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!
The holiday shopping season is upon us so here’s another Data Doctors organizational Tech Tip!
In any given year, you’re likely to accumulate a dozen or so warranties on various devices or appliances that you really should keep track of but probably won't.
Keeping track of your warranties can save you a lot of money and an Android app called Warranty Tracker makes it much easier to do.
The Warranty Tracker app allows you to scan items by barcode or take pictures of your receipts and enter the warranty deadline for each product
You can also set it up to send you a notification when that day is approaching in case you have any warranty issues.
If the product has a return deadline, you can also setup alerts for that too and your information gets stored in the cloud so even if you lose your phone, you’re covered.
Warranty Tracker can also track serial numbers, model numbers, and even rebate deadlines with their own set of notifications so you don’t forget to send that rebate in and miss out.
It’s only available for Android devices at the moment and can be downloaded from the Google Play Store…and best of all, it’s another free app!
In the age of streaming media, lots of us still want to watch movies from DVDs like in the old days because most streaming services lack the really new stuff.
Now that the last Blockbuster store has closed, your choices are one of the new kids on the block or your cable or satellite provider.
Netflix has been the leader in DVD rentals for a while, but the disks have to come in the mail, so you have to plan ahead or hope you can find something worth watching from their limited streaming library.
Another well-known option is to run down to your neighborhood convenience store to rent a movie from a Redbox kiosk or subscribe to their service to combine streaming and kiosk DVDs.
But there’s actually an old school option that most people haven’t thought about….your public library.
Many public libraries have an impressive collection of DVDs that can be checked out just like a book and some even have the ability to stream movies.
So the next time you’re in the mood to watch a movie, checkout what your local library has to offer and don’t forget your library card!
If building things or orchestrating groups of people is your business, you probably have a good handle on one of those sophisticated and expensive project management software programs.
But If you’re just an average guy or gal that just wants to get things done either in your personal or professional life, these programs are major overkill.
That’s what an enterprising programmer thought as well, so he created a simple yet powerful app to help us mere mortals get organized called Trello.
Trello is a simple app that turns your computer, smartphone or tablet into an electronic version of the old index cards on a cork board.
Whether it’s your to-do’s, random thoughts or a real project that you are trying to pull together, Trello’s simple drag and drop interface can help you make sense out of the chaos of life and it’s free!
You can attach pictures and files, web links, create checklists, use color coded labels and even drag people onto a card so you know who is responsible for that item.
If getting organized is one of your recurring goals, we think Trello is a fun and easy way to help you achieve that goal
Your desk is killing you and it's time to fight back with this Data Doctors Tech Tip!
You’ve heard it for years; sitting all day is bad for you, but during a crazy workday, it's hard to remember to take the breaks we need.
Think about it, most of us spend 150 hours or more sitting at a desk forcing our bodies into unnatural positions and performing repetitive tasks that stress out our muscles.
That’s where a useful web resource called FitBolt can help. Fitbolt is a browser add-on and desktop app that not only reminds you to take micro-breaks, but also tells you what to do during those breaks
Every thirty minutes or whatever interval you choose, FitBolt will pop up a reminder and also offer a quick exercise suggestion.
It’s a gentle reminder that doing a seated spinal twist or a wrist stretch or a host of other equipment-free one-minute exercises can make a big difference in how you feel at the end of the day.
Think of it as a kinder, gentler personal trainer that will never make you sweat; your spine, shoulders and entire body will thank you for it!
Let’s start with a little geek speak: VOIP or voice over Internet Protocol is essentially the ability to make phone calls over the Internet.
With services like Skype, as long as both parties are on the Skype network, the call is free, but if you want to use Skype to call a regular land line or cell phone, it’ll cost ya.
If you want the ability to make phone calls from your computer to any landline or cellphone in the US or Canada, look no further than Gmail!
Google combined the power of their Google Voice service into Gmail interface which makes it really simple to make a call.
Once you have the free plugin installed, just click on the phone icon in the left column and type in the any phone number in the US or Canada.
Or if you have the Gmail shortcuts enabled, just tap the letter G (as in Gmail) followed by the letter P (as in Phone) to bring up the number dialer.
Or you can click on phone numbers in any email message and it will instantly bring up the dialer with that number!
Has this ever happened to you: your filling out a complex form online or updating a blog post and just before you finish up, your browser locks up or crashes?
Or even worse, you accidentally press the back button on your browser and lose 30 minutes worth of work because it was a web form.
You’re not alone and that’s were a nifty little browser plug-in can come to the rescue with a single click.
Lazarus is a free form recovery add-on for Chrome, Safari and Firefox users and it can really save your bacon.
Once it’s installed, all you have to do is go back to the form that you were working on, click in the text box where you lost everything and the Lazarus icon will appear on the right.
When you click on the icon, all of the recoverable form entries magically appear so all you have to do is click on the version that you want to recover and pick up where you left off.
For security, you can (AND SHOULD) setup a password on the Lazarus tool so no one else can look at the recoverable text.
Windows 8 has been out for a while now, but there are still a lot of hidden features that a lots of users aren’t aware of
One of the really helpful new features is called File History and it does just what it implies; creates backups of your files each time you make a change.
By default, File History is turned off because it requires an additional storage device such as a flash drive or external hard drive in order to work.
Once you set it up, it will start by making a copy of all of your typical data files; documents, music, pictures, videos and any folders on your Desktop to the external storage device.
Then, as you make changes to those files or add new files, it automatically makes a copy for you in the background.
Not only does it serve as a traditional backup so you can restore files that you accidentally delete, but it allows you to go back to a previous version of a document if it becomes corrupted or you need to review what the original document had in it.
Here’s a scenario that seems to be more common these days: you’re killin’ it on Candy Crush and someone calls you right when you’re in the groove.
Or, you’re in the middle of responding to an urgent e-mail and an incoming phone call disrupts your typing.
Well someone that had enough of these disruptions on his Android phone has created a great little app that will allow you to manage phone calls while staying in your current app.
Call Popout for Android is a simple app that gives you control over your phone when someone calls you out of the blue.
Let’s face it, we use our smartphone more for apps than we do for phone conversations these days, so giving priority to apps makes perfect sense.
Call Popout allows you to choose specific apps or all your apps so you have complete flexibility for when it jumps into action.
A small blue circle with a picture of the person that’s calling will appear over the top of whatever app you’re in so you can decide what you want to do.
The basic version is free and available in the Google Play Store.
There’s a new form of malware known as ‘ransom-ware’ making the rounds and it’s one of the most vicious that we’ve ever seen.
Most infections cause problems for your computer or hide in the background to try to grab personal information, but this one will actually lock you out of your own files by using military grade encryption.
It’s called the CryptoLocker and if you get hit by it, your pictures, music, documents, tax records and everything you care about will become inaccessible unless you pay a ransom.
This nasty virus will even attack your backup drives or a business server, which means that one slip up by a single employee can cause an entire company to be locked out of their data files.
The primary methods of infection are from opening booby trapped e-mail attachments and websites that convince you that you need to update your video player.
Paying the ransom doesn’t guarantee that you will get your files back either, so consider this a wakeup call to re-evaluate how you are backing up.
We’ve got full details on what this attack does and how you can minimize your risk of becoming a victim, including what every business should be doing to fend off this malicious threat.
Google’s Android operating system has become the most popular mobile OS in the world and along with that distinction, it’s now the most targeted in the world.
Malicious apps are more likely to appear in places outside of Google’s Play Store, so limiting your app downloads to just the Play Store is a solid strategy.
Even with Google’s security oversight, it’s possible for some malicious apps to sneak in, so if you want a second layer of protection, download the free Malwarebytes app to your Android device.
Once installed, you can scan your phone to see if you have any questionable apps and it will scan every app you download from now on and give you a quick report automatically.
It also performs regular background scans to make sure that infected files haven’t snuck in and it has a privacy scanner that shows you what each app has access to on your device.
Malwarebytes has long been a great tool for Windows-based PCs and now that same approach to fighting malware is available for Android users…and its free!
Hey the weekend is here and if you’re like us, listening to music is part of how you enjoy your leisure time.
Part of the joy of music is discovering new artists and new genres of music that keep things fresh and interesting.
You music lovers already know about discovery services like Pandora and Spotify but there’s an app that makes discovery new bands really easy.
It’s called Band of the Day and it makes it really easy for you to discover new artists because it does just what the name of the app says…introduces you to a new band every day.
Think of it as your new go-to music geek who always seems to know about the coolest new bands before anyone else.
When you find a band that you like, you can listen to songs, watch music videos, read the lyrics and get background information right from the app.
If you really want to dive into exploring new bands, you can explore the daily archives that go all the way back to late 2011.
Band of the Day is available for both iPhone and Android user and it’s absolutely free!
Get paid for taking surveys! We’ve all seen the emails and social media posts from companies that you’ve never heard of claiming you’ll be rewarded for you opinion.
Some of them are legit and some are scammers, but unless you’ve done your homework, you need to be skeptical.
But what if we told you that a really well known company was willing to reward you for taking their surveys on your Android phone?
That’s right, Google recently launched the Google Opinion Rewards app and it allows you to rack up credits in their Play Store by taking surveys.
It’s a simple process that only shows up about once a week, but when you answer the handful of questions, you’ll get credits to buy apps, movies, books and music in Google’s Store.
The questions are simple like “which logo is best” or “what did you watch of television last night” and the app notifies you when a survey is available.
Google Opinion Rewards is a free Android app in the Google Play store.
A lot of the most popular iPhone apps these days are games, but most of them are mindless time killers.
Escaping for a few minutes by playing Angry Birds or Candy Crush can get addictive and end up wasting lots of time because they just keep you going.
If you’re looking for a more stimulating escape that at least has the chance to teach you something, checkout Quizup.
Quizup promotes itself as the biggest trivia game in the world with hundreds of topics and over 150,000 questions.
You can play against friends in real time or random trivia buffs from around the world in topics like Tv shows, books, movies, sports, music, art or even general knowledge quizzes like identifying logos.
It’s like your own personal on-demand version of Jeopardy that ends after a handful of questions, so you can get on with your life (or not)!
Quizup is only available for iPhone and iPad users at the moment, but they are working on the Android version if you want to be notified when its available.
Few things compare to getting lost in a good book that takes your mind on a magical trip around the
world or into deep space.
Often times something that’s mentioned in the book, like a location, a person, piece of music, an event or even an object can stir up your curiosity and that’s where a wonderful discovery website comes into play.
SmallDemons.com is a website that allows you to explore just about anything that you read about in
your favorite book, including other books that used the same word, location or music.
Let’s say a minor historical character in the book sparks your interest; just go to smalldemons.com and see if this character exists in other books.
Listen to the song that’s mentioned in the book and learn more about the musician, the era and other books that cover that period of time.
It’s a completely different way to discover new books, music, movies or lots of other things based on something you read in your book that will lead to some amazing treasures.
There’s a common problem that all of us technology junkies deal with; not enough power outlets and
too many charging cables and accessories.
Lots of companies have products that are trying to help us with this problem, but a cleverly designed
product from a startup called thingCharger may beat them all.
ThingCharger has a unique design that eliminates the need for a charging cable because your device sits on top of the outlet to charge.
What’s even better is that it has two standard outlets and two usb ports for additional devices when you need to load up and they can be stacked up to three deep.
You can charge smartphones, tablets and music players from just about any manufacturer because it
comes with a host of swappable tips that store neatly inside of the charging box.
Thingcharger’s design and flexibility makes it great for travelers that are constantly fighting to find
enough outlets on the road.
It’s currently a crowd funding project at Indiegogo so it won’t be available until the first part of next
year, but you can watch the video at their website and decide if you want to help fund them!
When it comes to deciding on new movies, music and TV shows, respected critics can be a big help.
But how many times have you seen a movie that a critic hated, but you loved?
Unless you have the exact same tastes as your favorite critic, you really need to see what a group of them are saying to get a decent consensus.
Some sites offer ratings from various critics, but if you really want to get the wisdom of the crowds, checkout metacritic.
Metacritic distills the opinions of the most respected critics online and in print into a single number that they call a metascore.
Their proprietary algorithm uses weighted averages of the published critics so you don’t have to go clicking around to dozens of sites to see what the world is saying.
They can quickly show you the movies that are in Theaters, on DVD or coming soon and what the consensus of the critics are for each.
And It’s a great way to find new music too! Bookmark this one folks!
If you work on your computer a lot at night, it may actually cause you to have trouble sleeping.
The blue light coming from your computer screen at night has been shown to keep people up later than they wanted.
If you’re experiencing this problem or you just want to reduce the eye strain from using your computer at night, check a free utility called Flux.
Flux automatically warms up your computer screen at sunset and returns it to normal at sunrise because it knows the general location of your computer.
You can adjust how warm the display becomes at night and manually disable it whenever you have color sensitive work.
It takes a bit to get used to the warmer display, but once you see how bright the normal display was, you’ll understand why flux can help.
Flux is a free download for Windows and Mac users available at Justgetflux.com
If you’ve spent any time on a group conference call, you know how often people are asking ‘Who’s on the call’ or ‘who just said that’.
Wouldn’t it be great if you could have a visual representation of each person on the call including who’s on the call, who’s talking at any moment and who dropped off?
Well, now you can with UberConference! Uberconference is an awesomely simple solution to these age old problems with audio based conference calls.
The graphical interface shows you a profile pic of each participant along with their contact and social info and whoever is currently talking appears at the top of the screen.
The conference organizer can easily mute the guy from shipping that injected music in the conversation because he put his phone on hold.
Uberconference unlimited conference calls also gets rid of the irritating pin numbers, can record the conference and it even has a mobile app for iPhone and Android users.
If you tired of the old way of holding a conference call, give Uberconference a try!
It’s no secret that when it comes to tablet computers, Apple’s iPad is the undisputed king, especially if your focus is on entertainment.
Microsoft came late to the tablet party, even though they introduced a Tablet PC version of Windows back in 2002.
Microsoft’s approach called Surface is designed to offer an alternative to the iPad instead of trying to compete with it and focuses more on users interested in productivity and entertainment.
The first generation of the Surface Tablets weren’t very well received and didn’t sell very well so they took what they learned and released their second generation of tablets called Surface 2.
The most interesting model is the Surface Pro 2 because it fits and interesting niche because it’s both a powerful Windows 8.1 laptop computer and a tablet in one package.
If you’re a business user that hauls an old laptop and a tablet around and you want to lighten the load, the Surface Pro 2 is worth taking a look at.
If you’ve ever wanted to learn how to speed read, but didn’t want it bad enough to pay for any of the courses, we’ve got an Internet site that you may want to give a try.
It’s Spreeder.com and it a free online speed reading software program that will get you started on improving your reading speed and comprehension.
According to Spreeder, speed reading is the art of silencing subvocalization, which is just a fancy way of saying that inner voice you hear when you’re reading.
The online system helps you change the way you read so you’re no longer held back by your slower inner voice.
Reading is a skill that we typically develop at a young age when we are told to verbalize all the words.
Spreeder allows you to advance your reading skills by exercising your mind in a completely different way and it’s absolutely free, so what are you waiting for?
Hey Brandon, did you know that carrots were originally purple and that Abraham Lincoln created the Secret Service on the day he was shot?
The Internet is full of inane information that really isn’t going to change your life, but often times makes you say, huh!
We generally run across interesting factoids by accident or from a friend’s social media post but why leave these nuggets of knowledge to chance?
If you love interesting factoids as much as we do, pop over to the NowIKnow website and subscribe to the daily knowledge emails.
Each day, you’ll get an interesting story about something that will likely make you say “huh” and make you just a bit smarter.
Now that you know about NowIKnow.com you can learn something new every day like the world’s shortest war lasted forty minutes or how the turkey got its name!