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!
This is a reminder to be on the alert for those pop-up warnings that claim your system is infected.
They’ve created very convincing looking warnings that tell you to call an 800 number to get help getting rid of the infection.
This scam is not Windows-specific as those running a Mac are experiencing the same scams.
This attack is generally browser-based, which is why it’s effective with any type of computer through links that are posted around the web or sent to you via a phishing scam.
Keep in mind that Internet security companies that have 10’s of millions of users will never encourage you to call a toll-free number…they couldn’t possibly deal with the number of calls.
Another way to quickly identify these scams is by getting very familiar with the security software that you have running on your computer.
These two visual cues are the best way to know when you are trying to be scammed!
Our kids are so enamored by the little screens that surround them that it’s instinctively become somewhat of a pacifier of the digital era.
Let’s face it, it’s an extremely effective way to get an unruly child to settle down when you’re in a public social setting.
The challenge in doing this is that you can put yourself in many awkward situations if you give them unfettered access to all the apps and functions on your smartphone.
The good news is that there are a host of options on both iOS and Android devices that allow you to control what can be used and what is locked out.
Everything from those expensive in-app purchases to which apps can even be opened to making it impossible to get on the Internet without your control code.
The options get better every year, but you’ll need to get specific instructions based on the OS you are using.
For iPhone users: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201304
For Android users: https://www.lifewire.com/childproof-android-4137048
Hackers tend to focus on low hanging fruit and U.S. households with children, especially teenagers are considered low hanging fruit.
If they can silently access your computer, they can start gathering sensitive information that is very valuable in the Internet’s underworld.
They also know that it’s much more likely that a child or teen will download something that looks like a game, video or program that has a malicious payload.
Why do they target your kids in order to get to you? They know that so many households share a computer and often have a single profile that everyone in the family uses. All they have to do is trick one person and they have access to everyone. Now that you know this, it’s time to make a change! It’s imperative that you create separate user profiles for you and your children, so you can limit the capabilities of your children’s user profile. This is one of those fundamental security steps that you shouldn’t skip, so if you need help getting it set up, ask someone that you trust that’s a techie!
Hacks and breaches of businesses, large and small, seems to be a common occurrence these days
Despite all of the expensive and complex security that an IT department sets up, it can all be bypassed very simply by anyone in the company.
Just about every compromise begins with an email or social media phishing campaign that appears to be a legit message from someone in your own company.
It’s not hard to figure out who the most important people in just about any company is and pretend to be them via email.
With this in mind, being extremely paranoid about messages from others in your organization with urgent or strange requests is critical.
For those in charge of managing this risk, there are tools available to test your employees as websites such as https://KnowBe4.com
You can use their phishing test platform on up to 100 employees to see how easy it is to get them to fall for a clever message.
You can ask to use the tool by filling out the request form at:
Is there any doubt anymore about the power that social media has to influence so many people?
Its potential impact can be seen with what people buy, wear, eat, drink or who they support politically around the world.
As with anything that is used by the masses, technology is created to leverage the power in ways that are no longer based on an actual human being.
The use of ‘bots’ has grown quickly and the sophistication can easily make it look like a real human being is posting when it’s actually a bot.
Bots aren’t all evil as many large organization use them to deal with the sheer volume of communications that they may receive every day.
Unfortunately, bots are use by those with malicious intent and the worse case scenario is when a bot can look like a trusted person and use that trust to compromise other user’s accounts.
Finding ways to sniff them out is pretty important so you don’t get fooled as easily.
Because of the ease in which these bots can operate on Twitter, a project developed by researchers from the Observatory on Social Media is available for anyone to use.
What was originally the BotOrNot project is now called the Botometer will check the activity generated by any Twitter account and provide a score on how likely it’s a bot instead of a person.
It’s certainly not a guaranteed way to sniff out all bot accounts, but it does provide a lot more data for you to use to avoid being scammed by a bot: https://botometer.iuni.iu.edu
I love exploring our beautiful country in my RV, but one of the largest expenses in this type of travel is the fuel cost. Finding stations a few miles off the freeway can save you a bundle.
There are a lot of resources that try to alert you to current gas prices, but my go-to is still the GasBuddy app.
With a community of 70 million users in the US and Canada, the app can help you in two ways.
If you want to plan ahead, you can search by city or county to see the 10 lowest prices in an area you’re heading to or search from the road to see where fuel options are near you.
What’s really great is that it shows you the last time someone reported the price, which is typically less than an hour for most major metro areas.
GasBuddy can set a filter to search for diesel or other specialty grades of fuel and sort the results based on price, distance or both.
When I was a youngster, my parents told me that I’d make a good astronaut because I had a lot of space in my head!
One thing is for sure, I’ve always been fascinated with space exploration which is why I love what NASA has done to allow us all to share in their work.
Not only do they have an amazing website with amazing pictures, video and animations, they over a variety of apps for smartphones, tablets and streaming devices.
With over 16 thousand images and 14 thousand videos and 3D models of earth taken from the International Space Station, it’s an endless source of discovery for the curious.
You can watch live streaming video from the High Definition Earth Viewing experiment and get notifications of an upcoming space event.
If you have kids or grandkids, this app is a wonderful way to discover and learn about space together
Just visit https://www.nasa.gov and click on the Download menu to access all of the apps that make space exploration interactive and fun
One of the common traits that's been attributed to those that live a long life is something we can all do every day and that’s stretching.
Stretching increases blood flow and circulation and helps nutrients and oxygen travel through our bodies faster.
Yoga is a wonderful way to stretch, but it can be intimidating for those that haven’t ever done it. The thought of going to a class full of those experienced in yoga has kept so many from discovering the benefits.
If you’d like to learn the basics in the comfort of your own home, check out the Yoga for Beginners app from Down Dog.
You can use their website on your laptop or their apps on your tablet or smartphone to view video lessons that are specifically designed for the absolute beginner.
It’s a really easy and private way to begin learning one the world’s oldest exercise routines that could lead to a more flexible you.
Here are the direct links:
Android app: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.downdogapp.intro
iOS app: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/yoga-for-beginners-down-dog/id1459710785
It’s common to have in-flight Wi-Fi when you’re on an airplane, but it can be both expensive, limited and really slow.
Today’s tip is for those that want to maximize their time on a flight and save money at the same time.
Instead of sharing a slow connection with 200 other people, why not gather up a bunch of stuff you want to read before you get on the flight with the tools from Pocket.
It’s from the group of platforms designed to make it easy to gather online content so you can read it later without requiring an Internet connection.
What’s great about Pocket is that since it works with laptops, smartphones or tablets, you can save content on any of your devices and view it from all of your devices.
One of the few things that it can’t capture for offline access is videos, but if you want to make sure you have lots of interesting articles to read on our next flight, it’s as good as it gets: https://getpocket.com
There are so many smart devices available that are simple to setup these days, that most people are adding them themselves.
One critical aspect of these devices is that you have a solid Wi-Fi connection at all times in order for them to work properly.
If there’s any issues with connectivity, your ability to remotely access the devices or get updates from them goes away.
For the most part, the first step in troubleshooting these issues start with a reboot of your router, which isn’t a possibility if you or someone else is not at the physical location.
You can check the settings menus of your router to see if you can setup a reboot on a regular basis, but another piece of equipment called a remote power switch can make this more convenient.
With one in place, you can remotely restart anything that’s plugged into it and in some cases, you can have the device constantly check for an internet connection and auto reset when it’s not working.
There are a handful of other troubleshooting steps you can take if you’re constantly having to reboot your router that I’ve posted at:
Anyone that’s been using dual monitors on their work or home computer can’t imagine working any other way.
If you have to travel a lot, taking a second display doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, unless you already carry an iPad in your laptop bag.
Those that have been using all Apple products have been able to connect their iPad to their Mac Laptops for years, but what most Windows laptop users don’t seem to know is that they can do the same thing.
There’s an app called Duet Display that can be installed on either a Mac or Windows computer and an iPad to magically connect them as a mobile dual display setup.
For those that have never used dual displays, having the ability to drag an app over to a second screen so that both are viewable in full-screen mode is awesome and very productive.
By the way, if you have one of the larger iPhone models, you can use it as a second display as well using https://www.duetdisplay.com
It’s pretty easy to sniff out a bogus email as a phishing scam, but there’s a type of phishing that’s much trickier to spot.
Some obscure bank that you’ve never heard of is an obvious clue but what about a message that comes from someone else where you work?
Emails that include links or an attachment are common in company messages, which is why the bad guys have stepped up their scams with this type of spear phishing.
It’s incredibly easy to spoof a message that appears to come from anyone in your company as there is no validation process for who actually sent the message.
It’s not really possible for us to provide exact signs of a scam, but now that you know that it can happen, don’t be so quick to click on links or open attachments that appear to be from a co-worker.
Since a lot of the scams are generated from foreign hackers, oftentimes there are clear grammar or spelling errors. Strange sounding sentences that are different than what you would normally expect from that co-worker is another red flag.
If a message includes a link, you can use the hover trick to see if what is in the message matches where it’s actually going to take you.
Just hover your mouse over the link, but don’t click it! Look in the bottom left corner of the message to see if it’s the same. If it isn’t, it’s another clear red flag of a scam.
I love spending time in the beauty of mother nature, but that often means that I’m putting myself in places that have no cell service.
For the most part, that’s by design and part of what makes it so appealing, but there are times when you might want to make sure you have some form of communication just in case.
Anyone that finds themselves in this situation regularly might want to look into the solution offered by a company called GoTenna.
They have a special gadget that allows you to use text messaging and share your location with others that have the same gadget. The range for these communications can be from 1 to 50 miles, based on the terrain.
Open areas like ski resorts or hiking trails will likely make for a better signal over a crowded urban downtown setting.
It’s also a great alternative at huge events with thousands of people where the cellular networks get so overloaded, they’re practically useless.
Learn more at this off-grid communication option at: https://gotenna.com
We had someone post a question for us on our Data Doctors Facebook page asking about a way to add a timestamp on their photos.
If your first reaction is to wonder why someone would want to make their pictures look like they were from another century, you’re not alone.
But it turns out there are some pretty solid reasons that you may want a timestamp on certain photos, like verification for others or to make sure the details never get separated from the photo itself.
Every image you capture actually contains a lot of details about the image in what’s known as the metadata, including the date and time.
There are apps that can read this metadata and place it on the photo for you, including TimeStamp-It for iOS or Camera Timestamp for Android-based smartphones.
Unlike the timestamps you may remember from years ago, these apps have an updated look and feel to the timestamp that’s much more modern.
Meetings are just a fact of life and so is the need to have someone take notes during the meeting.
If you’re the one tasked with taking notes at your meetings, there’s a much more efficient way to get the job done than the old school pen and paper.
If you write notes on paper during the meeting, then you’ve added more work for yourself transcribing the notes into your computer for distribution.
There’s a much better way and it’s located at https://minutes.io
It’s a lot more than just a note-taking tool because it can also track who said what, brainstorm and assign tasks from the meeting and when it’s all done, it’s a snap to send everyone the meeting overview.
Because it’s a web app, you can use your smartphone, tablet or computer to take the notes, even if you don’t have an Internet connection.
If you’re not the one stuck with this task, be a friend and let whoever is in your circle know about https://minutes.io
If you’re a deal hunter, especially for those hard to find items, cruising the big name sites like eBay, Amazon and even Craigslist is a good place to start.
As great as each of these sites are, if you really want to make sure you’re getting the best deal, you have to spend time searching through each one, one at a time.
When it comes to Craigslist, you’re limited to one metro area at a time when you search, so you have to perform multiples if you want to be thorough.
You can avoid the extra work by using a search tool called Search Tempest.
The tool searches lots of these sites including obscure ones like https://Oodle.com all at once and allows you to choose a radius around your zip code, you can do everything in one search.
https://SearchTempest.com is a bookmark worthy website for the next time you want to save time searching for the best deals!
Whether you’re in the process of moving or just getting rid of clutter around the house, it’s likely you’ll end up with perfectly good items that you simply don’t want any more.
Since it’s not garbage, finding someone that you know that could use it is the obvious alternative.
In some neighborhoods, putting out on the curb with a ‘FREE’ sign usually gets the job done, but that’s not an option for a lot of folks.
Thanks to the Internet, there’s a virtual curb available for those items which is located at https://freecycle.org
There are millions of users from around the country that have started using the site to gift their items to others in the same area.
This movement is an awesome way to recycle your gently used items by giving it to those that may be looking for that exact thing.
It’s an excellent use of the online community to connect people in your local community to prevent usable items from ending up in our landfills.
It’s also a great place for starving students to find items for free that they would normally have to pay for: https://freecycle.org
Death By Powerpoint! It’s what so many people suffer when they simply load a bunch of data onto slides and wreathe off for an hour in front a unengaged crowd.
It’s bad enough if you’re not comfortable with public speaking, but it’s made even worse for your audience when you commit this tactical error.
If you’d like something a lot more visually stimulating, checkout the free presentation platform known as Prezi. It’s a simple tool to master and will dramatically improve your presentations.
If you’re a PowerPoint warrior with lots of presentations, you can import them into Prezi so you’re not starting from scratch.
Because it’s so much more visual, you can reduce the amount of copy and stick to bullet points and images to tell your story to your audience, not talk to your slides.
When it’s all done, you simple provide the link to your audience instead of having to email a huge file!
Get started at https://prezi.com
If you’ve ever printed anything from a website, it’s very likely you wasted a bunch of ink on ads and other items that you really had no need to print.
Some websites offer a ‘print-friendly’ version of certain pages, but even then, you can end up with unnecessary items on the page that eat up your ink.
Well, from now on, you don’t have to put up with all that waste by printing only what you want to print.
An awesome website called https://Printwhatyoulike.com gives you total control over what you print before you print it.
It’s so easy to use because all you have to do is copy and paste the web address of whatever you want to print to get started.
The tool gives you options for getting rid of various items or selecting a specific portion of the web page that you want to print.
If you love to print out recipes to take with you to the grocery store, for instance, you no longer have to include the picture of the food or any ads on the page.
https://Printwhatyoulike.com It’s totally free, works in any desktop web browser and you can be using it in a matter of seconds!
Optical Character Recognition or OCR is the technology that allows you to take an image and extract the text so it can be edited.
If you own a scanner, it came with an OCR program, but setting it up and using it can be overwhelming for those that aren’t comfortable with unfamiliar tech.
Even if you do get it setup and working, it’s not of much use if you aren’t in the same place as you scanner.
Fortunately this thing called the Internet offers an elegant option. It’s located at http://OnlineOCR.net and it makes scanning any number of image files super easy.
Whether you have a PDF, JPG or any of the common image files that has text on it, http://OnlineOCR.net allows you to grab the text.
It’s so simple; you just upload the file you want to scan, select which language it’s in, then choose the type of text file you want when it’s done.
It’s free and easy because you no longer have to figure out how to install and configure complicated software!
They’re at it again…the fake tech support scammers pretending to be from Microsoft and it’s because some people still fall for their spiel.
They may claim that you have a malware infection or a Windows upgrade issue now that Windows 7 has been retired.
What they are trying to do is keep you on the phone long enough to convince you to run a few tests of your own to prove what they are saying is true.
If they convince you to run a diagnostic program, they’ll tell you to look for a specific word when the results are displayed.
The problem is that the specific word or words that they are having you look for are actually part of the Windows operating system and will always show up.
If that convinces you that they are legit, they’ll request remote access to help you clean things up.
Needless to say, if you fall for this, they’ll try to get you to give them a credit card number to cover the service or worse yet, buy an annual protection plan.
Here’s what you need to understand about the tech world - no legit company, especially Microsoft, is ever going to call you out of the blue to tell you that you’re having a problem.
Now that you know what to watch for, you can avoid these silver tongue devils and just hang up.
Only allow remote access to your computer when you were the one initiating the request for help.