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!
Our email has become so full of spam messages that the various tools designed to detect them can often mistake legit messages, (ham) for spam.
Most people don’t know that specific words in a message and how messages are constructed can actually make your legit communications look like a scammers message to automated filters.
Images in the message that aren’t needed or specific words can dramatically increase your message’s ‘spam score’ but how do you know what is and isn’t acceptable?
A free web-based tool that will allow you to test for the spam score of any message at http://mail-tester.com is an excellent way to know.
The next time one of your messages ends up in someone’s spam filter or they keep telling you that they never got the message, get the spam score of the message to see if that’s the cause.
You simply send the message to a special address that’s provided and then after a few seconds, you click a link to check your message’s spam score.
You will be presented with a score with optional details on the message including whether your address has been blacklisted, which could be the cause of many messages being blocked.
Those of you that are part of a large group of friends that regularly get together, often times end up splitting checks, sharing rides or buying each other theater tickets.
You then have to repay them and if you happen to have the right change, pay them with cash or more likely try to keep a ledger, which get’s pretty complicated with a large group.
That’s why the Venmo app comes in handy for those situations, because it allows you to easily transfer money to others without any fees.
Venmo allows you to pay your friends exactly $8.27 instead of that awkward point when you realize that you have to make change.
The transfers are FDIC insured and once you have setup your account, it will only take a couple of taps to send a friend some money.
Remember, there are no transaction fees, it allows you to send really small amounts of money to cover sodas from your coworker , so they’ll know you don’t take it for granted.
Users with roommates can easily split rent, utility bills and even groceries to avoid that constant juggling act when you live together.
You won’t need it every day, but when you do, it can take a lot of the drama out of these common social situations.
The tech tip for today is a reminder to all the old-school Internet users out there because it’s a site you most likely forgot about.
In the early days of the Internet, the first real popular deal site that we loved was a site called Woot (http://woot.com) because it had a really simple offer: One item for a single day.
This ‘deal of the day’ would always sell out really quick so you had to be quick as well or you would miss out.
Today the Woot.com website offers many deals in everything from watches to tech to home and garden items, sporting goods, kids stuff and one of my personal favorites: WINE!
One of the best features is that you can discuss any of the items with your fellow shoppers to get input on items before you buy them.
W O O T.com is kind of like a virtual home shopping channel without any annoying pitch people but do be careful…it can be addictive!
Counting calories is a vital skill for any type of fitness program these days and many restaurants are joining in by publishing the calories right on their menus.
But when we get to the grocery store, we have to spend time looking into the product labeling to figure out the nutritional values, which can get be too time consuming.
Unless you’re able to go shopping with a nutritionist, we have an app suggestion for getting the info you need before you buy anything at the store.
It’s an app that provides food education called ‘Fooducate’ and all you have to do is take a picture of the barcode to generate a health grade, calorie count and lots of other health info if you really want to know what you are about to buy.
The app tells you if a product has controversial ingredients, high levels of sugar or sodium, if it’s highly processed and best of all, it will give you a list of alternate products that are healthier to consider buying instead.
Anyone counting calories can now do it with ease with the Fooducate app; available for free on both iPhone and Android handsets.
Lots of you regularly start your day by walking, jogging or taking a bike ride because it makes you feel so good.
Anyone that exercises daily and wants to the value of your regular workouts should checkout the ‘Charity Miles’ app for your phone.
‘Charity Miles’ is an app that tracks all your activities but it also includes a charitable connection which allows you to generate money for a charity of your choice with every activity.
Bike riders can raise ten cents a mile, while joggers and walkers can raise twenty five cents a mile for the charity of thier choice.
You have most likely seen your friends posting ‘Charity Miles’ updates via social media and now you know why!
Anyone that wants to help organizations like ‘the Wounded Warrior Project’ or Autism Speaks or Habitat for Humanity and many other charitable organizations can do so with something they’re already doing every day!
The Charity Miles app is available for iPhone & Android users and using it will allow you to claim that you’re now a sponsored athlete!
Red with meat and white with fish - if this is about the end of your wine knowledge, there’s an app made just for you!
‘Hello Vino’ is a useful app for anyone looking to learn more and simple to use while being full of great info to allow you to expand your knowledge beyond the basics.
With over 10 thousand types of wine grapes on the planet, the best part of discovering new wines is in my opinion, is finding food pairings that are made in heaven.
The app makes it so simple. Need to find a wine that will go great with a bacon cheeseburger? No sweat!
Looking for a wine to pair with that creamy French Brie that you’ve just sampled at the deli counter? Just say Hello Vino!
Need to find the right white wine to go with that spicy Thai curry? The app has you covered there too!
Another great use is when you feel overwhelmed at a restaurant when you’re asked to choose a bottle of wine, let Hello Vino save the day. Ask your fellow diners what they plan to eat and let the app guide your choice.
Finding the perfect wine pairing in Hello Vino will have you talking like a wine snob in a few minutes!
The creation of tabs in browsers is one of the greatest improvements to web surfing to ever come happen because you can quickly bounce between websites without having to use the back button everytime.
But when you get overzealous with too many tabs, it can eat up lots of memory and slow your computer down.
If you have noticed that you tend to have lots of tabs open routinely, check out an extension called The Great Suspender for the Chrome browser.
This great utility automatically monitors tab usage and pauses the web sessions that haven’t been used in a while. Whenever you click on a paused tab, it will reload and pick up right where you left off.
Not only does this tool free up memory & processing power, it can also help to reduce drain on your batteries by pausing all the background activities.
You can easily add special sites, like real-time stock trading pages to a ‘whitelist’ so it knows not to ever pause them.
For avid web surfers that are constantly battling slow performance, this tip is a lot cheaper than buying a new computer!
Download the tool here: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/the-great-suspender/klbibkeccnjlkjkiokjodocebajanakg?hl=en
Tracking online activities and search requests is big part of today’s Internet and it’s easy for companies to track your every move.
Since most people are taking more of an interest in their privacy online, finding tools that allow you to see who’s tracking you and blocking them are becoming more popular.
A tool called ‘Disconnect’ gives you a simple way to manage your privacy while your are browsing and searching the Internet.
It’s a browser add-on for Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Opera and it allows you to pay-what-you-want to support their online privacy and security efforts.
Once the add-on is installed, all online activities become masked as it then looks like all requests are coming from the Disconnect servers, not your actual computer.
The Disconnect add-on also shows you all of the invisible tracking requests that are occurring and makes sure you’re using encrypted connections as you share your data.
So anyone that wants an easy to way to manage who can see personal surfing habits should look into the disconnect tool.
If a cyber-thief gains access to any of your important e-mail accounts on your smartphone, they can pretty much get every password reset message that they want, since they get sent to your phone from your bank when they are prompted.
Your smartphone is loaded with lots of sensitive info that can make ID theft of piece of cake, so anyone that doesn’t have the access passcode setup on they phone yet, get it done.
Another thing to keep in mind when you plan on trading, selling or disposing of an older smartphone is to remember to reset the phone to remove your personal info.
The resetting precess to the reset your phone to the factory settings is easily done with just a few taps of the screen within the ‘Settings’ menus.
If your smartphone has an memory expansion slot, remember to remove the micro SD card before you get rid of your phone as well.
If you decide to include your old micro SD card when you sell your phone, be sure to format the memory first.
You should also remove your old SIM card as the person that ends up with your phone will have no need for it.
Anyone that needs step-by-step instructions for resetting their phone can simply enter their model number followed by ‘reset instructions’ in a Google search.
Here’s our complete advice: http://www.datadoctors.com/help/columns/21892-Wipe-Before-You-Get-Rid-Of-Your-Old-Smartphone
The Internet is plagued with malicious websites that are almost like virtual ‘venus fly traps’ that are waiting for you to land on them.
Staying away from websites that you’ve never heard of is the usual general advice, but that really isn’t very practical, so what are you supposed to do to stay safe?
A useful and free resource from the folks at Trend Micro, which is one of our favorite Security companies, is what we recommend.
They have one of the largest online ‘site reputation’ databases that’s constantly being updated, so when you paste the web address of any site into their tool, they’ll run a quick safety check.
Within seconds, you will get one of several safety ratings: Safe, Dangerous or Suspicious or if the website has yet to be tested, Trend Micro will add it to their tests.
You will also be presented with a summary of the content that you will find at the website, so you won’t end up at an inappropriate site.
Making the assumption that a website is safe is a really bad strategy these days, so before you visit any strange website, get a security opinion from Trend Micro!
Most of us continue to get many e-mail messages that end with things like ‘Sent from my iPad’ or ‘Sent from my Samsung Galaxy S8’.
These default ‘signatures’ on most mobile devices are designed to advertise for the manufacturer of your device without your input.
They know that many of you won’t bother to change the defaults and they end up with millions of free mini-ads.
With the number of messages that we still see using these free mini-ads at the end, it’s pretty obvious that this approach is working for them.
Proclaiming that you’ve sent a message from your mobile device can in some cases be a minor security risk, so we should all take a minute and update our smartphones email messaging signature today.
For business users, an updated signature is a great way to send contact info with every message and help recipients become aware of your company’s blog, website or other important marketing tools.
We have posted the links to provide step by step instructions for iPhone, Android and even Blackberry devices to stop you from being a pawn for smartphone companies.
iOS & Android: https://www.pcworld.com/article/2052156/how-to-change-your-email-signature-on-your-smartphone.html
When you are trying to decide on watching new movies, TV shows, or listening to new music, respected critics are one source of information.
But often times, don’t you find that you’ll love a movie that a famous critic hated?
Unless your tastes are exactly the same as any critic, you really should be looking to see what a number of them are saying to get a consensus.
Many websites have ratings from several critics, but if you want to really tap into the wisdom of the crowds, visit https://metacritic.com
The Metacritic website will combine the opinions of the most respected critics into a single number that they call their ‘metascore’.
The algorithm they claim is unique takes the averages of well-known critics so you can avoid having to click around to a bunch of sites to see what the critics are saying.
Metacritic.com quickly shows you all the movies that are showing in the theaters, available on DVD or are coming soon along with the consensus of the critics.
This resource is also a great way to discover new music as well, which is why we think this is a worthy bookmark site.
Did you all know that carrots were actually purple in the beginning or that Abe Lincoln formed the Secret Service on the day he was shot?
The web is loaded with useless information that not going to change your life, but will make you say, huh!
Most of us learn about these interesting factoids by chance or randomly from a social media post but why allow this type of knowledge to come to you by chance?
Anyone that loves factoids as much as I do should checkout a website called NowIKnow and subscribe to their daily emails.
Every day, you will receive an interesting email message with something that will most likely make you say “huh” or in some cases make you a bit smarter.
With NowIKnow.com, you’ll learn something new daily such as the world’s shortest war lasted 40 minutes and how the turkey actually got its name.
If you have been wanting to learn how to speed read, but not bad enough to pay for a course, there’s an Internet site that you may want to check out.
It’s called Spreeder.com and it’s an online speed reading tool that can help you improve your reading speed as well as comprehension.
According to the site, it’s an art of silencing subvocalization, which is just another way of saying your inner voice that most of us hear when we’re reading.
The online app helps you improve the way that you read so you aren’t held back by your slower inner voice.
Reading skills are typically developed when we’re young and taught to verbalize all the words.
Spreeder allows you to break away from that learned approach by exercising your mind in a completely new way and it is free to use, so give it a try for yourself.
Anyone that works on their computer at night on a regular basis may find it hard to get to sleep afterwards.
That blueish light coming from the computer screen especially at night has been shown to keep people from getting to sleep afterwards.
Anyone experiencing this sleeping after use problem or anyone wanting to reduce the potential for eye strain from your computer screen should checkout a free app called ‘Flux’.
The Flux download will automatically warm up the computer screen at sunset and returns it to normal after sunrise because it will know the time zone of your computer.
It lets you adjust the warmth of the display at night or manually turn it off whenever you’re doing color sensitive work.
It may take a bit to get used to, but once you see the brightness of the normal setting on your display, you will understand why this change can help.
Flux is free and available for Windows and Mac users at Justgetflux.com
You’ll be paid just for taking surveys! You’ve likely seen these email and social media posts from unknown companies proclaiming that you will be rewarded just for sharing your opinion.
While some can be legitimate, most should be considered scams, so unless you have done your research, you should always be skeptical.
But what if there really was a legitimate company that was truly willing to reward you for taking surveys on your Android smartphone?
Well the folks at Google created the Google Opinion Rewards app which will allow you to earn credits in the Play Store for taking those surveys.
It’s an easy system that will only show up once a week or so and every time you answer their simple questions, credits are added to your account so you can purchase apps, movies, books or music in their store.
Sample questions include “which logo is best” or “what was on your TV last night”. The app will notify you whenever a new survey is available.
Search for Google’s ‘Opinion Rewards’ app in the Google Play store.
The Android OS is the most popular mobile platform on the planet, but along with that leadership comes the bad news: it’s also the most targeted mobile OS on the planet.
Infected apps are most commonly posted on sites outside of Google Play, so only downloading your apps from Google's store is a solid strategy.
But even with all the security Google has in place, it’s still possible for an occasional malicious apps to sneak by, which is why having a second layer of protection, like the free Malwarebytes app is a prudent step in security.
The app will scan your smartphone for anything questionable that's already installed and scan every app you download in the future to provide you with a report automatically.
It also runs background scans regularly to ensure infected files did not sneak in and includes a privacy scanner to show you what an app will access to on your device.
Malwarebytes has been an excellent tool for Windows users for along time and now their method of fighting malware is available for Android users…for free!
We're all becoming more focused on the importance of eating a balanced diet, but for most , 1/3 of your caloric-intake comes when we eat away from home.
Until recently, there just wasn't that much info readily available that would help diners make the best choices, but thankfully we can find nutritional information for many restaurants online, as long as you are willing to take the time to find it.
A website that is making it a lot easier to find is called 'MenuStat' because they've created a database of nutritional info that can make it much easier to analyze what you are interested in ordering.
This free nutritional database has over thirty five thousand items served by many of the country's largest restaurant chains which it has aggregated from nutritional info posted on websites going back to 2012.
Hungry for some Kung Pao chicken or a chicken caesar salad with an acceptable calorie count? Just type the items into the Quick Search menu to see your options.
If you want to dig deeper into the dishes that are still using high portions of trans fat, cholesterol or sodium, just search for it.
MenuStat.org can help you avoid something that is listed as gluten free, but that loaded with calories for instance.
This resource is very bookmark worthy: http://menustat.org
Anyone that is a regular business traveler has a well tested routine along with timelines to minimize delays and travel hickups.
But even if you are a seasoned road warrior, there is one thing that has always been a variable in the airport: security checkpoint lines.
Those that travel the same basic routes regularly might have a good idea of what to expect, but anyone can do much better than simple gut feel with the WhatsBusy website.
WhatsBusy shows you how long you can expect to stand in a security line at most major airports based on when you are arriving at the airport.
Just pick an airport, the day you'll be traveling and what time you plan on getting to the airport and It will analyze the historical data from the TSA and give you an estimate of the security wait times.
It will break the info down by terminal, the various gates and in half hour increments, which allows you to see if you should consider getting there a earlier or a little later to avoid long lines.
WhatsBusy is available as a web-based service on any computer or mobile device
Most of us have some form of 'bucket list' of things we want to do before we pass on.
A site called 'BucketListly' is an online community for bucket list fans that wants to help inspire users to leave a mark on this world.
Bucketlistly aims to assist anyone unlock achievements in the real world and inspire others to follow in those footsteps via their interactive community.
You begin by compiling your own bucket list by posting all the goals you want to achieve. This beings your community discussions and helps you get advice, tips and tricks from others that have already done your bucket list items.
You can even join others online that share your same goasl to encourage each other to help make it happen.
No matter what you want to do, learn to surf, hike the Himalayas or meet with the Dalai Lama, there are members of the community on the site that have likely 'been there and done that' and they are willing to share how they made it happen!
Get a jump on your bucket list today at: http://www.bucketlistly.com
Most of us have been on the cruise ship we call Facebook for quite a while, which means you will have accumulated what we refer to as Facebook barnacles on your account.
The barnacles are all those apps that have attached themselves to your profile whenever you checkout a new app or try that new game and end up never using it again.
Even when you don't ever use these apps, you still gave them permission to connect to your account below the 'waterline'.
If you've never take a look, you'll be shocked to see how many apps haveyou your permission to access your profile info.
It’s time for a little clean up, so take the time to review the list of apps that have your permission to access your profile.
Click on the icon in the upper right corner, then on Settings to get to the 'Apps' section.
Once you see the list, just start tapping on the 'X' next to all those old apps you don't use anymore…your profile info will no longer be accessible in the future for those apps.