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Tech Tools and Software: What Motivates Change

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Tech Tools and Software: What Motivates Change

    Technology has clearly changed how we work. Mobile devices, for example, have allowed for a more flexible work environment, making it easier to work from anywhere on almost any device.

    Whatever changes we adopt, the bottom line remains the same; we want to get our jobs done and done well. And when the technology we’re accustomed to using works, we don’t want to take the time to learn something new. Email is the perfect example. The tech community continues to argue whether email is a dying form of online communication. While tools such as IM have helped us communicate faster, we still use email as our core content management system because we have not yet found another platform that’s better.

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    My previous post asked whether our digital work habits were helping or hindering productivity. Today, the question is what if something could make doing our jobs significantly better than the status quo? Would we change?

    What merits technological change?

    I may be going out on a limb, but I think a new solution needs to be at least 10 times better than the current solution if a company or individual is going to make the switch. But what makes something at least 10 times better? Think of it this way. How much time have I spent on learning? How much does it change my work habits? Are there are tangible benefits? Going back to the email example and how IM has replaced email in places; IM is simple to use, easy to understand, and it provides an immediate response where email could take days for a reply. This is what makes IM at least 10 times better than email in certain instances.

    The experience vs. features phenomenon

    One of the best examples of this phenomenon I’ve seen is one software company’s testing of the next version of its flagship software. The company invested heavily in a simplified user experience, designed to enable users to more easily discover the features they needed as well as expose them to other tools that might be helpful. The company’s development teams took the existing features from the previous product and put them into this new user interface. They then got a wide variety of users – from new to very experienced – to use the new product. The most remarkable comments came from experienced users, who could not believe how much had been added to the new version, even though the only difference was a new user experience.

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    Tipping point?

    Every company or individual can tell you exactly when they decided to switch their processes to something better. For an individual, it might be the realization of how much time is being wasted in a particular effort. For companies, it tends to be something that impacts the bottom line. These decisions often have additional, unforeseen benefits as well.

    One of my favorite examples comes from a major accounting firm. Their “tipping point” was in their financials. They realized they were spending 25 percent more in software costs than needed. A change was in order, and for them it was standardizing their tools.

    The results? They not only were able to reduce costs, but they also reduced software management time by 98 percent, improved productivity and collaboration among their employees, and kept ahead of the competition.

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    Today’s expectations

    With new tools and software, it used to be that “powerful” meant complicated. If you were prepared to take a class, read a book and invest significant time in learning, then that software or tool was more credible and capable of getting the job done. However, in the past few years, the web, mobile apps and the consumerization of software have all contributed to creating a new paradigm; the easier and more intuitive the tool, the better and more likely it is adopted.

    Yet we all suffer from some level of risk aversion and fall to “the old way of working.” I am guilty of this sometimes, and I suspect most people are as well. We know what it takes to get things done today, however old-fashioned. If we sit back and critically evaluate from a technological perspective how we work as individuals, teams and as a company, the red flags will emerge and change will follow.

    Conclusion

    Has your company experienced a technological “tipping point” recently? Or have you personally switched to something you consider at least 10 times better? Please share in the comments.

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    (Photo credit: hand holding the world and email via Shutterstock)

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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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