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!
It’s common knowledge that phishing scams and general spam are widely used by hackers to set traps in order to exploit their victims.
Most of us have our guard up when it comes to catching these tricks in e-mail, but it's not the only place where you are likely to run into these traps.
An approach commonly known as ‘comment spam’ has been growing in popularity for a while and it’s getting worse.
In the beginning, it was pretty east to spot the posts about working from home or other out of context messages, but the bad guys are getting more clever.
When breaking news stories hit the internet or any social media or news sites, comments from users around the world is sure to follow.
You may see posts that seem to be making a good point with links to learn more, so you need to be just as suspicious as you are with links in email messages.
Even when you are convinced that a comment is legit, avoid clicking on the link. Instead, do your own manual Google search for the posted information as a precaution to this new form of trickery.
The latest form of pop-up security scams appears to be tricking a lot of users because of their cleverly designed and convincing wording.
What you’ll see is a pop-up that appears to lock down your browser, alerts you that your computer has been infected and then tells you that you need to call a toll free number to have a "certified security expert" help you get rid of it.
The latest scams are not limited to Windows computers as a MacOS version of this convincing scam has been popping up around the web as well.
The scam can be planted in malicious links posted on social networks, in convincing email messages, all over user forums and even in the comments section of many websites.
Something to keep in mind is that none of the legitimate security software programs will ever post their toll-free number as their primary action, because they generally don’t want you to call them.
Well designed security software can block all the known attacks as well as malicious websites and can detect infections when a scheduled or manual scan is performed.
They’ll never pop-up their toll-free number so now you know it’s a big red flag!
The smartphone has become a digital pacifier in the digital age for many households because they tend to do a good job of pacifying most kids.
It can be a godsend especially in a crowded restaurant or anytime you need to keep a restless child from becoming disruptive in many social settings.
However, giving kids full access to everything on your smartphone is kind of a dangerous way to go, so understanding how to 'childproof’ your mobile devices is pretty essential these days.
Both Android and iPhone devices have many built-in options to control access that just need to be activated, but not many parents seem to be aware of how to do it.
Controlling what apps your child can use, Internet access, whether they can make purchases or not and blocking in-app purchases are just the beginning of the options you have.
Every device and operating system has its own set of procedures and options, so if you’re unsure where to go, I’ve posted a link that covers Android and iPhone users at DataDoctors.com/radio
iPhone and Android: http://www.pcworld.com/article/2921718/2-easy-ways-to-child-proof-your-android-or-ios-device.html
Professional athletes often study themselves using very sophisticated slow-motion capture technology to analyze their every motion.
Did you know that your smartphone is a really powerful computer that can be used in this same way with the Technique app from Hudl?
Whether you’re a coach, an athlete or just a supportive parent of a an up and coming athlete, anyone can review and breakdown the motions in your child’s pitches, their golf swing or virtually any activity in any sport.
The app also allows you to add annotations and notes so you can provide suggested tweaks and also share the videos.
It also allows you to match up and synchronize two separate videos so your child can see a side-by-side comparison of their motion compared to a pro or to chart their own progress over time.
You can also pan and zoom within any of the videos so you can focus attention on a specific detail for an even better understanding of lessons.
The features in this free app are pretty amazing and can be helpful to anyone striving to improve in an type of physical activity.
The link to the free downloads are posted at DataDoctors.com/radio
What do bedtime and doing math have in common?
As it turns out, adding math to bedtime stories is a great way to improve a child's mathematic skills, according to University of Chicago.
The study showed an increase in achievement in a measurable way when families used an app called Bedtime Math.
The app combines images, stories and math so a child and their parents can solve math problems in a fun way.
The study showed measurable results even if the app was used just once a week.
Whenever I hear about a research paper that touts a specific product, I get a little suspicious, but the Bedtime Math app is free for both Android and iPhone users.
For parents with math anxiety, it can be especially helpful, because the study showed the parent’s anxiety had an impact on the child’s progress.
Bedtime Math is not just for young kids; there are varying levels of difficulty that can be a challenge to just about everyone in the family.
Checkout this fun way to improve math skills at http://bedtimemath.org/apps.
You know the vital importance of CPR when anyone is in trouble, but most of us have no idea what to do.
The difference between life & death can be just a few minutes, so the more you know what to do, the better it will be.
And there are lots of other first aid situations that you may encounter, but most of us aren’t really prepared to deal with those either.
If you’re looking to be a little more prepared when life’s unexpected situations pop up, install the Red Cross First Aid app on your smartphone.
The Red Cross has compiled lots of critical advice for common emergencies so that it’s in the palm of your hand when you’re faced with a critical situation.
The content is pre-staged within the app, so even when you don’t have a cellular signal, you can still get the step-by-step information to many common situations.
This isn’t one of those apps you’ll use every day, but it’s pretty obvious why you should have it on your phone.
We’ve posted the link are at DataDoctors.com/radio
Stop motion video animation apps for your smartphone have been around for a while, but an app called Stikbot takes an entirely different approach.
This free app works just like all the other stop motion apps you may have tried; take an initial shot and a ghost of the image remains as a guide so you can setup your next frame.
For example, you can create a video of a fork moving around a plate by ensuring that the plate is lined up in each frame while you repeatedly move the fork around.
Where the Stikbot approach differs from others is through their optional figurines that can be purchased for around 10 dollars.
These figurines are specifically designed to help you make amazing stop motion videos with the flexible limbs and suction cups on the hands and feet.
It’s a clever combination that can be the start of a movie making career or a just a great way to waste some time.
Get the free app and see some examples at http://www.stikbot.toys/about
Our smartphones are pretty amazing, but they’re only as amazing as the user using them.
It's not very likely you have discovered all of the features or hidden tricks that these tiny bundle of technology have to offer, unless you're a hardcore techie.
So if you're looking to get smarter and discover more of the features on your phone, good news: there’s an app for that!
The app is called Drippler and it’s available for both iPhone and Android users for free.
Drippler presents useful tips, hidden features and general updates as well as valuable how-to documents that can help you with everything from extending battery life to discovering lots of hidden options that you probably had no idea existed.
Think of it as the your own compact tech advisor that helps you keep up with all the changes on your smartphone.
The app is platform specific, so you’ll get tips and how-tos that apply to your operating system & mobile device.
All these free tips and tricks for your specific smartphone are just a download away.
Just look for Drippler in the Apple and Google App Stores!
If you’re considering using webcams to monitor your home or business, there are a plethora of options in both wired or wireless configurations.
But a wireless webcam really isn't wireless if you have to plug them into an electrical outlet, right?
Not only does this make them unsightly, it can drastically limit where you are able to setup the webcams.
If you want a truly wire-free option, take a look at Netgear’s Arlo security webcams.
They are HD webcams that are also weatherproof and use long life battery system so they truly are wireless.
They are not made for constant streaming of video, they're designed to provide a motion sensing monitoring system that alerts you when motion is detected.
I've been using them to monitor a rental properties front and back doors when it’s not being used, so I get an alert any time someone approaches the house along with an option to watch a 10-second video to see what's happening.
Instead of paying a monitoring service, you're alerted directly via your smartphone!
Check it out at https://www.arlo.com that’s A R L O.com
With the flu season right around the corner, taking steps to avoid others that are sick is always a good idea.
Just like Doppler radar can scan the skies for indications of bad weather, the Sickweather app scans social media and collects reports from other users to keep you abreast of potential outbreaks near you.
It’s really great because it allows you to check for reported infections in just about area as easily as you can check for the chances of rain.
Sickweather keeps tabs on Facebook and Twitter posts with words like "I'm sick," "the doctor says I have bronchitis" or "My kid has the chicken pox."
Any of the public posts that include location info will get added to the database in real-time in addition to reports by other users of the app.
The app was able to detect the early start of the flu season six weeks ahead of the CDC in 2012, so this app could be a great way to stay ahead of any outbreaks.
Sickweather is available for both iPhone and Android users or you use their website at http://sickweather.com to view live maps any time.
If you've ever had to call tech support, you know that one of the first steps in the troubleshooting process is to restart your computer.
It’s amazing how many problems that this simple step can solve and when it comes to common Internet related problems, there’s an equally easy step many people overlook...clearing the browser cache.
The cache which is spelled C A C H E is a copy of items that have been downloaded from previous surfing sessions.
By reusing items that are already in the cache, your computer, smartphone and even your tablet will load a website much faster because it doesn’t need to download every element from the Internet.
But on occasion, elements used from your cache can actually cause a website to no load properly, especially on pages that require you to sign-in.
So, the next time you are experiencing problems with a specific website, try the universal fix of clearing your cache first.
If you’re not sure how to clear your cache, I’ve posted a link to instructions for the most common browsers at DataDoctors.com/radio
Popular streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu are creating a whole different type of television viewer - the binge-watcher.
Watching the entire season of your favorite show in one sitting is becoming standing weekend event for many and the list of options of what to watch is expanding weekly.
With this endless trove of choices, you may need help determining what’s worth watching or what you shouldn’t waste your time watching.
Reviews on IMDb is one place to get some insight, but there’s a website called 'Graph TV' that can be so much more helpful.
Graph TV is a visualization of every IMDb rating for each season and each episode.
You just click on a show to see every episode of every season’s rating accompanied by a trend line representing each season or the entire series.
It’s a great way to see that series like Mad Men and Breaking Bad had trend lines showing great reviews while series like the Simpsons were higher rated in the early years.
If ya love data like I do, checkout the link at DataDoctors.com/radio
People that are constantly running out of space on their phones is one of the most common cries for help I get these days.
It’s an even bigger problem for iPhone users because there is no way to expand memory like Android smartphone owners can.
Uninstalling unused apps will certainly free up some space, but dumping old pictures & video will free up much more.
Getting rid of videos especially will free up lots of space because a two-minute file can take up as much space as 100 pictures.
Another area that most people don’t even think to address is all those old text messages, especially the ones that have photos, images or videos attached to them.
The wife’s iPhone had more than 5 GBs of space hogged up by those old messages because so many of them had attachments.
If you’re in the club that’s struggling with the ongoing storage problem, I’ve got a number of suggestions posted at: DataDoctors.com/radio
For those in business, technical or not, it’s not uncommon to be in a situation where you're faced with a technology decision, especially when it comes to your web presence.
All too often, a non-technical decision maker such as a CFO or CEO have tough decisions to make on the various web technologies for important projects.
Whether you’re a fortune 500 CEO or a small business owner, understanding how other companies are leveraging web tech can help you make a more informed decision.
A useful website called BuiltWith.com can be a tremendous aid in understanding web and technology trends in general.
Simply type any web URL into the site's lookup engine and you get a complete report on all the technology being used by any website, like by a competitor.
You can even see their reports on web technology usage trends so you can compare the technology that you’re evaluating to see if it is falling out of favor or on the rise.
The http://Builtwith.com web resource is a fantastic free business intelligence tool that I'd recommend to everyone facing web technology decisions.
Have you ever been sitting in a public place using our laptop, tablet or smartphone and got the feeling that someone was snooping to see if they could get a peak at your screen?
There's so much personal information that can be captured by those around you if you're not careful; It even has its own name: Visual Hacking.
Whether it's the nosey person seated next to you on a long flight or the sketchy guy sitting behind you at a coffee shop, there's something simple you can do to protect yourself.
Install a privacy screen, which have been around for a long time for computers and now they're available for tablets and smartphones too.
They obscure your display for anyone that not looking directly at it, so those off to the sides will only see a darkened screen.
On tablets and smartphones, in addition to providing privacy, they add extra screen protection for the glass.
They are really simple to install as well as to remove, so anyone that spends a lot of time operating their gadgets in open public areas should checkout the link I’ve posted at DataDoctors.com/radio
Our smartphones have become pretty handy whenever we need a flashlight because we always have them with us.
They’re especially useful when you need to shine light in a specific area, but there are times when using it more like a lantern would provide better light and make them even more useful.
There’s actually a pretty simple way to turn the LED on your smartphone into a lantern when you need a more dispersed light from it.
All it takes is a rubber band and a plastic water bottle that’s full for the magic to happen.
Simply place your smartphone next to the bottle with the light facing into the bottle and use the rubber band to make keep it in place.
It’s works best if you remove the label from the bottle, but if you don’t, make sure to avoid placing the light on the label.
It’s a handy life hack for campers, when you need to lead a group of people in the dark or in any situation where you’re in need of widespread light at night.
MacGyver’s not the only one that can take common items and turn them into something completely awesome!
Whether you like what Edward Snowden did or not, everyone can agree that he knows a bit about cyber-security.
With this in mind, when Snowden tweets about a messaging system that he personally uses because of its security, you can count on it being about as secure as communication can be.
The Signal app from Open Whisper Systems is the one that was mentioned in the tweet and it's available for both iPhone and Android smartphones.
The app provides secure messaging for text or voice communications and best of all, it does not require you to get an account in order to use it.
Because it uses your current number and personal address book, it requires no separate sign-ins, usernames, passwords, or PINs.
It makes use of very sophisticated encryption technology, but it’s still really easy to setup so you can start using it as your primary messaging app.
It also automatically determines if your recipient has the same app, so it doesn't encrypt messages sent to people that aren’t using the app.
If your business could benefit from secure messaging, check it all out at http://WhisperSystems.org .
If you’re into shopping, the Internet has made it so much more convenient when you want to buy things you know you want, but when you aren’t sure what to buy, how much time do you spend researching your options?
That’s where a startup called Operator, which is the creation of a co-founder of Uber wants to help online shoppers.
They offer human help from the Internet via smartphone apps if you’re shopping for anything from romantic getaways to concert tickets or even if you’re just looking for a new mattress.
They’re goal is to become that trusted friend you tap whenever you want info on something you’re interested in buying.
Think of it as a personal concierge service waiting inside your smartphone, or at least that’s what they’re trying to become.
Since it’s a startup, how quickly someone responds may vary for now, but depending on what you need help with and when, this interesting approach could come in handy.
If you want to give it a test drive for yourself, you can get the app at https://www.operator.com
If you love live music and understand the life of the working musician, you know how grateful they are for tips from those that came to listen.
Jamming money into their tip jar is what most of us do, but some times you may not be able to show your appreciation...like when you don’t have any cash with you.
Since we’re typically using cash less often these days, many in the service and hospitality industry are suffering as a result.
That’s where an app that makes it really easy for those in the service industry to get the tips they deserve comes in.
It’s the Bravo app and it makes electronically tipping your guides, musicians, parking valets or anyone in the service industry when cash isn’t an option a snap.
I routinely suggest to musicians that they should make a sign promoting the Bravo app next to their tip jar, so those that are listening can download the app and electronically tip them throughout the performance.
Whether you’re using it to tip or to get tipped, I say Bravo to the awesome Bravo app!
It’s not hard to take for granted the amazing technology in our smartphones these days, but they’re more powerful than what NASA used to get us to the moon in the 60’s.
They include amazingly sophisticated camera technology so we can all take incredible images without the need to be a professional photographer, right?
Not so much…
Features like auto-focus, auto-white balance, auto-exposure and auto-color correction can’t help you with your pictures if you don’t understand composition.
The very helpful rule of thirds seems to be a challenge for many emerging photographers and thankfully, there’s an app for that.
The Camera 51 app concentrates its efforts on helping novice photographers with the all important composition.
It uses the sophistication of your smartphone to analyze scenes you’re getting ready to capture to provide you with an on-screen guide to suggest where you should point the camera.
If you’re looking to dramatically improve your pictures through better composition, check out the free Camera51 app for iPhone or Android smartphones.
Today’s tip focuses on the ongoing issue that we all deal with on a regular basis...grocery shopping.
If you’re like most families, you use paper lists, text messages, emails or even a chalkboard on the refrigerator and keeping track of what’s on-hand adds to the fun.
The bigger your family unit is, the more complicated the problem becomes, as requests for items to be added to the list comes from everyone, on any day and through any of the potential channels.
If you’re looking to reduce the hassles of keeping everything on track, checkout the Capitan app.
Think of it as a grocery list on steroids that learns what you’re family regularly buys as well as organize the list to come closer to how things are displayed in the grocery store.
You can even use location services on your phone so the app can remind you of the list when you walk into your grocery store as well as alert your family that you just walked into the store should hey need any last minute items.
Checkout this cool app at http://www.getcapitan.com