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!

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Today’s tip is one for parents to use as the ultimate computational homework helper. We’ve d more...

Today’s tip is one for parents to use as the ultimate computational homework helper.

We’ve discussed Wolfram Alpha in the past, but we didn’t explain how to unleash the full potential that the tool offers.

It’s not a search engine, it’s more of a computational knowledge tool and it’s a great way for parents to have a handle of complex math homework.

Wolfram Alpha provides a fundamentally different way to get knowledge & answers. It doesn’t search the web; it performs dynamic computations based on a huge collection of data & algorithms. 

Any student that’s struggling with complex math homework you can use Wolfram Alpha to both double check their work and get a better understanding of how they should have arrived at their answer. 

You can also use the tool to compare things, such as people or places. For example, you can compare Albert Einstein to Thomas Edison or Honeydew to Watermelon.

So the next time you need computational data to research something, let Wolfram Alpha be your tool of choice:
http://www.wolframalpha.com

If your car starts making strange sounds, you usually pay attention to that, right?  Well, t more...

If your car starts making strange sounds, you usually pay attention to that, right? 

Well, this attention should also be paid when it comes to your computer because out of the ordinary sounds are often the sign of a potential meltdown. 

Any unusual buzzing, grinding or whirring can be an early sign that a moving part within your computer is about to go bad.

For example, cooling fans are one of the most common failures we see and when the noise from a fan stops on its own, it often means that the fan stopped working altogether. 

Since heat is one of the worst enemies of your computer, letting your cooling fan stop working is about the same as driving a car with no water in the radiator. 

Whenever there’s a clicking sound and you can’t start the computer up, make sure you shut it off quickly and get professional help. Any clicking sound likely means you have a failing hard drive and the clicking can be causing more damage.

Trying to restart a computer repeatedly will cause irreparable damage and can lead to extreme data loss, so be especially careful when you hear a clicking sound. 

LinkedIn Company Pages Aired: 12/20/2018
If you’re new to LinkedIn or even an old veteran of the business networking tool, you may want more...

If you’re new to LinkedIn or even an old veteran of the business networking tool, you may want to listen up!

Most of you have have a LinkedIn account but many of you still haven’t realized all the hidden gems that this business focused network provides. 

One of the most overlooked but easy to use options is the ability to create a ‘Company Page’. 

Company pages will allow anyone to setup a powerful online resource that will showcase your company along with your products and services which then allows anyone to follow your company itself. 

It’s also a great way to show off your job opportunities or for job seekers to follow and learn more about your company before they apply for a position.

The page can be a way to get recommendations from your customers and gain new prospects as well. 

Think of it as a Facebook Business page that’s free and easy and focused on business people.

Reminder To Pay Attention Aired: 12/19/2018
If you’re noticing that odd items are just popping up on your computer out of the blue, it’s hi more...

If you’re noticing that odd items are just popping up on your computer out of the blue, it’s highly likely that it’s coming from those new programs that you are installing. 

A sneaky practice these days is to hide 3rd-party programs into common installation programs or utilities when you’re installing or updating them. 

The key to catching those sneaky programs that change how your computer works is to start paying very close attention to the screens during the install. 

Software engineers count on you not paying attention and they encourage you to just tap next, next, next then on ‘I agree’!

A key method for sneaking this junk software into a computer is to convince the user that the ‘standard installation’ is also the ‘recommended installation’. 

You don’t have to be a rocket-scientists to make use of the custom installation option; that is where you will get to view what they’re trying to get past you. 

From now on, you should always choose either the advanced or custom option when installing any new program on to your computer so you can kill it before it messes things up. 

This reminder is the best way to keep your browser clear of extra toolbars or having your default search engine changed too.

Mood Detection App Aired: 12/18/2018
Voice recognition options such as Siri and Alexa have us all spending more time talking to our more...

Voice recognition options such as Siri and Alexa have us all spending more time talking to our gadgets. 

We can ask our tech lots of things to get the info we want and now you can ask your phone how you feel!

The ‘Moodies’ app says it can listen to you talk for about 15 seconds and provide you with a general impression of how you are feeling. 

The app’s website states: “Based on our 18 years of research into human emotions, Moodies will analyse and present the current emotional state of the speaker in real time, while they speak”. 

The app will present you with your primary, secondary mood as well as your overall mood group. 

I have used it for a couple of times and it is kind of interesting to see what the app says, but I’m nowhere near ready to count on it to determine the mood of my family members or co-workers. 

iOS App: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/moodies-emotions-analytics/id793945393?mt=8

Android App: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.bvc.moodies&hl=en_US

Awesome Math App Aired: 12/17/2018
Any parent of a student that’s in some form of higher level math has probably already run into more...

Any parent of a student that’s in some form of higher level math has probably already run into the situation where you are asked for help on a math problem that’s overwhelming.

Any parent that wants a little assistance in explaining how to solve complex math problems should checkout an app called ‘PhotoMath’. 

This amazing app allows parents to use the camera on their smartphones to scan a math problem, attempt to solve the problem and show the steps it takes to solve them. 

If you think that kids will simply use this app to cheat on their homework, think about what was said about the calculator when it first came out. 

There’s no question that this app can be used to cheat, but it’s truly a learning app that will teach kids how things are solved. 

Keep in mind that kids can use other tools like Wolfram Alpha to solve math equations, but they’ll miss out on the explanation required to solve them. 

Don’t let your fear keep you from using of this great parental teaching tool: https://photomath.net

Who among us doesn’t live on email? We all spend way too much time getting interrupted by mes more...

Who among us doesn’t live on email? We all spend way too much time getting interrupted by messages that aren’t important because we’re on so many mailing lists. 

Most of us don’t even know how we ended on most of the lists, but because of the all-to-common auto opt-in lists, it’s not going to go away any time soon.

If you are overwhelmed with insignificant subscription messages every day, an awesome tool called ‘Unroll’ is worth a look. 

Once the system scans your inbox, it alphabetically lists your subscriptions so you can select that ones you want to keep, the ones you want to unsubscribe from or add messages to what they call a ‘roll up’. 

It’s a daily digest of your subscriptions that you actually want to see condensed into a single message, so you no longer see them all day long. 

You can mark important messages as ’Keep in Inbox’ so that you see them as they come in. 

Unroll.Me works with with most major web-based email tools:  https://unroll.me

Cashless Tipping App Aired: 12/13/2018
Anyone that knows the life of the hard working working local musician, you also know how import more...

Anyone that knows the life of the hard working working local musician, you also know how important tips from their audience can be as a sign of how well they are connecting. 

Throwing a few bucks into a guitar case or tip jar is generally the option, but how many times are you in a position that doesn’t allow you to show your appreciation because you don’t have any cash on you?

Our society is practically a cashless one these days, so a lot of people in the service and hospitality world are making less because of it.

An app called ‘Bravo’ is trying to help by making it super easy to tip out those in the service or entertainment industry that you are near.

It makes it easy to tip tour guides, live musicians, valets or anyone that served you, electronically.

I always tell musicians to consider making a sign for the Bravo app next to their tip jar, which could encourage their audience to download the app and send them tips throughout their performance. 

Whether you’re the tipper or the tippee, Bravo makes it a lot easier:
https://trybravo.com

Anyone that spends as much time in the great outdoors as I do is likely to find themselves with more...

Anyone that spends as much time in the great outdoors as I do is likely to find themselves without any sort of cell signal. 

In most cases, that’s probably on purpose, but there are often times when having a communication safety net is desirable in case you get lost or need help. 

A handy device called ‘goTenna’ provides a communication option to connect with others whenever a cell signal isn’t available.

The device will allow you to send and receive text messages or share the GPS location where you are with someone that has the companion device. It can work from 1 to 50 miles, depending on your terrain. 

An area like a ski resort is likely to provide better range than any city setting that has lots of tall buildings. 

I just returned from a popular music festival that would have been a great place to have goTenna to contact my friends as the cell network was so jammed with traffic and virtually useless. 

Learn more at: https://gotenna.com

Faster Browsing on the Road Aired: 12/11/2018
Any of you that spend a lot of time on the road are used to less than desirable Internet speeds more...

Any of you that spend a lot of time on the road are used to less than desirable Internet speeds from the available wifi options.

It doesn’t matter whether you are on a flight, in a hotel lobby or meeting at a coffee shop, everyone on the connection is sharing a slow data pipe. 

Airplane wifi can be especially challenging when you try to access all of the multimedia content that’s so common on most to today’s websites. 

There is an option to optimize whichever browser you’re using for really slow connections, but then requires you to remember to put all the settings back to normal when you are back on a high-speed pipe. 

To bypass that hassle, I suggest road warriors think about using the less known Opera browser when you are on the go.

The Opera browser provides a special mode they call ‘Turbo’ that optimizes all your content on the Opera servers before sending it to your device to reduce download times. 

In addition, by automatically blocking Flash content until you click on the container further reduces the load of unnecessary multimedia content. 

When you’re on an extremely slow connection, you can even set Opera to not load images at all, which increases the speed of written content. 

More suggestions are posted at:
https://www.datadoctors.com/help/columns/22011

Anyone that runs a small business that occasionally needs to invoice their customers has probab more...

Anyone that runs a small business that occasionally needs to invoice their customers has probably found that many of the popular platforms are overly complex or just too expensive. 

Generating simple invoices, estimates & POs doesn’t need to be rocket science, so the folks at Invoice2go created a system just for micro businesses. 

Their tools will work on smartphones, tablets or computers and it will sync your paperwork across all those devices. 

It allows you to create customized invoices with your company logo or even create one if you don’t currently have one which makes for a more professional appearance. 

They can even help your business track receivables, track expenses, time on a job and your customers can sign estimates or invoices using your mobile devices. 

You can use the free trial version to create a couple of invoices so you can test the system out.

Invoices2go will work on either Android or iOS devices:
https://invoice.2go.com

Spam Reporting Reminder Aired: 12/07/2018
The vast majority of email messages circulating the Internet are without a doubt junk messages more...

The vast majority of email messages circulating the Internet are without a doubt junk messages generally trying to sell you special pills and lower mortgage rates. 

It has made processing our email messages a lot more work than it needs to be and now those spammers are taking aim at your smartphone. 

Text message spam is growing and no matter what rules are in place, the bad guys won’t bother following them. 

But. did you know that you can help by fighting back every time you get spammed with one of those annoying messages?

Each time you get a junk message, you should report it to your wireless carrier by simply forwarding the message to ‘7726’ which is ‘SPAM’ spelled out. 

Be sure to forward the exact message in its entirety and don’t add any comments of your own. 

If we all start doing this each and every time we get a junk message, we can all put a small dent into the problem so they don’t ruin text messaging as well. 

We’ve all found ourselves borrowing a friend’s computer to check on something on one of online more...

We’ve all found ourselves borrowing a friend’s computer to check on something on one of online accounts. 

You need to log into Facebook to check on something and forget when you pop out to catch some dinner. 

This scenario actually happened to a friend of ours and what happened later was not good. 

The friends got into a heated discussion while at dinner and they both left the restaurant upset with each other. 

When one of the friends returned home, he found that his former friend was still logged into his Facebook account, which allowed him full control over the account and proceeded to wreak havoc. 

Did you know, there’s a way to rectify this situation if you ever find yourself in it? Facebook has an option that will allow you to remotely logout of any computer or device using the account.

You do this by going into your account settings on a smartphone or computer and clicking on the ‘security’ section. 

Towards the bottom of the page, look for the words ‘Active Sessions’ then click EDIT on your computer, or REMOVE on your smartphone. 

Computer will see a list of all the open Facebook sessions on any device which you can quickly choose to end, putting you back in the driver’s seat. 

So many people from other countries speak many languages, but we typically don’t because new la more...

So many people from other countries speak many languages, but we typically don’t because new languages are hard to learn using traditional methods of learning.

You can do minor translations on the fly with various apps and websites but you won’t learn anything. 

There is an online resource that can make learning that new language a more social experience, because you get to learn with others and challenge them while you are learning. 

Duolingo.com takes learning a new language to a different level. they allow you to connect through Facebook or Twitter which will allow you to track your friends that are learning a new language with you.

They use many pictures, words, sentences and more interactive methods for learning, so you can quickly learn basic lessons then move on to advanced levels. 

By simply dedicating a few minutes a day to learn the lessons, you will be speaking, understanding and possibly even writing in that new language. 

Give it a spin for yourself at:
https://duolingo.com

File Conversion Website Aired: 12/04/2018
How many times have you recieved an email that includes a file attachment but you don’t have t more...

How many times have you recieved an email that includes a file attachment but you don’t have the proper program that will allow you to open the file. 

This can result in one of two scenarios: replying to the person requesting an alternative type of file or finding a program that will convert the file so you can open it. 

Not only can this make things inconvenient, there can also be a cost involved. Who needs to buy a program for a single use? 

If you find yourself with the need to convert any file in the future, just visit Zamzar.com.

It’s a free website that will convert just about any file type to another file type. 

Zamzar will convert ebooks to pdfs, mp3s to wave files, Quicktime to MP4; the possibilities are almost endless. 

To convert files, you simply drag and drop them on the conversion tool, then select the format you want the conversion to be and type your email address, before clicking on the ‘convert’ button. 

Zamzar will send you a link to download the file once they have converted it.

http://zamzar.com

Company Spear Phishing Aired: 12/03/2018
Targeted hacking known as ‘spear phishing’ is on the increase but lots of victims don’t realiz more...

Targeted hacking known as ‘spear phishing’ is on the increase but lots of victims don’t realize when it’s happening to them. 

Nowadays, when you get a random message from some bank that you don’t do business with, claiming than your account has a security issue, It’s easy to quickly figure out that it’s a scam. 

But what about when you get email messages from your company's human resources department that includes an important policy update notification or ruling on your vacation time. You’ll generally click on it because you assume it’s from your company.

Today’s hackers are using spear phishing techniques using your own company name because they know most victims don’t think about opening a message that comes from someone in the same company.

So, how can you tell when a message is a spear phishing attempt? It’s impossible to provide absolute indicators, but we should all know enough to avoid clicking on any links or attachments included with the message. 

Watch out for spelling errors and bad grammar, which are often the tip off of a scam message.

You can also check the validity of any links by looking for mismatched destinations by simply hovering the mouse pointer over the link and watching the status bar at the bottom left corner of the message to see if it matches. If it doesn’t, you’ll know it’s a scam message for sure. 

Anyone that wants a solid photo editing program, but doesn't want to spend $700 to get it or ne more...

Anyone that wants a solid photo editing program, but doesn't want to spend $700 to get it or need a cheap alternative to Microsoft Office should know about a website that offers alternatives.

The options in the software world are a lot wider than just the popular commercial ones that you've heard of and in many cases, there may even be some free alternatives.

Programs known as 'open source' are collaborative efforts that allow programmers from around the globe help in the ongoing development and most often offer the programs for free for anyone to use.

An excellent resource for discovering all those cheap alternatives to expensive software programs is a website called https://alternativeto.net

By typing the name of the program that you want an alternative for into the search box at the top, you'll get alternatives that you probably had no idea ever existed!

The options are based on other user's recommendations, so finding great alternatives to the applications you want is easy.

The suggested programs are for Windows, Mac, iPhone and iPad, Android, Linux and even Blackberry devices

The next time you seek an alternative to any program, just pop over to https://alternativeto.net to find it!

'Concerts Near You' App Aired: 11/29/2018
Today's tip could an literally change the way you keep up with concert dates for your favorite more...

Today's tip could an literally change the way you keep up with concert dates for your favorite bands.

Instead of having to remember to visit their website or Facebook page to see when your band will be in town, checkout https://BandsInTown.com

You can either checkout the bands coming to your area or download their app, which connects to Facebook and starts alerting you in the news feed when your bands are booked for a gig in town.

No more remembering to follow you favorite artists, as Bandsintown will notify you and alerts you to similar artists in town; then RSVP for any show or even buy your tickets.

With BandsInTown you will never have to miss a concert again because the app knows which groups you like...HOW? Automagically!

The app can gather your music preferences from iTunes, Pandora and other popular music services by scanning your most listened to, preferred, and liked artists, and then suggest concerts going based on that info.

With BandsInTown, you no longer have to go searching for concerts, the concerts will be looking for you.

https://bandsintown.com

Collages Made Easy Aired: 11/28/2018
Have you ever wondered how some people are capable to creating amazing collages with their imag more...

Have you ever wondered how some people are capable to creating amazing collages with their images? Do they have exceptional editing skills or are they using a special app that makes great collages easy?

The Photo Grid app is one option for creating collages easily with up to 9 images on your smartphone (both Android and iPhone). You can make appealing collages the very first time you use it.

When you launch the app, it asks you to choose the type of collage you wish to create from options that include free form, single image, grid, high - photo booth-style strip - or wide - a horizontal strip.

This app makes it very easy to swap images, crop, zoom and even change up the orientation along with border and background options as well.

When you feel like your masterpiece is done, simply save it to your smartphone and post it wherever you want!

http://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.roidapp.photogrid&hl=en

http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/photo-grid-collage-maker/id543577420?mt=8

Beware of Package Thieves Aired: 11/27/2018
As the holiday gift giving season rolls in, lots of us are going to be making as many purchases more...

As the holiday gift giving season rolls in, lots of us are going to be making as many purchases online as we can to avoid those crazy crowds.

After making your purchases, you have to aware of how the items will be delivered. In most cases, it'll be you front door usually when no one's home. This can lead to the growing problem of 'porch pirates'.

Thieves are going to tail delivery vehicles to stalk the best packages to grab after they determine that no one's home.

To fight this problem, it's best to have your packages sent to a neighbor or a friend that you konw will be home or if not, have the packages sent were you work.

Consider providing special delivery instructions for hidden places at your house or leave a note on your door if there's an alternative location for delivering the package.

Anyone that gets packages delivered regularly all year long should really install a motion-sensing camera or doorbell at the front door so everything is recorded any time motion is sensed at the door. You'll also get a text or email notification whenever anyone is ever at your door.

Screen Extension Hack Aired: 11/26/2018
Being a huge fan of dual displays on my work computer, working without them just seems unimagin more...

Being a huge fan of dual displays on my work computer, working without them just seems unimaginable.

But when I hit the road and need that extended display space, it isn’t practical to lug a second display around, unless that second display is an iPad. 

Mac computer users have been able to use an iPad with their Macbooks as a second screen, but did you know that Windows users can do the same thing? It’s possible through an app called ‘Duet Display’. 

Just install the program on your computer and the app on your iPad to start using it as a second computer desktop display.

This setup allows you to drag anything you’re working on from your desktop to the iPad, which is helpful when working with large spreadsheets or when you need to do a lot of copying and pasting. 

Duet Display will work with Mac or Windows systems and iPads or your larger iPhones using the charging cable as a connector. 

It’s quick to setup and free at https://www.duetdisplay.com

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