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!
If you want to start the new year with a new face, today’s tip is for you.
When I say a new face, I actually mean a new face.
An iPhone app called Face Swap Live can actually take two people and swap their faces in real-time.
You don’t have to master Photoshop anymore if you want to transpose faces.
This might actually be one of the creepest apps I’ve ever suggested, but it is kind of fun.
Simply use the front facing camera through the app and get two people on the screen and it will automagically swap your faces.
Another fun face swap option is with existing photos of celebrities or any image you want to upload.
Want to see what you’d look like as The Donald, Richard Nixon or Abe Lincoln?
The app really shows off just how sophisticated the technology is in a smartphone
Just search for Face Swap Live in the Apple App Store; It’s a whole lot of fun for 99 cents
If you’re one of the millions that has cut the cord on cable or satellite, you know that one of things you gave up was a channel guide.
If your now watching content from a myriad of services like Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, HBO Now, you have to search each one of them to find a certain show or movie.
Well the folks at Yahoo are trying to address this first world problem with an app called Yahoo Video Guide, which is a sort of TV Guide for the cord-cutting generation.
The basic idea is to assist in the hunting side of these services as you can search across all the services at once when you’re looking for a specific show or episode.
You can also discover lots of other shows and movies through their featured or mood picker section, which present you with lots of suggestions based on what you’re in the mood for.
The Yahoo Video Guide app is free for both iPhone and Android users.
Tis the season to be gathering and if music is an essential part of your gatherings, I’ve got a democratic method for deciding what music gets played.
It’s a cool add-on service to Spotify called Festify and unlike other apps, it doesn’t require everyone at your party to download a special app.
Festify requires that you have a Spotify Premium account, which you can get right now for 99 cents for three months.
Once you setup Festify on a computer that is connected to your sound system, you simply give your guests a web link and a party code to attach to your partly playlist.
Your guests can use their smartphones to add any song that exists in the Spotify catalogue or vote songs up that are already on the playlist.
You can even send out the info in advance of your party so everyone can add their favorite songs before they arrive.
It’s the slickest group party DJ app that I’ve ever used.
Learn all about it at http://getfestify.com
Electronic gadgets are amongst the most popular gift items during the holiday season, but often times, they’re pretty expensive.
If you’re looking for an amazing holiday gift that won’t break the bank and will amaze techies and non-techies alike, I’ve got the perfect thing: Google Cardboard!
I’ve talked about this wonderful way to experience virtual reality in the past and if you’ve never seen it in action, I promise you, it will be the hit of any holiday gift giving party.
Google Cardboard is nothing more than a small kit that turns just about any smartphone into a virtual reality headset.
There are a bunch of amazing apps that range from concert videos with Paul McCartney to virtual field trips with the Expeditions app.
You can even watch 360 degree YouTube videos using Google Cardboard that will totally immerse you into what you’re watching.
For 15 to 30 dollars you can get one of the coolest gifts around or even make it yourself at https://google.com/cardboard.
By now, you’ve most likely heard about the controversy surrounding the so-called hoverboards that have been catching on fire all around the world.
The likely cause is from shoddy assembly processes from cheap Chinese manufacturers that dump untested products on the world’s markets in hopes of cashing in on a fad.
Improperly matching a charging system with lithium ion batteries is a recipe for disaster, and that seems to be one of the major issues with these hoverboards.
The lesson to be learned applies to everything you charge that has a lithium ion battery: make sure you’re using the proper charger.
We routinely see laptop owners with a multitude of problems because they purchased a cheap universal charger when their original charger went bad.
Not only can a mismatched charger cause overheating, it can shorten the life of your battery.
If you ever detect bulging or excessive heat from any of your batteries, especially while charging, you should stop using them and have them inspected or replaced.
LinkedIn has grown to be the defacto social network for business people and has become a favorite tool of recruiters as well.
But, as always, where there’s honey, there are flies.
Scammers are using fake LinkedIn profiles that appear to be recruiters in order to gather information on potential victims.
One of the goals of this gathering of data is to perpetrate spear phishing scams, which have a higher likelyhood of working.
Basically, the catfish scam has come to LinkedIn so you need to use the same tactics for sniffing them out.
Usually the picture on the profile was taken from stock images or real people, so doing an image search can be a quick of way of uncovering the scammers.
Either Google’s Image Search or the tools at http://www.tineye.com can quickly show you if the image appears elsewhere on the Internet.
The next time you’re not sure about a LinkedIn request, take a minute to do a little private detective work first.
Getting together with a group to discuss ideas that end up on a whiteboard or chalkboard usually requires someone to transpose the notes afterwards.
If you find yourself spending a lot of time gathering notes after meetings, there’s an app called Office Lens that you may want to check out.
Microsoft’s Office Lens makes it quick and easy to take a picture of any whiteboard or document and convert it into a PDF, Word or Powerpoint file.
It can digitize all your notes and even cleans up the image if you’re shooting from an angle.
The first time you shoot an off angle picture, you’ll be amazed how well the app works.
Once you’ve captured it, you can save and share it on various Microsoft systems that including OneNote and OneDrive or just save it as a document or picture.
It’s also a great way to capture business cards and keep them organized.
Office Lens is free and available for iPhone, Android and Windows Phone users
Shooting video with your smartphone is a growing trend, especially with all of the easy ways to share it afterwards.
Most of you have lots of image editing apps for when you take pictures, but when it comes to video, it’s generally shoot and upload.
Video editing can seem overwhelming if you’ve never done it, but there’s a simple app that can dramatically improve the quality of your smartphone videos.
It’s called Adobe Premiere Clip and it’s pretty fantastic, because you don’t really have to know anything about video editing to use it.
Simply upload one or several video clips to the app and either choose the automatic mode to have it generate a video with a soundtrack or go freeform so you can trim, sequence and manually edit your video.
The learning curve is pretty short and it will make all your video posts much more interesting.
The Adobe Premiere Clip app is free and available for iPhone and Android users from the associated app stores.
Understanding your financial situation and planning for retirement is something that we all know we need to do, but it can get overwhelming if you’re trying to manually track everything.
One tool that I recently tried that simplifies the tracking of all of my various accounts is at https://www.personalcapital.com.
In a very short time, I was able to put together a dashboard that shows me everything in one place.
It gives you simple tools to see your net worth, analyze your portfolio and do some ‘what if’ planning for the future so you can get a clear understanding of what retirement might look like.
This isn’t a tool for active traders, it’s for those that have to go to multiple places to gather their financial information and want a more concise way to do it.
There’s even a great mobile app, so you can quickly review everything, every day wherever you are.
Check out this free tool at https://www.personalcapital.com.
One of the great features of Netflix is that it allows you to use the account on multiple devices so your family can share the same account.
You can choose accounts that allow for 2 or 4 simultaneous screens but any number of devices can be logged in at the same time.
This excellent flexibility has led to an underground business of stolen usernames and passwords because you won’t necessarily know when someone else is using your credentials.
One indication that something’s fishy is when you start seeing strange movies or TV shows showing up as something you’ve watched.
Fortunately, Netflix gives you an easy way to sign out of all devices if you suspect you’re password has been compromised.
Just go to the ‘Your Account’ page of the Netflix website from your computer and click the ‘sign out of all devices’ link.
Once you’ve done that, make sure to change your password and let the rest of the family know so they can get back in.
If you’re one of the millions that butchers song lyrics because you don’t actually know what they are, today’s tip is for you!
If you thought Elton John was singing ‘hold me closer, Tony Danza’ and Jimmy Hendrix was not saying ‘excuse me while I kiss this guy’ you need to checkout the Musixmatch app.
Musixmatch, which is spelled M U S I X match does a pretty solid job of grabbing song lyrics for just about any song and display the lyrics while the song is playing.
You do need to be connected to the Internet in order for it to pull the lyrics down, but the bandwidth it uses is pretty minimal.
Another cool feature of the app is the ability to get lyrics of a song that’s playing in the background, say at a restaurant or club. Just tap to have it listen and viola, you’re suddenly singing the right words!
Musixmatch is free and available for both iPhone and Android users.
If you’re an avid iPhone fan, you probably jumped for joy when Apple finally released a large screen option back in 2014.
But not everyone is excited with the larger screen because it turned what used to be a one-handed device into a two-handed device, especially if you have small hands.
So the dilemma becomes screen size versus the latest features.
If you’ve held off updating your iPhone because you’re not really all that excited about the larger screen, there’s a chance that a new option may be in the works.
Various rumors are circulating that a 4 inch version of the iPhone with many of the latest features may be available in the early part of 2016.
Faster processors and Apple Pay are only currently available if you’re willing to step up to a larger screen, but that may change in the near future.
If you’re on the fence about upgrading to a larger screen, hold off for little whle to see what shakes out.
There’s been a lot of buzz on the Internet about how Christmas lights can cause problems for your wifi network.
While it’s technically possible, the likelihood of this actually being the cause of any wifi problem is pretty low.
Make sure you’re not plugging your string of lights into the same outlet as your wifi router to play it safe and if you think there’s a chance that they are interferring, it’s pretty easy to figure it out.
Just test your connection speeds with and without them plugged in at a site like http://speedtest.net.
Wifi signals are much more likely to be impacted by microwave ovens, cordless phones, baby monitors or your neighbors competing wifi router.
If you’re wifi router doesn’t have the ability to automatically find the least congested channel, the best channels to try are 1, 6 and 11 because they have the least amount of overlap.
For Anroid users, there’s a free app called WiFi Analyzer that can also help.
It’s the holiday shopping season, and lots of us are buying as much as we can online to avoid the insanity in the stores.
When you buy things online, they’re often delivered to your front door while you’re at work, which has led to a new type of crime: Porch Pirating.
Porch Pirates often follow delivery vehicles around neighborhoods to stake out the best items to nab after they determine that no one is home.
To avoid becoming a victim, consider having your packages delivered to a neighbor that you know will be home or where you work, if possible.
You may also be able to provide special delivery instructions when you make the purchase or post a note at your door if you have a safer place for them to leave the package.
If you get a lot of packages delivered to your door throughout the year, consider setting up a motion detecting webcam that automatically records activity and sends your phone an alert.
Whenever there’s breaking news, it’s not uncommon for us all to jump onto Google to try to get more details.
Most people believe they can trust whatever comes up on a Google search, but I’m here to tell you that you can’t and you shouldn’t, especially when there’s breaking news.
Malicious groups routinely target breaking news stories with fake news sites, often times claiming to have exclusive pictures of the event.
They can also place rigged sites through sponsored links which can appear to be the first link.
Google does its best to police this activity, but it’s nearly impossible to catch everything that gets thrown at them.
The best way to avoid this type of scam is to stick to your trusted news sources instead of doing a Google search.
Bookmark your favorite news sites on your computer and smartphone or use news apps if they’re available.
Scammers study our behavior so they can target us, so this is one behavior that you should consider changing.
Surveys are an integral part of just about any business these days and there are no shortage of options available.
While services such as https://www.surveymonkey.com provide a lot of great features, unless you need to send out surveys on a regular basis, it may be overkill.
If you’re looking for a great alternative, there’s actually a free and easy option in Google Docs.
You can use Google Forms to create quick surveys using nine different question types that include text, checkboxes and multiple choice.
You can randomly shuffle the order of responses to help improve the quality of the data and include required questions.
Once you finish creating the survey, simply use the URL on a web post or in an email to generate responses.
The results are posted to a Google spreadsheet which allows for basic sorting of the collected data.
The next time you need to create a simple survey quickly, go to https://Google.com/forms
If you take a lot of photos with your smartphone, you probably have plenty of apps that allow you to change the brightness, contrast and color or add any number of filters.
Your smartphone probably has a pretty decent camera on it, but the wide angle lense can sometimes distort lines in some of your images.
Well, if you want a way to easily fix the distortion, there’s an app for that...it’s called SKRWT and it’s spelled S K R W T.
It bills itself as the missing link in high end smartphone photography.
The SKRWT app makes it pretty easy to adjust your images on the horizontal and vertical planes, which allow you to take the curvature from wide angle lenses out of your shot.
For 99 cents, it’ll be a one trick pony amongst your photography apps.
There’s also a mirroring app from the same company that looks pretty cool, so if your interested go to http://skrwt.com to learn more!
I recently had a parent tell me how proud he was of his daughter who was in her first year of college because she started an investment account.
His pride was really because he convinced her to start using the Acorns app, and it apparently worked for them.
Acorns automatically invests your spare change by using the rounding up method whenever you make a purchase.
It takes the rounded up change and invests it through it’s parent company, Acorn Advisors, which is an SEC registered investment advisor.
It’s really an interesting way to get younger people started on their investment portfolio, because there are no fees for anyone under 24. It’s also free for any aged student that has a .edu email address.
Once you setup the account, you choose one of five investment strategies that range from aggressive to conservative.
If you’re the parent of a twenty something and want to get them started on their investment portfolio, checkout the Acorns app at https://www.acorns.com
Yesterday, I talked about a Family Protection app for kids that use an iPhone, so today I wanted to provide parents of Android using kids an app.
It’s called Lock2Learn and it’s designed to encourage children that use Android smartphones and tablets to learn things in order to continue using their devices.
It works by periodically asking grade specific questions that your child has to properly answer in order to continue using the device.
Lock2Learn is attempting to make device obsession more productive for children in kindergarten through eighth grade by focusing its questions on math and English.
Parents can choose an interval that ranges from two to sixty minutes and can ask up to ten questions in order for their child to continue.
It’s an automated way for them to earn the privilege to use the device and provides parents with the opportunity to engage with them when they don’t know that answer to a question.
The Lock2Learn is free and available in the Google Play Store.
The iPhone and iPad have become ubiquitous devices in many homes with younger children and managing what they can do on them is important.
Apple provides some pretty solid parental controls, but if you’re looking for a more extensive solution, you may want to check out Intego’s Family Protector app.
It gives parents a lot more control over when and what a child uses on any iPhone or iPad, that can be remotely managed and monitored.
You can block in-app purchases, undesirable websites, disable the camera and facetime and view logs to make sure you know where they are going online.
You can also automatically lock devices during mealtimes or after bedtime to eliminate distractions.
For older kids, you can remotely lock down the device until your child checks in with you when they’re unresponsive.
You can try out the service for 14 days and if you like it, it’ll cost you $5 a month for up to 15 devices at http://www.intego.com
There are so many ways to discover new music these days through all of the streaming services that are available like Pandora and Spotify.
Youtube is actually a great place to listen to and discover new music if you don’t mind navigating around cat videos and ridiculous prank videos.
Well Google realized that it needed to make music discovery on YouTube easier, so they recently released a new app called YouTube Music which filters out all of the junk.
Once you download the app, you can easily find music videos, live concert recordings and even instructional videos that show you how to play your favorite songs.
YouTube Music has licensed over 30 million tracks that you can search or they’ll suggest daily playlists for you.
You can also switch to audio only mode to save bandwidth and play the music in the background while using other apps.
You can download the free app for your iPhone or Android smartphone at https://music.youtube.com