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!
Have you noticed that strange new things appear on your screen after you install a new software program?
It may be something that looks like a useless toolbar or something as invasive as changing what happens when you start a browser session.
These things happen because less-knowns software companies are paying well-known companies to gain access to your computer.
This tactic works because very few people pay attention during the installation process and simply click ‘I agree’.
We’ve been telling you for years that you should choose the scary sounding ‘custom’ or ‘advanced’ option when installing any software so you can see what they are trying to sneak past you.
Another option is to combat this sneak attack is with a free utility known as Unchecky.
It’s another set of eyes to watch over any installation from now own available at:
Yesterday I talked about one of our favorite tools for improving general productivity known as IFTTT.
If you like what the online tools provide, you should check out their mobile app that takes your camera to a whole other level.
It’s called Do Camera and it extends the power of IFTTT to your smartphone’s image capture capability.
The recipes will automatically process your images to interact with hundreds of online tools like Instagram or any of the image-related websites.
These recipes can be built from scratch or better yet, you can make use of the thousands of recipes that have been created by others.
Learn all about it at https://ifttt.com/products/do/camera
We love technology that makes technology more useful and nothing fits that bill like the tools at https://ifttt.com
It allows you to combine various apps and accounts in a way that greatly increases the productivity of tasks you generally do manually
Not everything on the Internet plays nicely together, which is where the ability to connect them comes in handy.
Tasks are created using what they call recipes that can leverage over 150 different web-based services that either you create or from others that have shared their recipes.
It integrates with your mobile devices as well with the IFTTT mobile apps.
If This Then That is one of the most powerful free tools that anyone can use because it doesn’t require you to be a rocket scientist!
When it comes to cyber security, Edward Snowden is about as focused on the subject as anyone on the planet.
You may not care for his actions, but when he chooses a secure communication app to use for himself, you can bet that it’s about as good as it gets.
The app he uses is called Signal and it doesn’t require you to be a tech expert to use it.
Unlike other messaging apps, you aren’t required to ‘sign up’ in order to use it.
It makes use of what you already use every day, like your phone number and local contacts without tracking what you’re doing.
It uses very elaborate encryption technology to make sure only those that are meant to see a message are the ones that can see them.
You can make it your default messaging tool because it automatically determines who’s using it on the other end or not.
For those looking for the most secure messaging available, look no further than https://signal.org
If you have a mobile device, be it a phone, tablet or even a laptop, you have the ability to capture very high-resolution videos.
We’re all capturing more videos these days, but the ability to edit them without being a pro can be a challenge.
Most of us don’t have the time or can justify the expense of a costly full-featured editing suite, so if that’s you, here’s an alternative.
There are web-based editing options such as WeVideo https://wevideo.com that are both powerful and easy to use.
You’re not likely to create the next great cinematic masterpiece, but the tools available are understandable and usable even if you’ve never tried any kind of video editing.
Once you get a feel for the online tool, you can take this new skill with you via their mobile apps.
You can try it out for free so you don’t have to risk spending money on something you can’t use at:
When it comes to making a purchase of just about anything, we all start our research online.
Not only can we get the skinny on an item that we are interested in buying, but we can also use the Internet to discover competitive products that we may not have known about.
What I discovered years ago was that if typed the name of the item that I was interested in buying followed by the letters ‘vs’, I could uncover lots of review sites with lots of great info.
This seems to work with everything from cars, to software, to apps and financial services.
There’s really no end to the power of this search condition when it comes to widening your choices in any category.
The detailed information that comparison websites offer can alert you to specific features or benefit in competitive products that you may not have considered.
Start using the VS qualifier in all your informational searches to become a more informed consumer.
Have you noticed how many different tools that you use to communicate with others these days?
Phone calls, text messages, social media and video calls are just the beginning.
It’s gotten to the point that you have to think about the primary tool you use for each of the contacts in your life.
An app called Drupe claims they have a more efficient way to navigate communications in the present environment.
It combines your contacts with all of your communication tools on one screen.
Instead of hopping between apps to make contact, you simply drag the person’s image to the tool you want to use.
You can also interact with productivity apps such as your calendar and reminders.
It’s a completely different approach to managing your interactions that you can test for yourself at: https://getdrupe.com
A couple of things that we all have no choice but to deal with are death and taxes.
Today’s reminder focuses on the first one as it pertains to your digital assets.
Making sure whoever is going to be responsible for settling your estate has your passwords is critical.
It’s bad enough to go through the grieving process without the added stress of being locked out of a loved one’s accounts.
The fraud prevention tactics built into online accounts will also prove to be a challenge to overcome for the family of the deceased.
The absolutely critical password to make sure you make available is to your email account as that is the key to your kingdom.
Validation processes as well as password reset options all require access to the primary email account.
Even if you forget to leave login information for all your other accounts, making your email account accessible can be truly critical.
No one likes to think about this, but take a minute to work through your own situation so that those that are left behind aren’t saddled with the extra grief.
If you’re the type that chooses the window seat on a cross-country flight, you’ve probably often looked down to the ground and caught a glimpse of something curious.
You can try taking a shot with your camera so you can attempt to figure out what it was or you can be prepared for this common situation on your next flight. T
here’s an app called Flyover Country that was developed just for these situations.
The key to using this app is to preload your flight path in it so it can download the details of the items you’ll be flying over.
Remember, the GPS in your smartphone can still figure out where you are even if you don’t have any type of Internet connection, which is how this app helps you.
It’s filled with lots of info including points of interest, which can lead to a much more entertaining flight.
Get started by going to https://flyovercountry.io to download the app!
For those that love reading books on a Kindle, we offer today’s suggestion which will save you money with free ebooks.
This tip works for the Kindle device or the Kindle app on any mobile device.
Just point your browser to the HundredZeros website http://hundredzeros.com to start exploring the free ebooks that you can use on your Kindle
It’s so much faster than bouncing around Amazon.com to find what has actually always been available, but a task to find.
It’s a pretty simple resource to use with large images of each book and a list of nearly 30 categories that range from Art & Photography to Best Sellers and Travel.
This is one of those gotta have websites if you have a Kindle, so bookmark it and let your fellow book worms know about Hundred Zeros today!
We’ve all got those family members or close friends that are so hard to find unique gifts for because they seem to already have everything.
Another difficult gift scenario is those office parties where everyone is expected to bring a goofy gift.
If either of these scenarios presents itself down the road, check out the off the wall options at Perpetual Kid - https://perpetualkid.com or Vat19 - https://www.vat19.com
It’s wall-to-wall crazy, unusual gift options that are bound to be the hit with just about anyone that loves unusual items.
You can watch videos demonstrating how some of the items work, so you can really get the full understanding before making a buying decision.
For those with an unusual taste in snacks, these sights can be a goldmine.
Bookmark these sites for those situations down the road where finding crazy gift giving ideas is just wha the doctor ordered!
Discovery and understanding of others is one of many great benefits of traveling whether it’s here at home or abroad.
Asking travel junkies for their go-to resources and methods for uncovering wonderful experiences that are less-known is one approach or you can use a website called ‘Culture Trip’ to make it easier.
It’s simple to start learning about options for any location by simply typing the name of the city you plan to visit in the search box.
Their travel guides will provide you with ideas on things to do, food and drink and places to stay.
Experienced-based activities have grown in popularity and they provide some great tools for finding things that you may never have thought of trying too.
The nice thing about the suggestions at https://theculturetrip.com is that they are compiled by travel professionals and local experts instead of from visitor reviews.
You can start by testing out their website or download their app from your smartphone’s app store to begin the search for that next great adventure!
Scammers have continued to modify their scams that try to convince users that their computer has been compromised because it generates money for them.
A common tactic that we have seen more of will use scary-looking warnings that may appear via your browser and in some cases lock it up.
Both Windows and Mac users are potential victims because this isn’t an operating system-specific scam as it’s done via your browser.
You may come into contact with this somewhat convincing scam on various websites, via phishing emails or even as a link posted on a friend's compromised social media page.
They try to make it look like the security software that you have installed and will often show a toll-free number prominently in hopes that you will call for help.
The thing is, none of the security software companies would ever pop up a phone number for you to call because they couldn’t possibly deal with the millions of calls they’d get.
So, from now on, if you see any type of security alert pop up and it includes a phone number to call, you’ll know not to fall for it.
A once-popular Internet event better known as the ‘Ice Bucket Challenge’ was created to help support people that were diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis better know as ALS.
While that may have been the most visible thing connected with ALS, another amazing resource that was inspired by a family dealing with it is at https://patientslikeme.com
The primary goal of the website was to connect those experiencing the same medical issues since almost every ailment is common to others.
Exchanging ideas and suggestions or your own experiences with others suffering from the same medical condition can be invaluable for both parties.
It doesn’t matter whether you have overcome your situation or not, finding others that could benefit from your treatments or tactics is meaningful.
There’s also a way to contribute to various research initiatives based on what you contracted as well.
No need to suffer in silence when there are so many people available to share information and ideas to help you navigate virtually any serious medical issues at: https://www.patientslikeme.com
If you happen to be near someone that suddenly has a medical emergency, knowing what to do quickly could be the difference between life and death.
We can’t all be medical professionals, but it is helpful for as many of us as possible to know how to administer basic first aid and CPR.
Knowing what to do and when is available via an app from the Red Cross can provide specific guidance for a variety of first aid situations.
One of the great features of the app is that once you’ve installed it on your smartphone, you don’t need any kind of connection to make use of it.
With any luck, this is an app that you can have on your phone that you hope never to have to use, but having it when it’s needed can be key.
Learn all about it and download it to your smartphone at:
Anyone looking to focus on overall fitness knows that paying attention to your caloric intake is an essential part of staying fit.
If you’re a nutritionist, you can probably look at all of the info on the product labels to determine what’s good and what’s counter-productive at the grocery store.
Well, now you can bring the evaluation skills of a nutritionist with you to the grocery store with the Fooducate app.
It uses the camera on your smartphone to scan the barcode on any common packaged product while your shopping to provide caloric and health info.
Eating healthy goes well beyond simply counting calories as things like sugar and sodium also have a big impact.
The app can also provide healthier alternatives as a suggestion when you scan an item that’s just not that good for you to eat.
This type of information is valuable to anyone, regardless of your current workout goals, so learn more at https://www.fooducate.com
One of the ongoing issues when it comes to rental properties is getting the rent paid in an efficient manner, especially if you’re still doing everything manually.
With all the integration of technology in our lives, it’s now easy to move to a digital platform for both the landlord and the renters.
A service called Cozy is one of the more popular options because it’s easy to set up and use and it’s free.
If you’re the landlord, getting the rent check couldn’t be easier as it just notifies you when the tenant has paid.
In situations where there are multiple tenants, Cozy makes it easy for each person to pay their share which eliminates the collecting from each other problem.
Landlords don’t pay a fee, but the funds will take a few days to get into your account - they make some of their money on the ‘float’.
They are hoping that landlords see the value of the rest of their platform for screening tenants and listing properties because of the free service.
Hassle-free digital rent collection is waiting for everyone at https://cozy.co
The ubiquitous PDF file format is the de facto standard for official forms online or when transacting via email.
Often times, you’ll need to fill out and sign those forms and send them back to the source, which means printing, filling out, signing, scanning and sending or worse, licking stamps!
If you interact with PDF forms on a daily basis, it makes sense to consider buying a special and often expensive program to edit forms.
For those that rarely interact with PDF forms that want a more efficient way to sign and send them back, there’s PDF Escape.
Windows users can download their free program, but an easier option is to use their web interface to upload and edit the form.
Their are lots of editing options like the text tool that lets you select an area in the form to start typing in.
You can even create new forms from scratch and all of it can be saved to your computer for easy sending via email.
Check it out at: https://www.pdfescape.com
The only thing separating your personal information and accounts from a hacker is your password, which is why you must use a unique password on every account.
To help you manage all those unique passwords, you can’t rely on your memory - you must use some form of password manager.
There are lots of software options that are low-cost or even free, but some users are just too intimidated to use them.
If that sounds like you, there’s a simple alternative that anyone can manage and that is to simply write them down.
I don’t mean to use sticky notes on your screen, but some form of secure documentation on your laptop or phone.
An additional security tip is to add some form of trickery, such as adding a couple of random characters that don’t mean anything at the beginning or end.
That will help protect them in the event someone discovers the document, which should never include 'password' on the file name when you save it.
If you use the same password everywhere, any compromise of any of those sites exposes all of them, so find a password management system that works for you.
It should be obvious by now that Google can provide the answer to virtually any question anyone has, but that’s just not obvious to everyone.
Invariably, someone in your network ends up being the one that gets asked these questions and if that’s you, have we got a suggestion for you!
The next time you get those obviously Googleable questions, send them to LMGTFY! It stands for Let Me Google That For You: http://lmgtfy.com
Type their question into the search box and click on the Get Link button to get started.
Once you have the link, send it to the person that could use a gentle tutorial on how Google can easily provide the answers to the question that they asked much faster.
The cool thing is that when they click on the link you sent them, the LMGTFY website will literally take them through the steps to ask the question on their own.
This is one of the fun and educational tools that everyone can enjoy!
Knowing what your customers are saying about you online is a critical part of any business in the age of technology.
User reviews are what many potential customers rely on to make a decision about where they spend their money and how your business responds will make a difference.
One of the easiest ways to keep updated on what others are saying about you is to create automatic notifications using Google Alerts.
In a matter of a minute or two by typing your business name into the Alerts form, you can start getting notifications whenever Google sees anything new.
It’s important to remember that negative comments are an excellent opportunity to show potential customers how you handle mistakes.
Everyone knows that people make mistakes, so don’t be afraid to publicly address negative reviews or comments online.