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!
Fully functional maps on your phone are awesome when you’re on the road and have a solid connection, but if you spend any time off the grid, they can be pretty unhelpful.
If this scenario is something you experience or expect to experience down the road, an app called Anchor Pointer might be something to consider downloading.
It’s essentially a very powerful compass program that makes use of the GPS that will still function without a signal from a cell tower.
It allows you to create waypoints or ‘anchors’ along any path that you can use to help you return back safely.
You can place anchors all around the back country areas you’re visiting to help you keep tabs on where all the important locations are and how far away they are.
Just like the old timers that navigated the entire world with a compass, the app makes it easy to keep your bearings wherever you go.
It’s also helpful for creating a meet up point with others that have the app.
Check out the reviews and download it at:
Connecting people with similar needs is one of the greatest aspects that the Internet offers.
When it comes to those that travel, connecting those that have an unneeded hotel reservation with those that need one is being done by a website called Roomer.
It’s like those services that connect people around sporting or festival tickets.
They take all the complexity of trying to offload unused hotel reservation nights by selling them to other that want them.
When I took the site for a test run, the best results were clearly in larger cities.
For instance, I found a hotel room in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York City for $76 a night that normally costs $170 a night as long as you’re able to stay the 6 nights of the original reservation.
If was able to track down a hotel room in an expensive part of Manhattan that was less than $100 a night as long as you used the entire reservation.
The best deals will also be available for those that are flexible on their dates.
Should you ever get stuck with a non-refundable reservation or if you want to find a smoking deal from someone that’s stuck with a reservation, check out: https://www.roomertravel.com
Most of use are involved with various groups that can range from community charities to sports teams for our kids that require that we contribute money to the organization.
If the groups you’re involved in still ask you to reach for your checkbook, write a check, get an envelope and stamp and mail it off, there’s a platform you should make them aware of…it’s called ‘Cheddar Up’ and it could save everyone lots of time and hassle.
In just a few minutes, any organization can setup a digital fund collecting account that’s easy for anyone to use.
The best part is that it doesn’t cost the organization anything to use the service.
It allows you to provide a single point for collecting money that also tracks everything for the organizers and gently reminds members automatically when a deadline is approaching.
It’s also something to consider for gathering funds for large family functions, such as a wedding or funeral.
Get the details on how everything works at: https://www.cheddarup.com
Whenever you need to send a large file to someone via email, you end up with a complex set of choices to make in order to get the file sent and received.
For those Dropbox fans out there that also use Gmail, there’s really simple solution to this common problem.
An awesome Chrome browser add-on called ‘Dropbox for Gmail’ makes this complex problem super simple to deal with even if your recipient doesn’t use Dropbox themselves.
It completely eliminates the need to upload the file to your email account or deal with the size limitations on both ends, because it simply creates a link to the file that you already have stored on Dropbox.
You’ll never have to send one file at a time or jam everything into a Zip file in order to get your files received.
If you have a large number files, you can share a link to an entire folder in your Dropbox account and the tool makes adding files that you receive via Gmail easy to upload to Dropbox as well.
Get it here: http://bit.ly/2XiM325
Using one or more social media platforms has become standard operating procedure for virtually every business out there, but many smaller businesses are still struggling with just how to best leverage these powerful tools.
It starts by getting some of the basic precepts down which will lead to building your organizations strategy.
Anyone struggling with basics can actually just take a course to get started.
Not the kind of course that requires you to go to a classroom for hours on end, but one that gets delivered to you and only takes a few minutes per lesson to learn something new.
This option is available from the social media posting company known as Buffer which offers a free daily course that only requires you to spend a few minutes every day reading.
It’s not going to make you an expert next week, but it will help you get started on the building blocks necessary to be successful.
If you’ve been avoiding social media for your business, see if this approach gives you what you need to feel confident in moving forward: https://buffer.com/email-courses/social-media-101
If you're like most Internet users, you know that you should be using long unique passwords for each of your online accounts in order to stay safe from breaches.
Most people don't follow through on the essential security step because they continue to use passwords they can easily remember.
It's nearly impossible to be safe without using some type of password manager, so if you still haven't found one that works for you, checkout the offerings at https://www.roboform.com.
It started life as a form filling utility, but now also offers full password management functionality.
Roboform also has mobile option and their basic service is free to use!
There are some interesting features including their batch login option that will auto open browser tabs and log into your primary sites just by tapping one button.
The value of any password management program is that you can create lots of unique complex passwords for each online service you use, but you'll only have to remember one master password.
Major tragedies that happen around the world shouldn’t be the only time we collectively think about donating to help others.
If that resonates with you, checkout an app from Google called “One Today”.
The app shines a spotlight on a different charitable organization each and every day, along with an overview of their work and an easy way to make a small donation.
You can also use the app to get your friends to join in using the match donation or pay it forward option designed to help a group raise funds.
If you really get into the kindness of daily giving, you can make your donations in a lump sum which can result in a tax receipt when you give more then $250.
Why not help others on a regular basis, which will help you feel good about helping others every day?
This app is encouraging a lot of people to give a little bit on a regular basis, which can add up to a large impact: https://onetoday.google.com
Gaining access to sensitive information is a crime that was popular way before the computer and technology age.
Thieves go where the honey is and in this case the honey is your personal data.
One simple rule to keep in mind is that whenever a company that you do business with has been breached, whatever you have been using as a password for that site can never be used again.
Cyberthieves have been amassing enormous databases that collect all the passwords and associated email addresses or usernames for years, hoping that you'll continue to use these compromised passwords on other accounts.
This makes targeting specific people a lot easier, because they can simply cross reference their stolen password database with your email address to start wreaking havoc.
Fortunately, there are several online resources you can use to know whether your various email addresses, usernames and even passwords have been added to these underworld databases.
When you see that an account has been compromised, make sure to immediately change the password and never use the old one again!
For more information on how to use these sites, go here: https://www.datadoctors.com/help/kenscolumns/22233-Have-I-Been-Compromised
Youtube has become the single most popular video streaming site on the Internet, which is great as long as you have a connection.
For those times that you know you won't be connected, but would like to watch a video, did you know you can use tools to download them beforehand?
The one I like to use is at https://dirpy.com because it's fast and simple to use.
Simply grab the link on YouTube for the video you want and give it to Dirpy to start the process.
You can choose either video with audio or just the audio for a live concert video for instance.
For downloading complete videos, you can choose highest quality or lower quality to save space.
Once Dirpy is done, you have a file that can be played on your computer or transfer it to one of your mobile devices for listening anywhere, anytime.
Think of how great this tool is for parents with kids going on a long trip with no Internet connection!
In my never ending quest to find new ways of getting our tech to work for us, I bring up one of our favorite integration tools: IFTTT
It stands for If This Then That and it allows you to integrate lots of your various internet services using recipes for actions.
Want a reminder on your phone when you star a message in Gmail? There's a recipe for that! Want a text automatically sent to your wife when you leave work? There's a recipe for that too!
The site works with hundreds of online service with lots of recipes that have already been put together by other members of the service.
Feel like contributing to the community? Create you own unique recipes and post them up for others to enjoy.
With apps for all major mobile devices, you can even create recipes on the fly.
If this is the first you have heard of https://ifttt.com, do yourself a favor and jump in with both feet!
How many times a day do you find yourself using Google to look for information? It’s pretty constant for most of us, but there’s one type of search that you’ll want to be especially suspicious of the results: tech support.
Scammers have created lots of elaborate companies online that may even include Google’s advertising network to pose as legitimate tech support companies.
It can become especially confusing when you search for a specific big name company’s tech support resources to tell who’s legit and who’s a scammer.
One huge red flag to watch for is a toll free number that pops up in the description before you even click on the link.
Avoid calling those numbers until you’ve verified that it’s the actual big name company’s website.
The bad guys are constantly gaming the system, so just because it shows up in a Google search result does not make it legit.
If you want to go to the legitimate support page for any tech company, simply type their website address followed by /support. ex: Microsoft.com/support
For more of our tips on avoiding these scams, go here:
How often are you in the last minute mode of thinking about what to have for dinner tonight? How often do you resort to the usual handful of options?
Maybe it’s time to shake up the status quo by introducing new options with an app called “Dinner Spinner.”
You can use the app to pick the type of meal you thinking about having from the first course, salads and main dishes.
Throw in your available time and give the app a spin.
I was able to generate over twenty ideas for a meal that was easy to make in less than twenty minutes that used chicken as it’s main protein.
If you don’t like a specific suggestion, you can also see suggested options from your fellow home cooks that include a rating.
If your mind is wide open, you can go with the random suggestions simply by shaking your phone with the app open.
The best part is that you can filter out recipes based on your dietary needs so you don’t waste time scanning recipes you can’t actually eat.
It’s a whole new way to deal with the ‘what’s for dinner tonight” question:
Whether you know someone that lives in an area that is prone to experience earthquakes, you’ve seen how quickly social media goes crazy whenever a tremor hits an area.
Researchers at a major technical university have created an initiative to use volunteer’s smartphones to help detect tremors in real-time.
They’re doing it through an app that they created called MyShake designed to use the sensors in Android smartphones to measure seismic activity.
The goal is to create a massive warning system that can warn others much quicker than any of the current detection systems as it moves away from the epicenter.
If you have friends or family that live in earthquake zones, let them know about this ambitious project so they can help grow the sensor network.
You can learn all about the project and download the app by visiting:
If you’re a regular viewer of content from services such as Netflix or Amazon Prime video, you know how popular documentaries have become.
Because they’ve become so popular, so have online resources that chronicle the exploding genre.
A specific favorite of ours for discovering lots of interesting videos is called ‘Documentary Heaven’.
This enormous library of movies provides dozens of categories that will allow you to explore new options based on your interests.
I’m a big fan of both the music and technology categories as an example.
This free resource stands out as an awesome viewing option from your smartphone, tablet or computer.
If you started watching videos every day, it would take years to get through what’s already available, never mind the new videos that are added regularly.
Start your documentary viewing today at https://documentaryheaven.com
If you travel a lot, especially for business, having a solid wifi connection at your hotel is something you like to have.
But you’ll have no idea just how good or bad your connection speeds will be until after you get into your room.
Well, now you don’t have to play wifi roulette with your hotel connection because there’s a website that will tell you what to expect.
https://www.HotelWifiTest.com provides a wealth of information about the specific speeds at specific hotels, because those that have stayed there before you have measured the speed.
Anyone that needs to make sure they have a fast connection will love how easy it is to make your hotel decisions because all you have to do is type in the city you’re going to be traveling to for a list of options.
The list will show you hotels sorted by those with the highest expected speeds along with the confidence level and whether you’ll have to pay for the connection or not.
This crowdsourcing of actual internet speeds is possible by the community that takes the time to test and submit speeds whenever they’re at a hotel.
No matter why you travel, knowing if your hotel is going to have a decent connection is no longer a mystery!
Saving money is always a good tip, so today we have an easy way to do it while shopping online.
Coupon codes are an excellent way to save money, but you have to track them down first.
Despite resources such ashttps://www.retailmenot.com that try to help shoppers find those valuable coupon codes, in most cases, the codes no longer work.
If you’d like an easier way to find money saving options, checkout the browser plug in called Honey.
With this approach, you no longer have to open a second browser tab and search for codes elsewhere.
The app uses a large H in the corner of your browser that will turn orange to alert you when it has a money saving option you can use at the site you’re currently shopping on.
It’s one of the easiest ways to be made aware of savings wherever you shop!
If you’re into photography, you probably own a full-bodied camera that has fantastic optics including depth of field capabilities.
This ability to blur the background so that your subject pops in the foreground is fantastic.
The good news is that you no longer have to buy an expensive DSLR in order to capture these incredible shots.
A lot of the newest smartphones have an option that will blur the background, so if you haven’t taken a deep dive into your smartphone camera’s settings, take a look.
If you can’t find anything in your phone, checkout the free AfterFocus app to add this feature to your device.
The app is easy to use because you just drag your finger over the part of the image you want to blur and what you want to stay sharp.
Because it’s doing this after you take the picture, you can use it on any of your previous pictures as well!
Download it at: http://appm1.com/afterfocus
The Internet has become the world’s largest marketplace offering just about anything you’ll ever want to buy or sell.
When you’re in the market for something like a new or used car, there are lots of websites that offer pricing info, but not so much when it comes to tech gadgets.
Manually searching sites such as Craigslist or eBay is one laborious method of getting accurate pricing information, but there’s a far more efficient tool available.
The price search engine called Bidvoy located at https://us.bidvoy.net was created to help anyone that’s looking to sell or buy various items.
By tracking the activity on eBay, it can pull together a clear picture on the item that you have an interest in getting rid of or acquiring.
Beyond solid pricing info, you can see pricing trends and suggestions on the best time to purchase or sell.
The data is being generated from eBay transactions, but it doesn’t mean you have to use eBay to accomplish your goals.
It takes all the guessing out of how you should price something or what you should expect to pay for an item you’d like to purchase.
If you end up doing business from the road, you will invariably end up with a situation that requires you to respond to an email request to have a document signed and emailed back as soon as possible.
Finding a way to print out the document and sign it is much easier than getting it scanned and returned.
I dealt with this issue a lot some time ago, so I went on the hunt for a solution that used the camera on my phone as a scanner.
Of all the apps that I tested, I found the Cam Scanner app to be exactly what I was looking for.
It’s a free app that’s very simple to use, including any cropping required to make the form look good before you save it for sending.
If you have a large number of pages to scan, the app provides a ‘batch’ option.
There are a number of edits that you can make after you’ve scanned in the pages, including the page order and adding a watermark for security purposes.
The free and premium CamScanner app can be used on virtually any mobile device with a camera, so its power can be leveraged by anyone!
The job of the router in your home or business network is to provide a layer of separation from the rest of the Internet, so others can’t get into your various attached devices.
Very few people have take the time to change the password that is set at the factory, better known as a default password.
The password I’m referring to is no the one used to connect to the wireless access point; it’s the one necessary in order to make changes to how the router is setup.
Because of the various online resources such as http://RouterPasswords.com, anyone with ill intent on the Internet knows the default password on your router.
This common hole in security has been known to be exploited in a number of ways including through rigged email messages that can give hackers access to the controls of your entire network.
If you become a victim of this type of silent compromise, not only will you not know that it’s happening, the bad guys can essentially monitor anything that any device connected to the router is doing.
You’re anti-virus protection is powerless to detect these types of exploits if you as the user clicks on the link in one of these messages, so be on the alert.
The good news is that it’s quite simple to avoid becoming a victim of this type of attack…just change the default administrator password or get help if you don’t know how to do it yourself.