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10 Awesome Alfred Actions to Speed Up Your Day

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10 Awesome Alfred Actions to Speed Up Your Day


    Alfred

    is more than an application launcher for your Mac, though I bet that’s what most Alfred users do most often—I’m certainly no exception. A quick command-space, type what I’m looking for, tap enter, done. But there is so, so much more that you can do. In fact I learn more things to do the more I use it. But to get you started here are my top 10 tips and Alfred actions…

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    1. Powerpack Alfred App – Powerpack. Yes, the free version of Alfred is great, more than half of my favorite things to do with it are core to the free version. The thing is that some of the most useful shortcuts come with the Powerpack.
    2. System commands. Need to quickly lock your machine to step away? How about empty the trash without your hands moving to the mouse? Oh yes, all of these and more are right at your fingertips with Alfred. You can even change the default commands so if “emptytrash” is too pedestrian you could use “eradicate”. If “shutdown” doesn’t work, maybe “abort”. They are your commands…do as you wish.
    3. File searches. Sure Spotlight is great and doing a search in a Finder window when you’re in a Finder window is convenient, but what if you aren’t? Start with “find” and Alfred will search through all your files or use “in” and Alfred will search within your files instead. Found what you’re looking for? Email it, open it, go to it, even delete it. Pretty much just control it.
    4. Searching the web. Sure it’s simple, but just start your Google (or other engine) search with a couple taps and your fingers barely have to leave the keyboard. Oh, and it’s not just Google, it’s Bing, Yahoo!, Amazon, eBay, IMDb, even your Gmail and Google Docs, and even more.
    5. Calculator. Quick what’s (3+4)/2*8+10? Yeah, with Alfred you start with the “=” (enable the advanced calculator in the preferences) type it in and the result is there to copy (38 is the answer).
    6. Spelling. Look up definitions or find the right spellings in a few seconds.
    7. Clipboard (PP only). This is my fav of all the Powerpack add-ons, built in clipboard history. And with Alfred 1.2 you can now append to the current clipboard item and then paste that. You can even save snippets of things (like in TextExpander) that you wind up using often.
    8. Address Book (PP). Look up people in your by just typing their name. Then copy info to the clipboard or email them. Right there.
    9. Email (PP). Speaking of email, you can start emails right from Alfred too. Oh and with the myriad different file actions you can do, emailing a document to someone is never more than a few taps away.
    10. 1Password (PP). This is another new feature in Alfred 1.2 for Powerpack users. If you use 1Password start with 1p then start typing the service you’ve saved a password for…select, enter, and your browser opens and logs you in.

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      You can download Alfred either through the Mac App Store or directly through the website (which is the course I’d recommend actually) and while the features included for free are, well, awesome, the real fun comes with spending a little coin, £15 (about $25 US/CAD) gets you the Powerpack, which ramps up Alfred to a whole new level of awesome.

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      Frankly, even pulling together this top 10 list I found another half dozen Alfred actions I want to try. Like opening the last files a particular app opened or navigating through the file system or launching URLs or controlling iTunes. Alfred is one of those apps that is awesome for the moment you start using it—and then it just keeps getting better from there.

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      (Photo credit: Man in Bowler Hat by Wonderlane via Flickr)

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      Last Updated on November 25, 2021

      How to Make Private Browsing on Safari Truly Private

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      How to Make Private Browsing on Safari Truly Private

      There comes a time when we may be searching online and don’t want the browser to remember our footsteps. The reasons don’t always have to be what we obviously think of as the main reason; for example, sometimes, you may not want Safari to remember your passwords or prompt you to enter your password when surfing the web.

      Whatever the reason, we may think that we are totally in the clear with Private Browsing on Safari and the other browsers on a Mac. However, a quick Terminal command can bring up every website you’ve visited. How do you do this? Also, how do you clear your tracks for good? We will provide both answers and more today.

        What Does Private Browsing Do?

        When activated, Private Browsing on Safari prevents your browsing history from being kept in the history tab of the application. Along with this, it doesn’t autofill information that you have saved in the browser. In this mode, you essentially become incognito and any references of previous use is essentially hidden when you are in private mode.

        For example: if you are on Facebook or filling out a form and some information or your login is already filled in in the spaces provided, this is called autofill. It’s activated by simply clicking Safari next to the Apple symbol in the menubar and selecting Private Browsing, then clicking “OK” to the prompt.

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        The reasons behind private mode differ for each individual. While we won’t go into all of those reasons, one thing that is  important to remember is that private browsing doesn’t forget the websites you visit. As we will see later on, Macs keep a second copy of the websites you visit in either mode. If you are in frantic mode looking for a solution to this, look no further.

        The Terminal Archive

        While Safari does a good job of keeping your search history out of prying eyes in the history tab, there is a less-than-obvious way to view a full list of visited websites on Mac. This is done in Terminal; the command-line emulator that allows you to make changes to your Mac.

        Terminal is located in the Utilities folder on your Mac. Once activated, simply add the command:

        dscacheutil -cachedump -entries Host

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        Once you hit “enter”, a list of the visited sites appear. Showing only the domains, the sites appear in a format of:

        Key: h_name :(website domain)ipv4 :1

        However, there’s no need to fear—there is a way you can clear this information from Terminal with a command that’s just as simple.

        Clearing Your Tracks

        Just as simply as you were able to enter the command to view the websites, you can clear the cache that Terminal showed you with the comamnd:

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        dscacheutil -flushcache

        As the command denotes, this literally “flushes” the domains from Terminal. This does not prevent the record from continuing to be recorded for future sites, however, so if that’s an issue for you, repeat this process regularly.

        Other Browsers and Private Browsing

        Other browsers have this form of privacy mode for their service. They promise many of the same things as Safari, but they do not have the same Terminal issue due to how this command only presents websites visited on Safari (the browser Macs come shipped with).

        If you use Firefox, you’ll notice that its private mode is also known as Private Browsing. Chrome calls private mode Incognito, while Internet Explorer refers to it as InPrivate Browsing. Opera is the newest to the scene, denoting it as Private Tab. Safari is the oldest well-known browser with this feature.

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        As you can see, despite Private Browsing not being 100% private, Terminal allows for your browser to be. In what ways has Terminal helped your life or allowed you to become more productive? Let us know in the comments below.

        Featured photo credit: Benjamin Dada via unsplash.com

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