justgetflux.com
If you’ve spent any time on a group conference call, you know how often people are asking ‘Who’s on the call’ or ‘who just said that’.
Wouldn’t it be great if you could have a visual representation of each person on the call including who’s on the call, who’s talking at any moment and who dropped off?
Well, now you can with UberConference! Uberconference is an awesomely simple solution to these age old problems with audio based conference calls.
The graphical interface shows you a profile pic of each participant along with their contact and social info and whoever is currently talking appears at the top of the screen.
The conference organizer can easily mute the guy from shipping that injected music in the conversation because he put his phone on hold.
Uberconference unlimited conference calls also gets rid of the irritating pin numbers, can record the conference and it even has a mobile app for iPhone and Android users.
If you tired of the old way of holding a conference call, give Uberconference a try!
It’s no secret that when it comes to tablet computers, Apple’s iPad is the undisputed king, especially if your focus is on entertainment.
Microsoft came late to the tablet party, even though they introduced a Tablet PC version of Windows back in 2002.
Microsoft’s approach called Surface is designed to offer an alternative to the iPad instead of trying to compete with it and focuses more on users interested in productivity and entertainment.
The first generation of the Surface Tablets weren’t very well received and didn’t sell very well so they took what they learned and released their second generation of tablets called Surface 2.
The most interesting model is the Surface Pro 2 because it fits and interesting niche because it’s both a powerful Windows 8.1 laptop computer and a tablet in one package.
If you’re a business user that hauls an old laptop and a tablet around and you want to lighten the load, the Surface Pro 2 is worth taking a look at.
If you’ve ever wanted to learn how to speed read, but didn’t want it bad enough to pay for any of the courses, we’ve got an Internet site that you may want to give a try.
It’s Spreeder.com and it a free online speed reading software program that will get you started on improving your reading speed and comprehension.
According to Spreeder, speed reading is the art of silencing subvocalization, which is just a fancy way of saying that inner voice you hear when you’re reading.
The online system helps you change the way you read so you’re no longer held back by your slower inner voice.
Reading is a skill that we typically develop at a young age when we are told to verbalize all the words.
Spreeder allows you to advance your reading skills by exercising your mind in a completely different way and it’s absolutely free, so what are you waiting for?
Hey Brandon, did you know that carrots were originally purple and that Abraham Lincoln created the Secret Service on the day he was shot?
The Internet is full of inane information that really isn’t going to change your life, but often times makes you say, huh!
We generally run across interesting factoids by accident or from a friend’s social media post but why leave these nuggets of knowledge to chance?
If you love interesting factoids as much as we do, pop over to the NowIKnow website and subscribe to the daily knowledge emails.
Each day, you’ll get an interesting story about something that will likely make you say “huh” and make you just a bit smarter.
Now that you know about NowIKnow.com you can learn something new every day like the world’s shortest war lasted forty minutes or how the turkey got its name!
You’ve probably noticed that you get a lot of e-mail messages these days that end with things like ‘Sent from my iPad’ or ‘Sent from my Samsung Galaxy S4’.
The default email signatures on your mobile devices are designed to automatically advertise for the manufacturer of your device.
They do this with the hope that you won’t bother to change it and so they get millions of free ads.
And by the number of messages that we see that have these free ads at the bottom, it’s obvious that this strategy is working for them.
Announcing that you sent the message from your mobile device can also be a security risk in some cases, so take a few minutes and update your smartphones e-mail signature today.
If you’re a business user, it’s a great way to send your contact info with each message and make people aware of your company blog or other marketing resources.
We’ve got links posted that give you step by step instructions for iPhone, Android and Blackberry devices, so you can stop being a pawn for your smartphone’s manufacturer.
iOS & Android: http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2422909,00.asp
The Internet is loaded with booby-trapped websites that are virtual Venus fly traps that are just waiting for you to land on them.
Avoiding websites that you have never heard of sounds like reasonable advice, but it just isn’t practical, so how are you supposed to know if a website is safe before you visit it?
That’s where a free resource from Trend Micro, one of our favorite Security software companies comes in.
Trend Micro has one of the largest site reputation databases in the world that is constantly being updated, so all you have to do is paste the web address of any site in to run a quick safety check.
In seconds you’ll get a safety rating of Safe, Dangerous or Suspicious and if the site is Untested, Trend Micro will automatically add it to be tested.
You’ll also get a summary of the content that you’ll find at the site, so you don’t accidentally end up at an inappropriate site.
Assuming a website is safe is a bad approach these days, so before you visit a strange website, get a second opinion from Trend Micro!
Video is such a great way to share those precious moments with our friends and family.
And since our smartphones have amazing high-definition capabilities, it’s really easy to capture those moments.
What isn’t so easy, is deciding which network to upload the video to: Facebook , YouTube, Vimeo, Twitter and the list goes on.
Uploading the video to all the sites just takes too much time, unless you use today’s tech tip: OneLoad
At Oneload.com, you will find a great tool that makes it simple to upload your video one time and have it distributed to all your video sharing and social networking sites.
Oneload is especially helpful if you are in charge of uploading videos for your company, because it has a whole host of tools that take care of converting the video to meet the specifications of each site.
Not more need to manually convert and upload videos, just use Oneload.com
The basic service is free with multiple pay options for commercial use so you can track which videos are being viewed on which sites and even pull old videos down all at once.
If you recently updated your iPhone to iOS 7 or you bought one of the new snazzy iPhone 5’s with iOS 7, you probably noticed a lot of extra motion as you use your phone.
The Apple developers decided to create what they probably thought were cool animations throughout the new version of iOS, but lots of you aren’t real happy with these useless tweaks.
In fact, some of you are complaining of queasiness because of all the extra motion.
If you’re one of the many that are getting seasick from using your iphone, we’ve got some great news for you!
Apple got the message and released a new update that will allow you to chuck the gee-wiz zooming and motion for the traditional cross fade you’re used to.
If you’re tired of almost losing your lunch every time you use your iphone or iPad, make sure you download iOS 7.0.3 to make it go away.
Just click on Settings then General then on the Software Update option to git er done!
By the way, make sure you’re connected to Wifi before you get started so it goes faster and you avoid using any of your data plan.
A thief that gains access to your e-mail account on your smartphone can get password reset messages sent to the phone from your bank in a matter of minutes.
Smartphones are loaded with lots of information that can make stealing your identity of piece of cake, so if you don’t have an access passcode setup yet, do it today.
Another thing to remember if you plan on trading in, selling or getting rid of an older smartphone is to reset the phone to wipe out your personal info.
The process of resetting the phone to the factory settings is generally achieved with just a few taps and is located in one of the Settings menus.
Another thing to remember if you have a phone that allows you to expand the memory is to remove the micro SD card before you hand the phone over to someone else.
If you want to include the micro SD card with the phone, make sure you format it first.
Removing your SIM card is another good idea as the person that ends up with your old phone will have no use for it.
If you need specific instructions for resetting your smartphone, just enter the model number followed by reset instructions in Google.
Driving around with tires that are under inflated can cost you money in wasted fuel and can actually be dangerous.
A new iPhone app called TireCheck makes it fun and easy to keep track of your tire pressure.
Once you install the app on your iPhone, you simply select the make and model of your car and then take a snapshot of each wheel using the app.
The app will then scan the image to tell you if your tires are underinflated and if so, how much money you might be wasting a year because of it.
As cool as this app is, it’s not going to be precisely accurate and is absolutely no substitute for a real tire gauge.
It’s also not capable of reporting over-inflated tires, but it is a quick and fun way to check for under-inflated tires without getting dirty.
And just having the app on your phone will end up being a subtle reminder to regularly check your tire pressure, which will definitely save you money!
When you get a call on your smartphone from an unknown number, you end up having to make a split second decision generally based on the area code of whether to answer the call or not.
An app called Contactive is hoping to help you out with this problem by using multiple resources to help identify unknown callers on the fly.
They combine your social networks with publicly available registries and their own global directory to show you who’s if they’re not already in your phones address book.
It even gives you a quick cheat sheet of your contacts latest updates and interactions with you so you’re better prepared when you do answer a call.
This call management app is only available for Android phones and can’t identify every unknown call for you, but when it works, it’s magic.
It’s also a great way to combine social media profile pictures with your address book and lots of other details about your contacts that exist in separate systems.
Think of it as caller ID on steroids!
When you travel to a new city or country, our smartphones can be invaluable for keeping track of where you went and when.
But you have to remember to pull your smartphone out and check in or take notes while you are trying enjoy those new destinations, so lots of details of your trip can fall through the cracks.
If you want an easier way to trace your footsteps but don’t want the distraction of constantly pulling out your iPhone, checkout an app called Rove.
Rove automatically and privately detects where you went and what you did, so you can leave your smartphone in your pocket and enjoy what you’re doing.
Whether you want a travel journal or road trip tracker, the Rove app makes it simple to recall any detail of any trip you took.
And if you do use your phone to take a picture, it will include that in your timeline automatically so you don’t have to manually assemble the trip log when you get home.
The Rove app is free but only available for the iPhone at the moment.
If you have a smartphone and you think you take amazing pictures with it, did you know that you might be able to get paid for those awesome shots?
Fotolia, a web service that specializes in selling stock photos now has a simple app called Fotolia Instant that allows you to submit your works of art right from your phone.
Now, you’re not going to get rich selling your photos this way because they have to be really special to be of any value, but if you’re an aspiring paparazzi, why not take a stab at getting paid?
It’s pretty simple to become a contributor by downloading the app and creating a free account, but you may have to work at it to get your pictures accepted.
You’ll be competing with lots of other photo fanatics to become part of the Fotolia Instant Collection, but you don’t have to be a professional anymore to get paid.
For the time being, they only offer the app for iPhone users, but the Android version is scheduled to be released very soon.
E-mail has become so overrun with spam that the tools for detecting spam can often mistake real messages, that we call HAM, for junk messages.
The specific words you use and how you construct your message can actually make your innocent communications look like a scam to automated spam filters.
Unnecessary images or certain words can increase your spam score but it’s hard to know what is and isn’t acceptable.
That’s where a simple web resource that allows you to test the spammyness of your emails can be really helpful.
The next time you have someone tell you that your message ended up in their spam filter or worse, that they never got your message, go to http://mail-tester.com and you may be able to figure out why
All you do is send the message to special address that they provide and then wait a few seconds to click a link and check your spam score.
You’ll get a detailed report on your message including whether your mail system has been blacklisted, which will cause lots of mail to get blocked all together.
Tracking your online behavior and search requests is big business on the Internet these days and by default it’s easy for this to happen.
Online privacy is become more of an issue for a lot of you so tools that allow you to understand or block what’s being tracked are becoming more popular.
One of these tools is called Disconnect and if gives you an easy way to manage your online privacy when it comes to browsing and searching the Internet.
Disconnect is a browser extension for Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Opera and it’s a pay-what-you-want project for those that want to support online privacy and security efforts.
Once you install the extension, your online activities are masked because it looks like your requests are coming from the Disconnect servers, not your personal computer.
Disconnect will also show you all of the invisible requests that are being made and make sure you are using encrypted connections when you do share your data.
So, if you want an easy to way to control who can see your personal surfing habits, checkout the disconnect tool today!