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!
The sophistication of the camera technology in smartphones has advanced so much in such a short time.
An average smartphone camera today has 2 to 3 times the resolution that the top of the line camera offered just 10 years ago.
With these higher resolutions came larger file sizes and sometimes you need to reduce the size of an image in order to e-mail or post it on the Internet.
Getting the image to an exact pixel width and height is also important when you create profile pictures for your various social media profiles.
The next time you need to make some quick adjustments to any image you have, checkout a website called WebResizer.com.
WebResizer lets you change the width, height, file size, image quality, exposure, contrast, tint, color saturation and makes it easy to crop or rotate your images as well.
While there are a lot of image manipulation tools on the web that can do all these things, figuring out where the tools are and how to use them can get confusing.
Webresizer is a one trick pony that does it’s one trick very well!
I’ve posted all the link at DataDoctors.com/radio
Instagram is becoming one of the more popular social networks with more than 200,000 million users that like the simplicity of just posting pictures.
The easy to use filters allow anyone to get creative with their pictures, which is adding to the popularity of the network.
At the moment, Instagram has no ability for you to schedule your posts, so you end up either mass posting pictures, which can turn your followers off, or you forget to post at all.
If you are a business that’s trying to engage with Instagram followers, overposting or underposting can be a big problem.
If you’d like to spread your Instagram posts around, you can get some help from an app called Latergram which is only currently available for iPhone and iPad users.
Latergram allows you to choose images, add a caption and attach them to a schedule so you can post it when the time comes.
To fight spammers, Instagram is very strict about third party posting services so Latergram will send the scheduled image with the caption to your phone so all you have to do is tap a button to post it.
It’s not perfect, but it is free and better than trying to remember on your own.
If you’re a runner, you know how much of a difference the right music can make on your workouts.
It can keep you going and in some cases motivate you to run longer, especially if the music is in time with your running pace.
If you’ve tried creating playlists that compliments your running pace, you know how time consuming it can become.
If you want an easier way to find music that compliments your running style, checkout an app called RockMyRun.
RockMyRun puts together music mixes that focus on Beats Per Minute, so you get a consistant mix of songs throughout your run.
You can search for mixes based on genre, beats per minute, length or whether the lyrics are explicit or not.
The standard mixes are free and are up to 45 minutes in length. A premium membership gives you access to mixes that are longer than 45 minutes and adds other extras like the MyBeat feature.
MyBeat allows you to change the beats per minute of the entire mix, so you can dial it in to match perfectly with your pace.
RockMyRun for iPhone or Android smartphones; take it on your next run!
If you’re like me, you take hundreds of photos with your smartphone every month and most of them will never be more than a passing memory that only exists in the digital world.
Sometimes when you take a great picture, you’d really like to do something special with it and an iPhone app called MadeSquare is trying to make it easy for you to do just that.
MadeSquare is an app designed to turn your digital images into physical memories that range from traditional prints to unique works of art or crafts.
From basic photo strips to photo strip books, mini wood blocks to canvas scrolls, MadeSquare is capitalizing on the square photo trend made popular by Instagram.
The app allows you to take any images on your iPhone’s camera roll and make them square to fit their 20 different physical options.
A couple of my favorites are the large format metallic, wood or canvas prints which has a much bigger wow factor when presenting someone with a special gift.
Another cool option are the photo clings that will peel and stick to just about any non-porous surface.
If you’re looking for an easy way to make keepsakes out of your precious digital memories, checkout MadeSquare’s iPhone app
Twitter’s a great way to keep up on current events, breaking news or whatever your personal interests may be, but nothing spoils the experience like an overtweeter.
The obvious way to deal with a compulsive overtweeter is to stop following them, but sometimes good people temporarily becomes overtweeters, say during a live sporting event.
In those cases, rather than using the unfollow or blocking options, Twitter is rolling out a Mute function so you can temporarily stop seeing their tweets.
Unlike the Block feature, anyone you Mute will never know it, so in some cases, it’s a more delicate way of dealing with trolls or those wingnuts on Twitter.
If you want to take the muting feature to another level and have an iPhone or iPad, checkout an app called TweetBot.
It allows you to mute based on people, hashtags and even keywords and it’s one of the most well rounded Twitter apps on the market.
Remember, Mute is rolling this out over time, so if you aren’t seeing it just yet, you will soon.
I’ve got the links on how to use the Mute feature or get the Tweetbot app posted at DataDoctors.com/radio
How to Mute Users on Twitter: https://support.twitter.com/articles/20171399
Whether you travel for business or pleasure, you know that there are hundreds of websites and apps that try to help you make your decisions.
Just about all of them focus on price and the reviews are from the general public, so they may not reflect your tastes or preferences in travel.
My favorite travel review of all time was someone complaining about all the stairs they had to climb in a seaside Italian hill town! Clearly not a very detail oriented traveler.
If you’re looking for travel tips and information from like minded people, checkout a website called GoGoBot.com
It has all of the usual information on hotels, vacation rentals, restaurants and things to do, but what makes them different is their formation of Tribes.
Tribes represent travel styles, so whether you’re a business traveler, thrill seeker, foodie or someone on a budget, you’ll get reviews from people that are more in tune with the way you travel.
It’s like sitting down at a table with thousands of other travel junkies and getting their best tips and recommendations.
There’s also a mobile app, so you can get location-based tips while you are on the road. Check it all out at GoGoBot.com
Today’s tip is perfect for anyone that’s always dreamed of creating cool movies but never got past the point of just shooting the video.
Video editing is complicated and expensive if you want to do it at a professional level, but for you weekend wannabes, there’s a free tool that will make you look like a video editing wizard in a snap.
It’s called Magisto and it’s aptly names because it’s magically spectacular even if you’ve never attempted to edit anything in your life.
With Magisto, you simply pick the videos and pictures you want to work with, select an editing style and a soundtrack and your movie is automagically created for you! That’s it; that’s all you as the human has to do to create an impressively beautiful video.
Once the auto editing is complete, it gets posted to a Magisto page where you can share it via social media, e-mail or download it so that is lives on your own hard drive.
There’s also an app for iPhone, Android and Amazon devices so you can make magnificent movies on the go.
Magisto is the tool that all you movie making wannabes have been waiting for; check it out at MAGISTO.com
Getting information published on the Internet is getting easier for non-technical users, but it can still be an overwhelming exercise in futility if you pick the wrong tool.
What if I told you that I have a free tool that anyone can use to publish a single web page in less than one minute?
I mean, no signing up for an account, not special tools to download, no domain registration needed…I mean click, type, publish!
Pen.io has been a hidden gem on the Internet that is totally embracing the Keep It Simple Silly approach to publishing a web page.
If you’re having a party, yard sale, fund raiser, company event or just need a simple way to get information posted on the Internet, Pen.io is your solution.
Want to publish your poem, random thoughts, memories of old friends, announce a new child or share notes with your classmates, Pen.io can make it happen in seconds.
Just pick a URL, assign it a password and you are off and running.
I’ve posted an example page that I created in less than 60 seconds and a link to give it a try for yourself at DataDoctors.com/radio
My example page: http://ddrtest.pen.io
Create your own page: http://pen.io
The Heartbleed bug was one of the worst vulnerabilities in history because it impacted virtually every user of the Internet. Over a half a million websites were exposed to this major security flaw.
This coding error was discovered to have been in existence since 2011 so that means malicious access to your usernames and passwords has been possible for that long.
Based on this discovery, you heard from every corner of the Internet that you should change the passwords for all your online accounts in order to protect yourself.
Well a recent survey by the PEW Research Center revealed that less than 40% of Internet users actually took the time to secure their online accounts.
If you’re one of those that didn’t make any changes, what you need to understand is that your compromised data will be sold around the Internet for years.
Just because nothing happened to you in the wake of the discovery does not mean nothing will happen to you down the road.
The only way to ensure you never get bitten by the Heartbleed bug is to change your online passwords now.
If you’re looking for guidance on password management, I’ve posted a link at DataDoctors.com/radio
I recently wrote an article on the dangers of using images you find on the Internet on your blog or website that has generated a tremendous amount of feedback.
It’s obvious that many people didn’t realize that they were infringing a copyright when they innocently posted an image on their website.
If you don’t want to get tangled up in an expensive legal proceeding, take a few minutes to review all the images on your website or blog.
If you don’t know where they came from, I highly recommend you remove them and find legal images to avoid an expensive mistake.
Getty Images recently opened up a large library of images that they allow you to embed on your site for free as long as you follow their posted guidelines and instructions.
There are also images that fall under a Creative Commons license that the owners allow to be used for free for certain types of uses.
Or if you want to play it safe, you can purchase images for a couple of bucks each at sites like BigStockPhoto.com.
If you missed by advice column on this very important subject, I highly recommend that you or anyone in your organization that’s responsible for online images read it...the link is posted at DataDoctors.com/radio
Remotely accessing your computer is nothing new, but most of the great free options have become pay services.
If you’re looking for a free option that’s really flexible, take a look at Chrome Remote Desktop from Google.
Unlike some other tools, you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to set it up. You just add the option to any Chrome Browser on any computer that you want to remotely access.
Once it’s setup, you can use any Windows, Mac or Linux computer to remotely access your computer as if you were sitting in front of it.
You can even remote in with Chromebooks and Android tablets and smartphones.
That means, in a pinch, I can remote into one of my computers from my smartphone anywhere in the world to grab a file that I need.
An app for iPhone and iPad users is under development, so this is one of the most comprehensive, easy to use options available and it’s completely free.
It only takes a few minutes to setup, so if you’ve been looking for a solid free remote access solution, I highly recommend you take a look at this one!
I’ve posted all the links at DataDoctors.com/radio
Chrome Remote Desktop Add-on: https://chrome.google.com/remotedesktop
Chrome Remote Desktop for Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.google.chromeremotedesktop
I’m a digital photography fanatic that also takes a lot of spontaneous video with my smartphone.
When I only capture video of a specific event, my wife gets made because she can’t use it in her picture books, so I had to find a solution.
Some smartphones like the Samsung Galaxy S4 have the ability to shoot video and take a picture at the same time, but if you use an iPhone you have to get more creative.
Rather than trying to grab a screen capture of a paused video, checkout an app called Vhoto; that’s spelled V H O T O.
Vhoto allows you to shoot new video or pull up a video from your gallery and find the best frames that can be used as a picture.
Instead of having to scan through the video looking for pictures, Vhoto presents you with the best frames just by clicking the Find Photos button, so all you have to do is choose the one you want.
It’s really great when you have video of your kids at a sporting event, because you can extract action stills right from the video.
Sound interesting? The link is posted at DataDoctors.com/radio
Facebook recently held it’s F8 developer conference where an announcement was made for a new feature that has been long overdue.
In the near future, you’ll start to see an anonymous Facebook option to log in to third-party apps and websites that makes it easy to to sign in undercover.
The idea is to allow you to test out new apps or web services without having to share your Facebook account data; think of it as a stealth mode for using Facebook logins.
Another improvement will be when you do login with your Facebook profile, you’ll see line-by-line what the app or site wants to access and turn off whatever you aren't comfortable with instead of the all or nothing options you have today.
These new features will take a while to roll out and will require the developers to implement them so it will happen slowly and on a case-by-case basis.
Facebook’s goal is to become your primary access system for the Internet and this certainly makes it more feasible.
It won’t do much good for what you already use, but it will give you lots of control over your future interactions so keep an eye out for it!
Some people seem to have a built-in alarm clock that gets them up in the morning without any trouble while others struggle mightily every morning.
If you or someone you know is in the struggle camp, an alternative to the traditional snooze button may be the answer.
Several apps have been developed for your smartphone that will only turn off the alarm after you solve a puzzle or answer a math question correctly.
The idea is to force your cognitive skills to get involved in the waking process instead of the mindless motor skill of tapping a snooze button.
These apps have all the standard features of an alarm app that allow you to wake to music or set multiple alarms, with the option of having to solve a puzzle.
For iPhone users, checkout the free app called Morning Worm that claims you’ll wake up the first time, every time.
For Android users, checkout Puzzle Alarm Clock which is also free via the Google Play Store.
If you’re looking for a new way to start your day on time, I’ve got the links to both of these apps posted at DataDoctors.com/radio
Today’s tip starts with some geek speak. MOOC and I don’t mean the deragotary word used in a Scorsese movie, I mean M O O C.
It stands for Massive Open Online Course and it refers to the explosion in online education from private colleges to Harvard and MIT.
Technology has made it possible to become educated on just about any subject you’re interested in from just about any device you own.
For instance, Apple users can use an app called iTunes U to choose from more than 750,000 free lectures, videos, books, and other resources on thousands of subjects from Algebra to Zoology right from their iPhone or iPad.
A website called MOOCtracks.com has built a comprehensive directory of MOOCs from organizations around the Internet.
What started as an outreach for higher education has exploded into an amazing resource for anyone seeking education, in virtually any subject taught in schools.
If you’re a corporate trainer, you may find MOOCs and invaluable resource for advancing the education of employees or if you’re just the curious type that likes to learn new things, MOOCs are worth investigating.
I’ve got the links to get you started posted at DataDoctors.com/radio
iTunes U: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/itunes-u/id490217893
The major wireless carriers are locked in a heated battle to try to win your business with some pretty sensational offers these days.
But a good deal means nothing if the data and voice service in your area is spotty, so before you decide to jump from one carrier to another, do some homework.
A fantastic resource that allows you to evaluate the four major networks, Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint in your neighborhood is located at http://rootmetrics.com.
Start with the city you live in to get an overall performance rating that includes indexes on reliability and speed as well as data, call and text performance so you understand the strengths of each network.
The best feature of the Rootmetrics site is when you click the CoverageMap. You get a detailed map of where call quality is good or bad, where data is fast or slow and whether you can expect to get 4G LTE service in your neck of the woods.
There’s even a mobile app that allows you to run reports wherever you traverse to add to the database.
If got links to all the Rootmetrics resources posted at DataDoctors.com/radio
Find your city reports: http://www.rootmetrics.com/us/rsr/usa-metros?z=united-states
Explore the Coverage Map: http://webcoveragemap.rootmetrics.com/us
Mobile apps: http://www.rootmetrics.com/us/products/coveragemap-mobile-app
Augmented reality apps that superimpose information over your smartphone camera screen are all the rage.
One of my favorite uses for augmented reality is the real-time translation of foreign words, whether on a restaurant menu, a street sign or a sign in a museum.
When you travel abroad, knowing what key words mean can make all the difference in what you eat or whether you get lost or not.
One of my favorites for real-time translation is an app called CamDictionary because it’s so much faster than looking words up the old way.
Simply open the app, point the camera at a word and tap the screen to get it translated in one of 54 languages.
It basically turns your camera into a dictionary to translate any word you point at.
CamDictionary can’t translate entire sentences at once, so it’s far from a complete translation, but if you can understand one or two words, you feel more confident.
CamDictionary’s base app is free for both Android and iPhone users, so if you are planning a trip abroad anytime soon, make sure you have this app before you leave!
I’ve got the links posted at DataDoctors.com/radio
When you’re having trouble getting a website to load, sometimes the problem is your equipment and sometimes it’s the website that’s having the problem.
The next time you’re having an issue getting a website to load, before you spend any time troubleshooting your own equipment, take a second to make sure that the website you’re trying to access is working for others.
A website called IsItDownRightNow.com can quickly give you some information to help you determine is it you or is it them.
Not only can they tell you if the website is down or up, they can tell you what the response time is and for major sites, a recent history of their availability.
If the site has been verified to be up, it gives you troubleshooting tips so you can try to figure out why everyone else can access the site, but you can’t.
If lots of other people are having issues with the same site, you’ll see their comments posted towards the bottom so you’ll know not to waste your time.
If a site is down, they try to provide a list of similar sites so you might be able to get the information you desire from an alternative site.
IsItDownRightNow.com, bookmark it!
We all seem to have a love hate relationship with our technology and gadgets because they keep us productive and entertained, but make us slaves to the machine at the same time.
Let’s face it, we feel naked and uncomfortable if we become separated from our smartphones and can’t check our email or social networks.
If I just described you or someone you know, maybe it’s time for a digital detox to create some balance in your digital life.
A friend of mine was raving about an unplugged retreat that he took amongst the redwood trees of northern California with an organization called Digital Detox.
Just imagine, no technology, no clocks, no screens and no networking...just an opportunity to get recharged and refocused without the stress of your technology.
DigitalDetox.org has device-free events, workshops, retreats, summer camp for adults, corporate training and can help you bridge the gap between disconnecting and connecting in the real world.
If you haven’t been able to figure out how to take a step back from the fast-paced existence of the digital age, maybe something you see at http://TheDigitalDetox.org will give you the motivation to truly disconnect.
We all love our pets and most of us treat them like humans on many occasions, but since they're not human, they can’t tell us what’s wrong when they’re sick.
Taking fido or fluffy to the vet is the obvious first choice, but when that’s not an option, PetMD.com might be able to provide some insight.
PetMD is the most comprehensive website for pet health, nutrition care and feeding that I’ve ever visited.
They have everything from symptom checkers to a complete health library to an explanation of veterinary terms.
If you’re experiencing strange behaviors, you can scan their well designed emergency section to try to determine what’s at the root of your pet’s discomfort.
PetMD isn’t just for urgent health issues, they have lots of great information on breeds, proper care and feeding and can even help you find a name for that new puppy or kitten.
Ever wonder why dogs eat grass or what to do when you discover a lump on your dog? PetMD has the answers.
By the way, PetMD isn’t just for cat and dog owners. If you’re a pet ower of any kind, PetMD.com is a great resource to add to your web bookmarks.
The internet and mobile apps are changing the way we do just about everything.
Now you can include finding someone to run errands or do odd jobs around the house or office with a website called TaskRabbit.
The aim of this web service is to connect those that have tasks with those that are nearby and willing to do those tasks.
You start by describing your task along with when and where it needs to be done.
You can decide what you're willing to pay or ask for bids to start getting offers from Taskrabbits.
If you have virtual tasks like vacation planning, research or proofreading, your Taskrabbit live anywhere.
Once you pick your Taskrabbit, you only pay when the task has been completed to your satisfaction.
Taskrabbits all have to go through a vetting process that includes a background check and reviews by others are also posted to help you decide who to hire.
If you’re a company looking for a temporary workforce for a specific project, you might find this network useful.
If your to-do lists are getting out of control, see if the taskers at TaskRabbit.com can lend a hand!