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!
Driving around with tires that are under inflated can cost you money in wasted fuel and can actually be dangerous.
A new iPhone app called TireCheck makes it fun and easy to keep track of your tire pressure.
Once you install the app on your iPhone, you simply select the make and model of your car and then take a snapshot of each wheel using the app.
The app will then scan the image to tell you if your tires are underinflated and if so, how much money you might be wasting a year because of it.
As cool as this app is, it’s not going to be precisely accurate and is absolutely no substitute for a real tire gauge.
It’s also not capable of reporting over-inflated tires, but it is a quick and fun way to check for under-inflated tires without getting dirty.
And just having the app on your phone will end up being a subtle reminder to regularly check your tire pressure, which will definitely save you money!
When you get a call on your smartphone from an unknown number, you end up having to make a split second decision generally based on the area code of whether to answer the call or not.
An app called Contactive is hoping to help you out with this problem by using multiple resources to help identify unknown callers on the fly.
They combine your social networks with publicly available registries and their own global directory to show you who’s if they’re not already in your phones address book.
It even gives you a quick cheat sheet of your contacts latest updates and interactions with you so you’re better prepared when you do answer a call.
This call management app is only available for Android phones and can’t identify every unknown call for you, but when it works, it’s magic.
It’s also a great way to combine social media profile pictures with your address book and lots of other details about your contacts that exist in separate systems.
Think of it as caller ID on steroids!
When you travel to a new city or country, our smartphones can be invaluable for keeping track of where you went and when.
But you have to remember to pull your smartphone out and check in or take notes while you are trying enjoy those new destinations, so lots of details of your trip can fall through the cracks.
If you want an easier way to trace your footsteps but don’t want the distraction of constantly pulling out your iPhone, checkout an app called Rove.
Rove automatically and privately detects where you went and what you did, so you can leave your smartphone in your pocket and enjoy what you’re doing.
Whether you want a travel journal or road trip tracker, the Rove app makes it simple to recall any detail of any trip you took.
And if you do use your phone to take a picture, it will include that in your timeline automatically so you don’t have to manually assemble the trip log when you get home.
The Rove app is free but only available for the iPhone at the moment.
If you have a smartphone and you think you take amazing pictures with it, did you know that you might be able to get paid for those awesome shots?
Fotolia, a web service that specializes in selling stock photos now has a simple app called Fotolia Instant that allows you to submit your works of art right from your phone.
Now, you’re not going to get rich selling your photos this way because they have to be really special to be of any value, but if you’re an aspiring paparazzi, why not take a stab at getting paid?
It’s pretty simple to become a contributor by downloading the app and creating a free account, but you may have to work at it to get your pictures accepted.
You’ll be competing with lots of other photo fanatics to become part of the Fotolia Instant Collection, but you don’t have to be a professional anymore to get paid.
For the time being, they only offer the app for iPhone users, but the Android version is scheduled to be released very soon.
E-mail has become so overrun with spam that the tools for detecting spam can often mistake real messages, that we call HAM, for junk messages.
The specific words you use and how you construct your message can actually make your innocent communications look like a scam to automated spam filters.
Unnecessary images or certain words can increase your spam score but it’s hard to know what is and isn’t acceptable.
That’s where a simple web resource that allows you to test the spammyness of your emails can be really helpful.
The next time you have someone tell you that your message ended up in their spam filter or worse, that they never got your message, go to http://mail-tester.com and you may be able to figure out why
All you do is send the message to special address that they provide and then wait a few seconds to click a link and check your spam score.
You’ll get a detailed report on your message including whether your mail system has been blacklisted, which will cause lots of mail to get blocked all together.
Tracking your online behavior and search requests is big business on the Internet these days and by default it’s easy for this to happen.
Online privacy is become more of an issue for a lot of you so tools that allow you to understand or block what’s being tracked are becoming more popular.
One of these tools is called Disconnect and if gives you an easy way to manage your online privacy when it comes to browsing and searching the Internet.
Disconnect is a browser extension for Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Opera and it’s a pay-what-you-want project for those that want to support online privacy and security efforts.
Once you install the extension, your online activities are masked because it looks like your requests are coming from the Disconnect servers, not your personal computer.
Disconnect will also show you all of the invisible requests that are being made and make sure you are using encrypted connections when you do share your data.
So, if you want an easy to way to control who can see your personal surfing habits, checkout the disconnect tool today!
If you were one of the millions of iPhone users that upgraded to iOS 7, you’re probably overwhelmed by all the changes.
We’re hearing a lot of complaints from die hard iPhone fans because they can’t figure out how to do some of the things that they have always been able to do.
Whether you updated your older iPhone or purchased one of the new models, the look and feel is completely different.
The number of changes are too numerous for most of us to discover just by playing around, so Apple has created a series of tips and Tricks for each of the current devices.
Whether you want to learn how to use the new swipe gestures or figure out where the timestamps went on your text messages, the easy to understand guides are a big time saver.
If you want to tell Siri how to properly pronounce your last name or who’s who in your family, it’s waiting for you in the guides.
iPhone 5 & 5S http://www.apple.com/iphone-5s/tips
IPhone 5C http://www.apple.com/iphone-5c/tips
iPhone 4S http://www.apple.com/iphone-4s/tips
Some of us love the ocean enough to go through the process of getting a scuba diving certification so we can see the underwater wonders of Mother Nature first hand.
But the thought of breathing underwater or being near large sea creatures freaks a lot of people out, so they never got to have this amazing experience themselves…until now!
Google has taken their Street Views initiative underwater so that anyone can explore some of the greatest underwater destinations in the world without ever getting wet.
Google has actually used it’s high definition Street View technology to map the ocean floor.
Imagine exploring Australia’s Great Barrier Reef or some of the best dive sites in the Hawaiian Islands with nothing more than your mouse.
Zoom in and out of coral reefs with your mouse wheel or click onto an area in the distance to really get a sense of what it’s like to be floating around as an underwater explorer.
You can even stroll the beaches surrounding these awesome underwater sites if you want.
If you’re in charge of creating either traditional or online graphical materials for your organization, you know that you run into a bit of a problem from time to time.
That problem is that you need a small tweak to something that you already have, like a logo, business card, artwork or photograph.
The task is too small to submit to as a project to a traditional graphics house and you lack the tools an expertise to make the tweak yourself.
That’s where a crowdsourcing site called Swiftly can come to the rescue and get this, the tweak will only cost 15 bucks!
You simply create the task by uploading your existing design file with the instructions on what you want changed.
Within hours, a designer will make the changes that you requested, so all you have to do is download the file, approve the work and pay 15 bucks.
You may not need this help all the time, but when you do, you’ll be glad that you bookmarked this site!
Social media accounts like Twitter and Facebook are constant targets for hackers because they can wreak some serious havoc if they can compromise your account.
Most of them will use your account to send malicious links to all your friends so they too can become victims.
We’ve stressed over and over again that activating a security feature called ‘two factor authentication’ is a key way to avoid ever becoming a victim even if a hacker breaks your password.
Two factor authentication requires two things to gain access to your account: something you know; your password and something you own; your smartphone.
When you activate this feature on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Gmail or any network that supports it, whenever anyone tries to log in from a computer or mobile device that’s not recognized, a special code gets sent to your smartphone to verify that it’s you.
Unless that code is used within a short period of time, the potential hacker won’t be able to go any further, even though they have your password and you’ll now get an alert when someone has figured out your password!
Tabbed browsing is one of the greatest improvements to the web surfing experience to ever come along because it allows you to quickly bounce between websites without having to use the back button 12 times.
The problem with getting too overzealous with new tabs is that it chews up memory and can slow your computer to a crawl.
If you’ve noticed that you operate with lots of tabs open all the time, we suggest that you try using Google’s Chrome browser with a wonderful extension called The Great Suspender.
This cool little utility will automatically monitor your usage and pause any web session that you haven’t used in a while. When you click back to a paused tab, just click to reload and you pick up right where you left off.
Not only will it free up memory and processing power, it will help you reduce the drain on laptop batteries by pausing all the background activities.
You can easily add certain websites, like a real-time stock trading page to a whitelist so The Great Suspender knows not to ever pause it.
If you’re an avid web surfer that’s constantly yelling at your computer for taking so long, this approach is a lot cheaper than buying a new computer!
White with fish, red with meat…if that’s about the extent of your wine knowledge, we’ve got an app for you!
Hello Vino is a great app for wine newbies that’s simple to use and full of great education so you can expand your knowledge beyond chardonnays and cabernets.
With over 10,000 varieties of wine grapes in the world, the best thing about discovering new wines is finding amazing pairings with your favorite foods.
Hello Vino makes it quick and easy. Want to know what wine will go great with a bacon cheeseburger? No problem!
Want to find a great wine to go with the luscious French Brie that you just tasted at the deli counter? Hello Vino!
Looking for the right wine to go with a spicy Thai curry? Hello Vino’s got ya covered there too.
AND, If you’ve ever had that helpless feeling at a restaurant when you get asked to pick a bottle of wine, here’s how Hello Vino will save the day. Ask your date or boss or whoever is with you, what they plan to eat.
Find the perfect type of wine in Hello Vino, go to that section of the wine list and you’ll be talking like a wine snob in no time flat!
Lots of us start our day by running, walking or taking a bike ride because it makes us feel good.
If you regularly exercise and want to feel even better about your daily workouts, consider using the Charity Miles app on your smartphone.
Charilty Miles combines an app that tracks your activity for you, with a charitable connection that allows you to raise money for a charity with every mile of activity.
Bikers can raise 10 cents a mile, while runners and walkers can raise 25 cents a mile for the charity of your choice.
You’ve probably seen some of your friends posting Charity Miles updates on Facebook and now you know why!
IF you want to help organizations like the Wounded Warrior Project, Autism Speaks, Habitat for Humanity or lots of other awesome charitable groups with something you are already doing every day, join the movement!
The app is available for iPhone and Android users and once you get started, you can proclaim that you are now a sponsored athlete!
These days, counting calories is a vital component of any fitness program and lots of restaurants are helping us out by publishing the calories right on their menus.
But when you go grocery shopping, you have to really dig into the product labeling to determine the nutritional values, which can get a bit tedious.
Unless you are a nutritionist or have one shopping with you, we have a great suggestion for getting the info you need before you buy anything from now on!
It’s a food app that educates; it’s called Fooducate and all you have to do is snap a picture of the barcode to get a quick health grade and calorie count and a wealth of health info if you really want to dig in.
You’ll now know if a product has controversial ingredients, too much sugar or sodium, if it highly processed and best of all, Fooducate will give you a list of alternatives that are healthier to consider buying instead.
If you’re counting calories, do it with ease with Fooducate, which is available for both iPhone and Android users and it’s free
It’s time for another Data Doctors Tech Tip
If you’re in business, you should be using LinkedIn and if you are on Linkedin AND you have an iPhone, you should definitely be using the CardMunch app to make connections easily.
Cardmunch takes a picture of a business card and then automatically finds that person on Linkedin so all you have to do is click on the Connect button to make the connection.
Unfortunately, they still haven’t created a version for Android users, but if you want a solid business card scanner for android phones that makes it easy to get connected on LinkedIn, we’d highly recommend CamCard Free.
Of all of the business card scanners we’ve tested so far, CamCard’s higher accuracy rate and ease of use stand out from the rest and you can manually search for them on LinkedIn just by tapping on the icon.
CamCard is also available for iPhone, iPad, Windows Phone and Blackberry users and can add the scanned contact information to just about any address book.
Most of us live in the Microsoft Office universe and from time to time, find ourselves having to work with a document on our mobile devices.
Most mobile productivity apps will allow you to open Microsoft Word documents, but not many of them give you the ability to edit the documents without going through a conversion process.
Google recently acquired one of the oldest mobile productivity companies; we’re talking Palm Pilot & Pocket PC old… called QuickOffice that offers a pretty powerful app for iOS and Android users that doesn’t require converting the documents.
AND, the first they did was made the app free and will give you an additional 10 Gb of storage on Google Drive when you setup the app.
QuickOffice allows you to edit Word documents in their native format right on your your iPad, iPhone or Android tablet or phone.
That means when someone e-mails you a document, you can open it, edit it and send it back from your mobile device… it may even allow you to leave your heavy laptop at home on your next trip.
Few things are as personal and important as finding a doctor that you feel comfortable with and asking your friends for recommendations is generally how we attempt to find the best docs in town.
But what if you need a specialist, or you just moved to a new town or none of your friends suggestions worked for you?
That’s where a couple of web resources may be just what the doctor ordered (yeah I said it!)
ZocDoc and BetterDoctor make it real simple to find doctors in your area by answering three simple questions: your desired specialty, your location and your health insurance company.
You’ll get a list of doctors that are covered by your insurance plan, reviews and ratings, contact info and in some cases the available times so you can book an appointment online.
And it’s not limited to primary physicians either… you can find dentists, therapist, chiropractors or just about any specialists that your aching body may need.
The Internet is so useful today because of a simple, but powerful tool known as the hyperlink.
Hyperlinks are words or images that when clicked lead to more information about that item; we click on those ubiquitous blue links every day.
But what happens when a word or phrase doesn’t have a hyperlink but you want more information?
You typically have to copy the word, open a new browser tab, past the word into search and weed through the results…but not any more!
If you use Google’s Chrome browser or have an Android phone or tablet, you can add an extension called Kikin ( that’s K I K I N) that gives you the ability to get more information on ANY word you see on ANY page you visit.
You just click and hold any word you want more information on until Kikin’s bubble appears and when you let go a column on the right side will pop up with lots of useful info.
Websites, pictures, videos, news and maps that have anything to do with THAT word will be neatly organized without ever leaving the page you were on.
You parents that help your kids with homework online will love the efficiency that Kikin provides and its free!
Today’s tip is a reminder to all you old-school Internet users about a site you probably forgot about.
One of the first deal sites that WE loved in the early days of the e-commerce boom was a site called Woot (http://woot.com) because it had a simple premise: One item for one day.
The deal of the day would usually sell out pretty quickly so you had to be on your toes or you would miss out.
Today Woot offers a plethora of deals in everything from watches to tech to home and garden items, sporting goods, kids stuff and my personal favorite WINE!
One of the great features of Woot is that you can discuss any item with your fellow wooters to get feedback on items before you buy them.
Woot W O O T.com; It’s kind of like a virtual home shopping channel without the annoying, overexcited pitch person but be careful…it can be addictive!
It’s time for another Data Doctors Tech Tip
If you’re part of a large group of friends that regularly goes out together, you can end up splitting checks, sharing cabs or reimbursing someone that prepaid for your theater ticket.
You can use cash if you happen to have the right change or keep a mental ledger, but it can get to be a bit complicated with a large group.
That’s where an app called Venmo could come in handy, because it allows you to securely transfer money to your friends without any fees.
Venmo will allow you to give your friend exactly $8.27 instead of the awkward moment when you realize that someone has to make change.
The transactions are protected by the FDIC and once you’ve setup your account, it only takes a few clicks to send a friend some money.
And because there are no transaction fees, you can send really small amounts of money to cover that soda your coworker bought for you, so they know you don’t take them for granted.
If you have roommates, splitting utility bills, rent and groceries is a constant juggling act that can be simplified with Venmo as well.
Not everyone has a need, but when you do, it can take a lot of the drama out of this commonly awkward social situation.
It’s time for another Data Doctors Tech Tip
Today’s tip isn’t something that you’ll need on a regular basis, but the next time you need to find a hotel room in a hurry, you’ll be glad you learned about it.
HotelTonight is an app that specializes in last minute hotel bookings, so instead of having to pay big bucks because you didn’t get to plan ahead, find a room near you that’s a real deal.
Hotels want to fill every room, every night and offering last minute deals is one way they attempt to do just that.
Whether you end up unexpectedly spending the night in a strange town or you just love to be spontaneous when you travel, having the HotelTonight app on your smartphone can save you big bucks.
In our random tests against some of the popular booking sites, Hoteltonight was consistently lower on last minute bookings and they even offer a price guarantee.
Hoteltonight is available for both iPhone and Android users and can be used in the US, Canada, Mexico and 9 major European countries.
Just pick a city and the number of nights you want to stay to get the best deals you can find on last minute deals. Get the app at hoteltonight.com