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!
Spectrometers are an awesome bit of technology that can chemically analyze things based on light waves; they’re normally in scientific labs and are very big and expensive.
That is until a company called Consumer Physics introduced a product called SCio to the world.
SCio claims to be a molecular sensor that fits in the palm of your hand that can analyze lots of items with just a click of a button.
Food, plants, medication, oil, fuels and plastics are just a few of the items that Scio claims it can analyze.
Want to figure out which avocado to buy at the grocery store? What to get a sense of how your houseplants are doing? Can’t figure out what an unmarked pill is?
These are just a few of the potential use cases for this personal spectrometer that’s slated for an October release.
Skeptics want to see how accurate something so small and inexpensive can be, so for now, just keep an eye on the project at https://consumerphysics.com
Messaging apps continue to grow in popularity, especially those that allow for private messaging.
The messaging app wars rage on and Facebook just made it’s offering much more useful.
Despite the initial backlash when they separated the Messenger app from the Facebook app, many are using it on a daily basis.
One drawback to using Facebook Messenger has been that it only works for people that are on Facebook...until now.
Facebook just made it possible for people that don’t have a Facebook account to use Facebook Messenger.
This means you don’t have to use a separate messaging app for all those people that either stopped using Facebook or never had an account to begin with.
The ‘not on Facebook’ option will initially only available to people in the US, Canada and Venezuela but that’s likely to expand to other countries soon.
All the same features including voice and video calling are available to non-Facebook users with the only limitation being they can’t access messages via the web.
Social networking continues to grow in popularity and not just the majors like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
Specialty social networks that range from those based on religion, race, age, gender and just about any interest you may are available and now if you’re a fishing enthusiast, there’s social network just for you.
FishBrain now has over 1 million downloads of their social app that connects fishing aficionados in over 200 countries.
It’s a treasure trove of information and connections for those that love to fish.
Share and track fishing spots, compare techniques and baits and even compete on a leaderboard as you record your catches to become the “King of the Water” at your favorite spot.
With more than 330,000 catches and 50,000 baits, you can gain insight from thousands of your fellow anglers right from your phone.
Now you have an easy way to see what’s biting in your area!
The FishBrain app and network are available for both iPhone and Android users
No matter which exercise and diet program you’ve chosen to use, there’s one common item that applies to all of them...drinking lots of water.
It’s one of the simplest ways to stay healthy, yet many of us just don’t drink enough of it during the day.
If you find that you aren’t drinking enough water because you get so busy and just plain forget, a Kickstarter project for a smart water bottle might be something to consider.
The Hidrateme water bottle is a Bluetooth connected water bottle that can help track your consumption and light up to remind you to take a drink.
The sensors in the bottle paired with an app helps track your elevation and humidity and based on your height and weight, can estimate when you should hydrate.
You can also pair the system to several activity trackers so that it can calculate water loss as a result of your activities.
If you’re interested in backing this project, I’ve posted a link at DataDoctors.com/radio
If you’re in a situation where you need to track your mileage, there are a number of apps that’ll allow you to manually track it, but why not use the GPS built into your phone to make it easier.
That’s what an app called TripLog GPS Mileage Tracker does...uses the smarts in your smartphone to make tracking mileage much easier.
The app also tracks tolls, parking fees, fuel costs or other related expenses to create a full trip report.
The coolest part is that all you need to do is plug your phone into a power source in your car or connect it via Bluetooth and it will automatically start tracking your mileage once you go faster than 5 MPH.
AND It automatically stops tracking when you disconnect the phone or turn the car off as well. It’s dead simple!
The Triplog app is free to use and is available for both Android and iOS phones with optional premium features that are all very inexpensive.
If you travel for business, you know the ongoing hassle of expense reports, especially if you’re doing everything manually.
Well, since you have a smartphone with a camera, using an app can help you go paperless in a hot minute.
Expense reports that don’t suck is the claim that an app called Expensify is making.
By using your smartphone camera, you can take pictures of each receipt as you get them, which can be scanned and read to eliminate manual entry.
You can also automatically import expenses from bank or credit card accounts to cut down on more manual entries.
At the end of your trip, all your expenses will be ready for you to categorize or edit without having to dig through your briefcase, wallet and laptop case to make sure you have everything.
Expensify basic features are free and their app is available for iPhone, Android, Windows or Blackberry smartphones
You can start testing the free version with just your work e-mail address at https://www.expensify.com
Voice recognition continues to evolve as a user interface and in the near future, you may find yourself hardly ever using your keyboard.
Siri and Google Now are leading the way on smartphones, but a small California company seems to be way ahead of both of them.
Soundhound, which is known for it’s music recognition app, is showing a demo of their voice recognition app they call Hound.
They’re touting their speech-to-meaning technology as a difference and the demo is pretty impressive.
It shows Hound quickly responding to extremely complicated questions like when is the sun going to rise two days before Christmas 0f 2021 in Tokyo Japan.
The speed in which it responds to these complicated questions in the video makes it almost seem fake, but various third parties claim the technology is real.
Android users can request an invite once it’s released with an iPhone version to follow.
I’ve got the links to the demo video and invitation site posted at DataDoctors.com/radio
If you’re all thumbs in the kitchen and seem to always over or under cook things, help is on the way in the form of a new smart oven.
A tech firm in San Francisco has created an intelligent oven they call June - it’s an amazing array of technology that can sit on the counter of any kitchen.
One of the unique features is something they call Food ID, which allows the oven to know how to cook something by visually identifying it.
The HD camera inside the oven along with the built in scale helps the oven know how long to cook something properly.
Right now, it’s capable of ID’ing meats and breads, but their machine learning process will allow it to learn as it goes.
This Wi-Fi enabled oven also has a remote app, so you can update the device as well as update the cook.
If you’re a gadget freak that can’t cook and have $1500 to burn instead of your next meal, you can reserve your smart oven at JuneOven.com
We all take so many pictures with our smartphones that most of them end up floating off into obscurity.
A lot of people take special moments and create photo books which can be great gifts or momentos.
But anyone that’s ever gone through the process knows that it’s extremely time consuming to layout the book and make edits.
Shutterfly knows your pain and has created a much easier way to document your travel adventures.
It’s an iPhone app called TripPix and it turns hours into minutes when it comes to creating a photo book.
You select 15 to 30 images, choose a theme and add a few annotations to get the book setup.
It’s specifically focused on travel, so it will only work with images that have location information included which allows you to include maps if you’d like.
The beautifully bound 6” x 6” books cost 20 dollars and include free shipping.
The TripPix app is free and available in the Apple App store.
As I’ve discussed over the past couple of days, phishing scams have become the tool of choice for many of today’s sophisticated attacks, especially when companies are the target.
They know that all it takes is one person in an organization to fall for their tricks for them to get a foot in the door.
Whenever I speak to business owners about security, one of the suggestions I have is to move the organization away from e-mail for intercompany communications.
Most successful corporate phishing attacks appear to be from someone in the company, which causes the victim to let their guard down.
If your organization stops using e-mail for internal communications, it makes it real easy to spot phishing e-mail scams.
One popular option is Slack because it not only provides a more secure way to communicate, it can greatly improve efficiency for the group as well.
Slack works on any device and the basic tools are free for an unlimited number of users.
See for yourself at Slack.com
Just about every major breach you hear about these days likely started with a sophisticated phishing scam. They just need to compromise one computer on a secured network to get started.
Phishing scams have become very sophisticated, so remember to always use the hover trick to help sniff them out.
Whenever a link is included in the message, simply hover your mouse pointer over the link to see where it will actually take you.
In some cases, the destination information may not pop up, so you may have to look at the bottom left corner of the program to see where the link is going to take you.
When the posted link doesn’t match what you see when you hover, consider it a phishing scam.
If you want to test your phishing scam detector skills, Intel Security has a phishing quiz site that will see if you can tell a legit message from a phishing scam.
I’ve got the link to the quiz posted at DataDoctors.com/radio
If you’re an iPhone user, you need to pay special attention to today’s tip.
A flaw that was discovered by a security researcher in January is still not fixed, so he decided to publish the exploit to force Apple to deal with it.
The flaw allows a phishing e-mail to pop up an iCloud login box, which looks like a standard Apple request.
If you fall for the trick, your iCloud credentials will be stolen, which could allow hackers to wreak havoc using your account.
Until Apple patches this hole, be suspicious anytime an iCloud login box appears on your iPhone or iPad.
One way to avoid being victimized, is to use another mail client, like Gmail instead of the built in Apple Mail app.
This is also another reason you should turn on 2-factor authentication for your Apple account, as it would prevent access even if you fall for this trick.
I’ve posted a link to what this exploit looks like at DataDoctors.com/radio
By now, we’ve all seen spectacular video from dashcams mounted in taxi cabs, police cars and from random citizens that have them installed.
Dash cam video can come in handy, but it can get expensive and complicated, unless you use your phone.
An app called DailyRoad Voyager can turn any Android smartphone into a dashcam, as long as you also get a simple dash mount for the phone.
Once you turn the app on, it automatically records everything to your SD card, but only important events are retained for future reference.
You get to choose what to keep, simply by touching the screen, which can be really helpful if you’re ever in an accident or witness an accident.
The app can also automatically tag the location of a photo or video and if you want to share your travel videos with the world, you can upload it to the DailyRoads website.
It’s got some interesting use cases you can checkout by going to http://DailyRoads.com
If you’re one of the millions that struggles with finding the right type of alarm clock to wake you up, maybe a change of senses will help.
If using sounds that range from gentle to obnoxious just aren’t doing the trick, why not try using your nose to wake up?
That’s right, there’s a new Kickstarter campaign to create the SensorWake alarm clock that allows you to use fragrances to gently wake you up.
Imaging waking up to aromas like coffee, a hot croissant or the lush fragrances of jungle flowers.
The SensorWake alarm clock allows you to choose your smell alarm with cartridges you plug in that are good for 60 alarms and sound only as a backup
The idea came from an 18-year-old French entrepreneur with a vision of making everyone wake up happy and the KickStarter campaign has already passed its funding goal, so it looks like it’s going to happen.
Smell interesting? I’ve got the link posted at DataDoctors.com/radio
Travel and food websites seem to be growing in popularity, but most of them have a lot to be desired.
Too little content and too many annoying ads is what plagues most of them.
But a recent announcement that Anthony Bourdain was getting involved with a website called Roads & Kingdoms has brought a lot of attention to this very cool site.
It’s an award-winning digital journal of food, politics, travel and culture and it’s an excellent resource for anyone interested in any those topics.
Their long-form stories and beautiful photographs provide a sensational way to discover new foods, travel destinations and people around the world.
You can explore new things by continents, food and drink, politics and culture or travel.
One of my favorite sections is called 5 O’clock Somewhere which explores a different culture by its beverages every day.
If you’re looking for intelligent writing and beautiful imagery without all the distracting ads that are so common everywhere else, checkout http://roadsandkingdoms.com for a breath of fresh air.
A recent phenomenon in the world of social media is the ability to live stream just about anything from your smartphone.
Apps like Periscope, which was acquired by Twitter, have become all the rage for sharing just about any experience by live streaming the video right from your phone.
The app makes it easy to take your friends and family along on a hike, to a little league game, live music event or just about anything you want to share.
Periscope was initially launched as an iPhone only app, but now it’s available for Android users as well.
Even if you have no interest in sending out live streams of your own, don’t let that stop you from getting the app.
You can find celebrities, news reporters, politicians, sports fans and millions of others that are using Periscope to share events in real-time.
It’s an interesting new trend in sharing you might want to look at.
You can Find the Periscope app in both the iPhone and Android app stores.
We’ve all heard the adage that the two happiest days of a boat owner’s life are the day that they buy the boat and the day that they sell it.
With this in mind, renting someone else’s boat seems to be a great way to avoid the perils of boat ownership.
If you’ve never taken a vacation on a sailboat or catamaran, I highly recommend it and a new website called Sailo can make it happen.
Sailo has created a network that’s like the AirBnB of boat ownership, since most boats sit idle for most of the year.
Whether you want to find a small powerboat or a 50’ foot catamaran for a luxury cruise, Sailo makes it easy.
AND, You don’t have to be a seasoned sailor to make use of these boats because you can find them with a captain as well.
At the moment, the boats are only in some areas of New York and Florida, but if it catches on, watch for it to expand.
Checkit out at S A I L O.com
Are you being throttled? Wouldn’t you like to know if your Internet Service Provider is throttling your unlimited service package?
Several ISPs have been caught over the years lowering the bandwidth of customers on unlimited bandwidth packages once they’ve passed a certain level of usage.
Most people don’t realize it’s happening, but everything just seems to take a lot longer to load.
If you still have an unlimited data package for your smartphone, there’s an easy way to test your bandwidth to see if you’re being throttled.
Download the Ookla Speedtest app, do several speed tests at the beginning of your billing cycle and make note of the speeds.
Then, do the same tests towards the end of your billing cycle to see if the speeds are significantly slower, if they are, you’re probably being throttled!
What good is having an unlimited data plan if the data speeds are clamped down because you’re actually using it?
The link to download the testing app is at datadoctors.com/radio.
Doesn’t it seem like we live our lives on e-mail these days, especially when it comes to our work?
A big time waster is responding to multiple messages with the same response, especially if they’re spread out through the day.
Well if you use Gmail, there’s a free feature you can turn on called Canned Responses that can make this process super smooth.
Once you turn it on, you can take any chunk of text and turn it into a canned response that can be inserted into any message with just a few clicks of the mouse!
No more having to copy and paste text that you use over and over again or signatures that you use, depending upon who you want to respond as.
The Canned Response feature is part of the experimental tools available via Google Labs, which can be accessed from the Settings menu in Gmail.
I’ve posted a link to step-by-step instructions on how to turn this awesome feature on at DataDoctors.com/radio.
Summer’s here and the time is right for dancing in the streets or by the pool or at the lake with today’s tip.
I love having music wherever I go, so I’m always testing out new Bluetooth speakers and boy did I find a winner!
The Boom Swimmer waterproof speaker is one of my favorite new audio gadgets, because not only does it sound great, it’s extremely flexible in how you use it.
It comes with a unique rubber tail that lets you wrap it around just about anything so the speaker can be mounted everywhere.
Handlebars, backpacks, showerheads; the possibilities are endless.
It also comes with a suction cup, which allows you to slap it on flat surfaces which can enhance the bass as well.
And this bad boy isn’t water resistant, it’s waterproof, so if it falls in the pool or gets soaked when someone does a gainer, it’s no big deal.
I’ve found them on Amazon for @$50, so just search for Boom Swimmer Waterproof Speaker if you’re interested!
Cloud-based storage services are everywhere these days: iCloud, Google Drive, DropBox, OneDrive and the list goes on.
They all start you out with free storage that can range from 5 to 15 Gigabytes, which can be ample for those that don’t generate much content.
But for those that take a lot of pictures or video with their smartphones, that’s not nearly enough.
Most of these companies all use the freemium business model; get the basics for free and charge for the premium.
If you’ve hit the free limit of your cloud storage service because of your pictures and videos, I’ve got some great news for you!
Google recently updated it’s photo storage system and app and now you can get unlimited storage for free.
Both iPhone and Android users can take full advantage of the free storage via the Google Photos App.
The best part is that Google won’t compress your smartphone pictures or video like they did with Google+
Hey all you frustrated iCloud users, I’m talking to you...get this app now!