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!
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!
Reminders are a critical tool we all use on our smartphones, but most people only set reminders based on time.
In many cases, setting reminders based on location is much more useful.
For instance, you can tell Siri to ‘remind me to pickup air filters when I’m at Home Depot’ as long as you have Home Depot set up as a location in your address book.
If you’re an Android user, you can tell Google Now the same thing, but because it’s so tightly integrated with Google Maps, you don’t have to pre-define the location.
If you set this reminder and choose any location, you’ll get the notification when you walk in to any store, which I find to be much more useful.
iPhone users can use Google Now via the Google Search app, if you want to set location reminders for places that aren’t in your address book.
If you haven’t been using location based reminders, once you do, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without them!
I’m not a hardcore gamer, but I do enjoy the escape of an entertaining game from time to time.
One that recently caught my eye uses augmented reality to bring the game into your own physical world.
By using your smartphone and your location, you’re suddenly thrust into a world that has discovered something called exotic matter and you have to decide if you are going to be part of the enlightened or resistance factions.
It essentially turns your local environment into a sort of capture the flag scenario.
You’re told where the nearest ‘portals’ are, which are generally points of interest in your physical environment, that contain this exotic matter.
The game is played by visiting these portals and executing various actions while you are there.
It’s a way to discover things in your area, get some exercise and experience augmented reality all at the same time.
It’s a pretty interesting shift in game playing you can checkout at https://ingress.com
Helping charitable organizations out with a small donation shouldn’t only happen when we hear about horrible tragedies around the world.
That’s the perspective behind an awesome app called One Today that’s been put together by Google.
One Today profiles a different non-profit every day, explains their work and makes it easy to donate between one and ten dollars if you’d like to help.
You can also set up match donations to encourage your friends and family join in or use their Pay-it-Forward feature to build up the donation amount from a group.
As you decide to donate to various causes, you can wait to pay it in a lump sum and if it reaches $250, Google will email you a tax deduction certificate.
Helping others always makes you feel better and the One Today app makes it so easy to make a small difference.
Imagine the impact of a couple million people donating one dollar a day, nice work Google!
Learn all about it at https://onetoday.google.com/
There’s no question that social media has become a vital communication tool, much like e-mail and telephones, but many small businesses are still struggling with it.
Getting the basics down is the only way to start to build a useful strategy, so if you or anyone you know is still struggling with the basics, I’ve got a suggestion: take a course.
I know the first reactions is who has time for taking a course, but the course I’m suggesting only takes two minutes a day.
The folks at Buffer, which make one of my favorite social posting tools, have put together a free 7-day, 7-email course that will help you understand the basics in 2 minutes a day.
You’re not going to become an expert after 7 days, but you will get some solid help to build on.
Social media is too important for any business to ignore so if you’re looking for a helping hand, check it out.
I’m a big fan of dual computer displays and can’t imagine functioning at my desk without them.
When I’m on the road and want extended display space, it’s just not practical to carry a second screen around, unless that screen is an iPad.
Mac users have long been able to tether their iPads to their Macbooks, but now Windows users can do the same thing using an app called Duet Display.
By loading the app on your laptop or desktop and iPad, you can easily use your iPad as an extension to your computer.
Once it’s setup, you can drag any program over to the iPad from your desktop, which can be really helpful when you’re working with large spreadsheets or doing a lot of copying and pasting.
It works with Mac or Windows computers and iPads or iPhones as long as they’re physically connected by the charging cable.
If you’ve never experienced the joys of having dual displays, give this cool trick a try.
It’s free and easy to setup. Check it out at http://DuetDisplay.com
If you’re a travel junkie like me or you just love exploration, Google’s Cultural Institute has an amazing tool that you’ll want to bookmark.
World Wonders is a resource that Google has put together that allows you to explore exotic locations, art and museum collections, and lots of historical information from the comfort of your computer or tablet.
Not only can you get lots of information and historical facts, you can explore sites like you’re actually there using Google’s Street View technology
My suggestion for anyone planning a trip to any world heritage site is to spend some time first using the World Wonders website.
It’ll get you familiar with the area you plan to visit and provide extensive detail and historical perspective so you can get the most out of your visit.
You can search the collection based on a person, place, time or event so it’s a great resource for homework assignments as well.
It’s a travel junkie's dream!