daily story pitches
You can also get scripts from a “scripts” folder on Dropbox
Friday, May 26th
The App of the Day: Foodvisor. Ever wonder if what you’re eating is good for you? Ever look at nutritional labels and can’t make out what’s good and what’s bad? Foodvisor makes it easy to quickly see what’s inside the food you eat. Take a photo of what you’re about to eat and Foodvisor uses machine learning to tell you what you’re about to put in your body and whether it’s good or bad.
Thursday, May 25th
How parents can say no to a smartphone when “all the other kids have one”. I’m following up yesterday’s story on social media and kids with a possible solution for parents who get pressure from their young kids who demand a smartphone. When all the other parents say “yes”, others find it difficult to say no. But there’s a solution. A national program suggests parents get together to form a plan. And it’s working.
Wednesday, May 24th
I’m following up one the Surgeon General’s notice that social media poses a risk for children. What are some of the findings from studies and what evidence is there that social media contributes to mental health issues? I’m talking with a company that’s done some research and the findings are alarming.
Tuesday, May 23rd
Holiday travel with the kids and the tech that can make the trip peaceful. What can you do for a couple of kids in the backseat on a multi-hour drive? Toss them a tablet or phone to keep them occupied. Do you really want your kids to watch silly cartoons for 4 hours straight? I’m looking at a few tech tips for car trips with the kids.
Monday, May 22nd
Memorial Day travel tech. AAA predicts 42 million Americans will travel this Memorial Day. That’s the most since 2000. For a couple days this week I’m going to be looking at tech for traveling. A couple of things you may want to have in the car for when you and the family hit the road.
Friday, May 19th
The app of the day: a real Chat GPT app. Both app stores have been over run with fake Chat GPT apps that contain viruses. The folks behind Chat GPT, OpenAI have pushed an official app to the Apple App Store and another is coming to the Google Play Store.
Thursday, May 18th
Get $30 off your internet bill (if you qualify). The government paves the way for millions of people and families to get a $30 reduction in the cost of their home internet. It’s simple to find out if you qualify and you may be surprised that you qualify based on income. I’m explaining how it works, how to find out if you qualify, and how to apply. That’s a $360 savings over the course of the year.
Wednesday, May 17th
An iPhone will soon be able to sound exactly like you. Apple is releasing technology that will allow your iPhone to send messages with audio that uses your voice. Only you typed what you wanted it to say. How does that work? I’m looking at Acapella, a company that uses similar technology to help ALS patients save their voice so their loved ones will hear them and not a computerized voice. It’s pretty unreal.
Tuesday, May 16th
TV antennas: facts and myths. Cord cutters are in the market for TV antennas to get free TV. Walmart and Amazon are filled with deals on antennas, but many of them have fake claims. Can you really get cable channels? Will you really get 4k? Can you really get TV stations from hundreds of miles away? I’m looking at some of the cons being advertised and what you really need to know before buying a TV antenna.
Monday, May 15th
Tech gifts for grads. Sure, high school and college graduates will love getting cash or a check for their big day. They might even like an Amazon or Best Buy gift card. Those are easy. If you’re the type who wants to give something thoughtful, I’ve rounded up a few tech gadgets that almost any grad will find useful or fun.
Friday, May 12th
The app of the day: Flighty. If you are a frequent flier or if you frequently pick up fliers at the airport this may be an app that’s worth the subscription. Flighty gives you lots of data other airline apps can’t offer. It’s the most popular and most recommended app for travelers who want as much information as they can get. Flighty says it delivers FAA provided information on delays even before the pilots get them.
Thursday, May 11th
If you use a Windows PC you should update your software today. Microsoft just released an update that patches dozens of bugs that allow hackers to take over your computer and do a lot of nasty things with your information. Several flaws are known as “zero days vulnerabilities” which means hackers already know about them and are using them to break into PCs. I’ll explain why it’s important to update Windows and how to do it.
Wednesday, May 10th
Tech gifts for moms, dads, and grads. This is a season for gifts. Mother’s Day and Father’s Day of course. Plus you may have some high school and college graduates you need to buy for. I’ve rounded up a few tech gift ideas that will be great for any of the folks on your gift list this spring. Today’s story will feature some tech gadgets for the working man and woman, as well as those who’ll be out looking for a job.
Tuesday, May 9th
unique and personalized Mother’s Day gift ideas you can still get in time for Sunday. Do you struggle to find something to give a mom who has everything she needs or wants? I’ve rounded up a few creative gifts that she has no idea exists and will let her know how much she means to you. I’m including unique video books, gummie vitamins tailored for her needs, and a way to create the most personalized greeting card, poem, or song she’s ever seen.
Monday, May 8th
Our power went out and it sounds like it’s going to be out for most of the day. As a result I’m going to hold off on the Mother’s Day story pitch below to make sure I can get a story done today.
Instead I’m going to look at something many people can overlook when setting up an online savings account. Nearly a billion dollars was deposited into Apple Savings accounts in just the first 4 days. The issue with online bank accounts is what happens to your money if something happens to you? Your family can’t run down to the local bank branch for help. And since your money is tied only to an online bank, they can problems trying to access it. I’m looking at the most important thing you should do when setting up any online bank account.
Friday, May 5th
The app of the day Water Llama. it’s spring and summer time and you better stay hydrated. Of all the things Apple Health does, it does not do anything about keeping track of your water intake. This app, from the Ukraine, tracks how much water, coffee, soda, tea, and alcohol you drink and keeps you motivated to do better.
Thursday, May 4th
Astro the security guard. Amazon touts its new robot as a solution to guarding your home. It patrols the house and sends alerts if it detects a loud sound or an unknown person. How does it do? I checked it out for about a month to find out.
Wednesday, May 3rd
The Jetsons are here. Amazon announced its household robot named “Astro” a couple of years ago. It’s now available. I picked up an Astro robot about a month ago and have been trying it out to see what it can do. Is it worth the $1,599? What does it do? Today I’m looking at some of the basic information and tasks this robot can do, I’ll follow it up Thursday with a look at how it does as a home security guard.
Tuesday, May 2nd
If you’ve ever left a pet behind while you’re at work or on vacation, there’s now a robot to let you stay in touch and even toss them some snacks. Also a mug that keeps your coffee or tea hot for over an hour. I’m looking at some really cool Mother’s Day gadgets that you may not have seen before.
Monday, May 1st
Less than 2 weeks from Mother’s Day and if you haven’t done it already, you should start thinking about Mother’s Day gift ideas. I’m going to sprinkle in a few gadget gift ideas over the next week or so starting today and tomorrow. Gadget gifts for moms who may not care that much about tech gadgets.
Friday, April 28th
The App of the Day, Poolsuite FM. Every now and then I run across an app that seems stupid and ridiculous. Everyone already has their favorite music app, or apps but you might want to add Poolsuite FM to your suite of apps. It’s a total throwback to the 70s and is filled with songs you’ve never heard before. Stupid? Not necessarily. There are several reasons this could be one of your favorite apps of summer.
Thursday, April 27th
Tax refunds and mailbox theft. The US Postal Service reports an increase of mailbox thefts around tax time. Criminals snatch mail out of mailboxes looking for tax refund checks. It’s a crime of opportunity and very easy to commit. 20% of taxpayers still receive their refunds through paper checks. I’m looking at how this crime typically happens and what to do online to protect yourself and your refund.
Wednesday, April 26th
Saving photos on a smartphone. It’s spring and you may be getting ready to take more photos with your phone. Graduations, holidays, vacations, and other events give us more opportunities to snap photos and shoot video. We may want to take more photos than our phones can hold, so what do you do? Many people make a disastrous mistake that causes them to lose important photos forever. I’m taking a look at how to make room on your phone for photos and videos without losing them forever.
Tuesday, April 25th
How to find someone’s emergency info, even if they can’t respond and you don’t know who they are. This truly could save someone’s life: you find someone who needs help right away but are not able to respond. Maybe they’ve fallen and hit their head, maybe they’ve had a seizure, maybe they’re too drunk to take care of themselves. If they have a smartphone you can not only call their family or friends but give first responders information that could save their life. Even if their phone is locked, you can find their emergency information. I’ll show how to do that on an iPhone or Android device.
Monday, April 24th
Facebook is on the hook for $725 million and if you have, or had a Facebook account you can get a slice. How much? No one knows right now. I’ll take a look at the lawsuit, how to know if you’re entitled to some of it, and how to claim it.
Friday, April 21st
The App of the Day, All Trails. This app is a huge help to anyone who loves a good hike. Search for nearby trails to get all the details you need to know before setting off on a walk. Is it steeper than you want to hike? Is it a loop? How far is it? What do other hikers say about it? And you can use the app to search for the best trails wherever you’re traveling.
Thursday, April 20th
Want to help the environment? Keep your electronics working. Earth Day is Saturday and much of the emphasis will be cleaning up the environment. But what if there’s less to clean up? I’m looking at things we all can do to keep our computers, phones, routers, and other electronics working for a long time. It’ll help the environment and save you a ton of money.
Wednesday, April 19th
What are you supposed to do with old electronics? Landfills are filling up with old TVs, computers, and phones. Electronics have dangerous materials that should never go into the trash, yet over a billion tons of old electronics get dumped there anyway. Earth Day is Saturday so I’m looking at how to get rid of unwanted electronics safely. Who recycles electronics and what do they do with them? Best Buy just introduced a new program to take unwanted tech right from your doorstep and I’m looking at a recycling center that focuses on electronics.
Tuesday, April 18th
Apple now offers high yield savings accounts. Teased a while ago you can now open up a savings account alongside an Apple credit card. While the banks on the corner offer savings accounts that earn about .3%, Apple and Goldman-Sachs savings accounts will earn 4.15% interest. Can iPhone users now do all of their banking through Apple? I’ll explain and show what it takes to apply.
Monday, April 17th
Start now to prepare for tax day 2024. Filing taxes can be easier than it was this year if you plan ahead. Keeping track of expenses, deductions, mileage, donations, and all of the other things that can bring down your tax bill doesn’t have to be the headache it usually is. If you’re still saving paper receipts in an envelope or folder there is a better way. Better ways that is. I’m looking at a few things you can do right now to prepare for Tax Day 2024.
Friday, April 14th
The app of the day Picture This. Now’s the time folks are getting back into the yard, planting, digging, weeding, and all those other flower bed and yard chores. Do you ever run across something and wonder, ‘should I weed it or feed it?’? Picture This uses artificial intelligence to help find out what is growing in your garden and yard. Simply snap a photo and in seconds the app can show you what it is (most likely).
Thursday, April 13th
How to share vacation photos on Facebook while you’re on vacation. Sure, we all know it’s not the best idea to tell everyone we’re out of town, but many people do it anyway. Posting photos from the beach, or mountains, or some beautiful city in Europe is just too tempting. I’m going to show you how easy it is for a burglar to find an empty house and how you can share them safely.
Wednesday, April 12th
The FBI is warning travelers about public chargers and charging stations you see in airports and hotels. The warning suggests “bad actors” have figured out ways to compromise those charging plugs to steal information and install malware that can track phones even after you unplug the phone. How much of a threat is this? I’m looking into the risk and what travelers should do instead to keep phones and tablets charged.
Tuesday, April 11th
More facebook mistakes. We’ve all done these things that help hackers find and target you for their dirty work. Sign into an app or website with your Facebook login? How many devices are currently logged into your account? And how many companies/websites have you given permission to see and share your web activity? Things we never think about but the hackers do. I’ll run down a few more settings you definitely need to check and change.
Monday, April 10th
Are you doing something wrong on Facebook? Is your account getting hacked over and over again? Are you constantly seeing ads you don’t want and don’t need? Are you sharing your Facebook information with companies you don’t know? Maybe it’s time to look under the Facebook hood. I’m taking a look at some Facebook privacy options you probably didn’t know were putting your information at risk.
Friday, April 7th
The app of the day: your own chat gpt. By now everyone has heard about Chat GPT. There are dozens of chat gpt apps in the app stores and there’s one at the top of the App Store charts. The thing is, there is no official Chat GPT app and one you download may be stealing your information or worse. (See Lily Collins Facebook hack). I’ll explain and show how to create your own chat GPT app. I did something a few weeks ago before Chat GPT took over the tech headlines. This is not a repeat of that story.
Thursday, April 6th
Genius gadgets to help spring clean your workspace and storage room. Do you feel anxiety every time you look under or behind your desk? Do you ever forget which plastic tub you stashed something in and placed in a storage room? I recently purchased a couple of gadgets popular on TikTok to take care of the mess behind the desk and in the storage room. Pretty genius stuff and, by the way, why didn’t I think of that?
Wednesday, April 5th
Spring clean your tech. You spent hundreds (maybe thousands) on that new big screen television and you notice it doesn’t look as good as it once did. You may notice a smudge, or the colors are just not as vibrant as they should be. Back in the old days you might’ve just taken a bottle of glass cleaner but you can’t do that now. I’m looking at what the owner’s manuals say about cleaning today’s TVs and the mistakes people make that can ruin the screen.
Tuesday, April 4th
Apple and Facebook make it nearly impossible for someone to access someone else’s accounts or profiles. But that security has a downside. If someone close to you dies can you access their accounts to download photos, files, contacts, and other things they’d want you to have? It used to be impossible to talk Apple into letting someone look at someone else’s information. I’m looking at how to set up Apple accounts and Facebook profiles that allow someone to take care of your digital estate after you’re gone.
Monday, April 3rd
Have you ever wondered what will happen to Google accounts when you or someone close to you dies? Unless someone has their username and password, it’s nearly impossible to gain access to their email, Google Drive, or anything else you might need. Google has a way for trusted friends and family to gain access to someone’s account IF it’s set up ahead of time. It could be one of the most important things anyone can do for their loved ones. I’ll look at Apple and Facebook in the next few days.
Friday, March 31st
the app of the day. Pet first aid. If you’re a pet owner you’ve probably had a moment where you didn’t know what to do. Should you rush them to the vet or what? Pet First Aid is from ASCPA to help pet owners figure out what’s going on and what to do.
Thursday, March 30th
If you have an iPhone you can now download the latest version of iOS 16. What’s in it? New emoji!!! If you’re always looking for just the right emoji for text messages, you have a few more choices but what are they and how can you use them? Also, a trick many people don’t know about to find just the right emoji to use when you’re typing out a text or message. Oh, and other devices have them too.
Wednesday, March 29th
Troubled teenagers might not ever talk with a counselor, teacher, parent, friend, or make a phone call to crisis assistance. Most teenagers don’t like talking to people or over the phone about anything. But they will text. I feel it’s worth mentioning the Crisis Text Line which works with volunteer counselors across the country who will respond to anonymous text messages and What’sApp.
Tuesday, March 28th
how to download all of your Facebook posts, pictures, etc. In the wake of the Lily Collins Facebook hack (that I covered yesterday), I think it’s a good idea to let viewers know they can, and should, download their photos, memories, and contacts from Facebook in the event their account is ever removed or compromised. It isn’t difficult but yet most people don’t know it’s possible. I’ll show you how.
Monday, March 27th
The Facebook hack Facebook doesn’t want to talk about. Over the past few months hundreds of Facebook users had their accounts (profiles) taken over by hackers. They lost all of their photos, memories, contacts, everything. On top of that, the hacker changed all of the victim’s names to ‘Lily Collins’. And Facebook did not respond. The victims were helpless to do anything. I talked to one of the “Lily Collins Hack” victims about how it happened and it should frighten everyone with a Facebook or Instagram account.
Friday, March 24th
The app of the day: “one sec”. Are you having trouble ignoring social media? Do you spend a long time each day endlessly scrolling through Facebook, TikTok, Instagram, and others? One sec is an app designed to help you cut the social media hold on your time. And it does it in a rather unusual way.
Thursday, March 23rd
I’m doing some legwork on a couple of strong stories for next week. And it’s a pretty slow tech week. So I’m looking at a spring cleaning piece. Everyone has cords, devices, papers, and other clutter on their computer. You can tidy things up a lot without losing anything you need. I’m taking a look at how to spring clean your computer desk.
Wednesday, March 22nd
The importance of backing up your computer. World Backup Day is coming soon and it’s a reminder of how important it is to save and backup all the things we have stored on our computer. Photos, music library, important files and documents. Things happen that wipe all that away. I’m looking at how, and the easiest way, to back up any computer.
Tuesday, March 21st
￼The FCC is cracking down on spam texts. What’s worse than robocalls? Spam texts. You can’t just hang up on the scammer, you always read it and most contain malicious links. The increase in spam texts has forced the FCC to react. I’m explaining why spam texts pose such a big risk and what has to happen for the FCC’s plan to work.
Monday, March 20th
The rising cost of streaming. YouTube TV sent an email to subscribers announcing it is raising the cost by $8 starting next month. Hulu raised prices again last year. For people who cut the cable cord a few years ago it’s beginning to appear that at some point, streaming is going to cost as much as cable. I’m looking at how much it costs now to stream live TV and how it compares to cable prices.
Friday, March 17th
The App of the Day: Coin Snap. A dollar may not be worth as much as it used to be, but a penny, or a quarter could be worth 10,000% more than when it was first minted. If you’ve ever wondered what an old nickel is worth, just take a photo of it with CoinSnap and it’ll give you a value. Good for collectors and might be fun for kids.
Thursday, March 16th
TikTok: is the Chinese government really following you? TikTok is in the news again today. Since it’s a fast-moving story today’s story will be more of a side-bar that you can run alongside the latest update in the news. If there’s so much concern about the Chinese tracking TikTok users, is there anything we can do right now to guard our privacy? I’ll look at settings you need and those you can turn off no matter how `you use TikTok.
Wednesday, March 15th
Ever gone to a movie theater, church service, business meeting, or dance recital and someone’s phone starts ringing? To be honest I’m surprised it doesn’t happen more often. You don’t want to be that person everyone’s looking at do you? The iPhone and Android devices have silent mode buttons but phone cases can make it difficult to flip the switch. Thankfully, both phones have a special feature called “Do Not Disturb” that apparently a lot of people don’t know how to use. I’ll show all of the things you can do with Do Not Disturb and how it can save you from embarrassment and from being disturbed yourself.
Tuesday, March 14th
Is your money safe in an online bank? Online banks offer better interest rates than your bank down the street. Some offer interest rates of over 4% while local brick and mortar banks only pay .01%. But…are online banks safe? Is your money protected? What about money you may have in a Venmo, PayPal, or other cash app account. I’m talking to an expert.
Monday, March 13th
“Yessssss it works”. No it doesn’t. Everyone on Facebook has seen at least one friend share a viral post which says they’ve done a copy-paste to remove ads and return all of their friends to their feed. They say it works but does it? And if it’s a scam what harm can come from posting it? I’ll explain how a scammer can use your post to target you.
Friday, March 10th
The App of the Day: Glass. Instagram may not be dead but Gen X sure hates it now. Insta is the #1 app people want to drop. Why? Because it’s trying to hard to be TikTok. If you’re only on Instagram for photos, Glass is an app to try. Follow pro photographers or your friends.
Thursday, March 9th
How to spot hidden cameras in an Airbnb or condo rental. Spring break traditionally is the start of vacation season and it’s that time of year again. Many people will rent an Airbnb or condo. Did the owner hide any security cameras in the rooms? You can buy small cameras built into smoke detectors, chargers, alarm clocks and just about anything you can think of. Is there a way to check for them? I’m looking at some of the hidden cameras for sale on Amazon and how to spot them where you’re renting.
Wednesday, March 8th
Sleep tech! 48 states will ‘spring forward’ this weekend and next week is Sleep Awareness Week (no coincidence). Spring and summer take some adjustments in order to get a good night’s sleep so I’m looking at a few things that can help. From a pillow to stop snoring to a number of apps to help you fall asleep and wake up on time. I will mention spring forward in the anchor intro but not the package.
Tuesday, March 7th
Many parents hoping to keep their kids from visiting websites and certain apps turn on an iPhone feature called Screen Time. This allows parents to set limits on how much time they can spend on apps and sites or if they can use them at all. What they may not know is Screen Time limits do not include visits and time spent on websites accessed in private or incognito mode. I’m looking a little closer at what screen time does and does not do, and how to truly lock down your child’s phone if you only want them to use it for certain things.
Monday, March 6th
How kids hide the fact they use apps their parents have forbidden. I’ve heard parents say ‘I don’t allow the TikTok (or Snapchat) app on my kids’ phones. That’s cute you think that. But kids are using apps their parents forbid by using a few tricks of the trade. I’m looking at a couple of the secrets kids (and cheating spouses probably) use to hide the apps they don’t want you to see.
Friday, March 3rd
The App of the Day: Forest. It is the Global Day of Unplugging and it runs through sundown Saturday. “Forest” is an app for iPhone and Android that helps limit the amount of time you spend on your phone. You set your time limits for the phone or apps and Forest keeps track of how much time you’re spending. It’s great for limiting distractions when you absolutely need to focus on a project.
I won’t mention the Global Day of Unplugging in the package if you plan to air the story at a later date but it will be referenced to in the anchor intro.
Thursday, March 2nd
Unplugging. Friday-Saturday is the Global Day of Unplugging. I won’t mention this in the package in case you want to run it later but it will be referenced in the intro.
By now most everyone agrees we are spending too much time on social media and smartphones. The GDoU is intended to encourage people to spend time away from those screens. Is it a lost cause now? How do we convince the younger generations to spend less time doomscrolling? And is there a better way to unplug than willpower? I’m talking to a journalist who’s done a ton of research to help answer some of those questions.
Wednesday, March 1st
It’s March and time for spring cleaning. I see people cleaning up their yards and people are cleaning up (and out) their homes. While you’re in the spring cleaning mindset, it’s a good time to do some cleanup of your tech. Namely your phone and computer. I’m taking a look today at some things you can do on your phone to clean up and speed up the device you use more than anything else.
Tuesday, February 28th
Can someone set up a second or alternate Face ID on your iPhone? One of Apple’s best security feature is Face ID. It should prevent someone from using your phone to transfer money, purchase things with Apple Pay, and even log into some social media apps. If someone takes your phone and passcode, wouldn’t Face ID prevent them from using those apps without permission? You’d think so but you’d be wrong. I’m going to test this out to see if it’s possible and a few things you can do to make your phone harder to use if it’s ever stolen.
Monday, February 27th
If you have an iPhone, this is the single most important thing you can do to protect your identity, bank accounts, privacy, and practically everything else in your life. There was a report in the Wall Street Journal last week about a young woman who had her iPhone stolen while using it in a bar. Before she could react, the thief had changed the passcode, transferred money from her bank account, and changed passwords for many of her accounts. Police say they’re seeing more reports of this type of crime.
What usually happens in these thefts and what the bad guys quickly do to lock you out of your phone forever. Tomorrow I’ll follow up with a best practices story on preventing this crime.