Today's browsing world can be very "big brother". I constantly feel like I"m being tracked and marketed to and while I undertand that is the world I live and work in, sometimes I really need to just search for flights without being shown hot to get from the Gold Coast to Turkey on every single page I visit for the next few weeks.
Enter: Private Browser Windows!
You all know I use Google Chrome for 80% of my work day. While I do use other browsers every day its Chrome that is my default browser so while other browsers do of course have this facility, its Chrome I'm talking about today.
What is Incognito?
Incognito mode will erase your browsing and search history from any websites you visit during the session as well as deleting any cookies your browser picked up along the way. Cookies are the little tracking slivers of info that websites store on your browser to give them information about your visit, your location and also for the purpose of advertising relevant content to you at a later date. By not storing these you won't expose yourself to what can be a very annoying few weeks of remarketing based around your website visits.
My primary reason for using incognito windows is mostly personal I will admit. If I'm searching for flights or accommodation for our next trip I flat out don't want to be distracted by adds for this for the next few weeks, so I use incognito. Once I'm done I know that I'm not going to get adds everywhere for the next few weeks which will drive me crazy!
A primary benefit to me is that by not having a record of my searches, prices aren't going to go up when I go back to those travel websites. They don't know I was already looking so don't show me inflated prices based around the fact that they know where and when I want to fly. On the down side of this, I also don't get any "Prices have dropped" emails from Booking.com which if I'm honest, has saved me a bundle in the past.
Another benefit of using an incognito window could be to avoid your "free" limit on pay per use websites such as newspapers for example. Some news websites will give you access to full articles up to a limited number and then their pay per view kicks in. IE you may be allowed to read 7 articles before they max you limit and ask you to start paying. That's fair enough to me but using an incognito browser, you aren't storing any cookies and you can confuse their system into thinking you are a new visitor every time. Less than ethical in my book, however it's not illegal and there is no way these large companies don't know you can easily do this. Its just too expensive for them to keep you out altogether so for now, this work around is completely overlooked by most business operating on the pay to play model after so many free visits.
How Do I Open An Incognito Window?
In Chrome its really easy. You see the three little dots at the far right hand side of your browser window?
Click on those
Click "New incognito window" and Voila! Done.
It's that simple. Browse away.
What Won't An Incognito Window Do?
Most browsers have an incognito function, some call it different things, but for most of them, clicking the menu on the right hand side should put you in the right place to find the private browsing window.
I'm sure this seems like a strange title for a blog post, however the keystroke for these fractions has been one of the best things I've ever learnt.
I must have learnt this trick maybe 20 years ago now (it might have been the old Word Perfect actually) and I find I use them most days. If not daily at least weekly so I figured I would share the knowledge with you.
Behold: ALT + number keys
So if you don't already know, you can create these fractions by holding down the ALT key and pressing a combination of numbers on your keypad.
Its very simple, you hold down the ALT key and while you are holding that down type in the 4 numbers that follow for each particular fraction.
As per usual, you can thank me later!
Have you ever been scrolling through the 127 tabs you have open in Chrome, closing all the ones you don't need and then, BOOM! You closed one you were using and haven't bookmarked?
Yes - we all have. There are ways to find out what you had displayed on that page of course, however they can be long winded and frustrating. You never know just how much crap you look at until you open your browser history.
So.... did you know there is a way to instantly open that tab back to exactly where it was??
Yup, its that simple. Hold down the CTRL and Shift buttons and while you are holding them down hit the letter "T" and voila. You closed tab will open right before your eyes. How cool is that.
There is an extra bonus to this keystroke as well. If you keep doing it, it will reopen tabs in the reverse order that you closed them. IE: It will open the last one you closed, and then the second last one, and then the third last one etc etc...
My new favourite thing.
You can thank me later!
My husband isn't really that tech savvy. Actually in the spirit of full disclosure he's borderline hopeless.
I'm not casting aspersions on his intelligence, his learning skills or abilities as he achieves some amazing things, however he just doesn't have the need to keep up with those little techy things.
It got me thinking though - I wondered how many of you also don't have time to learn or remember practices that can really help you out of a jam so I thought, why not add a new blog category - Keystrokes and Tech Tips.
So.... being the first blog post of this category I thought I would start with the most common thing I get asked.
What is the difference between F5 and CTRL F5
Using any web based service will eventually result in a bit of a clog between the website server and your browser. It's not rare, its doesn't mean anything is wrong, it just means that things might have changed since you loaded that page into your browser.
When you load a webpage if its the first time you've visitied it, the browser asks the server for the content and the server returns it for your viewing. To save both resources and time, your browser stores this info in something called a cache. This enables you to navigate the website quickly as the pages are stored in the cache locally.
If during the time you are checking out this website something changes you won't necessarily see it as you are viewing the cached version. Different browsers refresh the cache at different times and you can also override this is most browser settings, however we aren't going to go into that here.
If you are working away and your page seems to stop, your first option would be the F5 button.
F5 and the refresh button will go to your browser's cache and redisplay the page based on what is stored in the cache.
So if you just want to reactivate your browser F5 will most likely do that.
If you use Ctrl + F5 that forces the browser to go back to the server and ask for a brand new instance of the website. Effectively it forces the browser to clear the cache, get the newest verions and refill the cache with that info, and of course that is now what you see.
I have the nasty habbit of using CTRL + F5 constantly as I'm often refreshing to see code changes so I need the server to show me the latest version.
One isn't worse than the other, the only difference is that if you use CTRL + F5 you will reload the page from the server which will be slightly slower and of course use your bandwidth.
Small business owner, web developer and programmer.
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