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Know More About Facebook Safety Check For Disasters

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 May 14, 2019

      8 Replacements for Google Notebook

      8 Replacements for Google Notebook

      Exploring alternatives to Google Notebook? There are more than a few ‘notebooks’ available online these days, although choosing the right one will likely depend on just what you use Google Notebook for.

      1. Zoho Notebook
        If you want to stick with something as close to Google Notebook as possible, Zoho Notebook may just be your best bet. The user interface has some significant changes, but in general, Zoho Notebook has pretty similar features. There is even a Firefox plugin that allows you to highlight content and drop it into your Notebook. You can go a bit further, though, dropping in any spreadsheets or documents you have in Zoho, as well as some applications and all websites — to the point that you can control a desktop remotely if you pare it with something like Zoho Meeting.
      2. Evernote
        The features that Evernote brings to the table are pretty great. In addition to allowing you to capture parts of a website, Evernote has a desktop search tool mobil versions (iPhone and Windows Mobile). It even has an API, if you’ve got any features in mind not currently available. Evernote offers 40 MB for free accounts — if you’ll need more, the premium version is priced at $5 per month or $45 per year. Encryption, size and whether you’ll see ads seem to be the main differences between the free and premium versions.
      3. Net Notes
        If the major allure for Google Notebooks lays in the Firefox extension, Net Notes might be a good alternative. It’s a Firefox extension that allows you to save notes on websites in your bookmarks. You can toggle the Net Notes sidebar and access your notes as you browse. You can also tag websites. Net Notes works with Mozilla Weave if you need to access your notes from multiple computers.
      4. i-Lighter
        You can highlight and save information from any website while you’re browsing with i-Lighter. You can also add notes to your i-Lighted information, as well as email it or send the information to be posted to your blog or Twitter account. Your notes are saved in a notebook on your computer — but they’re also synchronized to the iLighter website. You can log in to the site from any computer.
      5. Clipmarks
        For those browsers interested in sharing what they find with others, Clipmarks provides a tool to select clips of text, images and video and share them with friends. You can easily syndicate your finds to a whole list of sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Digg. You can also easily review your past clips and use them as references through Clipmarks’ website.
      6. UberNote
        If you can think of a way to send notes to UberNote, it can handle it. You can clip material while browsing, email, IM, text message or even visit the UberNote sites to add notes to the information you have saved. You can organize your notes, tag them and even add checkboxes if you want to turn a note into some sort of task list. You can drag and drop information between notes in order to manage them.
      7. iLeonardo
        iLeonardo treats research as a social concern. You can create a notebook on iLeonardo on a particular topic, collecting information online. You can also access other people’s notebooks. It may not necessarily take the place of Google Notebook — I’m pretty sure my notes on some subjects are cryptic — but it’s a pretty cool tool. You can keep notebooks private if you like the interface but don’t want to share a particular project. iLeonardo does allow you to follow fellow notetakers and receive the information they find on a particular topic.
      8. Zotero
        Another Firefox extension, Zotero started life as a citation management tool targeted towards academic researchers. However, it offers notetaking tools, as well as a way to save files to your notebook. If you do a lot of writing in Microsoft Word or Open Office, Zotero might be the tool for you — it’s integrated with both word processing software to allow you to easily move your notes over, as well as several blogging options. Zotero’s interface is also available in more than 30 languages.

      I’ve been relying on Google Notebook as a catch-all for blog post ideas — being able to just highlight information and save it is a great tool for a blogger.

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      In replacing it, though, I’m starting to lean towards Evernote. I’ve found it handles pretty much everything I want, especially with the voice recording feature. I’m planning to keep trying things out for a while yet — I’m sticking with Google Notebook until the Firefox extension quits working — and if you have any recommendations that I missed when I put together this list, I’d love to hear them — just leave a comment!

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