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Know More About Facebook Safety Check For Disasters

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Know More About Facebook Safety Check For Disasters

These days, we use social media for everything. Everyone, from kids in elementary school to senior citizens living out their retirement, check websites like Twitter and Facebook on a daily if not hourly basis. With social media as popular as it is, it makes sense that it would eventually start to be utilized for more important tasks than just checking up on what your favorite celebrity has to say, or posting a status about the latest latte you drank.

What am I referring to? Disasters. With everybody on Twitter, and Facebook especially, it makes sense that they be used as tools by which to inform those you love of your status during some kind of calamity. Whether you be caught in a snowstorm, a hurricane, an earthquake, or a fire, Facebook is trying to make you just a bit more safe and secure during these kinds of traumatic moments.

Facebook’s foray into the safety industry comes amidst a flurry of new services meant to keep you safe. One of these was covered in a recent Lifehack article, an app known as SafeTrek, which informs police of your location in potentially dangerous situations.

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Facebook’s service is similar, though meant to be used on a far larger scale. Whereas an app like SafeTrek is more suited for something akin to a home break-in or a store robbery, Facebook’s “Safety Check” is designed to keep tabs on your status during major disasters.

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    How exactly does it work? Since it is part of the Facebook app, it uses your personal information (such as the town you have listed as your current area of residence) as well as your internet activity to determine your location. If you happen to be near a disaster, the Safety Check feature will activate, and ask you if you are safe. This will notify everyone in your news feed of your status, a useful feature since anyone that cares for you will want to know that you are OK.

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    If for some reason Safety Check gets your location wrong, you can simply tell it that you are “not in the area,” and it will go away.

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      Safety Check goes beyond just informing people of your status in a disaster. It also allows you to see other people who were possibly affected by the same event, and lets you monitor whether they select if they are safe or not. That can be an incredibly useful feature if you are wondering whether or not your friends are all safe.

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      Development on Facebook’s Safety Check feature started mainly as a result of the 2011 Tsunami in Japan, an event that convinced the company to develop a more streamlined way to make Facebook a useful tool during a disaster, mainly because people were using it as a way to report their status after the wave hit anyways.

      While there are certainly other services like Safety Check out there, this one is particularly intriguing because nearly everyone uses Facebook. Therefore, it makes it that much easier to get informed about those you know who might be in danger. Previously, you would have to wait on texts, calls, or some other kind of social media status, all of which are more clunky to use than simply pressing the “I am safe” button in Facebook’s tool.

      What this feature really offers then is peace of mind. The only potential drawback I can see with this tool is that it tracks our whereabouts 24/7 That said, Facebook was probably already keeping tabs on us either way, and at least there is a good reason for location tracking to exist with Safety Check.

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      Facebook is not alone in releasing new safety features. The popular app Shazam has also released new features that help prepare you for disasters, and others are sure to follow. I say it is for the best. The more ways we have to protect ourselves, and inform those we love of our status during calamitous events, the better.

      Featured photo credit: Facebook/mkhmarketing via flickr.com

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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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