Turbotodd

Ruminations on IT, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Posts Tagged ‘productivity

Gladly Pay You Tuesday…

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We’re finally getting some rain in central Texas.  We’ll see how long it lasts!

And on the topic of rainmaking, this just in from our friends at Nucleus Research.

Nucleus conducted an analysis of 21 of IBM Smarter Commerce case studies and their ROI, and discovered that for every dollar spent, companies realized an average of U.S. $12.05 in returns.

According to the research, this payback occurred in an average of 9 months (with a high of 23 months, and a low of two).

The cases Nucleus analyzed included U.S. and European companies and government agencies which had deployed IBM Smarter Commerce technologies.

All the case studies were developed independently by Nucleus, following their standard ROI methodology, and IBM was privy to the results only after the research was completed.

In their analysis, Nucleus also observed some summary conclusions, finding that Smarter Commerce projects delivered both top-line and bottom-line benefits, with roughly 60 percent of returns coming from indirect benefits such as productivity, and the rest from direct savings such as reduced operational costs or hires avoided.

Specific key benefits included the following:

  • Increased productivity. In many cases companies were able to accomplish more work with fewer staff or avoid additional hires as they grew by automating previously manual processes and increasing employee productivity.
  • Reduced costs. Smarter Commerce customers experienced cost reductions in areas such as customer call handling costs, technology costs, and other costs associated with supply chain transactions.
  • Improved inventory management. Greater visibility into customer demand and inventory levels enabled Smarter Commerce customers to gain better control over their inventory, reducing inventory carrying costs and increasing inventory turns.
  • Improved decision making. Greater agility and rapid insight into data for decision making enabled companies using Smarter Commerce to more quickly make decisions and act on them with confidence.
  • Reduced customer churn and increased customer satisfaction. Companies using IBM Business Analytics were able to more rapidly understand customer satisfaction and retain more profitable customers by proactively addressing customers’ propensity to churn. For example, one telecommunications customer was able to reduce customer churn by 8 percent in the first year and 18 percent in the second year by further refining its churn analysis.

Customers Leverage Prepackaged Functionality

Nucleus indicated that the $12.05 average return from Smarter Commerce was at the high end of the range of returns Nucleus had seen from other assessments of deployments such as analytics and CRM, and many IBM Smarter Commerce clients indicated they had achieved high returns by taking advantage of the investments IBM has made in providing integrated solutions, more intuitive user interfaces, and prepackaged industry functionality.

By way of example:

  • Integrated solutions and prepackaged industry functionality accelerate time to deployment and time to value while reducing overall project risk.
  • Usability improvements drive more rapid adoption and make it easier for companies to drive adoption of technologies such as business analytics to casual and business users beyond the data expert specialists that have historically been the primary users of analytics.

Industry-specific functionality and expertise were particularly important in the success of customers adopting Smarter Commerce technologies in the government sector, such as social services agencies and police departments, where IT often has limited resources.

You can go here to download the full report.

Getting S— Done In 2013

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Turbo has started off 2013 with a bang...of his Royal typewriter's manual keystrokes, that is, and all in an effort for increased productivity and eliminating fruitless distractions.  Read the accompanying blog post where Turbo shares some of his productivity tips.

Turbo has started off 2013 with a bang…of his Royal typewriter’s manual keystrokes, that is, and all in an effort for increased productivity and eliminating fruitless distractions. Read the accompanying blog post where Turbo shares some of his productivity tips.

For those of you who thought I was just kidding about writing blog posts using my old Royal manual typewriter…Well, surprise. The first draft of this blog post is being written just that way.

Man, I had no idea how much I missed that unique sound of those little keys striking paper.  It’s been YEARS!

I’ll refer you to my previous post to try and understand the method behind my madness…It was part nostalgia, part need to force myself to better focus in 2013, that brought me to this point. And that is the closest I’ll come to having a New Year’s resolution in 2013.

The next logical question, of course, is okay, Turbo, once you have the post down on paper, then what?

That’s a very good question, and I have not figured that part out just yet.

Most likely, I will use Dragon Dictate to voice enter the second and final draft, and, of course, I won’t do this for every blog post I write, only the ones where I really, really want to focus.

But since what was driving this whole thing was the need to eliminate distractions in hopes of getting more “real” work done, I also wanted to come back to the other topic that has been on my mind lately, and that is multitasking.

That’s another good reason to use a manual typewriter. Not only does it not burn any carbon…It CAN’T do more than one thing at a time, which means *I* can’t do more than one thing at a time.

Every year, at the start of the year, I share with my extended team a “getting stuff done” primer. I lean on the basic precepts found in David Allen’s excellent book Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity, which, for my money, should be required reading for every knowledge worker in the world.

But I like to keep things simple, so I’m going to share with you the Turbo net net version of GSD (I changed the acronym to reflect my enjoyment of wallowing in the perjorative).

1. Like Santa, make a list of all the stuff you need to do — but check it more than twice.

2. In fact, check it EVERY day, especially at the beginning and end of the day.

3. Scratch out the things you get done as you get them done, and write down the things you want to do as you think of them (including when you need to do them by).

4. Always make note of the things you need to do TOMORROW the night before. Do the same on Friday afternoon for the things you want to do on Monday.

If you follow this simple advice, you will rarely walk into the office and NOT know what it is that you ought to be doing that day.

It may seem ridiculously simple, but it’s a lot harder to put into practice than you might think.

And the other part of the story is, once you have all these things out of your head and down on paper or in your computer: Well, you have to do them.

Which means, you have to stop monitoring your incoming email, waiting for that little bell to ring and giving you that ever-fleeting endorphin high.

You have to stop walking down the hall to your colleague’s cubicle so to compare notes on what’s for lunch.

You have to stop playing Solitaire, or << insert name of game on your work computer >> here.

You have to get back to work and actually…well, you know, WORK!

So, once you’ve made the list, and you’ve listed the stuff you need to do generally in order of when you need to get it done, get to it, one item at a time.

Because multitasking is just another convoluted way of procrastinating.

As Mark Twain told us, ““Never put off until tomorrow what you can do the day after tomorrow.”

I found that quote while I was putting off finishing this blog post!

Written by turbotodd

January 3, 2013 at 1:09 am

A Manual Start To The New Year

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Once again, I don’t think I’m going to make any New Year’s resolutions.

I find bargaining with myself like that to be somewhat whimsical, if not purposeless.

That’s not to say I’m not optimistic about the future. I just find that being practical…being realistic, if you would…has served me better over the longitude of time.

Another thing that has served me well is the very act I’m currently engaged in: Writing.

This blog is now well into its 8th consecutive year, and trust me, if I didn’t like to write, it wouldn’t have lasted this long.

So rather than come up with a list of grand technological projections and prognostications, this year, I’ve decided to go a little more Luddite on you.

Fear not, that doesn’t mean I’m abandoning all social media and going out to live in a cabin in the woods with nothing but a copy of Thoreau’s Walden, or, Life in the Woods and some granola bars.

God, live without Facebook or Twitter for a year, are you *&^@#$# kidding me?! How in the world would I know what was going on in the world, or whose friend’s cat just took its first bath?!

No, I’d never do anything that extreme.

But I did do this: I ordered a new ribbon for my old Royal manual typewriter.

For you kids in the audience who have never seen a typewriter, it’s a small portable machine we used to use to put down our thoughts.

It’s a contraption that…I know, get this…requires NO batteries or electricity (unless you bought an electric typewriter, in which case you were bound to the grid).

Now, again, I want to be straight with you: The typewriter didn’t have a “Like” button, so for many of you, I know, that’s a dealbreaker.

In fact, it had no share function whatsoever, other than taking the piece of paper you were writing on and mailing it to another person. So yes, it was essentially useless for any kind of crowdsourcing.

But, what it WAS good for was sitting down, thinking through an idea, focusing, and actually starting to tell a story or pull together a thesis with no interruptions (instant messages, Facebook messages, direct Tweets, SMS messages, smoke signals…) other than those created by your own imagination

I know, it’s a hard notion to comprehend, focusing, especially when you’ve never had to focus.

And the idea of doing one thing at a time…well, yes, it’s almost heretical in our multitasking times.

But that is one of the things I wish for in 2013.

Because I’ve seen what happens when people become possessed by the multitasking smartphone demons. They remind me of Linda Blair’s head turning round and round in “The Exorcist.”

It’s not pretty to watch, and yet there’s no priest you can call for smartphone demons. You just have to watch the poor person suffer until their multitasking becomes so overwhelming they just have to let their iPhone run out of juice.

Yes, that’s what I wish for in 2013: For people to have the opportunity to focus.

Instead of trying to do everything, and doing it mediocre, I wish to see more people do just a few things, or even just one thing, really, really well.

Come to think of it, at minimum, I’d like to see more people doing just one thing at a time (especially while they’re on the freeway).

Multitasking is highly overrated. There are very few humans who can do it and do it well, and the odds are pretty high you’re not one of them. And studies suggest that people who smoke marijuana do better at cognitive functions than people who multitask.

Put that in your iPhone and smoke it!

So my recommendation: Consider revitalizing American productivity by using a manual typewriter.

No, you won’t be able to directly enter that blog post into WordPress (although perhaps that’s a new widget Matt Mullenweig and his team can consider for future versions), but writing that first draft without electricity and with minimal interruptions will be good for the environment and your psychological wellness.

The other thing you might consider is to keep a journal. When I was traveling across America in 1987 in my Volkswagen bus, I used a manual typewriter AND kept a journal, and that period is one of the few times in my life I can actually go back and account for because there’s an actual record.

If you use a Mac, DayOne is a great journaling app that makes it very easy to journal and allows you to even synch up your entries into the cloud (if that gives you even a small sense of permanence).

It’s January 1st, and I promise I’m going to get started on all this just as soon as that new replacement ink typewriter ribbon I had to order off the Internet arrives via the mail.

Those things are harder to find than an iPhone 4 case these days!

Written by turbotodd

January 1, 2013 at 3:47 pm

IBM Expands Social Business Capabilities With New Cloud, Mobile Advances

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IBM SmartCloud Docs, a cloud-based office productivity suite, which allows users to simultaneously collaborate on word processing, spreadsheet and presentation documents to improve productivity.

IBM SmartCloud Docs, a cloud-based office productivity suite, which allows users to simultaneously collaborate on word processing, spreadsheet and presentation documents to improve productivity.

Some new news from IBM on the social business front today.

IBM announced new social business software to help clients collaborate securely in the cloud using a broad range of mobile devices.

The new IBM SmartCloud services include new social networking feaures and the release of IBM SmartCloud Docs, a cloud-based productivity suite that lets users simultaneously collaborate on word processing, spreadsheet and presentation documents to improve productivity.

I saw this capability demoed at Lotusphere earlier this year and exclaimed that I wanted it and fast. Being as virtual as we are at IBM, I find all kinds of use cases to be able to do this real-time productivity app collaboration.

Nothing like writing a presentation by committee!

The Market Is Growing

Forrester Research estimates cloud computing is going to grow from a $41 billion business in 2010, to $241 billion in 2020. And social enterprise apps market is expected to grow at a rate of 61 percent through 2016, reaching $6.4 billion. So clearly, there’s ample and broad market demand for this type of computing capability.

While many firms have adopted cloud, mobile and social networking, IBM is helping clients, including the University of Texas at El Paso, capitalize on the convergence, making it safe for the enterprise.

To help organizations address this growing opportunity, IBM is announcing IBM SmartCloud Docs and new services in its IBM SmartCloud for Social Business portfolio allowing clients to collaborate both inside the organization and externally with partners, clients or suppliers.

For example, when working on a document in the cloud, the presence awareness and instant messaging capabilities allow users to see if a document co-editor is online and available to chat in real time. The new features join IBM’s SmartCloud for Social Business portfolio which includes business-grade file sharing, access to communities, online meetings, instant messaging, email and calendar in the cloud.

Clients Getting Social in the Cloud

IBM is also announcing clients who are at the forefront of this transformation embracing social in the cloud, including the University of Texas at El Paso, Colleagues In Care (CIC), Centrax TCL, NEC Corp., the Victoria Implementation Center and Netkom iBPM LLC.

At the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP), faculty and researchers are using the IBM SmartCloud for Social Business to track the status of research projects and help facilitate knowledge sharing across campus.

The IBM SmartCloud provides a cost-effective, easy-to-use cloud solution that allows faculty and researchers to share resources and track progress of research projects without clogging up their email in-boxes while aiding in the ever challenging “version control” process for collaborative documents.

UTEP has recently expanded its use of the IBM SmartCloud for Social Business to collaborate with universities across North America who are involved in CASHI, the Computing Alliance of Hispanic-Serving Institutions.

CASHI aims to increase the number of Hispanic students who pursue and complete baccalaureate and advanced degrees in the computer and information sciences and engineering. UTEP uses the IBM SmartCloud to collaborate with faculty at other universities, invite users from the other universities at no cost as guests to work on projects together. They can share files, manage projects, assign work, and comment directly on posted documents.

“Going to one place to find materials and being able to track the progress and status of projects has been a major benefit,” said Dr. Ann Gates, Chair of the Computer Science Department at UTEP. “Before IBM SmartCloud for Social Business, email was the default way of communicating. Now I don’t have to manage a lot of emails, I can go back and look at the status of projects and what people are working on quickly and easily. We’re using the portfolio to boost brainstorming sessions across campus, sharing information immediately, saving time and resources for the university.”

New Services Make the Cloud Enterprise Ready

The following provides a breakdown of these new social enterprise capabilities in more detail:

  • Access documents anytime, anywhere — the new IBM SmartCloud Docs cloud-based office productivity suite allows users to simultaneously collaborate on word processing, spreadsheet and presentation documents in the cloud to improve productivity. IBM Docs authors can store documents in IBM SmartCloud, co-edit documents in real time easing the management of multiple revisions from multiple authors in team-based documents.
  • Sharing insight and data in real time — the new IBM Connections capabilities in the cloud allow users to embrace business-grade social networking between employees, partners and suppliers to find and share the right insight when needed. New community based blogs, wikis, idea-generation blogs and file viewers will spur creativity and drive innovation across teams.
  • Meet and chat on the fly — the new e-meeting service allows teams to meet on the fly, using instant messaging chats, screen sharing to share information and presentations, and includes a new chat room feature to communicate with colleagues, partners and clients in real time.
  • Unlimited access — chat with guests regardless of their instant messaging platform, share files and invite guests to participate in e-meetings at no additional charge.
  • Improved mobile device management — new software to help business partners organize and secure cloud-based IBM email on mobile devices allowing organizations to extend their current business capabilities to mobile devices, while capitalizing on the new opportunities that mobile devices uniquely provide.

Pricing and Availability

IBM SmartCloud Docs is available now for no additional charge in IBM SmartCloud Engage Advanced service. IBM SmartCloud Docs is also available for purchase as a service add on for IBM Connections and IBM SmartCloud Engage Standard for $3 per user, per month.

To participate in a live webcast on December 13, 2012, on how to enhance the workforce with socially enabled office productivity applications in the Cloud, register here. To hear first hand from clients using social applications in the cloud, register for IBM’s premier social business conference in January 2013 at www.ibm.com/connect.

For more information, visit ibmcloud.com/social.

Learn more about the IBM SmartCloud Doc capabilities in the video below.

Think Big, iPad Small

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It’s a big day in tech, all the way around.

We’ll continue our mission to “Think Big” here in Las Vegas at the IBM Information On Demand 2012 event.

We’ll also get a glimpse into how big the mobile market is becoming as Facebook announces its earnings after the bell later today.

But of course, one of the biggest stories of the day has to do with the downsizing of one of our favorite tablets, the Apple iPad.

Rumors abound about the new iPad “Mini,” which I very look forward to referring to as my “MiniMePad.”

If you’re using an Apple device (including an AppleTV), you should be able to tune in to watch the announcement live starting at 10 AM PST.

If not, there will be shortage of bloggers out there giving you the blow-by-blow.

Why am I so interested in the Mini iPad?

First, Apple set the bar for tablets with the original iPad, which I still use to this day.

Second, the smaller form factor is raising a lot of questions about price. Can Apple afford to take down the price from $499 to the $200 range, especially when their iPod Touch is still priced at $299 (the last time I looked…I can’t look this morning, as the Apple store is down getting busy for the Mini introduction).

I’d say the question more is, can they afford not to? Like the early browser wars, this is a market AND mindshare battle.  iOS and Android are lined up for a full cage death match, and if Apple’s to maintain its market share lead of 69.6% (as of Q2 2012), they’re going to have to compete aggressively on price.

The new Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire HDs are coming in at under $200, and while I doubt that’s a price Apple can match, they’re going to have to strive to stay somewhat price competitive, figuring the Apple premium could be worth $100 per unit or so.

Third, the original iPad was the starting line of the shift away from desktop-centric technology, and as Microsoft attempts to come into this market with its Surface tablet, a key question emerges: Can Apple continue to entice productivity hounds away from the Microsoft ecosystem, despite the advent of the Surface, and stay price competitive in a burgeoning competitive market?

As for me, you might ask, will I buy one?  I’ll never say never. The iPad has become a full-on personal entertainment and productivity workhorse for me, an elegant blended use case of both the personal and the professional.

I watch movies on the thing, I use it for blogging and broadcasting, I play games, I do email, I read books, I hold conference calls.  There’s not a lot I can’t do on it.

So, I can easily justify the upgrade, and I’d love to get a faster iPad, but like with the original, I may wait for an initial software upgrade so Apple has the opportunity to work some of the kinks out.

Then again, I may not.

New IBM Software Transforms the Digital Experience

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The IBM Intranet Experience Suite pulls together company information and data, personalized content and news, and social media and analytics, enabling employees to connect, collaborate and access information at anytime, from anywhere.

IBM today announced new software that helps CMOs and CIOs transform the digital experience for employees, customers and fans across a broad range of mobile devices.

The IBM Intranet Experience Suite pulls together company information and data, personalized content and news, and social media and analytics, enabling employees to connect, collaborate and access information at anytime, from anywhere.

By 2017, the CMO will have greater control of the IT budget than the CIO, according to Gartner. Marketing budgets will grow 7-8 percent over the next 12 months, which is 2-3 times that of IT budgets.

With the growing number of mobile devices, social networks and social media tools on the rise, CMOs struggle to reach their audiences. At the same time, CIOs are struggling to provide access to company data on every type of device for a geographically distributed workforce.

Given the business realignment between marketing and technology, the CMO and CIO can no longer afford to operate on separate stages. To succeed, they’ll have to forge a shared agenda to deliver business results through innovation and efficiency, working together to streamline their technology needs.

The convergence of social and mobile is prompting organizations to revisit decades-old website to create exceptional web experiences to reach and engage with their audiences.

And despite their growing reliance on technology and their soaring budgets, CMOs readily admit they lack the skills that IT requires. According to the IBM CMO Study, while 79 percent of CMOs expect high levels of complexity in their job over the next five years, only 48 percent feel prepared to deal with it.

Building on these increased demands, IBM is delivering a new Customer Experience Suite giving millions of marketing professionals the power to manage and integrate all types of data on their web sites and then analyze it for deeper insight into customer buying patterns and sentiment.

Also delivered today, the new IBM Intranet Experience Suite pulls together company information and data, personalized content and news, and social media and analytics, enabling employees to connect, collaborate and access information at anytime, from anywhere.

The Power of Social, Mobile And Analytics

The new IBM Intranet Experience software brings together the power of social networking, analytics and mobile computing to front office operations and externally to clients, allowing companies to create exceptional Web experiences. As a result, organizations can gain faster insight on customer buying patterns and consumer sentiment allowing them to more quickly reach and engage their audiences.

At European industrial automation technology manufacturer Omron, employees are connecting knowledge and technical know-how through the organization’s Intranet, helping to meet the specific needs of their customers.

Omron delivers an exceptional Web experience through a single communication platform that embeds relevant social data into the daily workflow. Omron has sped knowledge sharing across boundaries and between departments, enabling employees to support customers better and faster.

Working with IBM and its partner Portico, Omron created an award-winning business intranet, called Ozone internally, helping to create a single-source communication and collaboration platform for all 1,700 European employees.

The IBM Intranet Experience Suite integrates with external social media, including Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube, allowing employees to pick and choose which applications they want in their Intranet view. For example, a sales manager can leverage the Cognos software integration to ensure a clear view into monthly sales reports by region, as well as competitive background on new product updates and forecasts.

“The world is changing and is becoming increasingly connected and social,” said Michel Min, Head of Strategic Communication & eMarketing, Omron Europe B.V. “Because of this, we know our clients are changing as well, which is why it’s increasingly important to ensure our sales teams have the right information at the right time.”

Analytics to Help Marketers Engage Audiences 

From digital marketing and mobile commerce, to websites and social media, marketers are inundated — often paralyzed — by data amassed from consumers via searches, purchase histories, Facebook “likes” and comments on Twitter.

Combine that with data about in-store traffic, conversations with call centers and updates from suppliers, today’s marketers confront a daily deluge of data waiting to be sifted for nuggets of intelligence they can act upon to boost their business.

Because of this, it’s critical for CMOs to not only be aware of and monitor the social conversation, but to truly understand the sentiment and interact one-on-one with that customer. Taking it one step further would be to integrate these conversations directly into the organization’s web site, providing one place to both network and shop.

The new IBM Customer Experience Suite provides CMOs with the power to manage and integrate all types of data on their web sites and then analyze it for deeper insight into customer buying patterns and sentiment.

Web data has evolved today to include social media, videos, and web-based forms, as well as traditional enterprise data such as financial, customer and order data, and transactions. The software suite pulls together IBM’s market-leading enterprise portal, web content management, forms, and enterprise social networking software into a single view.

CIOs Creating Exceptional Intranets To Help Employees Gain Insight from Data Deluge

The new IBM software also helps business leaders extend their corporate intranet to a broad range of mobile devices in an effort to deepen employee collaboration and information sharing.

According to IDC, employees typically see up to a 30 percent increase in productivity using social tools internally to complete their work. With unlimited access to any type of information, consumers expect this same level of information availability in their professional lives, in order to work efficiently and reach business goals quickly.

The new IBM Intranet Experience software brings the power of social and analytics capabilities to CIOs and lines of business employees helping organizations innovate and evolve their internal operations and communications. The solution pulls together company information and data, personalized content and news, and social media and analytics, enabling employees to connect, collaborate and access information at anytime, from anywhere.

You can learn more about the IBM Intranet Experience Suite here.

No Hiding

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After spending six and a half lovely hours at Pearson International Airport in Toronto, watching the miserable snow and misty rain falling out of the sky, my Air Canada flight was finally allowed off the ground and into the air, only to find myself soon in Times Square in NYC, standing amidst more nasty weather.

This is why I left NYC 11 years ago and moved back to Texas.

But, I must say, Pearson is a true business travelers’ airport.

I’m long unqualified for any of the airline lounge programs (unless I want to fork over $500 a year), but Pearson makes such havens unnecessary.  There were plenty of chairs freely available to the masses, nice restaurants and bars (where I enjoyed some insurance sushi and beer before my long-delayed flight), and most noticeably, free wi-fi throughout the airport.

Yes, I said it: Free wi-fi throughout the airport.  The kind of wi-fi you can suck oxygen freely through without gasping for bandwidth.  The kind where you can stream a Netflix show or get your actual file attachments without looking back and forth guiltily at all the the other normally weary, bandwidth-starved travelers.

Steve Lohr with The New York Times just penned a piece this morning about how the web is, by necessity, speeding up, but being nicknamed “Turbo,” I fear it could never get fast enough for me.  But I’ll appreciate every effort that Akamai and others are making to speed up the bits and bytes.

Of course, even as you’re speeding around the information superhighway, you need to keep a look out for who’s watching.  Google’s changed privacy policy went into effect today, and lots of folks are unhappy about it.

Me, I took charge of my own privacy with Google a number of years ago, shutting down their search history feature.  What I’m searching for and when is my own business, far as I’m concerned, but I’m happy to let them put little ads up against my queries if that’s what it takes to keep the service free.

As I explain to people, having that search history feature turned “on” is like having multiple people following you around the shopping mall, with nice HD cameras, capturing your every move.  If you don’t believe me, Google “Ghostery” and download the handy little app to see how many third-party cookies are watching YOUR every move.

Ghostery positions itself as “your window into the invisible web – tags, web bugs, pixels and beacons that are included on web pages in order to get an idea of your online behavior.”

Ghostery “tracks the trackers” and lets you know who all has invaded your machine.

So that if you decide to do a little hunting yourself, you’ll know precisely what you’re looking for.

Written by turbotodd

March 1, 2012 at 3:18 pm

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