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!
When most of us have to work with any form of official documents, there is a strong chance that you'll need to get those documents signed in from of a notary.
This means taking on the hassle of finding a notary that's within reasonable range and arranging to meet with them in person.
For the next time you need to get something notarized, make not of an app called 'Notarize'.
The Notarize system is an online virtual notary service that is completely electronic and completely legal in all 50 states.
Getting your document notarized is pretty simple, by uploading it to their system and providing offical ID, then completing the necessary items in the document and finally connecting with a licensed notary through a video call.
The licensed notary will watch you sign the document which then allows them to electronically notarize, right through the smartphone app or your computer.
Once the process is completed, Notarize allows you to print, save or share the newly notarized document and it's all done electronically.
Having 24/7 notary service available is very convenient, but it will cost you more for that convenience with a $25 processing fee per notarization.
At the moment, the Notarize app is only available for iPhone or iPad users, but keep it in mind for the next time you need a notary http://www.notarize.com
A lot of buzz this year at CES was generated by auto manufacturers that are trying to make cars much 'smarter' and more connected in their latest models.
But did know that anyone that has a car that's 1996 or newer already has some 'smart car' capabilties?
Under the dash of your car under the steering wheel should be a connector called the 'OBD' port (On Board Diagnostics).
To take advantage of this port, you'll need an OBD transmitter connected to an app on your phone which allows you to take advantage of your cars onboard diagnostics functions, like from a company called Dash.
You can you access much more than just diagnostic information after the engine light goes on, because the system helps you improve your gas mileage and can even help you find the lowest priced gas near you.
The special Bluetooth device that plugs into the OBD port from Dash costs between $10 to $60 for most cars.
The associated app is free and the complete rundown on the OBD transmitters is available at https://Dash.by
Most of us are using our smartphones these days to accomplish tasks that in the past would require us to sit down in front of a computer in order to get things done.
I often need to copy various items on my phone like a websites, images or bodies of text so the repeated back & forth isn’t very efficient.
Any Android users that seeks a better way to copy various things on their smartphones, should download the 'Copy Bubble’ app.
Copy Bubble makes it possible to copy virtually anything from anywhere in your phone. As you copy items, you will start to see an orange bubble with a number in the middle.
As you copy things in, the number will increase as the app compiles items in chronological order. Items stay in the app for you to paste until you remove them.
The Copy Bubble will float over any of you apps or screens, so you can paste some or all of the copied items just by tapping the bubble and tapping the various items.
Copy Bubble is for Android devices only and it’s free: http://copybubble.com
The use of tabs while browsing the Internet has fundamentally changed the way we use it because it allows us to open many websites during the same session.
But it’s also easy for it to get out of hand by opening too many tabs with each one taking up memory, so closing unneeded tabs is a good way to keep your computer from becoming sluggish.
If you’ve ever accidentally closed a tab, you/re forced to look through the browser History to try to find tabs you still wanted to use.
Well here’s a tip that will cure errant clicks when you close the wrong tab.
The next time it happens, just hold down the Ctrl&Shift keys while tapping the letter T.
The last tab you closed will come back to life without the hassle of trying to remember what it was.
To restore more of the previous tabs, just repeat the process and each one will appear in the order you closed them!
I’m beginning today’s tip with a little bit of geek speak: "word cloud”.
The term 'word cloud’ refers to a visual representation of a large chunk of text; the most used words appear as bold colors or larger fonts to emphasize their value.
It’s a really great way to quickly pull important themes from a large amount of text by seeing it as a word cloud.
Any business with an interest in customer feedback will love this tool because you can avoid the manual method of reviewing each one to uncover important themes.
My absolute favorite online tool is located at http://tagcrowd.com because it's fast, easy and powerful.
Simply create a single text file containing all of your feedback without having to worry about any formatting or text structuring issues.
Then copy that text into their website or if you’d prefer, upload any text, CSV or word porcessing document. You can even paste in a web URL to get the same analysis done.
Anyone making a presentation of a large data set will find TAGCROWD.com will find to be an excellent tool for their presentations!
I really like using dual displays on all of my computers, so much so, that when I’m on the road, I really miss them.
But now when I do hit the road I can get the benefit of dual displays on my laptop using my iPad using an app called Duet Display.
MacBooks owners have long been able to use their iPads with their laptops, but now Windows users can follow suit thanks to the Duet Display app.
By loading the app on both your computer and your iPad, you can quickly expand your primary display to the iPad which becomes an extension of your main screen.
Once it’s installed and setup, you can drag any window from your computer to your iPad, which is very helpful when you are doing a lot of copy/paste work or working with a very large spreadsheet.
The Duet Display system will work with Mac or Windows computers alike and will extend your display to iPads or iPhones.
If you’d like to see the wonders of a second screen, give http://DuetDisplay.com a try.
Have you noticed how many different ways you communicate with all your various contacts you have in your smartphone?
Everything from Phone calls, emails, texting, Twitter, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Instagram, even Skype and the list goes on.
Because of this, you have to figure out which app is best for each of your contacts every time you want to reach out and manually go to that specific app to get started.
If you’d like a different solution to this growing communication hassle, checkout an app called Drupe; it's spelled D R U P E.
It shows you your contacts with all the various apps for communicating all on one screen.
You simply drag your desired contacts to the communication app of choicer or that contact...it’s a much quicker way to reach out.
Drupe can also work with your calendars, reminders, Google Maps and popular payment systems like Venmo & Paypal.
Drupes workflow makes so much more sense today because communicating with all your contacts can’t be done in a single basic app anymore.
The app is available for both iPhone and Android users at: http://www.getdrupe.com
“PDF" which means 'Portable Document Format' is the industry standard for electronically publishing forms and documents.
But when you download a form from the Internet or email, you generally have to print it out first, fill it out, then you have to scan it in order to email or, fax it back or worse, send snail mail.
There are lots of programs that you can install that give you the ability to fill out the form using your computer, but unless you do it all the time, it's a bit more than you need.
If you find yourself in this situation in the future, give a website called PDFescape.com a try.
This web-based resource eliminates the need to download and install anything, so it allows you to modify and fill out PDF forms with any Internet connected computer.
You simply upload the PDF to their website to fill out the available text boxes or use the tool that allows you to add any text you want, anywhere in the form. From there, you just save the filled out form back to your computer so you can transmit it electronically.
Trying to learn a foreign language is often intimidating, since were generally so self-conscious about the exact pronunciation of the words we speak.
Listening how others familiar with the language pronounce these words will greatly improve your confidence, but it isn’t likely that we all have a bilingual friend available whenever we want help pronouncing a certain phrases or words.
That’s where the website http://Forvo.com comes to the rescue because it can help you pronounce words or phrases in over 300 languages.
This crowdsourcing site allows folks from around the world to record words the way they would say them in their native tongues. If a word or phrase isn’t yet in the playback database, you can submit the world to have someone record it for you.
Anyone taking a trip abroad in the near future can also download the audio for words and phrases they plan on using on their trip.
If you need to translate words from English before using Forvo, simply ask Google to translate it first so you can get the proper pronunciation from them.
Check it out for yourself at https://forvo.com
Your smartphone has been relatively safe as it pertains to malicious apps as long as you make sure to download apps from your associated app store and don't jailbreak or root your device.
Jailbreaking iPhones or rooting Android smartphones essentially sidesteps the security built into the device by the manufacturer and should be done only by tech savvy owners.
A fairly new type of scam is actually changing these protection processes by loading malicious apps on your smartphone, even when you have not bypassed the factory protection.
In most cases, it begins with well-crafted e-mail and sometimes even text messages with an accompanying link to an app that can be downloaded.
When the link is clicked or tapped on, it can allow the download to occur automatically, which will exploit your phone in a whole new way.
This underscores the importance of my constant advice: If you didn’t seek it out, don’t install it!
The bad guys are constantly creating persuasive dispatches that can look like they are from your trusted friends because of hacked accounts, so be on the alert.
A defense against potentially dangerous apps is available through a free security app called Lookout at http://lookout.com
It’s most likely that your smartphone these days is your default music & navigation system when you're in your car.
Having your phone in secure reachable place is also much safer than having to fumble around while you’re driving.
One possible tip for positioning your smartphone in a safer area can be found at https://Kenu.com
Look for the AirFrame, which is a simple holder that can clip to most vehicle air-vents on the dash, which provides a much safer line-of-sight to your screen.
No need for any adhesives or magnet or suction cups or any other special case because the Kenu AirFrame works with just about any size phone even one’s that are in a case.
They cost between $25 to $39 depending on your smartphone’s form factor.
Don’t forget that blowing hot air through your vents can help to overheat smartphones, so keep that in mind if you use this device holder.
Learn more at http://Kenu.com and REMEMBER, no texting when you're driving!
Anyone that has taken my advice and setup two-factor protection for their online accounts, needs to do one more thing especially if you travel a lot.
Two-factor keeps hackers out by sending a small text code to your registered phone number when the site does not recognize a device or location.
The problem is, if you happen to be on an airplane when you attempt to sign-in to your protected accounts, your smartphone can’t connect to your cellular carrier which is the only way of you to get the text code.
That’s why you need to take the additional steep of getting backup codes for those accounts.
Can you imagine paying for expensive in-flight wi-fi and being locked out of your accounts?
These backup codes are accessible in the same location that you used in the setup process, so start by going back to where you set things up.
You should make a copy of the backup codes, which can only be used one-time in most cases and store them in your travel gear.
Here are the direct links to many of the major services:
Or you can simply search for 'two-factor backup codes' for XXXX (your online service).
I’ve been continually reminding everyone I can to setup two-factor authentication on all of your critical accounts because it continues to be an excellent additional layer of protection.
You’re actually used to using two-factor protection every time you’ve ever used your debit card because it requires you to have the physical card and the PIN you setup for it.
Can you imagine a debit card with direct access to all your money that didn’t require a PIN???
It’s essentially what you’re doing with any of you accounts that don’t have two-factor protection setup on them.
Remember, when you turn this protection on, a hacker would not only have to steal your username and password, they would also have to steal your smartphone at the same time in order to gain access to your accounts.
This tool also acts like an early warning system when someone steals your login information.
It’s rare these days for important online services not to offer this added layer of protection.
For a complete list of sites that offer it as well as instructions for activating it for each of them, go here: https://twofactorauth.org
Search engines such as Google and Bing are helpful for getting to what we may be searching for, but in exchange, they gather lots of valuable marketing info as we use them.
With all of today's privacy concerns, many of you may be looking for a more private way to search for things online.
Startpage.com is a search tool that knows that people have a need for privacy at times and promotes what they call "the world’s most private search engine".
Most search engines will capture your IP address along with what you were searching for, any sites you may have come from and the links you clicked in the results.
Startpage.com does not capture any of these items, but still gives you the results from the powerful Google search system.
It’s kind of like the Harry Potter 'invisibility cloak', because it provides a barrier to your details when you use it to generate search results.
Check it out for yourself at https://Startpage.com
If cyber-criminals can gain access to the e-mail app on your smartphone, it allows them to get password reset links sent from any of your online accounts back to your phone.
Your smartphone is chock full of sensitive personal info that can make acquiring your sign-in credentials a snap, so anyone that hasn’t setup the access passcode on their smartphones should do it immediately.
Equally, if you plan on trading-in, selling or simply discarding any smartphone, it’s critically important that you ensure that a factory reset is performed to wipe your personal info.
Resetting your smartphone to its factory settings is simple to do through the ‘Settings' menu.
Android users that have an expansion micro SD card should be sure to remove or reformat it before the device leaves your possession.
You should also remove the SIM card as well because it won’t be of any value to the next user.
If you need instructions on how to reset any smartphone, just search Google with the word ‘reset' and the name of your device.
For more instructions, go to: http://www.datadoctors.com/help/columns/21892-Wipe-Before-You-Get-Rid-Of-Your-Old-Smartphone
Making sure that you use long, complex password that is different on every online account is a crucial step to protecting yourself online.
Trying to remember dozens of these complex passwords is going to be impossible, so it’s important to use a password management program to help you stay safe these days.
If you still haven’t found management software program that works for you, here’s another one to look at: http://RoboForm.com
The RoboForm system not only provides a solid password manager option but it also helps you fill forms online with your personal information, which is a big time saver for hardcore online shoppers.
Another useful feature is the ability to use batch logins which will automatically open tabs and log you in to your commonly used sites, all with one click.
Just like other password managers, after you get everything setup, you simply need to remember just the one main password for the Roboform account to safely access all your online accounts.
The basic version is free and they also offer mobile apps at http://RoboForm.com
Tax preparation season is often referred to as 'Xmas for Crooks' because of all of the tax refund fraud scams that pop up during tax season.
A common scam that’s been increasing is filing fraudulent refunds because more than 70% of US tax returns are eligible for an average of almost $3,000 according the IRS.
The growing scam is a form of tax related identity theft because criminals are making use of stolen social security numbers to file a tax return before the actual tax payer does.
When it happens, not only will it result in spending a ton of time clearing up the fraud, it will also delay any refund checks due until after the mess has been cleaned up.
The 2 actions everyone should take to minimize the chances of it happening to them is protect your SSN as best you can and when you know you are due a refund, be sure to file your taxes as quickly as you can every single year.
In on a never ending quest for technology that enhances our lives and one of my favorites is a website called If This Then That or IFTTT for short.
This amazing resource can help you put the Internet to work by creating something referred to as ‘recipes' that will leverage various parts of your online accounts in a powerful way.
For instance, you can leverage the recipe that automatically creates reminders on your phone when you star a message on Gmail or text your significant other when you are leaving your workplace.
IFTTT can integrate with over 160 online services with an amazing library of recipes that were created by others members of the community.
IFTTT also has apps for your mobile devices that allow you to use or create their recipes on the road.
Anyone that’s never heard about http://IFTTT.com should add it to their to-do list of useful sites to help them be more productive!
If you’re like most people, you’re watching a lot more video on the Internet these days.
YouTube has over 6 billion hours of video being watched every month and is far and away to leader in the space.
These days both businesses and individuals have found that having their own YouTube channel is a good thing to do.
Businesses use video content to attract new customers every day and families can can use their channel both publicly and privately to share videos of those special moments captured in daily life.
Unless you’re tech savvy, getting started is often a bit intimidating, but in reality, it's pretty easy to get started.
Google has put compiled a great resource that they're calling the YouTube Creator Academy
to educate novices and viral video stars alike.
You can be taught everything from getting started to '10 fundamentals’ for creating a strategy for your business just by spending a few minutes a day when you can.
The direct link is: https”//www.youtube.com/creatoracademy
Many people have a built in alarm clock that can wake them up every morning with no trouble while many others struggle waking up no matter what they do.
Anyone struggling should consider an alternative to the old-school snooze button to get you up in the morning.
Several apps for your smartphone are available that allow you to turn off the alarm only after you have solved a puzzle or answered a mathematics question.
The concept is to wake your cognitive skills to get involved in the process instead of simple motor skills that allow you to tap the snooze button.
These puzzle alarm apps include the standard options of any alarm app which allows you to wake up to music or set multiple alarms or turn on the option of having to solve a puzzle in order to get the alarm to stop.
iPhone users can try a free app called 'Morning Worm’ which make that claim that 'you’ll wake up the first time, every time'.
Android users can try an app called Puzzle Alarm Clock, also free in the Google Play Store.
If you’re struggling to start your day on time, the links are:
If you regularly travel for business or pleasure, you know about the hundreds of websites and apps that are attempting to guide you to your decisions.
Virtually all of them are price driven sites with reviews from the general public, so they often may no reflect your preferred way to travel.
One of my favorite goofy travel reviews was from a lady that complained about all the stairs to climb in a seaside European hill town! Clearly this lady wasn't very detail oriented with her travel planning.
If you’d prefer travel tips and recommendations from people that think like you, visit https://GoGoBot.com.
Of course it contains all of the standard info on hotels, BnB rentals, restaurants along with things to do, but what makes it different is their use of Tribes.
Tribes are groups of people with similar travel styles, so business travelers, thrill seekers, foodies or those on a budget will get feedback, suggestions and reviews from like-minded travelers.
It’s like hanging out with thousands of other avid travelers for their best tips and recommendations.
GoGoBot.com also has mobile apps to provide location-based tips when you’re on the road.