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5 Reasons Why 2014 is The Year You Start Using A VPN

5 Reasons Why 2014 is The Year You Start Using A VPN

The year 2014 will be a crucial year for the online privacy debate. Edward Snowden is still living in exile in Russia but he’s not giving up the battle for personal privacy on the world wide web. As government agencies and central authorities continue to spy on citizens around the world, there’s no better time to look into protecting yourself and your browsing data.

One of the best ways to reclaim your privacy online is to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) service. Below you’ll find five reasons why 2014 is the year you will want to start using a VPN.

1. Protect Yourself on Public Wifi With A VPN

One of the major reasons to use a Virtual Private Network is to protect yourself when accessing the internet over unsafe public wifi. Just because you’re paying a daily rate to use hotel wifi does not make it safe and secure for accessing private information.

You need to be aware of the fact that public wifi is not encrypted and offers users no security. Anyone who is tech savvy enough can easily see your Internet activity. You don’t even need to be a good hacker to know how to intercept unencrypted wifi signals.

The point here is that public wifi is a joke. It should not be trusted, and you need to know this before doing anything over these types of networks. Spend a few dollars a month and subscribe to a VPN service, which will encrypt and protect your web traffic while you’re connected to the Internet over a public connection.

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If you’re traveling a lot and constantly logging onto the Internet over public wifi in airports or cafes, then a VPN is definitely a good investment for you.

2. Stream Entertainment Anywhere in the World

The number-one way to watch movies and TV shows is to stream them from websites like Hulu, Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and a large number of other sites. Unfortunately, due to copyright agreements between these streaming companies and content holders, these service aren’t available to the majority of people living outside the US. Slowly, these services are expanding but if you find yourself living in or traveling to a country that doesn’t offer these streaming services, you can use a VPN to bypass this block.

The way this works is simple. A VPN allows you t o easily change your IP address, preventing anyone from knowing where you really are in the world. You could logon to a VPN while in Moscow and switch your IP address to New York, thus making all of your internet traffic think it’s coming from New York.

The VPN will allow you to unlock these services in a way that is very quick and easy to setup and use. Simply turn on the VPN connection when you’d like to stream content and turn it off when you’d like to resume searching the internet as you normally would.

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    3. Gain Unrestricted Internet Access at Work and School

    If you’re currently a student at a university or an employee at a large company, you may find yourself having to comply with an internet usage policy. You may be prevented from checking Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and even from accessing your online email account.

    A VPN connection can easily help you escape these types of restrictive networks and connect to websites that might otherwise be blocked or limited all together.

    The VPN will make your internet traffic unreadable by the network administrator or the ISP. This prevents anyone from collecting information about your browsing activity. Now, I’m not encouraging you to start breaking the rules of your university or workplace. Use this knowledge and make the best judgment call possible. I’m simply telling you what is possible.

    Another great way to use a VPN is to protect yourself while engaging in P2P file sharing activity. For obvious reasons, the Motion Picture Association of America and similar organizations are constantly trying to prevent file-sharers from infringing on their intellectual property.

    Again, while I cannot encourage you to share pirated copies of major motion pictures, I will say that it’s possible to protect yourself while engaging in any type of file sharing, both legal and illegal, by using a VPN.

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    A VPN connection will most likely slow down your bandwidth slightly, but that’s a small price to pay to product your downloads and uploads from authorities looking at your traffic. I think it’s a no-brainer to pay for some added privacy and protection.

    4. Bypass Censorship in Remote Countries Abroad

    Similar to point number three above about bypassing corporate or university internet policies, a VPN could also be used to liberate yourself from overly controlling or oppressive internet censorship. Countries like Iran, Thailand, Russia, China, Cuba, Syria, United Arab Emirates, and many others prevent their citizens from freely accessing the world wide web. As we saw during the Arab spring uprising in Egypt, the internet can be used as an awesome political tool to disperse information and organize a revolution. This is why it’s so important to have unhindered access to the internet.

    The good news is that a VPN connection can help you bypass internet censorship and enable you to get around restrictive internet policies. A VPN will completely hide your internet activity while allowing you to fake your location, allowing you to have complete internet Freedom.

    5.  Protect Your Right To Privacy

    This one is less obvious but it needs to be said. You have a right to Internet privacy; it’s as simple as that. No one can take this right away from you–not your university, your employer, the local law enforcement, or the country in which you reside. It’s time you reclaimed this right and stop allowing governments and law enforcement agencies to spy on you.

    For $10 to $15 dollars a month, you can gain access to a great VPN service that will allow you to live a more private and secure life, both online and offline.

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    Finding A VPN

    I could write a whole article on this topic alone as there are so many things to consider when choosing a personal VPN service. If you’ll be streaming movies and other video / audio content you’ll want to make sure you pick a VPN service that offers unlimited bandwidth couple with fast server speeds.

    If you’re simply looking to protect yourself over a public wifi connection at a cafe or airport, you’ll want to pick a VPN that has servers close to you with reasonably fast speeds. You’ll also want a VPN service that doesn’t log your activity.

    Simply do a google search for “Personal VPN Software,” and read some reviews before signing up for a service.

    Conclusion

    These are just five of the many reasons why you need a Virtual Private Network service. The internet is still in its infancy and we’re all bearing witness to the rapid development of this incredible, connected world.

    As technology continues to advance, we’ll start to see privacy and security become major issues. In fact, these issues have already come to the forefront of the world-wide internet debate. The next few years will be critical in mapping out the future of the internet and the regulations surrounding it. While all of this is happening, it’s as good a time as any to protect yourself with a Virtual Private Network.

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    40 Top Productivity Apps for iPhone (2018 Updated)

    40 Top Productivity Apps for iPhone (2018 Updated)

    Over the years here at Lifehack, we’ve discussed plenty of apps that you can use to improve your overall productivity.

    There are certain ones that many of our contributors and editors (past and present) have adopted over the long-term — there are always the stalwarts that stick around. But there are also new apps that crop up every day, adding more and more depth to the app category.

    Some of the apps are incredibly plain and simple, while others are more robust and offer more features than you can shake a stick at. And everyone has the one they prefer.

    It’s been our job (and still is our job) to keep abreast of all of the productivity-type apps out there. As a result — and as a bit of a refresher — we’ve put together a list of 40 best productivity apps for iPhone to provide you with an all-in-one resource for you.

    Productivity apps to help you get things done

    1. OmniFocus

    This app is, while pricey, considered to be one of the (if not the) most robust and full-featured productivity apps on the market.

    Download it here.

      2. Forest

      Train yourself to put your phone down and stay focused on the task at hand by playing with this planting game. It’s fun and will help you achieve more.

      Download it here.

        3. Things

        Another robust choice, this app is a favorite amongst “productivityists”.[1]

        Download it here.

          4. 30/30

          Recently covered here at Lifehack

          , 30/30 is a newcomer to the game that incorporates lists and timing of tasks into an elegant and easy-to-use interface.

          Download it here.

            5. Any.Do

            A beautiful-looking app that is both easy on the eyes and your wallet.

            Download it here.

              6. PocketLife Calendar

              This calendar app is specifically designed to be stylish and super easy-to-use. You can organize your life easily with different modern features.

              Download it here.

                7. Asana

                We’ve covered Asana here at Lifehack

                , and it is being actively developed by a strong team committed to making collaborative task management a more efficient and effective experience.

                Download it here.

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                  8. ToDoist

                  This app keeps track of everything – from simple errands to your most important projects – so you can get it all done and enjoy more peace of mind along the way.

                  Download it here.

                    9. FlowTasks

                    From the folks at MetaLab, Flow is a gorgeous collaborative task management app that is easy-to-use and incredibly functional.

                    Download it here.

                      10. Calendars 5

                      This calendar app focuses on events that help you to keep track of upcoming events and tasks easily. It has everything you need to organize, track and complete your to-dos.

                      Download it here.

                        11. Clear – Tasks, Reminders & To-Do Lists

                        A fun and innovative list-making app that relies on swiping and pinching to make things happen. Clear created a lot of buzz when it launched, and might be the perfect to-do list gateway app for many.

                        Download it here.

                          12. Due

                          A robust reminders app that lets you store and maintain reminders of all types. It’s replaced Reminders for me when it comes to the basics, and it’s worth a look if you want to keep the mundane stuff out of your head and cluttering your mind.

                          Download it here.

                            13. Checkmark 2

                            I use this app

                            for location-based reminders (such as groceries I need to get or single items I need to pick up from various locations). Checkmark is simple to use and a valuable addition to my productivity arsenal.

                            Download it here.

                              14. TeuxDeux

                              Created by Tina Roth Eisenberg and Fictive Kin — Teux Deux is simple and incredibly stellar in terms of design. If you like lists (including the popular “Someday Bucket”) and want to associate dates with tasks, then Teux Deux will be right up your alley.

                              Download it here.

                                15. Wunderlist 

                                Another incredibly popular choice is Wunderlist. Part of 6Wunderkinder’s software family, it sports a gorgeous design and is incredibly functional. We’ve talked about the app a couple of times here at Lifehack, so check those posts out here.

                                Download it here.

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                                  16. Nirvana

                                  For the GTD enthusiasts, there’s Nirvana. Straight from the source: “Nirvana frees your mind to focus on actually getting things done. If you’ve had enough of generic to-do lists, it’s time for Nirvana.”

                                  Download it here.

                                    17. Priorities

                                    An elegant-looking task management app that has received decent reviews,[2] this could be the one for you if you’re not a fan of OmniFocus or Things — especially if you need (or want) to share tasks with others.

                                    Download it here.

                                      Productivity apps that help you build habits

                                      18. Productive

                                      With this app, you can plan your habits with an easy-to-use interface, schedule habits for any time of the day, set smart reminders for each time of the day and stay on track with useful feedback. This app is perfect for anyone who wants to build a habit that sticks.

                                      Download it here.

                                        19. Habitica: Gamified Taskmanager

                                        You can complete tasks and build habits in a more fun way with this app. Input your Habits, your Daily goals, and your To-Do list, and then create a custom avatar. Check off tasks to level up your avatar and unlock features such as armor, pets, skills, and even quests.

                                        Download it here.

                                          20. Streaks

                                          This app follows the model of the popular “don’t break the chain method” in that you use the app to track how you are donig in the pursuit of your goal. Great for goal-setting — and an easy and elegant interface to boot.

                                          Download it here.

                                            21. Remember The Milk

                                            Another popular to-do list app, Remember The Milk has a huge following. It has plenty to offer, including the ability to share tasks with others.

                                            Download it here.

                                              22. Day One Journal

                                              When it comes to journaling, nothing really beats Day One. Its latest update added a slew of features that will make you want to start making journaling a habit.

                                              Download it here.

                                                Productivity apps that makes organization easy

                                                23. Evernote

                                                Touted as the world’s most widely-used productivity app, Evernote an be used simply as a notetaking app or can be customized to be your GTD app of choice — among other things.

                                                Download it here.

                                                  24. Pocket

                                                  You can save an article, video or link you want to read or watch later to Pocket from anywhere including your computer, Safari, email, and your favorite apps like Facebook, Twitter, Flipboard, and Feedly.

                                                  Download it here.

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                                                    25. Sync.Me

                                                    This app identifies unknown phone calls, warns you from annoying spam calls, and adds a caller picture to your contacts from Facebook, Twitter and Google+.

                                                    Download it here.

                                                      26. Droplr

                                                      One of the most popular file-sharing apps out there today. Straight from the source: “Stay productive on the go. Droplr for iPhone keeps you in sync and makes sharing on the iPhone natural.”

                                                      Download it here.

                                                        27. Dropbox

                                                        Before iCloud, there was Dropbox. And there still is Dropbox, which is still widely used by both Mac and PC users all over the globe. It’s like having a flash drive in your iPhone. A must-have.

                                                        Download it here.

                                                          28. iDolly 

                                                          In conjunction with Dolly Drive and DollySync, iDolly allows you to edit and share your documents from your iPhone.

                                                          Since all your changes sync automatically to all your devices, the current version of a document will always be accessible because Dolly Sync keeps everything in sync. Very handy.

                                                          Download it here.

                                                            29. Soulver

                                                            It may seem odd that a calculator app shows up on this list, but this is no ordinary calendar app. Ben Brooks over at The Brooks review describes Soulver as follows: “It is what calculators would have been if they were invented at the same time computers were, instead of what we have with most calculator apps.” [3]

                                                            Download it here.

                                                              Productivity apps that help you work smart

                                                              30. Captio

                                                              A simple capture tool. Straight from the developers: “It’s simple. Open Captio and start typing. When you’re done, hit Send. The note is immediately delivered to your email inbox.”

                                                              Download it here.

                                                                31. Drafts

                                                                A tremendous capture tool that allows for simple capture, followed by sending items to various applications such as OmniFocus, Things and more.

                                                                Download it here.

                                                                  32. NoteShelf 2

                                                                  This is a perfect note-taking app for you. You can take beautiful handwritten notes, type, annotate PDFs, record audio & create lists. You can organize them into categories or groups.

                                                                  Download it here.

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                                                                    33. Doodle

                                                                    This app links directly with the Doodle service, which is one that allows you to plan and organize meetings far more efficiently and effectively. Lifehack contributor Steve Dotto has written about Doodle more in-depth here.

                                                                    Download it here.

                                                                      34. TextExpander (Legacy)

                                                                      I have saved countless hours of time with TextExpander, and despite its inability to be as robust on iOS as it is on the Mac, it is still a worthy app to have in your arsenal.

                                                                      Download it here.

                                                                        35. Launch Center Pro

                                                                        A quick launcher for the iPhone that doesn’t just launch an app…with some of them it can do much more. This app saves you time by launching complex actions in a single tap.

                                                                        Download it here.

                                                                          36. GoodReader

                                                                          This may seem to be an odd one to make this list, but here are plenty of reasons why it is here with this article.

                                                                          Download it here.

                                                                            37. LogMeIn

                                                                            Want to be able to control your Mac from wherever you are? Then get this app.

                                                                            Download it here.

                                                                              Productivity apps that improve security

                                                                              38. 1Password

                                                                              There is simply no better password manager out there. I’ve even put together a 1Password Emergency Kit worth looking at here.

                                                                              Download it here.

                                                                                39. LastPass Password Manager

                                                                                You can store passwords and logins, create online shopping profiles, generate strong passwords, track personal information in photo and audio notes.

                                                                                All you have to do is remember your LastPass master password, and LastPass autofills web browser and app logins for you.

                                                                                Download it here.

                                                                                  40. Truecallers

                                                                                  Identify and block spammers, search for unknown numbers and call friends easily with this app. With a community-based spam list from over 250 million users, you’ll need this app.

                                                                                  Download it here.

                                                                                    There are plenty of other options out there (and we’ve heard from readers in the past as to what they enjoyed using), but these 40 are among the best.

                                                                                    Reference

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