GeekLift: Holy hashtags, hide internet searches and speed up iPhone

GeekLift: Holy hashtags, hide internet searches and speed up iPhone

 

Good Thursday to you! We’re almost to Friday and that is fantastic news. There has been a lot of buzz on the web about Facebook embracing hashtags. If you’re not up on hashtags and how you can use them to search, I’ve got you covered. Also, if you like to search the web and would rather not have people see what you’re searching I have a tool for you for that as well. Finally, if you own an iPhone, you may be losing valuable battery power and memory speeds. I’ll show you how to kill the programs that are running ‘behind the scenes’.

Let’s get going. It’s time for your GeekLift.
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How to use Facebook Hashtags

If you’re new to social media, you’re probably wondering what the deal is with the pound sign (#). First, they call it a hashtag. Secondly, you’ll find out that the symbol is used to ‘tag’, link and and make the word or phrase searchable. Twitter users use hashtags to allow users to search a topic, but others do as well: Tumblr, Pinterest, Google+ and Instagram. You can now add Facebook to the list. Here’s how to get started with hashtagging your News Feed.

Start by simply adding a # to any word, acronym or phrase with no spaces. As soon as you use the # symbol, a blue box will appear over your tag. Then click Post. Your tag will appear in bold within your status update.

how-to-facebook-hashtag

TIP: You’ll want to hashtags words or phrases that others would search, for instance #Vikings (my football team). Don’t hashtag #WhereCanIFindAGoodRestaurantInMiami. No one would try to to search that. Instead, try:

Where can I find a good #restaurant in #Miami?

To find out if a hashtag is trending there are a couple of websites worth checking out: www.hashtags.org and hashtagify.me.

After your post is up, you can click on your new tag to see who else is using that same phrase and what they are saying.

nba-hashtag

Facebook is tracking hashtags people are using, so a feed is always available even if you’ve not previously used the tag in a Facebook status update of your own. Simply type the tag of your choice, such as #cats, and click the page labeled hashtag. This will open the same feed of related posts as you would get if you clicked on a hashtag in a post.

Got it? Great. Have #fun.
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Private Browsing: Hide internet searches

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Have you ever wondered how to search the internet without leaving a trail? You can, for the most part. It’s called Private Browsing and essentially all internet browsers have the option.

It will allow you to hide internet searches, and any other information you leave behind. All you need to do is click on the option before you start searching and you won’t leave a trail of history, cookies, bookmarks and non-private history like normal searching would collect.

Face it, most of us have probably looked up something online that would make our faces a bit red if someone found out. Whatever your reason for going undercover, private browsing will help keep other people from being nosy.Now, while private browsing is useful, it’s not all powerful.

Private browsing won’t protect you from keyloggers, tracking programs, nasty viruses after your personal info, or government surveillance efforts. But as far as the average Joe is concerned, your private online activities will remain shrouded in mystery.There are so many browsers and so many versions. I’ll how you how to find Private Browsing in some common browsers. But if you do a little looking, it shouldn’t be too difficult to spot. Click on the plus symbol below (+) to open the instructions.

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Firefox 4

Open up the bright orange Firefox menu in the top-left corner of your browser window. Click “Start Private Browsing.” If this is the first time you’ve used Private Browsing, you’ll get the following message. Go ahead and check that box to avoid getting the same message every time.

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Once you’ve got Private Browsing active, the orange Firefox button will turn purple, and the address bar will be marked with an icon of a mask.

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To stop Private Browsing, go back to the Firefox menu and click “Stop Private Browsing”. Your non-private tabs will appear right where you left them.

firefox-private

Now, if you’ve currently got the Menu Bar active within your Toolbar settings, you won’t see an orange button in the top-left corner. Instead, you’ll find the “Start Private Browsing” option within the Tools menu. Everything else will work exactly the same way.

Google Chrome

Open up the Settings menu. It’s the little wrench-shaped icon in the top-right corner. Click “New incognito window.” That’s right. You’re about to go incognito.

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Chrome will open up a separate window for your private browsing needs. Your original window will remain in the background. Appropriately enough, Incognito mode is marked with a little fedora-clad gumshoe.

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To return to normal browsing, just close the Incognito window.

Internet Explorer 9

See that little gear in the top-right corner? Click it.

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Next, mouse-over the Safety menu. Click “InPrivate Browsing.”

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Like Chrome, IE9 will open a new browser window, leaving your open tabs intact. You’ll know the InPrivate browsing window by the dark blue “InPrivate” icon to the left of the address bar.

Close the InPrivate window whenever you’re ready to stop being sneaky.

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If you’d like specific instructions on how to find Private Browsing on your browser, leave a comment and I’ll help you out. Good luck and happy searching.
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Speed up, save battery on iPhone

If you have an iPhone, you must know about this. Few iPhone users realize that applications are constantly running ‘behind the scenes’ on their phone wasting previous memory and battery power. We would all love it if we could make it through a busy day without having to charge the battery. Granted, batteries seem to be getting better, but until they last forever, here is a tip you should practice often to save memory and juice:

1. Click the HOME button, twice pretty rapidly.

home button

2. You’ll see a bar with 4 app icons show up at the bottom of your screen in a little box.

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3. Press and hold on the first icon in the line. Hold it until the apps start dancing and you’ll see a red symbol show up on each app. This means you can now ‘shut down’ the app that is currently running. If you’ve never done this you’ll see you have a lot of apps to close. Think of all that battery power you were burning! Click the red close symbol on each app until there are no more. Then click the home button to go back to the screen.

close-apps-iphone-2

Remember, each time you open an app, they will stay open until you close them. Don’t worry, you can leave them running. But I recommend shutting them down daily or every few days. It only takes a few seconds. Great thing to do when you’re in your commercial break while watching Mad Men.

Enjoy your extra battery power. We’ll see you next week for your next GeekLift appointment.

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Josh Benson

Josh Benson writes about the web, technology, TV News and life in general. He's a self-admitted geek and loves being a Dad. He covers the day's news on WFLA-TV in Tampa, Florida. He struggles to learn code and work out but loves all things tech and web!

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