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5 Hacks for Avoiding Big Data Surveillance

5 Hacks for Avoiding Big Data Surveillance

Big data is all around us, even if you don’t realize it. Many businesses look at big data as the key ingredient to future success because with more information, they can improve performances and prepare well for new trends and practices. The process of collecting that information, however, has come under fire in recent years. Not only do businesses see value in gathering data on you, but governments do as well. Surveillance has now become a common practice with much of it done through our online activities. With big data analytics, other parties can paint an almost disturbingly accurate picture of who you are. This has lead many to voice their concerns over privacy violations, even to the point where people are looking for ways to avoid big data surveillance altogether. If you’re in the camp that wants your information to remain as private as possible, here are some helpful hacks you can implement to improve your personal privacy.

1. Delete Browser Cookies

Internet browsers can track all of the websites you visit. This information helps to establish an online profile about you, noting your particular tastes and preferences. From this data, businesses can offer deals and advertisements specifically tailored to you. While this may sound like a benefit, the fact remains that third parties are still collecting information on your activities, even if you don’t approve. That’s why deleting your cookies is an easy way to at the least make surveillance more difficult. And make sure you do it several times a day.

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2. Be Careful With Mobile Apps

Our smartphones are used more and more for internet access, and one way we utilize mobile devices is through the apps we download. Unfortunately, many of those apps collect a lot of data, from your contact lists to your pictures to email information. The one point in your favor is the fact that you must authorize this access if you wish to download the app. By paying close attention to what an app asks for, you can avoid those apps that you may feel ask for too much.

3. Use Privacy Enhancing Technologies

While Privacy Enhancing Technologies (or PETs) may sound advanced, they can actually be quite simple. Let’s face it — you can never fully block surveillance, but you can avoid giving the monitors easy access. That’s where PETs come in. PETs can be as simple as a browser plug-in. Some of them work by blocking websites that track your activities. They’ll usually alert you why they’re blocking the site so you can alter your web behavior in the future.

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4. Limit Social Media Use

It seems like many people want to live their lives through social media. While it’s a good way to keep in contact with friends and family while sharing what’s happening in your life, understand that everything you post on social media can be collected and monitored. That means every picture you tag, every Facebook update you write, every Tweet you post, and every event on your calendar can be seen by pretty much anyone. To maintain your privacy, you should limit your use of social media. That doesn’t mean avoiding it completely, only that you should keep personal information that you share to a minimum.

5. Use Virtual Private Networks

Like PETs, Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) may sound complicated but some can be used by those who aren’t tech savvy. The most basic ones are even available for free and can be downloaded as browser plug-ins and extensions. VPNs work by acting as an intermediary server between you and the site you’re visiting. So if somebody is monitoring your activity, all they will see is the server and not your computer or device. This protects you from unauthorized monitoring and keeps your identity relatively safe.

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It should be noted once again that fully blocking big data surveillance is not possible, not with the kind of resources governments and private corporations have at their disposal. That doesn’t mean there aren’t measures you can take to keep your data as private as possible. The above simple hacks can go a long way in protecting yourself from unwanted eyes and ears.

Featured photo credit: Com Salud/Flickr via flickr.com

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Last Updated on May 28, 2020

18 Best Time Management Apps and Tools (2020 Updated)

18 Best Time Management Apps and Tools (2020 Updated)

No one can dispute the countless benefits technology has brought us. Undoubtedly, it has allowed us to connect, perform, improve, and leverage our resources beyond what was once imaginable.

If you’re not taking advantage of some of the hundreds of time management apps and tools out there, you’re definitely missing a trick.

But with so many apps to choose from, how do you know which ones to use?

Well, this will depend on your needs. That’s why we’ve put together a list of 18 of the best time management apps that can help you with the most common challenges of managing time.

Let’s dive straight into the list.

1. Rescue Time – Use Your Time Wisely

    If you have doubts if you are using your time sensibly, this app will send you weekly reports to indicate what things are stealing your time. Aside from its automatic time-tracking feature, this app also has distraction blocking and efficient report tools.

    RescueTime helps you avoid being overwhelmed by too many tasks. This app also has a team software that’s dedicated to time management among team members. With this app, you may be shocked to discover how much time you’re actually wasting.

    Available on iOS, Android, and Desktop

    2. Remember The Milk – Keep on Top of All Your Tasks

      If you’re struggling to manage everything you have to do, and you work with many different devices, then this is the app for you. It’s a great free tool that is compatible with your mobile, computer, Gmail, Outlook, etc., and it allows you to sync all your devices for easier time management.

      This app will help you to manage your tasks easily and reminds you of them – wherever you are. You can share tasks and lists with others, making it a great tool for teams as well.

      Available on iOS, Android, and Desktop

      3. Focus Keeper – Boost Motivation to Complete Tasks

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        This app is based on the principles of the Pomodoro Technique, and it is aimed at individuals who procrastinate and feel overwhelmed by tasks. It has a simple, efficient user interface that is easily customizable based on your needs.

        Focus Keeper is designed to enhance your focus and remove any anxiety you might have with time pressures. This is a great app to use if you want to prevent yourself and your team from being burned out.

        Available on iOS, Android, and Desktop

        4. Toggl – Keep Track of Time Spent on Projects and Tasks

          Effective time management starts with being clear on exactly how much time you actually spend on your projects and tasks and through analysis – working out how you can manage them more effectively. Toggl allows you to do all this even with its simple design.

          Toggl includes great time-saving features integrated with its intuitive interface. This is a great alternative to time-sheets if you need to track how much time you spend on different projects.

          Available on iOS, Android, and Desktop

          5. Dropbox – Store and Send Large Files Easily

            There are many apps that allow you to transfer content from your computer to other devices, but Dropbox is free and it is easier to use than the others. With the Dropbox app, you can even access and share important files on the go. It is an easy way to share your files and documents with others for improved productivity.

            Available on iOS, Android, and Desktop

            6. Evernote – Keep All Your Notes in One Place

              Evernote is a free productivity tool that allows you to capture all your ideas, thoughts, and images in many different ways (e.g., with voice, notes, or images). You can even record your meetings, interviews, speeches, and ideas, create lists, add voice or text attachments, and share your files with friends. You can also sync Remember The Milk with Evernote to better optimize your time.

              Available iOS, Android, and Desktop

              7. MindNode — Focus on Tasks at Hand With Mind Mapping

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                Mind mapping is a great productivity technique, and Mindnode is one of the best free mind mapping apps available. It helps you to become more organized by focusing your thoughts – thereby gaining clarity on what needs to be done.

                This app allows you to customize various visual tags and templates to suit your needs. You can also easily share your documents with others.

                Available on iOS and Desktop

                8. GoodSync – Back Up and Sync Your Files Effortlessly

                  This software allows you to back up, restore, and synchronize your files easily. It supports folders from a variety of locations, and it has filtering options that let you exclude subfolders from synchronizing.

                  This app also allows you to sync files to and from your phone. If you have never backed up your files before, you should definitely take a look at this tool.

                  Available on iOS, Android, and Desktop

                  9. MyLifeOrganized (MLO) – Manage Your To-Do Lists Effectively

                    Check this out if you find it difficult to manage all your tasks, work with your to-do lists, and organize your goals. This task management software helps you target what you should be focusing on to reach your objectives.

                    MyLifeOrganized is one of the best task management apps for focused work. It automatically generates to-do lists with priority actions for your immediate attention so that you can track your progress methodically.

                    Available on iOS, Android, and Desktop

                    10. 1Password – Have All Your Passwords Remembered

                      1Password allows you to keep all your passwords in one encrypted database – protected by one password. This saves you time when you forget your passwords and need to retrieve them. This also allows you to use various passwords for different accounts so you don’t compromise on security.

                      Available iOS, Android, and Desktop

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                      11. Pocket – Keep Your Eye on the Ball

                        When you’re surfing the web, it’s easy to get distracted by enticing and fascinating websites. That’s why you need effective time management apps like Pocket. You can use this tool to save your ‘finds’ to access and read later on at a convenient time. This prevents you from getting distracted and negatively impacting your immediate work.

                        Available on iOS, Android, and Desktop

                        12. Focus@Will – Boost Your Attention Span

                          This amazing app combines neuroscience and music to boost your productivity. According to the developers, it’s possible to increase your attention span by up to 400% using Focus@Will, making this one of the best time management apps available.

                          Focus@will is ideal for those who find it difficult to focus while studying, working, or reading. It also helps you control your ADD.

                          Available on iOS, Android, and Desktop

                          13. Alfred – Interact With Your Computer in a Smart Way

                            This small and simple tool allows you to launch your documents, project files, folders, and bookmarks with just a few keystrokes. This makes life so much easier as you don’t need to go through the start menu to access what you want. The only downside is that it’s only available for macOS.

                            Available on desktop (macOS)

                            14. Forest – Boost Your Focus by Growing a Forest

                              Forest is a unique reinvention of time management apps. This unique and fun app helps you stay focused and on-track by making you focus on another thing.

                              The concept is simple: whenever you want to focus, plant a virtual tree. If you stay focused, the tree will grow. If you lose focus, the tree will die. As the app’s name implies, you can grow multiple trees to create a virtual forest!

                              Available on iOS, Android, and Desktop (Firefox Add-on)

                              15. Trello – Track Your projects in a highly visual way

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                                Trello is a hugely popular app that you may already be familiar with. It works by allowing you to create cards for tasks that you need to complete. Each card moves across the Trello board, which is typically broken into columns such as To Do, In Progress, and Completed. This serves as your cue to start working on and completing the associated tasks.

                                Available on iOS, Android, and Desktop

                                16. Quire – Unfold Your Ideas

                                  Quire is an innovative time management app that helps boost your team’s productivity. The strength of this app lies in its features for collaboration and ease of sharing. You can streamline and adjust your workflow based on your team’s needs and preferences.

                                  Available on iOS, Android, and Desktop

                                  17. TimeTree – Have a Shared Calendar With Your Family

                                    This TimeTree app allows families or teams to share multiple calendars and appointments with each other. So, whether you’re planning a party or running a local sports team, Time Tree can keep everyone up-to-date with all current and upcoming activities and events.

                                    Available on iOS and Android

                                    18. Todoist – Capture and Order All Your Tasks and Activities Easily

                                      Todoist is close to being the ultimate digital to-do list and one of the best time management apps out there. It’s available via browser and app, and it lets you schedule all your tasks and activities. Each item can be flagged for priority as well as a given due date. There is also a neat option to add notes to any of your tasks.

                                      Available on iOS, Android, and Desktop

                                      Final Thoughts

                                      The above list covers what we consider to be the very best time management apps and tools available. And the good news is that many of them are completely free of charge!

                                      So, what are you waiting for? Select the ones that will be the most valuable to you, and begin boosting your productivity now!

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                                      Featured photo credit: freestocks via unsplash.com

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