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 Internet has become our go-to research tool for comparing products and services, but what can you do when you don't know any of the competing products?
Today's tip if for those times that you know the name of a product but have no idea if they have any competitors.
Just add a space and the letters 'v' & 's' (as in versus) behind whatever it is that you are trying to compare.
For example, if you're car shopping looking for all the other competeting vehicles, you would type 'VW Touareg vs'
This tip seems to be very useful whenever you're seeking the best smartphone app of any type or category. One app will lead to another allowing you to find lots of competing apps using this trick.
It also works very well with just about anything technology related, since so many tech-savvy people love to compare gadgets, devices and software around the world.
This tip may not work for everything, but you will find that it's effective more times then it's not, because of the way Google combines the keywords you are using combined with popularity rankings.
Weddings are supposed to be a blissful experience but organizing everything that leads up to the wedding day are generally filled with tasks and stress.
One of the biggest tasks is choosing how or what gift registry will be used for the wedding.
There are endless online resources for generating a gift registry, but they’re generally limited to whatever that website is interested selling.
Anyone that’s in the early stages of their preparation should checkout https://Zola.com and its unique approach to this task.
They allow anyone to create a registry not just for products but associated services, or even a honeymoon kitty, with just about anything sold online.
Their site creates a single place for any and all items that can be on a couple’s wish-list and handles all the transactions.
They also offer the ability to schedule the delivery of the wedding gifts, which can be helpful if the new couple is moving or on an extended honeymoon.
Zola also makes group gifting easy if there are expensive items on the registry. Think of it as Kickstarter for weddings.
Have you ever found yourself in need of very basic graphic design task, but it’s not something you can justify hiring someone for?.
Most of us are "design challenged" or lack the expensive programs that would allow you to generate the artwork, so we need to find an alternative.
My suggestion is that you checkout a web tool called https://Canva.com.
The Canva system is really simple to use, because it’s template driven which means you don’t have to install anything to your computer.
You can use it to create flyers, posters, business cards, web graphics, proper dimensioned social media images or just about any type of graphics without a huge learning curve.
You just select a design style, then select an associated template to begin modifying text to finish your design.
Canva allows you to upload your own pictures or buy on of their professional images for as little as one dollar.
Canva is simple to learn, really easy to use, inexpensive or free and generates professional results...it’s the perfect tool for the designed challenged.
Anyone lacking in vision, money, design skills or the time to learn how to create great looking graphics should go directly to https://Canva.com!
Our beloved smartphones have the ability to easily create high resolution pictures and amazing HD videos anytime we want.
One downside to creating these amazing images and videos is that they generate huge files, especially if you’re shooting HD video.
Trying to send or upload high-resolution videos through a social media or email account requires that your beautiful creations need to be compressed, lowering the quality.
Anytime you need to send a large original resolution video or lots of hi-res images without compressing them, check out an app called ‘WeTransfer'.
The WeTransfer app makes it easy and free to send those huge files right from your smartphone to anyone through a simple email link.
The apps work on Android and iOS mobile devices as well as Mac computers and the Chrome web browser.
Unlike a lot of other transfer apps, the people you send your files to won’t have to download the app or even create an account. All they have to do is click the ‘download’ link that you send via email to start downloading your uncompressed videos and pictures.
The download link for all platforms is: http://WeTransfer.com/mobile
If you have ever had to call a tech person for help, you have likely been asked to restart your computer as the first step.
It is the first step because so many problems can be resolved by robooting and the same holds true for issues when you're surfing the Net by also using a simple step most people forget to perform...clear the cache in your browser.
The cache is a random storage of items that you have previously downloaded while visiting pages you were on.
By reloading element already in the cache, your devices browser can load a page more quickly because it bypasses the extra steps of downloading those elements from the site.
On occasion, these elements in your browser cache can actually cause page loading problems, especially those that require log ins.
So, the next time you encounter issues when trying to load a website, start your diagnosis by clearing your cache.
If you're not sure how to perform this important task, the instructions for most popular browsers is at: http://www.refreshyourcache.com
Anyone that is a user of Google’s productivity tools like Docs, Forms & Sheets will want to look into today's add-on suggestion.
The add-on is called 'Save As Doc’ which makes it easy to turn any spreadsheet into a doc file.
This option is helpful when you need to combine spreadsheet info into a word processing document. It’s really helpful when the text in a cell is too wide to display in a standard spreadsheet.
The add-on allows you to convert an entire spreadsheet or specific cells as long as they are adjacent that you may want converted into a document that is completely editable.
If you’re working with a spreadsheet that’s the result of a survey that you created in Google Forms, this add-on is especially helpful.
No need to manually format the results when you copy and paste info into a document from a spreadsheet.
It also allows you to create a page break after each row of data, making the results much easier to keep organized.
The 'Save As Doc' add-on is free but will only work in Google Chrome.
The download link is: http://goo.gl/H0ed2B
Yesterday we discussed 360 degree cameras technology that is becoming the next big thing in video.
But creating amazing videos in 360 isn’t of much value if you can’t share them for others to easily view them too.
The guys and gals over at YouTube made the viewing of 360 videos on the network possible by creating support for the uploading of 360 videos.
With the YouTube app installed on any phone or tablet allows you to move around in the video by moving your phone around, allowing you to see all the different direction that was captured.
You can kind of do the same thing on your computer at YouTube.com using your mouse to change the point of view, but frankly, the mobile experience is so much better.
Checkout examples of these 360 videos and learn more about watching them at:
Another CES has gone by and once again, I was blown away by the various 360 camera technology on display.
Not only do they take incredible panoramic 360 images, they can also capture 360 degree high definition videos as well.
A quick Internet search for 360 cameras will bring up dozens of companies with an assortment of amazing capabilities.
They're even available as your home security camera, some of which are combined with light bulbs.
The cameras start at about $300 and offer video resolutions from basic standard up to the Ultra HD 4K standard.
There are many that are waterproof, allowing you to capture underwater 360 scenes.
Anyone seeking to capture outdoor experiences that’s much better than the typical action-cams like a GoPro, should check out the various 360 cameras available.
Tomorrow, I’ll tell you all about Google’s efforts to support 360 videos on YouTube.
Maintaining physical fitness requires us all to search for the workouts that you'll be able to understand, accomplish and afford.
An option for anyone trying to find a starting place for getting fit could be as simple as a no-equipment workout.
A famouse fitness author created an awesome collection of visual workouts that can offer a workout for any fitness level.
The workouts are visually outlined with simple instructions that include how many sets you should do per workout.
The programs & challenges on the site range from seven to ninety days to complete along with suggested meals which can be downloaded and printed or used with your smartphone.
There are lot of other resources to help with general fitness, running and motivation to go along with help with nutrition, meal plans and recipes.
Whether you're trying to get motivated to start somewhere or bored with your existing workout, the collection of free visual workouts at https://darebee.com may be just what you’re looking for!
Smartphones are great but they are only as smart as the human using it.
It’s not very likely that you have figured out how to use all of the built-in options or hidden tricks that this amazing device has to offer.
Anyone that wants to get smarter about all the features that you don’t know about in your smartphone needs to know that there’s an app for that!
The app is called ‘Drippler’ which is available for both iPhone & Android users for free.
It presents users with tips, features & updates along with 'how-to' info to help you with everything from getting more battery life to learning about things you had no idea your phone could do.
It’s an app that answers the global question of “how do I keep up with everything on my smartphone?”
Both apps are platform focused, so you will get the tips and tricks that are specific to your device.
Helpful tips & tricks are just a tap away no matter which type of smartphone you have.
Just search for ‘DRIPPLER’ in your app store!
When most of us have to work with any form of official documents, there is a strong chance that you'll need to get those documents signed in from of a notary.
This means taking on the hassle of finding a notary that's within reasonable range and arranging to meet with them in person.
For the next time you need to get something notarized, make not of an app called 'Notarize'.
The Notarize system is an online virtual notary service that is completely electronic and completely legal in all 50 states.
Getting your document notarized is pretty simple, by uploading it to their system and providing offical ID, then completing the necessary items in the document and finally connecting with a licensed notary through a video call.
The licensed notary will watch you sign the document which then allows them to electronically notarize, right through the smartphone app or your computer.
Once the process is completed, Notarize allows you to print, save or share the newly notarized document and it's all done electronically.
Having 24/7 notary service available is very convenient, but it will cost you more for that convenience with a $25 processing fee per notarization.
At the moment, the Notarize app is only available for iPhone or iPad users, but keep it in mind for the next time you need a notary http://www.notarize.com
A lot of buzz this year at CES was generated by auto manufacturers that are trying to make cars much 'smarter' and more connected in their latest models.
But did know that anyone that has a car that's 1996 or newer already has some 'smart car' capabilties?
Under the dash of your car under the steering wheel should be a connector called the 'OBD' port (On Board Diagnostics).
To take advantage of this port, you'll need an OBD transmitter connected to an app on your phone which allows you to take advantage of your cars onboard diagnostics functions, like from a company called Dash.
You can you access much more than just diagnostic information after the engine light goes on, because the system helps you improve your gas mileage and can even help you find the lowest priced gas near you.
The special Bluetooth device that plugs into the OBD port from Dash costs between $10 to $60 for most cars.
The associated app is free and the complete rundown on the OBD transmitters is available at https://Dash.by
Most of us are using our smartphones these days to accomplish tasks that in the past would require us to sit down in front of a computer in order to get things done.
I often need to copy various items on my phone like a websites, images or bodies of text so the repeated back & forth isn’t very efficient.
Any Android users that seeks a better way to copy various things on their smartphones, should download the 'Copy Bubble’ app.
Copy Bubble makes it possible to copy virtually anything from anywhere in your phone. As you copy items, you will start to see an orange bubble with a number in the middle.
As you copy things in, the number will increase as the app compiles items in chronological order. Items stay in the app for you to paste until you remove them.
The Copy Bubble will float over any of you apps or screens, so you can paste some or all of the copied items just by tapping the bubble and tapping the various items.
Copy Bubble is for Android devices only and it’s free: http://copybubble.com
The use of tabs while browsing the Internet has fundamentally changed the way we use it because it allows us to open many websites during the same session.
But it’s also easy for it to get out of hand by opening too many tabs with each one taking up memory, so closing unneeded tabs is a good way to keep your computer from becoming sluggish.
If you’ve ever accidentally closed a tab, you/re forced to look through the browser History to try to find tabs you still wanted to use.
Well here’s a tip that will cure errant clicks when you close the wrong tab.
The next time it happens, just hold down the Ctrl&Shift keys while tapping the letter T.
The last tab you closed will come back to life without the hassle of trying to remember what it was.
To restore more of the previous tabs, just repeat the process and each one will appear in the order you closed them!
I’m beginning today’s tip with a little bit of geek speak: "word cloud”.
The term 'word cloud’ refers to a visual representation of a large chunk of text; the most used words appear as bold colors or larger fonts to emphasize their value.
It’s a really great way to quickly pull important themes from a large amount of text by seeing it as a word cloud.
Any business with an interest in customer feedback will love this tool because you can avoid the manual method of reviewing each one to uncover important themes.
My absolute favorite online tool is located at http://tagcrowd.com because it's fast, easy and powerful.
Simply create a single text file containing all of your feedback without having to worry about any formatting or text structuring issues.
Then copy that text into their website or if you’d prefer, upload any text, CSV or word porcessing document. You can even paste in a web URL to get the same analysis done.
Anyone making a presentation of a large data set will find TAGCROWD.com will find to be an excellent tool for their presentations!
I really like using dual displays on all of my computers, so much so, that when I’m on the road, I really miss them.
But now when I do hit the road I can get the benefit of dual displays on my laptop using my iPad using an app called Duet Display.
MacBooks owners have long been able to use their iPads with their laptops, but now Windows users can follow suit thanks to the Duet Display app.
By loading the app on both your computer and your iPad, you can quickly expand your primary display to the iPad which becomes an extension of your main screen.
Once it’s installed and setup, you can drag any window from your computer to your iPad, which is very helpful when you are doing a lot of copy/paste work or working with a very large spreadsheet.
The Duet Display system will work with Mac or Windows computers alike and will extend your display to iPads or iPhones.
If you’d like to see the wonders of a second screen, give http://DuetDisplay.com a try.
Have you noticed how many different ways you communicate with all your various contacts you have in your smartphone?
Everything from Phone calls, emails, texting, Twitter, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Instagram, even Skype and the list goes on.
Because of this, you have to figure out which app is best for each of your contacts every time you want to reach out and manually go to that specific app to get started.
If you’d like a different solution to this growing communication hassle, checkout an app called Drupe; it's spelled D R U P E.
It shows you your contacts with all the various apps for communicating all on one screen.
You simply drag your desired contacts to the communication app of choicer or that contact...it’s a much quicker way to reach out.
Drupe can also work with your calendars, reminders, Google Maps and popular payment systems like Venmo & Paypal.
Drupes workflow makes so much more sense today because communicating with all your contacts can’t be done in a single basic app anymore.
The app is available for both iPhone and Android users at: http://www.getdrupe.com
“PDF" which means 'Portable Document Format' is the industry standard for electronically publishing forms and documents.
But when you download a form from the Internet or email, you generally have to print it out first, fill it out, then you have to scan it in order to email or, fax it back or worse, send snail mail.
There are lots of programs that you can install that give you the ability to fill out the form using your computer, but unless you do it all the time, it's a bit more than you need.
If you find yourself in this situation in the future, give a website called PDFescape.com a try.
This web-based resource eliminates the need to download and install anything, so it allows you to modify and fill out PDF forms with any Internet connected computer.
You simply upload the PDF to their website to fill out the available text boxes or use the tool that allows you to add any text you want, anywhere in the form. From there, you just save the filled out form back to your computer so you can transmit it electronically.
Trying to learn a foreign language is often intimidating, since were generally so self-conscious about the exact pronunciation of the words we speak.
Listening how others familiar with the language pronounce these words will greatly improve your confidence, but it isn’t likely that we all have a bilingual friend available whenever we want help pronouncing a certain phrases or words.
That’s where the website http://Forvo.com comes to the rescue because it can help you pronounce words or phrases in over 300 languages.
This crowdsourcing site allows folks from around the world to record words the way they would say them in their native tongues. If a word or phrase isn’t yet in the playback database, you can submit the world to have someone record it for you.
Anyone taking a trip abroad in the near future can also download the audio for words and phrases they plan on using on their trip.
If you need to translate words from English before using Forvo, simply ask Google to translate it first so you can get the proper pronunciation from them.
Check it out for yourself at https://forvo.com
Your smartphone has been relatively safe as it pertains to malicious apps as long as you make sure to download apps from your associated app store and don't jailbreak or root your device.
Jailbreaking iPhones or rooting Android smartphones essentially sidesteps the security built into the device by the manufacturer and should be done only by tech savvy owners.
A fairly new type of scam is actually changing these protection processes by loading malicious apps on your smartphone, even when you have not bypassed the factory protection.
In most cases, it begins with well-crafted e-mail and sometimes even text messages with an accompanying link to an app that can be downloaded.
When the link is clicked or tapped on, it can allow the download to occur automatically, which will exploit your phone in a whole new way.
This underscores the importance of my constant advice: If you didn’t seek it out, don’t install it!
The bad guys are constantly creating persuasive dispatches that can look like they are from your trusted friends because of hacked accounts, so be on the alert.
A defense against potentially dangerous apps is available through a free security app called Lookout at http://lookout.com