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!
We all have various selfie obsessed mates that are always holding their arm out to take a selfie or it’s possible that you’re that person.
In any case, if taking selfies is a regular exercise, it makes sense to put your best face on it which can be done with the Facetune app.
Facetune provides simple tools to make adjustments to any selfie; they say ‘don’t wait for the perfect shot, when you can Facetune it’.
The app lets you do everything from whiten your teeth to removing blemishes to getting rid of those dark circles under your eyes and allows you to improve your smile with the reshaping tool.
It also provides a defocus option which can make your selfie look like it was taken with a professional camera!.
Let’s face it, anyone that is self-obsessed with taking selfies allay will enjoy the ability to touch up their images as well.
Reworking your image isn’t just be for celebrities, so anyone committed to the awesome selfies should checkout the Facetune app for iPhone, iPad or Android.
Whether shopping for furniture, building something for your house or petitioning help from a neighborhood hardware store, making sure you have accurate measurements is essential.
Accurately conveying those measurements to others is equally as important.
We can easily take pictures using our phones, but including the measurement details ususally ends up being sent seperate from the picture.
For those situations, the 'My Measures' can make it much easier to include dimensions right on the picture you're taking, which reduces the chances of miscommunications when working with to a third party.
You no longer need to sketch something out on a piece of paper or pray that the recipient does not confuse the seperate measurements.
The app allows you to add arrows and dimensions to your images in seconds, then save and share the instructions, making it excellent for real estate agents, construction professionals or all you Do-It-Yourself fanatics.
The My Measures app works on iPhone, Android and Amazon mobile devices: http://www.mymeasuresapp.com
Our smartphones will generally be safe from malicious apps as long as we only get our apps from the associated app stores and avoid jailbreaking or rooting your phone.
Jailbreaking or rooting phones allows users to sidestep controls the manufacturers install in their devices and mostly performed by tech savvy users.
But a scam is in circulation that will allow malicious apps to sneak onto your phone, even for those that haven’t modified the controls on their smartphones.
The scam generally begins with a well-crafted text message or email with a link to an interesting app download.
When you tap on the link, it can start the process of exploiting just about any phone, even if the security is still in place.
This further stresses the importance of my long standing advice: If you did not specifically go looking for an app, never install it.
These scammers are able to create very persuasive communications that can often appear to be from one of your friends through the use of hacked accounts, so always stay alert.
For more real-time protection for your smartphone, checkout the security apps at http://lookout.com
Doesn’t it seem like some smartphone chargers can take longer to charge then some of the others?
Well you are not imagining this difference as the power output by each charger (aka amperage) and faulty cables can make a huge difference.
Understanding that the lower the amperage, the longer it will take to charge anything.
Always try to use the charger from the manufacturer, but when you can’t, use a charging device with the proper amperage rating for the best results.
In general, it takes special devices to properly measure output current, but anyone with an Android device can use an app called Ampere that makes it simple to see the variations in charging of your chargers and cables.
This ‘Ampere app’ monitors both battery charging and drainage as well as temperature and overall health of your batteries.
Monitoring the app while you are using the collection of chargers and cables in your bag, quickly reveals which combination will do the best job.
Ampere app at Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.gombosdev.ampere&hl=en
Most cyber-security organizations have been warning us all that those beloved mobile devices we use every day, will become the most desirable target for hackers.
They know that we all love downloading new apps so this has become the new attack vector being used by the bad guys.
Nothing underscores this concern more than the discovery of cleverly crafted malicious apps that looked very legitimate used in something called ‘masque attacks’.
The convincing apps look like popular apps such as Facebook, Skype, Whatsapp and Twitter and if you fall for them, they can allow remote hackers to monitor just about everything you’re doing on your device silently.
They primarily try to trick users into downloading what appears as one of many popular apps, so it’s very important to pay close attention to where you are downloading our apps.
These malicious downloads are often presented to your through links on social media or through email. As always, only get your apps directly from the Apple App store.
One of our favorite features in Google Maps allows anyone to switch to the Street View of virtually any street that Google’s mapping vehicles have driven on.
Their Street View vehicles have been cruising and recording the streets of the world since 2007, but it’s a feature added in 2014 that very few people seem to know about.
After dragging the yellow peg man & dropping it on any street, the default images will be from their most recent drive-by.
What seems to be less well known is that you can travel back in time in the exact same view by clicking on the little clock icon in the upper left-corner, right under the address.
You should see dots on the timeline that represent each year of the view was captured all the way back to 2008.
Once you’re in a previous year, you aren’t limited to the current view because you can move around and view all the images on the street from that same year.
It’s about as close as we’ll ever get to time travel courtesy of Google https://maps.google.com
A very unique web resource that's always been one of our favorites got a bit of an overhaul, which makes searching the web's past a lot more fun.
It's called the "Wayback Machine" and it's part of the Internet Archive project, which has been capturing elements of the Internet starting in 1996. You get to go back in time to lookup what various websites looked in the past.
Wouldn't it be great to see what your favorite websites looked like many years ago?
You can by going to the Wayback Machine website and typing just about any website to get a calendar of the available dates for past versions.
The original captures grabbed just home pages, so don't expect the full site, but their updated technology may allow more of the websites to be captured in the future.
It is really fun to see old versions of big name websites from companies like Microsoft and Apple! Check out all your favorites at http://Archive.org/web
Now that the summer heat is here, it is once again hot enough to make most us pretty cranky in the heat of the day.
And there's something else that can get pretty uncomfortable and equally cranky from the heat - all the batteries in all your devices!
Heat is one of the things you can protect your batteries from which will help you extended the life of your batteries.
Exposing your smartphone, notebook computer or tablet to extended direct sunlight in a steaming hot car will definitely reduce the life of your batteries.
When your tech has been in the heat and is warm to the touch, it's a good idea to avoid turning them on if possible and waiting for them to cool down closer to room temperature.
Another common mistake that geneates unneccesary heat is blocking those tiny exhaust vents on your laptop by using it on a pillow or thick blanket which can overheat your entire system.
If you spend a lot of time outside with your devices, always focus on avoiding direct sunlight for long periods of time to help your batteries.
Finally, keep in mind that when you're uncomfortable from the heat, so are your battery operated devices.
Take a look around your living room to see how many remote controls you have laying around…it’s a bit much, isn’t it?
Even if you have managed to program everything to a universal remote, how often does it go missing between the cushions or under the couch?
Since you always have your smartphone in your hand, think about how awesome if would be if was your universal remote?
Some of you may already have a device that is equipped with the ability to be just that and you only need the app to make it work.
Some Android devices actually have an infrared transmitter, so simply installing the free Peel remote control app is all you need.
iPad and iPhone users can buy a device called the “Pronto” which will pair with the Peel app to convert them into your remote.
Pronto is a multi-directional receiver transmitter with a range of about 80 feet and will run you about 50 bucks .
It uses regular AA batteries, which should last a year or so, which allows you to set it up just about anywhere.
(Pronto currently only works with iPhones and iPads.)
It’s not uncommon for someone to be left out of group shots because they are the ones that have to take the picture, so today’s focus is on this common problem.
Even if you can get some stranger to snap the shot of the entire group, they’ll generally be unfamiliar with your camera which can end up creating blurry or poorly composed images.
If you own one of the many Samsung Galaxy phones, many of them have the ability to capture our pictures using the front and back camera simultaneously so the person taking the picture isn’t left out of the memory.
If you smartphone doesn’t have this feature, you don’t have to be envious anymore because you can get this feature using the Frontback app.
This free app allows you to easily create images using the front and back cameras so you get a different perspective of that moment in time.
It’s not as easy as having the feature in your primary camera app, but it will allow you to include the photographer in the picture from then on!
Flash memory USB drives have become about as ubiquitous as floppy disks were back in the beginning of computing. At this point, most of us have a drawer loaded with drives that are just too small for today’s huge file sizes.
For those that do, there’s an interesting use for those old USB drives: you can convert them into a dog tag!
Several users on Instructables.com came up with the idea as a high-tech option for recovering a lost dog.
Just create a text file or a document or even a PDF that provides instructions for contacting you should your dog get lost and copy the instructions to the USB drive.
This approach allows you to provide a variety of additional info such as vaccination records, notes on the dog’s demeanor, how it gets on with other pets and even if your dog has a microchip.
Then add it to your dog’s collar and wrap it tight to help protect it from the elements and you’re good to go.
Remember, a chipped dog will need to be taken to a vet to be ID’d, but with a USB drive anyone these days can use it to identify the owner.
The technology that powers voice recognition is improving exponetially as an interface and in the not too distant future, you'll most likely find yourself rarely using your keyboard or mouse.
Both Apple and Google are market leaders in the smartphone category, but a startup in California seems to be substantially ahead of both leaders.
An app known for its music recognition called Soundhound, posted a demo of their extraordinary voice recognition app they are calling 'Hound'.
They are proclaiming their "speech-to-meaning" tech is far superior and based on their demo, it's very impressive.
The demo shows the Hound app responding quickly to very complicated queries such as 'when will the sun rise 2 days before Xmas of 2021 in Tokyo Japan".
The quickness in the video in which it's able to reply to super complicated questions makes it seem unbelievable, but lots of third parties are claiming the tech and the video are real.
If you want to experience the near future of voice recognition, checkout the links I have posted to both the demo and the app download:
A powerful mobile device that has been around for quite a while may become a bit more viable for many users this year.
It’s known as the 'Google Chromebook', which works a lot like a regular basic laptop, but it costs a lot less to own.
By using Google’s 'Chrome Operating System' as well as their suite of online apps, like that that can also be used when you're not online.
Chromebooks can't make use of traditional Windows programs, so they aren't that usable for everyone, but anyone that spends most of their time online could find it to be a decent alternative.
Young children and seniors will benefit from this platform because of its low-cost, simplicity and best of all, it will bypass all the nasty malware that goes after Windows and Mac users.
If you live your life primarily in the cloud, Chromebooks may be worth taking a look at the next time you need to make a change.
Android smartphone users will benefit from the integration between the smartphone and Chromebook apps as well.
Learn more at http://google.com/chromebooks
The popularity of smartphones and tablets continue to grow primarily for one simple reason: apps!
Anyone thinking about creating apps for their organization generally runs into a budgeting problem, so today’s tip is for those facing this common hurdle.
A startup called ‘AppMachine’ has created a platform that allows anyone to simply create mobile apps in a few minutes even without any coding experience.
This simple Do-It-Yourself builder isn’t going to create apps like a professional app builder would, but for those that want to create a truly simple app, it’s worth checking out.
Their site shows examples for musicians, restaurants, athletes, healthcare, tourism and many others. If you have an app idea, this easy approach may be just what you need.
Using the app builder is free but you will have to pay monthly fees if you decide to submit your app to the various app stores.
Start building your first app or learn much more at http://appmachine.com
The awesome blockbuster summer movie season is in swing and ducking into an air-conditioned theater with a tall cool beverage is ab excellent way to escape the heat.
Today we remind you of one of our classic tips that will help when that massive drink causes you to need the loo in the middle of the movie.
RunPee is a free app that lets you know when the most opportune times are to run to restroom during the movie.
Rather than randomly guessing when to go, the app will vibrate your smartphone during slow portions of the movie so you can avoid missing important scenes during your restroom break.
The app finds 3 to 5 minutes of the movie that are less important to the story so you’ll not miss funny, exciting or crucial moments important to the movie’s plot.
Parents will love using RunPee to be pre-emptive with your child’s bathroom breaks to avoid missing anything important.
Runpee provides you with a brief overview of what you missed while you were away, so no whisper updates are required from your friends.
RunPee works for iPhone and Android users and can be downloaded all at https://RunPee.com
We have come to expect a high level of performance whenever we connect to the Internet so when things don’t go the way we’ve come to expect, frustration is sure to set in.
When you don’t know if it’s the computer you’re using, the connection or any of a number of other confusing possibilities such as a DNS issue or a firewall preventing your access can make solving this common problem complicated.
This issue can be even more problematic when you’re on the road, especially when you have a deadline and are forced to use a connection at a hotel or coffee shop with questionable service.
A diagnostic from Google for their Chrome browser can help demystify your connection issues. It’s called the ‘connectivity diagnostic browser app’ and it can be a quick way to diagnose most of the issues that can impact connectivity.
Once installed in your browser, you can click on it and a thorough test is run which checks nine connectivity items and then it lets you know which one may be causing your problem.
Even when you have no idea what the tool is telling you, the info will be useful if you have to call someone for help!
Get it here:
Apple's iPad has always been a wonderful tool for both education & entertainment, but used improperly, they'll tend to keep youngsters from interacting in the real world.
Anyone with kids and an iPad should checkout the Osmo interactive platform which combines the digital world and the physical world using the iPad as a base.
It provides educational game play by using physical items that will interact with the app which extends the activities outside of the physical iPad.
The basic components of the platform are the stand and a plastic cover with a mirror in it, which sits over the iPad's front-facing camera. This is what allows the app to see items on the surface directly in front of the iPad's display.
The startup kit offers various activities ranging from word games to puzzles, but I really like the Masterpiece activity.
Think of it as a 'virtual lightbox' allowing young aspiring artists to trace out items displayed on the screen to the paper right in front of the iPad.
The Osmo platform is for kids six or older, with all the details at https://PlayOsmo.com
What are the chances that you’ll do something really worth remembering today?
That is the question that the ‘1 Second Every Day’ app is designed to make you answer.
It was inspired by a gentleman named Cesar Kuriyama who decided to record a year-long trip by simply recording 1 second of video each day.
When he completed the compilation, it allowed him to easily recall lots of moments of that year that for most of us would just drifted away.
It may sound a little crazy at first, but it can be an awesome way to document a the many events in your life in a way that is a lot easier to digest.
Simply viewing a one second video can easily take you back to an entire day of memories.
Anyone going on a summer vacation will find this an easy way to record what you did each and every day in a short but enjoyable video form.
It’s essentially a way to make a short documentary video that you will most fully appreciate.
Checkout the original video that inspired the app and download it as well at: 1secondeveryday.com
One of the many ways that today's Internet has become so dangerous to use is because of something called 'scripts'.
Scripts are essentially good technology, something like a macro in a word processor. It's just a simple list of commands that will automatically run when you visit certain websites.
These helpful scripts range from creating animations to delivering ads, but unfortunately, they are also used to tell your computer to run dangerous commands, silently in the background.
A solid way to avoid becoming the victim of rogue scripts is to install a popular Firefox add-on called NoScript.
'NoScript' stops any script from running unless it is being generated at a trusted website that you have confirmed is OK, which allows you to slowly customize the tool.
Many scripts are helpful and need to be run in order for specific functions to properly work, so the add-on puts you in ultimate control over when and if they run.
Keep in mind, the NoScript add-on is an open-source free tool, so it will require you to spend the time so you understand how it works, but from a security standpoint, it is time well spent.
Learn more at https://noscript.net
Anyone that's used their iPhone for a while is likely to have an enormous number of old pictures on their camera roll.
And it's also likely that a good percentage of those images are useless or meh images that you really don't want, but you have not taken the time to delete them.
As brilliant as the iPhone may be, getting rid of a lot of images on it really isn’t very easy when you're needing to see them with more than just a thumbnail.
An app for iPhones called 'Cleen', makes the task of getting through the camera roll to delete unwanted images a lot faster.
This free app shows the images in full size and uses swiping gestures to efficiently determine what you want to do with each image.
You will swipe up when you want to keep them, down when you want to delete them and to the left when aren't sure what you want to do putting it into a 'do-it-later' queue.
When you are done with a session, you just tap the trashcan to delete them all the junk at once!
Google Maps is an obvious go-to when you're connected to the Internet and a lot less useful when you aren’t.
If you happen to know where you are going to be and you know it won't have access, you can in advance download offline maps, but that doesn't help if you don't.
If you know you'll be in this situation frequently, the 'Maps.me' app will allow you to have offline maps for entire countries or regions which will provide detailed info when you're not able to get online.
As with all mapping apps, it provides basic directions from your location to the destination of your choice without any type of signal.
It's an excellent electronic version of those old-school paper maps without dealing with the ‘get it folded back properly’ problem.
With over 300 countries and islands available in the app, it’s a really helpful app for any international travelers.
It different from Google Maps functionality, so be sure to play with it before you get to your destination.
The free app works with Android and iPhone handsets, so check it out at: https://maps.me/download