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!
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.
One of the most useful tools in business is something known as OCR or ‘optical character recognition.
It allows you to convert an image that has text into a document that can be edited with a word processor.
Most scanners have this ability as long as you are successful in getting the software set up and understand how to use it.
This also means that you can only perform this task wherever your scanner resides, which could be an issue in some cases.
Once again the Internet has come to the rescue with a free OCR tool at http://OnlineOCR.net so you can get it done anywhere in the world.
It can extract the text from PDF files as well as an assortment of common image files like JPGs and GIFs.
You just upload the file, choose the language it’s in and the output format for the editable file to be created.
Free and easy is a combination that makes the Online OCR /service a winner!
We are all spending a lot more time in front of our computers, which is taking a toll in a very specific area: our posture.
A variety of ailments can impact you when your posture is poor all day long, including the dreaded carpal tunnel syndrome.
The worst-case scenario is having to have surgery to repair a chronic issue brought on by bad posture every day.
Fortunately, we can all do simple things to avoid this pain, starting with how you sit in your chair while working.
The position of your arms, specifically your wrists, plays a big role in good health.
A 90-degree position of your knees so that your feet are flat on the floor is first.
As for your arms, keeping them parallel to the floor provides the proper positioning for less stress on your wrists.
Another option to help keep your wrists in the proper position, look into the physical aids available from IMAK: https://www.imakproducts.com
For a variety of reasons, you may find yourself ordering more of your meals from restaurants, which can be convenient but not necessarily healthy.
If that’s your current status, a web resource called Calorie Cap is something you might want to look into.
Their search tool allows you to define specific dietary goals so you can find satisfying meals that also meet your health goals.
Their filters will also allow you to define the level of salt, fat, carbohydrates, protein and sugar that you’re looking to keep under control
Their tool is also helpful when you know that you’re ordering from a specific restaurant.
You can find your ‘Calorie Cap’ by inputting your age, gender, height, weight, and activity level.
Once you’ve determined your Cap, you can begin to monitor how many calories a day you need to maintain or lose weight.
Get started today at https://www.caloriecap.com
Our smartphones have replaced traditional physical maps and guide books with popular alternatives like Google Maps, but the utility becomes non-existent when there’s no cell signal.
If you happen to remember to download a portion of Google Maps that you know you’ll be using, you may be OK, but that’s not generally how life happens.
For anyone that often finds themselves off the grid but still in need of navigation, there’s an app called Maps.Me that you may want to give a try.
It’s similar to a traditional GPS device in that you can download an entire country or region to your device before you head out.
It will function a bit differently so if you’re going to rely on it for critical navigation, it’s best to take it for a test run for a bit beforehand.
Get the lowdown and the apps at: https://maps.me
If you like to save money, you know how valuable coupons can be if you use them regularly.
Did you know your smartphone can make coupon clipping much more efficient with an app called Flipp?
Instead of manually looking for coupons for the items you need, the Flipp app will do the heavy lifting for you for thousands of big-name stores.
It’s not limited to grocery store coupons either as discount retailers and drug store coupons are in the mix as well.
A very helpful option is to generate a list of items you intend to buy so the app can dive into all of the coupons available to match them with our list.
It can do searches based on your location or allow you to specify a retailer that you plan to shop with.
This can all be done over time before you go to that store so the coupons that you save to your list are ready when you get there.
Sound like a great way to save money? Learn more at: https://flipp.com
Most of the valuable items we own, from our cars to our homes require diligence to keep them maintained.
If you haven’t added your computer to this list of maintenance items, we suggest you do.
You wouldn’t operate your car without any maintenance at all and simply wait until something bad happened before taking it to a mechanic, so don’t do it with your computer either.
Being proactive when it comes to your computer can save you both aggravation and money.
Windows users can start a maintenance routine by getting to know the Disk Cleanup tool that’s built-in.
The primary focus of this tool is to rid your hard drive of unneeded files and to keep tabs on the remaining storage available.
If you’ve never used this utility or it’s been a while, expect it to take some time to complete its initial scan.
As with any maintenance task, the more often you do it, the less time it will take, so consider making it a monthly task.
Infiltrating a corporate network is the first step for hackers to wreak havoc and demand money for a fix and phishing employees have always been one of their tools of choice.
Spear phishing by pretending to be someone else in the organization has proven to be very effective for the bad guys.
Any business that wants to dramatically minimize the chances of being held hostage because an employee got phished should think about an alternative to email for company-based communications.
Think about how hard it is for an employee to ignore an email that appears to be from someone from the C-suite that needs immediate action.
Imagine being able to tell all employees that any email message that claims to be from another employee should be considered a fake because all communications are on another platform.
This is one of the many reasons that platforms like Slack https://slack.com have become so popular in corporate America and should be a consideration for all companies.
Smartphone photography has never been better, but even with all of the latest technology, your images can still use a little enhancing.
We’re always looking for the latest tools that can make our photos look better, but one of our go-to tools has always been FOTOR https://www.fotor.com
This awesome set of web-based editing tools can also be used directly on your mobile devices via their apps.
Making up for poor lighting, which can result in muted colors and lower contrast is just the beginning of what this free tool can do.
With dozens of other tools such as background removers, tilt-shift and HDR, you can really make your images come to life.
Retouching tools for facial images are also available to help make anyone look like a world-famous model.
If you like what you see from their web tools, download the app to your device from here: https://www.fotor.com/mobile.html
If you work for a living, you probably have to deal with email on a daily basis, which can lead to a lot of unproductive time managing it all.
One of the worst time wasters are those messaged that pop in throughout the day from a mailing list you somehow got yourself on.
With all the clever tricks to get people on email lists, it’s not hard to have it add up pretty quickly.
Anyone looking for some help reducing the clutter in their Inbox, should check out a free service from https://unroll.me
One of the first things the tool will do once you’ve got it set up is go through all your messages to figure out which lists you are on.
You’ll then get an alphabetical list of the mailing lists you’re ‘subscribed’ to so you can decide if you want to unsubscribe from each one.
For those lists that you want to stay on, instead of getting their messages randomly throughout the day, you can add them to a 'roll up' so everything comes as one message.
If you’ve never tried it out, it’s waiting for you at: https://unroll.me
Just about all of us became fascinated at a young age with the exploration of outer space and to this day, it’s just as interesting to me.
If you or a loved one loves all things space-related, a must-see website has been assembled by the folks at NASA.
You would expect to see lots of amazing pictures and videos but what you may not expect is all of the interactive possibilities from their various apps.
You can access tens of thousands of images, interactive 3D images and endless videos that are awe-inspiring.
There are also options to view live HD video feeds that are being sent from various crafts.
Another great reason to download the app is so you can get notified when space-related events are in the near future.
What a great way to get younger children intrigued with space exploration and maybe inspire them to pursue the idea of becoming an astronaut.
Pop over to https://www.nasa.gov to get started and use the ‘Downloads’ link to get their apps for your mobile devices and major streaming devices.
Many of you became first time RVers because of the pandemic and discovery this amazing way to explore the vast beauty of our country.
The larger your rig, the more expensive it can become because of fuel prices, so learning how to find lower priced fuel a bit off the beaten path can save you big dollars.
Having gas prices show up in Google Maps is great, but it doesn’t provide nearly as much detailed info as my favorite app known as Gas Buddy.
It relies on its 70+ million users to update the pricing in both the United States and Canada.
You can save by planning ahead which is made much easier via the app or simply pop it open when you want to see the best deals within a reasonable range.
Not only do you get the most recent prices, it will show you the last time someone confirmed the stated price, which is usually that same day.
If you need the best price on diesel or premium only, the filtering option in the app makes it your default.
Just search for Gas Buddy in the major app stores to get started.
No matter who you are, it’s likely that you have or will get a call from someone claiming that your computer is infected and they can help you.
If you entertain their claims, they’ll ask you to run certain ‘tests’ on your computer to confirm what they claim is true.
These ‘tests’ that they’ll walk you through are nothing more than simple commands that will always provide the ‘results’ they say is proof of an infection…it’s like a card trick where they guide you to the card they want you to pick.
The technical words that come up on the screen may seem convincing for less technical folks, but remember, they’re guiding the process with a known outcome.
The worse case scenarios are when they convince victims to allow them to remotely access the computer to get rid of the malware.
The inevitable request for a credit card to cover the fix is a big-time red flag and part of the scam.
All you need to know is that no legitimate tech company will call you out of the blue to claim they detected something bad on your computer and you should only allow remote access to those you trust.
Don’t you hate when you print something from a website and it ends up spewing lots of useless ads out of your printer?
Even when they try to convince you to use their printer-friendly version of the page, you can waste lots of ink or toner on images and junk you don’t want.
There is a tool that will actually give you control over what you want to print called Print What You Like: http://Printwhatyoulike.com
There’s nothing special to download or install because you simply place the web link into their website to regain control over what you’re going to print.
I use this tool to eliminate all the wasted ink when I’m printing a recipe that I want to take to the store to pick up ingredients. I don’t need to see the picture of the food or any of the sponsor ads while I’m shopping.
Give it a try for yourself at: http://Printwhatyoulike.com
Getting in shape is a goal we all share, but finding something that will allow you to be successful can be tricky, especially if you have to commit to an expensive piece of equipment or a long-term membership.
Until you know you’ll make the commitment to keeping at it, skipping the expense may be a good idea.
The good news is that you don’t have to spend the big bucks to get started because there are free options such as https://darebee.com that you can use to get started.
This donation-based website offers lots of visual instructions for a variety of exercises that don’t require any fitness equipment.
Darebee doesn’t just provide ways for you to move and get fit, they also provide guidance in an equally important aspect of fitness which is what you eat.
Anyone looking for a simple way to get motivated in the world of fitness should look into the wealth of help being offered at https://darebee.com
As much as tech has changed the way we read, anyone that grew up reading physical books knows the joy of holding it in your hand while reading.
If you love to read but want help finding new titles to read, especially from those that have a similar taste in topics, today’s tip is for you.
A website called GoodReads.com has created an option to all of the algorithmic sites that make suggestions depending upon what you have already read.
They certainly use that approach to making suggestions, but they also want to help you create a network of like-minded readers to make human-based suggestions for new books.
We’ve come a long way from browsing the shelves of your local book store to find new authors and topics that we enjoy.
The best use of this platform is for those that create their own book club with a number of friends that also love to read.
The bottom line on this web resource is that it’s specifically designed to help bookworms find other bookworms and books in a more efficient way: https://www.goodreads.com
An unusual question was asked via social media that at first glance seemed a bit silly: How do I add a timestamp to my photos?
After thinking about the questions for a bit, we came up with a number of situations where this could be helpful.
One was as an easy visual method to provide the age of the image along with a way to maintain this detail within the photo itself.
There are hidden details on photos that can include a lot more than just the date which is contained in what is called the ‘metadata’.
Apps the are designed to read the metadata can extract this useful information and in the case of timestamps, incorporate it into the image itself.
There are several apps that can do this including “TimeStamp It” for Apple devices https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/timestamp-it-photo-stamper/id327756085?mt=8 and Camera Timestamp for Android devices https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.ascendapps.cameratimestamp.trial
Fear not, these apps offer an updated look and feel for the timestamp as well as the ability to move then to any of the corners.
The concept of a ‘bucket list’ is well known by most of us, but how serious have you ever been about creating one?
Most experts say that creating an actual list goes a long way to actually achieving those bucket list ideas.
And as you may have guessed, there’s an app for that and it’s called Soon.
You don’t have to be on a pursuit to change your life to make use of the app as it can help you keep track of lots of normal things you want to remember to do.
They use categories to help you file your items so you can keep things in perspective as you go about life.
A really cool feature is that when you add certain items to your list, the specific details about it can be automatically gathered for you so you don’t have to go searching for them yourself.
With the ability to add notes, you can personalize all of your items before or after you do them.
Get started at: http://www.soonforever.co
Using Apple’s operating systems for your phone and computer provides some convenient features, especially when it comes to notifications.
Since Microsoft and Google aren’t sharing operating systems, this integration isn’t the same unless you use a 3rd party app such as Crono.
Crono allows you to unify notifications no matter what OS you’re using on your computer and smartphone.
It will bring all those notifications that generally only appear on your phone to start popping up on your computer, so you no longer have to reach for your phone every time.
It also provides cut and paste integration between your phone and computer, which can be a real time-saver when you need to share information.
And just like with your phone, you can dismiss calls and send text messages right from your computer once it’s set up.
All of the downloads and options are posted at: https://crono.app
There’s a really cool technology called VOIP, which is an acronym for Voice Over Internet Protocol that is the subject of today’s tip.
You’ve likely used a VOIP service such as Skype without realizing just how powerful this technology can be because Skype charges you if you want to call a regular landline.
A free option is actually available to anyone that has a Google account that can appear right in your Gmail menu screen.
The service Google offers is called Voice and it a very easy service to set up.
You start by downloading and installing a simple Google plug-in that then allows you to take full advantage of the service.
If you like using Gmail shortcuts, once the plug-in is installed, you can bring up a Voice dialer by pressing G and then P.
The coolest thing is that from now on you can click on any formatted phone number in any message, such as a signature to make a call.
If you’re interested in setting this up, here are some excellent instructions: https://www.lifewire.com/how-to-make-and-receive-phone-calls-in-gmail-1171944
The Internet has become such an essential communication tool that everyone is trying to use, but when it comes to images on the Internet, you have to be very careful.
Don’t assume that if you find an image online via a search, you can use it for yourself on a website or a blog.
Doing this seemingly innocent action can result in an expensive legal bill because you inadvertently violated an image copyright.
If this makes you cringe at the thought of the potential violations on your own website or blog, it’s in your best interest to go back and review what you’ve used so you can remove copyrighted materials.
If you understand the terminology, there are places where you can freely use images so long as they are showing a creative commons license.
If you want to be absolutely sure to steer clear of legal actions from copyright owners, you can inexpensively purchase images from sites like Canva.com or BigStockPhoto.com.
I’ve written in detail about this expensive mistake at https://www.datadoctors.com/help/columns/21988