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The little book with BIG resources!

5 Ways to Get The Most Out of Your Amazon Echo Alexa

We were so excited to unwrap two echo alexa dots under the tree this past holiday season and have really enjoyed getting to know all of the fun features available to our family through our new devices. Even though my husband and I are both pretty tech savvy, there are still benefits available through our Echo dots that we don’t know about. If you’re like us, you’re probably in the same boat. Burton, our resident tech expert, is here to help with some great ideas for getting the most out of your Amazon Echo Alexa this year. Take a look…

amazon echo alexa

5 Great Ways to Get The Most From Your Amazon Echo Alexa

Making it’s debut in 2016, the Amazon Echo Alexa has quickly become one of the hottest gadgets around. If you have an Amazon Echo Alexa, Echo Spot, Dot, Tap, or Show, there are lots of things you can ask Alexa, the virtual assistant to do. This device has so many useful features, it’s easy to overlook everything it can do.  To help you get the most out of the Echo Alexa, I’ve put together a list of tips and suggestions that make sure you enjoy this awesome device to the fullest.

What’s the big deal about the Amazon Echo Alexa?

Amazon Echo Alexa connects to your home WiFi, which allows you to connect to the Internet to give you the information you want by vocal commands. The setup process is very simple making it easy for even the basic user to configure. Once you have your Echo setup,  Alexa the personal assistant listens to your voice and responds to your requests either returning information found online or syncing with Amazon compatible devices that allow you to vocally control items in your home.

What are the cool things you can do with your Amazon Echo?

#1 Control Your Smart Home

One of best features of an Amazon Echo is being able to give voice commands to control the environment of your house. You can tell Alexa to dim your lights, lock your doors, turn home security on or off, change the temperature, and make coffee for you. Remember, all devices that you want to control must be compatible with the Echo.  Look for the Amazon logo when purchasing product that you want to work with your smart home. 

#2 Purchase Items Using Your Voice

Echo Alexa allows you to buy stuff from Amazon using your account and default payment method. Search for something  you like, buy it and it magically appears on your doorstep. The challenge is, anyone can talk to your Echo and make purchases. If you’ve got kids or have visitors who like to play jokes, you should probably turn that feature off.

#3 Listen to Audible or Kindle books on your Echo Alexa 

If you have an account with Audible or Kindle, you can have Echo Alexa read books to you.  While Alexa does a great job reading books to you, you will get a more robust reading through Audible. If you don’t have an Audible account, you can sign up for a free.

#4 Make Voice Calls

When you link your mobile number to your Echo, you can call anyone who is in your phone contacts. To make a call from your compatible Echo Alexa devices, just ask Alexa to call the person or contact you want to reach by name.

#5 Control Your TV

If you’re the owner of an Amazon Fire Stick, you can use your Echo to control it using your voice. To use your voice as a remote control, just say “Alexa,” followed by a playback command, such as pause, fast-forward or skip an episode. You can also tell Alexa to search for a specific video and open other apps on your smart TV.

This is just a few of the things you can do with an Amazon Echo Alexa.  How do you use your Echo?  Drop me a line and let me know.

From iFamily to Yours,

Burton

Check in with Integral on social media at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Linkedin , YouTube and Google+ for more tips on helping you get the most out of the technology you use in your home or office.

I’m Burton Kelso and I’m a Kansas City based Tech Expert and the Chief Technology Expert at Integral, providing on-site and remote support for computers, tablets, smartphones, routers, printers, and any device that connects to the internet. I regularly appear as a guest tech correspondent on ABC, NBC, FOX, and CBS on shows such as Kansas City Live, Better Kansas City, FOX 4 Morning Show, offering viewers easy tips on technology, Internet lifestyle, Internet security and gadgets. You can find me on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn , and Twitter and watch great tech tip videos on my YouTube channel. I can be reached at 888-256-0829 or email at burton@integralcomputerconsultants.com

 


4 Steps to Disinfect Your Tech During Cold & Flu Season

Like so many of you, my family has been battling the flu lately. Whether you’re dealing with the common cold or full blown influenza, it’s important to disinfect to prevent the spread during cold flu season. Don’t forget to disinfect your tech! Expert Burton Kelso is here to help with 4 steps to make sure your devices are cleaned and ready to go. Take a look…

4 Steps to Disinfect Your Tech During Cold & Flu Season

4 Steps to Disinfect Your Tech During Cold & Flu Season

Burton Kelso, The Technology Expert

Cold and Flu season is here with a vengeance. We are in the midst of a flu epidemic and many experts predict it hasn’t reached it’s peak.   Public health experts recommend you stick the basic steps to avoid the flu such as washing your hands, getting a flu shot, and disinfecting surfaces you touch on a regular basis.  One of the most ignored surfaces we touch are our smartphones and our keyboards.  We place our smartphones on many surfaces (such as the bathroom counter) that can have many forms of bacteria and viruses. If you come in contact with people day to day, what are the chances you wash your hands every time you sit down at a keyboard? How can you protect yourself? Follow these simple steps to keep your phone and other gadgets clean during cold and flu season.

The most common way that the flu is spread is from person- to- person contact, as well as from dirty hands that come in contact with your face, eyes, nose and mouth. These areas are points of entry for the flu virus. Did you know the average person touches their face up to 16 times per hour? Even more disturbing is that if you don’t clean your smartphone, computer or laptop keyboard on a regular basis, it can contain more germs than a toilet?  Now you can see the concern. Here’s what you can do:

#1 Use cleaning products designed for technology

You don’t want to use harsh cleaning chemicals on your devices, including water. Remember these are delicate gadgets. While you can use Anti-bacterial wipes on your computer keyboard, you want to avoid using them on your smartphone. They are very abrasive and can leave scratches on your phone. My suggestion is to run to the store and get Wireless Wipes (www.wirelesswipes.com) or the Tech Armor Cleaning Kit (www.techarmor.com)  These handy wipes are guaranteed to keep your smartphone and tablet germ free.

#2 Make Your Own Cleaning Solution To Clean Your Devices

If you want save a few pennies, you can create your own mixture using You could also make your own cleaning solution using a 50-50 mixture of rubbing alcohol and distilled water. When wiping down the surface of your keyboard, smartphone or tablet, always use a microfiber cloth.  Never use paper towels or other standard cleaning clothes.

#3 Get Some Tech that Will Clean Your Tech

If you want a high tech solution for sanitizing your phone, consider the PhoneSoap Charger (www.phonesoap.com).  This device will make your smartphone and tablets germ free and charge them all at the same time. It might be a little pricey, but PhoneSoap will also clean things such as keys, credit cards and watches.

#4 Get a Cover that Will Minimize Germs on your gadgets

Use a surface cover or case for your smartphone or tablet that has antimicrobial protection.  One of the best products you can get is from BioArmor (www.bioarmortech.com). These products offer 24/7 protection from the germs your tablet and smartphone encounter.

Some more things to consider during cold and flu season:

  1. Do not share Smartphone with others.  If you do, wash your hands before handling your device or use a hand sanitizer to kill germs.
  2. Keep your smartphone out of the hands of your children. You take the risk of infecting your child and they can be can be a major factor for spreading the flu to you |
  3. Consider using your phone ‘hands-free’ or use ear buds for phone conversations.

Following these tips can help keep you and your family safe from germs during cold and flu season.

Do you have tips to disinfect your tech devices, drop me a line and let me know. Please share this information with everyone.

Check in with Integral on social media at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Linkedin , YouTube and Google+ for more tips on helping you get the most out of the technology you use in your home or office.

From iFamily to Yours,

Burton

I’m Burton Kelso and I’m a Kansas City based Tech Expert and the Chief Technology Expert at Integral, providing on-site and remote support for computers, tablets, smartphones, routers, printers, and any device that connects to the internet. I regularly appear as a guest tech correspondent on ABC, NBC, FOX, and CBS on shows such as Kansas City Live, Better Kansas City, FOX 4 Morning Show, offering viewers easy tips on technology, Internet lifestyle, Internet security and gadgets. You can find me on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn , and Twitter and watch great tech tip videos on my YouTube channel. I can be reached at 888-256-0829 or email at burton@integralcomputerconsultants.com

 

 


7 New Year’s Resolutions for Tech: Best Practices for the New Year!

Happy New Year! 2017 is coming to a close and it’s time to look at New Year’s Resolutions for the upcoming year. Burton, our resident tech expert here at iFamilyKC, has your new year’s resolution list for tech today on the blog. Take a look at 7 things you need to do this year…

new year's resolutions

7 New Year’s Resolutions for Tech: Best Practices for the New Year!

The beginning of a new year is ripe for resolutions: We make goal lists for our bodies, our lives, our hopes, our dreams… why not our tech? As we get ready for a new year I’ve been thinking about some tech resolutions that you can use to help you have a year free from technology problems. Whether you want to become more secure online, maintain a better life balance with your tech or just make a good new habit, I’ve put together a few small ideas that can make a big difference; and some tips to make them stick for real. Check out my tech resolutions and be your best tech self in 2018.

#1 Make sure you’re Cyber Secure

There are a number of things you can do to avoid opening yourself up to cyber criminals:

  • Change your online passwords.
  • Use password managers to sync your passwords across multiple devices – stop reusing passwords!
  • Use secure Wi-Fi networks and , never, ever conduct banking or make online purchases over a public Wi-Fi network.
  • Educate yourself about the latest phone and computer scams that are going around.

#2 Get rid of your unused gadgets

If you have gadgets lying around your office or house, then now is the time to start clearing them out. Whether it is a stereo system you received a replacement for over Christmas, or an old handset, then get it on eBay, take it to a charity shop or see if a recycling site that will take it.

# 3 Update all your computers and smart devices and get the last Operating System Software. 

Updates, whether Android, iOS, Blackberry or Windows don’t just appear for the fun of it .An update will normally bring a fix for a bug, or make your device run  faster, sometimes it will even introduce new features so they are worth doing, and staying on top of – don’t ignore them.

#4 Back up your devices to a cloud backup service

Backing up your computer or smart-device is something you don’t always think to do until you lose everything. There no excuse not to back up your information to the Cloud.  Services like Carbonite, Google Drive and Google Photos are perfect for saving your documents, photos and videos.

#5 Disconnect before bed

The blue light from your laptop, phone or tablet can mess with your sleep patterns making sleep shorter and less restful. Experts recommend powering down half an hour before bed.

#6 Manage your phone contacts

A year is a long time, and people change jobs and numbers so it’s worth going through, checking for duplicates, and making sure you have everyone you need saved. Save your contacts to the cloud in case you lose your phone.

#7 Check your Online Identity

In today’s digital age, it’s easy to think interactions with websites like Facebook, Google and other web communities are private, but in fact, it’s easy for anyone (particularly cyber criminals) to gather information about you just by doing a few quick internet searches. Google yourself to find out what information is out there about you.  Also, go to www.haveibeenpwned.com to see if your email address has been part of the many data breaches of recent months.  If it has, change your online account passwords immediately.

From iFamily to Yours,

Burton

Burton Kelso is the Chief Tech Expert at Integral. They offer tech support to homes and businesses all over the Kansas City Metro. He regularly appears as a guest tech correspondent on ABC, NBC, FOX, and CBS on shows such as Kansas City Live, Better Kansas City, FOX 4 Morning Show, offering viewers easy tips on technology, Internet lifestyle, Internet security and gadgets. You can find Burton on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter and watch great tech tip videos on his YouTube channel. He can be reached at 888-256-0829 or email at burton@integralcomputerconsultants.com