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How To Disappear From The Internet Forever

How To Disappear From The Internet Forever

The internet is all knowing these days. If you think about it, the amount of information out there about a person is actually pretty scary. The more social you are, the more easily someone interested in you can find out almost anything they’d like to know.

Even if you aren’t using social networking  accounts and forums you can still be leaving a digital trail. If this scares you a little, here are some tips to go off the grid. If not off the grid, at least can know what others can see when it comes to your digital comings and goings. We’ll also have some tips to clean up some of the info you aren’t cool with being out there.

Find out what’s out there

Search engines

The first task on the to-do list is to see what kind of information about you is out there. The first place you’ll want to look is a simple Google search. If you’ve never done this and are pretty active on the web, you will probably be a bit taken back by what comes up. There are a few searches you’ll want to do. Start off with your name. This may pull up any number of things especially if you have a common name. Try some variations, these can show different results.

    Follow that with your email address. Many online accounts use your email address in the login credentials. If you have a commonly used username, this would be another good Google search. A search for either of these may pull up all kinds of information ranging from pictures you’ve taken to online rants of you complaining about how much the new Facebook revision sucks.

    Background Checks

    Depending on your reason for wanting to disappear off the internet, it may cost a couple of dollars to see what pops up when someone runs a background check on you. Using a service like Intelius or US Search can cost about $20 -$40 dollars to run, but a search like this can pull up a lot of your history. Some of this history is your relatives, addresses and employers.

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      Stop using social networking sites

      Deleting all you can from your social accounts then cancelling them can be a good start at getting rid of your digital footprint. Some sites may not let you manually delete your account, but all the major social networks will let you delete your account in some way.

      Delete Facebook Account – This is the most thorough way to delete your account. Using this method can take up to a couple of weeks to finalize. The good news is this method deletes your whole account to the point you cannot restore it. Anything you were tagged in is no more.

        Delete Twitter Account – This link brings you to the settings page where you can choose to delete your account.

        Delete Google+ information – If you want to delete your association with Google+ you can delete all of your information through this link. Otherwise you need to get rid of your whole Google Account.

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        Delete Linkedin Account – Linkedin lets you delete your account but can keep your personal info. If you didn’t know this it is right in the User Agreement you thoroughly read. Here an excerpt from section 2 in the Linkedin User Agreement:

        License and warranty for your submissions to LinkedIn.

        You own the information you provide LinkedIn under this Agreement, and may request its deletion at any time, unless you have shared information or content with others and they have not deleted it, or it was copied or stored by other users. Additionally, you grant LinkedIn a nonexclusive, irrevocable, worldwide, perpetual, unlimited, assignable, sublicenseable, fully paid up and royalty-free right to us to copy, prepare derivative works of, improve, distribute, publish, remove, retain, add, process, analyze, use and commercialize, in any way now known or in the future discovered, any information you provide, directly or indirectly to LinkedIn, including, but not limited to, any user generated content, ideas, concepts, techniques or data to the services, you submit to LinkedIn, without any further consent, notice and/or compensation to you or to any third parties. Any information you submit to us is at your own risk of loss as noted in Sections 2 and 3 of this Agreement.

        Those are the major accounts many people would be likely to have. If you need some ideas of other popular sites and how you would go about deleting them, here is a good site to check out.

        Delete other accounts

        Remember all of those email lists you signed up for to get their bribe? Well, it would be a good idea for you to keep an eye on your incoming emails to see who has your email address. You can unsubscribe from these (not a bad idea even if you are not trying to disappear for the web). Many of these may be tied to a service or web app you tried out a long time ago and forgot about.

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          If you can’t delete an account, you can always overwrite the data in the account with generic or fake info. Use Fake Name Generator to make a fake identity for an email address or an account. Using Fake Name Generator will give you A LOT of fake information to use to fill in all of those forms you are always asked to fill in. Preload all of this information into a form filling app and you will be all set to go.

          For example, Skype is one of those accounts you simply cannot delete. You can’t even change your Skype name once it is created. However, you can delete all of the personal info or change it to something else.

          Personal sites go bye bye

          Do you have any personal blogs or personal sites you set up to keep people informed on what’s going on with you? You know, something other than Facebook. If so, delete them. This also goes for anything you may have out there showing your portfolio. There are other ways you can show people samples of your work. If it is on the web and can be used to find or contact you, it has to come down.

          How you and others can “out” you

          Once you have a good majority of your Googleable (if thats a word) information and accounts deleted, you will want to make sure you or others are not doing anything to show searchers your whereabouts. Some of the common ways your location or other information can be found is by one of these common mistakes.

          No tags – You will want to make sure other people don’t tag you in pictures.

          GPS – TURN OFF THE GEOLOCATION AND GPS!  Digital images can have the location and other information embedded in them. If you or others take pictures of you, have them shut off the geolocation.

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            Don’t talk about you – Ask them not to mention you in their updates or online…. period.

            Personal information – Ask people not to post your personal information on the web. If someone is trying to find you, they may know who you associate with. You could be tracked by association.

            The main theme to all of this is, it’s a huge pain in the butt to delete yourself from the internet. Do what you can to get rid of your previous digital footprints and be a lot more careful about what you do in the future.

            Featured photo credit:  man shattered via Shutterstock

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            Last Updated on November 3, 2020

            20 Best Mac Apps for Productivity You Need in 2020

            20 Best Mac Apps for Productivity You Need in 2020

            Whether you use your Mac for work or just for your personal projects, you’ve likely found yourself wondering how to improve your productivity. There are only so many hours in a day, and so much mental stamina you can muster before you run out.

            There are dozens of tricks you can use to improve your own productivity and outlook, but if you’re looking for a more objective, comprehensive fix, the best thing to do is equip your Mac with productivity apps designed to help you do more in less time.

            This Lifehack-exclusive list has some of the best productivity apps to help you feel less tired, improve your energy, and ultimately help you get more done every day.

            What Makes For the Best Productivity Apps?

            Beyond productivity tips, there are dozens of productivity apps to choose from too. With that in mind, here are some of the core aspects of ideal productivity apps that have formed this list.

            • Non-intrusive – you want a productivity app to weave seamlessly into your workflow and not cause disruptions. From using the app to the overall display, it shouldn’t cause any interruptions.
            • Good interface – Again, you want to be able to use these apps easily and have them benefit you. The easier you can navigate around these apps, the better.
            • Fair pricing – Many of these have free trials that allow you a good chance to test before you buy. If you do decide to pay for it, the monthly pricing plans should be reasonable for what you are getting.

            1. Todoist

              Available for all iOS devices, Todoist is a note-taking and organization app that can keep you on top of all your projects—both personal and professional.

              Its best features are all free to use, including browser extensions, task creation, and interactive boards you can use to organize all your notes.

              If you want to pay the optional $29 yearly fee, you can get even more advanced features like backups and automatic reminders. Even with the free version, you’ll stay far more organized.

              Download: Todoist

              2. 1Password

                You may not realize it, but you probably spend a ton of time recalling your passwords, especially if and when you forget one to an app you use on a regular basis.

                1Password is an app for Mac that saves and remembers all your passwords for you in one place, so you can access all your favorite sites with a single click.

                You’ll save time and keep all your accounts secure simultaneously. A personal plan is $2.99 per month.

                Download: 1Password

                3. Bear

                  Bear is a unique kind of note-taking app designed to make it easier for Mac users to jot down notes on the go. With it, you can create to-do lists, give yourself reminders, and outline concepts for future brainstorming sessions.

                  It comes with many different inline styles so you can customize your notes to your personal preferences, and remember the context in which you wrote them. The core version is free, with a $14.99 per year version available as well.

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                  Download: Bear

                  4. Hazel

                    Hazel by noodlesoft is an automated organization tool designed for Mac that will help you automatically organize your files based on any custom rules you want to create.

                    For example, you can set it to move untouched items from one folder into another folder labeled “action items” if they haven’t been addressed within a week. It can save you hours of organization over the course of a few weeks. A single license is a flat $32.

                    Download: noodlesoft

                    5. Alfred

                      Alfred is an all-in-one app designed to save you time with Mac shortcuts and convenient custom actions. You can use it in a variety of ways.

                      For example, you can access Alfred’s clipboard memory so you don’t copy and paste the same material over and over, or set up custom workflows to automate some of your most repetitive tasks.

                      It’s a paid app, with multiple price points based on the features you desire.

                      Download: Alfred

                      6. TextExpander

                        TextExpander does exactly what the name suggests; it allows you to type a short snippet of text, and expand that text automatically.

                        For example, you can create a custom expansion that allows you to conjure a full paragraph you type repeatedly by simply typing a unique abbreviation. Once you get used to your custom combinations, you’ll spare your fingers from typing thousands of words.

                        An individual account is $3.33 per month.

                        Download: TextExpander

                        7. Backblaze

                          If you’ve ever experienced a crash, or theft of your Mac, you know how much time a system restore can cost you. You’ll spend hours replacing the files you lost, and lose thousands of files that are irreplaceable.

                          Backblaze is an automated, inexpensive way to back up your entire Mac for just $5 a month.

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                          Download: Backblaze

                          8. Keyboard Maestro

                            Keyboard Maestro is an older app that still has the power to make your life easier. With it, you can automate any number of tasks based on a certain trigger (such as a hotkey combination, or an event like connecting to a wireless network). A single license only costs $36.

                            Download: Keyboard Maestro

                            9. Snagit

                              There are many applications for a good screen-capture app, whether you’re trying to illustrate a tech problem you have or just want to make an interesting meme. Snagit makes it easy, with built-in editing for both still images and video. A single license covers two machines, and costs $49.95.

                              Download: TechSmith/Snagit

                              10. Bartender

                                Bartender is the cleverly-named app that helps you clean up and organize all your menu bar icons. You can also access them quickly with keyboard shortcuts.

                                If you’re like most Mac users, those icons get cluttered quickly and stop you from working efficiently. It’s free to try for 4 weeks, after which you’ll need a $15 license.

                                Download: Bartender

                                11. Otter

                                Otter is the Mac app for the note taker who hates typing. It’s an intelligent voice-recognition system and note-taking app that will help you transcribe your conversations, keep notes during meetings, and even take contextual notes to yourself in your own time.

                                Best of all, it’s free to get started!

                                Download: Otter

                                12. Flux

                                  Do you often find yourself feeling tired throughout the day, or feeling unable to get to sleep after a day of staring at your computer? That could be because of the unnatural blue light that radiates from your Mac.

                                  Flux naturally adapts your display to emit light that matches the time of day, so you can sleep better and feel less tired. It’s also free!

                                  Download: Flux

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                                  13. PDFpen

                                  If you deal with PDFs on a regular basis, you probably find yourself wishing for some kind of tool that can let you mark up those PDFs however you want. Without a dedicated app like PDFpen, this can be difficult.

                                  PDFpen lets you edit PDFs in almost any conceivable way, giving you more power and saving you time. A single license is $74.95.

                                  Download: Smile Software/PDFpen

                                  14. OmniFocus

                                    OmniFocus is all about task management. It has a clean interface that allows you to tag your tasks, schedule events, and even automate certain features.

                                    It’s one of the most comprehensive solutions on the market, so there’s a bit of a learning curve to get the most out of it.

                                    A standard license is $39.99, while the pro version is $79.99.

                                    Download: OmniFocus

                                    15. Franz

                                      It’s tiring to switch between dozens of different chat programs like Facebook Messenger, Slack, and WhatsApp, whenever you want to have a conversation with a different contact.

                                      Franz’s solution is simple; offer access to all these apps in one convenient package. And best of all, it’s completely open source.

                                      Download: Franz

                                      16. MindNode

                                        If you’re the brainstorming type, you need an app like MindNode to help you efficiently organize your thoughts. There are dozens of tools you can use to connect ideas in a mind map, or simply jot down notes for future reference.

                                        The core app is free, with in-app purchases available.

                                        Download: MindNode

                                        17. Focus

                                          The internet is a wonderful thing, but it can be awfully distracting. And if you’re like the majority of us, you’ve interrupted work on a project because of some attention-grabbing site or bad online habit. That’s where Focus comes in.

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                                          This app allows you to block the worst offenders with custom time limits and other constraints, so you can focus on the task at hand. A single license is $19.99.

                                          Download: Focus

                                          18. CleanMyMac

                                            Chances are, your Mac isn’t working as fast as it could, thanks to gigabytes of clutter and unnecessary files on your system. CleanMyMac helps you scan your Mac, monitor its health, and ultimately clean it up—so you can handle all your tasks that extra bit faster. A single license is $39.95.

                                            Download: CleanMyMac

                                            19. Grammarly

                                              A spelling error or grammatical mistake can cost you big time. It could be the source of a worse grade on a big paper, or compromise your credibility in the workplace. Thankfully, Grammarly can help you.

                                              This Mac-integrated writing assistant monitors all your writing and makes live corrections, so you’re alerted to your potential mistakes before they become permanent.

                                              A free version exists, but the premium version will cost you between $11 and $30 a month, depending on how you pay.

                                              Download: Grammarly

                                              Focus To Do

                                                Focus to-do is one of the top productivity apps for your iPhone around. It even has a desktop client that you can connect to effortlessly. The app is built around two things: the Pomodoro technique and task management. It achieves these things with amazing balance. All that you have to do is create a task and then set the timer right within the app itself.

                                                There is also great flexibility with the Pomodoro technique as well. You can choose whether to take a 5 minute break, take a longer one, or even skip it. On the task management side, you can also create reoccurring tasks, reminders, and place a priority on tasks too.

                                                Download: Focus To Do

                                                The Bottom Line

                                                These productivity apps should help you squeeze more productive hours out of every day, but they aren’t the only tools you’ll have to help you find success.

                                                Make the time to learn about and experiment with all the life hacks that can make you more productive. By improving your devices as well as your outlook and focus, you’ll be able to get far more done in a day, and feel better doing it.

                                                More to Boost Productivity

                                                Featured photo credit: Patrick Ward via unsplash.com

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