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!
If you’re listening to this tip sitting at your desk on your computer, take a quick look at your posture.
No thanks to the hours that we all spend on our computers, we’re creating new problems for parts of our bodies.
CTS or carpal tunnel syndrome is becoming all too common causing numbness and pain in our wrists and arms.
The last thing you want your bad posture to lead to is surgery, but that is often the only way to provide relief.
Paying attention to your posture while you are working away has substantial health benefits.
It’s all about how you position your feet - should be flat on the floor, your knees - should be at a 90 degree angle and your wrists - should be parallel to the floor.
If your used to using a laptop, make sure you aren’t craning your neck down to see the screen.
For those that are already starting to experience the early signs of CTS, getting help in the form of special gloves that help keep your wrists at the proper angle may be a good purchase: https://www.imakproducts.com
It’s an unfortunate reality that that over 90% of email messages being sent every day is junk that we all hate to get.
It’s tainted the purity of the simple electronic messaging platform and the spammers are now gunning for your smartphone.
Spammers don’t care about laws and rules, so they’re finding new ways to send those irritating messages via text messaging.
Did you know that you could easily report those annoying messages every time they hit your phone and help keep them from doing it to others?
By forwarding the message in its entirety without adding anything to 7726 (SPAM), you can alert your carrier to the junk message and more importantly the number that was sending it.
It’s not going to stop the spammers from trying but if we all do this regularly, we can make it more difficult for the bad guys to be successful.
The Internet is loaded with websites that focus on food and recipes that range from the high end magazines to celebrity chefs to soccer moms from around the world.
One that’s lesser known but worth checking out is called http://www.foodpair.com and it does something a little different than the others.
It’s like a search engine for recipe websites.
It allows you to look for recipes by ingredient, which results in recipes that you can actually use with what you have on hand instead of having to run to the store.
They also allow you to search for recipes by diet, which course you’re considering or even a specific recipe website.
It’s a very visual website sort of like Pinterest, that allows you to see dishes before you dive down into the recipe.
Instead of having to scroll through dozens of recipe websites, now you can use Food Pair to make it much more efficient.
Is this question something you hear a lot in your home or office?: my email isn't downloading or I can't print anything.
Technology can be very frustrating when it doesn't do what it's supposed to do, so today's tip is inspired by your shampoo bottle.
If you recall, it says to lather, rinse, repeat, which we are borrowing and changing to lather, rinse, REBOOT!
Whenever any of your devices isn't operating properly, start with our saying: lather, rinse, reboot
As you use your computer, resources are consumed that need to be replenished. The longer it's been between restarts, the more likely that your resources have been depleted to some level.
Shutting down extra browser tabs or programs that you aren't using anymore can help, but they never give back 100% of what they take.
The next time you run into any kind of a nagging issue on your home or office computer, remember to lather, rinse and reboot before calling for help, since it's most likely the first thing that they'll as you to do.
At the risk of confusing you, we wanted to address the process of keeping the software on your computer updated or in this case, when you shouldn’t update certain things.
We were asked via social media about an online service that focuses on something called a driver, which is a small software program that controls a piece of hardware.
Randomly updating them, just to update them is not something we would recommend.
The reason for this is that it could end up creating a problem that didn’t exist before you attempted the update - specifically the dreaded driver conflict.
When it comes to drivers, the only time we recommend updating them is when a specific problem has been identified and updating the driver is a known potential fix.
While the service sounds like it will take care of a technical process for you, it’s actually a solution searching for a problem…don’t risk your computer’s good health on it!
Do you remember all those tv commercials that used to air all of the time that claimed that you could get free credit checks?
The vast majority of them have gone away because they weren’t really free, with the exception of https://annualcreditreport.com which allows one free check per year.
There is a legit free service for something better than an occasional check, because it allows you to monitor your credit year round.
The site provides much more than just your credit score; it provides lots of suggestions based on your current financial relationships to help you save money.
CreditKarma can show you things like your credit utilization, your balances and any pertinent notices for any of your accounts.
The service is available on your computer via the web of on you smartphone or tablet via their app.
With all of the constant issues with breaches and the fear of ID theft, the dashboard approach from https://.creditkarma.com is a useful free tool to constantly monitor your credit.
Remember when the fax machine was an important part of daily business life?
Well, that old relic still has some avid fans that require you to send them info via fax.
There are so many ways to scan and email documents these days that you shouldn’t need to fax anything, but if you ever do get that odd request to have something sent to an actual fax machine, we’ve got the solution.
It’s a website called https://faxzero.com and as long as you only have a couple of pages to send, it’s absolutely free to use.
Should you need to send more than three pages, you can pay $1.99 for up to twenty five pages or take a little longer and send the document three pages at a time.
Just scan the document like you normally do and instead of emailing it to them, upload the scanned file to the Fax Zero website so you can get the document to the recipient’s fax machine.
You aren’t going to need this very often, but when you do, you’ll be glad you added it to your bookmarks!
For anyone in the midst of a home remodeling or even new construction project, there’s an amazing resource that can fuel your inspiration
A website called https://houzz.com is a collection of images presented by professional designers and construction companies that can help you.
It’s far more than a bunch of pictures as you can research ideas by room, create your own library of ideas and contact professionals from virtually every trade to help you accomplish your vision.
The site also has an active user base that discusses virtually any topic or question that you may have.
For those in the trade that haven’t started using the site, it may be a great way to show folks in your backyard the kind of results that you’ve delivered for other customers.
Even if you think you’ve got the design that you want, spending some time looking through the visual ideas posted at Houzz.com or downloading their mobile app could take your great design ideas to the next level!
Despite the quality of the filters in our email programs, it’s inevitable that some unwanted junk still gets through. There are a plethora of options for dealing with spam in our Inbox, but if you aren’t careful, you’ll start snagging the good messages too.
Messages can end up being tagged as spam for a variety of reasons, mostly based on the senders usage of certain words, images or if their domain has been black-listed by the spam world.
Based on this undeniable fact, we thought we’d spend this tip on something simple - a reminder to regularly check your junk folders for wanted messages.
The more frequently you check, the better the odds are that you’ll catch the good stuff. If you junk folder is already crammed with messages, use the search option in our program using keywords or senders you want to make sure you see.
If you discover messages that you did want, make sure to tell your email program that the message wasn’t spam to help it know for the next time that person sends a message.
Junk filters and junk messages aren’t going away any time soon, so do yourself a favor and setup a recurring reminder to check your spam folder.
It’s the middle of the summer and the time when we all tend to take some time off to hit the road to get recharged. Even though we want to disconnect from our offices, we don’t want to leave all our tech gadgets behind.
The number of devices you need to charge, especially if you have kids in tow, can range from everyone’s phones, to tablets, digital cameras, GoPros, drones and laptops.
The problem for most travelers is that you have way too many items to charge for the available outlets.
This forces you to be very diligent in swapping out devices as they charge which can be easily avoided if you arm yourself with a little power charging technology.
The one we like to carry with us can turn a single plug-in into charging for five different devices.
It’s from Belkin (http://bit.ly/2MvhTqa) and not only did they cram lots of power charging options and surge protection into the device, they made sure that you could swivel it, so it’s most functional in tight areas.
Whether you travel once a year or once a month, having this small but handy little power strip is a no-brainer!
If you’re in business, you should have a website and if you have a website, you should know about today’s tech tip.
Making sure that your website is available to your existing and potential customers is like making sure that a store is physically open.
For those that haven’t considered this essential task, there’s actually a free option to make sure things are all as you wish them to be.
It’s a website called Up Time Robot (https://uptimerobot.com) and it will monitor your sites availability every five minutes at no charge.
It’s a simple process to get your free account and from then on, you can monitor up to fifty different web addresses.
The standard process is to have alerts about uptime sent to the email address that you provide during the sign up.
Rather than getting a message from someone that tried to get to your site and couldn’t, wouldn’t it be better to have a bot let you know?
Websites can go down for a variety of reasons just about anytime, even if you are a multi-million dollar business, so making sure you know about it is critical.
It’s an easy tool to setup and use, so let everyone you know that has a website about this excellent and free resource!
Today’s tip is for anyone looking to punch up their morning run.
If you’re a big zombie fan, checkout the Zombie, Run app for both Android and iPhone users. It’s a virtual Walking Dead workout.
Could the threat of being caught by a zombie motivate you to run a little harder at the end of your workout?
This could be just the thing you’re looking for to make those boring runs more exciting.
Just pick one the more than 200 missions, slap in your earbuds and take off to get things started.
It’s an immersive running experience tailor made for the zombie fan in all of us.
Not only can you get the motivation from the zombies, you can do it while listening to your favorite playlists as well.
You can make your morning runs in the real world a lot more interesting and entertaining while becoming a hero in the virtual world at https://zombiesrungame.com
We’re a lot more comfortable buying just about anything online these days, but finding something at an extraordinarily low price is still a big red flag.
Knowing more about a website that is offering this really low price can help you potentially sniff out bad actors.
Your fellow Internet shoppers are a good resource for checking out any online retailer, so make advantage of the wisdom of the crowds with a couple of excellent tools.
https://ScamAdviser.com is an excellent and quick way to get the down low on any website just by typing it into their site.
Another tool that can work in the background for you is from Web of Trust (https://mywot.com)
It’s a browser add on that will give you a visual signal for any website in search results, social media and email. It uses the three colors in a traffic light to indicate what the rest of the Internet has to say about the retailer.
Don’t forget that using a debit card to make online purchases exposes you in a way that a credit card doesn’t should you be the victim of a fraudulent transaction.
The difference is that your checking account won’t be out of balance while you sort through the fraud if you always use a credit card.
Most kids struggle with a subject or two in school, but rather than trying to find a tutor for those difficult subjects, why not give the Internet a shot?
There’s an online learning resource that is extremely powerful but absolutely free and easy for your kids to use.
https://khanacademy.org has grown to become one of the most valuable tools for parents, students and teachers.
The list of subjects available is pretty comprehensive especially in math, science, engineering, computing, arts & humanities and even finance and economics.
The site also provides test prep for SAT, LSAT, Praxis Core, MCST, GMAT, IIT JEE and NCLEX-RN.
Their secret to teaching kids is by using thousands of videos that hold their attention.
Anyone that want to learn just about anything should bookmark https://khanacademy.org
In today’s digital world, it’s not hard to get behind on all of the correspondence channels that we use every day.
If you’re at all active on email, it can be a chore to stay current with your daily messages, but it get’s even more overwhelming if you have gaps where you don’t or can’t check the daily deluge.
For those of you that are facing this overwhelming load of unread messages, instead of trying to figure out how to plow through them all, have you ever though of announcing to the world that you are in email bankruptcy?
To do it, you simply delete everything in your Inbox and then send a message to those you do want to communicate with that they need to resend any message they’ve sent to you that they are waiting to hear back from you on.
Just remember that sending a mass email with all the addresses in the To: section exposes everyone’s addresses to everyone, so put all of them in the Blind Carbon Copy (BCC) line to keep everything confidential.
If you’re like most households, you’ve managed to accumulate a small mountain of paper that you intend to sort and file.
Most people would love to go paperless, but with that intimidating mountain of paper, how does one get started?
Well the first step is to figure out what part of that mountain is no longer necessary and throw it out.
Next, figure out what you need to shred instead of throwing it out and set them in their own pile for shredding.
Next, if you need specific documents, don’t physically store them, get them digitized by scanning and saving them on your computer.
Another obvious place to reduce future paperwork is to convert as many of your accounts as you can to the paperless option when available.
For those with a lot of mail, especially businesses, consider converting your incoming mail with a service such as Earth Class Mail. They receive all you mail and scan it, so all you have to do is tell them what you want and don’t want!
If you ever forget your Facebook password or worse yet, get locked out of your own account because of a hacker, today’s tip is for you!
Facebook created an option called ”Trusted Contacts" and it could save you a ton of hassle if you are ever locked out of your own account.
The feature allows you to select three to five of your trusted contacts to help you recover your account.
The way it works is that when you notify Facebook that you’ve been locked out, they’ll send special codes to your friends to help you recover the account.
They designed it so that no single contact on your list can get in because you need three different codes to get back in, from three different contacts.
Anyone that has ever gone through the process of trying to recover a Facebook account that they got locked out of will tell you how much of a hassle it is.
The “Trusted Contacts” options is available through the Security and Login menu or follow the instructions posted here: http://bit.ly/2Y1HSvB
We’ve all been told to always hope for the best but certainly prepare for the worst.
For anyone that owns or manages a business, this adage applies to their technology and should take form in a disaster recovery plan.
The easiest way to start the process is to ask yourself what you would do if the business was impacted by a flood, fire, theft, ransomware, sabotage or massive mistakes made by their users.
The steps to get your business back up and running may vary dramatically for each of the scenarios, or it may end up being fairly similar.
We’ve seen this for years, where a business has a comprehensive backup procedure in place but has never designated what is to happen in the event of a crisis.
Not training everyone what to do, if something happens means you’re hoping for the best bet never planned for the worst.
Don’t wait to try and figure out how to recover from a crisis in the middle of a crisis; do your fire drills before the fire.
If you’re computer seems to be a lot slower while surfing the Internet compared to when it was new, the problem could be you and not the computer!
A game changer in browser technology that’s taken for granted today is the ability to open multiple tabs instead of having to manually navigate back and forth within on window.
The downside to this awesome feature is that most of us open tabs and leave them open, even though we don’t need them anymore.
Each open tab takes memory, which taken to the extreme can be a big burden on your computer.
A simple way to help speed things up is to start closing the website tabs you no longer need…remember, you can always use your History to get back to them.
Everything you use on your computer, not just the web is impacted by this unnecessary use of valuable memory.
If having lots of tabs open is important, checkout an add-on called One Tab for the Chrome browser.
Once installed, it converts all your open tabs to one single tab with a table of contents for what was open.
It’s a more efficient way of having quick access to your important websites without the memory burden.
A while back, we told you about Adobe's shift from traditional software to an online subscription model for their popular apps like Photoshop and Lightroom.
For those that don’t really need these powerful programs all that often, it’s hard to think about having to pay over $50 a month to use them.
The good news is that there’s a free option for people in this situation from a company called Pixlr.
Unlike Photoshop, there’s nothing to buy, download, install or configure in order to start editing your images and graphics because it’s all browser based.
It’s certainly not as powerful as Photoshop, but it’s got all the important features like red-eye tools, healing, drawing, cloning, sharpening as well as lots of great HDR options.
It’s also able to open existing Photoshop files, which means you won’t have to start from scratch if you use Pixlr.
Give it a try for yourself at: https://pixlr.com
Anyone that has to take multiple medication, especially those that have to do so multiple times during the day knows the potential for confusion.
An app that can both assist in the scheduling and reminders of pill taking as well as save its users from bad interactions is available called Mango Health.
Knowing what you can or can’t eat or drink around pill taking time is another cool feature of this free app.
It’s extremely easy to get setup and use, because all you do is generate your schedule based on your current prescriptions and the app does its magic.
Because most of us can easily forget to take a pill that helps us to improve our memory, but seem to always remember to have our phones with us, this app is such a great tool for pill takers: