Data Doctors

Data Doctors Tech Tips

Data Doctors Tech Tips

Description

Missed that link or information while listening to Data Doctors Tech Tips on the radio? Catch up with us now! Data Doctors Tech Tips are one minute daily tips broadcast on radio stations in several markets - you can get the list at datadoctors.com/radio. They are also available on demand or through a PodCast. The tips discusses various technical topics with NO GEEK SPEAK! Tech tips for non-tech people.

Link: www.datadoctors.com/media/tips/

Categories

Technology

Episodes

Red Cross Emergency Apps

Mar 26, 2020

Description:

When a loved one or even a stranger goes into a condition of medical distress near you, jumping into action quickly can be essential.

Knowing how to administer CPR or other life-saving techniques is something we should all know, but many of us don't.

Knowing some basic first aid techniques can be helpful for a variety of situations, not just those that are life and death.

If you'd like to get some help understanding what to do and when to do it, there are lots of apps that you can use, such as those available from the Red Cross.

Pre-installing a first aid app on your smartphone is a solid approach to being there one someone else needs you.

These apps don't require an Internet connection, so the advice is there even when you are off the grid.

It's not an everyday app, but I think it warrants being at your fingertips since none of us know when we will be called upon to help another person.

Check out all of the Red Cross apps at:

https://www.redcross.org/get-help/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies/mobile-apps.html

Simple Password Security Reminder

Mar 25, 2020

Description:

I've said it before and I'm going to say it again; when you use the same password on multiple accounts, you're making it too easy for the bad guys to compromise you.

The primary suggestion for avoiding this mistake is to use a management tool, of which there are many free options such as https://www.lastpass.com or https://www.roboform.com

Now, some people find these programs to be too confusing or complicated, so my next suggestion is to simply write them down yourself.

You can create a generic file that doesn't have any reference to the word 'password' that contains all of your usernames and passwords.

As an extra layer of protection, create your own secret code, like 4 characters that mean nothing in front of the actual password, so if anyone finds the file, they still won't figure out what your password without breaking your secret code.

With the number of companies that you work with every day getting compromised on a regular basis, if you have to decide whether to use the same password everywhere or write down long, complex but unique passwords for each account, its pretty obvious which is safe

Older Router Exploit

Mar 24, 2020

Description:

Most of us view our Wi-Fi routers as the device that allows us to connect to the Internet wirelessly, but it plays a much more important security role as well.

It's a form of firewall that shields the devices connected to it from direct access via the Internet.

If you have an older router, there's a security step that most of you probably haven't taken as it pertains to the default administrator's password.

The admin password is what allows you to configure the router and make changes that affect every device that attaches to it.

The bad guys don't have to guess what your default password is, because helpful sites like https://www.routerpasswords.com have every default password for every router on the market in their database.

If a hacker sends a clever email message that's booby-trapped to sneak into your router and you fall for it, they can make changes to your settings without you ever knowing.

The biggest risk is that they can capture all of the traffic that goes through the router, including usernames and passwords for lots of your online accounts.

Because this isn't traditional malware, your Internet security software is powerless to stop this type of threat.

It's actually very easy to avoid becoming a victim of this attack by simply changing the default password on your router, so if that's too complicated for you to figure out, get some help!

Collecting for Groups Made Easy

Mar 23, 2020

Description:

If you are involved with groups because of your kids or other community involvement, you are no doubt finding yourself contributing money from time to time.

The less sophisticated the group, the more likely it relies on a very inefficient process for collecting the money that might still even require you to write a check and mail it.

In this Internet-connected world, that's just silly, which is what the creators of a platform called Cheddar Up thought

It's a quick and easy way for any group to set up a digital process for gathering the money that costs nothing to the organizer.

Not only does it streamline the collection process, but it also keeps track of everything for the group and automatically sends reminders when the timeline is getting close.

It's a bit more sophisticated than something like Venmo when your collection needs get complicated.

Learn more at: https://www.cheddarup.com

Shared Health Issues Website

Mar 22, 2020

Description:

One of the biggest global events to ever hit the Internet known as the Ice Bucket Challenge was in support of those suffering from ALS.

Another outcome that came from those that were impacted by ALS is a website called https://patientslikeme.com

The website was created by relatives of an ALS patient that wanted to create a resource for others facing the same challenges.

It's natural to feel like you are facing serious health issues on your own, but the reality is that many others are likely experiencing the same thing you are.

Finding others that are having the navigate the same treatments and issues can be invaluable and reassuring.

Whether you or your loved one has been newly diagnosed with a serious illness or you can provide information for those that are just starting down a path you've already traveled, https://patientslikeme.com can be a connecting point.

If you want to contribute your own experiences to research efforts on specific issues, there's a place to do that as well.

Now over 750,000 people are participating members are participating in over 2800 conditions, so finding someone that is experiencing the same thing as you is much easier.

Keep Your Guard Up!

Mar 19, 2020

Description:

This is a reminder to be on the alert for those pop-up warnings that claim your system is infected.

They've created very convincing looking warnings that tell you to call an 800 number to get help getting rid of the infection.

This scam is not Windows-specific as those running a Mac are experiencing the same scams.

This attack is generally browser-based, which is why it's effective with any type of computer through links that are posted around the web or sent to you via a phishing scam.

Keep in mind that Internet security companies that have 10's of millions of users will never encourage you to call a toll-free number... they couldn't possibly deal with the number of calls.

Another way to quickly identify these scams is by getting very familiar with the security software that you have running on your computer.

These two visual cues are the best way to know when you are trying to be scammed!

Smartphone Childproofing Tips

Mar 18, 2020

Description:

Our kids are so enamored by the little screens that surround them that it's instinctively become somewhat of a pacifier of the digital era.

Let's face it, it's an extremely effective way to get an unruly child to settle down when you're in a public social setting.

The challenge in doing this is that you can put yourself in many awkward situations if you give them unfettered access to all the apps and functions on your smartphone.

The good news is that there are a host of options on both iOS and Android devices that allow you to control what can be used and what is locked out.

Everything from those expensive in-app purchases to which apps can even be opened to making it impossible to get on the Internet without your control code.

The options get better every year, but you'll need to get specific instructions based on the OS you are using.

For iPhone users: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201304

For Android users: https://www.lifewire.com/childproof-android-4137048

Fundamental Household Security Tip

Mar 17, 2020

Description:

Hackers tend to focus on low hanging fruit and U.S. households with children, especially teenagers are considered low hanging fruit.

If they can silently access your computer, they can start gathering sensitive information that is very valuable in the Internet's underworld.

They also know that it's much more likely that a child or teen will download something that looks like a game, video or program that has a malicious payload.

Why do they target your kids in order to get to you?

They know that so many households share a computer and often have a single profile that everyone in the family uses. All they have to do is trick one person and they have access to everyone.

Now that you know this, it's time to make a change!

It's imperative that you create separate user profiles for you and your children, so you can limit the capabilities of your children's user profile.

This is one of those fundamental security steps that you shouldn't skip, so if you need help getting it set up, ask someone that you trust that's a techie!

How Phishable Are Your Employees?

Mar 16, 2020

Description:

Hacks and breaches of businesses, large and small, seems to be a common occurrence these days

Despite all of the expensive and complex security that an IT department sets up, it can all be bypassed very simply by anyone in the company.

Just about every compromise begins with an email or social media phishing campaign that appears to be a legit message from someone in your own company.

It's not hard to figure out who the most important people in just about any company is and pretend to be them via email.

With this in mind, being extremely paranoid about messages from others in your organization with urgent or strange requests is critical. 

For those in charge of managing this risk, there are tools available to test your employees as websites such as https://KnowBe4.com

You can use their phishing test platform on up to 100 employees to see how easy it is to get them to fall for a clever message.

You can ask to use the tool by filling out the request form at:

https://www.knowbe4.com/phishing-security-test-offer

Indiana University's Botometer

Mar 15, 2020

Description:

Is there any doubt anymore about the power that social media has to influence so many people? 

Its potential impact can be seen with what people buy, wear, eat, drink or who they support politically around the world.

As with anything that is used by the masses, technology is created to leverage the power in ways that are no longer based on an actual human being.

The use of 'bots' has grown quickly and the sophistication can easily make it look like a real human being is posting when it's actually a bot.


Bots aren't all evil as many large organization use them to deal with the sheer volume of communications that they may receive every day.

Unfortunately, bots are use by those with malicious intent and the worse case scenario is when a bot can look like a trusted person and use that trust to compromise other user's accounts.

Finding ways to sniff them out is pretty important so you don't get fooled as easily.

Because of the ease in which these bots can operate on Twitter, a project developed by researchers from the Observatory on Social Media is available for anyone to use.

What was originally the BotOrNot project is now called the Botometer will check the activity generated by any Twitter account and provide a score on how likely it's a bot instead of a person.


It's certainly not a guaranteed way to sniff out all bot accounts, but it does provide a lot more data for you to use to avoid being scammed by a bot: https://botometer.iuni.iu.edu

Go-To Gas Pricing App

Mar 12, 2020

Description:

I love exploring our beautiful country in my RV, but one of the largest expenses in this type of travel is the fuel cost. Finding stations a few miles off the freeway can save you a bundle.

There are a lot of resources that try to alert you to current gas prices, but my go-to is still the GasBuddy app.

With a community of 70 million users in the US and Canada, the app can help you in two ways.

If you want to plan ahead, you can search by city or county to see the 10 lowest prices in an area you're heading to or search from the road to see where fuel options are near you.

What's really great is that it shows you the last time someone reported the price, which is typically less than an hour for most major metro areas.

GasBuddy can set a filter to search for diesel or other specialty grades of fuel and sort the results based on price, distance or both.

NASA's Awesome Apps

Mar 11, 2020

Description:

When I was a youngster, my parents told me that I'd make a good astronaut because I had a lot of space in my head!

One thing is for sure, I've always been fascinated with space exploration which is why I love what NASA has done to allow us all to share in their work.

Not only do they have an amazing website with amazing pictures, video and animations, they over a variety of apps for smartphones, tablets and streaming devices.

With over 16 thousand images and 14 thousand videos and 3D models of earth taken from the International Space Station, it's an endless source of discovery for the curious.

You can watch live streaming video from the High Definition Earth Viewing experiment and get notifications of an upcoming space event.

If you have kids or grandkids, this app is a wonderful way to discover and learn about space together

Just visit https://www.nasa.gov and click on the Download menu to access all of the apps that make space exploration interactive and fun

Yoga App for Beginners

Mar 10, 2020

Description:

One of the common traits that's been attributed to those that live a long life is something we can all do every day and that's stretching.

Stretching increases blood flow and circulation and helps nutrients and oxygen travel through our bodies faster.

Yoga is a wonderful way to stretch, but it can be intimidating for those that haven't ever done it. The thought of going to a class full of those experienced in yoga has kept so many from discovering the benefits.

If you'd like to learn the basics in the comfort of your own home, check out the Yoga for Beginners app from Down Dog.

You can use their website on your laptop or their apps on your tablet or smartphone to view video lessons that are specifically designed for the absolute beginner.

It's a really easy and private way to begin learning one the world's oldest exercise routines that could lead to a more flexible you.

Here are the direct links:

Website: https://intro.downdogapp.com/web

Android app: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.downdogapp.intro

iOS app: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/yoga-for-beginners-down-dog/id1459710785

Pre-Flight Content App

Mar 9, 2020

Description:

It's common to have in-flight Wi-Fi when you're on an airplane, but it can be both expensive, limited and really slow.

Today's tip is for those that want to maximize their time on a flight and save money at the same time.

Instead of sharing a slow connection with 200 other people, why not gather up a bunch of stuff you want to read before you get on the flight with the tools from Pocket.

It's from the group of platforms designed to make it easy to gather online content so you can read it later without requiring an Internet connection.

What's great about Pocket is that since it works with laptops, smartphones or tablets, you can save content on any of your devices and view it from all of your devices.

One of the few things that it can't capture for offline access is videos, but if you want to make sure you have lots of interesting articles to read on our next flight, it's as good as it gets: https://getpocket.com

Remote Power Cycling Tip

Mar 8, 2020

Description:

There are so many smart devices available that are simple to setup these days, that most people are adding them themselves.

One critical aspect of these devices is that you have a solid Wi-Fi connection at all times in order for them to work properly.

If there's any issues with connectivity, your ability to remotely access the devices or get updates from them goes away.

For the most part, the first step in troubleshooting these issues start with a reboot of your router, which isn't a possibility if you or someone else is not at the physical location.

You can check the settings menus of your router to see if you can setup a reboot on a regular basis, but another piece of equipment called a remote power switch can make this more convenient.

With one in place, you can remotely restart anything that's plugged into it and in some cases, you can have the device constantly check for an internet connection and auto reset when it's not working.

There are a handful of other troubleshooting steps you can take if you're constantly having to reboot your router that I've posted at:

https://www.datadoctors.com/help/kenscolumns/22073

Mobile Dual Display App

Mar 5, 2020

Description:

Anyone that's been using dual monitors on their work or home computer can't imagine working any other way.

If you have to travel a lot, taking a second display doesn't make a whole lot of sense, unless you already carry an iPad in your laptop bag. 

Those that have been using all Apple products have been able to connect their iPad to their Mac Laptops for years, but what most Windows laptop users don't seem to know is that they can do the same thing.

There's an app called Duet Display that can be installed on either a Mac or Windows computer and an iPad to magically connect them as a mobile dual display setup.

For those that have never used dual displays, having the ability to drag an app over to a second screen so that both are viewable in full-screen mode is awesome and very productive.

By the way, if you have one of the larger iPhone models, you can use it as a second display as well using https://www.duetdisplay.com

Beware of Unsafe Company Emails

Mar 4, 2020

Description:

It's pretty easy to sniff out a bogus email as a phishing scam, but there's a type of phishing that's much trickier to spot.

Some obscure bank that you've never heard of is an obvious clue but what about a message that comes from someone else where you work?

Emails that include links or an attachment are common in company messages, which is why the bad guys have stepped up their scams with this type of spear phishing.

It's incredibly easy to spoof a message that appears to come from anyone in your company as there is no validation process for who actually sent the message.

It's not really possible for us to provide exact signs of a scam, but now that you know that it can happen, don't be so quick to click on links or open attachments that appear to be from a co-worker.

Since a lot of the scams are generated from foreign hackers, oftentimes there are clear grammar or spelling errors. Strange sounding sentences that are different than what you would normally expect from that co-worker is another red flag.

If a message includes a link, you can use the hover trick to see if what is in the message matches where it's actually going to take you.

Just hover your mouse over the link, but don't click it! Look in the bottom left corner of the message to see if it's the same. If it isn't, it's another clear red flag of a scam.

Off-Grid Communications

Mar 3, 2020

Description:

I love spending time in the beauty of mother nature, but that often means that I'm putting myself in places that have no cell service.

For the most part, that's by design and part of what makes it so appealing, but there are times when you might want to make sure you have some form of communication just in case.

Anyone that finds themselves in this situation regularly might want to look into the solution offered by a company called GoTenna.

They have a special gadget that allows you to use text messaging and share your location with others that have the same gadget. The range for these communications can be from 1 to 50 miles, based on the terrain.

Open areas like ski resorts or hiking trails will likely make for a better signal over a crowded urban downtown setting.

It's also a great alternative at huge events with thousands of people where the cellular networks get so overloaded, they're practically useless.

Learn more at this off-grid communication option at: https://gotenna.com

Picture Time Stamp Apps

Mar 2, 2020

Description:

We had someone post a question for us on our Data Doctors Facebook page asking about a way to add a timestamp on their photos.

If your first reaction is to wonder why someone would want to make their pictures look like they were from another century, you're not alone.

But it turns out there are some pretty solid reasons that you may want a timestamp on certain photos, like verification for others or to make sure the details never get separated from the photo itself.

Every image you capture actually contains a lot of details about the image in what's known as the metadata, including the date and time.

There are apps that can read this metadata and place it on the photo for you, including TimeStamp-It for iOS or Camera Timestamp for Android-based smartphones.

Unlike the timestamps you may remember from years ago, these apps have an updated look and feel to the timestamp that's much more modern.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/timestamp-it-photo-stamper/id327756085?mt=8

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.ascendapps.cameratimestamp.trial

Supercharged Meeting Notes

Mar 1, 2020

Description:

Meetings are just a fact of life and so is the need to have someone take notes during the meeting.

If you're the one tasked with taking notes at your meetings, there's a much more efficient way to get the job done than the old school pen and paper.

If you write notes on paper during the meeting, then you've added more work for yourself transcribing the notes into your computer for distribution.

There's a much better way and it's located at https://minutes.io

It's a lot more than just a note-taking tool because it can also track who said what, brainstorm and assign tasks from the meeting and when it's all done, it's a snap to send everyone the meeting overview.

Because it's a web app, you can use your smartphone, tablet or computer to take the notes, even if you don't have an Internet connection.

If you're not the one stuck with this task, be a friend and let whoever is in your circle know about https://minutes.io

Shopping With a Wide Net

Feb 27, 2020

Description:

If you're a deal hunter, especially for those hard to find items, cruising the big name sites like eBay, Amazon and even Craigslist is a good place to start.

As great as each of these sites are, if you really want to make sure you're getting the best deal, you have to spend time searching through each one, one at a time.

When it comes to Craigslist, you're limited to one metro area at a time when you search, so you have to perform multiples if you want to be thorough.

You can avoid the extra work by using a search tool called Search Tempest.

The tool searches lots of these sites including obscure ones like  https://Oodle.com all at once and allows you to choose a radius around your zip code, you can do everything in one search.

https://SearchTempest.com is a bookmark worthy website for the next time you want to save time searching for the best deals!

Virtual Curbside Gifting

Feb 26, 2020

Description:

Whether you're in the process of moving or just getting rid of clutter around the house, it's likely you'll end up with perfectly good items that you simply don't want any more.

Since it's not garbage, finding someone that you know that could use it is the obvious alternative.

In some neighborhoods, putting out on the curb with a 'FREE' sign usually gets the job done, but that's not an option for a lot of folks.

Thanks to the Internet, there's a virtual curb available for those items which is located at https://freecycle.org

There are millions of users from around the country that have started using the site to gift their items to others in the same area.

This movement is an awesome way to recycle your gently used items by giving it to those that may be looking for that exact thing.

It's an excellent use of the online community to connect people in your local community to prevent usable items from ending up in our landfills.

It's also a great place for starving students to find items for free that they would normally have to pay for: https://freecycle.org

Death By PowerPoint

Feb 25, 2020

Description:

Death By Powerpoint! It's what so many people suffer when they simply load a bunch of data onto slides and wreathe off for an hour in front a unengaged crowd.

It's bad enough if you're not comfortable with public speaking, but it's made even worse for your audience when you commit this tactical error.

If you'd like something a lot more visually stimulating, checkout the free presentation platform known as Prezi.

It's a simple tool to master and will dramatically improve your presentations.

If you're a PowerPoint warrior with lots of presentations, you can import them into Prezi so you're not starting from scratch.

Because it's so much more visual, you can reduce the amount of copy and stick to bullet points and images to tell your story to your audience, not talk to your slides.

When it's all done, you simple provide the link to your audience instead of having to email a huge file!

Get started at https://prezi.com

Huge Ink Saving Tip

Feb 24, 2020

Description:

If you've ever printed anything from a website, it's very likely you wasted a bunch of ink on ads and other items that you really had no need to print.

Some websites offer a 'print-friendly' version of certain pages, but even then, you can end up with unnecessary items on the page that eat up your ink.

Well, from now on, you don't have to put up with all that waste by printing only what you want to print.

An awesome website called https://Printwhatyoulike.com gives you total control over what you print before you print it.

It's so easy to use because all you have to do is copy and paste the web address of whatever you want to print to get started.

The tool gives you options for getting rid of various items or selecting a specific portion of the web page that you want to print.

If you love to print out recipes to take with you to the grocery store, for instance, you no longer have to include the picture of the food or any ads on the page.

https://Printwhatyoulike.com  It's totally free, works in any desktop web browser and you can be using it in a matter of seconds!

Online OCR Tool

Feb 23, 2020

Description:

Optical Character Recognition or OCR is the technology that allows you to take an image and extract the text so it can be edited.

If you own a scanner, it came with an OCR program, but setting it up and using it can be overwhelming for those that aren't comfortable with unfamiliar tech.

Even if you do get it setup and working, it's not of much use if you aren't in the same place as you scanner.

Fortunately this thing called the Internet offers an elegant option. It's located at http://OnlineOCR.net and it makes scanning any number of image files super easy.

Whether you have a PDF, JPG or any of the common image files that has text on it, http://OnlineOCR.net allows you to grab the text.

It's so simple; you just upload the file you want to scan, select which language it's in, then choose the type of text file you want when it's done.

It's free and easy because you no longer have to figure out how to install and configure complicated software!

Reminder: Just Hang Up!

Feb 20, 2020

Description:

They're at it again... the fake tech support scammers pretending to be from Microsoft and it's because some people still fall for their spiel.  

They may claim that you have a malware infection or a Windows upgrade issue now that Windows 7 has been retired.

What they are trying to do is keep you on the phone long enough to convince you to run a few tests of your own to prove what they are saying is true.

If they convince you to run a diagnostic program, they'll tell you to look for a specific word when the results are displayed.

The problem is that the specific word or words that they are having you look for are actually part of the Windows operating system and will always show up.

If that convinces you that they are legit, they'll request remote access to help you clean things up.

Needless to say, if you fall for this, they'll try to get you to give them a credit card number to cover the service or worse yet, buy an annual protection plan.

Here's what you need to understand about the tech world - no legit company, especially Microsoft, is ever going to call you out of the blue to tell you that you're having a problem.

Now that you know what to watch for, you can avoid these silver tongue devils and just hang up.

Only allow remote access to your computer when you were the one initiating the request for help.

Tips for Reducing Paper

Feb 19, 2020

Description:

Raise your hand if you have a mountain of paper records that you have been accumulating for a long period of time? Well, today's tip will hopefully give you the incentive to take action.

Getting started begins with the first task, which is to figure out how much of the paperwork is even relevant any more. It's likely you have a lot of documents and manuals for things you don't even need anymore. Get rid of all the old, useless papers first.

The second task is to shred anything you plan on tossing that has even the smallest bit of personal info for your recycling pile.

The third task is to review what's available online, which you can toss. Anything that isn't online should be scanned so you can shred and discard the paper copies.

The fourth task is to review all of your billing options so you can opt for paperless bills from now on with as many companies as you can.

If you're a business, the final task may be to look at an online mail processing service such as https://www.earthclassmail.com.

These services will scan all your incoming mail for you so that you only request the documents that you want in paper form.

It's not hard to do if you'll just take the first steps to get started.

Narrowing Browsing Issues

Feb 18, 2020

Description:

It's important to understand that the bad actors on the Internet are targeting you through your Internet activities.

In order to view what's online, you must use a browser of some sort, which is why they are targeting browsers more specifically these days.

With this in mind, one of the ways you can identify a browser-specific issue is by having more than one available for testing.

This tip applies equally to computers and mobile devices.

When you encounter an issue with your web surfing, switching to another browser on the same device is a good first step.

If the issue clears up, then you know that you have a browser-specific issue like a caching issue or something that has infected your browser.

When you swap browsers and the issue remains, you'll know that the problem is more connection-based.

Going through this process can save you and anyone you call for help lots of time because you avoid troubleshooting the wrong side of the equation.

Keep Your Cell Number Private

Feb 17, 2020

Description:

Most households have removed their traditional landlines for the convenience of their smartphones, but this move also means you have to give your personal cell number out to everyone.

In many cases, you would rather not give them a phone number, but in some cases, you may not have a choice.

Well, there's a solution for those situations in the form of an app called TextMe Up.

It lets you use phone numbers more like the way you can use email - different numbers for different uses, which also allows you to keep your personal number private.

You can now call or text anyone in the world with a separate phone number that allows you to track the calls based on the various numbers you setup.

It's great when you are trying to buy or sell something with strangers or for avoiding annoying sales calls after you register for something.

The app is free for iOS and Android devices and so is your first number at http://www.textmeup.com

Mega Unsubscribe Reminder

Feb 16, 2020

Description:

Email, you can't live with it and you can't live without it! The most aggravating part of our daily routine is wading through all the nuisance messages from mailing lists.

The vast majority of the lists we end up on is from sneaking ways the marketing world has created to get us to 'agree' to be on the list.

Unless you've got it all under control, one of the best tools you can use to clean up your inbox is located at https://unroll.me

When you first use the utility, it will burrow through all your inbox messages and list all the subscriptions you've been added to so you can choose which ones you want and which ones you want to unsubscribe from.

They also allow you to add subscriptions to what they call a daily roll-up, which is a compiled list of messages that you can view in one message. This makes it so that you aren't being interrupted throughout the day with the messages that you do want.

It's really a wonderful way to regain control of your mailing list messages and it's free to use: https://unroll.me

Facebook Profile Access Cleanup

Feb 13, 2020

Description:

Most of us have been on Facebook for many years, which means that there's bound to be a number of companies that have access to our profile from old interactions.

There are a couple of ways that a company can gain access to your profile, mainly through apps or when you use Facebook to login to another website.

Even though you may not be using the app or service anymore, you actually gave them permission to continuously access your profile info.

If you haven't reviewed the companies that currently have access to your profile in a while, you may be in for a surprise.

Our suggestion is to review who has access on a monthly basis, so you can keep it to just the apps and services you want to use.

If you navigate to the Apps and Websites section in Facebook's Settings menu, you can quickly remove anything you don't want connecting anymore.

If you want the exact steps, they're posted here: https://www.facebook.com/help/170585223002660

The 3, 2, 1 Backup System

Feb 12, 2020

Description:

The 3 rules of computing are backup, backup, backup.

An unfortunate university student was so in need of specific files on his stolen laptop, that he offered a reward of $1000 just for those files, not the laptop itself!

His entire body of work for his collegiate career was on that laptop and of course, it wasn't backed up.

Even when some people think they have a backup, because they bought a 'backup drive', the reality is that they only have one copy of their critical files on that external drive.

In order to have a backup, there have to be two separate copies of the file, preferably on two different storage devices.

The best strategy is the 3-2-1 approach: 3 copies of your data on 2 different storage devices with one copy off-site in the cloud.

Even if you make a second copy on a USB flash drive manually, do whatever you have to when you have critical files.

We love putting our customers on Carbonite because it's automatic, safe from ransomware threats and bugs the user when it can't get files backed up.

If you don't have a regular backup process yet, consider this another wake up call!

Completely Free Remote Tool

Feb 11, 2020

Description:

The ability to remotely access your computer has been around for a long time, but most of the options that used to be free are now charging to use their tools.

There is still a free option that's more than enough for most people and it's from Google.

There's a plugin called Chrome Remote Desktop for the Chrome browser that makes this possible.

Any computer running the Chrome browser can become remotely accessible with this simple addition.

With it on your computer, you can access it from any other computer, smartphone or tablet that has the Chrome browser as well.

It's easy to set up, easy to use and still a completely free option for remote access!

Get started with these links:

Chrome Remote Desktop Add-on: https://chrome.google.com/remotedesktop 

iOS remote app: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/chrome-remote-desktop/id944025852?mt=8

Android remote app: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.google.chromeremotedesktop 

Free and Easy Image Editing

Feb 10, 2020

Description:

With the ability to capture extraordinary images with our smartphones, discovering tools to enhance those images is an ongoing exercise for us.

As great and sophisticated as these digital cameras are, we don't always take the very best shot, so editing the image later can save the day.

An all-time favorite resource for us is called FOTOR and it's a tool that can be used through a web browser or mobile app.

This incredibly powerful, but easy to use tool has a plethora of features including a post shot HDR option.

By combining multiple images of the same shot, the software can detect the best of each image and combine them into one.

If you want to make your subjects look like models, the beauty tools are spot-on for getting rid of blemishes and wrinkles. 

Fotor is free to use and located at: https://www.fotor.com

The mobile apps can be downloaded at: https://www.fotor.com/mobile.html

Whole Home Content Filtering Tip

Feb 9, 2020

Description:

The mysterious workings on the Internet starts with your computer and whichever DNS server it uses to find things online.

Domain Name System Servers make it possible for you to be guided to websites you type in, which are actually a bunch of numbers in reality.

By default, the company that you pay to gain access to the Internet also provides this valuable service, but there's a very good reason to consider using an alternative.

Switching to another company's DNS server can make things more reliable and provides hard to defeat parental and content control tools for anything that connects through it.

My favorite free service is located at OpenDNS.com, because it's easy to use, effective and efficient.

The best way to use this type of service is to change the DNS settings in your home or business router, which forces your rules on everything that connects to it.

Learn more at:

https://www.opendns.com/home-internet-security

Weather Underground App

Feb 6, 2020

Description:

When it comes to checking the weather, just about any app will do if you're just looking for the basics. For those looking for a little more detail, I suggest checking out the Weather Underground app.

The app gets down to business with data when you click on the 'More' tab on the main screen.

All of the most important data is displayed, including a UV index and an indicator of how widespread the flu is in that area.

It offers radar maps along with the temperature in orange being reported by each weather station. Temperature indicators on the map in red indicate a privately owned weather station that is sharing its readings.

Finding a specific weather station can be very helpful in rural areas or when there is a huge elevation change in a small area.

You can scroll down to get an air quality index and even see what type of moon you can expect that evening.

If you love data as much as I do, check out the free Weather Underground app for both Android and iPhone users.

Culture Based Trips

Feb 5, 2020

Description:

One of the main reasons that I love to travel to new destinations is to discover new cultures and traditions.

If you're really good at doing intensive research online, you can probably uncover the road less traveled, but if you want a little help, check out the Culture Trip website.

You can start by typing the name of any city you're thinking of visiting to get tips on the coolest neighborhoods, best galleries, museums, and the best restaurants in the area.

You can find tips for budget accommodations, walking tours and even suggestions on what to do if you only there for a layover.

Find the best bookstores, antique shops, nightlife and cafes along with foodie destination and actual foods that you should try while visiting.

This is a welcome departure from the popular review websites because the content is carefully curated by professionals using stories to help you better understand your options.

Visit https://theculturetrip.com to download their app and start exploring the world through its culture.

Crono Notifications App

Feb 4, 2020

Description:

If you use an Apple smartphone and Apple computer, you know how tightly integrated the notifications can be across both devices.

If you're an Android user, you can actually take this awesome ability to another level by using Crono on your computer and smartphone.

You start by adding Crono to your browser as an add-on, then download the app and follow the on-screen instructions to sync the devices.

You then have the option to allow alerts from virtually any app on your smartphone to start popping up on your computer.

You can also copy items to the clipboard on your computer and send it to your smartphone and vice versa.

It's also a simple way to share files back and forth and dismiss phone calls or send text messages from your browser. It essentially allows you to deal with notifications from your computer's browser the same way you do on your phone.

To learn more and download the tools, visit https://crono.app

Mission Adventures App

Feb 3, 2020

Description:

If you have kids or grandkids, you know how much time they like to spend staring at a small screen and how hard it can be to get them to put down their devices and go play outside.

Well, if you can't beat em, join em! You can use their love of smartphones to get them to want to go outside, using an app called Mission Adventures.

The app is designed to make going outside an interactive adventure complete with a plot and tasks.

You start by setting a route on a map to set up your adventure with a focus on a park or hiking trail that you'd like to explore with them.

Once your destination is set, the app will lead your kids on an adventure along the route by using markers on the map, various questions and instructions that make the walk more like a game.

It's like geocaching combined with a Choose-Your-Own Location-based Adventure for both iPhone and Android devices. Search for Mission Adventure in the app stores.

Soon Bucket List App

Feb 2, 2020

Description:

Most of us have a bucket list, but mainly in the metaphoric sense that never really becomes a physical list.

Creating an actual list and keeping track of all those things you want to do and experience helps make your dreams a reality.

An app called Soon was created for all those things, big and little that you want to experience.

That must-see movie, must-hear musician, must-visit restaurant or anything that you hear about can be kept as a reminder in the Soon app.

The app makes it easy to file each item in categories like movies, restaurants, TV shows, books and so much more

When you add an item from their database, all of the details that you'd normally have to go search for gets included with the item.

You can add your own notes after you've done each item, which makes it easy to journal your experiences as you do them.

The Soon app http://www.soonforever.co is free and available for both Android and iPhone users.

Long Exposure Photo App

Jan 30, 2020

Description:

Long exposure photography has the ability to create some amazing shots of motion, but it generally requires expensive equipment and the technical knowledge of how to manually set up the shot.

Well, if you have an iPhone, an app called Spectre takes both the expense and the complications out of capturing long exposure shots.

It uses artificial intelligence for the exposure to take the guesswork out of how long the shutter should stay open and it even helps you keep the shot stabilized.

If you love those soft water exposure shots of running rivers or waterfalls and would like to be able to turn a night shot of a freeway into a river of light, this app is worth the three bucks.

It's also a great way to make people in a crowded area disappear into the background as anything with motion automatically gets blurred.

Spectre is a really easy app to use, so you'll be capturing those professional looking long exposure shots in just minutes!

Specialty Restaurant App

Jan 29, 2020

Description:

Whether you're a vegetarian or not, you most likely have friends that are, which is something to take into consideration when you decide to meet up at a restaurant.

Using the various search options for finding vegan or vegetarian options can work, but if you want a more focused way to search, check out a website and app called Vanilla Bean.

With over 35 thousand locations in more than 80 countries in their database, they can help you find restaurants that specialize in vegan or vegetarian menu items or those that cater to omnivores, vegans and vegetarians alike.

They also let you know if the restaurant offers gluten-free or lactose-free options as well as organic, local, raw food or fair trade items.

Vanilla Bean also includes price range indicators as well as reviews from other users.

Whether you want to start eating healthier or just want to make sure your vegan friends will have something to enjoy when you go out, Vanilla Bean will help you discover what's near you where ever you may be.

Learn more or download the app at https://www.vanilla-bean.com

Interactive Photography Lessons

Jan 28, 2020

Description:

With so many devices that have the ability to take a picture these days, improving your knowledge when it comes to the elements of photography allows you to take better pictures.

Whether you're using a smartphone, point and shoot camera or a DSLR, knowing what to do and when can be learned a lot easier with an app called Elements of Photography.

It's like having a photography instructor right on your phone or tablet. You can go through all the chapters at your own pace, which uses interactive examples to make it a lot easier to understand what is being taught.

Start with the basics like focal length and shutter speed and progress to more advanced topics as your understanding of photography grows.

When you find yourself in a specific scenario, you can go right to that portion of the app to get the tips when you need them the most.

Elements of Photography is a free app and available for both iPhone and Android devices.

Math Homework Helper

Jan 27, 2020

Description:

If you are the parent of a student that regularly asks you for help on their math homework, this tip is for you.

Most of us can't remember much about the higher levels of math that high school students have for homework, so an app called Photomath can be an important tool to help.

What makes this app so useful is that all you have to do is point your phone's camera at the math problem to allow the app to both solve the equation and give you the steps that explain how it got solved.

Many will jump to the obvious conclusion that this app can be used by students to cheat on their homework, but they can already cheat in a multitude of other ways if that's their motivation.

Keep in mind, this app actually helps anyone that uses it to learn how to solve equations instead of just giving them the answer.

Photomath can be an incredible teaching tool in the hands of a parent, especially those that have little recollection of the math lessons from decades ago.

Learn more at: https://photomath.net/en/parents

Better Than Google Maps?

Jan 26, 2020

Description:

When you need a mapping program, Google Maps is pretty hard to beat, but it's usefulness is limited without a connection to the Internet.

It's certainly possible to download an area into Google Maps if you know where you going to be and your remember to do it, but there's a better way.

An alternative mapping app called Maps.me takes a different approach for those that know that they'll have limited or no Internet connection.

You can get turn-by-turn instructions for an entire country without the need for a signal of any type with this app.

It's an offline virtual folding map without the physical issues of keeping things folded properly.

If you travel abroad or are planning to travel to a foreign country, you should take this app for a trial spin so you know how it works before you have to rely on it.

Learn more and download it for free at: https://maps.me

Wireless Carrier Coverage Data

Jan 23, 2020

Description:

The Big 4 in the cell phone wars are in a never-ending marketing war to convince you to sign up with them for your wireless plan.

While the offers can sound amazing, they don't amount to much if the signal available from their network isn't very good where you live and work.

Using data to make your decision can save you from the surprises that so many experience when they switch carriers.

If you live anywhere near a metropolitan area, there's a website that makes it easy to see what others have reported about each of the major networks.

A general analysis of your metro area gives you lots of great ratings on things like speed and reliability, but the real value is when you drill down to the areas that you most often spend time.

The coverage map will allow you to dissect the various performance ratings for each of the carriers, including 5G reports from other users.

This being a crowd-sourcing platform, downloading their app to provide data to the rest of the community is a great way to contribute.

City reports: https://www.rootmetrics.com/en-US/rootscore/map

Coverage Maps: https://webcoveragemap.rootmetrics.com/en-US

iPhone app: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/cell-phone-coverage-map/id399701910

Android app: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.rootmetrics

Kinder Grammar Help

Jan 22, 2020

Description:

If you've ever posted anything online that wasn't quite grammatically correct, you know that the grammar police will very quickly let you know.

Though they may mean well, having someone focus on your grammar instead of on what you are trying to say can be frustrating.

If you'd like a kinder, gentler form of grammar oversight, check out the offerings from Grammarly.com.

The grammar tools are available via a browser add-on, a web interface that allows you to upload documents, as a desktop app or as a replacement keyboard app on your mobile devices.

Once it's set up, you'll get simple indications of a potential issue whenever you type or have obvious items automatically corrected. It can also provide you insight based on your intended audience and level of formality.

Unless you're a professional writer, the free version should be all that you need, but keep one thing in mind; nothing replaces a human editor

Learn more at https://grammarly.com and remember, that's with two A's!

Calorie Cap Website

Jan 21, 2020

Description:

If your busy schedule requires you to eat out on a regular basis and you want help making choices that fit your lifestyle, the Calorie Cap website may be worth checking out.

Calorie Cap lets you search for any combination of low calorie, low carb, low sodium, high protein, gluten-free, keto or vegetarian options from one of the national chain restaurants in its database.

You can do a macro search for breakfast, lunch or dinner by specifying your maximum intake for fat, sugar, sodium, calories, protein, and carbs.

If you know you'll have to eat at a specific restaurant, you can search specifically for items they offer that will fit your needs, including any of the sides, dressings or sauces.

You can add items to a current meal calculator that will display the calories for the entire meal.

The 'Find My Cap' option allows you to find the max calories per week for maintaining or losing weight by entering your age, height and current weight.

Help is a few mouse clicks away at https://www.caloriecap.com

Free Ebooks & Audio Books

Jan 20, 2020

Description:

If you haven't had a reason to get or use a library card for years, today's tip may encourage you to do so soon!

One of the best-kept secrets of the public library world is that thousands of ebooks and audiobooks can be borrowed for free as long as you know how it's done.

An app called Libby brings this awesome capability to your smartphone as long as you have a valid library card.

It allows you to search for available titles, sample the ones you're interested in and borrow them from the libraries associated with your card.

You can download them for offline use or stream them to save the space on your phone.

The app synchronizes your bookmarks, notes and what you have on loan across all of your mobile devices, so you can start a book on your phone and switch to your tablet.

You can even send the ebooks to your Kindle, if that's your preferred reading device.

Learn more at: https://www.overdrive.com/apps/libby

iPhone Night Mode Camera App

Jan 19, 2020

Description:

One of the challenges that smartphone cameras haven't been very good at dealing with is low-lighting situations.

The latest iPhone 11 models do have specific technology designed to take much better pictures at night or in low-light settings.

Gaining night mode capabilities is great if you happen to be in the market for a new smartphone, but you don't have to spend the big bucks to get better pictures at night.

The Night Mode Camera app was created for iPhone users that want a better chance of taking good pictures in bad lighting.

It uses artificial intelligence and computational photography technology to allow older iPhones to take better pictures at night.

Even if you own an iPhone 11, this app may be worth buying because it extends night mode to your front-facing and wide-angle cameras as well.

If you've been contemplating the purchase of the new iPhone because of it's low lighting capabilities, this app may save you a bundle!

Search for the NeuroCam Night Mode Camera app in the Apple App Store to learn more: https://neural.cam

Bad News for Wunderlist Fans

Jan 16, 2020

Description:

I, along with millions of other users, have loved the Wunderlist app for creating lists for many years. If you love this app as much as I do, I have some bad news!

Microsoft acquired it a while back and announced it's going to replace it with their own to-do app, which I'm not a big fan of.

I've been looking for an adequate replacement for Wunderlist and I've settled on the AnyList app.

Not only is it a great list-making app, but it also offers integration with both Alexa and the Google Assistant, so you can use voice commands to add items to your lists.

Another awesome feature for those of us that love to cook is that it can import recipes from popular websites, making it easy to add the required ingredients to your shopping list.

You can easily share your list with anyone, send a list as an email or a text message and tap any item to cross it off the list.

The app is free for both iPhone and Android users with premium features that you can pay for if you find them useful: https://www.anylist.com

Couch to 5K Running App

Jan 15, 2020

Description:

Taking better care of yourself by regularly exercising is a goal that we all have, but getting off the couch requires real motivation.

If you haven't found the right way to go from your couch to running a 5K, you guessed it...there's an app for that!

The app is specifically designed for beginner runners that want to work up to running a 5K that's fun and easy to follow.

Their claim is that they can get you to the 5K finish line in just thirty minutes a day, three days a week, over a nine weeks stretch.

The training plan was developed by real trainers and includes a virtual coach that you choose to help you stay on track.

Not only will it provide the typical pace, distance and time information, it also has an in-app music player so you can stay motivated with your favorite playlists.

The couch to 5K app is free and available for iPhone and Android users: https://www.active.com/mobile/couch-to-5k-app

Smarterphone App

Jan 14, 2020

Description:

That smartphone you love so much is only as smart as the person using it, right?

I'm going out on a limb and guessing that you have yet to figure out every hidden option or feature that's available in your device.

With that in mind, today's tip is designed to make you smarter about your smartphone via the Drippler app for both iPhone and Android users.

You'll get everything from tips and feature updates to instructions on how to do things you never knew was available to you.

It's like a dynamic manual for your device that keeps getting updated.

Since the app is operating system based, you won't get those frustrating tips that only work on the opposite platform.

The Drippler app is free with download links located at: http://drippler.com

Awesome Gmail Tool

Jan 13, 2020

Description:

If you think about it, the ability to schedule an email has lots of great applications, but very few people consider taking this approach.

Since Gmail is the most popular platform in the world, finding a tool that allows its users to add some time-based functionality made sense to us.

A productivity tool for Gmail called Boomerang offers a lot more than the ability to schedule the delivery of your messages, but that feature alone may be enough to add it to your setup.

The core service the add-on provides is for those that have a ton of messages that hit them every day. You can schedule messages to reappear based on a more appropriate time, so you don't have to create a separate reminder to deal with the message.

It also offers some CRM capabilities by tracking messages for replies and suggesting a follow up for messages that have not been answered. 

Manage your Inbox more effectively with the free tools from https://Boomeranggmail.com

Photo Composition App

Jan 12, 2020

Description:

That smartphone you can't live without is an incredibly powerful computer that would have been considered a supercomputer in that not so distant past.

These tiny little devices are capable of capturing our world in high resolution without you having to go to school to learn how to take photos.

There's so much automagical technology built into our phones that will analyze the setting and quickly make decisions on your part in an attempt to create the best possible image given the circumstances.



BUT, none of that amazing technology will be of any value if you don't get one of the basics down when you take your pictures and that's composition.



A great way to learn how to take better pictures is by using an app called Camera 51, because it will alert you when your current shot isn't the optimum shot.

It uses on-screen suggestions whenever you are taking a picture with the app, which will help you understand what you are doing wrong.


If composition isn't something you understand very well, start learning today with the Camera 51 app:

https://www.camera51.com/camera51-app

Disposable Gmail Aliases

Jan 9, 2020

Description:

When was the last time you were at a website or tried to buy something and you were asked for an email address? Even physical retail operations often ask for an email address for a variety of reasons.

Most people just use one email address for everything, which makes it impossible to easily cut off or track down the original source of the junk you don't want in your Inbox.

You can easily sign up for a second email service just for incidental needs, but that would require you to remember to sign into or check the other account.

If you're a user of Gmail, there's a much simpler way to manage this problem by using disposable aliases.

Gmail allows you to add a plus sign and any random text just before the @ sign as an alias. Example: yourname+amazon@gmail.com

Once you start using this method when asked for an email address, you can easily divert any messages that come with that address to a separate label, to the trash or even forward it to another account automagically!

The best part of this option is that there are no limits to how many variations you can come up with and there's nothing to setup or configure to make it work!

How to See Street View Archives

Jan 8, 2020

Description:

Anyone that has ever had to physically drive around the streets of any city to research location information should always start with the awesome Street View option in Google Maps.

Google's vehicles equipped with 360 cameras have been driving the streets all over the globe for over 10 years, but they made it even better a few years back.

Whenever you start your street view from any desktop computer, it will initially show you the most recent set of images that have been captured.

The hidden feature that is less known is the timeline option, which can be activated by clicking on the icon that looks like a clock in the corner to the upper right.

The number of times the street view capture vehicles have recorded that street since they began in 2008 will be represented by a dot on the timeline.

The best part of this time based shift is that it's not limited to just the street you started on as all the same images that were captured that year can also be navigated.

It's great way to explore your old home town or the neighborhood you grew up in from the comfort of your own home!

How To Become A YouTube Star

Jan 7, 2020

Description:

The world has changed its entertainment viewing habits from traditional broadcast services to online videos.

When it comes to online video, nobody has more people watching then Google with YouTube.

If you've always thought about creating your own YouTube channel, today's tip is for you.

Whether it's for a small business or just capturing and sharing family related moments in life, you can control who gets to see anything you upload to your channel.

Getting started may seem a bit overwhelming, but once you get some of the basics down, it's a really easy platform to make use of.

The best way to get your sea legs on YouTube is to visit Google's Creator Academy that is chocked full of instructional videos and how-to's.

All you need to do is spend a few minutes everyday at https://creatoracademy.youtube.com and you'll be building your own channel in no time at all.

It's Fraudulent Tax Return Time!

Jan 6, 2020

Description:

The cyber-security world views the tax season as Christmas for Crooks because they put a full court press on filing fraudulent tax returns.

Since the vast majority of taxpayers will receive a tax refund, the bad guys feel empowered to pull off this scam.

If they get their hands on your Social Security Number, they can essentially take over your ID for the purposes of filing a tax return before you do.

Anyone unfortunate enough to be a victim of this crime will get caught up in a quagmire of red tape to unwind the fake return and won't see their actual refund for a long time.

Since we know that so many major breaches have included SSNs, the opportunity to do this has grown exponentially, but do your best to protect your SSN and file your return as early as is possible each and every year, as this type of fraud isn't going to go away any time soon.

Don't Throw Your Tech Away!

Jan 5, 2020

Description:

Who doesn't love new technology as a gift during the holiday season? Well, with all the new tech comes to need to do something with the old tech.

For those that haven't thought about it, your old technology contains lots of toxic chemicals, so if it powers up, it can't be disposed of through the normal garbage channels.

Before you assume that your old tech is useless, check with your local schools, charities or even your friends and family to see if someone else can make use of it.

If no one wants it, you next step is to make sure you dispose of it responsibly.

When it ends up in our landfills, it introduces those toxic chemicals to the earth and potentially our ground water.

To date, despite attempts to get people to be responsible, a very small percentage of electronic waste is disposed of properly and is still ending up in our landfills.

Help us spread the word and remember that all Phoenix area Data Doctors locations serve as a year-round drop off point for all your e-waste products.

Computing Posture Reminder

Jan 2, 2020

Description:

Anyone that's uses a computer all day at work knows how it can lead to less than desirable posture, which can lead to other problems.

An ongoing problem from bad posture when sitting at the computer is CTS or Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

Depending upon how long it goes untreated, the only relief could be through a surgical procedure and downtime to recover.

The good news is that it can be easy to avoid by changing how you sit at your desk.

The chair height is the starting point, so make sure it set to allow for a ninety degree bend of your knees with your feel flat on the floor.

The position of your wrists should be as close to parallel to the floor as possible, which may require you to reposition your keyboard.

If you want a physical aid to keep your wrists in the right position, checkout the offerings from IMAK at https://www.imakproducts.com

Reputation Management Tip

Jan 1, 2020

Description:

People are talking about your business online, every day and it's important to know what they are saying. If you haven't started finding ways to monitor your online reputation, today's tip is a good first step.

Google setup a simple keyword based monitoring tool called Alerts (https://www.google.com/alerts) some years ago and it super simple to start using.

The website lets you enter your business name as the keyword, along with an email address to send to the alerts to.

Keep in mind, if you business name has more than one word, you should put quotation marks around the business name to avoid getting irrelevant alerts on each individual word.

When it comes to negative feedback from your customers, if you don't know what they are saying, you can't fix the problem or even appear to care to the rest of the Internet.

Ignoring negative feedback as if didn't exist can be very harmful to your reputation. Responding in a caring way shows the rest of the world that you care and want to do what you can to make your customers happy.

There are lots of other monitoring tools for social media networks, but starting with Google Alerts should help you get started.

New Years Resolution Suggestion

Dec 31, 2019

Description:

The tactics to take over your online accounts continue to grow in sophistication, which is why setting up 2 factor authentication on your online accounts is imperative.

This approach to security is best understood with your debit card, which requires 2 different ways to authenticate access: Your physical card and the associated PIN.

I equate not having 2 factor turned on as having a debit card that didn't require a PIN in order withdraw cash from an ATM... super dangerous.

The second factor of authentication is something you typically always have with you - your smartphone!

Even if a thief steals your username and password, unless they also steal your smartphone and figure out how to unlock it, they won't be able to get into your personal accounts.

It's become available for just about every online account you may have, so learn how to set each one of them up at https://twofactorauth.org

Important Security Configuration

Dec 30, 2019

Description:

The cyber security world uses a simple process for evaluating threats - think like hackers.

One of the most common items traded by the Internet underworld is your personal information and identity, which they generally acquire through fooling users.

Finding the most likely victims of their trickery makes their job easier, so focusing on kids is very common.

They know kids will eagerly download music, games and videos that appear to be free, which can have hidden trojan's hiding in them.

They know that in most households, the parents share the same profile with their kids, which allows them full access if they can trick the kids.

Anyone with kids in their household should strongly consider reconfiguring their computers so the kids have a different profile.

The primary account for the parents can be the admin account, while the kids have a limited use profile to minimize the exposure.

This approach is how large organizations protect their sensitive data and it's equally as effective for the average home user.

Password Security Made Easy

Dec 29, 2019

Description:

Today's tip is a regular reminder that when you use the same passwords on multiple online accounts, you're making it easy for the bad guys to win.

The only way to be secure with your passwords is to make sure you're using some form of password management that allows you to follow our advice.

If using a program to manage your passwords is still too complicated, there's another option that is more likely to be successful: just write down your passwords.

There are a number of ways to create a discrete password document that works best when you don't use the word 'password' anywhere in or around the file.

In addition, creating a secret code system around your passwords, like a bunch of random character before your actual password will help secure the file even further.

No matter how cautious you are when it comes to your usernames and passwords, all it takes is a breach at one of the sites you use regularly to expose that password you are using everywhere.

Don't make it easy for hackers; use a different password for each of your accounts even if you have to write all of them down to make it happen.

'Custom' Install Reminder

Dec 26, 2019

Description:

Today's tip is our annual reminder to always pay attention to what you add to your computer or smartphone.

Those little changes on your screen that seem to creep in from nowhere is most likely happening when you add something new to the mix.

Most popular computer programs that are free will setup a relationship with another company that wants access to more people and include their product in the installation program.

When you know this is common, you'll start to pay closer attention to those installation screens that pop up that most people never read and simply agree to get the program installed.

The trick is to get users to agree to use the standard installation option that allows the 3rd party garbage to make it into your computer.

They'll try to make the 'advanced or custom' installation menu seem like it's only for the hardcore nerds and geeks, but it's not.

It's actually the transparent version of the installation process they don't want you to see.

Keeping the junk out to begin with is easily achieved if you always use the custom install option.

Being diligent will stop those useless toolbars, odd search engine changes or weird start pages from sneaking into your devices.

Personal Financial Dashboard Tool

Dec 25, 2019

Description:

Paying attention to your long-term financial situation is something that everyone at any age should be focused on and quite frankly, the younger you start, the better.

If you one of the many that just hasn't found the right tool to help you get started, I'd recommend checking out a website called Personal Capital.

In business, using a dashboard to track what's happening is essential and doing the same with your personal finances is easy to do at https://www.personalcapital.com

The dashboard will provide graphs and data that starts with your net worth and extends to any investment portfolios you own as well as all of your banking accounts.

All this data is what makes it easy to start playing with 'what if scenarios' to help you find a path to retirement that is realistic.

This isn't about trading stocks, this is about granular financial planning and monitoring via their website or mobile app that makes it easy to stay on top of your current situation and progress.

Get your financial dashboard up and running today at https://www.personalcapital.com

Crowdsourcing Top Tens

Dec 24, 2019

Description:

If you love music as much as I do, finding new songs and artists to enjoy is an ongoing pursuit.

One of the most common things that I'll do is search through the greatest hits of any artist for both new songs and remembering old ones that I've forgotten about.

To that end, my search for hits landed me at TheTopTens.com a while back and it's a great resource for discovery.

This isn't some self-proclaimed music expert choosing their personal favorites, it's a crowd-sourcing site that leverages the 'wisdom of the crowds'.

This crowdsourcing rating site isn't limited to music either, so it's handy for just about any pursuit for the best of the best.

You can consume the content or get involved and vote on things yourself to help grow the collective intelligence.

If you can't find a top ten list for something you seek, why not start the list yourself?

No matter what you are searching for online, leveraging the input from lots of others is made so easy at https://www.thetoptens.com

Pro Camera App

Dec 23, 2019

Description:

If you're a camera buff with an expensive DSLR, it's highly likely you have Adobe's Lightroom installed on your computer for extensive image editing capabilities.

Whether you're a photo nerd or a basic novice when it comes to taking pictures, having a powerful editing program like Lightroom on our smartphone is a good idea.

There's really no limit to the number of image editing apps you can have on your phone, so this is one that I'd highly recommend you add to your tool chest.

Unlike the desktop version of Lightroom, the mobile app makes it very easy to make complex changes to all your smartphone pictures.

You can start with the pre-set options, but if you're willing to take the time, learning how to use the manual settings will take your images to a whole new level.

You can download the free app for your Android, iPhone or iPad so you no longer have to settle for the basic adjustments that your phone limits you to!

https://helpx.adobe.com/lightroom-cc/how-to/lightroom-mobile.html

Otter Voice Transcription App

Dec 22, 2019

Description:

The incredible technology that's built into our smartphones is allowing ground breaking apps that use artificial intelligence possible.

One of my recent favorites is the Otter voice recognition and transcription app. It's a no-brainer for recording interviews or taking meeting notes and easily sharing them with others.

The AI allows the app to recognize the various speakers in the conversation and assign them different numbers. If you tap on the number and give the speaker an ID, the app will tag the rest of the transcript with that speaker ID when they talk.

It also automatically generates summary keywords, so you can quickly identify themes from any discussion. The app isn't just for your live recording sessions because you can upload any of your pre-recorded audio or video files to be transcribed as well.

It's not perfect transcription, but it's light years faster than the manual method.

The free version of the app allows you to generate up to six hundred minutes of transcripts per month with premium options if you need more.

Check it out at https://otter.ai

Flipp Coupon App

Dec 19, 2019

Description:

If you're a coupon clipper looking for a more efficient way to save money, today's tip is for you.

An app called Flipp - that's with two p's - has developed a platform for consilidating coupons from over two thousand retailers. From grocers and drug stores to some of the most popular discount retailers, Flipp makes finding coupons for them so much easier.

One of the cool features allows you to create a shopping list which the app will use to search for the best deals across all the stores.

You can manually browse the weekly circulars and coupons for stores near you or search for a specific store or item, right from your smartphone.

When you see an offer you want, just save it to your shopping list for future use.

If you're looking for a way to collect relevent shopping ads in one place, the Flipp app is about as good as it gets.

Check it out for yourself by searching for Flipp with two p's in your smartphone's app store.

Legit Survey Rewards App

Dec 18, 2019

Description:

How many times have you seen those offers to get paid for taking a survey and assumed that they were a scam?

Well, for the most part, they aren't what they appear to be, but there is one exception.

The folks at Google created their Opinion Rewards program initially for Android users years ago, but it's now available to iPhone users as well. I mean, if Google is gather all this info on you, why not get reimbursed, right?

Once you download the app, it will present you with surveys from time to time through a notification that can earn you credits in the Google Play store.

The credits can be used to buy apps, music and rent movies and the survey's only take a minute or so to answer.

A couple example of the questions are like "Which promotion is most compelling?" or"When do you plan on traveling next?".

I've been participating for years and have earned lots of credits that I've been able to use on items that I would have paid for otherwise.

If you want to check it out, just search your app store for Google Opinion Rewards

Smartphone Video Editing App

Dec 17, 2019

Description:

If you're one of the millions that uses an app to enhance or edit your photos, you may want to think about doing the same with your videos.

Most devices make it easy to trim and possibly rotate your videos, but there's so much more you can do if you start using an app called Vizmato that's spelled V I Z M A T O

It's an incredibly powerful app that makes it really easy to enhance your videos by speeding them up or slowing them down, using themes to create a dramatic feel and lots of visual effects like mirror to make your videos really stand out.

There are dozens of effects, emojis and animation tools that you can add to any part of your video just by tapping the screen. You can use music to either replace the audio or mix it with the sounds that you captured in the video.

There are lots of sound effects as well as dozens of text fonts that make it easy to put the emphasis on specific moments in the video.

Vizmato is free to try and if you really like what it can do, it'll cost you $10 for a lifetime subscription.

City Mapper

Dec 16, 2019

Description:

When you visit a new city, whether it's here in the US or abroad, understanding the best ways to get around that city is an essential task.

Google Maps does a pretty good job, but if you're looking for something more focused on navigating public transit options, checkout an app called City Mapper https://citymapper.com

City Mapper offers both a website and mobile apps that can quickly show you all your options for getting to and from any two locations. Not only does it give you options for taxis, buses and rail services, it also includes bicycle and walking options.

In cities that offer rental bikes and scooters, City Mapper will tell you how many are available at any of the docking stations near you.

They'll show you the best options right now or based on a time that you want to arrive or leave a specific location.

This is the most comprehensive navigation app that I've ever seen. It's currently limited to about 40 cities around the world but you can help them expand by voting for the next city to be added.

New PC Setup Tools

Dec 15, 2019

Description:

If you're going to be upgrading to a new computer to start the new year, you need to think about what it's going to take to get your new computer to look like your old computer.

Not only will you need productivity tools like Word and Excel, you'll likely need to install the browser of your choice, myriad utilities and possibly some media players or streaming services.

Left to be done manually, this process becomes a lot more work than you probably remember.

Luckily, instead of having to slog through everything manually, there are free tools available to help streamline the process.

For Windows users, a website called Ninite comes to your aid, while Mac users can speed things up by using the GetMacApps website.

Both sites allow you to choose all of the programs that you want to add so they can create a single massive installation download that makes it all much more efficient.

For Mac users: http://getmacapps.com 

For Windows users: https://ninite.com

Text Spam Reminder

Dec 12, 2019

Description:

When it comes to email, the overwhelming majority of messages are junk messages that none of us really want and spam filters spend all day scraping away.

Still, much of what ends up getting past the filters and into our Inbox is mail that just wastes our time.

Most of us have found that text messaging is a more efficient way to communicate and the spammers have noticed and altered their tactics.

One of the ways that we can all help fend off the assault to text messaging is by collectively reporting it as soon as it hit's our phones.

All of the major carriers have setup 7726, which spells S P A M as a convenient way for their users to report junk text messages.

Simply forward the message exactly the way you got it and without anything added to 7726 whenever they appear.

The more users that report the junk messages, the faster these guys can get shut down at the source by all the carriers.

Watermarking Photo App

Dec 11, 2019

Description:

If you share lots of photos on social media, there's not much keeping others from making use of your images in a variety of ways.

One way to maintain some form of ownership of your shared images is to watermark them with your name or logo.

There are lots of apps available for any type of smartphone, but the app that I like to use is called Logolicious.

It has dozens of fonts to choose from if you want use text or you can upload a logo for a very professional look . You can save templates to maintain a consistent look and easily rotate and scale the watermark with your fingers right on your phone.

The text can be in various colors and you have total control of how transparent both text and logos appear in your images.

Logolicious is available for both Android and iPhone users and paying the developers for the app is completely voluntary.

Check it out at https://logolicious.com

SuperBetter Life App

Dec 10, 2019

Description:

We all experience a variety of challenges on a regular basis and our ability to manage those challenges can have a direct relationship to our happiness.

Life's challenges can lead to stress, anxiety and depression if we don't find a way to manage them and believe it or not, there's an app for that.

The SuperBetter app encourages users to 'live gamefully'. This approach is designed to bring the mindset and psychological strengths like optimism, creativity, courage, and determination that come natural when you're playing a game

SuperBetter is backed by science that's been validated in published studies that can help you build resilience and improve your mental health.

It's resilience training powered by the science of games that millions of people have adapted both through the app and the best selling book of the same name.

If you're trying to adopt better habits that will help you achieve your goals, build resilience and a positive attitude in life, checkout the SuperBetter approach at https://superbetter.com

Jumbo Privacy App

Dec 9, 2019

Description:

Privacy has become one of the biggest concerns and challenges for the average person to navigate in the digital age.

While just about every platform we use offers some form of privacy controls, understanding how and when to use them isn't always obvious.

Anyone looking for help managing digital privacy in a single place should checkout the Jumbo privacy app.

The creators of the app say it will empower you to take control of your privacy and security, right from your phone.

Once it scans the apps and websites you use, it provides recommendation to improve your security and privacy.

If you're starting a new job and want to clean up old social media posts, Jumbo can help with that too.

We're all looking for a better way to manage privacy and security, so checkout the Jumbo Privacy app at https://jumboprivacy.com

Image Copyright Reminder

Dec 8, 2019

Description:

Today's tip is an important reminder to anyone that uses images that they find on the Internet for personal or professional reasons.

Just because you can find the image online through a search site, it doesn't mean you can use it without permission.

If you aren't careful, you can end up in a legal process that could cost you thousands of dollars per image because you infringed on someone's copyright.

If you've got a website loaded with images and you have no idea where they came from, you should remove or replace them for your own protection.

There are a whole host of options for acquiring images that you can use for free, including the folks at Getty Images or by using the usage rights filter when doing a Google Image search.

You can also do a search for creative commons licenses, which is when the owners of the image provide them for free with a few basic terms of use.

Images can also be purchased for no more than a couple of bucks through sites like Canva.com or BigStockPhoto.com.

For a more detailed understanding of this important issue, read my column here:  https://www.datadoctors.com/help/columns/21988

File Conversions Made Easy

Dec 5, 2019

Description:

From time to time, you may receive a legitimate file attachment from a friend or co-worker that you determine is safe to download, but you can't open it.

The most common reasons is that you don't have a program that can specifically work with the type of file that was sent.

You can certainly ask the sender to resend in a format you can open or perhaps even spend the money on a software program designed to work with the file or use today's tip to solve the problem.

A free website at https://zamzar.com is setup to help you convert just about any file from one format to another.

They can convert more than 1100 file formats that range from documents to images and even video and sound files.

You can either click on a link that will allow you to select the file or files from your computer or drag and drop the files directly onto the website.

Then, simply select the file format you wish to convert to and click the convert button to either have it emailed to you or download as soon as it's converted.

Facebook Lockout Prevention

Dec 4, 2019

Description:

Who amongst us has never forgotten their passwords, not to mention the frequency of friends that get locked out of their own accounts?

As it pertains to Facebook, there's actually something you can do preemptively to help you get back into your account if you ever get locked out.

The ability to recover your account through a group of pre-designated trusted contacts was introduced by Facebook some time back and it's something worth thinking about setting up.

The process requires you to select three to five of your trusted friends that can help you regain control of your profile if you need them.

In the event you get locked out, you can have Facebook send a security code to the friends that you pre-selected that they send to you.

By requiring 3 different codes, Facebook eliminated the possibility of any one friend having the keys to your kingdom.

No more dealing with trying to convince someone that you are who you say you are.

If you'd like the instruction for setting this up, they're posted here: https://www.facebook.com/help/119897751441086

Unique Tech Gift Idea

Dec 3, 2019

Description:

There's a first world problem that most of us that love technology experience on a regular basis: not having a convenient way to charge our devices around the house.

Even if you live alone, unless you've purchased wall chargers for all of the prime locations around your house, you either have to wait until you're going to another room to charge or move the charger from another location.

You may be able to pull off the single location charging station but most of us can't.

For those that would like an inexpensive way to charge their smartphone just about anywhere in the house, there's a solution from a company called Snap Power.

Their solution is simple: just replace any wall plate with their replacement plate that includes USB ports while still allowing a regular charger to be plugged into the outlet.

It's an elegant, simple to install solution that could make charging anywhere in the house a SNAP!

Your new world of charging awaits you at https://www.snappower.com/pages/chargers

Faster Way to Get Help

Dec 2, 2019

Description:

All the wonderful software programs that you use on your computer rarely, if ever, comes with any type of traditional printed instruction manual and for good reason.

The industry standardized on dynamic manuals that can be easily changed, but that requires users to know how to find them on the company's support website.

Fortunately, there's a much simpler way to get help with just about any computer program that you're using...a nearly universal shortcut to help on any Windows-based software program is available by pressing the F1 key at the top left of your keyboard.

You'll either get a help screen from within the program or be sent to a specific website that has support links for the program in question.

If you're using a Mac-based computer, you can access the Help menu by pressing Command-Shift and the ? key to get a help search box.

Not only will you always get the specific help options for what you're running, it'll be the most up-to-date info, unlike something that was printed years ago.

Household App for Chores

Dec 1, 2019

Description:

If you have kids in your household, you probably have a list of chores for each of them to do on a weekly basis. If you're still using a chalkboard or some other manual method for keeping them on task, there's a better way.

Since kids and smartphones are inseparable, why not use an app that keeps track of all the household chores and bugs your kids for you?

An app that fits the bill perfectly is called 'ToDoist', because it goes much further than simple reminders and to-do lists.

The basic free version allows you to create up to 80 projects or chores and assign each one to up to 5 people.

You can create each chore, make them recurring then assign them to various members of your household. The app will remind each person via their smartphone and keep track of when they were accomplished in a progress chart.

Got roommates? It works with them too. Check it out at https://todoist.com

The Ultimate Image App

Nov 28, 2019

Description:

If you love taking photos with your smartphone, you know that sometime what seemed to be a perfect shot is ruined by something you didn't see at the time you were taking it.

It could be an ugly powerline in a beautiful sunset, someone that photobombed you with a goofy face or the reflection off the glass that you were standing behind at the zoo.

Unless you have the luxury of going back to recreate the same image, using an image editing app can save the day. For these scenarios, my go to app is called Snapseed.

Snapseed, which is owned by Google, has nearly 30 different tools that will allow you to dramatically improve your images, but my favorite one is the Healing tool.

Healing lets you magically erase just about anything in your image right on your smartphone. Simply zoom into the area you want to modify and drag you finger over it to have it blended into the background.

If you make a mistake, just tap the back arrow and try again.

It's absolutely packed with lots of other goodies too, so if you love photography, go get the Snapseed app.

Package Delivery Reminder

Nov 27, 2019

Description:

It's that time of the year where we crank up our online shopping activity, which means an increase in package deliveries.

No matter where you live, the most common delivery will be to your front door, which package thieves are well are of and take advantage as a result.

It's not hard to figure out if someone's not home as most delivery drivers will ring the doorbell after they drop the package at the door. When no one comes out to pick it up, that's all the porch pirates need to see.

When possible, it may make sense to have all those deliveries to be sent to your place of work or a neighbor that you know will be home during the day.

If you have a more secure area for the packages to be dropped off around your house, leave a note for the driver at the door with the instructions.

If you're like most households, the volume of packages being delivered to your door is on increase, so you may want to invest in one of the many motion sensing doorbell camera systems that will provide real-time alerts with video and the ability to talk to anyone that approaches your door, no matter where you are.

iPhone Storage Management

Nov 26, 2019

Description:

Yesterday, I featured a special file management app for Android device, so today I'll focus on helping iPhone users do the same thing.

Apple has some very useful storage management tools built into the phone, which you can access by going to Settings, then General, then iPhone Storage.

The first thing you'll see is a graph with different colors to show by category what's taking up your space and where the largest opportunities are to regain space.

You can also turn on an auto delete option for messages that are over 1 year old and easily review all of the large attachments you've received in messages, which is one of those previously hidden items that can eat up large chunks of storage.

If you're like most users, you've probably loaded the phone with lots of apps, many of which you've only used once or really have no use for anymore.

By tapping any of the apps in the list, you can delete the app but keep the associated data or delete everything associated with the app.

Spending a few minutes once a month with this tool will help you keep things running smoothly!

Files by Google App

Nov 25, 2019

Description:

Our smartphones are capable of so many awesome things but the challenge that this presents is that it takes lots of storage space on our phones. If you're not diligent about getting rid of old files, you can quickly run out of space.

Understanding what's taking up the space is the first step, which is where the Files by Google app for Android devices can help.

The app does more than just show you what's taking up the space, it makes it easy to get rid of old messages, pictures that have been backed up online, duplicate files and those apps that you aren't using anymore.

It routinely points out junk and temporary files that you can delete along with lots of other suggestions to keep your device from filling up.

Keeping lots of free space on your phone helps it perform better as well, so if you have an android device and want some help keeping it uncluttered, checkout Files by Google in the Google Play store.

Got an iPhone? Tomorrow's tip is for you!

App for Kids Memories

Nov 24, 2019

Description:

Anyone with kids knows the joy of seeing them create their first work of art using crayons and paper.

As they grow, you'll want to save lots of projects and artwork, which means you have to keep track of where you store it all for many years to come.

Well, there's actually an app just for this challenge and it's called Keepy.

Keepy will organize, save and privately share those precious memories as your child grows. Whether it's artwork, schoolwork, an award, sporting events or their first school play, the app makes it easy to capture them all.

You no longer have to save every physical item which reduces clutter and the need to remember where you stored it.

If you've got kids, you've got memories to capture, so checkout the Keepy app at https://keepy.me

Pay Apps for Free

Nov 21, 2019

Description:

Our phones become much more than a calling device with the introduction of apps, which made our phones 'smart'.

The vast majority of users when searching for an app to fill a need, will default to finding something that's free.

With millions of apps in the app stores, unless you're constantly checking to see what's new, you're going to miss lots of apps that you may have found very useful.

That's where an app that keeps track of newly free apps called Apps Gone Free can help.

Many app developers will choose to make an app that normally costs money free for a very short period of time in an effort to get more users quickly.

Without something like the 'Apps Gone Free' app, you'll have no idea of the latest offerings.

It operates using editors that will research and review apps that are temporarily free and provide a synopsis so you can decide whether to give it a shot or not.

The app provides daily suggestions based on the latest offerings, so you can go to one place to see the latest and greatest in free apps.

Apps Gone Free (iPhone):

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/apps-gone-free-best-daily/id470693788

Comparable Android App: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.appsfree.android

Brilliant Translation Technology

Nov 20, 2019

Description:

A variety of translation apps have been available for your smartphone for quite some time, but our old go-to app was our favorite because it allowed you to translate physical signs using the camera on your phone.

Since it was acquired by Google some time back, it became a free app and more importantly, the technology was incorporated into the Google Translate app.

Not only can you translate words using your camera, you can convert handwriting as well as spoken word using the app on your smartphone.

It's an amazing combination of translation tools that every traveler should learn how to use.

As with any translation app, it's far from perfect, but if you stick to a small number of words, instead of long complex sentences, you'll find it to be very effective.

The real-time translations is available in many languages and if you know you aren't going to have a connection, you can download language libraries to your phone so that it still works offline.

This is one of those apps that we recommend that if you're going to a foreign country, don't leave home without it!

Awesome Interactive iPad App

Nov 19, 2019

Description:

We've all heard the complaints from parents that lament how much their kids substitute screen time for physical play time. iPads are awesome entertainment and education devices, but only if what is being used on it has value.

If you have younger children that love using an iPad, take it to the next level with the system offered by the folks at Osmo.

What makes Osmo different is that it uses the iPad to encourage interaction with items in the physical world, so it's a way to use what the kids love to expand their learning.

It's a really interesting approach that uses a special stand and small mirror that goes over the front facing camera, which makes it possible for the app to see what's going on in front of the display.

There are lots of different activities that it will encourage, such as Masterpiece, which allows your child to trace anything that is projected onto paper in front of the iPad.

Osmo could be helpful for parents that want to have their iPads do more than basic game play. Learn more at: https://PlayOsmo.com

Exercising For Charities

Nov 18, 2019

Description:

Getting your day off to a good start requires some form of exercise for a large number of you.

Staying motivated to exercise can be increased by an app that will benefit others, based on you exercising every day.

An app called 'Charity Miles' will convert your daily exercise routine into a charitable contribution for lots of charities that could use the help.

Whether you jog, run or ride a bike every morning, your healthy activities can generate 10 to 25 cents per mile for charities using the app.

If you've ever seen those regular social media posts about Charity Miles from your social networking connections, you now know what they are referring to.

It's a great way to support well known charitable organizations on a daily basis, especially if you need to the motivation or are already motivated to get out there every morning.

Once you start using the app, you can think of yourself as one of those famous sponsored athletes doing something good for others!

Killer Browser Shortcut to Remember

Nov 17, 2019

Description:

Remember when we had to use the back button in our browsers to see a website we previously visited? The invention of tabbed browsing changed all that, allowing us to have lots of different websites open at the same time.

The downside to this awesome feature is that each additional tab takes up valuable working memory (RAM), which taken to the extreme, can cause lots of performance issues.

Closing tabs you no longer need is a good practice, but what happens if you click on the wrong tab by accident? Searching your recent History for that wanted page is one option, but there's a much easier way to bring that tab back.

In any brand of browser, in Windows you can use the Ctrl-Shift keys and in the MacOS, you can use Command-Shift then tap on the letter 'T' to bring back your most recently closed tab.

It's so much faster than searching through your browser History, especially for those pages you actually opened days ago.

The cool part of this tip is that it works for each subsequently closed tab as well, so simply repeat the keystrokes to keep opening previously closed browser sessions.

iPhone Picture Management App

Nov 14, 2019

Description:

If you've been an iPhone user for some years, you've probably taken tons of pictures of just about everything under the sun.

Because it's so easy to take pictures everywhere, most of us end up with a bunch of unwanted images that stack up and eat up our storages space.

The iPhone does a lot of things right, but managing old photos isn't one of it's strong suits.

If you'd like some help going through your old pictures efficiently, check out one of our favorite apps called Cleen - https://cleenapp.com

Instead of having to use thumbnails to figure out what's in a photo, Cleen shows you the images in full screen mode so you can actually see the whole image.

What makes it so fast is that you simply swipe in one of three directions to tell the app what you want to do - up to keep it, down to get rid of it and for those images you aren't sure about, to the left for the deal with it later queue.

At any point that you want to wrap things up, just tap the trash icon to get rid of the ones you've tagged for deletion so far.

Facebook Access Controls

Nov 13, 2019

Description:

Even though Facebook is something a lot of people complain about, they still tend to use it all over the place.

Have you ever borrowed someone's computer to access your Facebook account and then forgot to log out afterwards? If you did, you know that whoever has access to the computer has full access to use your account.

Should you ever find yourself in the position of realizing that you forgot to log out of Facebook on another computer, all is not lost.

There's actually a feature built into the Security menu that will allow to remotely shut down any session you may have opened, anywhere in the world.

The menu will show you every active log in, including the rough location, the date and time as well as the device used to access your account. You can simply look down the list to terminate any of the sessions you created anywhere.

This option is also a quick way to see if someone has nefariously gained access to your username and password, so it's worth checking out from time to time.

If you've never done this, here are the step by step instructions for doing it: https://www.facebook.com/help/211990645501187

Personal Documentary App

Nov 12, 2019

Description:

We've all heard the saying that we should make every day count, so are you going to remember something special that you made happen today?

It's the driving question behind an interesting app called 1 Second Every Day. 

The developer initially created the app as a way to document a year long trip he was taking.

By creating small reminders of your day, you can instantly be transported to any specific day or event using the app.

It's a much more condensed way to relive those memories from every day of your life, if you're willing to take the time to document something every day.

If you're going on any kind of a trip soon, it might be worth using the app to help you easily capture those special moments in a way that's a lot less complicated than generating a video.

Think of it as a personal documentary of your life that you will appreciate the most.

Learn all about this awesome concept at: https://1secondeveryday.com

Fast and Simple Network Test

Nov 11, 2019

Description:

How irritating is it when you expect a solid internet connection, but you can't seem to get anywhere quickly either at home or on the road.

Figuring out why your connection is less than useful can get a bit complicated as you don't know if it's your device or something along the connections of the network you are on.

When it's your computer and your own network, you have a little more control over tracking down the problem, but not so much when you are using someone else's connection.

To help narrow down where the problem may be, checkout this cool add-on called 'Connectivity Diagnostics' for the Chrome browser that will diagnose your connection in real-time.

Adding this tool to your browser allows you to thoroughly test your connection and shows you any potential issues that could impact performance.

If you're not tech savvy, you may be looking at a bunch of info that looks like Greek to you, but it's useful info when you reach out for help from someone technical.

Check it our for yourself at:

http://goo.gl/H6VGqx  

DIY App Builder

Nov 10, 2019

Description:

What has made our smartphones so much more than just a calling device is the power of the apps we download and use. 

If you or someone you know has been considering creating an app of their own for their business, today's tip is for you.

An interesting web resource at https://appmachine.com could be an inexpensive way to accomplish what is usually an expensive proposition.

As long as your apps features are fairly simple, you should be able to generate something useful without having to know how to write code.

You can use the content on your website to help generate the basis for your app or build it from scratch using their building blocks.

Creating your app costs nothing as they make their money when you decide to publish the app via one of the two app stores. 

Since there's nothing to risk other than your time, giving it a go is as simple as visiting https://appmachine.com

Website Safety Rating Tool

Nov 7, 2019

Description:

Malicious websites have been setup all around the Internet just waiting for you to click on so they can attempt to exploit any unsuspecting visitors.

Lots of people preach that you shouldn't go to strange websites unless you know something about it, but that's a completely useless bit of advice in reality.

The next time you have to try to make a decision about whether you should take the risk of visiting a website that you aren't familiar with, checkout the free Site Safety Center from Trend Micro at: https://global.sitesafety.trendmicro.com

The site is a huge database of websites and their associated reputation as well as real-time evaluation tools that will check for signs of a questionable or downright dangerous website.

Each website address you paste into their 'Check Now' section will came back with one of four ratings that range from safe, dangerous to suspicious or if it comes back as untested, it will be added for future testing.

The tool will also present you with information on the generaly category of information posted at the website for a better understanding of the posted content.

Making an informed decision about whether a website is safe or not is made a lot easier at: https://global.sitesafety.trendmicro.com

Tool for Blocking Internet Tracking

Nov 6, 2019

Description:

The currency of the Internet is data and more specifically your behavioral data as you wander around the web. Everything you do is being tracked in one way or another, mostly to determine how best to advertise to you.

If you're interested in better understanding which websites and advertising networks are attempting to track you and provide you with some controls, checkout a web browser add-on called Disconnect: https://disconnect.me/disconnect

Disconnect provides you with total transparency of what types of requests are being made in the background as well as the ability to decide which ones are granted permission and which are blocked.

The free basic tool can be installed in most of the major browsers as well as a Pro app for iOS devices.

The tool changes the way that your computer is evaluated because it's being masked by the Disconnect platform.

By blocking a lot of the extra background requests, web pages can load a lot faster as well.

For a complete overview on how the tool works, go to: https://disconnect.me/disconnect/help

If you've been looking for a way to regain control of your internet activities, checkout the Disconnect add-on!

Checked Your Junk Folder Lately?

Nov 5, 2019

Description:

It seems that no matter how many ways we try to filter out junk email messages, some of it find a way into our Inbox.

Spam filters use a myriad of processes to screen out spam, but they aren't perfect which means that some good messages can get caught up in the junk filters.

The various rules used to try to determine whether a message is 'ham' or 'spam' can be thrown off by the use of certain words or images in the message.

With this in mind, we wanted to remind you all to periodically check your junk folders for messages that were improperly marked as spam. If you don't check it regularly, you won't be able to catch these mistakes made by the automated filters, which can be trained.

If you're folder is loaded with old messages, rather than scrolling through the whole list, try searching through the messages using keywords or names of people you've been waiting to hear from.

If and when you run across a message that was improperly filtered, you can tell your email program that it's not junk so it will know not to filter them in the future.

This routine housekeeping is easiest when you do it on a regular basis, so consider creating a reminder to check your junk folder regularly.

Fun Way to Learn Stock Trading

Nov 4, 2019

Description:

Whether you invest directly in the stock market or through your 401K, unless you do it on a regular basis, it can be a bit intimidating.

You may feel like you'd have to spend a substantial amount of time to really learn how things work, but that may not be the case any more.

A website called https://www.wallstreetsurvivor.com is a virtual stock market simulation tool that also uses entertainment and games to teach people and help demystify the confusing world of stock trading.

Just reading a book or watching a video about trading stocks isn't nearly as informative as actually doing it, which the site lets you do without risking any real money.

They use all of the media channels to provide you with instructions, lessons and a virtual platform to practice on.

If you really get into it, you can join a league and compete for actual prizes with your virtual portfolio.

If all those terms you hear financial reporters throwing around are confusing, you can get up to speed while having fun at: https://www.wallstreetsurvivor.com

Since it's entertaining, it will be more interesting for youngsters too, so get them started early!

Location-Based Augmented Reality App

Nov 3, 2019

Description:

As much as virtual reality has been hyped up, it's augmented reality that has a much better chance of providing usable tools for the average user.

Augmented reality combined with location data from your smartphone is proving to be a solid use for the technology.

Back when I first tested Google Glass, one of the apps that made use of the platform was called Field Trip and it works just as well on any smartphone.

It's much more than how Google Maps makes you aware of what's around you because much of the information can be for things that aren't even there anymore.

Lots of historic information for things around you can be learned just by opening the app while you are walking around.


You can let the app know what your interested so it can alert you as you wander around familiar or unfamiliar places.

The things I've learned from the app around where I live an work have been pretty cool.

It can also be a great help when you travel, acting as kind of a virtual insider wherever you are.

Discover things all around you by downloading the app from https://www.fieldtripper.com

Mobile Security App Reminder

Oct 31, 2019

Description:

Your smartphone is actually a pretty safe way to access important information as long as you stick to apps from two main app stores for iPhones and Android devices and you haven't disabled the built-in security controls for both platforms.


If you're a tech savvy user, you may have decided to jailbreak your iPhone or root your Android phone, allowing you to download and install anything from anywhere, which also puts you at the highest risk of loading a malicious app.

That used to be the only way that the malicious apps could bypass the security in place by the two app stores, but those days are over.


Cleverly written text messages, emails or social media posts may entice people to 'checkout a new app' with fantastic looking features, which can lead you to a dangerous place.

In some cases, clicking through to the rigged website with the app can start the process of exploiting you with what looks like a totally legit website.

Just remember, only download and install apps that you specifically went in search of, because even what appears to be a legit link posted by a friend could be the result of a compromised social media or email account.

If you don't have a security app watching over your installs, take a look at Lookout: https://www.lookout.com/products/personal

Cool Tools Hiding In Plain Sight!

Oct 30, 2019

Description:

A relatively unknown feature that's a gateway to an assortment of additional tools for Google's free online productivity programs like Docs and Sheets is the add-ons.

The variety of features and options that can be added is amazing and worth the time to explore.

Sending faxes within the platform, creating a quick table of contents, working with labels and inserting your signature is just a sample of what can be added to the programs.

If you switched from Microsoft Office, but miss some of the features, you may be just a few mouse clicks away from beefing up Google's online programs. 

It's been sitting in the menu bar the whole time, so take a minute and look for the Add-ons option at the end of the menu bar. When you click it, you'll see the option to 'Get Add-ons', which will take you to the marketplace.

What's helpful about the add-ons is that once you add them, they can be used with any past or future documents.

Once you start to realize how many great tools have been hiding in plain sight, you might want to put an annual reminder in your calendar to explore add-ons because new ones are added all the time.

Jazz Up Your iPhone's Workflow

Oct 29, 2019

Description:

If you've been using spreadsheets or word processors for a long time, you most likely know about the incredibly useful option of creating macros that are a combination of steps all rolled into one shortcut.

Well if you love macros and love your iPhone, then I've got a great app for you to checkout called Workflow.

This powerful app gives anyone the option of creating automatic connections with various tasks and apps on your device, which is done by a simple dragging of items within the app. 

Virtually every popular app or task that you use on a regular basis can be setup to work together so that repetitive tasks can be boiled down to a single tap.

An example of a use case for this app is for those that try to find the same type of place in Google maps, such as a type of restaurant or juice bar as they are traveling around the country or world.

What's great about the platform is that you don't have to know how to create a workflow to use the app, as others have shared their workflows that you can try.

This app can take your productivity to a new high, so if it sounds interesting, check it out at: https://my.workflow.is

Be Careful With Comment Links

Oct 28, 2019

Description:

It's common knowledge these days that a high percentage of exploits start with a phishing message that's cleverly crafted.

Phishing is such a big problem that even the most tech challenged users know to be very careful and suspicious with all email messages, which is why the bad guys are focusing on other less obvious places to start cultivating victims.

Something that's been around for a while is getting more sophisticated and that's setting traps in the comment section of popular websites. 

You'll see lots of work at home or big money making schemes posted, which are pretty easy to know are spam posts, but that's not what I want to warn you about.

Cleverly crafted comments from people that seem to be engaged in the conversation may include links to 'verify' their positions, but that's where you need to be paying very close attention.

Avoid clicking the link and do your own search for what they claim is supporting evidence by putting whatever the headline is from the link they posted.

If the info is legit, it will have been indexed by Google, so don't ever take any link at face value in the comments section of any website.

What Strange Sounds Can Mean

Oct 27, 2019

Description:

When you notice a strange vibration or noise while driving your car, you'll take the time to try to figure out why, right?

For whatever reason, when it comes to your computer, you probably don't have the same mindset.

Any unusual noise coming from any part of your computer is an indication that something mechanical inside is experiencing a problem.

Any type of grinding sound can be the bearings on one of your cooling fans, so if you notice a noise and then it goes away on its own, that could mean that it's no longer spinning and cooling.

When a cooling fan stops spinning, not only is it no longer extracting heat, it's acting as an insulator.

One of the most damaging sounds is clicking, especially when it's associated with the inability to get your computer to start up. It's generally a sign that you've get a mechanical issue with your hard drive.

It's natural to want to try to get the computer to start, but repeated attempts to start a failing hard drive can cause further irreparable damage, which can mean that the data will become unrecoverable.

We've provided more tips and details at: https://www.datadoctors.com/help/columns/21814

Video Doorbell Reminder

Oct 24, 2019

Description:

Adding some type of DIY security at your front door with one of the various doorbell camera options is growing in popularity, but before you decide to get one, we've got some advice for you.

Using your smartphone to see who's at your door, complete with video and audio is awesome, but it depends greatly on the strength of the wi-fi signal at your door.

Even the most popular models that have been around for years and have lots of upgraded features will result in poor performance, especially if you want to see live video if your not getting a decent signal.

Because it's so reliant on a good solid wifi signal, it's best to do some testing before you decide to spend the money to get one.

Most of them are battery operated, but some require that you have a wire that rang a traditional doorbell for its power source, so pay attention to which one you are buying.

Another challenge for those that have Western exposures is direct sunlight, which can make the images in the video very difficult to make out.

A quick test of the signal strength can be done using your smartphone in airplane mode with the wi-fi turned on as your only connection.

Awesome Gmail Feature

Oct 23, 2019

Description:

Web-based email service, such as Gmail, have a number advantages over traditional email programs; one of the biggest advantages it that you are no longer tied to a specific machine in order to get to your messages.

Gmail is the most popular and if you use it every day like millions of others, you should learn some of the amazing shortcuts that can make it even more efficient.

Shortcuts are great, because you don't have to leave the keyboard to navigate to another part of the program that would normally require a mouse click.

Navigation shortcuts generally start by tapping the letter g, then another letter such as a for all mail or d to pop over to the draft section.

You can see you sent messages withe g+t shortcut or get to your contacts by tapping g+c.

To allow these shortcuts to work, you'll need to go to the Settings menu and turn them on in the General section.

There are so many really useful shortcuts that you can see at Google's keyboard shortcut resource page:

https://support.google.com/mail/answer/6594?hl=en

Mac Computers Are Targets Too!

Oct 22, 2019

Description:

Anyone that pays attention to tech news has likely seen an increase in the number of security related stories focusing on the MacOS.

It may be time to think about installing some extra protection if you use a Mac computer.

The MacOS does have some protection built-into the platform, but there are situation where that may not be enough.

It's pretty easy to stay safe if you limit what and where you install into your computer and keep things updated, but if you have less attentive users in the house, extra security may be best.

Younger users that have a veracious appetite for anything on the Internet can put your Mac in higher risk situations.

The old mindset of having a Mac and not worrying about the constant threats that we all hear about is dangerous these days.

Any device you use that is connected to the Internet has someone out there attempting to exploit you, so being cautious with all of your devices is important these days.

Backup, Backup, Backup!

Oct 21, 2019

Description:

There's a common issue that I've observed over the decades with the average computer user: they know that they should be backing up their important data files, but they just haven't put together the process.

It's one of the most important tasks that every computer user should be performing and with the stakes being raised, it's critically important.

Loss of data is one thing, but having it held hostage by a hacker because you don't have a backup has grown to become a very real threat.

The sophistication of this type of attack has grown by leaps and bounds in the past couple of years because it's generating a lot of money for the bad guys.

If they get to your files, they'll use military grade encryption to lock you out and demand payment for the key to unlock the files.

If your only backup is an attached local drive, they'll lock it down as well, so making sure your files are out of reach with an online backup service such as Carbonite will keep you safe and prevent the need to pay them.

If you haven't been motivated yet, hopefully knowing about this growing threat will help you get over the hump.

Learning Guitar App

Oct 20, 2019

Description:

Most of us have dreamed of being able to play a guitar but have settled for the air guitar because the learning curve is just too steep.

If you haven't completely given up on some day being able to play, today's tip may be just what you need.

A web resource called Coach Guitar provides virtual lessons online and via their app.

You can bypass the theory and traditional lessons and dive right into some of you favorite guitar passages.

They show you how to play some of the most popular guitar riffs through the use of videos and a virtual fretboard.

Because they show you exactly where to put your fingers and which strings to strum, you can quickly be cranking out some familiar tunes.

With the app on your smartphone, you'll have a guitar coach in your pocket whenever you need them.

You can checkout their method of teaching for free and if you really want to dive in, you can opt for their premium service.

Learn all about it at https://coachguitar.com

Cocktails Made Easy

Oct 17, 2019

Description:

It's the weekend, which might mean that you'll end up at one of the many popular watering holes that specialize in craft cocktails.

While it's great to experience it in your favorite bars, it can get really pricey, really fast. You can save a boatload of money when you learn how to make these amazing drinks yourself.

Cocktail recipe books are great, buy they can only cover so many drinks in the given space, so unless you want a pile of recipe books sitting around, checkout an app called 'Mixology'.

It's great because you start by inputting the ingredients that you have in your bar and refrigerator to help the search process focus on cocktails that you can actually make.

Who want to scamper off to the grocery or liquor store just to make a cocktail?

There are lots of ways to discover new recipes using your favorite spirits or by randomly searching through the database.

It's also more than complicated cocktails as you can create special shots, punches and even no alcohol concoctions for the DDs at your party.

Check out this useful pocket guide at: http://mixologyapp.com

Online and Offline Invitations

Oct 16, 2019

Description:

Whenever you plan a big gathering or event, you have to figure out how you are going to invite everyone and keep track of who's coming.

A quick search online will provide you with a plethora of options for sending online invitations with all of the tracking that's very helpful, but what if you want it to be more personalized and special?

Sending out beautiful physical invitations through the mail really makes a statement since so much of it is done electronically these days.

The problem with making that decision is that it creates a lot more work for you, because you have to collect the mailing addresses, pick out the paper and envelope and select a design that fits the event.

For those occasions, there's a really cool online option called Paperless Posts https://PaperlessPost.com that can help you with both online and physical invitations.

Because both of the options are combined at the same site, you can use their online tools to gather the info you need for the offline invitations.

You can design everything on their website of through their iOS app

VSCO Cam App for Food Pics

Oct 15, 2019

Description:

Everywhere you look on social media, you are likely to see photos of food, which some people think is cool while others think is goofy.

For those in the cool camp that plan to continue posting food pics, there are a few things to remember.

Item number one is your flash... never use it when you are taking pictures of food. Not only is it distracting to those around you, but it will make the food look horrible.

Since most restaurants in the evening will be on the darker side, don't forget to dim the display on your phone so it isn't a beaming beacon of light.

If you have your phone set to make a shutter sound whenever you snap a pic, turn that off as well while you are in close quarters with others.

Switching to an actual photo app such as VSCO Cam instead of using the default camera app can provide you with more options for making the food pic look great.

Learn more about this awesome photo app at: https://vsco.co/download

Hard Drive 'TreeSize' Utility

Oct 14, 2019

Description:

Did you know that the internal storage in your computer (the hard disk) is a lot like that frig you have in the kitchen? In both cases, no matter how big it is, you'll most likely fill it up.

When your frig fills up, you don't go out and buy a new one, you get rid of the stuff you don't need or has gone bad and the same holds true for your computer.

The challenge for a lot of you is that even if you do want to free up space, you're not sure what's taking it all up.

There are a number of primary targets for getting rid of unwanted files that begins with unused programs, old videos and music as a starter.

If you really want to dig into what's taking your space and where, check out a free program called TreeSize (http://bit.ly/33ovEfM)

Think of all the items in your computer being organized like a tree, whereas each folder is a branch and each file is a leaf.

The utility will show you how much space is being taken by each branch (or folder) on your tree so you can strategically determine what's taking the space.

It's incredibly important that when you don't know what a specific folder or file is all about, you don't ever delete it and make sure you have a verified backup before you start any mass deletion.

Create Your Own Book Club

Oct 13, 2019

Description:

Most people love their technology but also like the tactile feel of reading a good book.

Discovering great new books to read from others is helpful no matter what genre or topic tends to be your favorites to read. 

There are lots of websites that use algorithms to suggest new books solely based on the books that you have already liked or read, but there's an alternative that takes advantage of other humans called Good Reads.

Good Reads is one of many that uses a suggestion-bot based on what you've have enjoyed in the past, but it also offers you the ability to hook up with friends to see what they are reading... kind of what Spotify does with songs that you friends are listening to.

Whichever online method you use to get new book recommendations, it's far more efficient than randomly roaming the isles of a book store hoping to score a solid read.

To really make the site perform at its best, you can gather a group of your fellow bookworms to create you own private online book club.

There are also public discussion groups that anyone can join to learn more from other at https://www.goodreads.com

Firefox Scripting Control Tool

Oct 10, 2019

Description:

The bad actors on the Internet will stop at nothing to exploit users and one of the most dangerous methods they use is malicious scripting.

Scripts, which were created to enhance our experience on the Internet have been hijacked by hackers to take advantage of people without them knowing what's going on.

Instead of providing you with relevant content based on choices you make or have made in the past, they refocus the technology to silently attack your computer when you visit rigged websites.

Since the vast majority of scripts you'll encounter are actually safe and helpful, controlling when and where they run is a way to keep the dangerous ones at bay.

A free tool available to users of the Firefox browser is the very popular NoScript add-on.

While it's not for everyone, if you like pinpoint control over what each website you visit can run, this is a tool that lets you do that.

Valid scripts are important for much of the functionality of the web, so you will have to tinker with the tool to figure out which ones are trying to deliver ads and which ones are providing functionality.

This open source tool is free and will require you to learn how to use it, but if you want supreme protection from rogue scripts, checkout the details at: https://noscript.net

SciFi Photo Enhancement App

Oct 9, 2019

Description:

If you and your friends are big fans of movies like Star Wars and you have an iPhone, you're going to want this app.

It's called Alien Sky and it will turn any typical photo with open sky into something from another dimension.

It will let you place realistic images of planets, moons, lens flares or other inter-galactic items right into your photos and they look very real.

These head turning effects will be sure to get people to stop as they scroll through their social media feeds.

With over one hundred and fifty effects that you can add to any of your existing photos, there are countless ways to make out of this world imagery.

It's really fun to play with old pics, especially if you turn them into black and white images before adding the effects from the Alien Sky app.

For iPhone users only:

http://www.brainfevermedia.com/alienSky.html

Smartphone Flashlight Trick

Oct 8, 2019

Description:

It's not often that you find yourself without your smartphone, which is why it's become our go-to flashlight for just about every situation.

Depending upon your device, the LEDs can be extremely bright and a great way to shine light in a specific direction, but what if you need a more dispersed light?

Did you know that there's an easy way to turn your smartphone flashlight into more of a lantern-style light?

Just grab a plastic bottle of water and a large rubber band to get the job done.

Start by removing the label from the bottle, then position your smartphone's flashlight directly into the center of the bottle and use the rubber band to hold it in place.

Not only can it be useful in settings like a campsite or with a group of people trying to follow you, it's also a great way to notify oncoming traffic of where you are.

The next time you need a different type of light from your smartphone, channel your inner life hacker with this tip!

Elevate Your Brain

Oct 7, 2019

Description:

If you're like me, it's abundantly clear that your mental quickness isn't what it used to be, which is a bit on the frustrating side at times.

If you've figured out a plan for physical fitness, you may want to extend that effort to mental fitness as well.

An app we've talked about before called Elevate could be of interest for anyone that's in the same camp as me. 

Using games that are rooted in scientific research, the app is an enjoyable way to work on your aging brain.

There are a variety of focuses that you can select to work on, which is customized to create your daily tests and then tracked to show progress as it happens.

A limited version of the app is free (make sure to click the 'X' in the upper left-hand corner after you sign up for an account) with subscriptions you can opt for if you want the full program.

Playing games can help sharpen mental skills, but games based on brain science are a better use of your time. Learn more at: https://www.elevateapp.com

Tiny iPhone Tripod

Oct 6, 2019

Description:

If you own an iPhone, you've probably marveled at all of the amazing things it can do beyond simply communicating with others, but there's one thing that it doesn't have that would make it even more useful... .a tripod.

The myriad functions that the iPhone can perform means that you end up using it in your hands for just about every activity.

A simple accessory that may make using your iPhone even more enjoyable is the tripod from Kenu called the 'Stance'.

The tiny add-on, which can easily fit in your pocket, laptop bag or purse, can totally improve how you use your smartphone.

Tired of holding your phone to watch long form videos? Want more opportunities to use the camera timer? Kenu may just have what you didn't know you needed. 

This tripod isn't limited to portrait mode because it's designed to allow you total flexibility, so if it sounds interesting, pop on over to: http://bit.ly/2AJXoz7

Product Comparison Search Tip

Oct 3, 2019

Description:

It's not often that you don't turn to the Internet to gather information on just about anything you plan on buying.

Another great benefit is the ability to research competitive products for an item you are interested in purchasing. 

Often times you won't be aware of what competitive products exist, which is the point of today's tip.

Google searches that include a product followed by 'vs' as in versus can quickly provide you with comparisons of the most popular items in just about any category.

If you were in the market for a new car and wanted to compare a Honda Civic with all of its competitors, simply type "Honda Civic vs" to get the scoop.

If find this approach extremely useful when I'm looking for apps and don't want to download the first one that comes up in a search.

This type of search will quite often bring up review websites that are filled with information about a lot of the items that are similar to the one you know about.

Not everything you're shopping for will benefit from this tip, but more times than not, I've found it to be very useful.

Cool Tool for Chrome

Oct 2, 2019

Description:

Today's tip is for anyone that uses Google's productivity software, especially their spreadsheet tool called Sheets.

There's a free browser plug-in that will add a cool option to Chrome that's a great help should you ever need to convert any spreadsheet to a document.

Anyone that's ever had to incorporate a portion of a spreadsheet into a word processing document knows about potential formatting issues.

With the 'Save As Doc' plug-in, you can convert an entire worksheet or any portion that you choose to become a document file.

I found it really helpful for converting the results from a Google Survey that I setup into a more usable report for a meeting.

If you typically copy and paste to try to get spreadsheet info into a document, you'll love this tool.

It's a pretty simple tool to use and it just sits idly by in Chrome until you need it. Get it here: http://goo.gl/H0ed2B

LinkedIn Connection Requests

Oct 1, 2019

Description:

It's pretty obvious that social networking has become a major communication method not only for us personally, but professionally as well.

Every working person that's interested in creating new opportunities or meeting like minded professionals should have an updated LinkedIn profile.

If you haven't done much with LinkedIn, it's important that you don't treat it like a personal social network. It's not so much about the people you already know and more about making new contacts that could help you many ways professionally.

When it comes to accepting connections, refusing the connection just because you don't know them would be like refusing to accept a business card from someone you don't know in real life.

You shouldn't accept any connection request without first spending a minute reviewing the person's profile and background.

I don't accept connections from profiles that don't have a picture, have very few connections, haven't filled out their profile or if they're from foreign countries with no connection to what I do. 

You can kick someone from your network just as quickly as you accept them, so don't be afraid to accept connections once you've vetted them.

When they try to force a sales pitch on you or abuse the connection in any way, use these steps to get rid of them: http://bit.ly/2nmk4T7

Website for Design Challenged Users

Sep 30, 2019

Description:

If you're in business, help with school events or just tend to be an organizer of any sort, you've likely been in the situation where you need some simple design work done.

Hiring someone to do it isn't generally feasible, so when you have to rely on your own skills to create the piece, there's an online resource that you should have bookmarked called Canva: https://Canva.com. 

Because it's web-based, there's nothing to install, download and very little to learn in order to be successful.

They provide a bevy of templates that you can use as a starting point to quickly and easily build professional looking business cards, posters, flyers and most importantly these days, the proper size graphics for all your social media profiles.

What's great about the templates is that you generally need only to add text once you choose the one that represents the theme you're trying to relay.

If you have your own images to add, you can or you can purchase inexpensive options from their catalog to really spice up your design.

It's one of those websites that you may not need on a regular basis, but when you do, having https://www.canva.com at your disposal is a game changer!

Smartphone Reading Glasses

Sep 29, 2019

Description:

Anyone that has to use reading glasses to be able to make use of their smartphone has probably found one without the other on many an occasion.

Lots of us simply buy a pile of reading specs and leave them in our most common daily deer trails.

If you're constantly searching around for glasses when you want to read something on your smartphone, why not have a pair of glasses attached to your smartphone?

A company called Thin Optics has created a potential solution for people that have this problem - it's a smartphone case that has a slot for their thin reading specs.

Because they don't actually include the typical arms for reading glasses, they are thin enough to slip into the case.

You can get an entire case with the compartment or add the compartment to just about any existing case you have.

At $20 to $40, this inexpensive option may be just the solution that some of you have been looking for.

Learn more at: http://bit.ly/2nTED9j

Alternatives For Text Messaging

Sep 26, 2019

Description:

How important has text messaging become for you? What would you do if a bad thing happened to your smartphone, like it gets lost or stolen? 

There's a decent chance that you'll end up with either an unusable or lost phone at some point, so you should act accordingly.

Before you find yourself in this situation, search your carrier's website for an online text messaging tool, get it setup and learn how to use it.

You'll need the username and password associated with your phone number in order to use it, so that's why I'd recommend you doing this before a crisis.

If you do find yourself in a crisis and need to send an urgent text from a computer, there's a website called Text 'em (http://textem.net) that might be helpful.

One issue that may prevent you from using the sight is that you'll have to know which carrier that your intended recipient is using.

Learning how to send text messages when your phone isn't available is something that is bound to payoff, so it's a skill that I highly recommend that everyone learns.

Inexpensive Laptop Alternative

Sep 25, 2019

Description:

Google's Chromebooks have been around for quite a while and have become very popular in elementary schools, but it may actually be a great alternative for a lot of you.

These inexpensive laptop alternatives are designed for those that spend their lives on the web.

They use Google's mobile operating system known as Chrome and a bunch of their productivity tools that can be used even without an Internet connection.

It's not for those that have to run specific Windows or Mac programs or for those that want to edit videos, but for that average web surfer, they could work just fine.


For those with less of a need or as an additional computing device in your family for your younger users, these devices are shielded from the growing malware threat focused on Mac and Windows users.

To get a better understanding of what Chromebooks can offer, visit: https://www.google.com/chromebook

Unique Car Smartphone Holder

Sep 24, 2019

Description:

If you're like me, you use your phone in the car to listen to music, podcasts and provide driving directions on a regular basis.

In order to stay safe, it's important to have your phone in your normal line of sight instead of in a cup holder or other low places that requires you to look down to see it.

There are lots of devices that use suction cups, sticky glues or even magnets to present your phone in a safe place, but did you know that your air vents can be used as well?

A company called Kenu has a series of holders called the 'AirFrame' that simply clips to one of the blades of any of your air vents to hold your phone up high.

The various holders can generally hold any phone of any size including the extra space taken by a case.

Keep in mind that if your air vents or blowing out heated air, that can cause issues for your smartphone, so avoid doing that.

They offer lots of different options that you check out at: https://www.kenu.com/collections/vent-mounts

24 Hour Online Notary

Sep 23, 2019

Description:

If you're selling or buying a home or dealing with any sort of official business, there's a strong chance you'll need to have the documents notarized.

In this busy world we live in, tracking down a person that can do the notarization can be a bit of a logistical issue, especially if you are traveling.

Should you ever find yourself in a position of needing a notary fast, check out an app called Notarize.

It's a completely legal virtual notary service that provides its services via the Internet.

It's a straight forward process that anyone can execute by uploading the document that needs to be notarized and following their step-by-step instructions.

A licensed notary will connect with you via live video and witness you signing the document.

Everything is documented and saved for legal purposes and once you're done, you can easily send the completed document wherever you need it to go.

It's convenient and available around the clock, but that convenience comes at a price: $25

It's one of those things that is worth every penny for some folks, so bookmark https://www.notarize.com just in case you find yourself in need of this awesome service.

Getting Fit Using Visuals

Sep 22, 2019

Description:

Achieving physical fitness is much more likely to be successful when you can find routines that are easy to follow, don't cost a fortune and will motivate you to continue.

The approach that avoids the need to spend money on expensive equipment may be a good starting point.

The Internet has made it possible for experienced fitness teachers to develop unique options for helping others, especially through visual aids like at a website called https://darebee.com 

These routines use visual outlines to guide anyone through workouts complete with instructions on how many sets to do.

Not only can you get help with long-term routines that will help you get more fit, they also help you with meal planning to go along with your routines.

No matter who you are, if you are looking for something fresh to get you moving, the awesome visual options at Darebee.com are worth checking out!

'Cache' In On This Tip

Sep 19, 2019

Description:

Part of what makes viewing things on the Internet more efficient is through a background process that happens automatically called 'caching'.

This process keeps a copy of elements of any website that you've visited in the past in a special place on your hard drive, so it doesn't have to download every item, every time you revisit the site.

While the process, 9 times out of 10, benefits you, there are times when something that's cached can cause issues.

Websites that just don't seem to be loading properly or updated info that you know exists but isn't appearing can be caused by a caching problem.

Whenever you have a challenging issue with a website, you can quickly bypass the cache in Windows by holding down the Ctrl key and tapping the F5 key.

MacOS users can do the same by pressing Command-Shift-R (think reload) at the same time. 

This quick troubleshooting tip can help you avoid those irritating situations - if this works, it's probably time to clear you cache:

https://www.wikihow.com/Clear-Your-Browser's-Cache

Hidden iPhone Options

Sep 18, 2019

Description:

iPhone users, especially those with one of the larger displays, may be missing out on a lot of cool options if you only use them in the up and down position, better known as portrait mode.



Apple has allowed for lots of hidden features and options in lots of different apps and utilities if you simply flip it from portrait to landscape mode.



Some apps, like mail, can show you split screens like you're used to on your computer, just by flipping your iPhone sideways.



The extra screen space when turned on its side allows apps to reallocate where things go in a way that just isn't possible in portrait mode.



One of the most obvious benefits is the ability to have a wider keyboard when you are typing. 



Not sure which apps offer which features? Don't worry about looking things up online to learn; just start turning your iPhone sideways on a regular basis to see what's possible!

What's That Down There?

Sep 17, 2019

Description:

If you've ever flown across this country, especially on a clear day, you've looked down and seen things on the ground that made you curious.

Google image search may work, but only if you have an Internet connection or remember to do the search once you've landed and back online.

If you find yourself in this situation on a regular basis, there's an app for that called Flyover Country.

As long as you pre-load the app with your upcoming flight path, which is easily done simply by choosing your take-off and landing cities, the app will download interesting points all along the way.

Then, when you are airborne and look down, the GPS that will work whether you have an Internet connection or not, will help the app identify what you're looking at.

Check it out at: https://flyovercountry.io

Customizing Your AutoCorrect

Sep 16, 2019

Description:

Auto-correct has no-doubt caused you to post things online that made you look like you mistyped something.

We love it when it does properly auto-correct our typing and curse it when it makes us look silly.

Did you know that there's a way to vastly improve the usefulness of this great tool, by creating your own custom entries!

How often do you have to type out your entire address? Why not create a shortcut using ADRS to tell auto-correct to spit out your entire address just by tapping out those 4 characters followed by the space bar.

All of your devices, apps or programs that fix your typing mistakes can be customized in this way.

The only thing you have to remember is to never use actual words in your customized entries as that will cause some interesting problems down the road.

Stick to made up words or abbreviations and don't forget that you can use a combination of numbers and special characters as well!

Stop Using Quicktime!

Sep 15, 2019

Description:

You've probably used Apple's Quicktime video app for years, but if you're a Windows user, you should stop using it ASAP!

The critical security updates that allow you to safely use it have not been available to Windows user for years now. 

If you're using Quicktime on a Mac computer, there's nothing to worry about as security updates have continued to be delivered to you.

Windows users should not only stop using the program, they should uninstall it completely to avoid accidentally using it.

For most Windows users, Quicktime really isn't necessary any more, but if you find that you have older files that need it, use a free open source alternative called VLC instead.

The program works with just about any type of old or new video file and it's available for just about every device you own. 

Get it at:

https://www.videolan.org/vlc

The Side Effect of Impatience

Sep 12, 2019

Description:

It's easy to get impatient when you are waiting for your computer to shutdown so it can restart, but not letting it do it's thing can be bad.



No matter how many times you think about forcing it to shutdown by popping the power button, don't do it.



The operating system in your computer constantly creates temp files as it performs the tasks you ask it to perform and these unneeded files are marked to be sent to the trash when you computer goes through its shutdown sequence.



A lot goes on during a shutdown, especially if you haven't shut your computer down for a long while.

When you cut the process short, those unnecessary files build up and waste space. 



Done repeatedly, this can fill your hard drive up, which will cause your computer to become unstable.



For those that have been guilty of this common action, it would be a good idea to run the Disk Cleanup utility in Windows.



For the most part, those running a MacOS would also be wise to allow the computer to properly shutdown as a similar impact will result.

Mismatched Charger Warning

Sep 11, 2019

Description:

Do you remember how often we used to hear about hover boards catching fire and causing lots of damage?

The popularity of the devices led to a rush of off-shore companies to get anything they could to market without much regard for testing or safety.

Improper charging systems with the wrong amperage connected to Lithium-Ion batteries is the most likely reason that we saw so many catching fire.

While most of us don't have a need for a hover board, the issue that caused their problems can happen to anything you own that has a lithium ion battery.

We've seen lots of customers that ended up damaging their laptops, for instance, because they chose to use a cheap non-factory charger.

The damage can range from overheating to catching fire and it's almost a guarantee to shorten the life of the battery.

Keep in mind, heat is an indicator of a battery problem, so if you notice that yours is getting very hot during the charging process, make sure you have everything checked out to avoid damaging your laptop.

Slow Motion Athletes App

Sep 10, 2019

Description:

Anyone that's serious about improving any form of athletic skill they are working on should be using some form of slow-motion capture technology.

It turns out that we all have a very sophisticated slow-motion capture device in hour hands that just needs an app like the one available from Hudl to get the job done.

It's the go-to for parents, students and coaches that want to be able to help an athlete improve through frame by frame analysis only available with slow motion.

The app does much more than just capture slow motion as it was specifically designed to help train through annotations and sharing of the videos.

There's also an option to create a before - after comparison of two videos of the same person or for a comparison with a professional athlete in the same motions.

There's so much in the app waiting to help coaches and parents point out slight areas that could benefit from corrections at: http://bit.ly/316xxgk

Hidden Items Taking Up Space

Sep 9, 2019

Description:

Are you one of the millions that is constantly getting a message on your smartphone that your storage space is almost full?

Both Android and iPhone users that have devices with no expandable memory need to be more diligent in keeping unneeded items from taking up valuable space.

You can certainly start with old apps that you haven't used since you downloaded them, but a more likely hog of the space is your images and videos.

The biggest space hogs are those high-resolution videos as a single file can be as big as a large number of images.

Did you know that there's another, less obvious place that could be the culprit? It's your old text messages.

Many text messages have associated pictures and video attached to them, so if you don't get rid of those old messages, those attachments will continue to take up space.

For more tips on clearing out the junk on you phone, checkout our advice at: http://bit.ly/2N8hwDt

Coding From 'Scratch'

Sep 8, 2019

Description:

If you have a young child, you've likely thought about what you can do to help them become proficient in our increasingly digital world.

One skill that, in my opinion, has become a fundamental must-have for any young person is learning how to code as it translates to value in virtually everything these days.

This isn't to say that they need to pursue coding as their life's work, simply that having a solid grasp on how things are created on the Internet and how software is developed will be extremely valuable.

A solid starting point for exposing your child to this skill is at an awesome and free website developed by MIT - https://scratch.mit.edu

It's known as the 'Scratch' project, because it will help anyone that wants to learn coding to start from scratch. 

All of the skills that need to be understood and developed in any child for their future can begin with this great web tool.

For the record, anyone at any age that want's to better understand the world of coding should checkout https://scratch.mit.edu

Kid-proofing Your Devices

Sep 5, 2019

Description:

It shouldn't surprise anyone that mobile devices like tablets and smartphones have become digital babysitters for lots of parents these days.

Anytime you see an unruly child in a public setting, often times the only way to get them under control is to hand over a screen to distract them.

The problem with doing this without locking down various parts of the device is that unintended outcomes can be plentiful and in some cases, expensive.

All of these mobile pacifiers have options that allow parents to lock down various apps, functions or even access to the Internet that are built in and waiting to be activated.

If you're not aware or familiar with these settings, there are lots of places to get up to speed, including these sites:

Android users: http://bit.ly/2ZPYfrX

iOS users: http://bit.ly/2ZMk3EX

Create Your Own Infographics

Sep 4, 2019

Description:

There's a popular visual method of presenting data known as an 'infographic' that may seem like a difficult thing to create.

It's been transforming nearly undigestible data from spreadsheets and long white papers into easily digestible bits of data for years.

If you spend any time of social media or news sites, you have not doubt seen an infographic and assumed that a graphic designer was at work.

It turns out that anyone can make an infographic from any information they want to share at a website called Easelly.

Start with a template or if you're up to it, create your own design and drag the visual elements that will make your complex data very pleasing to view.

This free tool is for anyone that wants to step up their game in the info presentation process - no design skills required!

Check it out for yourself at https://easel.ly

Scheduling Tool for Groups

Sep 3, 2019

Description:

The internet has made connecting with lots of people that aren't nearby very easy, unless you are trying to connect with a large group of people at the same time.

If you do this on a regular basis, hopefully you aren't still using the old email - manual coordination process that's a huge consumer of your time, not to mention frustratingly tedious.

Automating this common need is being done at a website called Schedule Once.

It's designed to help both individuals and teams wrangle the scheduling issue, while offering automatic syncing options to make it even more efficient.

No matter where in the world the various members of your group may be, the tool manages and understands the differences in time zones.

Before you commit to using the service, you can sign up for a free 2 week trail to give it a test drive first at http://www.scheduleonce.com

Flu Outbreak Detection App

Sep 2, 2019

Description:

It's not going to be long now for the nasty flu bug to start rearing its ugly head.

Since we all want to avoid anyone that's already contracted the virus, wouldn't it be awesome to have an app that could warn you about the potential outbreaks that may be happening near you?

Well, there is an app for that and it's called SickWeather for either iPhone or Android users.

The primary function of the app is to scan social media for obvious terms that indicate that someone is sick along with the data the other user provide though the app.

They can then forecast potential problems based on the data that they collect using sophisticated machine learning algorithms.

This approach has been able to predict outbreaks ahead of the CDC in previous years and it gets better at it as more people start to use it.

Learn all about it or download the app at http://www.sickweather.com

Web Thumbnail Tool

Sep 1, 2019

Description:

Anyone tasked with presenting information that is based on Internet resources has likely had the need to capture a basic thumbnail of the resource as part of the presentation.

If you have to generate presentations on a regular basis, you might have all of the tools that will allow you to do it manually, but we have a better way.

An amazing and free tool located at https://www.thumbalizr.com makes it quick and easy to grab a thumbnail representation of any website.

Simply type the website into their tool to start the process of collecting the elements of the page and bring them together for your choice of thumbnails.

When you're trying to get the attention of anyone viewing your report, adding a thumbnail to a web link can make a big impact and potentially provide the focus to your report that you want.

Internet Archive

Aug 29, 2019

Description:

Although the Internet is still relatively young, the changes that have occurred are pretty dramatic, especially when you look back to the early years.

An awesome way to see the old web is at a web tool called the Wayback Machine that has been archiving the web since 1996.

It allows you to literally go back in time in their archives to see what lots of websites looked like as they changed.

You start by typing in the website that you want to reflect on, which generates a timeline of snapshots that the system has taken.

Each circle on a date represents a snapshot that the system took.

When they started the project, they were just grabbing home pages, so don't expect the full website experience.

They've updated their technology to grab more, so the later years are likely to have more content for your enjoyment.

It's great to know that even the big tech giants had embarrassing websites in the early days, which you can checkout for yourself at https://archive.org/web

Quirky Gift Ideas

Aug 28, 2019

Description:

How many of your friends seem to already have everything or worse, are so hard to shop for because they have a different view of life?

There's also that annual problem of finding something unusual for the white elephant exchange that so many companies tend to throw.

Today's tip is for a couple of very helpful resources for finding that perfect weird gift at either Perpetual Kid - https://perpetualkid.com or Vat19 - https://www.vat19.com

The assortment of beyond the norm options that are very affordable is pretty amazing.

Vat19 takes it a step further by creating helpful videos that show off how various items work or why they would be so compelling.

These sites are really good for those friends of yours that like off the wall flavored foods and snacks that can't be found in any local stores.

Crazy, possibly cool gift ideas await you at both of these funky sites!

How To Kill Fake Pop-Ups

Aug 27, 2019

Description:

How many times has this happened to you?: you popping around the Web and suddenly a security pop-up appears on your screen claiming that you computer is in dire straits.

Since it looks very much like an official Windows screen, if you click on any of the buttons, you can expect nothing good will happen.

In some cases, if you do click on virtually any part of the pop-up, the result can be a locked computer with only an offer of salvation when you agree to pay them.

These sophisticated scams continue to evolve and catch lots of people off guard.

What's really important to understand is that even if you click on a button that says cancel or even what appears to be the red X the corner, you can still be victimized.

That's why we wanted to review the steps to take whenever anything like this appears - kill off the session instead of clicking on anything.

Windows user can use Ctrl-Alt-Del to bring up the Task Manager and Mac users can use Ctrl-Option-Esc to Force Quit the pop-ups.

If you want to see this in action, we have a video tutorial we created located at: http://bit.ly/2KViY9N

Online Appointment Booking Tool

Aug 26, 2019

Description:

If you have to schedule meetings for yourself on a regular basis, you know how inefficient it can be with the standard back and forth to find a mutually available time slot.

This common problem is being addressed by a whole host of companies, including the folks at Acuity Scheduling - https://www.acuityscheduling.com

instead of manually interacting with potential clients to setup a meeting, their tool allows them to book a time with you themselves, eliminating the back and forth.

You can start with their free service and upgrade if you see value in things like automatic calendar syncing, embedding the scheduler on your on website or the ability to accept payments through their platform.

It's a very simple service to setup and once you've done it, just send anyone that's trying to book time with you the link.

The advanced features start at $15 a month, so it's cost effective for those that spend way too much time trying to book appointments with potential clients.

Hidden Space Bar Features

Aug 25, 2019

Description:

Ready for us to put a little 'space' in your mind today?

Most techie types whip around on your devices, much to the amazement of those that may be a little less technical and forget that not everyone knows everything.

Most of us have found various shortcuts that make things more efficient, so today's tip is one of our favorites: the hidden features of the space bar.

When you're using your computer and popping around the web, most pages require some scrolling in order to see all of the available content.

Instead of taking your hands of the keyboard to scroll with your touchpad or mouse, just tab the space bar to scroll down exactly one page.

To go back up exactly one page, do the same thing but hold the Shift key down while you tap the space bar.

For smartphone users, you can use the space bar for finishing a sentence and starting a new one by tapping the space bar twice in a row.

This will put a period at the end of your current sentence and set you up to continue on the next one!

Smartphone Malware Detection App

Aug 22, 2019

Description:

As popular as the iPhone is, there are more people using an Android based smartphone around the world, which means it's also a bigger target for malware apps.



If you stick to only getting your apps from Google's Play Store and make sure that lots of other have downloaded it before you, you'll remain relatively safe, but Google can't catch everything malicious right away.


If you want an additional set of eyes watching over your smartphone, checkout the free option from Malwarebytes.


It's designed to scan every app as you download it, so it can warn you of potentially malicious ones before you let it complete the install.



It's also a whole system scanner for other forms of malware that can make their way in to Android devices through email and social media scams.



If you're a Windows user, you're probably familiar with Malwarebytes, although it's also available for MacOS computers and iPhones as well.


Get the Android app here: http://bit.ly/2L7Cvm6 and the iPhone app here: https://apple.co/2Mzw7HK

Make Your Own Timelines!

Aug 21, 2019

Description:

The use of a timeline to present information can be the only real way some topics can be shared.

Should you ever find yourself in a position of having to create a timeline, checkout a cool online resource called Timetoast - https://timetoast.com

Once you sign up for a free account, you can start assembling a brilliant timeline without having to install anything on your computer.

Once you're done, our timeline can be viewed as a timeline or as a list of the items that you have placed on your timeline.

Their premium accounts allow you to embed the timeline on your own website or simply use the URL of your timeline to share it via social media or email.

A common use for timelines is to chart your family history, but students and business professionals will find it useful for a variety of needs.

Timelines are a great way to bring your information to life and often times makes it easier to make a clearer point using the context that it provides.

Start connecting the dots with your data at https://timetoast.com

Bypass Bloatware Installs

Aug 20, 2019

Description:

We've all been a victim of unwanted software sneaking into our computers through the installation of another program.

Everything from useless toolbars, to unneeded utilities to the irritating change of your browser's start page can hit use through the use of bundled installs.

As long as companies are willing to pay others to include their junk programs, this problem will be around.

It's an effective way to sneak in since most people don't really pay to much attention to what they are agreeing to during the install.

That's why we have always preached that you should alway select the advanced or custom install option whenever it's available, because that's where you can see what is attempting to sneak past you.

If you want a more sophisticated way to fight this scourge, checkout a free utility called Unchecky.

This tool will watch everything that's being installed an uncheck the junk so you only get what you actually intended to install.

Download it at: https://unchecky.com

Online Study Tool

Aug 19, 2019

Description:

One key to success for any student at any grade level is organization of their study materials.

If they're not organized, they'll most likely be scrambling to find all the various study materials they've used in the past that is scattered all around.

If this sounds like a common problem in your household, checkout a potentially game changing resource called ExamTime - https://www.goconqr.com/en-US/examtime

It provides a single, sharable location for all the various bits of study material like notes, quizzes, flashcards and reports that were used in classes and homework.

For those with a study group, the sharable part of the system along with the planner makes it easy for everyone to stay on the same page.

The best part of the system is that your student will no longer be reliant on a scattered array of study notes that they can't remember where they placed them.

For those that are leading a group of any kind, the system can be a great way to provide the platform for group discussions.

The basic service is free to use with premium options if you find them worth paying for.

Visit the site to see examples of how other are using it and see if it's worth trying yourself!

Totally Free Ebooks

Aug 18, 2019

Description:

If you own a Kindle and you use it on a regular basis, you know that it can get expensive if you get a bit carried away. 


Did you know that there's a much more cost effective way to feed the need to read on all your electronic devices?

If you have the time and patience, you can manually scour Amazon's website for lots of free e-books, but there's a better way.

An awesome resource for avid e-book consumers is at http://hundredzeros.com because it watches Amazon's free offers for you.

It presents the options with large thumbnails that can be searched by the usual title or subject matter options.

Let all your e-bookworm friends know that they can get lots of free books by going to

http://hundredzeros.com because that's all they offer!

Dog Friendly Website?

Aug 14, 2019

Description:

Those of you that are dog lovers and like to travel with them have to research options all along the way that will allow you to include your dog.

It's not just where you're going to stay, but where you want to eat and ways of getting around that are dog friendly.

If you want to spend time hiking or at the beach or on a tour, you've got to do your homework.

There are lots of resources that can address certain elements of your journey, but the https://www.dogfriendly.com website makes it a lot easier to find options all in one place.

For some major cities, they've compiled guides for all around town that include attractions as well as highway guides to help you plan your long trips.

There's even information that can help you if you need to take your dog on a flight or to another country.

If you're going to be renting a car, the website can help you choose the best one for you dog as well!

Browser Shortcut to Remember

Aug 13, 2019

Description:

Browsing the Internet took a quantum leap when browsers started allowing us to open multiple sessions via tabs which eliminated the requirement for us to use the back and forward buttons to pop between sites. 

This awesome feature can also hamstring your computer because each browser tab takes up additional memory.

Closing them when you're done is helpful, but today's tip is for when you invariably close the wrong browser tab and want it back.

You no longer have to rely on your History file, which you may have to scroll through depending upon when you initially opened it up.

There's a keyboard shortcut that can save the day and for Windows, it's the combination of Ctrl-Shift and the letter 'T'.

For Mac users, it's Command-Shift and the letter 'T'.

Doing it once will open the most recently closed tab; doing it again will open the previously closed tab and so on.

Once you learn this awesome shortcut, it'll become a regularly used one as we all close the wrong tab on a regular basis!

Free Online OCR Website

Aug 12, 2019

Description:

Optical Character Recognition (OCR) is a process that allows computers to scan a document and recognize individual letters so they can be used in a word processor.

If you own a scanner, it likely came with a program that allows you to do this, but it can be complicated to setup and use.

If you don't need to do it often or you aren't near you own scanner, there's an excellent free online alternative at https://www.onlineocr.net

It will allow you to scan any document or image that has text and turn it into a Word or Excel document so that the text can be edited.

You can extract text from PDF or a number of image formats including JPG, BMP, TIFF, GIF and convert them into editable text formats.

You just upload the original file, select one of 46 languages, decide which format you want it converted to and the online tools does the rest.

CTS Prevention Tips

Aug 11, 2019

Description:

If you're listening to this tip sitting at your desk on your computer, take a quick look at your posture.

No thanks to the hours that we all spend on our computers, we're creating new problems for parts of our bodies. 

CTS or carpal tunnel syndrome is becoming all too common causing numbness and pain in our wrists and arms.

The last thing you want your bad posture to lead to is surgery, but that is often the only way to provide relief.

Paying attention to your posture while you are working away has substantial health benefits.

It's all about how you position your feet - should be flat on the floor, your knees - should be at a 90 degree angle and your wrists - should be parallel to the floor.

If your used to using a laptop, make sure you aren't craning your neck down to see the screen.

For those that are already starting to experience the early signs of CTS, getting help in the form of special gloves that help keep your wrists at the proper angle may be a good purchase: https://www.imakproducts.com

How to Report Text Spammers

Aug 8, 2019

Description:

It's an unfortunate reality that that over 90% of email messages being sent every day is junk that we all hate to get.

It's tainted the purity of the simple electronic messaging platform and the spammers are now gunning for your smartphone.

Spammers don't care about laws and rules, so they're finding new ways to send those irritating messages via text messaging.

Did you know that you could easily report those annoying messages every time they hit your phone and help keep them from doing it to others?

By forwarding the message in its entirety without adding anything to 7726 (SPAM), you can alert your carrier to the junk message and more importantly the number that was sending it.

It's not going to stop the spammers from trying but if we all do this regularly, we can make it more difficult for the bad guys to be successful.

Recipe Search Engine

Aug 7, 2019

Description:

The Internet is loaded with websites that focus on food and recipes that range from the high end magazines to celebrity chefs to soccer moms from around the world.

One that's lesser known but worth checking out is called http://www.foodpair.com and it does something a little different than the others.

It's like a search engine for recipe websites.

It allows you to look for recipes by ingredient, which results in recipes that you can actually use with what you have on hand instead of having to run to the store.

They also allow you to search for recipes by diet, which course you're considering or even a specific recipe website.

It's a very visual website sort of like Pinterest, that allows you to see dishes before you dive down into the recipe.

Instead of having to scroll through dozens of recipe websites, now you can use Food Pair to make it much more efficient.

Did You Reboot First?

Aug 6, 2019

Description:

Is this question something you hear a lot in your home or office?: my email isn't downloading or I can't print anything.

Technology can be very frustrating when it doesn't do what it's supposed to do, so today's tip is inspired by your shampoo bottle.

If you recall, it says to lather, rinse, repeat, which we are borrowing and changing to lather, rinse, REBOOT!

Whenever any of your devices isn't operating properly, start with our saying: lather, rinse, reboot

As you use your computer, resources are consumed that need to be replenished. The longer it's been between restarts, the more likely that your resources have been depleted to some level.

Shutting down extra browser tabs or programs that you aren't using anymore can help, but they never give back 100% of what they take.

The next time you run into any kind of a nagging issue on your home or office computer, remember to lather, rinse and reboot before calling for help, since it's most likely the first thing that they'll as you to do.

Driver Update Warning

Aug 5, 2019

Description:

At the risk of confusing you, we wanted to address the process of keeping the software on your computer updated or in this case, when you shouldn't update certain things.



We were asked via social media about an online service that focuses on something called a driver, which is a small software program that controls a piece of hardware.

Randomly updating them, just to update them is not something we would recommend.



The reason for this is that it could end up creating a problem that didn't exist before you attempted the update - specifically the dreaded driver conflict.



When it comes to drivers, the only time we recommend updating them is when a specific problem has been identified and updating the driver is a known potential fix.


While the service sounds like it will take care of a technical process for you, it's actually a solution searching for a problem... don't risk your computer's good health on it!

Free Credit Monitoring Reminder

Aug 4, 2019

Description:

Do you remember all those tv commercials that used to air all of the time that claimed that you could get free credit checks?

The vast majority of them have gone away because they weren't really free, with the exception of https://annualcreditreport.com which allows one free check per year.

There is a legit free service for something better than an occasional check, because it allows you to monitor your credit year round.

The site provides much more than just your credit score; it provides lots of suggestions based on your current financial relationships to help you save money.

CreditKarma can show you things like your credit utilization, your balances and any pertinent notices for any of your accounts.

The service is available on your computer via the web of on you smartphone or tablet via their app.

With all of the constant issues with breaches and the fear of ID theft, the dashboard approach from https://.creditkarma.com is a useful free tool to constantly monitor your credit.

You Can Still Fax?

Aug 1, 2019

Description:

Remember when the fax machine was an important part of daily business life?

Well, that old relic still has some avid fans that require you to send them info via fax.



There are so many ways to scan and email documents these days that you shouldn't need to fax anything, but if you ever do get that odd request to have something sent to an actual fax machine, we've got the solution.



It's a website called https://faxzero.com and as long as you only have a couple of pages to send, it's absolutely free to use.



Should you need to send more than three pages, you can pay $1.99 for up to twenty five pages or take a little longer and send the document three pages at a time.



Just scan the document like you normally do and instead of emailing it to them, upload the scanned file to the Fax Zero website so you can get the document to the recipient's fax machine.



You aren't going to need this very often, but when you do, you'll be glad you added it to your bookmarks!


Houzz - Design Inspiration

Jul 31, 2019

Description:

For anyone in the midst of a home remodeling or even new construction project, there's an amazing resource that can fuel your inspiration

A website called https://houzz.com is a collection of images presented by professional designers and construction companies that can help you.

It's far more than a bunch of pictures as you can research ideas by room, create your own library of ideas and contact professionals from virtually every trade to help you accomplish your vision.

The site also has an active user base that discusses virtually any topic or question that you may have.

For those in the trade that haven't started using the site, it may be a great way to show folks in your backyard the kind of results that you've delivered for other customers.

Even if you think you've got the design that you want, spending some time looking through the visual ideas posted at Houzz.com or downloading their mobile app could take your great design ideas to the next level!

Spam Folder Reminder

Jul 30, 2019

Description:

Despite the quality of the filters in our email programs, it's inevitable that some unwanted junk still gets through. There are a plethora of options for dealing with spam in our Inbox, but if you aren't careful, you'll start snagging the good messages too.

Messages can end up being tagged as spam for a variety of reasons, mostly based on the senders usage of certain words, images or if their domain has been black-listed by the spam world.

Based on this undeniable fact, we thought we'd spend this tip on something simple - a reminder to regularly check your junk folders for wanted messages.

The more frequently you check, the better the odds are that you'll catch the good stuff. If you junk folder is already crammed with messages, use the search option in our program using keywords or senders you want to make sure you see.

If you discover messages that you did want, make sure to tell your email program that the message wasn't spam to help it know for the next time that person sends a message.

Junk filters and junk messages aren't going away any time soon, so do yourself a favor and setup a recurring reminder to check your spam folder.

Travel Power Strip Tip

Jul 29, 2019

Description:

It's the middle of the summer and the time when we all tend to take some time off to hit the road to get recharged. Even though we want to disconnect from our offices, we don't want to leave all our tech gadgets behind.

The number of devices you need to charge, especially if you have kids in tow, can range from everyone's phones, to tablets, digital cameras, GoPros, drones and laptops.

The problem for most travelers is that you have way too many items to charge for the available outlets.

This forces you to be very diligent in swapping out devices as they charge which can be easily avoided if you arm yourself with a little power charging technology.

The one we like to carry with us can turn a single plug-in into charging for five different devices.

It's from Belkin (http://bit.ly/2MvhTqa) and not only did they cram lots of power charging options and surge protection into the device, they made sure that you could swivel it, so it's most functional in tight areas.

Whether you travel once a year or once a month, having this small but handy little power strip is a no-brainer!

Is YOUR Website Down?

Jul 28, 2019

Description:

If you're in business, you should have a website and if you have a website, you should know about today's tech tip.

Making sure that your website is available to your existing and potential customers is like making sure that a store is physically open.

For those that haven't considered this essential task, there's actually a free option to make sure things are all as you wish them to be.

It's a website called Up Time Robot (https://uptimerobot.com) and it will monitor your sites availability every five minutes at no charge.

It's a simple process to get your free account and from then on, you can monitor up to fifty different web addresses.

The standard process is to have alerts about uptime sent to the email address that you provide during the sign up.

Rather than getting a message from someone that tried to get to your site and couldn't, wouldn't it be better to have a bot let you know?

Websites can go down for a variety of reasons just about anytime, even if you are a multi-million dollar business, so making sure you know about it is critical.

It's an easy tool to setup and use, so let everyone you know that has a website about this excellent and free resource!

Running With Zombies

Jul 25, 2019

Description:

Today's tip is for anyone looking to punch up their morning run.

If you're a big zombie fan, checkout the Zombie, Run app for both Android and iPhone users. It's a virtual Walking Dead workout.

Could the threat of being caught by a zombie motivate you to run a little harder at the end of your workout?

This could be just the thing you're looking for to make those boring runs more exciting.

Just pick one the more than 200 missions, slap in your earbuds and take off to get things started.

It's an immersive running experience tailor made for the zombie fan in all of us.

Not only can you get the motivation from the zombies, you can do it while listening to your favorite playlists as well.

You can make your morning runs in the real world a lot more interesting and entertaining while becoming a hero in the virtual world at https://zombiesrungame.com

Online Shopping Tools

Jul 24, 2019

Description:

We're a lot more comfortable buying just about anything online these days, but finding something at an extraordinarily low price is still a big red flag.

Knowing more about a website that is offering this really low price can help you potentially sniff out bad actors.

Your fellow Internet shoppers are a good resource for checking out any online retailer, so make advantage of the wisdom of the crowds with a couple of excellent tools.

https://ScamAdviser.com is an excellent and quick way to get the down low on any website just by typing it into their site.

Another tool that can work in the background for you is from Web of Trust (https://mywot.com)

It's a browser add on that will give you a visual signal for any website in search results, social media and email. It uses the three colors in a traffic light to indicate what the rest of the Internet has to say about the retailer.

Don't forget that using a debit card to make online purchases exposes you in a way that a credit card doesn't should you be the victim of a fraudulent transaction.

The difference is that your checking account won't be out of balance while you sort through the fraud if you always use a credit card.

Amazing Online Learning Site

Jul 23, 2019

Description:

Most kids struggle with a subject or two in school, but rather than trying to find a tutor for those difficult subjects, why not give the Internet a shot? 

There's an online learning resource that is extremely powerful but absolutely free and easy for your kids to use.

https://khanacademy.org has grown to become one of the most valuable tools for parents, students and teachers.

The list of subjects available is pretty comprehensive especially in math, science, engineering, computing, arts & humanities and even finance and economics.

The site also provides test prep for SAT, LSAT, Praxis Core, MCST, GMAT, IIT JEE and NCLEX-RN.

Their secret to teaching kids is by using thousands of videos that hold their attention.

Anyone that want to learn just about anything should bookmark https://khanacademy.org

E-mail Bankruptcy

Jul 22, 2019

Description:

In today's digital world, it's not hard to get behind on all of the correspondence channels that we use every day.

If you're at all active on email, it can be a chore to stay current with your daily messages, but it get's even more overwhelming if you have gaps where you don't or can't check the daily deluge.

For those of you that are facing this overwhelming load of unread messages, instead of trying to figure out how to plow through them all, have you ever though of announcing to the world that you are in email bankruptcy?

To do it, you simply delete everything in your Inbox and then send a message to those you do want to communicate with that they need to resend any message they've sent to you that they are waiting to hear back from you on.

Just remember that sending a mass email with all the addresses in the To: section exposes everyone's addresses to everyone, so put all of them in the Blind Carbon Copy (BCC) line to keep everything confidential.

Tips for Going Paperless

Jul 21, 2019

Description:

If you're like most households, you've managed to accumulate a small mountain of paper that you intend to sort and file.

Most people would love to go paperless, but with that intimidating mountain of paper, how does one get started?

Well the first step is to figure out what part of that mountain is no longer necessary and throw it out.

Next, figure out what you need to shred instead of throwing it out and set them in their own pile for shredding.

Next, if you need specific documents, don't physically store them, get them digitized by scanning and saving them on your computer.

Another obvious place to reduce future paperwork is to convert as many of your accounts as you can to the paperless option when available.

For those with a lot of mail, especially businesses, consider converting your incoming mail with a service such as Earth Class Mail. They receive all you mail and scan it, so all you have to do is tell them what you want and don't want!

Facebook Lockout Protection Tip

Jul 18, 2019

Description:

If you ever forget your Facebook password or worse yet, get locked out of your own account because of a hacker, today's tip is for you!

Facebook created an option called "Trusted Contacts" and it could save you a ton of hassle if you are ever locked out of your own account. 

The feature allows you to select three to five of your trusted contacts to help you recover your account.

The way it works is that when you notify Facebook that you've been locked out, they'll send special codes to your friends to help you recover the account.

They designed it so that no single contact on your list can get in because you need three different codes to get back in, from three different contacts.

Anyone that has ever gone through the process of trying to recover a Facebook account that they got locked out of will tell you how much of a hassle it is.

The "Trusted Contacts" options is available through the Security and Login menu or follow the instructions posted here: http://bit.ly/2Y1HSvB

Disasters Happen!

Jul 17, 2019

Description:

We've all been told to always hope for the best but certainly prepare for the worst.

For anyone that owns or manages a business, this adage applies to their technology and should take form in a disaster recovery plan.

The easiest way to start the process is to ask yourself what you would do if the business was impacted by a flood, fire, theft, ransomware, sabotage or massive mistakes made by their users.

The steps to get your business back up and running may vary dramatically for each of the scenarios, or it may end up being fairly similar.

We've seen this for years, where a business has a comprehensive backup procedure in place but has never designated what is to happen in the event of a crisis.

Not training everyone what to do, if something happens means you're hoping for the best bet never planned for the worst.

Don't wait to try and figure out how to recover from a crisis in the middle of a crisis; do your fire drills before the fire.

Too Many Tabs Open?

Jul 16, 2019

Description:

If you're computer seems to be a lot slower while surfing the Internet compared to when it was new, the problem could be you and not the computer!

A game changer in browser technology that's taken for granted today is the ability to open multiple tabs instead of having to manually navigate back and forth within on window.

The downside to this awesome feature is that most of us open tabs and leave them open, even though we don't need them anymore.

Each open tab takes memory, which taken to the extreme can be a big burden on your computer.

A simple way to help speed things up is to start closing the website tabs you no longer need... remember, you can always use your History to get back to them.

Everything you use on your computer, not just the web is impacted by this unnecessary use of valuable memory.

If having lots of tabs open is important, checkout an add-on called One Tab for the Chrome browser.

Once installed, it converts all your open tabs to one single tab with a table of contents for what was open.

It's a more efficient way of having quick access to your important websites without the memory burden.

https://www.one-tab.com

Free & Easy Photo Editing

Jul 15, 2019

Description:

A while back, we told you about Adobe's shift from traditional software to an online subscription model for their popular apps like Photoshop and Lightroom.

For those that don't really need these powerful programs all that often, it's hard to think about having to pay over $50 a month to use them.

The good news is that there's a free option for people in this situation from a company called Pixlr.

Unlike Photoshop, there's nothing to buy, download, install or configure in order to start editing your images and graphics because it's all browser based.

It's certainly not as powerful as Photoshop, but it's got all the important features like red-eye tools, healing, drawing, cloning, sharpening as well as lots of great HDR options.

It's also able to open existing Photoshop files, which means you won't have to start from scratch if you use Pixlr.

Give it a try for yourself at: https://pixlr.com

Helpful Pill Reminder App

Jul 14, 2019

Description:

Anyone that has to take multiple medication, especially those that have to do so multiple times during the day knows the potential for confusion.

An app that can both assist in the scheduling and reminders of pill taking as well as save its users from bad interactions is available called Mango Health.

Knowing what you can or can't eat or drink around pill taking time is another cool feature of this free app.

It's extremely easy to get setup and use, because all you do is generate your schedule based on your current prescriptions and the app does its magic.

Because most of us can easily forget to take a pill that helps us to improve our memory, but seem to always remember to have our phones with us, this app is such a great tool for pill takers:

https://www.mangohealth.com

Easily Learn Another Language

Jul 11, 2019

Description:

Have you ever noticed that the citizens of lots of other countries typically speak multiple languages? Isn't it about time we stepped up our bi-lingual game too?

Technology has made it much easier to translate small segments of a foreign language, but it's far from actually learning that language.

If you'd like to try learning a new language in a more interactive and engaging manner, checkout the options at Duolingo.com

By connecting you to your friends that are also interested in learning a new language, you can encourage each other through gamification.

Their approach is to take the boredom out of learning a new language, so if you can commit a couple of minutes every day, you may be surprised how quickly you progress.

Download the app or start using this totally free, but powerful service online at https://www.duolingo.com

Free Reputation Monitoring Tool

Jul 10, 2019

Description:

If you own or manage a business, do you know what your customers are saying about you online?

Most customers make buying decisions based on reviews, so knowing what people are saying and responding to them is an essential process to manage your online reputation.

A clear first step is use a free but powerful tool from Google called Google Alerts, which will automatically send you an email alert whenever your business is mentioned anywhere online that Google includes in their search results.

It's quick and easy to start getting alerts just by putting your name in the alert. Be sure to use quotation marks if your business name has multiple words in it, so you don't get a bunch of meaningless alerts.

Remember, you can't fix a customer problem that you aren't aware of, so don't look at negative reviews as something you should ignore.

It's actually a great way to show the world that you care when you respond to someone that posts a less than glowing review of their experience with you.

No business is perfect, so stepping up when something goes wrong is a solid approach in today's online reputation game.

Cellular Coverage Tool

Jul 9, 2019

Description:

How often do you wonder whether you have the best cellular service where you live and work?

Do your friends have better service than you or is it the other way around?

The reality is that where you spend most of your time day and night will have the biggest impact on which providers is best suited to your needs.

Whenever you're trying to figure out if it's time to switch carriers, instead of asking your friends and family, use the real-world coverage map data that's available at http://rootmetrics.com

It's based on actual users on a cell-by-cell basis, so you can actually track the specific areas around your place of work and where you live.

You can get a generalized score for your entire city as well, so you get the best coverage around town.

If you download their app and use it around town, you will be contributing to the communities data, so others that are trying to make a decision can do so based on current measurement data that you helped provide!

Fun Google Teaching Tool

Jul 8, 2019

Description:

Do you have friends or family that just can't remember that Google has the answers for most of what they keep asking you?

If you're the one that's always being asked questions that are simply available by asking any of the search engines, today's tip is for you. 

Start amusing yourself when asked those simple questions by making use of Let Me Google That For You or http://lmgtfy.com

You just type in the simple question that they could have typed themselves and the website does the rest.

You simply copy the link that the site generates based on your question and send it to the person that could use a gentle nudge to start using Google themselves.

When they click on the link that you send, not only does it show them to go to Google, it shows them step-by-step in an animated way what they could have done for themselves.

Not only can it help you educate your friends and family, it's a ton of fun at the same time!

Alternative Software Options

Jul 7, 2019

Description:

Did you know that you can find inexpensive or even free alternatives to those expensive programs that you thought you had to use?

It's still a lesser known fact that there are lots of programs referred to as 'open source' that can provide the utility that all the well known brand-name programs have even offering.

Because of the open source movement, programmers from around the world contribute to improving software that can them be used by anyone that wants to try it.

Our go-to resource for finding these alternatives to mainstream software is at https://alternativeto.net

It's really easy to find any alternatives for a software program that you don't want to spend big bucks on when you use the search function at the website.

The programs listed as alternatives work with just about every major operating system you are using.

This is another obvious bookmark opportunity so you can quickly find a cheap alternative the next time you need one!

Memory Saving Tip

Jul 4, 2019

Description:

If you have noticed that popping around the Internet has become a bit slower, you're probably not imagining things, especially if you like opening a lot of different pages at the same time.

it's really great that we can have lots of different web pages open at the same time, but that can come at a cost.

Separate tabs are great because it makes it easy to go from one unrelated page to another.

The problem with this helpful option is that it will consume lots of working memory with each new tab that you open.

The best approach to this awesome capability is to not get overly generous with the number of tabs you open.

The reason that you should pay attention to how many websites you open at the same time is that it can reduce the speed of everything you do on your computer.

For those that have a chronic problem with too many tabs, there's an add-on for that if you use Google's browser. 

Instead of piling up the open websites, the OneTab add-on will consolidate all of the background tabs into one page.

By doing so, it frees up lots of wasted memory so your computer can run more efficiently even though you are a tab-o-holic!

Get this cool add-on at https://www.one-tab.com

Fireworks Picture Taking Tips

Jul 3, 2019

Description:

It's the 4th of July and that means that we're all going to be watching the sky light up with fireworks.

Anyone that's struggled to get a decent picture of the light show in the sky, should listen closely to today's tip.

If you don't understand what it takes to be successful, it's nearly impossible to get that perfect shot as the flashes pop above you.

With just a few quick adjustments to what you've been doing can easily improve your results.

Keeping your camera perfectly still is critical, so start by getting a tripod that will make it possible.

The flash is useless, so turn it off and look for either a night or better yet, a fireworks setting.

For even better results, look for a 'burst' mode, which take a lot of pictures in succession.

Try to setup at a place where you aren't shooting straight up, but rather from a far enough distance that the show is more in front of you.

For those with cameras that offer manual setting options, a more detailed list of suggestions is posted

https://www.datadoctors.com/help/columns/21938-Tips-for-Photographing-Fireworks

Never Miss a Concert

Jul 2, 2019

Description:

Today's tip will help keep you from missing shows from your favorite bands that come to your area.

Rather than having to track your favorite bands individually via social media or a fan website, here's a way to track them all in one place.

Start by visiting the https://www.bandsintown.com website, where you can get the app for your smartphone and connect your Facebook profile for a much easier way to track show for your favorite groups.

Once you've get it all setup, you'll get a notice every time one of your favs is set to play in your town as well as provide options of similar bands.

The real power of this app is how it cultivates the lists of the bands you love so you don't miss their next gig.

It does it by scanning the various music apps on your smartphone along with the songs that you listen to a lot and the bands that you like on Facebook.

With Bands in Town you can let technology do all the work so you can catch your favorite artists when they come to your town!

Write Passwords Down!

Jul 1, 2019

Description:

The single most important security protection you have is your passwords and it's critical that you avoid using the same one everywhere.

There are many free password management tools available including one of our favorites called LastPass, but we also understand that apps may become overwhelming.

As much as I love technology solutions for common problems, there's a non-technical option that you can use: just write them down.

Don't display them in plain sight, but rather keep them written down in a safe place like a file on your computer or smartphone.

Avoid making it obvious that it's a password list and use a way to mislead anyone that happens to find the file.

Create your own special encryption like add four or five random characters in front or after your real password so only you will know what the actual password is.

Remember that a single company that you have an account with will expose the password you're using everywhere, so instead write them down so they're all different.

Visualizing Data Made Easy

Jun 30, 2019

Description:

Let's start today's tip with a little explanation of a tech term: Word Cloud

You may not have ever heard the term, but you've most likely seen a word cloud.

It's those visual clusters of random words in a graphic image that shows the words used the most in the largest font or brightest color.

Taking a large amount of text and viewing it through a word cloud allows useful themes to emerge.

It's a quick way to make sense of lots of feedback from your customer reviews, instead of having someone read them one at a time.

An easy way to start making your own word clouds is at a site called TagCrowd which allows you to copy and paste your text, upload a document or even evaluate any web page.

I've used it in presentations and for leading team meetings and recommend that everyone in business take a minute to see if a word cloud can make an impact in your business: https://tagcrowd.com

Auto Savings App

Jun 27, 2019

Description:

It's no secret that most US citizens have a hard time saving money, though most would like to make it happen.

Younger people have little to no savings and generally don't begin saving until their mid-30's.

One of the many companies trying to help people start painlessly saving money is called Digit.

Their approach examines your personal spending needs and habits to figure out what you can save without missing other payments.

By understanding your financial patterns, it can figure out the spare amounts that you won't need for your regular expenses and put it into a separate account.

The FDIC insured account gets built up with small, but regular amounts of money that you won't need. This account won't generate any interest, but not much is available that will these days.

Anyone looking for a way to start saving or help someone else start to save money should look into how Digit works at https://digit.co

Excellent Online PDF Tools

Jun 26, 2019

Description:

Did you know that the very common file type used for online forms, known as a PDF stands for portable document format?

Just about any official form you will ever recieve will be a PDF file, which you generally have to print out to fill out manually. After all that, you still have to figure out how to get it back into your computer so you can send it back.

There are lots of programs you can install on your computer that will allow you to fill out forms electronically, but why bother for that occasional need.

A better approach for those of you that have an occasional need to electronically fill out a form is at https://www.pdfescape.com

While you can download and install their editing tool, using their website to upload your form is fast and hassle free.

You can create new forms, upload your own or even load them from another website. To fill out the form, simply use the text menu to start typing just about anywhere on the form and save it back to your computer when you finish filling everything out.

It totally bypasses the download, print, fill out, scan then send process so many are still using!

Exposed Webcam Warning

Jun 25, 2019

Description:

This tip is a very important one for anyone that has setup an Internet connected camera for their business or home.

There are websites that have been setup to expose weakly secured webcams by the thousands by showing the live feed because whoever set them up left them with a well-known password.

The webcams are not only giving up their live streams, they provide location information as well because they're still setup using the factory installed sign in info.

The people putting these websites together see themselves doing public service by exposing this all-too-common oversight.

The factory set password can be found by anyone, not just hackers, for virtually every gadget you own, so leaving devices that are connected to the Internet without changing this password is a bad idea.

Remember, if you can access something remotely, potentially the entire Internet can if you make it possible.

Make sure you change the default username and password on every device connected to your network and the Internet or take the risk of unwittingly sharing it with the world.

Online Landlord/Tenant Tools

Jun 24, 2019

Description:

Owning a rental property is a great way to build assets for your family, but collecting the rent every month can be an ongoing hassle.

If you haven't adopted some form of electronic rent collection as of yet, have I got a tip for you!

A free service to both the landlord and the tenant can take the hassle out of manual rent collection. 

For the property owner, it takes no time at all to setup your account so you can convert to electronic payments.

For your renters, especially if there are multiple parties, splitting up the rent amount is a snap and eliminates the excuse of needing to track down a roommate.

The Cozy platform doesn't charge a fee for either party in hopes that it can convince the property owner to use many of its other services like electronic applications, tenant background checks and even rental listings via their network. 

You may have to wait a couple days longer than the 1st of each month to get your payments, but getting rid of the hassle could be just what many landlords are looking for: https://cozy.co

Custom Made Background Sounds

Jun 23, 2019

Description:

If you're a person that has a very active mind, you may have trouble shutting down in order to get a good night's sleep.

I'm in that camp and routinely testing various sleep aid apps that I can use in an unobtrusive way when I go to bed.

If you like a lot of soothing sounds of nature, check out an app called 'Relax Melodies'.

It goes way beyond a handful of pre-programmed sounds and you have total control over all the elements used in making your own sleep sounds. 

Birds, waterfalls, rain, ocean waves, running rivers and thunder are just the beginning of the options.

When you're done with nature's sounds, you can add any number of etherial music beds to complete you custom made tracks.

It's available for free on all the major smartphone platforms with a premium option if you really want everything they have to offer.

By the way, it's not just for going to sleep; you can create sounds that will help you be more productive during the day as well.

https://www.relaxmelodies.com

To Pay or Not To Pay

Jun 20, 2019

Description:

There are millions of apps available for our smartphones and many of them are free to use, which makes them very popular.

One possible downside to many of those free apps is that they use advertising to pay for them, which can be a hidden cost for those that don't have an unlimited data plan.

Another 'tax' that ad-based free apps typically put on your smartphone is a reduction in battery life.

There have been research papers done on this issue that show that the ads use eighty percent more data than apps that don't use ads to pay for them.

Since they tend to load the ads in the background, they can take up more memory and drain batteries faster.

Anyone that's constantly bumping up against their data plan's limits or has to recharge their phone in the middle of the day should pay attention to how many ads are being served in the apps they use.

Free apps may be encroaching on your privacy as well, which you inadvertently gave permission to as another way to pay for 'free apps'.

If you like a free app and they offer an ad-free version for a buck or two, it may be money well spent!

Floorplans Made Easy

Jun 19, 2019

Description:

Anyone that's ever been tasked with manually generating a floorplan for a series of rooms knows how time-consuming it can be.

Whether you work in the construction or remodeling business or just a do-it-yourselfer, there's an iPhone app that you may want to check out.

RoomScan Pro from Locometric is super simple to use because all you have to do is place your iPhone flat on each wall in any room.

The app utilizes all of the very sensitive sensors in the iPhone to create a floorplan from the process.

Once you've gone to each wall in the room, the app creates a floor plan which can be built on with other rooms.

They've also thought about those situations where you may not be able to reach a wall for any reason.

There are lots of great demo videos on how the app works at: http://bit.ly/2WZjw6l

Trivia Backed by Science

Jun 18, 2019

Description:

The Internet has become such a huge part of our lives, from the most important things to the most trivial.

On the trivial side, how often do you find yourself in a discussion that requires a quick search on the Internet to find the answer?

Searching for a specific answer during a discussion often leads to learning something new, but if you want to gain useful trivial knowledge on purpose, take a look at the resources posted at http://www.usefulscience.org

Whether you're a trivia fanatic or just like discovering new nuggets of info, this is bookmark worthy.

There's lots of great information about music, creativity, the environment, health, fitness, nutrition and lots more.

The best part of this resource is that it isn't based on hearsay or conjecture as each nugget has a link to the science behind the information.

If you're really into regular learning, you can subscribe to their newsletter here: http://www.usefulscience.org/about or listen to their podcasts here: http://www.usefulscience.org/podcast

Mindfulness App

Jun 17, 2019

Description:

Anyone that has a job that mandates strict tracking of times and locations for billing purposes knows that you need look no further then your phone.

While your phone may be able to provide some form of tracking without a special app, if you'd really like to step up your tracking capabilities, checkout an app called Instant.

It's a personal tracking app that makes it much easier to keep track of just about everything you do, every day.

This app is part of something many are referring to as the 'quantified self' approach to managing your life through data that makes it much easier to exact change.

It's a great help in managing your work life activities, physical fitness goals or for anyone seeking mindfulness reminders.

The instant app can be downloaded from http://instantapp.today 


Summer Heat Warning

Jun 16, 2019

Description:

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!

Conferencing Made Easy

Jun 13, 2019

Description:

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

Android Conversation Recording App

Jun 12, 2019

Description:

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

Augmented Photo Touchup App

Jun 11, 2019

Description:

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

Anonymous Email Tool

Jun 10, 2019

Description:

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.

Beware News Event Searches

Jun 9, 2019

Description:

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.

Pronounce It Properly

Jun 6, 2019

Description:

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

Video Channels Made Easy

Jun 5, 2019

Description:

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

Retro Video App

Jun 4, 2019

Description:

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!

Who Owes What?

Jun 3, 2019

Description:

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.

Augmented Reality Game Play

Jun 2, 2019

Description:

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

Charge Blocking Tip

May 30, 2019

Description:

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.

Dangerous USB Ports

May 29, 2019

Description:

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!

Pro Construction App

May 28, 2019

Description:

"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.

http://dewalt.cengage.com/MobilePro/download

Summer Trip Planning Website

May 27, 2019

Description:

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.

Disinfect Your Smartphone

May 26, 2019

Description:

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

Google's 'Recently Used Devices'

May 23, 2019

Description:

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.

Unneeded Photo Finder

May 22, 2019

Description:

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!

Free downloads:

Windows 10: http://bit.ly/2EqO05D

Older versions of Windows: http://bit.ly/2EpQ4eg

MacOS: https://apple.co/2Epvfzw

Distortion Correction App

May 21, 2019

Description:

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

"Goal Getter" App

May 20, 2019

Description:

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

Amazing Voice Recognition App

May 19, 2019

Description:

A keyboard is the most common interface for most of your digital devices, but in the very near future, you could be primarily using your voice as an interface.

Even though companies like Apple and Google are leading the charge in the smartphone arena, there's a lesser known company that seems to have them both beat.

A company known for it's music recognition app called Sound Hound is now being lauded for it's voice recognition app called Hound.

To see the future of voice recognition, checkout their demo video that seems to have a better understanding of complex voice commands.

In the video, you'll see multiple examples of questions that would confuse most humans, much less a smartphone voice app.

Since it's a demo video, it's easy to question the validity of anything that works this fast with such complicated questions, but it's an actual app you can test yourself.

The free Hound app is available for both major platforms at: https://www.soundhound.com/hound

The impressive demo video is at:

https://youtu.be/M1ONXea0mXg 

Self-Terminating Email Messages

May 16, 2019

Description:

By now, everyone should know how dangerous it is to send sensitive information via an email message that isn't encrypted as anyone that comes in contact with the transmission can see everything in plain sight.



Email also makes it impossible to control what happens that a message once it's sent.



For those situations where you want a lot more control over what happens to a specific message after you send it, checkout the Gmail extension called Dmail.


The free add-on provides you with the ability to have the message automatically self-destruct and always sends the message in an encrypted form.



Messages sent with the extension can be terminated in an hour, day, week or never, which then gives you manual control over when the message gets destroyed.



This isn't intended for daily use, just for messages that contain sensitive info that you want to better control.



If you install it, the default setting is on, so make sure you turn it off when you don't actually need it.



Download it at: http://bit.ly/2EfoiRL

Have You Thought About This?

May 15, 2019

Description:

No one likes to think about something we will all eventually have to deal with: passing away.

If you take a minute to think about how important it will be for your heirs to have access to your various online accounts, making it easy for them to do so, should you pass, is a pretty generous thing to do.

The amount of time, effort and frustration that those you leave behind may have to go through if they are completely locked out of your accounts can be overwhelming, all while they grieve.

Keep in mind that the myriad security settings that you put in place to keep the bad guys out will also keep your loved ones out in their time of need.

Even if you store your passwords somewhere safe that your family will know about, don't forget that your passwords will often change over time, so there's on password that's the most important: your primary email account. 

Why is this? Think about where all your password reset messages typically go when you click on a 'forgot my password' link on any account.

If nothing else, having this single account password will allow whoever is left to manage your estate to easily gain access to any and all of your accounts.

No matter your age, this uncomfortable issue is something that we should all take care of for the benefit of those we leave behind.

Free Data Charting Tool

May 14, 2019

Description:

Data is much of what drives most business decisions and anyone that works with data all day long knows the power of spreadsheets.

Complex data sets can present problems in making sense of what you're looking at, which is why graphical representations of the data is so helpful.

Most spreadsheet programs have an adequate number of tools for creating graphs or charts, but if you're a data nerd that wants more, there's a free tool called RawGraphs that's worth checking out.

Unlike the limited options in your spreadsheet program, RawGraphs offers numerous options for really complex data sets by simply pasting the data from your spreadsheet into their web tool.

The various charts present data categories that you choose to drag into the interface.

There are lots of options for creating a visual chart that will help others make sense of your data set.

This incredibly powerful and free tool will build your chart on the fly as you drag data to it and once you're done, you can download the chart in a number of different file formats.

https://rawgraphs.io

On-The-Go Charging Tips

May 13, 2019

Description:

The number of amazing features that just about every smartphone offers these days are awesome, but one downside of using a lot of these features is diminished battery life.

For those of you that spend a lot of time on the road, you know how strategic you need to be when trying to keep your devices charged.

When you only have a short amount of time to charge, it can be maximized by turning off the device while charging.

If you can't turn off your phone, turn off as many of the radios as you can - Bluetooth, cellular and Wi-Fi to maximize the charge.

Another tip to remember is that most hotel TV's have a USB port that can be used to provide a bit of a charge, as long as the TV is turned on.

It's not going to charge as quickly as your phone's charger, but it can come in handy when you're under duress.

As the warmer weather approaches, be mindful of heat or direct sunlight exposure to your electronics as heat is one of your batteries biggest threats.

Charging your devices while they're overheated is also something to avoid...let it get back to room temperature for the best results.

Smartphone Security Tips

May 12, 2019

Description:

Our smartphones have as much personal information stored on them as our computers, but because they are portable, they pose a much greater security threat.

If someone with ill intent gets their hands on your phone, they can wreak lots of havoc including locking your out of your own accounts, so if you don't have a passcode lock setup yet, do it right away.

If you plan on getting rid of a smartphone, there are a number things you should be doing to it before it leaves your possession.

Your first step is to reset to phone to the factory default, which will wipe out all of your sensitive personal data, info and files.

A lot of smartphones have an optional memory expansion slot, so if you used it, make sure to remove it or format the card if you're selling it before you part with your device.

If you're switching cell providers, make sure you dispose of your old SIM card before getting rid of the phone as well. If you're staying with the same provider, move the SIM card to your new phone.

The factory reset of the entire phone should be easy to find somewhere in the device settings menus.

For more tips, checkout our column at: http://bit.ly/2WJovE0

Laptop Battery Tip

May 9, 2019

Description:

Battery life issues are among to most common complaints for those that use a laptop as their primary computer.

Because all batteries have a specific number of charge cycles, the more you charge it, that faster the battery life begins to lessen.

Whenever you know that you are going to be using your portable computer plugged in like a desktop computer for an extended period of days or weeks, one way to help improve the life of the battery is to remove it.

It's not to limit the charge cycles, it's to reduce the exposure to heat that is one of your batteries biggest killers.

Both the battery and the processor inside your computer generate a fair amount of heat that you can avoid generating when you won't need it to be portable.

A word of warning: don't unplug or plug in your battery while the device is running. Be sure to shut off your laptop and be sure it hasn't gone to sleep.

The best way to run without the internal battery is to plug the power into a battery backup for safety sake.

The Universal Streaming App

May 8, 2019

Description:

It's pretty rare not to see a streaming video device in most homes these days.

The list of companies that offer an option that can be added to your TV is pretty long, but not all smartphones interact with all streaming devices.

If your an all Apple household with iPhones, iPads and Apple TVs, you can easily push your pictures an videos up to your TV.

Likewise, if you're an Android fanatic with a Chromecast plugged into your TV, you can push thing up as well, but more and more of us have a combination, especially when it comes to friends and family. 

An app called 'Allcast' was created to unify all smartphones with just about any streaming box or smart TV to make it easy to watch what's on your smartphone on any connected television.

The best part is that they allow you to try it before you buy it, because they offer a fully functional free version that allows you to watch up to 5 minutes of content through it.

If you like how it works, you can buy the Pro version which has no limitations and is fully functional.

Want to take the app for a spin? Just search for Allcast in your associated app store or visit http://www.allcast.io

Google Without Tracking

May 7, 2019

Description:

Today's search giants like Google and Microsoft provide a great service for finding things online, but in order to make use of these powerful search engines, we have to give up some of our privacy.

Sometimes the tracking of everything we search for can help provide a better experience, but with so much focus on privacy lapses, many of you are looking for a better way to search.

Well a website that claims it's "the most private search engine" is at https://Startpage.com

Bing and Google track virtually every aspect of where you came from, your location info and which results you clicked on in order to better target you with ads that might be relevant.

What makes Startpage unique is that it offers the power of Google with none of the granular tracking.

It's actually a way to stay invisible to Google, but still use their power search tool.

Bookmark this site for any private searches you want to perform in the future: https://Startpage.com

Faster Communications App

May 6, 2019

Description:

Unless you stop to think about how you communicate every day, you probably didn't realize just how many ways you are doing it.

It starts with social media messaging platforms including Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram to stand alone apps like Snapchat, WhatsApp to video apps like Skype.

You have to think about who you want to communicate with, then which communication channel you want to connect with them on, then go to that specific app in order to start a conversation.

If you want a way to streamline this growing complexity, I've got a great suggestion for you.

The 'Drupe' app takes all your contacts and all your communication apps and puts them on a single screen!

The app allows you to drag any contact over to any of the communication apps without having to jump back and forth.

Drupe isn't limited to working with communication apps alone, as financial apps, reminders and calendars are just a few other ways to leverage their approach.

The days of a single way to communicate with all your contacts is long gone, which is why Drupe may be just the app that makes things easier for all of us!:

https://getdrupe.com

Android Charge Monitoring App

May 5, 2019

Description:

Have you ever experienced charging problems when you jump from one charger to another? Do some chargers seem to work better than others?

Well, the fact is that if your charger isn't the proper amperage for your device or you have a connecting cable that is starting to go bad, the charging times can be quite different.

If you think of amperage like water pressure, the lower it is, the longer it's going to take to fill the bathtub.

The best results are achieved by using the factory shipped charger and cables; if you can't, you really need to pay special attention to the rating of the substitute charger.

Fancy electronic devices can actually measure the true amperage and current, but for those with an Android smartphone, there's an app for that!

An app called 'ampere' is an excellent way to monitor all the important aspects for charging your battery the proper way.

You can use the app while charging with your various chargers to see which ones are properly performing the task instead of just guessing.

Check out this free app for yourself at: http://bit.ly/2WtZdJK

Trade With Amazon

May 2, 2019

Description:

The power of Amazon's business is impacting so many of us because you can find just about anything you could ever want to buy.

But did you know that not only can you buy the latest and greatest, you can trade your old stuff in to help pay for it.

Their online trade in guide will provide you with an estimated trade for your older electronics, books, video games and more.

Choose a category for your trade, use the filters to narrow it down or use their search by name option to find your exact item.

Once you're there, you'll be asked various question that will help to establish an estimated trade value along with a range that will be determined once your item has been inspected.

To have it inspected, you'll need to ship it to Amazon, but they cover the shipping costs to get it there.

Anyone that wants to declutter their house or office and save money should look into this option before the value of those items gets even lower: https://amzn.to/2DLzAwR

Free Photo Storage for Everyone

May 1, 2019

Description:

There is no shortage of options for storing things 'in the cloud' with options from Apple, Google, Dropbox, Microsoft and more.

Most of them incorporate a 'freemium' model by giving you a small amount of free space with hopes that you'll fill it up and buy additional storage when you do.

While you can get as much as 15gbs of free storage, which sounds like a lot, you can quickly max out if you are constantly taking pictures and video with your smartphone.

If you're one of the millions that finds themselves maxed out of their current cloud storage choice, I have a suggestion that you may not thought about.

Google's online photo and video storage offers unlimited space for free by installing the 'Google Photos' app on any smartphone.

It's not just for Android smartphones, so even iPhone users can take advantage of this awesome storage option just by installing the app and setting it to automatically backup.

This is especially good news for the many long suffering iPhone users that keep running out of space on their phones... move them to Google Photos and free up lots of valuable space!

iPhone Messaging User Tips

Apr 30, 2019

Description:

Depending upon your age, you may have viewed text messaging as being impersonal at some point in the past, but you've figured out just how efficient it is as a communication tool.

Apple iPhone fans probably don't realize how unique their messaging platform, known as iMessage, is in the smartphone world.

If you have a lot of friends and family that also use an iPhone, iMessage provides some exceptional features that you don't have to learn how to use.

The first is that encrypts everything for you and the second is that it doesn't require a cellular connection in order to work with other iPhone users.

This means you can still get text messages if all you have is a wifi connection, like when you travel to other countries.

There are a host of other options that many of you may not even know exists, so that's what today's tip is going to point out.

Even if you use a lot of the extra features available in iMessage, you may not know about all 15 of these power user tips: http://bit.ly/2PFkQUJ

The Ultimate Translation App

Apr 29, 2019

Description:

Language translation apps for your smartphone have been getting much better.

One of my early favorites was an app called WordLens primarily because of it's ability to translate items that appeared via your camera.

Fortunately, they were acquired by Google some time ago and turned it into a free feature that is now incorporated in the Google Translate app.

What used to take multiple apps to accomplish, written, spoken and visual translations can now be achieved in this one app

It offers hand writing recognition, two-way real-time verbal translation and visual translations of signs, menus and other important items in your environment.

As helpful as the app can be, it's far from perfect, so try to keep your translations to short couple of words for the best results.

It now supports 32 languages on the fly, while recognizing 103 languages by text and 38 in the image conversion mode.

Anyone headed to a foreign country should put this app front and center on their smartphones to make communications much easier.

Unlimited Magazine Service

Apr 28, 2019

Description:

Popular online services such as Netflix, Hulu and Spotify that offer a buffet style option are popular for a reason: you get lots of choices for a fixed price.

If you like these kinds of offers and you also like to read magazines, there's a service for that and it's called Magzter!

The primary "Gold" option provides an unlimited collection of over 5000 magazines from around the world to its subscribers.

For about $10 a month, you can read your favorite magazines from any of your devices as long as you have an internet connection.

For about $5 a month, you can go with their 'Lite' option which gives you the option of reading up to five magazines.

There are lots of popular magazines available on the service, but premium magazines that have their own subscription package, such as the Harvard Business Review are not included.

You can checkout the plethora of options including lots of lesser known magazines from around the world at: https://www.magzter.com

Real-time Lyrics App

Apr 25, 2019

Description:

Today's tip is for all of you that love music but have no idea what the lyrics are for just about every song you know.

An app called Musixmatch could be the best thing that ever happened to you and make it possible to know that words you should actually be singing.

The app can work with just about any other app that plays music including popular streaming services like Spotify.

It does require you to be connected to the Internet in some way or it can't pull down the lyrics for the song while it's playing.

One of my favorite features of the app is the ability to 'Identify' songs playing in the background in a public place, like a coffee shop or club and bring up the lyrics for those songs as well.

It's a free app that works on both iOS and Android devices as well as your desktop computer: http://bit.ly/2UWHe1R

Backup Codes for Travelers

Apr 24, 2019

Description:

Setting up 2 factor authentication will keep others from getting into your accounts because it sends a special code to your phone when it doesn't recognize a device, location or browser. 

Hopefully, you've listened to the advice of many tech security experts and activated it on all your important online accounts.

If you have, you need to do one more thing to make sure you can access your accounts when you're on a flight or if you lose your smartphone.

If you're in either of these situations, you won't be able to get the special code because you can't get text messages on while flying or if you no longer have your phone.

To prepare for these events, it's important to have backup codes available to you to get back into your accounts.

The steps for what to do if you don't have access to your phone should be in the same place that told you how to initially setup the security.

In most cases, you can generate a number of one time backup codes that you should stash in your travel gear or password protect in a file on your computer, smartphone or tablet, especially if you're a road warrior.

Here are the instructions for some of the most popular services:

Google: http://bit.ly/2XJqJ63

Facebook: http://bit.ly/2XIyj14

DropBox: http://bit.ly/2XABNTc

Twitter: http://bit.ly/2XFRxEr

You can also do a Google search for backup codes and include the name of the service you're trying to setup.

Road Warrior Travel Service

Apr 23, 2019

Description:

Today's tip is specifically for those road warriors that are on the road constantly and want to avoid all the hassles of packing and doing laundry for every trip.

A service at https://www.dufl.com was setup to provide an easy way to hit the road.

Once you get setup and registered, the company will ship a large suitcase to you so you can pack what you'd like for future trips.

When you're packed with all the items that you may need for various types of trips, they'll come pick it up from you, launder your clothes and store them for your next trip.

You then 'virtually pack' for any future trips by picking the items that your previously packed and provide the address where you want the bag sent.

This means you'll never have to haul a big bag around again or even worry about getting everything washed for your next trip, because they take care of shipping and cleaning after every trip.

Of course, anything this convenient isn't going to come cheap, but if you're already paying checked bag fees every time, their $99.95 fee per trip may be worth considering.

See how it works at: https://www.dufl.com

Backcountry iPhone Compass App

Apr 22, 2019

Description:

Fully functional maps on your phone are awesome when you're on the road and have a solid connection, but if you spend any time off the grid, they can be pretty unhelpful.

If this scenario is something you experience or expect to experience down the road, an app called Anchor Pointer might be something to consider downloading.

It's essentially a very powerful compass program that makes use of the GPS that will still function without a signal from a cell tower.

It allows you to create waypoints or 'anchors' along any path that you can use to help you return back safely.

You can place anchors all around the back country areas you're visiting to help you keep tabs on where all the important locations are and how far away they are.

Just like the old timers that navigated the entire world with a compass, the app makes it easy to keep your bearings wherever you go.

It's also helpful for creating a meet up point with others that have the app.

Check out the reviews and download it at:

https://apple.co/2VKlB14

Unique Hotel Option

Apr 21, 2019

Description:

Connecting people with similar needs is one of the greatest aspects that the Internet offers.

When it comes to those that travel, connecting those that have an unneeded hotel reservation with those that need one is being done by a website called Roomer.

It's like those services that connect people around sporting or festival tickets.

They take all the complexity of trying to offload unused hotel reservation nights by selling them to other that want them.

When I took the site for a test run, the best results were clearly in larger cities.

For instance, I found a hotel room in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York City for $76 a night that normally costs $170 a night as long as you're able to stay the 6 nights of the original reservation. 

If was able to track down a hotel room in an expensive part of Manhattan that was less than $100 a night as long as you used the entire reservation.

The best deals will also be available for those that are flexible on their dates.

Should you ever get stuck with a non-refundable reservation or if you want to find a smoking deal from someone that's stuck with a reservation, check out: https://www.roomertravel.com

Group Fund Collection Made Easy

Apr 18, 2019

Description:

Most of use are involved with various groups that can range from community charities to sports teams for our kids that require that we contribute money to the organization.

If the groups you're involved in still ask you to reach for your checkbook, write a check, get an envelope and stamp and mail it off, there's a platform you should make them aware of... it's called 'Cheddar Up' and it could save everyone lots of time and hassle.

In just a few minutes, any organization can setup a digital fund collecting account that's easy for anyone to use.

The best part is that it doesn't cost the organization anything to use the service.

It allows you to provide a single point for collecting money that also tracks everything for the organizers and gently reminds members automatically when a deadline is approaching. 

It's also something to consider for gathering funds for large family functions, such as a wedding or funeral.

Get the details on how everything works at: https://www.cheddarup.com

Dropbox Gmail Mashup Tool

Apr 17, 2019

Description:

Whenever you need to send a large file to someone via email, you end up with a complex set of choices to make in order to get the file sent and received.

For those Dropbox fans out there that also use Gmail, there's really simple solution to this common problem.

An awesome Chrome browser add-on called 'Dropbox for Gmail' makes this complex problem super simple to deal with even if your recipient doesn't use Dropbox themselves.

It completely eliminates the need to upload the file to your email account or deal with the size limitations on both ends, because it simply creates a link to the file that you already have stored on Dropbox.

You'll never have to send one file at a time or jam everything into a Zip file in order to get your files received.

If you have a large number files, you can share a link to an entire folder in your Dropbox account and the tool makes adding files that you receive via Gmail easy to upload to Dropbox as well.

Get it here: http://bit.ly/2XiM325

Free Daily Social Media Course

Apr 16, 2019

Description:

Using one or more social media platforms has become standard operating procedure for virtually every business out there, but many smaller businesses are still struggling with just how to best leverage these powerful tools.

It starts by getting some of the basic precepts down which will lead to building your organizations strategy.

Anyone struggling with basics can actually just take a course to get started.

Not the kind of course that requires you to go to a classroom for hours on end, but one that gets delivered to you and only takes a few minutes per lesson to learn something new.

This option is available from the social media posting company known as Buffer which offers a free daily course that only requires you to spend a few minutes every day reading.

It's not going to make you an expert next week, but it will help you get started on the building blocks necessary to be successful.

If you've been avoiding social media for your business, see if this approach gives you what you need to feel confident in moving forward: https://buffer.com/email-courses/social-media-101

Roboform Password Security

Apr 15, 2019

Description:

If you're like most Internet users, you know that you should be using long unique passwords for each of your online accounts in order to stay safe from breaches.

Most people don't follow through on the essential security step because they continue to use passwords they can easily remember.

It's nearly impossible to be safe without using some type of password manager, so if you still haven't found one that works for you, checkout the offerings at https://www.roboform.com.

It started life as a form filling utility, but now also offers full password management functionality.

Roboform also has mobile option and their basic service is free to use!

There are some interesting features including their batch login option that will auto open browser tabs and log into your primary sites just by tapping one button.

The value of any password management program is that you can create lots of unique complex passwords for each online service you use, but you'll only have to remember one master password.

Simple Charity App

Apr 14, 2019

Description:

Major tragedies that happen around the world shouldn't be the only time we collectively think about donating to help others.

If that resonates with you, checkout an app from Google called "One Today".

The app shines a spotlight on a different charitable organization each and every day, along with an overview of their work and an easy way to make a small donation.

You can also use the app to get your friends to join in using the match donation or pay it forward option designed to help a group raise funds.

If you really get into the kindness of daily giving, you can make your donations in a lump sum which can result in a tax receipt when you give more then $250.

Why not help others on a regular basis, which will help you feel good about helping others every day? 

This app is encouraging a lot of people to give a little bit on a regular basis, which can add up to a large impact:
 https://onetoday.google.com

Breach Lookup Tools

Apr 11, 2019

Description:

Gaining access to sensitive information is a crime that was popular way before the computer and technology age.

Thieves go where the honey is and in this case the honey is your personal data.

One simple rule to keep in mind is that whenever a company that you do business with has been breached, whatever you have been using as a password for that site can never be used again.

Cyberthieves have been amassing enormous databases that collect all the passwords and associated email addresses or usernames for years, hoping that you'll continue to use these compromised passwords on other accounts.

This makes targeting specific people a lot easier, because they can simply cross reference their stolen password database with your email address to start wreaking havoc.

Fortunately, there are several online resources you can use to know whether your various email addresses, usernames and even passwords have been added to these underworld databases.

When you see that an account has been compromised, make sure to immediately change the password and never use the old one again!

https://haveibeenpwned.com

https://ghostproject.fr

For more information on how to use these sites, go here: https://www.datadoctors.com/help/kenscolumns/22233-Have-I-Been-Compromised

Snagging YouTube Videos

Apr 10, 2019

Description:

Youtube has become the single most popular video streaming site on the Internet, which is great as long as you have a connection.

For those times that you know you won't be connected, but would like to watch a video, did you know you can use tools to download them beforehand? 

The one I like to use is at https://dirpy.com because it's fast and simple to use.

Simply grab the link on YouTube for the video you want and give it to Dirpy to start the process.

You can choose either video with audio or just the audio for a live concert video for instance.

For downloading complete videos, you can choose highest quality or lower quality to save space.

Once Dirpy is done, you have a file that can be played on your computer or transfer it to one of your mobile devices for listening anywhere, anytime.

Think of how great this tool is for parents with kids going on a long trip with no Internet connection!

Internet Mashup Tool

Apr 9, 2019

Description:

In my never ending quest to find new ways of getting our tech to work for us, I bring up one of our favorite integration tools: IFTTT

It stands for If This Then That and it allows you to integrate lots of your various internet services using recipes for actions.

Want a reminder on your phone when you star a message in Gmail? There's a recipe for that! Want a text automatically sent to your wife when you leave work? There's a recipe for that too!

The site works with hundreds of online service with lots of recipes that have already been put together by other members of the service.

Feel like contributing to the community? Create you own unique recipes and post them up for others to enjoy.

With apps for all major mobile devices, you can even create recipes on the fly.

If this is the first you have heard of https://ifttt.com, do yourself a favor and jump in with both feet!

Getting Legit Support

Apr 8, 2019

Description:

How many times a day do you find yourself using Google to look for information? It's pretty constant for most of us, but there's one type of search that you'll want to be especially suspicious of the results: tech support.

Scammers have created lots of elaborate companies online that may even include Google's advertising network to pose as legitimate tech support companies.

It can become especially confusing when you search for a specific big name company's tech support resources to tell who's legit and who's a scammer.

One huge red flag to watch for is a toll free number that pops up in the description before you even click on the link.

Avoid calling those numbers until you've verified that it's the actual big name company's website.

The bad guys are constantly gaming the system, so just because it shows up in a Google search result does not make it legit.

If you want to go to the legitimate support page for any tech company, simply type their website address followed by /support. ex: Microsoft.com/support

For more of our tips on avoiding these scams, go here:

https://www.datadoctors.com/help/columns/22031-Beware-the-Latest-Tech-Support-in-Search-Scams

App for Dinner Ideas

Apr 7, 2019

Description:

How often are you in the last minute mode of thinking about what to have for dinner tonight? How often do you resort to the usual handful of options?

Maybe it's time to shake up the status quo by introducing new options with an app called "Dinner Spinner."

You can use the app to pick the type of meal you thinking about having from the first course, salads and main dishes.

Throw in your available time and give the app a spin.

I was able to generate over twenty ideas for a meal that was easy to make in less than twenty minutes that used chicken as it's main protein.

If you don't like a specific suggestion, you can also see suggested options from your fellow home cooks that include a rating.

If your mind is wide open, you can go with the random suggestions simply by shaking your phone with the app open.

The best part is that you can filter out recipes based on your dietary needs so you don't waste time scanning recipes you can't actually eat.

It's a whole new way to deal with the 'what's for dinner tonight" question:

http://dish.allrecipes.com/mobile-apps

Crowdsourcing Seismic Activity

Apr 4, 2019

Description:

Whether you know someone that lives in an area that is prone to experience earthquakes, you've seen how quickly social media goes crazy whenever a tremor hits an area.

Researchers at a major technical university have created an initiative to use volunteer's smartphones to help detect tremors in real-time.

They're doing it through an app that they created called MyShake designed to use the sensors in Android smartphones to measure seismic activity.

The goal is to create a massive warning system that can warn others much quicker than any of the current detection systems as it moves away from the epicenter.

If you have friends or family that live in earthquake zones, let them know about this ambitious project so they can help grow the sensor network. 

You can learn all about the project and download the app by visiting:

https://myshake.berkeley.edu

Free Online Movies

Apr 3, 2019

Description:

If you're a regular viewer of content from services such as Netflix or Amazon Prime video, you know how popular documentaries have become.

Because they've become so popular, so have online resources that chronicle the exploding genre.

A specific favorite of ours for discovering lots of interesting videos is called 'Documentary Heaven'.

This enormous library of movies provides dozens of categories that will allow you to explore new options based on your interests.

I'm a big fan of both the music and technology categories as an example.

This free resource stands out as an awesome viewing option from your smartphone, tablet or computer.

If you started watching videos every day, it would take years to get through what's already available, never mind the new videos that are added regularly.

Start your documentary viewing today at https://documentaryheaven.com

Hotel Wifi Speeds Exposed

Apr 2, 2019

Description:

If you travel a lot, especially for business, having a solid wifi connection at your hotel is something you like to have.

But you'll have no idea just how good or bad your connection speeds will be until after you get into your room. 

Well, now you don't have to play wifi roulette with your hotel connection because there's a website that will tell you what to expect. 

https://www.HotelWifiTest.com provides a wealth of information about the specific speeds at specific hotels, because those that have stayed there before you have measured the speed.

Anyone that needs to make sure they have a fast connection will love how easy it is to make your hotel decisions because all you have to do is type in the city you're going to be traveling to for a list of options.

The list will show you hotels sorted by those with the highest expected speeds along with the confidence level and whether you'll have to pay for the connection or not.

This crowdsourcing of actual internet speeds is possible by the community that takes the time to test and submit speeds whenever they're at a hotel.

No matter why you travel, knowing if your hotel is going to have a decent connection is no longer a mystery!

The Big H for Saving Money

Apr 1, 2019

Description:

Saving money is always a good tip, so today we have an easy way to do it while shopping online.

Coupon codes are an excellent way to save money, but you have to track them down first.

Despite resources such ashttps://www.retailmenot.com that try to help shoppers find those valuable coupon codes, in most cases, the codes no longer work.

If you'd like an easier way to find money saving options, checkout the browser plug in called Honey.

With this approach, you no longer have to open a second browser tab and search for codes elsewhere.

The app uses a large H in the corner of your browser that will turn orange to alert you when it has a money saving option you can use at the site you're currently shopping on.

It's one of the easiest ways to be made aware of savings wherever you shop!

Depth Of Field App

Mar 31, 2019

Description:

If you're into photography, you probably own a full-bodied camera that has fantastic optics including depth of field capabilities.

This ability to blur the background so that your subject pops in the foreground is fantastic.

The good news is that you no longer have to buy an expensive DSLR in order to capture these incredible shots.

A lot of the newest smartphones have an option that will blur the background, so if you haven't taken a deep dive into your smartphone camera's settings, take a look.

If you can't find anything in your phone, checkout the free AfterFocus app to add this feature to your device.

The app is easy to use because you just drag your finger over the part of the image you want to blur and what you want to stay sharp.

Because it's doing this after you take the picture, you can use it on any of your previous pictures as well!

Download it at: http://appm1.com/afterfocus

Don't Guess on Pricing

Mar 28, 2019

Description:

The Internet has become the world's largest marketplace offering just about anything you'll ever want to buy or sell.

When you're in the market for something like a new or used car, there are lots of websites that offer pricing info, but not so much when it comes to tech gadgets.

Manually searching sites such as Craigslist or eBay is one laborious method of getting accurate pricing information, but there's a far more efficient tool available.

The price search engine called Bidvoy located at https://us.bidvoy.net was created to help anyone that's looking to sell or buy various items.

By tracking the activity on eBay, it can pull together a clear picture on the item that you have an interest in getting rid of or acquiring.

Beyond solid pricing info, you can see pricing trends and suggestions on the best time to purchase or sell.

The data is being generated from eBay transactions, but it doesn't mean you have to use eBay to accomplish your goals.

It takes all the guessing out of how you should price something or what you should expect to pay for an item you'd like to purchase.

Phone Document Scanning Made Easy

Mar 27, 2019

Description:

If you end up doing business from the road, you will invariably end up with a situation that requires you to respond to an email request to have a document signed and emailed back as soon as possible.

Finding a way to print out the document and sign it is much easier than getting it scanned and returned.

I dealt with this issue a lot some time ago, so I went on the hunt for a solution that used the camera on my phone as a scanner.

Of all the apps that I tested, I found the Cam Scanner app to be exactly what I was looking for.

It's a free app that's very simple to use, including any cropping required to make the form look good before you save it for sending.

If you have a large number of pages to scan, the app provides a 'batch' option.

There are a number of edits that you can make after you've scanned in the pages, including the page order and adding a watermark for security purposes.

The free and premium CamScanner app can be used on virtually any mobile device with a camera, so its power can be leveraged by anyone!

Is Your Entire Network Exposed?

Mar 26, 2019

Description:

The job of the router in your home or business network is to provide a layer of separation from the rest of the Internet, so others can't get into your various attached devices.

Very few people have take the time to change the password that is set at the factory, better known as a default password.

The password I'm referring to is no the one used to connect to the wireless access point; it's the one necessary in order to make changes to how the router is setup.

Because of the various online resources such as  http://RouterPasswords.com, anyone with ill intent on the Internet knows the default password on your router.

This common hole in security has been known to be exploited in a number of ways including through rigged email messages that can give hackers access to the controls of your entire network.

If you become a victim of this type of silent compromise, not only will you not know that it's happening, the bad guys can essentially monitor anything that any device connected to the router is doing.

You're anti-virus protection is powerless to detect these types of exploits if you as the user clicks on the link in one of these messages, so be on the alert.

The good news is that it's quite simple to avoid becoming a victim of this type of attack... just change the default administrator password or get help if you don't know how to do it yourself.

Phishing Awareness Tests

Mar 25, 2019

Description:

Just about every week, we're hearing about yet another breach and most of them become possible via the same trick - a phishing scam.

The bad guys know that they only need to trick one person in any organization to start doing their dirty work, so they've amped up their phishing game.

One trick we teach folks to sniff out fake messages is to hover their mouse over links in messages to see where they are actually trying to take you.

In some cases, you'll see what's called a smart icon, which will show you the actual destination of the link or you may have to look at the bottom of the email window for the details.

Phishing scams will often include display links that don't match where you'll be taken if you click, so that's always a red flag.

It's important to keep your guard up and taking phishing quizzes every once in a while is good way to stay sharp - here are a couple of sites to test yourself:

https://www.opendns.com/phishing-quiz

https://www.phishingbox.com/phishing-iq-test

https://www.sonicwall.com/phishing-iq-test

Same Passwords Again?

Mar 24, 2019

Description:

Despite the fact that most of you continue to use the same password on many of your online accounts, I'm going to remind you that you're playing right into the hacker's hands.

We've repeatedly suggested that you consider using a password management tool, such as LastPass, but for some, it's still too complicated.

For those that can't make a software password manager work, there's a simple low-tech option you can use...

Write your passwords down.

You can simply create a secure indiscreet document on your computer or smartphone that contains all your passwords.

Don't actually use the word password anywhere, especially in the file name and use a secret code for your actual passwords.

By creating your own form of 'encryption', such as randomly adding four characters to your actual passwords, you'll keep them safe in the event someone figures out that it's your password list.

Breaches are occurring at an alarming rate, so if you have to choose between using the same password everywhere or writing them down, you know what we'd recommend you do!

Clever Warning Scam Reminder

Mar 21, 2019

Description:

A series of cleverly crafted credible looking warning pop ups are doing a good job of tricking a lot of users these days.

Not only can it trick users because they look so real, they can often lock your computer with a helpful message that someone is available via a toll-free number to help you with your infection.

Those of you that have always taken comfort in thinking that because you use a Mac OS based compute and that you don't have to worry about these kinds of scams should think again.

The bad guys don't care what kind of computer you're using and will target everyone with links to rigged websites that they'll post all over the Internet and across social networks including the comments sections of highly controversial topics.

The reality of the security software industry is that the last thing they want you to do, is try calling them directly when you have an issue. They'll never encourage you to call a toll-free number.

The look and feel of your primary security program is what you should get familiar with, so you can recognize a real warning when it appears.

The quickest way to sniff out a scam is when they post a toll-free number, so now you'll know!

Packing For A Trip App

Mar 20, 2019

Description:

Whether it's your first time or a regular task, getting absolutely everything you need packed before a trip can be a challenge.

The last thing you want to have happen is to forget a key item that can make the difference between a good trip and a great trip. 

If you need help remembering to review everything before your next trip. there's an app for that!

It's called PackPoint and it's available for both Android and iOS smartphones.

The PackPoint app take into consideration your gender, where you're traveling to, the potential weather at our destination, how long you'll be there and what you plan to do.

Based on how you answer these questions, it will assemble a packing list that is custom tailored to your trip.

The suggested items for packing on the list are yours to check as you refine the list for your specific needs.

Once you're done creating the guide, you can copy it into another program or share it with your travel companions via email.

PackPoint: https://www.packpnt.com

Workplace Prankster Protection

Mar 19, 2019

Description:

Those of you that work in a large office, particularly one that has an open floorpan full of desks or cubicles know that your PC is completely accessible whenever you step away to attend to something away from your desk.



It can be a lot worse if you are surrounded by co-workers that like to play games with their follow workers when they forget to lock down their computers.



Keeping wandering eyes from sneaking a peak at your spreadsheet or documents while your away is really easy if you can remember to lock down your system every time.



Windows users can quickly secure their systems by holding down the Windows icon key and tapping the letter 'L'.



Apple computer users can protect themselves by pressing Control-Shift-Eject together or if you don't see an Eject key, try Control-Shift-Power instead.



Of course, none of these tactics will do much good if you don't have a login password setup, so make sure you do.



This tip isn't just for business users as parents can adapt the same habit to keep their kids from using the computer when mom and dad aren't watching or haven't been given permission.

Gmail CRM Made Easy

Mar 18, 2019

Description:

No matter how hard we try, the backlog in our Inbox requires our constant attention in order to stay on top of things, so figuring out better ways to manage the load is an ongoing pursuit.

An attempt to harness all of the noise in your inbox is through the view of a CRM prism.

CRM or" Customer Relationship Management" is an essential process for just about every business these days, but it's a unique idea for email. 

A tool known as Streak is attempting to leverage the power of CRM processes in email.

The driving force was born out of the frustration from having to jump between programs in order to stay on top of things, especially since we all spend so much time in our email program.

By installing the add-on to your Chrome browser, you can use the templates for many of the common business tasks you deal with every day.

Another cool feature are the 'snippets' that are pre-staged bodies of text that you can quickly use to respond to common inquiries.

You can learn all about this awesome tool at https://www.streak.com as well as download their mobile apps to have the same options on the go.

Strategic Tool for Twitter Users

Mar 17, 2019

Description:

For those of you that are in business, you probably have a sense of how powerful Twitter can be, but may not understand how to leverage it for your organization.

It should all start with a strategy so you aren't just wasting time on any social platform.

As Twitter goes, understanding who is following you and how engaged they are is a good first step in developing that strategy.

One of the best ways to review all of this on your profile is by using free tools such as SocialRank.

Since we know that Twitter is often nothing more than a popularity contest, finding those that are popular and focusing on their conversations is a sold way to engage.

Your follower's location can be important in some cases, so this tool will allow you to identify the best followers by setting the location filter with the area you want to focus on.

Filtering users by information in their bio can also be a great way to find those that have strategic value.

Start taking a good look at the people that are already following you to make better use of Twitter from now on: https://www.socialrank.com 

Old Video Scam Returns

Mar 14, 2019

Description:

Holy cow! Have you seen this video yet? It's pretty embarrassing... these are the kinds of messages that may start reappearing in your Inbox or most likely through social media messages.

They know that if they can get you so concerned about what's being shown on the video, you'll forget all those lessons you've been taught to protect yourself.

Once you land on the scam sight that has the incriminating video of you posted, you'll see a play button that won't work. You'll be told you need to update something in order to see the video, which is the trap.

If you focus on seeing the video instead of what they are actually trying to get you to do, you can quickly become their next victim.

This simple but effective method of tricking users is popping up again, because when it works, they can silently access anything on your computer.

The lesson hers is to never, ever install anything that pops up on your screen... always manually visit the update site for any program that you have installed.

Brainstorming Capture App

Mar 13, 2019

Description:

Brainstorming with your peers to come up with new ideas will most often require someone to take lots of manual notes of what ends up on the shared brainstorming board.

Being the one tasked with taking all the notes for on-going meetings can get to be a bit much, so if that's you, today's tip is just for you.

Wouldn't it be great if you had an app that could simply take a picture of any whiteboard and convert it to a PDF? Well, there is an app for that and it's called Office Lens from Microsoft.

The app is designed to capture all the notes, clean them up and even straighten the image if you are forced to take the pictures from a side angle.

This last feature is especially cool, since you can rarely position yourself exactly in the center of any large gathering.

Your images can be saved as a document, PDF or left as an image or shared via OneDrive or to your OneNote profile.

Another cool use for the app is snapping pics of business cards, so you'll never have to try to sort them out later.

The app works with the following devices:


Android - https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.microsoft.office.officelens&hl=en_US

iOS - https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/microsoft-office-lens-pdf-scan/id975925059?mt=8

Windows - https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/p/office-lens/9wzdncrfj3t8

Flushing Facebook Apps

Mar 12, 2019

Description:

Anyone that's been sailing on the Facebook social media ship for any length of time will most certainly have Facebook barnacles on their profile.

That's what we call apps that have attached themselves to profiles as a regular course of how most people use Facebook and apps that use Facebook Connect.

Don't be fooled just because you never really used the app; once you connected, they are in the background with access to your profile info.

You'll probably be shocked to see how many companies that you have given permission to access your profile information. 

We highly recommend taking a look at this setting on a regular basis to ensure that in the future, these barnacles don't accumulate without your knowledge.

You can see what's attached by clicking on the down arrow icon in the upper right corner, then Settings and then on the Apps and Websites section.

Review the list of items that are currently able to access your profile info and get rid of the ones that you know you don't need.

Here are the instructions: https://www.facebook.com/help/170585223002660

Printing Pictures on Glass

Mar 11, 2019

Description:

The first time that I saw a super high resolution picture printed directly on glass, it was so breathtaking, I had to know where I could get this done for my images.

You're likely aware of my constant search for all things related to digital photography and this discovery was no exception.

As it turns out, you can order your own prints on glass right from your PC in just a matter of minutes.

A company called 'Fracture' has created on online ordering system for uploading your pictures to be printed in one of eight sizes that range from 5x5 up to 22x29 inches.

The prices now range from $17 for small prints and up to $135 for their largest prints.

In just a couple of days, your precious image will be printed onto glass and protected with a backing before it get's sent to your home or business.

It's one of the most impressive ways to present your images, especially if you can light it up from above.

Get printing on glass at https://www.fractureme.com 

Useful List Making App

Mar 10, 2019

Description:

One of the apps that I've spent quite a bit of time researching is one that would help with a constant issue in our lives.

When it comes to picking up groceries, we've experimented with text messaging for quite a while. The problem with this approach is that when the list is long, it makes it hard to remember which items on the list I've already gotten and which ones are still to be found.

If we were using the same platform on our various smartphones, the app choices would be much greater, but I needed one that supported all of our technology.

What I found was the app called Wunderlist was exactly what I was looking for. 

It makes it really easy for anyone in the household to add items to the grocery list and more importantly, as I'm picking items up, I just have to tap the box in front of it to remove it from the list.

Wunderlist is useful for a lot more than just groceries, so we've adopted it for everything that requires a list and it's become our go to.

Download and start listing at:  
https://www.wunderlist.com 

Trail Discovery App

Mar 7, 2019

Description:

Discovering the wonders of Mother Nature via hiking and mountain biking is one of my primary focuses when I travel.

If you're like most avid hikers and bikers, you use various online resources for choosing where you'll go next, but I always start and end with https://alltrails.com

The amount of granular information you can gather is possible because of the more than 60K trails available with feedback from 10 million registered users

You can really drill down to specific features that a trail offers, so you can take your dog along or ride your mountain bike instead of hoofing it.

Your fellow hikers and bikers will also help you understand how long it might take to complete as well as how difficult it might be if you're not up for a strenuous day.

Using the mobile app makes it really easy to find interesting options all around you, whether you're at home or in an unfamiliar place.

The platform is an absolute treasure chest of information that I never leave home without. If you're an outdoors person, this is a no-brainer app to have on your smartphone!

Online Wine Club for Newbies

Mar 6, 2019

Description:

Wine is one of those things that can overwhelming and intimidating for the uninitiated, so if that's how you feel, there's a discovery option you should know about.

A wine club that focuses on customizing your shipments based on your actual taste buds, called Tasting Room may be just what you need to help you start exploring great wines.

You begin by going through their rating kit, which begins the process of evaluating your specific tastes.

After you've tasted the samples, you go to their website and answer questions about what you liked so they can determine your key flavor profiles.

This initial interaction will give them a better sense of what to send you, which you will continue to rate once you taste them, leading to a more precise focus on your preferred types of wines. 

If you get a bottle that isn't right or you don't like, they will either replace it with the same or different bottle so you can eliminate the chance that you'll buy wine you don't like.

The more feedback you provide, the more likely you'll zero in on the types of wines that you will always enjoy.

Check it out at https://www.tastingroom.com

How to Use Weird Characters

Mar 5, 2019

Description:

When you see a string of odd characters in an Internet post or on social media, don't you wonder how they did it?

If you scan your various keyboards, there are no obvious places that these characters live, but if you use the Alt key along with the numbers on your numeric pad, you'll discover the universe of Alt codes.

Try holding down the 'Alt' key and then tapping out 0153 on your numeric pad to see what you get.

With 255 characters that are available but hidden, you can forget about having them all in your head whenever you want to use any of them.

A quick Internet search for Alt codes or Alt keyboard will provide you with a plethora of resources giving you each code.

A better way on those occasions you want to work with these weird characters is by bookmarking the https://www.copypastecharacter.com website.

By changing the default display from 'Our favorite set' to 'All characters', you'll have them all ready for you to copy and paste into whatever you're doing online.

iPhone users can also checkout their 99 cent app, which has mixed reviews. Don't forget, mobile users can also copy and paste from their website.

Emergency Instructions Health App

Mar 4, 2019

Description:

If someone near you was suddenly in a medical situation that required you to know cardiopulmonary resuscitation, would you know exactly what you should do? Don't feel bad, most of us don't know either.

With that in mind, the more of us that take the time to arm ourselves with knowledge, the better off we'll be collectively.

Not everything that can happen will be a matter of life or death, but even less serioius situations can be a challenge when we want to jump in and help, but don't know what to do.

That's why today's tip is to consider downloading and looking through the free "Red Cross First Aid" App.

Having this app on your phone the next time you're confronted with a serious health related situation can be a real difference maker.

It's content is focused on the most common emergencies and because it's downloaded to your phone, an Internet connection isn't needed to gain access to the information.

Fortunately, this isn't one of those apps you'll use every day, but it is one that likely deserves a little space on your phone.

Download the app at:

https://www.redcross.org/get-help/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies/mobile-apps.html

or text "GETFIRST" to 90999

Maintain Your Hard Drive

Mar 3, 2019

Description:

With just about anything that experiences wear and tear, keeping it running at its best is achieved by performing regular maintenance. 

In my experience, this common knowledge seems to be completely forgotten when it comes to our precious computers.

If we took this 'wait until it breaks down' approach with our vehicles, we'd always be facing huge repair bills, not to mention the untimely surprises.

If you're a Windows user, there's a new routine that I'd like to encourage you to adopt: run the built-in Disk Cleanup tool that's waiting patiently to be used.

It's really good at tracking down those unnecessary files that build-up in every computer, especially if it's actively used on a daily basis. This will result in more free space and better performance.

If your computer has been neglected in this area, the first time you run the program, it's likely to take a good bit of time to search out all the errant files, so be patient.

You can simply search for 'Disk Cleanup' from the Windows search bar to locate the tool.

Create a reminder in your calendar to run the utility once a month so you can stay ahead of the clutter that is just naturally building up in your computer.

Survey's Made Easy

Feb 28, 2019

Description:

Surveying your customers is an essential part of operating any type of business but there is a confusing field of tools to choose from.



A lot of what is available is full of great features that may be more than some businesses need.



For anyone that needs to create surveys on occasion, there's a totally free option available from Google.



The free productivity tool from Google called Forms is a simple way to create survey's whenever you need them.

The questions can be setup as text, checkboxes, multiple choice in nine different question types available.



Both the option to have required answers and the ability to shuffle your questions for more accurate feedback are included.



To start generating responses, simply copy the link to the completed survey and send it to your customers.



Once you start getting responses, they will appear in spreadsheet form, which allows for sorting of the data.



It's so simple to setup and get valuable feedback on just about anything using  https://Google.com/forms

Baby Monitor on the Go!

Feb 27, 2019

Description:

Baby monitors of some type are pretty common these days if you have small children in your life.

There's an inexpensive alternative for people that have kids and are on the go over a traditional setup. It uses Android smartphones, like that old one sitting in your drawer through the Dormi app. 

It's an app that uses two Android smartphones or tablets and turns them into powerful baby monitors that work from any distance. 

This setup will work with both wi-fi and cellular connections, which means it's effective in the house or on the road.


It allows you to say things to your child remotely when your voice can help them feel better. Making sure that your devices are in good shape with power is also monitored by the app.

The basic option allows for up to 4 hours of monitoring a month and it's free or for a one time fee, you can get lifetime usage that also unlimited. 

Start looking for those old Android devices so they can be put back to use by your or someone you know with small children!

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.sleekbit.dormi

Are they Snooping?

Feb 26, 2019

Description:

Have you ever been using your computer or mobile device in a public setting and thought that others nearby might be trying to take a sneak at what is on your display? If so, you're not alone.

This uneasy feeling that someone is spying on you from nearby actually has a name: Visual Hacking. 

It can be that creepy person sitting next to you in-flight or some dude that's just off your shoulder in a restaurant, but whatever it is, you can take simple action to fight this potential problem.

Installing something that's been around quite a bit, known as a 'privacy screen' can keep the displays on your various mobile devices safe from those prying eyes.

They provide protection because they make your display look pitch black unless you're sitting right in front of the screen, which keeps those to either side in the dark.

As far as smartphones and tablets are concerned, you can also add this additional layer of protection and much more

https://www.3m.com/3M/en_US/privacy-screen-protectors-us/

The Power of Math at Bedtime

Feb 25, 2019

Description:

Can you guess what math and going to bed have to do with each other?

According to some researchers, including some math during bedtime stories can vastly increase a child's math skills.

Their research claims that kids can improve math achievement measurably if mom and dad include an app called Bedtime Math. 

By combining images and math in the stories, the child learns to solve math equations in an enjoyable way.

This improvement is apparently possible even if the app is only used once a week.

It's easy to be uncertain about anything that is specifically endorsed, but since this app is free, there's nothing to lose in giving it a try.

Another benefit will be for parents that are apprehensive about helping their kids with their math homework. Your child can sense how you're feeling, which can impact their learning.

The app isn't just for very young kids, so if you're looking for a fun way to help a child under the age of 10 to improve their math skills, give the Bedtime Math a try: http://bedtimemath.org/bedtimemath-app

Sharing Wi-Fi Connections

Feb 24, 2019

Description:

Access to the Internet is available while flying on most routes these days and it can be a life saver when you're on longer legs in the air.

While the connection is about as rudimentary as it gets, if you're working on responding to a pile of email messages, it's well worth paying for.

If you're like me and have several devices that you'd like to connect, you have to decide if it's worth the extra for each device or use today's tip to avoid it.

That laptop computer you rely on every day can also become a private wi-fi hotspot, so you can connect all your devices with only one connection.

The Internet sharing option is available in both Mac and Windows so it's really easy to save the extra money when connecting all your devices.

It's not just for airplanes as other limited or pay-only connections such as at a hotel can be shared as well.

For those that find the built-in option offered by Microsoft to be too complicated, checkout an easier to use option from http://www.connectify.me

Here are the instructions:

Windows - http://howtogeek.com/112050/how-to-turn-your-windows-8-laptop-into-a-wireless-access-point 

Mac - http://imore.com/how-turn-your-macs-internet-connection-wifi-hotspot-internet-sharing 

Super Smooth iPhone Videos

Feb 21, 2019

Description:

We're all creating videos these days, most often with our phones, which can be great or horrible, depending on how still you can be while doing it. Far too often, nearly unwatchable, nausea inducing movies are what we end up with.

The pros use very sophisticated equipment to place cameras into which stabilize the video, with various attempts to create the same results available for your smartphone if you're ok with extra expense and size.

Thanks to the video nerds at Instagram, you don't have to buy expensive cameras or stabilization equipment; in fact you don't have to buy anything at all.

The created an app they call 'HyperLapse' which can be used whether you're an Instagram user or not.

Your iPhone has a gyro inside of it, which is what the app uses to create smooth video from what would normally be very shaky and jarring. The best part is that you don't have to do any 'post production' after you shoot the video...it's just ready to go.

If you're more interested in shooting a time lapse video that's also more stable, the Hyperlapse app does that too!

There's really nothing to learn with the only option being your playback speed when you're done.

Download it for your iPhone at: https://hyperlapse.instagram.com

Online Patient Community

Feb 20, 2019

Description:

We all remember how popular the now infamous "Ice Bucket Challenge" became as it focused our attention on those suffering from; it's now actually a historic moment for the Web.

A lesser known online phenomenon is the https://patientslikeme.com website which was also inspired by those suffering from ALS

The creators of the site had a brother that discovered that he had ALS, which prompted their desire to create an online community connecting other with the same disease.

Anyone suffering from a serious illness can find themselves feeling very alone, but this resource makes it clear that they're not.

There can be tremendous value by connecting with people that are going through the same issues that include treatment comparisons and similar symptoms.

Patients Like Me can be both a way to provide or receive support from people that truly understand everything that a specific patient is going through.

Those that want to contribute their own experiences can use online tools to track their ongoing health provide the data for research purposes to help build the database on their particular ailment.

With over 600K members of the online community that cover more than 2800 conditions, it's pretty likely that anyone seeking another person in the same situation to connect with will find their own community.

Plastic Package Safety Tip

Feb 19, 2019

Description:

Today's tip is actually a non-technical safety tip when it comes to opening those hard plastic packages commonly known as clamshells. It used to be especially common with small expensive technology items.

This all-to-common packaging that seems to be almost unopenable, is now spreading to just about everything we buy.

These retail friendly packages are easy to hang and help to prevent shop lifting, so they're going to be with us for a long time.

If you usually reach for a knife or scissors to crack the clamshell, you're risking your fingers as you attempt to pry open the hard plastic.

Using those options means you'll end up with lots of sharp edges that are great way to create small cuts in your hands.

So here's what we recommend you use from now on...your can opener from the kitchen!

Not only is it a lot easier to get through that thick plastic, it's much less likely you'll end up with temporary scars on your fingers when you're done.

Magical Video Tool

Feb 18, 2019

Description:

This suggestion is for anyone that's been trying to create interesting videos but lacked the tools or confidence could be looking for, especially if they have a lot of old videos just sitting on their devices.

Creating even a simple video can become overwhelming, especially when your goal is to look like a pro.

That's why today's tip is so perfect for so many wanna be movie makers.

A series of tools called 'Magisto' is a little bit of magic that can make anyone look like they know what they are doing.

It's a simple 3 step process: 1st, pick out the images and videos for your movie. 2nd, choose a style for your move and 3rd, select your music and then let the magic begin.

The platform's AI will evaluate your images and videos and then create a fantastic movie all by itself.

When it's finished, it'll be posted to the Magisto website so you can easily share it, embed it in a web page or even download a copy to your computer with a premium account.

If this sounds like just the thing you've been looking for, check it out at: https://magisto.com

File Explorer for Android

Feb 17, 2019

Description:

If you love to discover the inner workings of your technology and love to tweak and tinker under the hood, you're more likely to be attracted to the Android platform.

Those that have been using the Windows File Manager on their computers will like today's Android app tip.

The 'ES File Explorer' is an extremely popular app for tech savvy users with hundreds of million so people that have it installed on their smartphones.

It will be very familiar to avid Windows users because of the way it lays out all your files and folders and allows you to manage them just like on your computer.


But a word of caution when it comes to getting rid of thing to clear up space; if you don't recognize it, don't remove it!

The app also makes it easy to transfer important files to the Internet by syncing with lots of popular online storage platforms.

The app isn't limited to just your internal memory as it can manage the files on any extra SD cards and even kill background apps while you're using the phone. 

Start managing your Android phone more deeply with: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.estrongs.android.pop

Book Worms Unite!

Feb 14, 2019

Description:

As awesome as technology is, there's still no substitute for reading a book in your favorite spot to relax. 

Discovering new books to read is possible using algorithms, but I'd rather engage with other readers to find new topics and titles to dive into.

If electronic guides and suggestions for your next book aren't quite cutting it, checkout 'GoodReads.com' for an alternative to algorithms.

They certainly can provide suggestions based on what you've previously read, but the site will also get you in touch with friends that also love to read to gather ideas on what you'd like to read next.

Think of it as an online book club that's much more efficient than wandering around your favorite book store looking for that next gem.

Your community can see the books you've read, the ones you're in the middle of reading along with the books that are queued up for future reading.

It's really a great way to connect with your bookworm buddies in a private book club or engage with others that aren't your friends in discussion group for everyone.

Learn more at: https://GoodReads.com

Naming Your Next Idea

Feb 13, 2019

Description:

If you're not the creative type, but have to come up with a name that can also be registered as a new website, today's tip is for you.

https://PickyDomains.com was created to act as a naming service leveraging the 'wisdom of the crowds' to help you name a product, service or an available domain for whatever you're working on.

By posting the details around what you are attempting to create along with an associated website address is needed, the creative community around the world can go to work.

If you want a specific number of characters or names that don't include specific words or themes, you can post those instructions as well.

The great part of this crowdsourcing website is that it's a very affordable way to get creative work done for as little as fifty dollars.

As people submit ideas, you can interact and guide them until you get the name you're happy with for your project's parameters.

Need to come up with a name for something quickly? Give https://www.pickydomains.com a spin.

Collectors Network

Feb 12, 2019

Description:

Anyone that loves to collect things like stamps, baseball cards or coins knows the importance of cataloging that collection. 

If you're old-school, you use a spreadsheet or notebook to reference your current and future items that you'd like to add to your collection.

Connecting with other collectors that have your same interests that might want to buy, sell to trade items has become much easier with the community gathered at

https://Colnect.com

It's a vibrant collection of collectors that can make it a lot easier to manage your collection and trade with like-minded people. 

The site allows you to let others know about things from your collection that you're willing to sell or trade along with your desired collectables. They act as a sort of match maker for collectors by matching those with items available with collectors seeking those specific items.

The community is nearly world-wide and growing every day, so it's about as good as it gets for collectors online.

Git Er Done App

Feb 11, 2019

Description:

Mobile apps and smartphones have dramatically shifted how we do virtually everything in the digital age.

Well, now you can use your smartphone to find someone to do odd jobs using a platform known as TaskRabbit. 

TaskRabbit was designed to connect people that are willing to perform tasks with those that have things that they need to have done.

Simply define what task you need to have done as well as the timing and location of the work to get started.

If what you need to have done isn't location specific, your pool of available helpers is much larger.

Another great feature of the service is that you don't pay until the work has been performed and you are satisfied with the work.

Anyone that's available on TaskRabbit must be thoroughly vetted including a background check. Another helpful feature are the reviews that each person will have posted on their profiles.

TaskRabbit could be a perfect fit for businesses that can use a temp staff person for short term projects.

Download the app and check out all of the available talent for just about any task you may have!

Web-based Training Videos

Feb 10, 2019

Description:

Here's an inquiry that's been a pretty regular theme and that is where employees can get help learning how to use software programs.

If you're older than 30, the obvious default is to take a class and read books to gain knowledge, but there are much more efficient options using the Internet.

Today's teaching tools are visual as well as interactive with large volumes of content to learn from. A website that's leading that charge is https://lynda.com

With over twenty five hundred courses that are video based, the topics include productivity software such as Word and Excel and expand to more advanced topics like 3D animation as well as important web languages.

The teaching platform is presented for beginners, intermediate and advanced levels of training with close captioning included as an option.

This subscription service offers unlimited use of the tools starting @25 a month.

You can access the courses on computers, tablets and phones using their mobile apps which then let's you start lessons on one device and continue to learn from another as you move around.

Anyone asking the "where can I learn xxx?" question should look into the resources available at https://lynda.com

Virtual Veterinarian Online

Feb 7, 2019

Description:

Our pets are like members of our family, with one big exception: when they are sick, they have no way of telling us where it hurts or what's wrong.

A visit to your trusted veterinarian is your first option, but often times that's just not possible, so in those cases the https://PetMD.com website can act as a fallback.

It's our go-to resource for issues related to our pet's health including things like nutritional and dietary guidance.

We rely on the symptom checker when they're sick and learn a lot from their health library which helps us understand veterinary terminology.

When an unusual symptom or behavior appears, try scanning the 'emergency' link to find something similar to better understand your pet's discomfort.

PetMD also has helpful info about your pet's breed, how to properly care for them and what and how often to feed them. They can even assist you when that newest member of your family needs a name.

Although dogs and cats are the most popular pets for most, alternative pets such as reptiles are covered on the site as well. Take our advice and bookmark this website!

Great Research Tool

Feb 6, 2019

Description:

Whenever you use the Internet for research, it's common knowledge that you shouldn't assume the info you pull up on any single site will be completely accurate. 

Cross referencing other similar sites to help either verify or challenge the info you are looking into is one way of validating, but that approach can get time consuming. 

If you ever want help in finding similar websites on the Internet, checkout the tool at  http://www.similarsitesearch.com. 

It's actually a specialized search engine that will bring up websites that are either similar or related as well as alternatives based the original websites content markers.

Just type the website you want to reference into their search engine to get a list of similar websites based on their popularity. 

It's a much easier way of getting a comprehensive list of alternative sources for anything you are trying to research. 

You can pitch in and help improve their rankings by clicking on either the thumbs up or thumbs down icons when you feel it was related or not.

It's another one of the websites that you'll love remembering on those rare occasions you need this type of help, so bookmark it for future use.

Complete Network Protection Tip

Feb 5, 2019

Description:

A vital component to navigating the Internet is something called 'DNS servers', which plays an important role in helping you to get to the websites you seek. 

The Domain Name System (DNS) acts as a sort of traffic cop providing your computer with the directions to the websites that you type in your browser. 

The DNS settings you use daily are usually provided by your ISP, but there are benefits to modifying your current settings. 

3rd party DNS servers can improve reliability as well as Internet speeds and for parents, the ability to block adult content or malicious websites throughout your household. 

Our go-to option is called OpenDNS because it is efficient, reliable, truly easy to setup while providing you complete control over what you want to filter out from the users on your network.

We highly recommend changing the DNS settings in the router on your network to improve the performance and protection:

https://www.opendns.com/home-internet-security

Detailed Cellular Coverage Maps

Feb 4, 2019

Description:

The 4 primary cellular companies are constantly battling each other to get your business often times with what can look like a sensational offer.

But, keep in mind, that whatever they're offering means nothing if the service in your specific area is less than usable. Before you make any decision to try a new carrier, doing a little homework could save you a lot of heartburn.

An excellent website called "Rootmetrics" allows you to check out all the networks where you work, live and spend most of your time.

You can start by reviewing the overall ratings for your city based on reliability, data speeds, call and text quality so you can get a handle on the strengths of each one.

An excellent tool that gets very granular is the 'Coverage Map' which will provide you with a detailed map by cell of call quality, data speeds and whether you can expect to get the full 4G LTE signal where it matters most.

There are also mobile apps available so you can generate reports wherever you go and add to their database if you want to help build more reliable information.

City reports: http://www.rootmetrics.com/en-US/rootscore/map

Coverage Maps: http://webcoveragemap.rootmetrics.com/en-US

iOS app: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/cell-phone-coverage-map/id399701910?mt=8

Complete Photo Editing Tool

Feb 3, 2019

Description:

Anyone that's listened to our tips knows that we are always searching for that next app or tool to enhance our digital photos. 

We are constantly taking pictures with our phones these days, but they're often times less than great. Finding the right tool to improve your images is helpful. 

One of our favs is both a website and an app called Fotor http://www.fotor.com because it's full of awesome features. 

Along with the list of usual editing tools is a unique feature that allows you to create HDR images. 

High Dynamic Range or HDR is a process of combining multiple images that vary in exposure and then combine them into a single image. 

The tools allow you to update pictures that were too dark and too bright and combine them to create a better image. 

There are also lots of tools for beauty retouching on Fotor including wrinkle reduction, blemish removal & even teeth whitening. It's also available as a mobile app for iPhone and Android devices. 

This could end up being the only photo editing tool you'll need.

Music App for Workouts

Jan 31, 2019

Description:

If jogging or running is the exercise you prefer, you know how awesome music can be during your running sessions.

Not only will it help to keep you motivated, it often times can encourage you to continue your run a while longer when the music actually matches the pace of your running.

Some of you have probably attempted to create a playlist that matches your pace, but found it to be too time consuming of an ordeal.

If you want this motivation made easier, give the RockMyRun app a try. It makes it a whole lot easier to use music that matches your running style.

The app offers curated playlists that focus on a specific beats-per-minute range to give you a continuous group of songs that align with your running pace.

You can search for playlists by genres, beat-per-minute, overall length of the playlist and clean lyrics if you want them.

The basic service is free, but if you want more control over the exact, you can opt for their premium membership which includes the option to precisely control the tempo.

It will allow you to dial in the perfect tempo for your pace with better control for the entire playlist.

Whether you simply a power walker, casual jogger or serious runner, the RockMyRun app for iPhone and Android users is worth giving a try.

Is It Down Right Now?

Jan 30, 2019

Description:

How many times has this happened to you: you're trying to check something on a website, but you just can't connect to it. It could be your bank's site or even your favorite online retailer and you don't know if it's the website or your connection.

In general, when you try to visit a site and can't get it to come up, you likely go through the "what is happening to my computer" questions. But sometimes, it's actually not your computer's fault.

Websites do actually go down, even for really big companies, So what can you do to figure out whether it's the website or your connection?

Our tip: whenever you experience this issue, try using https://www.isitdownrightnow.com to see if it's down right now.

This free resource can monitor the status of any website and will check to see whether it's down or not at the moment you're checking.

It really easy to use their test tool, because all you have to do is type the web address you want checked and a test will begin running as you watch the screen.

You can also see what service aren't available and see how long ago it was checked along with a list of the latest sites that have been checked. They keep an active list for many of the most popular websites or just type in any web address to run your real-time test.

Common Backup Mistake!

Jan 29, 2019

Description:

Today's Tip is a simple, but very critical reminder to Back It Up.

A distraught student posted an online plea to the person that stole their laptop and said they don't care about the laptop itself. They posted that they would pay one thousand dollars for certain files on the laptop.

The student's thesis along with five years worth of their work were only saved on the laptop. Imagine losing something that important that fast!

So what could they have done to avoid this major pain? Simply having a backup would have done it.

Way too many users purchase an external hard drive, which they call a backup but the way they end up using it, it's nothing close to a backup.

A true backup allows you to locate the file stored in more than one place. If the only place that the document exists is on the external drive, it's not a backup.

It needs to be saved both in the 'Documents folder' on the laptop and a second copy needs to be stored on the external drive.

For the easy backup of important documents, such as a thesis, saving a second copy to a USB flash drive will also get the job done.

There are also a number of cloud services that will perform the backups automatically, like Carbonite, to make sure all your critical files are properly secured.

No matter what you decide to do, it's important to start doing something to make sure you have copies of your pictures, documents and other important files backed up regularly.

Gmail Time Saving Feature

Jan 28, 2019

Description:

No matter what you do on the Internet, it seems that most of us waste a lot of time dealing with email every day.

One of the biggest ways to waste time is replying to multiple people with the same message, especially if you have to do it throughout the day. 

If you have a Gmail account, today's tip could help you reduce this waste.

A hidden feature in Gmail that you should activate is called 'Canned Responses' and it can be a real time saver. 

Once you turn on the feature in the 'Settings' menu, you'll then have the ability to copy any body of text and have it as a canned response that can be pasted with the click of a mouse. 

The tool will eliminate the time consuming process of manually typing out any common responses, phrases or even different signatures for you various accounts, both when responding to or creating a message. 

Here are the instructions for turning on this awesome option:

https://www.techrepublic.com/article/how-to-enable-and-use-canned-responses-in-gmail

Explore The World From Home

Jan 27, 2019

Description:

For anyone that see's themselves as a travel junkie or for anyone that loves exploring the world, today's tip is for you!

Google's Arts & Cultural website is an awesome tool that you'll want to bookmark. 

Google created it to allow us to virtually explore destinations, art & museum collections complete with lots of historical information from your computer or smartphone.

Not only does it provide useful info and historical facts, it also lets you explore some of the sites as if you were on the ground through Google's Street View technology. 

Anyone planning to visit a world heritage site can get familiar with the area before leaving using this awesome tool. 

Now you can get familiar with an area that you're planning on visiting with extensive local perspective allowing you to get the most out of your trip. 

The collection is searchable by a specific individual, time, place or event so it's also a helpful homework tool as well. 

Start your exploration here:

https://artsandculture.google.com/explore

Google Alerts

Jan 24, 2019

Description:

Do you know what people are saying about your business online? Knowing what people are saying about your business is critical these days, but what are you supposed to do to know what's being said?

Monitoring your online reputation is an essential part of running a business in this day and age and a basic process you need to incorporate. 

Google Alerts (https://www.google.com/alerts) is the first step for any business to monitor the chatter about their organization online.

Google allows you to set alerts so that anytime your business is mentioned anywhere online, you'll get an email alert. Just type the name of your business and remember to use quotes if it's more than one word to avoid getting alerts on each word seperately.

You shouldn't fear negative comments ore even bad reviews, because knowing about a problem is half the battle. How you respond will show others how you conduct business when you are aware of a problem. 

Doing nothing about negative reviews is the worst thing you can do. Not responding can easily be taken as you not caring, so make sure you know about posts as soon as they appear with the Google Alerts.

It's important to be transparent, honest and aware with your online reputation.

Google alerts is just the beginning of your options as there are lots of other places and apps you can use to monitor your organization's online reputation.

Affordable Thermal Imaging

Jan 23, 2019

Description:

Camera's with thermal imaging can detect infrared light in the dark, allowing you to see things around you thermally. 

There have been a lot of devices that have been released that can turn any smartphone into a thermal imaging camera but most of them are really expensive. 

But now, you can inexpensively turn most iPhone or Android handsets into a thermal camera that can clearly make out images in the dark using one of the 'Seek Thermal' camera attachment.

The small devices plug into the power connection on many smartphones and it lets you take both still images or videos in the dark. 

The low resolution images are somewhat grainy, but if you need to see what's lurking in the dark in your yard or down a really dark alley or parking lot, the Seek Thermal camera gets the job done. 

The Seek attachment will also allow you to see where pipes might be clogged, where the hot air is seeping out of your house or check the temps of just about surface you point it at. 

If you're intrigued by thermal imaging, checkout Seek's affordable devices at https://www.thermal.com

Super Secure Messaging App

Jan 22, 2019

Description:

Whether you like or despise Edward Snowden, one thing is perfectly clear - he certainly knows about cybersecurity. 

So when Snowden endorses a messaging app that he says is secure that he personally uses, you can count on it being as private as any messaging system gets. 

Snowden's recommended app is called Signal and it made by Open Whisper Systems for iPhone or Android users. 

Signal allows you to send secure messages using both text and voice and it won't require you to go through a sign up process to use it. 

The app uses your current phone number and contacts and doesn't require a separate login or PIN. 

Despite its very sophisticated encryption, the app is super simple to setup and use as your every day messaging app 

The app also determines automatically if your recipient also uses the Signal app, so it will know not to secure messages that are sent to those that don't have the app. 

If you would like to have a more secure way of messaging, checkout the Signal app at https://WhisperSystems.org  

Two-Factor Protection Reminder

Jan 21, 2019

Description:

I'm using today's tip to remind everyone to activate two-factor authentication for your online accounts because it's still an excellent extra layer of protection that's effective.

If you think about it, it's kind of like using your debit card where you have to have two-factors of authentication: your debit card as well as the associated PIN.

Just think how dangerous it would be if your debit card didn't require a PIN in order to get money out of an ATM. IMHO, it's what anyone that is not using 2FA is doing with their online accounts.

Once activated, a thief would be required to steal both your login credentials and your smartphone at the same time in order to sneak into your account.

This security layer also provides you with alerts to know when someone has stolen your credentials, because you'll get a security code out of the blue on your smartphone.

Virtually every major online account is now offering this extra layer of protection.

To see which of your online accounts offers the protection along with how to activate it, visit" https://twofactorauth.org

Helpful Photo Composition App

Jan 20, 2019

Description:

Our smartphones are marvels of technology and they are even more powerful than the computers used by NASA to get mankind to the moon, which is pretty amazing. 



One of the best features of our smartphones is the high resolution cameras that pack a lot of technology into our pockets allowing anyone to take amazing pictures without having to be a pro photographer, or so we'd like to think.



Features such as auto white balance, focus, and exposure along with color correction are all great to have available but mean absolutely nothing when the person taking the picture doesn't understand how to compose the picture. 



The rule of thirds is a basic concept that appears to still be a mystery for most photographers but now there is an app for those people.

Camera 51 focuses on the thing that most smartphone photographers seem to be clueless about, which is the all-important composition. 



The app uses the sophistication of your phone to dissect the scene you are shooting, with an on-screen guide which allows you to know where you should point the camera. 



Anyone that has no idea how to compose a photograph should definitely download this free app to start taking better pictures!

https://www.camera51.com/camera51-app

Outdoor Picture Taking Tip

Jan 17, 2019

Description:

It's a safe bet that your primary mobile device has a camera included that has some sort of flash. 

It's also common to assume that the flash is only needed in low-lighting settings, but in actuality, using it outside can make a huge difference in your pictures.

Whenever you're take pictures of someone outside, they often times end up with lots of shadows and wide contrasts due to the bright light in the frame. 

Manually forcing flash can in many cases fix both issues and turn a picture that might have been almost useless into a masterpiece. 

Whenever you use the flash on your smartphone, be sure that you get close enough so the weaker light has the intended effect in daylight. 

On bright sunny days, try putting people in a shaded area to eliminate the squints and use your flash to fill in their faces. 

Knowing when not to use your flash, especially indoors along with when to use it outdoors can make a huge difference in the quality of your images.

Playing around with the flash on your phone before you have a special event is the best way to learn and know what to do when the time comes!

Our Favorite Financial Tool

Jan 16, 2019

Description:

Clearly defining your financial plans along with retirement planning is something that everyone needs to do, but it's easy to get overwhelmed when you attempt to manually track it all. 

An awesome tool that I have been using available at https://www.personalcapital.com simplifies the tracking of virtually everything financial in your life.

Very quickly you can generate a visual dashboard that shows you your entire financial picture in one place. 

Personal Capital gives you easy to use tools to generate net worth along with the 'what if' planning for retirement which allows you to see a much a clearer vision of what it might look like. 

This is far from a resource for active traders, but it is for anyone looking for a replacement to having to go to multiple tools to generate a financial picture in a more concise way.

They also offer a concise mobile app that allows you to quickly review everything, every day on your smartphone. 

Easy To Use Remote Tool

Jan 15, 2019

Description:

Setting up remote access to your own computer is pretty common, but most of the options that used to be free, have converted to pay services. 

Those looking for a great free tool that's easy to use should look into the options available from Google's Chrome Remote Desktop. 

Just download the plugin to the Chrome Browser on any of your computers that you'd like to remote into. 

Once it's setup, whether it's a Windows, Mac or Linux-based computer, you can remotely access it as if you are at the keyboard! 

You can even use Chromebooks, tablets or smartphones to remote access your computers. 

This allows you to remote into any of your computers right from a smartphone anywhere in the world in a pinch.

It only takes minutes to setup, so if your looking for a free remote access tool, we highly recommend this one! 

Here are the links

Chrome Remote Desktop Add-on: https://chrome.google.com/remotedesktop 

iOS remote app: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/chrome-remote-desktop/id944025852?mt=8

Android remote app: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.google.chromeremotedesktop 

Parent's Beware of This Mistake!

Jan 14, 2019

Description:

An important way to understand ways of protecting yourself when online is to start thinking like hackers do. 

A very valuable item sold on the dark web is your personal info, so tricking people online into allowing the bad guys into your computer is a very common method of attack.

But instead of trying to trick adults, hackers have figured out it's much easier to trick the kids in the household to get to the parents. 

They often sneak silent tracking programs into your computer by hiding them in free music, videos, games or other expensive programs that younger users are more likely to want to download. 

The reason that this approach is effective is because parents generally let their kids use mom and dad's profile which has full administrative control over the computer. 

If your household is setup in this way, you should be making a change asap!

Parents should always setup a completely separate profile without full admin control for their children as a way to reduce the exposure to mom and dad's profile. 

It's really a fundamental security step for every household, so if you need help setting it up, find someone you trust as every operating system is different.

Are They a Bot?

Jan 13, 2019

Description:

There's no question about the impact of social media in many aspects of our lives. 



It can influence buying decisions, our politics and it's been used many times in global conflicts to communicate to the masses. 



This popularity has also encouraged the usage of technology known as 'social bots' which are simply software programs that do their best to act like are real humans. 



It's not uncommon for companies to use automated posts but spam artists also employ them to send junk ads disguised as posts.

It some cases, governments will use them as propaganda channels. 

The worst part is that bots are also used to infect accounts and resend malicious links, so it's always best to avoid these undesirable accounts.

Twitter in particular is prone to lots of accounts that are using social bots, which is what led to a research project run by Indiana University. 



They developed the 'Truthy Project Bot or Not' tool which attempts to analyze Twitter accounts for signs that they're a social bot. 



It's far from a definite tool, it's a handy tool to avoid getting scammed by a profile that is trying to represent a real human. 

https://truthy.indiana.edu/botornot

Disable Public Shares!

Jan 10, 2019

Description:

I'm sure you've heard lots of experts talking about the dangers of using public wifi, but there may be something else you're exposed to but didn't realize. 

Your beloved laptop might be sharing files with others connected to the same public Wi-Fi without you knowing what's going on. 

The default or public shares on your laptop may be allowing others to access or even save items onto your laptop. 

This alone won't impact your other critical files in other areas, but technically your laptop is accessible by any random user of the same public wifi. 

To play it safe, especially if you never need to use the public share folder, turn off this feature. 

I have actually seen situations where files that could be considered sensitive have been stored in the accessible folders because the laptop owner didn't realize anyone could access those folders. 

Both Mac & Windows users have this potential issue, so here are the instructions on how to turn them off

Disable public shares in OS X: http://osxdaily.com/2014/02/11/disable-public-folder-sharing-mac-os-x 

Disable public folders in Windows: 

http://www.raymond.cc/blog/how-to-remove-or-disable-shared-documents-from-my-computer 

For Windows 10 users: https://www.tenforums.com/tutorials/50179-turn-off-public-folder-sharing-windows-10-a.html

Spear Phishing Test Tool

Jan 9, 2019

Description:

There's something that has become obvious from most of the major breaches that you've heard over the past couple of years. 

Just about every one of the breaches began through a phishing message targeting someone in the organization. 

Well-crafted fake e-mail messages, A.K.A 'spear phishing', are often used on many victims of ransomware. 

A clever way to trick anyone is by creating what appears to be an important message from someone else in the same organization. 

That means you need to start paying very close attention to every message that pops up from your co-workers, your boss or any of the administrators in your company. 

If your organization would like to run a targeted phishing test on up to 100 employees, look into the tools at https://KnowBe4.com

Their phishing security test, which is free, can help you see how likely people in your organization are likely to fall for spear phishing messages that claim to be from your IT department. 

The phishing test tool is located at:

https://www.knowbe4.com/phishing-security-test-offer

Flipboard on Your Computer

Jan 8, 2019

Description:

Perusing information via the Internet is a lot like drinking from a firehose; you need to find tools to help you filter out the stuff you don't really want and organize the stuff you do want. 

One of my favorite tool for this task is called Flipboard, because it specifically works with your social accounts and your general interests.

Flipboard will grab your feeds from your Facebook and Twitter accounts along with your specific interests like sports, business or tech and then displays them in magazine form.

But did you know that you can also use Flipboard from your computer?

That's right, you can make use of your big, beautiful computer display to see your custom magazine that you've already setup on your smartphone or tablet. 

For those that have never used Flipboard, you should start by installing the mobile app on your mobile device first, which makes it easy to add your social accounts onto your Flipboard account. 

Once you've done that, visit https://flipboard.com and login to see your feeds in all their glory!

Cheap Electronics Warning

Jan 7, 2019

Description:

It's that time of year when you can count on the very best deals for just about any type of electronic gadget you have on your wish list.

But heed this warning: the lowest priced device is rarely the best idea. 

Shopping for technology based on the price will play right into the plans of retailers that are simply interested in moving slow moving products. 

In order to be the cheapest technology, the company generally cuts corners because the margins in the gadget market are razor thin. 

The result can be batteries that don't stay charged as long, software compatibility issues or apps and in some cases, dangerous security holes. 

It's best to look for name brand products from resellers that you've heard of and offer a liberal return policy. 

The cheaper the gadget is, the more time you should spend researching before making the purchase. 

Look for user feedback on the device by searching Google for the exact device followed by the word 'review'.

If you can't find any reviews, that's your sign to take a pass!

Past Memories App

Jan 6, 2019

Description:

Our social media accounts are an excellent way to document our daily lives, which is more apparent when you take a few minutes to look up previous posts. 

But this requirement is kind of like having a bunch of photo albums on your shelf that you haven't looked at in years. 

Well the TimeHop app that I've featured in the past makes revisiting your past posts automatic. 

It used to only work with Facebook, but now you can use it with Twitter, Instagram and even the camera roll off your phone. 

Once you set up the app, you'll get a daily reminder in the morning of the things you posted in the past on that day.

It's like looking at a page of those old photo albums every day; it's a great way to see those meaningful memories from the past. 

It's like your very own private #TBT every day! 

https://TimeHop.com

Underwater 'Street Views'

Jan 3, 2019

Description:

Lots of us love the being in the ocean so much that we're willing to go through the process of getting scuba certified so we can go underwater and explore Mother Nature underwater up close and personal. 

For others, the thought of being underwater near large sea animals is too freaky, so they never get to have the amazing underwater experience themselves, until now! 

Google Street Views has gone underwater so anyone can go exploring underwater at some of the world's greatest destinations without ever getting wet. 

Google is using its HD Street View camera technology to map the sea floor. 

Imagine going underwater in Australia's Great Barrier Reef or lots of the best dive sites around the world with nothing more needed than clicking and dragging your mouse. 

Zoom in on coral reefs with your mouse wheel and tap onto areas in the distance to really get a slight sense of what it's like to be an underwater explorer. 

When you're done, go stroll the beaches surrounding these amazing underwater sites!

https://www.google.com/streetview/#oceans

3D Floor Plans Made Easy

Jan 2, 2019

Description:

Anyone that's about to tackle any kind of renovation knows that you should start with a sense of what you want it to look like. 

Most of us are far from accomplished architects that have tons of expensive 3-D rendering programs on our computers for this, so we bring you an awesome and free online tool located at https://HomeSTyler.com

The tool was built by programmers that are known for their professional design programs, so despite being free, it's still very powerful. 

You start by drawing out your floor plan, place furniture and fixtures where you want them and before you know it, you will have the beginnings of a 3-D version of what you had in mind.

Need to start over and knock some walls down to make a bigger space? No problem. HomeStyler is a virtual playground for you to get a feel for your ideas before you start spending money. 

They also have mobile apps that take pictures of your room and allow you to start playing around with your ideas on your smartphone.

Disaster Recovery Planning

Jan 1, 2019

Description:

You know the old saying: 'Hope for the best; prepare for the worst'.

Anyone that owns or operates a business, should know this mantra very well. 

With this in mind, we suggest that every business reviews their 'Disaster Recovery Plan' at least one time a year. 

For some businesses, this may be a "create" your disaster recovery plan excercise. 

So how's it work? Simply begin with asking yourself what would you do if one of the the following disasters hit your business: 

Flood, Fire, Virus infection, Theft, human error, sabotage, hardware failure or the all-too-common data breach. 

What you'd do to recover from each of these disasters is different and will require completely different recovery processes in some cases. 

Most of you do an excellent job of building a backup process, but you don't seem to put any effort into the steps that will be required to recover from a disaster. Imagine having fire drills in a school then hoping all the students knows what to do when alarm is sounded.

The worst possible time to create your disaster recovery plan is during an actual crisis, so this is a wake up call to git er done today! 

Posture Tips for Computing

Dec 31, 2018

Description:

We've collectively taken an evolutionary step backwards, thanks to our computers. Our posture when we're using our computers at home or at the office sucks!

We use our computers so much, that 'Carpal Tunnel Syndrome' has become one of the most common physical problems many are suffering.  

The treatment from the medical community is generally surgery, even when you have a moderate case of CTS and it's generally caused when you forget to sit up straight. 

How can you avoid this common problem? Start by positioning your desk, your chair and yourself up for success. 

Keep the chair at a height to make your knees bend at a 90 degree angle; keep your feet flat and make sure your wrists stay as close to parallel to the floor as possible.

Laptop keyboards are decent but if possible, get a wireless keyboard and raise your laptop screen up. Looking down at laptop screens is another painful problem. 

Checkout the IMAK computer gloves if you want help with your wrist posture: https://www.imakproducts.com

Help Is a Keystroke Away

Dec 30, 2018

Description:

Whenever you purchase a new computer, software program or just about anything electronic, you will find the manual is missing from the box; so where did it go? 

We've become so smart that manuals are unnecessary now, right? Nope!

Electronic manuals are often buried somewhere on the company's website in the form of a PDF, making it hard to determine if you have the correct one, for your model. 

Anyone that has a Windows computer can get help just by pushing a button. Simply tap the F1 and viola!

This F1 key is a universal way to get help in Windows. Most programs will pop up a help screen when you press the F1 key.

Mac users can't do the same thing, but it's still possible. Just press & hold 'Command-Shift' and then on the question mark key to pop up the help search bar. 

Using the built-in Help does more than just save trees, they stay updated as new options are released. The info you pull up in the help screens is matched to what version you are using.

No need to scour the Internet for a missing manual because it's always been just a keystroke away: it's F1 and you're done.

Get Festify DJ App

Dec 27, 2018

Description:

'Tis the party gathering season and if music is as important to you as it is to me for my get togethers, checkout today's tip for creating crowdsourced DJ. 

An app called 'Festify is a free add on service for Spotify accounts that doesn't force everyone at your party to install an app in order to participate. 

You'll need a Spotify 'Premium' account, so if you don't have one but want to check this app out, simple start a 3 month premium account trial for 99 cents.

You just go to Festify.com to setup the console on your laptop, then connect the laptop to a sound system. Once your guests arrive, just give them a web link along with your party code to connect to the playlist. 

Anyone at the party can add any song that's in the Spotify library and also vote for songs as they are added to the playlist from any smartphone. 

You can also send the info out well in advance of the party so everyone can start adding their favorite songs before they even get to the party. 

It's far and away our favorite party DJ tool!

Check it out at https://getfestify.com

Reminder to Recycle Old Electronics

Dec 26, 2018

Description:

It's highly likely that someone in your household received some form of electronics this holiday season, which then means that you will end up with old tech devices you no longer have a use for.

It's critically important to keep in mind that anything that plugs in or uses any type of battery typically contains lots of toxic waste, so please don't throw your old devices in the trash. 

Instead, check with your local schools and charities to see if any have a way to reuse your old electronics. Just because it's not good enough for you anymore does not mean that it's useless for everyone.

If it is too old for someone else to use, make sure to recycle it properly through a responsible recycler. 

All that tech has toxins that range from lead, arsenic, mercury to a list of other toxic agents that will contaminate our landfills and groundwater if thrown in the trash. 

We're doing a poor job of properly disposing of the majority of the 3million+ tons of electronic waste since we are still throwing it in trash cans, because of the lack of awareness of the problem. 

Please be sure you dispose of electronics properly and make sure your friends and family do the same!

Off-Site Backup Reminder!

Dec 25, 2018

Description:

One consistent problem has existed with computer users that hasn't changed over the past 30 years; everyone knows they should be backing up their critical files, but they just haven't gotten around to it. 



If you're in the camp that's been meaning to get some form of backup setup, there's a really important reason you should. 



The very real threat of becoming a victim of ransomware exists for everyone. This attack allows hackers to sneak into your computer and hold your files hostage, including the files on your backup drive if it's connected to your computer.


The most dangerous versions can spread by themselves in several ways we've never seen before. 



Any victim of ransomware that doesn't have some form of off-site backup has to choose between losing all their files or paying hundred or even thousands of dollars to regain access to their files.


Online backup tools like Carbonite are among the best ways to protect yourself from having to pay any file ransom, because your backup isn't accessible through your computer at the point of attack. 



If you still don't have a solid off-site backup setup, here are the links to checkout Carbonite: 



Home Products:

http://partners.carbonite.com/datadoctors?product=Home

 

Office Products:

http://partners.carbonite.com/datadoctors?product=Office

New Computer Setup Tools

Dec 24, 2018

Description:

Acquiring a new computer is always fun, but it also means you have a bit of work to do to get all the programs and utilities necessary to get your new computer to work like your old one.

Getting your preferred browser, productivity tools and media tools along with the long list of utilities that are needed is just the beginning. 

Most new computer owners fail to realize the many processes it'll take to get that new PC operating properly until they've been subjected to the tedious task. 

If you end up getting a new computer this holiday season, we have a more efficient way for both Mac & Windows users to get up to speed.

We've covered a web tool known as NiNite for new Windows computers because it allows you to create a single installation file that includes everything you want. 

For those with a new Mac computer, checkout GetMacApps.com to execute the same time saving option. 

Anyone tasked with setting up new computers for a business will find these tools a really easy way to make sure that all the computers are setup the same way!

Mac http://getmacapps.com

Windows: https://ninite.com

Do You Know About Wolfram Alpha?

Dec 23, 2018

Description:

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

Don't Ignore Strange Sounds!

Dec 20, 2018

Description:

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

Dec 19, 2018

Description:

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

Dec 18, 2018

Description:

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

Dec 17, 2018

Description:

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

Dec 16, 2018

Description:

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

Unroll Email Cleanup Reminder

Dec 13, 2018

Description:

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

Dec 12, 2018

Description:

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

Go Anywhere, Connect Everywhere

Dec 11, 2018

Description:

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

Dec 10, 2018

Description:

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

Small Business Invoicing Tools

Dec 9, 2018

Description:

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

Dec 6, 2018

Description:

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. 

Remote Facebook Logout Reminder

Dec 5, 2018

Description:

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. 

Learning Languages Made Easier

Dec 4, 2018

Description:

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

Dec 3, 2018

Description:

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

Dec 2, 2018

Description:

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. 

Cheap Alternative Software Options

Nov 29, 2018

Description:

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

Nov 28, 2018

Description:

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

Nov 27, 2018

Description:

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

Nov 26, 2018

Description:

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

Nov 25, 2018

Description:

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

Track Mileage Automatically

Nov 22, 2018

Description:

If you're a business owner or employee that has to track your mileage on a daily basis, there are a plethora of apps available to allow you to manually keep track of your driving, but wouldn't it be better to use the built-in GPS in your phone to automate this tedious task?

An app that does this very thing is called "TripLog GPS Mileage Tracker" and it puts the smart back into your smartphone.

Triplog can also track parking fees, fuel costs, tolls and other common driving expenses for a more complete trip report.

An excellent feature of the app is that it simply require you to plug the phone into a power connector or use your Bluetooth connection to automatically start tracking your mileage once you go more than five miles per hour.

It also automatically stops tracking your mileage, when you disconnect your phone from power or from your car's Bluetooth, so it eliminates a lot of the human error.

The basic features of Triplog are free with optional premium features if you feel they are worth spending money on.

https://triplogmileage.com

Fishing Network

Nov 21, 2018

Description:

As the world of social networking continues to grow, you aren't limited to only the most well known options such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

More obscure networks that serve a niche based on race, religion, gender, age, or any special interest group are available and for those that are fishing enthusiasts, there's a social network for that.

It's called "FishBrain" and it has millions of users that will connect you with fishing fans in over 200 countries.

It's an interesting resource that's designed to provide information and connections to those that love the sport of fishing.

You can share and track fishing spots, compare your technique & bait options and compete with others as you record your catches using the network.

With over 330K catches and more than 50k bait options, you can engage with thousands of other anglers right from your mobile devices.

The network and apps can be accessed at:

http://fishbrain.com

Childproofing iPhones & iPads

Nov 20, 2018

Description:

For most households with kids, an iPhone or iPad has become an electronic babysitter of sorts, but allowing a young child to have complete access to your mobile device is pretty risky.

An underutilized option in Apple's operating system can make it easy to protect your sensitive info before you hand it to your child.

It is referred to as 'Guided Access' and it will allow you to completely lock down your device and only allow a single app to run.

Once you turn it on, you simply select the app you want allow, then lock the system to only that app which will keep your child from accessing anything else.

If you want to allow access to a number of apps, using the 'Restrictions' settings to specifically lock down individual apps may be a better way to go.

Both options can be setup relatively quickly using the 'Settings' menu without the need to be very technical.

The how-to links for both options are posted here:

Setup Guided Access: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT202612

Setup App Restrictions: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201304

iPhone Picture Taking Reminder

Nov 19, 2018

Description:

For all you frustrating iPhone photographers that work hard to get that awesome shot just to have it come out blurry so often, today's tip is for you.

You can always take many shots in a row to help improve your odds of a clear pic, but in many cases, the blurry shots are because of the movement created every time you tap to snap the shot.

Holding perfectly still and tapping gently on the screen also helps create clean shots, but there are a couple more ways to take pictures that a lot of probably forgot or didn't know they have.

One alternative is to use the volume buttons on the iPhone, which turns the process into more of an old-school camera method specifically when holding the phone sideways.

If you plug Apple's famous white earbuds in, you can use the volume buttons on those headphones to take a picture as well.

Using the earbud volume control to take a picture can be handy when you're trying to take a candid shot or if you are using a tripod.

Whichever way you go, always remember: hold still longer!

Much Better Conferencing

Nov 18, 2018

Description:

If you've had enough of all of the inconveniences of getting on a conference call, especially if your joining from your smartphone or tablet, today's tip is for you.

If you're the one responsible for creating the session, think about making a change from the old way, with a much better new way.

A web tool known as "UberConference" is the best conferencing platform I've ever used because it's just better than the old school options. 

No more typing in a long PIN number when you're on your phone or put up with the constant bleeping as people enter or exit the call. You can avoid having to wonder who's on the call or who is currently talking because it's all on your display visually.

The host is always in control making it easy to mute individual participants that subject the group to their on-hold music when they put you on hold. 

You can also record sessions, provide screen sharing and plenty of other awesome features that will greatly improve the call for everyone, whether they are joining via their computer or smartphone.  

Try it yourself at http://www.uberconference.com

Lockout Code Reminder

Nov 15, 2018

Description:

Our smartphones and tablets have more powerful processors than the what NASA had to work with for getting man to the moon in the late 60's.

Your mobile devices also contain your very private thoughts

& a loads of sensitive information that you want to keep from the prying eyes of others.

For some reason, so many of you still don't think of your mobile devices the same way you do your laptop or desktop computer, but you must know that they are the same thing, especially when it comes to storing personal information.

This lack of connection is why so many of you still haven't added a basic step to protecting that valuable personal info by simply activating the lock screen option.

Many of you don't activate it because you don't want to be bothered every time to input the code, but the alternative is pretty dangerous.

Their is an exponential increase in likelihood of losing or worse, having a mobile device stolen, so just take a minute to protect your devices while you're thinking of it.

The rest of the security features in your phone are completely useless if you don't lock the front door!

Anonymous Search Engine

Nov 14, 2018

Description:

Lots of Internet users are more frequently thinking about online privacy for all their digital interactions.

When it comes to search engines, there's is a way to stay anonymous if you use alternative sites such as https://DuckDuckGo.com

It's a pretty obscure secure engine but it gets a lot of attention from privacy advocates because it doesn't do what the popular search engines do: it doesn't track anything.

It won't save your search history, the dates or times of your queries, info about your operating system and computer or any of the other tracking points commonly used by virtually any website that you visit.

While DuckDuckGo excels in the privacy arena, don't expect it to be as powerful as Google. This might change the search results that you may be used to seeing.

If you want to see the difference, do your own search tests using the same queries so that you can see what you're giving up in exchange for the privacy.

What's It Built With?

Nov 13, 2018

Description:

Whether you are technical or not, in business, it's likely to find yourself in a situation where you are facing a tech-based decision when your working on a website.

Having technical decisions placed in front of non-technical decision makers results in tough decisions on the plethora of web technologies available for the project.

Both Fortune 500 CEO's and small business owners know that what other companies are using on their websites can help make the decision a bit more informed.

An excellent tool at https:\\BuiltWith.com can be very helpful in understanding web technology trends in general.

Just by typing in any website address at the site will generate a report on the various technologies used by that site; also good for knowing what your competitors are using.

They also generate reports on web technology trends allowing you to compare the technology that you are in the process of evaluating to see if it's out of favor or being used more.

The Builtwith.com web tool is a great and free intelligence gathering opportunity that I would highly recommend to anyone considering a web tech decision.

USB Charging in a Snap!

Nov 12, 2018

Description:

If you're household is like most in the U.S., you have lots of devices that need to be charged via USB cable which requires a lot of adapters to plug into outlets in order to get them charged.

This forces you to gather many of the devices to one location instead of just charging wherever an outlet exists. 

If you'd like a solution to make charging your USB devices just about anywhere in the house or office you'd like, checkout the 'Snap Power' solution. 

Snap Power has created replacement power outlets which include USB ports on both sides for charging your mobile devices. 

You can get them for as little as $20 with varying discounts when you purchase packs of 2 to or more. 

The install can be done in a minute or two because there are no wires or batteries needed for these unique plates that use their built in power prongs to connect. 

So just by replacing any wall plate in your house, you can add a new dual charging station. 

Check them out at https://www.snappower.com

Get Sideways With Your iPhone

Nov 11, 2018

Description:

If you are among the millions that has acquired one of Apple's larger screen phones but you only use it in the portrait mode, you are missing out on many hidden features. 

Virtually every productivity app on your phone from the calendar to email to messaging have special features that only become available when you flip your phone sideways. 

For example, you can see your emails in split screen mode, which lists your messages on one side and a preview of messages on the other side. 

Viewing stock quotes sideways also makes use of the extra real estate using the split screen to provide more detailed info on the stock you're viewing. 

Try typing with your iPhone sideways to give you more room per key and in some cases, provides some additional keys. 

You will discover lots of useful hidden features when you simply turn your phone to the landscape mode. Just start viewing all your apps in landscape mode to see what you've been missing.

Is Your Website Up?

Nov 8, 2018

Description:

Anyone that has a website or a blog for a small business knows that it's one of the best ways for customers to get to know your business.

But do you actually know if your website is always available? Are your customers able to connect to it whenever they want or is there downtime that you can't see?

If you are not 100% certain that your site is always up, you should take a look at https://uptimerobot.com

UpTimeRobot can monitor your website every 5 minutes and it is completely free.

Sign up for a free account, you can start monitoring in about 30 seconds on up to 50 sites.

You will get alerts by e-mail when any of your websites take a dive, so you won't have to worry about some else alerting you hours after it went down.

If you don't think this is a real problem, guess again! It commonly happens to websites of all sizes. If you have an e-commerce site, you know how much downtime can cost you.

Their monitoring dashboard is simple to understand, so you can quickly view the history of your site and see repeat problems that you wouldn't otherwise know about.

Again, this free tool at https://www.uptimerobot.com can monitor up to 50 websites for you.

FitBark Dog Activity Monitor

Nov 7, 2018

Description:

Has your pup gotten porky?

It fido starting to fill out?

When your dog has become more of rug and less of a running partner, pay attention to today's tech tip.

If you are wondering if your dog sits around too much, a device for dogs called the 'FitBark' can let you know.

The small device can track just how active your dog is during the day with something they call a daily BarkScore.

Before the FitBark, there were lots of fitness traking options for us humans but nothing for our 4-legged friends.

With this tiny device on your dog's collar, the FitBark will let you know how active your dog is being at any given moment.

Even when you are out of town, you can see when the dog sitter took your fur baby for a walk and how long those walks are.

When your dog is feeling a little sick, giving your vet the details of your dog's activity in the past few days, including how they have been sleeping can be very useful.

The FitBark will let you see how much activity your dog has gotten while you were at work and if they need some more. It should keep their tail wagging!

Facebook Trusted Contacts

Nov 6, 2018

Description:

Ever forgotten any of your passwords? Don't feel bad, we all have.

Did you know that if you get locked out of your Facebook account that one of your friends can help you get back in?

Facebook launched a security feature some time back called "Trusted Contacts" to serve as an optional way for users to recover their accounts with the help of their online friends.

To use this option, you just pick 3 to 5 of your Facebook friends that you trust that can get you back in control of your account if you ever get locked out.

If it happens, Facebook can send a special security code to those friends you previously chose, who can forward these codes to you so you can get back in.

You will need at least three security codes to recover your account, which keeps any one friend from using their recovery key to access your Facebook account.

If you set this up, you won't have to answer security questions or fill out long online forms to try to prove you are who you say you are; your trusted friends make it possible.

To select your Trusted Contacts, go to the security settings section of your Facebook profile, which will generate a notification to those friends that they have been enlisted as your trusted contact.

Think of it as picking your friends that you would trust with a spare car or house key.

Homeowner Maintenance App

Nov 5, 2018

Description:

Anyone that owns a home can relate to the classic Tom Hanks movie 'The Money Pit'.

Even when your home isn't the money pit that is portrayed in the movie, it still seem like it's an endless list of tasks that's waiting for you to get done.

One of the best ways to avoid surprises is by being proactive with maintenance for items that you know are in need of regular attention.

Anyone that wants a little assistance remembering or even learning which maintenance tasks need to be done should look into a web resource and app called BrightNest.

BrightNest will allow you to create a customized list of tips and also lets you schedule thoses tasks based on your home's needs. It does so, by you building a profile of what appliances you have, the type of flooring and countertops and if you have a pool or not, for example.

Beyond the scheduled maintenance tasks, there offer lots of tips for cleaning, organizing and maintaining those common areas of you home.

Using the mobile app provides you with reminders and alerts, while serving as a reference guide when you're shoppting at your hardware store.

For a digital assistant to keep you on top of the important tasks of being a homeowner, go to https://BrightNest.com for lots of free help!

Beware of Image Copyrights!

Nov 4, 2018

Description:

In the past, I've warned of the dangers of using images that you find online if you decide to use them on your website or blog without explicit permission from the rights holder.

It's pretty obvious that many users on the Internet just don't realize that they're actually violating copyright laws when they post what they think are 'public' images on their site. 

You can avoid getting caught up in costly legal situation by making it a point to review all your images that you've posted on any website or blog that you own. 

When you aren't sure where any image came from, the best course is to delete them and replace them with items that you know are not violating a copyright.

Getty Images and other services like them offer large libraries of images that you can legally embed on your online sites for free, as long as you stick to their guidelines. 

Another option is using images that fall under a 'Creative Commons' license which means that the owners of the images are allowing you to make use of their image for free following certain terms and conditions. 

Another option is to purchase your legal images from resources like https://BigStockPhoto.com for just a few dollars each. 

Ignoring image copyrights can end up costing you thousands of dollars per image when you are caught, so don't ignore this issue.

My advice on this issue is posted at http://www.datadoctors.com/help/columns/21988

Pausing Your Inbox

Nov 1, 2018

Description:

E-mail is one of those things we just can't live without these days, but how often does it become a huge distraction that can put a dent in your productivity?

When your devices are setup to constantly alert as a new message arrives, manually turning the notifications on or off is also a bit cumbersome 

Wouldn't it be great if you could simply pause those incoming messages for a while when you need to focus? 

Gmail users can do just that with a free add-on called 'Inbox Pause'. 

Inbox Pause is a simple tool that adds a button which allows you to pause or un-pause your inbox with the click of a mouse. 

It also allows you to notify people that you're currently in 'pause mode' in the event their message is urgent. 

The banner at the top will remind you when you are 'pausing' so you won't forget. 

Download the add-on at:

http://inboxpause.com

Using BeMyEyes to Help Others

Oct 31, 2018

Description:

I'm constantly searching for interesting tech related items to talk about and once in a while, I discover something truly amazing that can connect people. 

Once example is an app called 'Be My Eyes' it's a simple but incredible idea. 

An inventor in Denmark created the app which allows blind users to connect with sighted users of the app for help using a video connection. 

Sighted users use the app to 'be the eyes' for those needing visual assistance with small tasks, like explaining what a street sign might say, describing what is in a can of food or confirming the expiration date on a milk carton. 

Anyone with a smartphone and the desire to help others can get involved simply by installing the app. 

As part of the community, you will earn points each time you help anyone, which then elevates your level in the community, providing you with more opportunities to help others. 

If you want a cool way to do something that makes you feel good, checkout https://bemyeyes.com to get the app.

Leverage Google's Trends

Oct 30, 2018

Description:

Google has for many years offered an incredible number of free productivity tools that are especially usefel for businesses.

A tool that most people have never used and is one of my favorites is 'Google Trends'.

The Google Trends tool will allow you to take advantage of their huge database of search terms used by the entire Internet so you can see how often any term is typed in for Google searches.

It's a powerful tool for finding relevant keywords that will help your business attract users looking for your products and services; it's a powerful market research tool.

When you search for terms, you can reduce the focus to a country, a state or even just a language which will produce a line-chart displaying the interest over time.

It'll allow you to adjust the time span from between the past hour back to 2004 and show you the differences between various terms over time.

It's an excellent way to find search terms that are seasonal, which is helpful in creating time sensitive marketing plans.

If you're one of the many that have not used Google Trends, take a second to see just how this incredibly powerful tool can help your business.

Get started at https://Google.com/trends

Shielding Your Private Cell Number

Oct 29, 2018

Description:

If you're like me, your smartphone is now your primary mode of communication, but then there are those times when you would rather not hand over your personal number to allow someone to contact you. 

Whether you're trying to sell an item or do business with folks in another state or even country, you would likely prefer that your personal number stays private. 

In those instances when having a second number would be nice, there's an app for that and it's called TextMe Up. 

TextMe Up will allow you to generate special local or even international numbers, for those specific one-off situations that will allow you to keep our cell number private. 

TextMe Up also allows you to text anyone in the world using a different number, as long as you're ok with ads in the messaging app. 

Anyone that could use separate phone numbers for various activities in your private or public life, should checkout the TextMe Up app. 

Your first number is free and the app works on iOS and Android devices: http://TextMeUp.com

Multiple Browser Troubleshooting Tip

Oct 28, 2018

Description:

Cyber-thieves are constantly creating new ways to take advantage of us because we use the Internet on a daily basis.

The web browser is how you navigate most of what's available online, which is why so many exploits focus on exploiting your browser. 

It's also common to experience various issues with your browser, so today's tip is a troubleshooting step when issues do pop up. 

Make sure you have two different browsers installed on all your devices so you track down Internet issues more easily. 

The next time you run into an Internet access situation, if you switch to the alternate browser, check to see if the issue goes away. If it does, you'll know to look into your main browser and try things like clearing your cache or running a deep malware scan. 

If when you change browsers, it doesn't change your problem, then it's more likely to be an issue with your device, the modem or your router, which should be reset all together. 

Chasing the wrong side of a problem can be quickly avoided if you try this easy troubleshooting process first.

Where's My Backup?

Oct 25, 2018

Description:

A Rutgers student recently posted a plea to the thief that stole their laptop letting them know that they don't care about the lost computer, but they're willing to pony up $1,000 for what was on the computer. 

5 years of work including their thesis was on the laptop and that laptop only. Imagine losing something that valuable, that easily?

So how could this unfortunate situation have been avoided? Quite simply with a backup.  

We help users all the time that bought an external hard drive, called it a backup but didn't realize that it's not. 

An actual backup means you are able to point at your files in more than one place. When you use an external hard drive and the your files are only there, that is not an actual backup. 

They should live in your Documents folder on the computer and a second copy should be saved on the external hard drive. 

Anytime you are working on critical documents, like a thesis, don't forget that you can also use 'save as' or copy those files to any flash drive. 

You should also consider on of the many online backup services for your important documents because they will take care of backing up automatically. 

Whatever you do, do something because the worst kind of backup, is no backup at all!

5 Tips for Going Paperless

Oct 24, 2018

Description:

Most of us are storing half a forest of paper in our filing cabinets at home or in storage and have been contemplating taking on those piles of papers. 

If you are attempting to eliminate as much paper from your life, it's a daunting task made obvious as soon as you open your filing cabinets. So, how and where do you get started? 

First step is to sort and sift with a purpose! The mountain of paper will likely include old owners manuals, tax records from 20 years ago, really old credit card receipts and paycheck stubs from a job you don't even have anymore. Toss the useless stuff first. 

Second step is to shred and recycle old stuff! Many important documents may already be online, so your don't need to keep all these old paper copies. Start building your recycling pile. 

Third step is if it isn't already online... scan it! Pile those important papers in one stack and scan them. 

Forth step is to stop killing trees! Just about every business you deal with offers a paperless option for your accounts. Convert those accounts to stop the flow of useless papers.

The final step, especially if you are a business owner is to look at a service such as https://www.earthclassmail.com, because they can virtualize all your mail, by scanning things that generally pile up on your desk. 

Remember, with no more paper, comes no more paper cuts! 

Email Bankruptcy

Oct 23, 2018

Description:

Every so often, we tend to get behind and sometimes we get so far behind that we really need to start over. 

It's really hard to stay on top of the deluge of emails we get on a daily basis and when you get a couple days behind, it can seem like it's impossible to get caught up. You can easily end up with hundreds of messages in the Inbox that you haven't been able to read. 

When you find yourself submerged with a pile of emails, your only way out may be to declare "email bankruptcy". This means you will be deleting every message in your inbox. It's like a financial bankruptcy; you're writing off the losses and starting over. 

The best way to declare email bankruptcy is to send a message to all the people you care about letting them know that you've filed email bankruptcy and if they're waiting on a response from you, they need to resend those messages.

When you do this as a group message, be sure that you type all the addresses in the Blind Carbon Copy (BCC) section so you keep all those email addresses private.

Lather, Rinse, REBOOT?

Oct 22, 2018

Description:

How many times has this happened in your family?: "Hey, I can't connect to the wifi" or "sweety, my email isn't working again" or "I can't get on Facebook"!

When experience any kind of nagging issue with your tech, whether it's your desktop or laptop computer, tablet or smartphone, remember what your shampoo bottle says. 

Lather, Rinse & REBOOT! Rather than lather, rinse & repeat, we're saying Lather, Rinse, Reboot to make it easier to remember. 

If your smarphone's email program is stuck, or you can't get the WiFi connection to work even though it says you're connected... Lather, Rinse, Reboot! 

If your computer starts running like molasses or that spreadsheet just isn't adding up... Lather, Rinse, Reboot! 

When your laptop can't connect to your favorite online resources or the screen goes blank randomly... Lather, Rinse, Reboot!

All computing devices will deplete resources as they're used. The longer it's been in continuous use, the more likely that the resources have been sucked up. 

Whenever you terminate an app or resource, it returns most of its memory to the operating system, but a portion of that memory has been lost, so after a while, you can run low on those essential resources. 

The next time your computer acts catty, your desktop is dismal, or your tablet is getting tardy, before you call the IT hotline, remember to Lather, Rinse, Reboot! 

Zombie Workout App

Oct 21, 2018

Description:

If you need a little boost to make your morning runs a lot more fun, checkout the

Zombies Run app.

Zombies Run is one part Runkeeper and one part Walking Dead and it'll turn your morning run into a run-for-your-life virtual adventure.

Out of energy on your run and pushing to bring yourself to finish that last mile? Well, maybe a bunch of virtual zombies breathing down your neck will help you with the adrenaline you need. 

That's the concept behind the Zombies, Run app, which is available for both Android and iOS devices. It gives you a totally immersive running game and audio adventure right on your phone. 

Here's how it works: Before you begin your run, you just start the app, pick a 'mission', slap on your headphones, and hit your run.

Each mission has various goals such as get supplies, rescue others, delivering news to a base and of all things, keep ahead of the Zombies.

With 200 missions, Zombie Chase interval training and using your own music, it provides you with the best of both worlds - a solid morning workout while saving the rest of the world from being eaten. 

So if you're looking for more excitement during your morning run, then try running away from Zombies. 

http://www.zombiesrungame.com

Gmail Offline App

Oct 18, 2018

Description:

We have for years discussed why Gmail is our favorite web email service available, but how do you use a web-based service when there's no Internet connection?

Gmail users know why we are such huge fans: it has great tools and spam filters. 

But what happens when you don't have an Internet connection, but still need to respond to emails or read your pile of unread messages. 

Gmail Offline to the rescue. 

Gmail Offline is an app that will allow you to work with your Gmail account, even when you are not online.

It allows you to respond to messages and search through your old messages, but how? 

Just install the Chrome plugin and it will automatically start synchronizing your messages whenever you're online and you open the Chrome browser. 

The user interface is a lot like the tablet version of the Gmail app so it's fast and focuses on the things you most likely need, your email and contacts. 

To use the app, just sign into your account, open a new tab and click on the icon. You're now up and running! 

The app also provides offline capabilities for Google Calendar and Google Docs as well! 

The next time you have to fly across the country, you won't have to buy an expensive in-flight internet package to be productive! 

Regain Memory with OneTab

Oct 17, 2018

Description:

If you have noticed that your web surfing seems to be a bit slower these days, it may be because you're a tabaholic! 

One of best features of today's web browsers is that they allow you to open individual web pages in separate tabs. 

It eliminated the need to hit the back and forward buttons, because you can simply click on any of the open tabs. The downside to this ability can become a piano on your computer memory's back. 

Every tab that's opened uses up a chunk of RAM as if it were another stand-alone program, so the more tabs that you open, the more memory you're using. 

Today's tip will help improve your computer's speed easily - keep your open tabs to a minimum. 

Other programs that have nothing to do with your web surfing will be impacted when you open too many browser tabs, because your working memory (RAM) is shared by all programs. 

If controlling your tab appetite isn't working, checkout this awesome add-on for the Chrome browser called 'OneTab'. 

It only takes seconds to install and making use of it is just about as simple. The next time you're out of control with open tabs, simply tap the OneTab icon and bingo - your tabs are consolidated in a list on a single tab. 

OneTab instantly clears lots of memory from all your idle tabs that are open, but also allow you to quickly reopen those tabs when you need them. 

It's completely free and available at http://www.one-tab.com

Microsoft Tech Support Reminder

Oct 16, 2018

Description:

Here we go again...the Microsoft tech-support scams, which are essentially dialing for dollars are on the rise again. 

It generally starts with a phone call from a person claiming to be with Microsoft that says that they've detected that your computer is infected. 

If you talk to them long enough, they'll tell you that they can prove to you that you have the problem they called about, if you'll just run a few tests yourself. 

They'll walk you through what will appear to be a diagnostic process and ask you if you see certain things showing up on your screen. 

These 'certain things' are of course built into all Windows computers, so they will always appear, but for those that are not technical, it can be convincing. 

If they can hook you on the bait, the next step is to walk you through the steps that will allow them remote access to your computer. 

This will not only increase your risk of contracting a malicious program, you'll be asked for a credit card number so they can properly clean up your computer. 

The reality is that Microsoft or any other legit service company would never just call you out of the blue to alert you that your computer is infected. 

The good news: avoiding this scam is really easy. Remote help for your computer is completely safe but only when YOU are the one initiating the request for help. 

So if you ever get any type of call that is offering to help you with your computer from out of the blue, you'll know what to do: Hang Up! 

Online Photoshop Substitute

Oct 15, 2018

Description:

We previously told you about Adobe's subscription service for their very popular programs like Photoshop. 

But for those that won't need these tools very often, it's probably had to justify paying $50 a month. 

Even buying an older version will cost hundreds of dollars, so today's tip is about an option that's both easy and free! 

Pixlr.com is a pretty complete photo editor that will work with nothing more than a web browser, so there are no downloads required and no money! 

It's got many of the tools that are popular in Photoshop, so you will have no problem making use of them. 

You can start using Pixlr in seconds and there is no need to register to use it. 

Here are just a few of the options in this free tool: red eye reduction, cloning tools, spot healing, drawing tools and the very useful sharpen and blur tools.

You can also use filters that will mimic HDR, glamor glows, tilt shift, vignettes, and noise adjustments. 

You can of course control the very important tools: Contrast, Levels, Curves, Hue,, Brightness and Saturation

Now when someone sends you a Photoshop file, you can use Pixlr to open them too. 

Check out all the tools for yourself at https://pixlr.com

Awesome Note Taking App

Oct 14, 2018

Description:

Anyone looking for a better way to take daily notes will appreciate today's tech tip, because there's an app for that! 

If you are an old school note taker and tend to use lots of post it notes, you probably use different colors for different types of notes. You'll likely write your daily notes on individual notes for each category, for each day of the month.

That's a lot of work... but it's obviously very organized. Well if that's how you think, then you'll love the note taking app called 'ThingList'. You simply take your notes and it takes care of organizing and categorizes them.

The categories are common activities like movies you'd like to watch, books you'd like to read, restaurants you want to try, ideas that you have, people you've met, places you'd like to visit, products you'd like to try or anything you'd like to remember... the ThingList app will remember and categorizes all your notes. 

Anyone with an iPhone and a lot of things bouncing around in your head may find ThingList an awesome way to capture all those thoughts every day.


http://getthinglist.com

Biz Tip: Prepare For The Worst

Oct 11, 2018

Description:

Just about all of us have heard the old saying, "Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst". Most business owners should know that mantra very well, which is why they should make sure they review their 'Digital Disaster Recovery Plan' on a regular basis.

For some business owners, it might even be a suggestion to simply "create" your disaster recovery plan.

So where should you get started? Start by asking yourself what you would do if one of the common disasters was to hit your business: fire, flood, theft, malware infection, ransomware, human error, sabotage, hardware failure and increasingly, a major data breach.

The steps required to recover from each of these disasters may be quite different and often requires different recovery processes.

Most businesses have focused on creating a solid backup procedure, but they rarely put much effort into the actual steps that will be required for the recovery process. It is akin to having a fire drill in school during a real fire and hoping everyone knows what to do when it happens!

The absolute worst time to create a disaster recovery process is during an actual crisis, so consider this a strong reminder to make it a priority soon.

Funded Crowdsourcing Projects

Oct 10, 2018

Description:

Crowdfunding has become a very popular way to launch a new product or service because you can post the idea and ask for financial supporters and when enough of people think that you are onto something good, you get the funding.

Websites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo are just a couple of ways to see what new products or ideas are being posted, but when they don't get funded, those ideas and products are nothing more than vaporware...

In 2012 alone, Kickstarter had nearly $320 million dollars pledged and the site successfully funded over 18,000 projects.

For those that love discovering new products but don't want to have to wait to see if they will will make it to their funding goals, there's a website calle https://OutGrow.me

Outgrow.me only posts recent products that have been fully funded and are either soon to be available or are in the pre-order stage so you won't waste your time on projects that didn't raise their funding goals.

This visual listing of successfully crowdfunded projects is an excellent way to see the latest and greatest technology ideas and lots of products that may having you saying "why didn't I think of that"!

It's also a great place to find truly unique items for those hard to shop for friends and family members on their special days.

For those that love crowdfunding projects, but don't want to waste their time on ideas that the 'crowd' clearly didn't like, checkout https://OutGrow.me

Medicine Taking App

Oct 9, 2018

Description:

Taking medicine regularly can get to be a bit of a hassle... especially when there are several types of medicine which need to be taken at different times of the day 

Anyone that has a complicated pill taking schedule should checkout an app that could literally be a life-saver that is called the Mango Health app. 

The Mango Health app can start by alerting you when it's time to take each pill based on a schedule you setup and then give you the info you necessary to prevent you from eating or drinking anything that could negatively interact with any of your medications. 

It can also help you from taking pills that could negatively interact with each other.

Once you install the app, simply create the schedule and let it do the rest. The app makes it nice not having to set an alarm for each pill or guess what you can't eat or drink while taking them. 

If you're one of the many that forgets to take their memory pills, but you never forget your smartphone, the Mango Health app is just what the doctor ordered.

Check Your Spam Folder!

Oct 8, 2018

Description:

Just about all of us get tons of junk email every week and no matter what we do, they still seem to find a way to get through the junk filters. Most of us setup rules, blacklists & whitelists in an effort to create a productive inbox, but all that work can create a different problem: false positives! 

It is also nearly impossible to keep legitimate mail from ending up in our junk folders, whether it was from the sender using words that raise their spam score or if they forget to include a subject line or have a blacklisted domain. 

Today's tip is actually an important reminder to check your spam folders on a regular basis. It's surprising to some that find important messages or messages from old friends that have been trying to contact you. 

You won't want to scroll through every message in your junk folder; using a few keywords as search criteria which should be based on any important contacts, words or any current projects that you might be working on. 

When you do discover a legit message that was tagged as spam, you should use the tools in your mail system for reporting the message as not spam.

The sad fact is that spam isn't going away and your legit messages will on occasion get caught in the filters, so consider setting a weekly reminder to check your spam folder to rescue legit messages! 

Mailinator For The Win!

Oct 7, 2018

Description:

Security experts are warning that spam messages from around the world are on the rise with many speculating that our improved economy is making us more of a prime target as a result. 

How we conduct ourselves online can have a lot to do with the volume of spam we get and an easy way to cut down on junk messages is to use a disposable e-mail address. 

From now on, when you need an e-mail address for a less important interaction such as getting special offers or gaining access to a sites that you will probably never use again, rather than giving them your actual e-mail address, try using a disposable address from the http://mailinator.com website.

You can make up any email address you'd like using the Mailinator tool or use one of their suggested addresses to get what you want without giving up your daily e-mail address. 

There are no lengthy sign up processes, no cost involved and no waiting but remember not to use Mailinator addresses for anything sensitive because your temporary inbox is usable by anyone that thinks of the same address. 

The next time you're required to provide a working e-mail address from a site you know you willl never use again, remember our Mailinator tip! 

Outsource Tasks for $5

Oct 4, 2018

Description:

Today's the 5th day of the month and perfect for our $5 Data Doctors Tech Tip 

'Crowdsourcing' is the ability to use the Internet to tap into a crowd of people that can potentially provide a service that you need. 

Many crowdsourcing websites allow you to generate bids from the crowd for a task you have, but wouldn't it be great if you could find a large crowd of people willing to do lots of tasks for just 5 bucks? 

Well that's just you'll find at a site called http://Fiverr.com 


Need to send a loved one a unique birthday greeting? it's only $5! 

Need a flyer designed for your upcoming event? it's only $5! 

Gift ideas, graphic design, videos, simple animations, online marketing, voice over talent, music beds or just about any kind of task can start as low as, you guessed it $5!

Tasks that are a lot more involved may cost you more, but this site is all about being cost really effective, so give it a shot for your next outsourced task!

Web Printing Hack

Oct 3, 2018

Description:

Printing things from a web page can become a big waster of your paper and expensive ink because you're forced to print advertisements and other junk that you have no use for.

Even when the page offers up a printable version of any article, its usually stuffed with an ad or other common ink wasters. 

Wouldn't it be helpful if you could print what you like instead of all the extra junk? 

Now you can if you use an excellent online printing tool called http://printwhatyoulike.com 

You just type the web address of the page you want to print and you will be provided with the tools that allow you to get rid of or isolate any section of what you see on your screen. 

You no longer have to waste ink and paper on useless ads or other junk when you just want print out an airline boarding pass.

https://Printwhatyoulike.com is free and works with any major browser so there is nothing to download or install.

Free OCR Tool

Oct 2, 2018

Description:

OCR which stands for Optical Character Recognition, is software that can scan images to recognize the text from something that generally can't be edited, like a JPG or PDF.

OCR software generally comes with a scanner but setting it up can be a bit of a hassle and of no use if you are at the office and your scanner's at home. 

So, the next time you end up with a scanned image, electronic fax or other forms that you would normally have to retype manually, check out http://OnlineOCR.net and give the free online conversion tool a try. 

It can extract text from everything from PDF files, JPGs, BMPs, TIFFs and even GIF files and convert them into editable text files, documents or spreadsheets. 

It supports lots of different languages and will scan multi-page PDFs and Zip files when you register for free. 

You just upload your image file, choose the language of the text and then choose the output format for it to do its magic... nothing to setup or install...

Laptop Tracking Software

Oct 1, 2018

Description:

Any parent that's about to send a child to their first year of college is probably including an expensive laptop computer as part of the mix. 

That beautiful new laptop is also a highly sought after item by thieves, so before you send your child off, make sure you have installed and setup a location tracking program. 

One of our suggestions is Prey, because it offers their basic tools as a free download at  http://preyproject.com 

Once you install it, the program can track the laptop's location, take a snapshot of whoever using it, grab a screenshot and lock down the system when it goes missing. 

One downside to using a freebie tool is that you are on your own to figure out how to recovery the laptop. 

Anyone wanting tracking and recovery assistance should look into LoJack for Laptops instead http://www3.absolute.com/lojackforlaptops/home. It costs around $40 for two years for the standard package and if it goes missing, simply file a police report and they'll do the rest! 

Ditch Powerpoint!

Sep 30, 2018

Description:

We've all had to sit through a presentation just watching the presenter read off of a series of PowerPoint slides for an hour; it's excruciating and why they refer to it as 'Death by PowerPoint'. 

If you're one of the many that has to make presentations to a group, do us a favor - get rid of those boring Powerpoint slides and try using Prezi.com in its place.

Prezi is a free web-based tool that allows you create a much more interesting and dynamic presentation that is really easy to lay out using their virtual canvas. It allows you to present your info in a more engaging manner. 

You can start by importing those old boring PowerPoint slides so you do not have to start all over and because it's a web based presentation, it's easily shared with your audience. 

And here's one more tip; instead of creating a long list of text heavy slides, try using images and short bullet points to encourage you to deliver your info in more of a conversational way. The idea is to talk to your audience not your slides.

http://Prezi.com 

Recycle with Freecycle.org

Sep 27, 2018

Description:

On those occasions that you have an item that is in great condition but you no longer have a need for, you'd generally like to find someone else that can use it, instead of chucking it in the trash. 

Finding that someone that wants it can be a bit of a hassle, so often times putting it out on the curb with a sign saying "take me, I'm free" usually helps to get it to someone else.

Well, that giving concept is what is behind an excellent community recycling website called http://Freecycle.org which is a virtual exchange site that can get items into the hands of someone that could really wants it. 

At nearly 10 million members, this website is focused on building a worldwide gifting movement which will reduce waste, save our precious resources & ease the impact on our landfills. 

This non-profit reuse community website makes it simple to gift your unneeded items to someone in your community that could probably use the help. 

So if you know someone with items to get rid of or is in need of items, have them checkout the amazing environmental web community at http://freecycle.org

Website Thumbnails Made Easy

Sep 26, 2018

Description:

Anyone responsible for generating presentations or reports which needs to include website references has probably gone through the long process required to capture a thumbnail to add some graphics to your info. 

You can certainly use screen captures along with image editing tools to accomplish this laborious task but we have a better way. 

It's called https://thumbalizr.com and it's a really easy to use option. Simply type the web address of your desired website into the box and tap on the 'Thumb It' button.

This tells the tool to go out and gathers up the elements, assemble them and create a thumbnail image that can range from tiny to very high resolution. 

http://Thumbalizr is spelled T H U M B A L I Z R and the basic service is free. It's sure to improve any presentation of info that includes a website and it's much more engaging than just the link.

Everything Dog Friendly

Sep 25, 2018

Description:

Anyone with a dog that likes to take their furry family member along when they travel knows that you'll have to spend some time ahead of time making sure wherever you are going is dog friendly. 

Dog-friendly hotels are just the start of the research; you'll want to find dog-friendly restaurants and sometimes even dog-friendly public transportation. 

You'll also likely want to find local dog parks, dog beaches and dog friendly tour operators.

If including fido in all your travels is important, you can find a treasure trove of dog-friendly travel info at http://dogfriendly.com 

Their city guides can help you discover the dog-friendly hotels, campgrounds, attractions, parks, outdoor restaurants, beaches and using their highway guides can help you setup a cross-country trip showing all the pet friendly hotels on your route. 

They can even help you understand what is involved in domestic or international airline travel for your dog.

How about figuring out which rental car company is more tolerant of dogs and which ones you'll want to avoid? Sure enough, you can find it all at dogfriendly.com.

Boomerang for Gmail

Sep 24, 2018

Description:

There are many situation where scheduling the delivery of an email message can be very useful, like when you don't want to miss a friend's birthday or anniversary. 

Microsoft Outlook has had this ability for years, but if you have migrated over to Google's excellent Gmail for email, you probably noticed that you lost this ability. 

That is until you install the Boomerang for Gmail add-on, which is a free tool that does a lot more than just schedule e-mails for delivery. 

The 'Send Later' option that will appear after you install it, makes it simple to schedule any message for delivery, but Boomerang can also help you stay organized. It can mark messages in the Inbox that you want to read later and schedule them to appear in your Inbox as a reminder. 

It also lets you track any message you send and generate a reminder if you have not heard back from them, to allow timely follow-ups in an efficient manner. 

Anyone that spends their day using Gmail will be more productive with http://Boomeranggmail.com

Powerful Workflow Web Tools

Sep 23, 2018

Description:

Anyone that's a writer, leads a team, teaches, trains others or has to create any type of outline will want to checkout today's tip on a simple but powerful tool. 

Workflowy is one of the more useful sites that we've found for those that need help keeping things organized. 

It's an easy to use web app that leverages easy to create 'nested lists', that can start out as a basic outline and end up being a fully fleshed out lesson plan, training guide or user's manual.

Those that teach can use it to develop a syllabus that can be easily shared as a lesson plan for their students. 

The tool allows you to search, tag and filter lists as well as quickly move or duplicate sections, export and print the resulting outlines. 

Sound interesting? Check it out for yourself at https://workflowy.com to see if this helps you stay organized!

Checkout the Code Academy!

Sep 20, 2018

Description:

Everyone that is now an expert programmer started at the exact same point... .the beginning which meant that they knew nothing! 

Anyone that's ever thought about learning a little bit about how web and software programs are created, just to be a little bit smarter about today's world, will love today's tip. 

Codeacademy.com http://www.codecademy.com is an incredible Do-It-Yourself, learn at your own speed tool that can teach anyone the basics of coding. 

The website walks you through simple, step-by-step lessons to start writing simple code that anyone can follow. 

If you or someone you know has had the curiosity to learn but didn't know where to start, have them checkout CodeAcademy.com. 

Want to see if your kid is the next Zuckerberg? Get them started at CodeAcademy.com and you may just bring out their inner geek on put them on the path to a digital future.

Online Investment Encyclopedia

Sep 19, 2018

Description:

Anyone that doesn't know the difference between a derivative and a triple tax free municipal bond shouldn't feel bad because you are not alone. 

The technical terms in the investing world, much less the investments themselves can get pretty overwhelming for average non-financial people, so finding help is a must. 

One web resource that's full of information on investing, digesting the markets, understanding active trading or just about anything to do with investing is at investopedia.com 

The website offers tutorials, explanations of investment terms along with a dictionary that includes related terms. 

It even offers a simulator that will allow you to test out the things you're learning using virtual money. 

So now when you hear 'gap risk' or 'reciprocal currency arrangement' on a financial news segment, you'll know where you can go to understand what they're talking about!

http://www.investopedia.com

Scribble Maps

Sep 18, 2018

Description:

Google Maps is everyone's go-to resource for directions or finding a nearby store or restaurant, but what about when you want to share a map that needs more vital details for your needs? 

When you need to create that next map for a backyard BBQ party or a get together in a remote place, wouldn't it be great to be able to scribble your own notes on the map?

Well, that's what an awesome tool at http://ScribbleMaps.com allows anyone to do! It allows you to add text, special markers, custom images and other overlays to any Google map. 

If you have ever needed to create a customized map like you may have seen from news organizations, give ScribbleMaps.com a try.

Do you need to explain to attendees where to park for your next party? 

Want to retrace the path of an epic hike and add various pictures you took along the way? This is the perfect tool for either!

At ScribbleMaps.com you can easily loads their tools into any browser and start scribbling! 

Simple Alerts for Others

Sep 17, 2018

Description:

Even though we all have our calendars and to-do lists and reminders to help us stay efficient, what about when you want to remind someone else of something they need to remember? 

You can certainly use shared calendars or a whole host of other complicated tools when it's someone close or you for those more random situations, use Alertful.com to make it simple. 

Getting that timely reminder message is one of the easiest ways to ensure you won't forget tasks and events; Alertful.com makes it really easy to schedule those e-mail reminders. 

Whether it's a one time reminder, once every day, every week, every month or even yearly, the website lets you set it and forget it! 

Everything from birthdays to common 'to-dos' to appointments and renewals or shopping lists, meetings or just about any type of reminder you can need can be scheduled for you or your forgetful friends and associates. 

Anyone that needs a little extra nudge remembering things can use the free and simple to http://Alertful.com to git er done! 

Bookmark Alert! LMGTFY

Sep 16, 2018

Description:

Today's tip is for anyone that has lots of friends or family that ask them for help on topics that they could have used Google to get the answer for themselves.

If you're the go to answerer of questions for everyone around you, congrats, you're awesome! 

But how often do you get those annoying questions that make you ask yourself "why can't they just go to Google for this question?"

Without making them feel bad, wouldn't it be awesome if you could drop the hint that in the future, they should just use Google to try to answer their questions? 

A website called https://LetMeGoogleThatForYou.com or https://lmgtfy.com is a great way to do just that! It will create a link that starts an animation that will literally show them step by step, how they could go to Google and type in the question to get their question answered! 

It is a pretty humorous way to still provide them their answer, but also show them how they to find many answers themselves in the future, if they'll simply try using Google it first! 

http://LetMeGoogleThatForYou.com ... bookmark it today!

Two Star Gazing Apps

Sep 13, 2018

Description:

If you still don't have a star gazing app on your smartphone, we have a couple of free suggestions for you. 

These apps are helpful in identifying constellations as well as planets and in some cases, use augmented reality to assist you in seeing why a constellation is named what it is. 

iPhone smartphone users should checkout 'Star Chart' which includes the augmented reality views and is free for the basic options. If you really want to dive in, you can purchase upgrades to extend your learning. 

Android smartphone users can checkout 'Sky Map' which is free and works using the same process of holding the phone up to the sky to identify or track down anything you see in the night sky. 

These apps are a great way to get kids interested in the amazing light show that goes on just about every night but so many of us take for granted.

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.google.android.stardroid&hl=en_US

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/star-chart/id345542655?mt=8 

Adding Image Timestamps

Sep 12, 2018

Description:

We recently had a question asked on our Facebook page to see if there was a way to put timestamps on photos taken by the user's iPhone. 

At first glance, we thought this was a silly request, but upon further review, there are some cool reasons for this old school method of including a visible time stamp, including organizing and verifying for a third party. 

Your smartphone images all contain date and time info in what's called the 'metadata', so an app that reads this hidden info can easily add the requested timestamp to any picture. 

iPhone users can checkout a free app called 'TimeStamp-It' while Android users can checkout a free app called Camera Timestamp. 

Both apps will allow you add various font-based time stamps and add it to any of the four corners so you can avoid looking like you are stuck in the last century. 

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/timestamp-it-photo-stamper/id327756085?mt=8

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.ascendapps.timestampcamera.trial

Local Guide Website

Sep 11, 2018

Description:

One of the many inspirations of traveling is to discover new things and experiences of the area that you're visiting through various activities. 

But how many times have you gone on a trip to an awesome location and said afterwards "I wish I'd known about this place before I got there"? 

You can obviously spend a ton of time manually searching through Google search results for info on what you can do before you go or you can use today's tech tip as a shortcut by using the  

http://getyourguide.com website.

Whether you're interested in guided tours, sightseeing tours, a local cooking class or a sunset cruise, you can do all of the above by putting in your upcoming destination and the dates you will be there and let the GetYourGuide resource do all the work for you. 

You will get lists of the available activities, what they'll cost, ratings and reviews all on one screen, which allows you to quickly educate yourself for more extensive research on Google. 

The tool lets you sort by price and even language when you are headed abroad, so look into expanding your next adventure via https://GetYourGuide.com

Simple Video Editor

Sep 10, 2018

Description:

Virtually every type of mobile tech we have includes the ability to capture high-quality videos, but the editing of those huge video files afterwards can get a bit complicated. 

For the majority of users, investing in expensive, complicated video editing software doesn't make much sense, so that's where a cool and free option is the subject of today's tech tip.

A web-tool called https://wevideo.com is a pretty powerful, but easy-to-use video editing system that allows you to start in a beginner mode and move up to an intermediate or expert mode that canmmakes full use of timelines. 

Even if you have never ever edited any video before, you can simply trim unwanted sections, add a title, a little background music and even special effects in just a few minutes. 

There are even apps for most popular mobile devices, which allows you to edit video while on the go. 

The beginner's tools are free to try, so you can easily test out your skills (& patience) with no risk of an expensive program! 

https://www.wevideo.com/signup?p=free&tier=personal&instanceName=WeVideo

Shopping Search Engine

Sep 9, 2018

Description:

Popular online shopping websites like Craigslist, eBay and Amazon are an excellent way to get good deals, especially when you're looking for something unique or used. 

But prior to making a buying decision, you'll typically end up going from site to site, searching for the best deals for those special items which is a big pain, not to mention a huge time suck. 

Even worse, when you live close to 2 metro areas, you have to go through two separate searches on sites like Craigslist to make sure you don't miss any nearby deals. 

But not anymore, because you can now quickly search all three of these popular sites and allows you to expand the radius beyond your primary metro area with https://SearchTempest.com  

The site allows you to search by radius, state or the entire country as well as filter results for those that have pictures or by minimum and/or maximum price. 

They can even include search results from https://Oodle.com which increases your efficient searching to even more options that might have your long lost GI Joe with the kung fu grip. 

https://SearchTempest.com is worth a look for any avid online shopper!

#1 Online Teaching Site

Sep 6, 2018

Description:

If you have a school-age student that tends to struggle with subjects such as math, science or history, we have a web resource that can make learning a whole lot easier for today's digital generation. 

It's called the Khan Academy http://khanacademy.org and it's simply brilliant!

It's an absolutely free web learning tool that's excellent for students, teachers, tutors and parents because it provides the lessons in easy to understand short videos. 

Kahn Academy is a lot more than a site full of bunch of videos, because there are various interactive challenges, badges for achieving goals and assessment tools to see how your child's performing. 

Because it's a self-paced system that's designed to teach today's kids in a way that they like to explore... they can start with one pause one and make their way all the way up to calculus. 

It's the step by step assistance that they'll ask YOU for just a couple mouse clicks away. 

Parents and tutors of all types should be bookmarking this site!

Free Online Fax Service

Sep 5, 2018

Description:

The fax machine has become a bit of a communications relic, but every now and them, you might run into an organization that will insist on using the fax system to send them a document. 

In general, simply scanning the document and e-mailing it should be good enough, but when they insist on it being sent to their fax machine and you tossed yours years ago, here's a solution that should work. 

It's called Fax Zero at http://FaxZero.com and it will be free if you have 3 pages or less to send and don't mind a small ad on the cover page of whatever you're transmitting. 

For those with more pages, they'll charge $1.99 for up to 15 pages or you can opt to send it in 3 page pieces for free. 

All you do is upload your Word or PDF file, enter your recipient's information, tap out what you want on your cover page and off your fax goes. 

The next time you're forced to send something via a fax, remember http://FaxZero.com.  

Helpful Flight Stats

Sep 4, 2018

Description:

Anyone that travels on a regular basis knows how valuable it is to understand the ins & outs of various airports or airlines. 

Everything from flight delays to weather to on-time rankings are just the beginning of the info that can make a difference when you want the best option. 

Whether tracking a flight in real time or seeing a map of the various delays around the country, the website and apps at

http://FlightStats.com do an excellent job of providing a solid picture of what's going on. 

Not only can you use all of the resources at their website, their apps offer features like an interactive terminal 'Airport Zoom' for the iPad or the 'Traveler app' for Android devices. 

It lets you setup flight alerts for incoming flights so you're alerted of any delays, diversions or cancellations along with getting arrival notifications when that flight that you're tracking arrives. 

http://FlightStats.com has gathered just about every type of data that impacts airlines and airports, so take a look before you book your next flight! 

Note Taking Web App

Sep 3, 2018

Description:

Yo Brandon, time to take a note with today's tech tip.

For those that are still using a pencil and a pad of paper to make notes during meetings because they haven't quite found the right process for doing it electronically, we've got a suggestion for them. 

Instead of manually writing the notes by hand and then having to go back to your computer to type them at your desk so you can share them with everyone, go test out http://Minutes.io for your next meeting. 

It a really simple put very powerful note taking web-app that can be used to track participants, assign tasks, document the decisions or gather ideas during the meeting and then easily distribute them after the meeting. 

The platform is also tablet friendly and can store the notes in a browser when you don't have an Internet connection. 

Anyone tasked with the note taking during meetings may likely find that Minutes.IO can make this important task a snap to execute and make them look like a super organized person.

Soothing Sounds

Sep 2, 2018

Description:

Anyone that spends most of their day on their computer may find music helps you focus and possibly makes you more productive. 

For some, music can be a distraction depending upon what you're listening to, so there may be something a bit more soothing, like ambient noise. 

Anyone that finds the sound of a gentle rain storm to be soothing should checkout the website at: http://Rainymood.com. 

There is nothing to download or setup; just land on the page and hit the play button to listen the recording of distant thunderstorm and gentle rain that loops until you turn it off. 

For those that prefer the sound of an ocean or a rainforest waterfall or birds in the trees over a rainstorm, checkout http://calmsound.com 

If you like what Calmsounds.com provides, you can download an entire album of nature's soothing sounds.

Meeting Coordination Made Easy

Aug 30, 2018

Description:

Setting up a conference call or online meeting or even an in person meeting with a number of people outside of your company can be a bit challenging and time consuming when done in the traditional way. 

Anyone that's still manually e-mailing attendees to ask if they can meet on a certain day knows that they will end up spending way too much time trying to figure out everyone's schedule.

Now you can streamline this common process when you go to https://ScheduleOnce.com and let their online system do the work. 

Schedule Once allows you to schedule group meetings, to accept appointments or offer multiple meeting types and even at multiple locations. 

It can work with your own calendar and it also takes care of time zone issues even when you are working with people from the other side of the world. 

It only takes a few minutes to setup your personal 'Meet Me' page that also allows attendees to select their preferred meeting days and times with their mouse or phone! 

http://www.scheduleonce.com

Last Minute Hotel App

Aug 29, 2018

Description:

This tip shouldn't be something that you will use on a regular basis, but when you need to find a hotel room in a pinch, you will be glad you learned about this. 

The HotelTonight app specializes in last minute bookings for hotels, so instead of having to pay a huge bill because you didn't have the ability to plan ahead, find a room near you that's more of a deal. 

Remember, hotels all want to fill each and every room, every night so they offer last minute deals as a way to do just that. 

Whether you are unexpectedly spending the night in a strange town or are just spontaneous when you travel, using the HotelTonight app might save you big bucks. 

In our random tests of the app against the popular booking sites, Hotel Tonight was generally lower on last minute offerings and they also offer a price guarantee. 

The app is available for both iPhone and Android smartphones and can be used in the US, Canada, Mexico and many European countries. 

Just pick your city and the # of nights you want to stay to get their best deal on last minute options.  

http://www.hoteltonight.com

Who's Calling Popup App

Aug 28, 2018

Description:

Here's a situation that's becoming much more common these days: you are killing it while playing Candy Crush and you get a call right when you are in the groove. 



Or even more importantly, you are in the middle of replying to an urgent email message when that incoming call disrupts your train of thought and typing. 



Well a developer that had enough of these types of disruptions on their Android smartphone created a simple free app that'll allow you to manage those disruptive calls while letting you stay in your current app. 



The app is called 'Call Popout' and it gives you total control over your phone calls that tend to come from out of the blue. 



Let's be real; we are using our smartphone far more for apps than we are for phone conversations, so setting up priority to apps makes a lot of sense. 



The app allows you to select specific apps or even all your apps to provide you with complete flexibility for when it jumps into action. 



A picture of the person that's calling along with a small blue circle will appear over the top of the app you are currently using, so you can decide what you want to do. 



For Android users in the Google Play Store: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.rootuninstaller.callpo

Tracking Online Purchases

Aug 27, 2018

Description:

All you avid online shoppers know how easy it is to lose track of what you have spent and where you spent it throughout the year, unless you are very organized. 

For those that are that organized, bravo! For the rest of us, there is help from an app called 'Slice' which can take all the work out of tracking all your purchases. 

Slice is a free app that makes it a snap to store your receipts making returns easier while tracking your online spending and it can even track packages automatically. 

But unlike other tracking apps that require you to manually enter everything, Slice will scan your email messages to collect your online purchasing history auto-magically! 

The app will show you what you have on order, when it's scheduled to ship and what you have already taken delivery of all from a single interface. 

With Slice, you will never have to go searching through your messages to find an old receipt ever again; it'll just be waiting for you! 

Business users should think about how much easier your expense reports will be from now on!

https://www.slice.com  

Spam Message Testing Website

Aug 26, 2018

Description:

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. 

Do You Venmo Yet?

Aug 23, 2018

Description:

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.

http://venmo.com 

Remember W O O T.com?

Aug 22, 2018

Description:

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! 

Food Education App

Aug 21, 2018

Description:

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.

https://www.fooducate.com

Charitable Exercise App

Aug 20, 2018

Description:

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! 

App for Perfect Wine Pairings

Aug 19, 2018

Description:

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! 

http://www.hellovino.com 

Faster Browsing Tip

Aug 16, 2018

Description:

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

Manage Who Tracks You Online

Aug 15, 2018

Description:

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. 

https://disconnect.me/disconnect

Old Phone Tips

Aug 14, 2018

Description:

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

Is This Website Safe?

Aug 13, 2018

Description:

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! 

http://global.sitesafety.trendmicro.com

Changing Default Email Signatures

Aug 12, 2018

Description:

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 

Blackberry: http://helpblog.blackberry.com/2013/07/blackberry-10-how-to-set-up-an-email-signature 

The Critics Consensus

Aug 9, 2018

Description:

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.

Daily Factoids

Aug 8, 2018

Description:

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.

http://nowiknow.com

Online Speed Reading App

Aug 7, 2018

Description:

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.

https://www.spreeder.com/app.php

Your Display is Keeping You Up

Aug 6, 2018

Description:

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 

http://justgetflux.com

Real Survey Rewards

Aug 5, 2018

Description:

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. 

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.google.android.apps.paidtasks 

Android Malwarebytes App

Aug 2, 2018

Description:

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!

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.malwarebytes.antimalware

Restaurant Nutrition Guide

Aug 1, 2018

Description:

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

Airport Security Times

Jul 31, 2018

Description:

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

http://www.whatsbusy.com/airport

Join the Bucket List Community

Jul 30, 2018

Description:

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

Facebook App Cleanup Reminder

Jul 29, 2018

Description:

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.

https://www.facebook.com/help/170585223002660

Free Gmail Calls

Jul 24, 2018

Description:

Let's begin today's tip with some geek speak: 'VOIP' or Voice Over Internet Protocol refers to the process of generating a voice call over the Internet. 

Skype is a great free VOIP service as long as you both have a Skype account, but when you want to have Skype make a call to a regular land line or cell phone number, it will cost you. 

Anyone looking for a way to make a free call from their computer to any type of traditional phone line in the US and Canada should look at their Gmail account.

Long ago, Google harnessed the power of Google Voice within Gmail so it's super easy to make a call. 

Once you have the required Google Hangouts plugin installed, you can click on the telephone icon in the lower left column and tap in the phone number for any phone in the US or Canada. 

Or with Gmail shortcuts enabled, you can simply tap the letter 'G' followed by the letter 'P' as in Phone to launch the number dialer. 

You can also click on any properly formatted phone number in email messages to bring up the dialer using that number! 

Get complete instructions here: https://www.lifewire.com/how-to-make-and-receive-phone-calls-in-gmail-1171944

Get Organized with Trello!

Jul 23, 2018

Description:

If your regular business activities include building things or managing tasks for a large group, you've already found a sophisticated, and probably expensive, software program that handles project management.

But for those of us that just want to get things accomplished, either personally or professionally, project management software is overkill. 

For the rest of us, Trello was created as a simple but powerful tool that can keep our projects organized. 

This easy to use platform can turn any computer, smartphone or tablet into a digital version of the cork board with index cards. 

It's great for to-do's, random ideas or any important project that you're trying to put together because Trello uses a simple drag & drop interface which can bring clarity to the chaos of life and best of all, it is free!

Trello allows you to attach pictures or files, web links, generate checklists, use color coded labels and even add people to a card so you'll know who's responsible for what. 

If you've been looking for a tool to get organized, Trello could be just what you've been looking for: https://trello.com

Infographics Made Easil.ly!

Jul 20, 2018

Description:

Complex data presented in a visual form is a lot easier to digest and understood which has led to the popularity of something called an 'infographic'.

Trying to present a bunch of complex info in a clear concise method using a spreadsheet isn't very effective.

Infographics are now everywhere, especially on research and news sites but looking at them, you'd probably assume that it takes some heavy lifting in a graphic design sense in order to create.

But there's a tool that will allow you to easily create your own infographics and it's called Easel.ly! 

You can start with a template or create yours from scratch by, dragging and dropping objects, adding text, uploading images and before you know it, your information comes to life in a beautiful infographic (and it's free). 

Infographics aren't just for all those 'hipster graphic artists' any longer!

https://www.easel.ly

Home Improvement Treasure Chest

Jul 19, 2018

Description:

Looking for inspiration on a home decorating or remodeling project and looking for something more rounded then Pinterest?

Why not look to a website where the pros are? 



From remodeling a room to building a brand new home, getting inspiration from others is an excellent way to get started. 


Our go to online resource for these situations is Houzz.com.

It has a plethora of photos from top designers that can help you with your dream home.

House lets you browse by room, create Idea books and get in touch with local pros that can turn your dream into a reality. 



You can also ask the Houzz community for input on any questions you have on just about any project.



All you design or remodeling professionals should look into using Houzz to show the world what you can do and engage with new prospects. 



Get your own very visual inspiration for your next project at https://Houzz.com, that's H O U Z Z.com or checkout their mobile apps which allows you to take those inspirations to the home improvement store! 

Door-to-Door Travel Site

Jul 18, 2018

Description:

Their is no shortage of travel sites online that will try to find you the best price on everything from airfares to hotels to rental cars or anything else you may need, but what about the final part of any adventure to an unfamiliar destination?

Directions to any major airport are easy to come by, but what about what it will take to get you to the front door of your BnB or hotel. What are the ground transport options?

Waiting to determine how you'll get to your BnB after you land in a foreign country will be more stressful or expensive then it needs to be.

A website called rome2rio.com is offering to show you every leg of what it'll take to get you from your home to the actual location of where you will stay.

Whether you need info on flights, train rides, bus rides, ferry rides or a taxi or even driving directions, you'll get them all with this resource so you'll actually have every leg of your trip covered.

If you're going to multiple destinations, you no longer have to go to multiple websites because https://www.rome2rio.com can handle it all

Don't Make This Mistake!

Jul 17, 2018

Description:

We all hate it when our computer's take forever to shut down, but your temptation to smack the power button to shut it down quickly is a very bad thing to do. 

Computers by design, use lots of temporary files during normal daily operations and they are marked for removal when you put it into shutdown mode.

There's actually an extensive process of housekeeping that is setup to run whenever you shut down, which you can witness by watching the flashing of your computer's hard drive light. 

When you force a shutdown and don't let it finish, it will fill your hard drive with files you don't need. 

Any time a computer starts getting low on free disk space, it will greatly impact performance. 

So anyone that is guilty of this mistake should take the time to track down those unneeded space hogging files and toss them using the Windows Disk Cleanup utility. 

Patience is a virtue and a huge benefit when it comes to your computer shutting down and all those Mac users hearing this should also operate with the same guidelines to keep things running smoothly.

Quick Webpage Tool

Jul 16, 2018

Description:

Publishing just about anything on the Internet is certainly easier for non-tech folks, but for those with no experience, it can still become overwhelming, especially if you choose the wrong tool. 

What if there was a free online tool that anyone can use to create a simple single web page in less than one minute? 

This is without having to sign up for any accounts, no need for special tools, no registering a domain - just type, click and publish! 

A web resource called http://Pen.io is an easy to use gem of a tool that totally embraces the KISS system for publishing web pages. 

Let's say you are throwing a party or a yard sale or fund raiser or company event and you want a simple process for publishing info online; for those situations, Pen.io could be a quick and dirty solution. 

You can publish anything you want in text; random thoughts, poetry, memories, announcing the arrival of a baby or sharing notes with others, the Pen.io tool makes extremely simple to do.

You just select a URL, create a password and start creating your site.

Here's a link to an example page that I created in less than 60 seconds:  http://ddrtest.pen.io 

or make your own page at: http://pen.io 

In-Flight Flyover App

Jul 13, 2018

Description:

Here's a scenario we've all experienced: while on a cross-country airplane ride, you look out the window and see something unusual but can't begin to figure out what it is.

You can try taking a picture to remember it and later attempt to research it once you land, but who's got time for that?

So of course, there's now an app for that and it has been designed to provide help even if your smartphone is in airplane mode.

The app is called 'Flyover Country' and it helps you identify items when you pre-load the features that are likely to be viewable on an upcoming flight, which is why you won't need an in-flight connection.

You pre-load it by choosing your two points of travel for the upcoming flight so it can download geomaps and points of interest along you flight path.

Once you are in the air, it only needs the GPS in your device to determine your approximate location and based on that, provides visual info with points of interest that you can tap on, all along the way.

The 'Flyover Country' app is free works on both iPhone and Android devices.

Selfie Tune Up App

Jul 12, 2018

Description:

We all have various selfie obsessed mates that are always holding their arm out to take a selfie or it's possible that you're that person. 

In any case, if taking selfies is a regular exercise, it makes sense to put your best face on it which can be done with the Facetune app. 

Facetune provides simple tools to make adjustments to any selfie; they say 'don't wait for the perfect shot, when you can Facetune it'. 

The app lets you do everything from whiten your teeth to removing blemishes to getting rid of those dark circles under your eyes and allows you to improve your smile with the reshaping tool. 

It also provides a defocus option which can make your selfie look like it was taken with a professional camera!. 

Let's face it, anyone that is self-obsessed with taking selfies allay will enjoy the ability to touch up their images as well. 

Reworking your image isn't just be for celebrities, so anyone committed to the awesome selfies should checkout the Facetune app for iPhone, iPad or Android. 

Awesome Measuring App

Jul 11, 2018

Description:

Whether shopping for furniture, building something for your house or petitioning help from a neighborhood hardware store, making sure you have accurate measurements is essential.

Accurately conveying those measurements to others is equally as important.

We can easily take pictures using our phones, but including the measurement details ususally ends up being sent seperate from the picture.

For those situations, the 'My Measures' can make it much easier to include dimensions right on the picture you're taking, which reduces the chances of miscommunications when working with to a third party.

You no longer need to sketch something out on a piece of paper or pray that the recipient does not confuse the seperate measurements.

The app allows you to add arrows and dimensions to your images in seconds, then save and share the instructions, making it excellent for real estate agents, construction professionals or all you Do-It-Yourself fanatics.

The My Measures app works on iPhone, Android and Amazon mobile devices: http://www.mymeasuresapp.com

Repurposing Old USB Drives

Jun 28, 2018

Description:

Flash memory USB drives have become about as ubiquitous as floppy disks were back in the beginning of computing. At this point, most of us have a drawer loaded with drives that are just too small for today's huge file sizes. 

For those that do, there's an interesting use for those old USB drives: you can convert them into a dog tag! 

Several users on Instructables.com came up with the idea as a high-tech option for recovering a lost dog. 

Just create a text file or a document or even a PDF that provides instructions for contacting you should your dog get lost and copy the instructions to the USB drive. 

This approach allows you to provide a variety of additional info such as vaccination records, notes on the dog's demeanor, how it gets on with other pets and even if your dog has a microchip.

Then add it to your dog's collar and wrap it tight to help protect it from the elements and you're good to go. 

Remember, a chipped dog will need to be taken to a vet to be ID'd, but with a USB drive anyone these days can use it to identify the owner. 

Amazing Voice Recognition App

Jun 27, 2018

Description:

The technology that powers voice recognition is improving exponetially as an interface and in the not too distant future, you'll most likely find yourself rarely using your keyboard or mouse.

Both Apple and Google are market leaders in the smartphone category, but a startup in California seems to be substantially ahead of both leaders.

An app known for its music recognition called Soundhound, posted a demo of their extraordinary voice recognition app they are calling 'Hound'.

They are proclaiming their "speech-to-meaning" tech is far superior and based on their demo, it's very impressive.

The demo shows the Hound app responding quickly to very complicated queries such as 'when will the sun rise 2 days before Xmas of 2021 in Tokyo Japan".

The quickness in the video in which it's able to reply to super complicated questions makes it seem unbelievable, but lots of third parties are claiming the tech and the video are real.

If you want to experience the near future of voice recognition, checkout the links I have posted to both the demo and the app download:

http://www.soundhound.com/hound

https://youtu.be/M1ONXea0mXg

Chromebooks Updated

Jun 26, 2018

Description:

A powerful mobile device that has been around for quite a while may become a bit more viable for many users this year.

It's known as the 'Google Chromebook', which works a lot like a regular basic laptop, but it costs a lot less to own.

By using Google's 'Chrome Operating System' as well as their suite of online apps, like that that can also be used when you're not online.

Chromebooks can't make use of traditional Windows programs, so they aren't that usable for everyone, but anyone that spends most of their time online could find it to be a decent alternative.

Young children and seniors will benefit from this platform because of its low-cost, simplicity and best of all, it will bypass all the nasty malware that goes after Windows and Mac users.

If you live your life primarily in the cloud, Chromebooks may be worth taking a look at the next time you need to make a change.

Android smartphone users will benefit from the integration between the smartphone and Chromebook apps as well.

Learn more at http://google.com/chromebooks

Simple App Builder

Jun 25, 2018

Description:

The popularity of smartphones and tablets continue to grow primarily for one simple reason: apps! 

Anyone thinking about creating apps for their organization generally runs into a budgeting problem, so today's tip is for those facing this common hurdle. 

A startup called 'AppMachine' has created a platform that allows anyone to simply create mobile apps in a few minutes even without any coding experience. 

This simple Do-It-Yourself builder isn't going to create apps like a professional app builder would, but for those that want to create a truly simple app, it's worth checking out.

Their site shows examples for musicians, restaurants, athletes, healthcare, tourism and many others. If you have an app idea, this easy approach may be just what you need.

Using the app builder is free but you will have to pay monthly fees if you decide to submit your app to the various app stores. 

Start building your first app or learn much more at http://appmachine.com

Essential Movie App

Jun 22, 2018

Description:

The awesome blockbuster summer movie season is in swing and ducking into an air-conditioned theater with a tall cool beverage is ab excellent way to escape the heat. 

Today we remind you of one of our classic tips that will help when that massive drink causes you to need the loo in the middle of the movie. 

RunPee is a free app that lets you know when the most opportune times are to run to restroom during the movie. 

Rather than randomly guessing when to go, the app will vibrate your smartphone during slow portions of the movie so you can avoid missing important scenes during your restroom break. 

The app finds 3 to 5 minutes of the movie that are less important to the story so you'll not miss funny, exciting or crucial moments important to the movie's plot. 

Parents will love using RunPee to be pre-emptive with your child's bathroom breaks to avoid missing anything important. 

Runpee provides you with a brief overview of what you missed while you were away, so no whisper updates are required from your friends. 

RunPee works for iPhone and Android users and can be downloaded all at https://RunPee.com

Internet Diagnostic Tool

Jun 21, 2018

Description:

We have come to expect a high level of performance whenever we connect to the Internet so when things don't go the way we've come to expect, frustration is sure to set in. 

When you don't know if it's the computer you're using, the connection or any of a number of other confusing possibilities such as a DNS issue or a firewall preventing your access can make solving this common problem complicated. 

This issue can be even more problematic when you're on the road, especially when you have a deadline and are forced to use a connection at a hotel or coffee shop with questionable service. 

A diagnostic from Google for their Chrome browser can help demystify your connection issues. It's called the 'connectivity diagnostic browser app' and it can be a quick way to diagnose most of the issues that can impact connectivity. 

Once installed in your browser, you can click on it and a thorough test is run which checks nine connectivity items and then it lets you know which one may be causing your problem. 

Even when you have no idea what the tool is telling you, the info will be useful if you have to call someone for help! 

Get it here:

http://goo.gl/H6VGqx  

Interactive iPad Activities for Kids

Jun 20, 2018

Description:

Apple's iPad has always been a wonderful tool for both education & entertainment, but used improperly, they'll tend to keep youngsters from interacting in the real world.

Anyone with kids and an iPad should checkout the Osmo interactive platform which combines the digital world and the physical world using the iPad as a base.

It provides educational game play by using physical items that will interact with the app which extends the activities outside of the physical iPad.

The basic components of the platform are the stand and a plastic cover with a mirror in it, which sits over the iPad's front-facing camera. This is what allows the app to see items on the surface directly in front of the iPad's display.

The startup kit offers various activities ranging from word games to puzzles, but I really like the Masterpiece activity.

Think of it as a 'virtual lightbox' allowing young aspiring artists to trace out items displayed on the screen to the paper right in front of the iPad.

The Osmo platform is for kids six or older, with all the details at https://PlayOsmo.com

Memories In A Second

Jun 19, 2018

Description:

What are the chances that you'll do something really worth remembering today? 

That is the question that the '1 Second Every Day' app is designed to make you answer. 

It was inspired by a gentleman named Cesar Kuriyama who decided to record a year-long trip by simply recording 1 second of video each day. 

When he completed the compilation, it allowed him to easily recall lots of moments of that year that for most of us would just drifted away. 

It may sound a little crazy at first, but it can be an awesome way to document a the many events in your life in a way that is a lot easier to digest. 

Simply viewing a one second video can easily take you back to an entire day of memories.

Anyone going on a summer vacation will find this an easy way to record what you did each and every day in a short but enjoyable video form. 

It's essentially a way to make a short documentary video that you will most fully appreciate. 

Checkout the original video that inspired the app and download it as well at: 1secondeveryday.com

Blocking Malicious Scripts Online

Jun 18, 2018

Description:

One of the many ways that today's Internet has become so dangerous to use is because of something called 'scripts'.

Scripts are essentially good technology, something like a macro in a word processor. It's just a simple list of commands that will automatically run when you visit certain websites.

These helpful scripts range from creating animations to delivering ads, but unfortunately, they are also used to tell your computer to run dangerous commands, silently in the background.

A solid way to avoid becoming the victim of rogue scripts is to install a popular Firefox add-on called NoScript.

'NoScript' stops any script from running unless it is being generated at a trusted website that you have confirmed is OK, which allows you to slowly customize the tool.

Many scripts are helpful and need to be run in order for specific functions to properly work, so the add-on puts you in ultimate control over when and if they run.

Keep in mind, the NoScript add-on is an open-source free tool, so it will require you to spend the time so you understand how it works, but from a security standpoint, it is time well spent.

Learn more at https://noscript.net

iPhone 'Cleen' Out App

Jun 15, 2018

Description:

Anyone that's used their iPhone for a while is likely to have an enormous number of old pictures on their camera roll.

And it's also likely that a good percentage of those images are useless or meh images that you really don't want, but you have not taken the time to delete them.

As brilliant as the iPhone may be, getting rid of a lot of images on it really isn't very easy when you're needing to see them with more than just a thumbnail.

An app for iPhones called 'Cleen', makes the task of getting through the camera roll to delete unwanted images a lot faster.

This free app shows the images in full size and uses swiping gestures to efficiently determine what you want to do with each image.

You will swipe up when you want to keep them, down when you want to delete them and to the left when aren't sure what you want to do putting it into a 'do-it-later' queue.

When you are done with a session, you just tap the trashcan to delete them all the junk at once!