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10 Ways to Protect Your Privacy and Stay Safe Online

10 Ways to Protect Your Privacy and Stay Safe Online

Privacy is a basic human right that is protected by the U.S. Constitution and international law. Despite the illegality of warrant-less spying, disclosures by whistle-blower Edward Snowden reveal that the NSA would like to know all of your secrets. Don’t wait for your government to do the right thing. Take action today with these ten ways to protect your privacy and stay safe online.

1. Block intrusive game requests and excessive event invitations.

Do you have friends you love dearly, but insist on sending annoying game requests and event invitations? Click here to ban them from inviting you to anything ever again (they won’t even know you did it). You can also block specific games and apps. I would suggest starting with the most common ones like FarmVille, Candy Crush, Mafia Wars, and Words with Friends.

2. Prevent online stalking by removing location information from your Facebook profile.

Let me illustrate how creepy Facebook’s Graph Search feature is. If I wanted to, I could search for who is single based on their location, employer, school (even high school), and interests. Even more specifically, I’m a single guy who likes to travel, and I happen to write for Lifehack all the time, so I could perform a search like this:

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lifehack search

    Note: I removed the names to protect the innocent (although I’m fully aware you could find them in 10 seconds if you replicate this search yourself, but please don’t abuse the power).

    If you ever get strange friend requests from people you’ve never met who send flirty (maybe awkward?) messages, they probably performed a search like this to find you. You can protect yourself from creeping by removing all searchable information from your profile, especially the city you live in, the school you attend (or attended) and your employer.

    3. Tell Mark Zuckerberg to stop being an Internet creep.

    facebook

      Facebook is now using your browsing and apps history for ads (despite saying it wouldn’t three years ago). While I’m not concerned with increased monitoring for marketing purposes, you have to remember that Facebook is a powerful weapon for governments who spy on their populations. Click HERE to tell Mark Zuckerberg to back off.

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      4. Use lists to protect posts from being viewed by the Internet at large.

      Facebook’s default post setting was “public” (meaning anybody could read your status updates) until very recently. While changing that setting to “friends only” is a welcome decision, you might want to consider using lists for added protection (click here for more information).

      5. Disable geotagging on Twitter.

      If you think it’s wise to leave a digital footprint of your location on every tweet, please consider how easy it would be to determine your home and work address with this information. Log-in to your Twitter and click HERE to make sure geotagging is disabled. While you’re there, I would also suggest making these quick changes (don’t forget to click “save” when you’re done!):

      • Protect your tweets if you want them to be viewed by friends only
      • Right below that, click “Delete All Location Information” to remove past tracking data
      • Uncheck the boxes for “Personalization” and “Promoted Content” for extra privacy protection

      6. Turn off your cellphone GPS unless you are traveling somewhere new.

      Your cellphone is practically a tracking device that could be exploited to determine your exact location at any time. Even though that sounds like an Orwellian nightmare straight out of 1984, it is an inconvenient truth you need to accept. Following these steps will make you more difficult to trace.

      7. Destroy leftover data from old apps with SD Maid.

      Even if you delete an app, that doesn’t guarantee it won’t leave behind data that could clog up your memory and compromise security. Click here to download SD Maid, which will remove useless files with ease.

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      8. Encrypt your text messages with TextSecure.

      According to the Guardian, “The NSA has collected almost 200 million text messages a day from across the globe, using them to extract data including location, contact networks and credit card details.” Click here to keep your personal conversations private with TextSecure.

      9. Protect calls from snooping with RedPhone.

      According to the Guardian, the NSA is monitoring the telephone records of millions of Verizon customers under a top secret court order that “requires Verizon on an ongoing, daily basis to give the NSA information on all telephone calls in its systems, both within the US and between the US and other countries.” Click here to secure your conversations so nobody can listen in with RedPhone.

      10. Tell your representatives lawless spying is unacceptable.

      The best way to achieve positive change is to demand it from the politicians who represent you. Don’t take my word for it: take it from an ex-congressional employee:

      “Very few Americans, despite having a country with millions of us, ever call their legislators. 100+ phone calls per office in Congress would blow people’s minds. We receive that little contact from people despite each office representing 100,000s+ citizens. This is because so many people drink the kool-aid that they have no power or that money controls everything. This is untrue. What happens is money wins when people never complain (to their legislators!).” [source]

      Don’t wait for a politician or activist to save you, because you’re more powerful than you think you are. Click HERE to make your voice heard. Please share this article if you want to help your friends protect their privacy and stay safe online.

      Featured photo credit: Edward Snowden/The Guardian via theguardian.com

      More by this author

      Daniel Wallen

      Daniel is a writer who focuses on blogging about happiness and motivation at Lifehack.

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      Last Updated on September 11, 2019

      8 Most Effective Games and Apps to Learn to Type Fast

      8 Most Effective Games and Apps to Learn to Type Fast

      Computers and cell phones have become an integrated tool in our professional and personal lives that the original methods of using pen and paper may not be so common anymore.

      Although our old-school methods of note taking may not have entirely left us, technology is advancing with no intention of slowing down; iPads are moving into service industries, video calls are taking the place of in-person interviews, and store receipts are making its way into our email inbox – all of which requires the skill of typing.

      Learning a new skill doesn’t have to be boring and never had to be. Thankfully, there are effective games and apps that can help you learn to type fast with swift precision and accuracy.

      Why Typing Fast Matters?

      Learning how to type fast is a game changer. In fact, you can save 21 days per year by typing fast!

      Although shaving several minutes from curating a long email or texting paragraphs in a text message may not seem to be of great significance, the minutes soon do eventually add up and the long list of tasks then evolve into frustration. By the end of the day, time is being wasted, and the work pile is stacked high over your head.

      Why not alleviate some of those frustrations through practice and dedicating your spare time to build muscle memory?

      Learning a simple skillset like speed typing can drastically improve other essential areas in life including time-management and prioritization. Not only does it help you efficiently complete tasks at work and in your personal life, but it also boosts your productivity.

      8 Most Effective Typing Games and Apps

      Everyone learns at different speeds and uses various methods. While some work better under pressure and tight deadlines, others thrive when given ample amounts of time to learn and soak in the knowledge that is being provided. Despite the number of resources that are available in the hollow corners of the internet, it’s all about finding one source that helps you learn at your fullest potential.

      Whether you’re a keyboard ninja or not, here are some effective typing games and apps that allow you to test your speed, accuracy, and maybe shoot some spaceships along the way.

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      For Beginners

      1. Speed Typing Online

        What’s more fun than to type to the story of Alice in Wonderland or the lyrics to “Hey Jude”? Speed Typing Online is an online typing game that allows you to dive into the creative and familiar world of famous books, fables, songs, and even hone your skills in data entry.

        The bright blue frame holds the text, which then turns green after punching in the accurate keystrokes. After the end of the personal timer, a statistics page appears to show you your typed words per minute, accuracy, correct and incorrect entries, and error rate.

        2. Typing Trainer

          Typing Trainer

          is another online platform suited for beginner typists looking for step-by-step lessons. Learning the keys on a keyboard can confusing especially for those who aren’t as familiar or getting adjusted to typing on a computer keyboard.

          Typing Trainer has a collection of step-by-step tutorials that covers everything from sentence drills, introduction to new keys as the lessons progress, and skills test. The Typing Trainer specifically highlights unique features in each lesson including a warm-up section where the user begin to build muscle memory and learn to type without looking at the keyboard.

          The website is also programed to identify difficulties the user is facing when typing specific words or sentences.

          3. TapTyping – Typing Trainer

            There is the feeling of physically typing on a keyboard and then there’s the feeling of typing on a touch screen mobile device.

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            Since the use of cell phones has become closely integrated into our everyday lives, learning to type on a mobile is much of a skillset as it is to type on a computer. The mobile typing app, TapTyping – Typing Trainer, allows users to practice while on-the-go making it perfect for commuters who want to practice typing during their down time.

            The app allows you to challenge other typists around the world with TapTyping’s global leaderboard and test your skills by taking advanced lessons. There’s always room for improvement and with the app, you’ll be able to find your mistakes by watching a heat map of your finger strokes.

            For professional writers and programmers

            4. The Most Dangerous Writing App

              Suitable for writers facing a creative block or on a tight-deadline, the Most Dangerous Writing App is a website that forces your fingers to type as quickly as your ideas.

              If you stop longer than 5 seconds, everything you had written will slowly disappear from the screen.

              Sessions are timed from 3 minutes to 20 minutes, or can go from 75 to 1667 words. This online app is perfect to brain dump ideas, write a chapter of a manuscript you’ve been stuck on, or help with procrastination.

              If you’re up to the challenge, try the hardcore mode – an alternative option where a single letter appears on the screen at a time. This level prevents you from seeing the entire word, sentences, or even correct any spelling or grammatical mistakes until the timer is complete.

              If you’re wondering, copying and pasting is not an option until each the end of each session.

              5. The Typing Cat

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                Looking to upgrade your typing skills? Also working as a personal tutor, the Typing Cat has a list of regular typing courses with the option to try other lessons with more complexity such as HTML. Learning to type code is a another valulable skillset worth adding.

                Even with disregarded interest in the coding world, using the code course enhances your typing skills and allows your fingers to familiarize itself with uncommon word combinations and placement of punctuations on a keyboard.

                The coding course can be difficult even for typing whizzes, but it’s all a part of muscle memory. According Psychology Today,[1] only a handful of people actually learn how to type by looking at an actual keyboard, while a majority of the population locate specific keys intuitively through muscle memory.

                Available courses include EcmaScript 6, HTML 5, and CSS 3.

                Fun typing games

                6. ZType — Space Invaders Meet Webster

                  Remember playing the iconic 70’s game that allowed you to shoot tiny purple and green aliens from one end of the screen to the other with a two-bullet laser? It’s hard to believe that Space Invaders just turned 40 , but you can still get the same adrenaline rush with ZType, a typing game with the same shooting concept.

                  Ztype works in waves – stages that must be cleared but instead of aliens, you must type out the words before the missiles destroy your ship at the bottom of the screen. Every so often, longer and mor complex words would appear and if the words are not typed in the allotted time, a series of letters will disperse like missles.

                  The game is quick on the fingers and will still have your heart pumping until the very end.

                  7. Epistory – Typing Chronicles

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                    Although this game does cost money to purchase, it is worth the investment if you’re looking for a refreshing and alternative mode to learning how to type fast.

                    Epistory – Typing Chronicles is a role-playing action and adventure game of a young girl riding a fox in a magical and fictional realm; together they combat enemies in the shapes and forms of words.

                    Once you’re starterted, you almost forget you’re playing a typing game. The paper craft art aesthetics of the game has you captivated by the vibrant colors and character’s storyline, while having you build your typing skills.

                    8. Daily Quote Typing

                      Need some inspiration? Say no more.

                      Daily Quote Typing is one of many gammes available on Wordgames.com – a website that offers a variety of typing games ranging from different levels based on your experience.

                      With Daily Quote Typing, users are able to type out inspirational quotes by famous leaders, inventors, and innovators such as Mark Twain and Albert Einstein.

                      Bottom Line

                      At the end of the day, discipline and patience is what teaches to type faster. It comes down to making that commitment to improving not only your typing abilities, but in a lifelong skill that benefits other areas in life.

                      By practicing daily and using effective games and apps, it’s only a matter of time before keystrokes will become second nature and your brain will adapt to learning other skills faster.

                      Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

                      Reference

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