Data Doctors Tech Tips
Tech Tips for Non-Tech People
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Often times, hiring an expert to get up to speed on a subject or trend is the fastest path to learning.
But where do you turn to find these experts?
A relatively new online resource called 24sessions bills itself as a global community of experts that are available via live video.
Subject fields currently include marketing, tech, strategy, coaching and training, sales, legal and financial with a large number of international experts.
This could prove to be especially helpful if you’re trying to learn how to do business in other countries.
If you’re an expert in your own right and want to make yourself available to others, you can apply to become an expert at 24sessions.com
The rates for a session range from free to hundreds of dollars depending upon the field and the expert.
You can search by topic, tags and language or send out a general request for an expert.
They offer practice sessions so you can test out the service and if you choose to hire an expert, they offer a satisfaction guarantee to minimize your risk.
That’s at 24sessions.com
If you’ve ever had to send or receive money from abroad, you know how complicated and expensive it can be.
Sometimes those expenses aren’t initially visible, especially if you’re working with multiple banks, but there’s a peer-to-peer alternative.
Whether it’s for business or personal reasons, you can minimize the hassle and expense with a web resource called TransferWise.com.
The site has some pretty impressive backers that include Peter Thiel and Sir Richard Branson, so it’s not anything as nebulous as Bitcoin.
Their rate calculator makes it easy for you to see what the fees will be and how they compare to an average back transfer. The primary savings come from their .5% fee vs traditional bank fees that can be as high as 5%.
You can even send money if you don’t know the bank details for the recipient, just an e-mail address. They’ll get an email asking them to fill out the bank info to receive the funds.
At the moment TransferWise only works with US and European currencies and requires a minimum of $1500 for USD based transfers.
Transferwise.com: A interesting new way to transfer international funds.
One of the most anticipated product launches in recent history was the new Apple Watch.
While it won’t be available until next year and it’s got a steep starting price tag of $350, it’s generating a lot of excitement.
As usual, Apple is attempting to do it better, but the smartwatch category has some real challenges.
I’ve had a smartwatch for a while now, and at the moment, all smartwatches seem to be a solution searching for a problem.
This may change as new use cases are developed, but until they don’t have to be tethered to a smartphone, I’m skeptical about their usefulness.
We don’t know what battery life will be like, but Apple’s first generation will likely require you to recharge it every night...no thanks...I’ve already got enough to charge.
If anyone can advance the ball in smartwatches, I’d bet on Apple, but unless you’re an early adopter, gadget freak with lots of disposable income, let this category mature.
Wearable technology is certainly exciting but it’s at such an early stage; lots of sizzle with very little steak.
My advice; wait for the steak!
If you own an iPhone or iPad and you're happy with what you have, you probably didn’t spend a lot of time fussing over all of the new product announcements.
Why spend money when you’re content, right?
Well, lost in all of the new hardware announcements was something that will have a bigger impact on all Apple customers...a major update to iOS.
iOS 8 is out today and it’s a free way to update just about all of your Apple mobile devices.
If you have an iPhone 4s or newer, an iPad 2 or newer or the iPod Touch 5th generation, you can add lots of new features for free.
But history tells us that often times a major update will have it’s bugs, so if you want to play it safe, wait at least a week or two to download the update.
Let a few million early adopters download and test the update so you don’t become a guinea pig, unless you want to be one.
When will it be safe to install the update? I’ll keep tabs on the industry buzz and let you know!
As we continue to see major data breaches, it’s obvious that our credit card system needs a major overhaul.
The reason that large retailers are targeted so often is because they store lots of valuable credit card information.
This needs to change and that’s the aim of the upcoming Apple Pay mobile payment service.
Instead of giving merchants your credit card information, Apple Pay generates a one-time use code that is only usable by that merchant. So even if a hacker intercepts that code, it’s kind of useless.
Apple is also using the Touch ID fingerprint detection as verification, so even if a thief gets your phone, they can’t use it make purchases.
While Apple’s approach to security is quite impressive, it’s only going to be available to iPhone 6 and Apple Watch users for the time being.
Another hurdle is that the Touch to pay terminals needed by merchants are pretty rare at the moment.
The Mobile Payment race just got a huge boost with the Apple Pay announcement, but we’ve got a long way to go yet.
Tomorrow, I’ll discuss the iOS 8 update.
Now that we know the specs of the new iPhones, the question is should you buy one?
If you’re an Apple fanatic and early adopter, you’ve already made up your mind. If you’re an Android user, you’re probably chuckling over the hype.
If you have an older iPhone, upgrading to a newer model probably makes more sense then if you have an iPhone 5s.
Bigger screens with higher resolution, better cameras, faster graphics and faster processors are all improvements in the iPhone 6.
but if the latest and greatest isn’t that important to you, Apple dropped the price of the iPhone 5c to 99 cents and the 5s to 99 dollars with a two-year contract.
The larger screens on the new iPhones are finally here, but remember that may require you to use two hands, so give it a test before you decide.
If you were thinking about getting an iPad mini and you’re eligible for an upgrade, the iPhone 6 Plus might save you big bucks because it’s like combining a phone and a tablet.
Lots to think about! Tomorrow, I’ll discuss the new Apple Pay service
Pets can make such a big difference in our daily lives and when we adopt responsibly, we can do the same for them.
But making sure we find the most compatible pet for our situation is really important and a website called AllPaws.com has taken pet adoption to a new level.
The founder of the site had experience in the online dating world and used the proven concepts for matching humans to create a similar resource for adopting pets.
You can search by pet types that range from dogs, cats, pigs and birds to horses and reptiles and specific breeds if you have a particular preference.
The search results generate profiles of pets that match your settings complete with pictures and their story.
Their age range, size, coat length, compatibility with other pets and a host of other details are posted.
You can add them to your favorites list , send questions to the rescue organization or start the adoption process.
If you’re an animal lover but don’t have room to adopt more pets, you can help by sharing adoptable pets with your friends on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest.
That’s at https://www.allpaws.com
The Ice Bucket Challenge that drew attention to ALS has been one of the biggest online phenomenons in the Internet’s short history.
Another Internet resource that was created as a result of ALS is a website called PatientsLikeMe.com
Launched in 2006 by Ben and Jamie Heywood in response to their brothers diagnosis of ALS, it’s become the premier treatment, symptom and outcome-sharing community online.
When you or a family member is diagnosed with a serious illness, it’s easy to feel like you are all alone in your battle, but you’re not.
Finding others that are experiencing the same issues and comparing treatments, symptoms and general experiences can become a valuable support system.
Whether you want to give or get support from like minded people who are experiencing the same thing as you, PatientsLikeMe is a great way to make the connections.
You can also use the site to track your health over time and contribute the data to research if you so desire.
PatientsLikeMe.com has over 250,000 members that are dealing with over 2000 conditions, so you’re likely to find many others that can relate to your situation.
When friends, family or a business associate flies to your city, coordinating the pickup at the airport is always an exercise in guessing.
Invariably, we end up at the airport too early or too late because one of the many variables changed and we didn’t catch it.
When should I leave for the airport?
Is the flight on time?
When did the plane actually land?
Which terminal will they be in?
If you want a better way to track all the variables and get an alert when you should leave for the airport, checkout an app called Just Landed.
Instead of counting on the person that’s flying to notify you of changes, Just Landed tracks everything for you automatically.
It even tracks your current location and changing traffic conditions against real time flight data to adjust your alerts.
That means you can run errands while you’re waiting for them to land and know when to head to the airport no matter where you are.
It’s simple to use and it’s free, but at the moment, it’s only available for the iPhone.
You can get Just Landed at http://GetJustLanded.com
From time to time, we all find ourselves trying to sell something we own.
If you’re trying to sell your car, there are plenty of resources such as KBB.com that can help you determine market pricing.
But if you’re trying to sell electronics, toys, clothing or just about anything else, you have to manually search around sites like eBay or Craigslist.
The next time you’re trying to determine a price for something that you want to buy or sell, checkout a resource called Bidvoy.
Bidvoy aggregates the data from over 150 million auctions on eBay to help you understand a lot more than just the best price for your item.
You’ll get trending data, what the current price is for a new one and even the best time to buy or sell the item on eBay.
Whether you plan to use eBay or not, getting a detailed report from one of the largest marketplaces online is really helpful.
You no longer have to wonder if you sold something too low or are asking too much for just about anything you want to sell.
The link to Bidvoy is posted at DataDoctors.com/radio
Does it seem like your mobile data usage has gone up over the past couple of months?
If you’re an active user of Facebook on your smartphone, that might be the reason.
You’ve probably noticed that posted videos will automatically start to play as you scroll past them these days.
While this can save you time by not making you tap to see it, it can also cost you if you don’t have an unlimited data plan.
Take a minute to look at the settings on your Facebook app to see how the Video Auto-play is set.
If it’s set to on, it’s chewing up your data plan every time you scroll past a video.
If you like the convenience of video auto-play, change the setting to Wi-fi only to reduce your mobile data usage.
If you could care less, change it to off and tap the videos when you want to see them. And if they start autoplaying again, you’ll know the setting got changed.
I’ve got the link to instructions on making this change for iOS and Android devices posted at DataDoctors.com/radio
Shooting video with your smartphone is great as long as you aren’t walking while shooting the footage. We’ve all seen those unwatchable videos posted online.
Movie crews solve this problem using expensive stabilization equipment like Steadicams and some attempts have been made to create something similar for smartphones.
But now you don’t need to buy any special clunky hardware if you own an iPhone. The folks at Instagram just released a free app that makes it possible to get smooth video even while you’re moving.
It’s called HyperLapse and it’s a stand-alone app, so you don’t have to be an Instagram users to take advantage of this cool technology.
By using the gyro in your iPhone, the engineers at Instagram have created a clever way to stabilize video without having to use expensive video editing software.
They also added the ability to create time lapse video in the same app, so it’s a no-brainer for anyone that loves capturing movement with an iPhone.
It’s also a really easy app to use because the only setting is the speed of the playback.
Search the Apple App Store for Hyperlapse to learn more!
Google Maps has become the de facto mapping system that most of us use when we’re out and about, but if you spend a lot of time in a car commuting, there’s a better way.
Waze is a community based traffic and navigation app that is the best way to get real-time traffic and road condition information on your commute.
Waze is so awesome, Google acquired them last year and started incorporating some information from Waze users right in Google Maps.
But if you want the ultimate commuters tool, get the Waze app on your phone today.
Not only can it help you avoid traffic, road hazards and rubber necking from accidents, it can help you find the cheapest gas along your route.
Just by having it running in the background, you passively contribute real-time data to help your fellow Wazers
Waze is also a community edited mapping system so it can also be a more accurate way to navigate cities that you aren’t familiar with.
As much as I like Google Maps, when it comes getting the best navigation info, Waze is the way that’s W A Z E.com
Are you going to do something worth remembering today?
That’s a question that an app called 1 Second Every Day will make you answer every day.
The app was inspired by Cesar Kuriyama who chose to chronicle a year long trip by recording one second of video every day.
Once compiled, he was able to recall so many moments of his previous year that would normally have just drifted away.
It sounds like a crazy idea at first, but it’s actually an amazing way to capture a huge number of events in your life in a way that’s consumable.
Just seeing a quick clip of video can remind you of an entire day of activities.
If you’re going on a vacation, it’s a great way to help you remember what you did each day in a really short video format.
Think of it as a way to make a documentary about your life that only you will fully appreciate.
Imagine being able to review every day of a decade of your life in about an hour...thought provoking, isn’t it?
You can checkout Cesar’s video and download the app at 1secondeveryday.com
If you’re a fan of e-readers and like to use them outdoors, having the paper-white display makes a huge difference.
Full color displays become almost unusable in direct sunlight, and their more expensive, but if you want to take outdoor reading to another level, you should WaterFi it!
WaterFi‘s a company that can waterproof your e-reader so it can be used in the pool, bathtub, sauna or on your next beach vacation.
Unlike water-resistant coatings, WaterFi offers true waterproofing so you can submerge it to depths of over 200 feet.
They don’t have to open the device, it doesn’t alter the appearance and the waterproofing doesn’t wear out.
WaterFi offers their waterproofing service on only a few devices like the Kindle Paperwhite e-reader, Nike Fuel Band and iPod Shuffle for around $100.
If you’re in the market for a new device, you can buy them pre-treated with the WaterFi process as well.
If you like to spend a lot of time around water and want to be able to read your e-books without worrying about it, checkout Waterfi’s technology at http://WaterFi.com; that’s Water F I.com
You may have recently heard about a group of security researchers that published a paper showing how they hacked many popular apps with a high degree of success.
The Internet went wild with stories about how apps like Gmail, WebMD and the Chase banking app could be easily compromised.
The researchers presented this proof of concept hack at a security conference, but it’s not something that you should spend any time worrying about.
Despite what many of the headlines may have led you to believe, this not something that’s happening in the real world.
The scenario laid out by the researchers is more like a phishing scam and pretty unlikely at the moment, especially if you follow the standard guidelines for app safety.
Since it requires you to install a malicious app to even have a chance, don’t jailbreak your phone and don’t get apps from third party resources.
Stick to the official channels like Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play store and avoid apps that have few downloads or no reviews.
App safety is important, but this most recent story has been way overplayed, so you can relax on this one!
One of the most interesting ways to capture a sunset, sunrise or any setting that has slow movement in it, is through time lapse photography.
Time lapse video is a compilation of a bunch of still images taken at a set interval and mashed together.
Lots of digital camera’s have this capability built in, but if you’d like to have the option on your smartphone, check out an app called Lapse It.
Lapse It allows you to choose an interval in minutes, seconds or even milliseconds to accommodate just about any scenario and it’s really easy to use.
It can even guide you through the process of creating stop motion video, kind of like those old claymation shows we all grew up with.
Time lapse photography is a great way to capture slow moving objects like the tide going out or pillowy clouds overhead and turn them into really beautiful videos.
Once you get the basics of using time lapse photography down, you can do some really creative things.
Lapse It is available for both iPhone and Android phones and can be downloaded at http://www.lapseit.com
When you travel to new places, often times the only memory of your trip are pictures, which leaves out a lot of the details.
If you’re disciplined enough to keep a journal while everything is still fresh in your mind, you can create a much more vivid memory.
But lets face it, that’s just not that likely to happen for most of us, especially if we’re on vacation.
You can, however, leverage the power of that digital assistant better known as your smartphone that you’re carrying around everywhere with an app called Heyday.
Heyday is an automatic journal app that makes remembering what you did and where you went effortless.
Instead of looking like an oversharer on social media to document your trip, Heyday lets you keep a private journal that has a lot more useful detail in it.
You can also choose to only store the info on your phone, so you’re in complete control of who can see it.
If you want this level of detail without having to remember to do anything, Heyday’s worth a look.
Check it out for yourself at http://www.hey.co; that’s H E Y . C O
If you’re looking for a way to take more creative pictures, today’s tip is just for you.
Imagine combining the best of charades, improv and a ticking clock to turn mundane pictures into a hilarious performance piece!
That’s what a free iPhone app called SnapDash offers to do for you.
SnapDash is an unpredictable photo game that will definitely make for much more interesting pictures.
You can choose from over 1700 scenarios that they refer to as snaptions that you read aloud to your subjects.
This app works best with a large number of people that don’t take themselves too seriously but you can use it inspire more creative selfies as well.
Yell out a scenario like ‘you’re riding a roller coaster for the first time’ or ‘you’re in a shampoo commercial’ as the time counts down to get the shot.
Whether it’s one person or a whole group, your pictures will never be the same again.
This app may not be for everyone, but if you’re tired of boring group pictures, give SnapDash a try.
You can see examples and download the iPhone app from http://snapdash.net
We all take lots of individual pictures, but generally way too many to share, so most of them end up filed away on our computers.
One way to share lots of photos with your social networks is to create slideshows, which are pretty easy to do.
The next time you have a large number of pictures from a wedding, child’s performance or any other special event, make a movie out of them.
One of my favorite tools for generating creative presentations in just a few minutes is called Slidely.
Slidely works with lots of online accounts like Facebook, Instagram, Picasa, Flickr and Dropbox or you can upload pictures from your computer.
It allows up to 90 images and gives you a library of great songs to add as a music bed.
You can choose music from lots of great artists or theme songs from movies and TV or upload your own music to maximize the impact.
If you already have albums setup on Facebook, you can create an animated keepsake in a matter of minutes.
It’s much easier to use than most; try it for yourself at http://slide.ly
Social media and the Internet allow us to keep tabs on our favorite celebrities but doing so can actually be dangerous.
Hackers are both evil and psychological in their methods and they know how to take advantage of our celebrity obsessed culture.
They routinely create online scams designed to allow them to sneak into your computer using celebrities as bait.
The most recent example is the fake post circulating on Facebook claiming to be a goodbye video from Robin Williams.
In most cases, if you click on the link, you’ll be told that you need to update your video player in order to watch the video.
If you fall for this, you essentially just granted remote access and control of your computer to a remote hacker.
Whenever you see a site telling you that you need to update your media player, that’s a huge red flag.
Why would you suddenly need something special when you view online videos almost every day. The answer is you don’t.
Celebrity based scams have long been one of the most effective tricks in the hacker’s playbook, so don’t let your guard down!