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!
That hard drive in your computer is a lot like your frig; it doesn't matter how big, you will fill it up eventually.
Just as is the case for your refrigerator, tossing out your unneeded items is a heck of a lot cheaper than buying a newer, bigger one.
The primary problem most user run into is that they haven't a clue what is taking up their storeage space, so they have no idea what they can get rid of.
For starters, uninstalling any unneeded software and if your drive is filled with tons of video or music files that aren't important, tossing those space hogs will free up a lot of space as well.
Windows-based computers can get a helping hand from a program called 'TreeSize' which is free.
The structure of file storate in Windows is referred to as a 'tree' with folders representing branches and individual files are the leaves. The TreeSize tool quickly shows you the size of each folder so you can easily determine what's taking up all your storage space.
WARNING: Never should you delete items when you don’t know what they are and always be sure that you have verified your backup before starting to delete anything from your hard drive.
The growing popularity of food photography has created both haters and lovers of this social media phenomenon.
If you are one of the lovers of snapping pics of your food in public places, there are a couple of tips you should keep in mind.
The first tip: turn off you flash! It not only is irritating to those near you, the image of the food will be overexposed turn out bad.
If you have a low-lighting setting, make sure you turn down the brightness of your screen to start as use a candle or another person’s screen to warmly light your subject.
Another thing that can be a minor irritation for others is the sound of the shutter each time you snap a picture, so mute that as well.
Choosing the right app to take the food pics will also make a difference in your results, so you may want to opt for a better option than the built-in camera app and use something like VSCO’s Cam app instead.
VSCO Cam is especially helpful with those low lighting situations with a whole host of editing options after you take the shot: http://vsco.co/vscocam
Let's start today's tip with some Geek Speak: Bundleware
Anyone that's ever downloaded a free program or even a simple software update may have noticed that they suddenly have a new toolbar that snuck into their browser or worse, the start page has been changed. That when you know that you’re a victim of 'bundleware'.
Sneeky software companies often include a third-party program hidden in their installation process because they get paid to do so.
They know that most users are going to click Next, Next, Next, I agree!
A good habit to get into when installing anything on your computer is to ignore the ‘recommended’ option and start choosing the 'custom' option so you can see what kind of third party programs they're trying to sneak past you.
For more protection against bundleware scams, checkout a free utility called 'Unchecky' that acts as a kind of checkmark watchdog.
Unchecky automatically unchecks thrid-party offers and also warns when you are about to install unwanted offers or utilities.
If you’re tired of you browser being overrun with unwanted junk add-ons, take control of your computer installs with
Anyone with younger children knows that using one of the many baby monitors on the market can be very comforting.
An alternative to traditional dedicated monitors or for those taking kids on a road trip is available through an Android app called Dormi.
The Dormi app will turn any 2 Android devices of any kind into a private baby monitoring system that can be used from any distance.
Because you're using Android devices, Dormi can use either wifi or cell connections, so it can work in the next room or the next state.
The app also allows you to talk to your child through the devices when a calming voice can help and it lets you know what the battery level is on the monitoring device.
The basic service is completely free for up to 4 hours per month or you can buy the app to get unlimited use forever.
Anyone with an old Android device sitting around somewhere could use Dormi to bring it back to a useful life for a parent in need.
This tip can be the greatest thing since sliced bread for anyone that owns rental property or for those that rent from a private party.
If the process of collecting or paying the rent is still by check, both renters and landlords know what a pain it can be for both sides.
Cozy is an excellent web resource created to make the monthly rent paying process simple.
Any landlord can register their rental property and associtated bank deposit information in a matter of minutes, which then allows their tenants to start paying the rent online.
Cozy is really helpful when there are multiple tenants in the same property because it allows roomates to each pay their share online eliminating the "chase the roommate"game.
If that wasn't cool enough to get started, how about all of this convenience at no cost to either the landlord or the tenant.
Cozy offers lots of extras for landlords including online rental applications, screening tools and they can even list thier property via their online network.
No more hassles with collecting or paying the rent at http://Cozy.co
We're all interested in staying physcially fit, but how often do we get busy and run out of time to get in a decent run or gym session.
Anyone that is time constrained and unable to get any kind of regular exercise in should try shifting their attention to an easier goal to achieve: a 7 minute workout using a mobile app.
This approach can be used anywhere, anytime and doesn't require special equipment.
Experts have created a twelve step intense workout that just uses body weight, chairs and walls all in only 7 minutes of exercise.
Research clearly points to the value of even a couple minutes of intese physical activity at your maximum capacity can produce muscular changes that compare to routines like running or bike riding for an hour.
If seven minutes is still too much time in your schedule, you can start with the 4-minute workout app that is similar to the process originally used by Olympic athletes from Japan.
Both of the TinyHearts apps are available for iPhone or iPad users and an alternative is available for Android users as well.
Although staying fit is a bit of a time committment, starting with one of these options may help you create good habits that can lead to a consistent increase in activity.
Are you one of the many wannabe musicians that would like to be able to play something awesome on a guitar but you are just unwilling to commit the time it takes for lessons?
If so, have I got a tip for you.
The ability to visualize lessons can be extremely helpful anytime you’re attempting to learn something new and that’s the approach that the CoachGuitar app takes.
Never mind all that music theory, chords or something called ‘ ablature', you’d be happy to crank out some riffs from Stairway to Heaven or Back in Black, right?
The app shows you step by step, how to crank out those riffs from popular songs using videos and animated fretboards.
It starts by showing you where to put your fingers and which of the strings you should strum allowing you to learn some familiar songs, quickly.
The CoachGuitar app is essentially a virtual guitar teacher right on your smartphone or tablet.
You can start with the basic app and starter lessons which are free and then buy additional lessons for lots of popular songs if you really get into it.
Anyone that wants to learn how to ‘shred’ should check the apps at http://www.coachguitar.com
Anyone planning a party, big event or a simple gathering needs to decide how they will send out their invitation to get things started.
There is no shortage of electronic invitation options that are easy to create and send out with most including a way to see who is planning on attending.
But in some cases, it's too important for an informal electronic invitation system, so opting for the old school snail-mail paper invitations is appropriate.
Gathering all the needed addresses, selecting the right kind of paper, creating a suitable design as well as the right envelope can be very time consuming.
Anyone that needs to send offline or electronic invitations should include https://PaperlessPost.com in their evaluations.
This web-based tool allows you to create beautiful online invitations as well as offline paper invitations all in one place.
The system even allows you to use an online invitations to collect mailing addresses if you want to also send snail-mail invitations.
The tool is available via their website or through any iOS device using their app.
Anyone looking for a way to communicate with some pizzaz both online and traditional mail should look into https://PaperlessPost.com
The art of 'craft cocktails' is envogue these days, but bellying up at your local craft bar will get expensive, really fast.
Anyone that would prefer avoiding those expensive hipster hangouts, should learn how to make their favorites themselves.
While there is no shortage of bar recipe books, a more efficient way to great cocktail recipes is using an app called 'Mixology'.
You can tell the app what you have on hand in liquors and mixers so you can search for recipes that use those ingredients.
How frustrating would it be to find a new recipe only to see that you can't make it unless you make a run to the store!
The app can provide you with random suggestions or you can pick specific liquors as a primary ingredient to view lots of suggestions.
The app can actually do more than just cocktail recipes - you can create specialty shots, punch bowls and non-alcoholic options for the designated driver at any gathering.
The free Mixology app also offers the tips and tricks of bartending and is available for both the Android and iPhone smartphones.
Think of it as a bar expert in your pocket!: http://mixologyapp.com
The Internet has become our go-to research tool for comparing products and services, but what can you do when you don't know any of the competing products?
Today's tip if for those times that you know the name of a product but have no idea if they have any competitors.
Just add a space and the letters 'v' & 's' (as in versus) behind whatever it is that you are trying to compare.
For example, if you're car shopping looking for all the other competeting vehicles, you would type 'VW Touareg vs'
This tip seems to be very useful whenever you're seeking the best smartphone app of any type or category. One app will lead to another allowing you to find lots of competing apps using this trick.
It also works very well with just about anything technology related, since so many tech-savvy people love to compare gadgets, devices and software around the world.
This tip may not work for everything, but you will find that it's effective more times then it's not, because of the way Google combines the keywords you are using combined with popularity rankings.
Weddings are supposed to be a blissful experience but organizing everything that leads up to the wedding day are generally filled with tasks and stress.
One of the biggest tasks is choosing how or what gift registry will be used for the wedding.
There are endless online resources for generating a gift registry, but they’re generally limited to whatever that website is interested selling.
Anyone that’s in the early stages of their preparation should checkout https://Zola.com and its unique approach to this task.
They allow anyone to create a registry not just for products but associated services, or even a honeymoon kitty, with just about anything sold online.
Their site creates a single place for any and all items that can be on a couple’s wish-list and handles all the transactions.
They also offer the ability to schedule the delivery of the wedding gifts, which can be helpful if the new couple is moving or on an extended honeymoon.
Zola also makes group gifting easy if there are expensive items on the registry. Think of it as Kickstarter for weddings.
Have you ever found yourself in need of very basic graphic design task, but it’s not something you can justify hiring someone for?.
Most of us are "design challenged" or lack the expensive programs that would allow you to generate the artwork, so we need to find an alternative.
My suggestion is that you checkout a web tool called https://Canva.com.
The Canva system is really simple to use, because it’s template driven which means you don’t have to install anything to your computer.
You can use it to create flyers, posters, business cards, web graphics, proper dimensioned social media images or just about any type of graphics without a huge learning curve.
You just select a design style, then select an associated template to begin modifying text to finish your design.
Canva allows you to upload your own pictures or buy on of their professional images for as little as one dollar.
Canva is simple to learn, really easy to use, inexpensive or free and generates professional results...it’s the perfect tool for the designed challenged.
Anyone lacking in vision, money, design skills or the time to learn how to create great looking graphics should go directly to https://Canva.com!
Our beloved smartphones have the ability to easily create high resolution pictures and amazing HD videos anytime we want.
One downside to creating these amazing images and videos is that they generate huge files, especially if you’re shooting HD video.
Trying to send or upload high-resolution videos through a social media or email account requires that your beautiful creations need to be compressed, lowering the quality.
Anytime you need to send a large original resolution video or lots of hi-res images without compressing them, check out an app called ‘WeTransfer'.
The WeTransfer app makes it easy and free to send those huge files right from your smartphone to anyone through a simple email link.
The apps work on Android and iOS mobile devices as well as Mac computers and the Chrome web browser.
Unlike a lot of other transfer apps, the people you send your files to won’t have to download the app or even create an account. All they have to do is click the ‘download’ link that you send via email to start downloading your uncompressed videos and pictures.
The download link for all platforms is: http://WeTransfer.com/mobile
If you have ever had to call a tech person for help, you have likely been asked to restart your computer as the first step.
It is the first step because so many problems can be resolved by robooting and the same holds true for issues when you're surfing the Net by also using a simple step most people forget to perform...clear the cache in your browser.
The cache is a random storage of items that you have previously downloaded while visiting pages you were on.
By reloading element already in the cache, your devices browser can load a page more quickly because it bypasses the extra steps of downloading those elements from the site.
On occasion, these elements in your browser cache can actually cause page loading problems, especially those that require log ins.
So, the next time you encounter issues when trying to load a website, start your diagnosis by clearing your cache.
If you're not sure how to perform this important task, the instructions for most popular browsers is at: http://www.refreshyourcache.com
Anyone that is a user of Google’s productivity tools like Docs, Forms & Sheets will want to look into today's add-on suggestion.
The add-on is called 'Save As Doc’ which makes it easy to turn any spreadsheet into a doc file.
This option is helpful when you need to combine spreadsheet info into a word processing document. It’s really helpful when the text in a cell is too wide to display in a standard spreadsheet.
The add-on allows you to convert an entire spreadsheet or specific cells as long as they are adjacent that you may want converted into a document that is completely editable.
If you’re working with a spreadsheet that’s the result of a survey that you created in Google Forms, this add-on is especially helpful.
No need to manually format the results when you copy and paste info into a document from a spreadsheet.
It also allows you to create a page break after each row of data, making the results much easier to keep organized.
The 'Save As Doc' add-on is free but will only work in Google Chrome.
The download link is: http://goo.gl/H0ed2B
Yesterday we discussed 360 degree cameras technology that is becoming the next big thing in video.
But creating amazing videos in 360 isn’t of much value if you can’t share them for others to easily view them too.
The guys and gals over at YouTube made the viewing of 360 videos on the network possible by creating support for the uploading of 360 videos.
With the YouTube app installed on any phone or tablet allows you to move around in the video by moving your phone around, allowing you to see all the different direction that was captured.
You can kind of do the same thing on your computer at YouTube.com using your mouse to change the point of view, but frankly, the mobile experience is so much better.
Checkout examples of these 360 videos and learn more about watching them at:
Another CES has gone by and once again, I was blown away by the various 360 camera technology on display.
Not only do they take incredible panoramic 360 images, they can also capture 360 degree high definition videos as well.
A quick Internet search for 360 cameras will bring up dozens of companies with an assortment of amazing capabilities.
They're even available as your home security camera, some of which are combined with light bulbs.
The cameras start at about $300 and offer video resolutions from basic standard up to the Ultra HD 4K standard.
There are many that are waterproof, allowing you to capture underwater 360 scenes.
Anyone seeking to capture outdoor experiences that’s much better than the typical action-cams like a GoPro, should check out the various 360 cameras available.
Tomorrow, I’ll tell you all about Google’s efforts to support 360 videos on YouTube.
Maintaining physical fitness requires us all to search for the workouts that you'll be able to understand, accomplish and afford.
An option for anyone trying to find a starting place for getting fit could be as simple as a no-equipment workout.
A famouse fitness author created an awesome collection of visual workouts that can offer a workout for any fitness level.
The workouts are visually outlined with simple instructions that include how many sets you should do per workout.
The programs & challenges on the site range from seven to ninety days to complete along with suggested meals which can be downloaded and printed or used with your smartphone.
There are lot of other resources to help with general fitness, running and motivation to go along with help with nutrition, meal plans and recipes.
Whether you're trying to get motivated to start somewhere or bored with your existing workout, the collection of free visual workouts at https://darebee.com may be just what you’re looking for!
Smartphones are great but they are only as smart as the human using it.
It’s not very likely that you have figured out how to use all of the built-in options or hidden tricks that this amazing device has to offer.
Anyone that wants to get smarter about all the features that you don’t know about in your smartphone needs to know that there’s an app for that!
The app is called ‘Drippler’ which is available for both iPhone & Android users for free.
It presents users with tips, features & updates along with 'how-to' info to help you with everything from getting more battery life to learning about things you had no idea your phone could do.
It’s an app that answers the global question of “how do I keep up with everything on my smartphone?”
Both apps are platform focused, so you will get the tips and tricks that are specific to your device.
Helpful tips & tricks are just a tap away no matter which type of smartphone you have.
Just search for ‘DRIPPLER’ in your app store!
When most of us have to work with any form of official documents, there is a strong chance that you'll need to get those documents signed in from of a notary.
This means taking on the hassle of finding a notary that's within reasonable range and arranging to meet with them in person.
For the next time you need to get something notarized, make not of an app called 'Notarize'.
The Notarize system is an online virtual notary service that is completely electronic and completely legal in all 50 states.
Getting your document notarized is pretty simple, by uploading it to their system and providing offical ID, then completing the necessary items in the document and finally connecting with a licensed notary through a video call.
The licensed notary will watch you sign the document which then allows them to electronically notarize, right through the smartphone app or your computer.
Once the process is completed, Notarize allows you to print, save or share the newly notarized document and it's all done electronically.
Having 24/7 notary service available is very convenient, but it will cost you more for that convenience with a $25 processing fee per notarization.
At the moment, the Notarize app is only available for iPhone or iPad users, but keep it in mind for the next time you need a notary http://www.notarize.com
A lot of buzz this year at CES was generated by auto manufacturers that are trying to make cars much 'smarter' and more connected in their latest models.
But did know that anyone that has a car that's 1996 or newer already has some 'smart car' capabilties?
Under the dash of your car under the steering wheel should be a connector called the 'OBD' port (On Board Diagnostics).
To take advantage of this port, you'll need an OBD transmitter connected to an app on your phone which allows you to take advantage of your cars onboard diagnostics functions, like from a company called Dash.
You can you access much more than just diagnostic information after the engine light goes on, because the system helps you improve your gas mileage and can even help you find the lowest priced gas near you.
The special Bluetooth device that plugs into the OBD port from Dash costs between $10 to $60 for most cars.
The associated app is free and the complete rundown on the OBD transmitters is available at https://Dash.by