Hide Your Facebook Status From One or Specific Friends

The problem with Facebook is that your group of “friends” really consists of just about everyone you know including your family, relatives, friends, work colleagues, professional contacts, etc., etc. Yes, you can create lists and group people into them, but it’s a hard to find feature that no one really ever uses it. However, I’ll still mention how to use lists in Facebook in case you really want to organize your friend list.

So what’s the best way to hide your Facebook status from one person or a specific set of friends? The best way in my opinion is to use the privacy controls while you are actually creating the status update. In this article, I’ll show you how to control the privacy of a single status update and all future status updates too.

Single Status Update

Since you’ll probably only be restricting your status updates some of the time, the simplest solution is to click on the little privacy control button at the bottom right of the status update window.

facebook status update

The privacy control will be set to whatever is your default option for who can see your Facebook status updates. In my case, my default setting is only Friends. If you want to change this for a particular post, go ahead and click on the down arrow.

status update privacy controls

At the top, you’ll get three main choices: Public, Friends and Only Me. Below that you get more options like Friends except Acquaintances and then Custom. Below those options, Facebook will give you some custom lists that it creates on its own.

In my case, it gives me options for friends who live in certain areas, my family, close friends, friends who’ve gone to the same school as me, etc. If you already have a list and you want only those people to see your status, just select the list and you’re good to go.

In order to exclude someone or an entire list, you have to click on Custom. This will bring up the Custom Privacy popup window.

custom privacy facebook

Here you can edit exactly who you want to share or not share the status update with. In my example above, everyone will see my post except the people in the Family list. You can type in individual names or pick from your lists. Click Save Changes and you’re good to go.

So is there any way for someone to find out that you hid a post from them on Facebook? Well, Facebook does not let the person know, unless you happen to tag them! So make sure you don’t tag a person you are trying to hide your status from.

In addition, even if the person you tagged is friends with a person you hide the post from, the latter will not be able to see it on the former’s wall or in their own news feed. From a technical standpoint on Facebook, the excluded people will have no way to know that you posted the status update. Obviously, if someone mentions it outside of Facebook, you might be in trouble!

Future Status Updates

Once you change the setting inline while posting a status update, Facebook assumes you’ll want to continue doing this. If you go to post another status update, you’ll see it still says Custom instead of whatever it was earlier. You can also check this setting under the privacy settings in Facebook. Go ahead and click on the little lock icon at the top right.

who can see my stuff

Then click on Who can see my stuff? to expand those options. Under who can see my future posts?, go ahead and click on the box and choose Custom. In my case, it was already set to Custom since I had just posted a status update with custom privacy settings.

Create Facebook Lists

The pre-created lists created by Facebook are useful, but sometimes you need to create a list that is for a specific set of people not already in a list. To do this, you have to go to your main News Feed and then hover your mouse over Friends in the left sidebar until you see More.

facebook friends more

Now you’ll see all of your lists. At the top, you can click on Create a List.

create a list

Give you list a name and start typing names to create the list. Click the Create button and it’s as simple as that!

new list facebook

Now you can use this list in various settings across Facebook that allow lists. Hopefully, this helps you control the privacy of your Facebook status updates. Make sure to read my other posts on about Facebook like how to hide your online Facebook status, update Facebook status via text message, and how to hide from one Facebook friend from another. Enjoy!

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Create Private Browsing Mode Shortcuts for Your Web Browser

Private Browsing is a mode in all modern web browsers that, when activated, will delete any session data such as browsing history and cookies. If you want to browse the Internet without anything being stored locally on your computer, private browsing mode is the best choice.

Note that private browsing mode will not allow you to browse the web anonymously or prevent others websites or middlemen like your ISP from tracking your activity. If you want to do that, make sure to read my post on how to properly remove your search history.

In this article, I’ll show you how to create shortcuts that will allow you to open your favorite web browser in private mode by default. The method for creating and editing the shortcut is pretty much the same for all browsers, so I’ll talk about how to do that first.

Creating a Shortcut

If you already have a shortcut for your web browser on your desktop, then simply right-click on it and choose Send to – Desktop (create shortcut). You can also just open the Start Menu and drag and drop the program onto the desktop to create a shortcut.

create desktop shortcut

If you don’t have a shortcut for your browser, you can create one by navigating to the folder that contains the EXE file. You’ll find all of these in C:Program Files or C:Program Files (x86) under the appropriate program name.

chrome desktop shortcut

Right-click and choose the same options as mentioned above. To edit a shortcut, right-click the shortcut on the desktop and select Properties from the pop-up menu.

Getting properties of the Chrome shortcut

This will bring up the Properties dialog box with the Shortcut tab active. For each browser, we need to edit the command that is listed in the Target box by adding a parameter. See the following sections for the text to add to the end of the command for each browser.

shortcut properties

Google Chrome

Google Chrome calls their private browsing mode Incognito mode. You can read my previous post to learn how to enable private browsing mode in Chrome and Opera.

To start Chrome in Incognito mode by default when using the shortcut, edit the shortcut as mentioned above, and add the command line switch —incognito at the end of the line in the Target edit box.

NOTE: It’s a double dash/hyphen before incognito and a space before the dashes.

"C:Program Files (x86)GoogleChromeApplicationchrome.exe" --incognito

incognito chrome

Chrome displays a detective-like icon in the upper-left corner of the window to indicate you are running in Incognito mode.

gone incognito

Mozilla Firefox

To learn how to turn on private browsing mode temporarily and permanently from within Firefox, see our previous post, Turn on Private Browsing in Firefox.

To start Firefox in private browsing mode by default when using the shortcut, edit the shortcut as mentioned above, and add the command line switch –private at the end of the line in the Target edit box.

NOTE: It’s a single hyphen before private and a space before the hyphen.

"C:Program Files (x86)Mozilla Firefoxfirefox.exe" -private

When you open Firefox, it will display a purple bar across the top indicating that you are now privately browsing.

firefox private browsing

Internet Explorer/Microsoft Edge

Internet Explorer calls their private browsing mode InPrivate Browsing and it’s been a feature of IE since IE 8. Check out my previous post on how to enable InPrivate browsing in IE and Microsoft Edge.

To start Internet Explorer in InPrivate browsing mode by default when using the shortcut, edit the shortcut as mentioned above, and add the same command line switch as for Firefox, –private, at the end of the line in the Target edit box.

NOTE: It’s a single hyphen before private and a space before the hyphen.

"C:Program FilesInternet Exploreriexplore.exe" -private

You can also easily start Internet Explorer in InPrivate browsing mode using the default icon on the taskbar. Right-click the Internet Explorer button on the taskbar and select Start InPrivate Browsing from the pop-up menu.

start inprivate browsing

Once you start Internet Explorer in InPrivate browsing mode, the program indicates you are in InPrivate mode in several ways: an InPrivate indicator is shown in the address bar, the title of the new tab is InPrivate and you get a message indicating it is turned on.

ie inprivate

Note that if you can’t find the shortcut link to IE, you can click on Start and type in internet explorer. Then right-click and choose Open File Location.

ie shortcut

Unfortunately, this doesn’t seem to work with Microsoft Edge just yet. I was able to find the application file for Edge here:

C:WindowsSystemAppsMicrosoft.MicrosoftEdge_8wekyb3d8bbwe

However, when you try to create a desktop shortcut, it simply doesn’t open Edge. The only way to open Edge right now is from the Start Menu or Taskbar. Maybe this will change in the future.

Opera

To learn how to turn on Opera’s private browsing mode from within the program, see our previous post, Turn on Private Browsing Mode in Chrome and Opera.

Unlike other browsers, Opera’s command line switch doesn’t actually work anymore. In older versions of Opera, you could create a new private tab or a new private window in which all tabs were private. The most recent version of Opera just supports a new private window like all other browsers.

However, the command line switch for Opera is -newprivatetab, which doesn’t work anymore. The command line switch to start a full private browsing Opera window, if it exists, is not listed in Opera’s documentation on their site that we could find (http://www.opera.com/docs/switches/).

opera lock icon

This means that when you use the shortcut, it simply opens a new non-private tab. It only opens a new private tab if you already have a private window open! So this command line switch is pretty useless at this point if you are using Opera. You can tell when Opera is in private mode if you see the lock icon at the front-left of the tab.

NOTE: It’s a single hyphen before newprivatetab and a space before the hyphen.

"C:Program Files (x86)Operalauncher.exe" -newprivatetab

We covered the most popular browsers in this article for creating a shortcut to private browsing. If you have any questions, feel free to comment. Enjoy!

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What is SeaPort.exe and How to Remove It

If you have installed any Windows Essentials programs onto your computer recently like Photo Gallery, Movie Maker, Live Writer or Live Mail, you may have noticed a new process running on your system called SeaPort.exe. So what exactly is this process and should you worry about it?

Luckily, seaport.exe is not a virus or malware program. It’s the Microsoft SeaPort Search Enhancement Broker process. This process basically downloads some configuration files to enhance the search functionality in various Windows programs. This program will also run if you have installed the Bing toolbar in IE.

If you open Task Manager, you can see the program running and kill the process if you like. However, this is only a temporary solution. When you restart your computer, seaport.exe will appear again.

seaport exe

The description for the process in Windows is as follows:

Enables the detection, download and installation of up-to-date configuration files for Bing Bar. Also provides server communication for the customer experience improvement program. Stopping or disabling this service may prevent you from getting the latest updates for Bing Bar, which may expose your computer to security vulnerabilities or functional flaws in the Bing Bar.

Previously, it seemed that seaport.exe was simply an automatic update tool for the Microsoft Search Enhancement application and this may be true if it got installed with a Windows Live program, however, if installed with the Bing Bar, it could prevent the computer from installing the latest security updates for the toolbar.

My recommendation is to leave it alone if you installed the Bing Bar. If you installed a Windows Essentials program, then it’s really not necessary to keep the process because it basically runs all the time and eats up resources. Granted, it carries a very tiny footprint overall, but it’s still an extra process that doesn’t necessarily need to be there.

Remove SeaPort.exe From Your PC

Depending on what you installed on your system, the procedure for removing seaport.exe may be different. The first method involves turning off the service via the Services console. To do this, you first have to see which service is running the process. It will either be SeaPort or BBUpdate (Bing Bar Update).

Step 1: From the Windows task manager Processes tab, right-click on seaport.exe and choose Go to Service(s).

go to service

Step 2: This will bring you to the Services tab where you will be able to see the name of the service. In my case, it was called BBUpdate. Now click on the Services button at the bottom right of the window.

bbupdate service

Step 3: Scroll down till you find BBUpdate or SeaPort and then right-click and choose Properties.

disable seaport exe

On the General tab, change the Startup type to Disabled and click Stop to end the process. Then click OK to save the changes. Go ahead and restart your computer and seaport.exe should no longer be running. As mentioned earlier, I would only do this if seaport.exe is causing some kind of problem on your system. If you installed the Bing Bar, the better option would be to uninstall the Bing Bar altogether, which will remove seaport.exe also.

In most situations, the above steps should stop SeaPort from running on your PC. However, if it is still running, you can try to delete the EXE itself. Depending on what you installed, it’ll be in one of the two locations below:

C:Program Files (x86)MicrosoftBingBar7.3.161.0SeaPort.exe
C:Program FilesMicrosoftSearch Enhancement PackSeaPortSeaPort.exe

Overall, the program is harmless, but if you find it eating up a lot of your CPU or eating up network bandwidth, feel free to uninstall the Windows programs mentioned above or disable it via the Services console. If you have any questions, feel free to comment. Enjoy!

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4 Free/Cheaper Rosetta Stone Alternatives

If you’re trying to learn a new language, you have most likely heard about the popular language learning software Rosetta Stone. Rosetta Stone comes in a wide variety of different languages, allowing you to learn another language via specialized training software on your computer or mobile device.

However, the software is a bit on the expensive side. For example, most languages on the site are currently selling for $209, which gets you either online access, a download or a CD-ROM.

Although expensive, $209 is probably worth it if Rosetta Stone can actually help you master a foreign language. The thing is, the way Rosetta Stone teaches languages may not be that effective for some people. Rosetta Stone focuses mostly on being able to speak quickly and not as much on grammar, sentence structure, etc. For many, classroom learning is a better method, as it involves more interaction with an actual person who speaks the foreign language, the teacher.

rosetta stone

If you want to get started learning a foreign language without buying Rosetta Stone or paying for classes, there are some decent free alternatives out there that you can try out.

Babbel

Babbel is an online tool for learning how to speak, read and write in a new language. The site mostly has lessons for European languages like French, Spanish, German, Italian, Portuguese, Swedish, Dutch, etc. In addition, it has Russian and Turkish.

babbel language

The lessons are interactive and allow you to practice speaking also. The software has voice recognition so you can make sure that you are pronouncing the words correctly.

babbel spanish

If you create an account, it will sync all your lessons to the cloud so you can move from your computer to your phone and continue from where you left off. In terms of pricing, they have some free lessons, but if you really want to learn a language, you’ll have to sign up for their subscription plans.

Overall, it’s a cheaper solution to Rosetta and they have a community that lets you connect with native speakers of the language you are trying to learn.

Busuu

Busuu is a language learning tutorial website that offers many helpful tools for learning English, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, German, French, and more. Busuu has a short video that quickly reviews the features of the website.

busuu

Busuu is a fairly good language learning software and it provides several different ways to learn a foreign language: everything from vocabulary and writing to punctuation and grammar. Busuu also features quizzes, which give you a classroom like learning style.

They have lots of lessons and just about all of them are free. If you become a premium member, you get access to grammar, voice recording and review exercises, faster correction from a native speaker, travel and business course and level tests.

busuu lessons

The pricing is pretty close to Babbel and it follows the same monthly subscription model. Overall, it’s very well done and has a lot of resources for each language beyond just being able to speak it. They also have mobile apps for easy learning on the go.

Duolingo

Duolingo is the first tool mentioned here that is completely free. They don’t have a huge number of languages, but they have all the popular ones that we have already mentioned above.

duolingo

When you start a new language, you start at the top of a path and work your way down. If you already know some of the language, you can take placement tests to skip the lessons.

duolingo paths

The lessons include different kinds of interactive questions which will help you read and write the new language.

translate text

You can also hear how words and sentences are pronounced so that you can speak it yourself. In addition, you can add friends from Facebook in case you want to learn with someone else. They also have discussion forums and even real world articles that you can translate once you become proficient in the language.

LiveMocha

LiveMocha is a website that is owned by Rosetta Stone and is basically their lower-level cheaper option. It’s still not free, but basically lets you purchase lessons in small bits and pieces. They also give you some free credits to start with that will basically get you about 5 free lessons. After that you have to spend about $1 per lesson.

livemocha language

Some languages have more lessons and courses than others, obviously, and they do have quite a few languages available. If you are looking for something bite-sized, this is a good option.

livemocha

The lessons are pretty basic in that they include a short intro video and then some vocabulary flash cards. They also include audio recordings for each word. Overall, it’s a different take on learning than the way it is done in Rosetta Stone.

So these are a couple of good options you have when trying to learn a new language. They are especially good for popular languages like Spanish, French, German, Italian, etc. If you have any other tools you use, feel free to mention them in the comments. Enjoy!

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Automatically Refresh Web Pages in Your Web Browser

Are you one of those people that will keep refreshing a webpage in order to be the first to buy something during Black Friday? I know I am! It’s not very often, but there are these crucial times every year when you have to become a page refreshing pro in order to get the best deal.

However, it can be quite a task to continually refresh multiple web pages at the same time. Luckily, there are tools that you can use to automatically refresh a web page for you and I’m going to talk about some of them in this article.

I’ll mention tools for IE, Chrome, Safari and Firefox since those are probably the most popular web browsers currently in use.

Google Chrome Extensions

My favorite extension out of all the extensions for Chrome is Super Auto Refresh. It’s got the best mix in terms of features, functionality and design.

super auto refresh store

Once you install the extension, you will see a new icon at the far right of your address bar in Chrome. Click on that and you’ll get a long list of preset timings for refreshing the current page/tab.

refresh timings

You can set the refresh rate from as little as 2 seconds to as high as 60 minutes. The only downside to this extension is that it does not have an option to choose a custom time period, which a lot of the other add-ons do have.

multiple page refreshes

Also, if you click on the little green hamburger icon to the right of the word “Refresh”, a new tab will load that will list out all the pages that are currently set to refresh along with the set time intervals and the amount of time remaining before the next refresh. Note that if you close a tab and then reopen it later, the extension will remember and apply the same refresh settings.

If you want to be able to enter a custom time, you’ll have to try another extension like Easy Auto Refresh. This extension works like Super Auto Refresh and has some extra options that I like. For example, if you are viewing a certain part of a webpage, then it will remember the scroll position and reload the page at the same location. This is great for longer pages where the content you are interested in refreshing may not be located at the top of the page.

Firefox Add-ons

Firefox is also another great browser that has a large number of add-ons to extend its functionality. The first one I like is ReloadEvery. It’s a very simple add-on that only adds an extra option when you right-click on a webpage.

firefox reloadevery

Once installed, restart Firefox and then right-click anywhere on the webpage to see the menu option.

reloadevery settings

The extension has a couple of presets or you can choose Custom if you like. If you have multiple tabs open, you can click on Enable All Tabs to enable auto refresh on all the currently open tabs. You can also check Auto Enable New Tab if you want every new tab you open to have auto refresh enabled.

The second add-on that I like for Firefox is Tab Auto Reload. This add-on works a little differently in that you have to right-click on the tab itself and add a toggle icon to your menu bar.

firefox tab autoreload

Once installed, go to Customize and then drag the toggle icon to your menu bar. To refresh a tab, you have to right-click on the tab itself to get the menu options under Reload Tab.

firefox tab auto reload menu

You can disable auto refresh for a page by simply clicking on the toggle icon. If it’s blue and white, that means auto refresh is enabled.

tab autoreload toggle icon

From what I recall, neither of these add-ons will remember the settings for a webpage, meaning if you close the tab and reload the same page, you’ll have to setup the refresh settings again.

Internet Explorer Add-on

For Internet Explorer, there are not very many options. Actually, there was really only one add-on that I could find that was safe to use. It’s pretty old, but it still works in IE 11. Note that as of now, Microsoft Edge does not support extensions or add-ons, so there is nothing available for it.

Once you install Auto IE Refresher, open Internet Explorer and click on the Enable button in order to start using the add-on.

ie enable addon

Once enabled, you’ll see a large gray bar appear at the top of the web page. It’s unfortunately very conspicuous and there really isn’t anything you can do about it. It would have been smart to simply use a button, but for whatever reason the developers decided a bar across the screen was better.

ie refresh interval

Just click on the bar to choose a timing or to pick a custom time interval. You can also set a different refresh interval for different tabs. That’s about all there is to this add-on.

Safari Extension

Finally, there is also one extension for Safari that works well. The Auto Refresh Safari extension is the work of one developer named Andrew Griffin. When you go to install it, you’ll get a message stating this is not a known developer, so just click Continue to install it.

safari auto refresh settings

Once installed, you can bring up the refresh toolbar by clicking on the Auto Refresh button.

safari refresh toolbar

By default, the time interval is set to 5 seconds, but you can just click in the box and change the value to whatever you like in seconds. Click the Start button and as long as you keep the toolbar visible, you’ll be able to see a countdown to the next refresh.

safari countdown

To hide the toolbar, just click on the button in the navigation bar area. Note that if you are in full-screen mode, the toolbar will disappear unless you move your mouse up to the top of the Safari window.

So those are all the different options you have for automatically refreshing web pages in Chrome, Firefox, IE and Safari. If you have any questions, feel free to comment. Enjoy!

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