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!
As the heat from the season’s temperatures rise, so does our sensitivity to the environment which can lead to us getting a bit cranky.
But we’re not the only ones getting cranky from the heat as the batteries in your electronics get the same way when it gets uncomfortable.
Nothing shortens the life of the batteries in all you devices like heat, so always being aware of the temperature is a good thing.
One of the most harmful scenarios is when you leave your devices in direct sunlight, which amplifies the heat.
If possible, avoid turning devices on when they are hot to the touch from being in the sun or other high temperature situations.
For all you avid laptop users, make sure you know where the air vents on your machine are and that you don’t block those vents when using them on soft surfaces, like on your bed.
The easiest way to manage this harmful scenario is to remember that when you’re uncomfortable from the heat, so are your devices!
If you’re like me and are involved with various groups that aren’t all in the same place, you find yourself on a fair share of conference calls.
More often then net, I’m forced to join the call using my smartphone, which can be a major pain.
When the opportunity presents itself, I try to convince the host to consider using UberConference - not associated with the car service - which is orders of magnitude more refined than those old platforms.
They’ve eliminated those irritating PINs, the beeps every time someone joins or leaves the call and they eliminated the guessing game about who is currently speaking with visuals.
Another awesome features is the host muting capability for any specific person, like the dumbo that put the conference on hold which subjects the whole group to their hold music.
This interface is especially useful for attendees that are joining via a mobile device, but equally as awesome on a desktop browser.
You can do a trial run with up to ten participants for free or step up to their full service package for @ ten bucks a month on an annual payment.
Check it out at: https://www.uberconference.com
A questions was asked by a friend with an Android smartphone if I knew of a simple way for him to record conversations that he was having on his phone.
He needed to create some sound files for a training program that he was putting together.
Before I gave him any suggestions, I wanted to make sure he understood that depending upon where he was when he was making the recordings, he could run into legal issues if he wasn’t careful.
If you aren’t sure what the legal stipulations might be whenever you are recording a call, it’s always best to notify all the parties on the call to be safe.
I’ve played around with various apps that offer this option, but the one that I liked best was simply called ‘Call Recorder’.
It works by floating a red dot in the corner of your device when you dial someone up.
To record the conversation, you just tap on the dot to both start and stop the recording.
Once you’re done, you can share the audio file in lots of ways and it includes info about the call, including caller ID, times and date.
There are lots of apps with the same name, so here’s the direct link: http://bit.ly/2Zkue3L
Lots of professional photographers use expensive, complicated photo editing software to create images for high-fashion websites and magazines.
Unless you’re willing to spend the money and time to learn these sophisticated programs, it doesn’t make much sense for most users.
Touching up photos to make people look better than they are has generated some heat in professional circles, but there are situations where having the option is useful.
Since we typically use our smartphones for taking most of our pictures, having the Perfect365 app on your phone for touching up images is most efficient.
As with most photo editing apps, you can use pre-defined touchup settings or go with the manual option for ultimate control.
It’s helpful with dark circles, blemishes, skin and teeth issues with nothing more than a tap or two.
It’s a pretty simple app that can help you try new looks by using augmented reality: https://www.perfect365.com
We have all been to websites that require some form of registration and validation to a working email address in order for us to access or download the information we seek.
In those instances where once you get what you want, you don't really need to hear from them again, using your real email account is simply setting you up for unwanted messages down the road.
That's where using a temp address can allow you access to the info you desire without exposing your daily account to junk messages.
While there are a variety of options online for this need, I particularly like one called '10minutemail'.
There's nothing to download or setup because it's a webmail tool that offers temp addresses ten minutes at a time.
If you use a temp address, any message sent to it will appear on the web page associated with that address.
Most replies for registration happen within a minute or so, but if it turns out that you need another ten minutes, you can extend it's use with the click of a mouse.
Keep in mind, you should never use a service like this if you're ever going to do a password reset or any important follow up action, so only when you know it's a 'fire and forget' situation.
The 24 hour news cycle has lead to lots of ‘breaking news’ stories that might tempt you to pop over to the Internet to search for the details.
While we’d all like to believe that if it shows up in a search result on any of the legitimate search sites, it’s just not the case especially when a big event has occurred.
Creating malicious websites that appear to have salacious information during a news event is a common tactic used by hackers to snare victims.
They may even attempt to use ads to lure unsuspecting users to their traps.
The search companies do their best to police this type of scam, but since news events can drive a lot of traffic, the bad guys don’t care if it’s only up for an hour if they can trap users.
Instead of using a search engine to track down a news event, make sure you only refer to the news sources that you always use to find the info.
Using a news app on your phone from your favorite resources or bookmarks to their breaking news section is a much safer way to go.
The bad guys watch how we use the Internet and will continue to target us based on our behaviors, so changing the way we seek news is a good way to steer clear of this method of attack.
If you’re in the process of learning a new language, it’s likely that you suffer from the common problem of worrying about whether you’re saying the words properly.
It’s great if you have a friend that already speaks the language that you can call whenever you want help with a specific word or phrase because hearing someone else say it makes you more confident when you say it.
Did you know that the Internet can be your fluent friend that speaks over 300 different languages?
The community supported website at https://forvo.com has a plethora of recordings for just about any word you want help pronouncing.
To make things better, you can download mp3 files for all the words that you’ll want to practice while you’re on the flight to a foreign country.
You can also start with a word in English that you ask Google to translate first, so you can go to Forgo to search for the proper word in the language that you’re trying to learn.
It’s all awaiting you at: https://forvo.com
Just about everyone of any age is consuming a lot more video online and no one has more video content than Google with YouTube.
Billions of hours of content are watched every month and the numbers continue to grow.
Whether you’re a small business trying to promote your business or just want to privately share videos with your family and friends, YouTube is the place to do it.
Did you know that YouTube is the second most used search engine on the Internet?
You don’t have to be a video or technology wizard in order to use all the free tools that are available.
The biggest stars on the Internet all started at the same place as anyone that’s new the format has to start, so jumping in is the best way to learn.
You don’t have to have expensive video cameras, special lighting or learn how to use a complicated video editor - if you’ve got a smartphone and a little time, you to can get started on your very own channel at: https://creatoracademy.youtube.com
I’ve got a video app for anyone that loves the #tbt hashtag on Instagram and Facebook to download to step up their game.
It’s called the ‘VHS Camcorder app and it’ll make any of your videos look like they were shot decades ago.
If you love those old school videos, you can ramp up the effects like tape noise and grainy filters as well as the classic date-time stamp that was a mainstay back in the day.
If you really want to pull off the ultimate fake, you can use any date you want using the app.
This app is all about taking your state-of-the-art smartphone camera and pushing it back to a previous century.
This app works on both Android and iOS devices and costs @$3, but that’s tiny price for such an epic retro effect on your videos!
Hanging out with a large group of friends at a restaurant is great fun, but figuring out the owes what, can get to be a bit of a chore.
You can download any number of apps on your smartphone that are designed to help in this situation, but there’s an easer way if everyone agrees to split the bill equally.
Instead of yet another app that you don’t really use a lot, why not use the Google tip calculator?
Just type ’tip calculator’ in Google to get to their easy to use tool for figuring out what everyone should pay.
By inputing the total bill, the tip % and the number of people, you can quickly get a breakdown of what each person is to contribute.
For those that like to tip extra for great service, the tool separates the tip from the bill to make it easier.
One variable that you need to evaluate is whether a large group minimum tip has already been added.
The great thing about this awesome tool is that it’ll work on any of your devices that has an Internet connection.
Most of us aren’t avid gamers that spend hours every day playing, but most of us do enjoy an escape at times.
If you’re looking for something completely different than a card game on your smartphone, there’s an interesting augmented reality game called Ingress that you may want to check out.
Leveraging the power of your smartphone combined with your location emerges you into the game wherever you may be looking for something called XM.
The best analogy I can think of is a virtual capture the flag game with lots of other people.
Locations in your physical world will be listed as portals that contain the all important XM, which when visited requires certain action for the game play.
You could end up discovering all kinds of new places all around you whether you are at home or visiting an unfamiliar place.
If you’ve never really experienced augmented reality, this may be your gateway to this emerging technology!: https://ingress.com
In my previous tip, I told you about the possibility of having your smartphone hijacked while it’s plugged into a public charging station.
Road warriors, especially those that spend a lot of time abroad that want the option of connecting to a public USB based charger should look into getting a charge blocker.
These inexpensive USB adapters will not allow data transmissions to occur but will allow electricity to flow to charge your smartphone or tablet.
Since the USB interface is designed to both charge devices and allow data access, limiting what can happen when you’re connecting to anything is a good idea.
The problem with the juice jacking threat is that there’s just no way to know by looking at a charging station to know if it’s been tampered with.
As we suggested previously, it’s always better to use your own charger through an electrical outlet, but when a USB port is your only option, a charge blocking device from companies like https://chargedefense.com will provide you with the extra security that give you peace of mind.
Have you noticed that more options are showing up in lots of public places that allow you to charge your smartphone via a USB port?
But did you know that you could become a victim of a scam that can actually be perpetrated with these USB ports?
It's called ‘juice jacking’ which is when the device you connect to for a charge actually attempts to connect to your device to access data.
Depending upon the type of phone your using, you may be able to see how easy it is by plugging your smartphone into a USB port on your computer.
If you see a window pop up with the file folders from your phone, nefarious charging stations may be able to do the same thing.
I’d be much more concerned about this scam in smaller airports in foreign countries, but it certainly could happen to anyone, anywhere.
The good news is that it’s easy to avoid becoming a victim by always using your own charger via an electrical outlet instead of a USB port on a public charging station.
If you want to have the option of using a foreign USB port as a charger safely, tomorrow I’ll tell you about a simple device that will make sure you’re only getting juice and not jacked!
"Measure twice, cut once" is one of the many tips you'll hear from anyone that's ever had to build something.
Having the right tool for the job is another way to make things go smoother.
Since it all starts with the initial measurements and subsequent calculations, the Mobile Pro app from Dewalt is worth considering.
This powerful app made for pros has lots of functional calculators and conversion features essential for calculating areas.
Beyond those tools, it has lots of other helpful information for referencing common questions.
The app lets you save your work or share it with others that are involved in your project.
Knowing how many bags of concrete to buy for your slab or how many linear feet of all the materials necessary for building out a room can be done with this awesome app.
Our annual summer road trips provide us with lots of opportunities to discover new interesting places here in the US.
If you’re like me, you love finding the path less traveled by talking to the locals wherever you happen to be.
When the insider knowledge isn’t available, there are lots of web resources that can help you find awesome side trips, including one of my favorites at https://RoadTrippers.com
Just type in your starting and ending points to start finding things your interested in along your intended path.
By using the website to build your trip plan, you can easily determine how much time an extra stop or point of interest might take along with the potential gas consumed.
Zoom into any part of your path to really see what’s possible, save your trip and then transfer it to your smartphone so you can get in-car directions to everything you plan on seeing.
If you’re pressed for time or just too lazy to build your own road trip, you can start with someone else’s trip and make adjustments to suit your taste.
No matter how much you may try to keep your smartphone clean, it’s going to be full of bacteria that loves living on your devices.
If you’re afraid of touching the door handle to a public restroom, you should be more afraid of your phone as it’s been suggested that it’s eighteen times the filth of a restroom door knob.
The device itself along with how we typically store it in dark, warm places provides everything that bacterial want to thrive.
Constantly wiping your phone off with a harsh chemical wipe can do damage to your touch screen, so that’s not a good option.
A scientifically proven method of keeping your phone sanitized is available from the folks at https://www.phonesoap.com
The approach they take is to blanket your smartphone with UV light, which allows them to disinfect your device while it’s charging.
When you first hear about this method, it may seem a little out there, but a video shot during a multi-day lap test shows just how effective it can be.
Watch the lab test video and learn more at: https://www.phonesoap.com
Protecting your accounts online requires diligence and if you have a Google account, there’s a tool you should know about.
You can easily see what devices have connected to your account and when to sniff out unauthorized access.
The ‘Recently used devices’ screen (http://bit.ly/2EFipxt) provides a list of every device that’s successfully logged into your account and a general location within the past twenty eight days
Should you detect an unauthorized device in the list, you can tap the link to secure your account and start by changing your password.
If everything looks good, take a extra couple of minutes and do a security checkup while you are thinking of it: http://bit.ly/2EusxsD
If Google thinks you should do something to improve your security, you’ll be given the links to make it more difficult for the bad guys to gain access to your account.
If you’re like most users, you have been storing your digital photos on your computer for a decade or more and since you got a smartphone with a camera, both the size and quantity of your photos has increased.
The size of each photo has increased as the pixel ratings have improved on your cameras, which means you can eat up disk space much faster.
The longer that you’ve been storing images on your computer, the more likely that you have inadvertently created unnecessary duplicates that are taking up valuable space.
Looking for those duplicates manually would be overwhelming and a huge time suck, so finding a software tool that can do the job is a better approach.
No matter where the duplicate files may be hiding, these programs can find them and show you where they are stored in a fairly short period of time.
Not only can using this tool free up disk space, you may find yourself motivated to reorganize your photos at the same time!
Windows 10: http://bit.ly/2EqO05D
Older versions of Windows: http://bit.ly/2EpQ4eg
When’s the last time you took a look at all the apps on your smartphone that are just for photography?
Most of them focus on colors, contrast, filters and other obvious adjustments, but I’ve got an app suggestion that’s totally focused on a different area.
Despite how awesome smartphone cameras are, if you try to take an image with a wide angle setting, you’re likely going to see some distortion.
The app I found that fixes this problem is called SKRWT and it’s a natural addition to anyone’s smartphone camera app group.
The curved distortion that can happen with certain setting is easily eliminated by adjusting both the vertical and horizontal planes using the app.
It only does one thing, but it does it really well.
You can checkout some of their other apps as well at: http://skrwt.com
Here's a common problem most of us experience; setting goals we just aren't that motivated to accomplish without some type of external reinforcement.
If you use Google Calendar and want to try to keep your goals in front of you, there's a little feature that a lot of users still haven't looked into called 'Goals' that could help.
The idea behind the feature is to set common goals such as regular physical activity that your calendar will find a slot for on a regular basis, based on how often you want to make it happen.
What's really cool about the goals feature is that if you run into a scheduling conflict or don't accomplish the goal that day, it will get pushed to another day automatically to keep you on your goal.
You have to create your goals using the Google Calendar app first, which will then appear on your desktop computer when you access it through your browser.
The whole challenge with our goals usually includes reminding ourselves on a regular basis to pursue them, so now your calendar can at least help you with that part of the equation!
For instructions on how to create goals, go here: http://bit.ly/2QgxFFp