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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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    Last Updated on October 16, 2019

    11 Meeting Scheduler Apps to Boost Your Productivity

    11 Meeting Scheduler Apps to Boost Your Productivity

    Automations are key to improving efficiency. Set the system up right from the beginning and you’ll reduce the amount of no-shows and cancellations.

    Whatever your business is, with automations, meeting scheduler apps do more than just streamline appointment setting. They prime your workflow for maximum results.

    Meeting scheduler apps are awesome if you use them right. Use them wrong and you can look like an arrogant elitist.

    In this article, I will share with you 11 great meeting scheduler apps you can start using today to boost your productivity.

    1. ScheduleOnce

      ScheduleOnce is an industry leader and robust solution. Whether you work alone or have a large team, ScheduleOnce can support you.

      ScheduleOnce allows you to create multiple users and multiple calendars. I use one calendar for booking podcast guests with automations set up to prep my guests for our interview. I use another calendar for strategy sessions and coaching calls.

      ScheduleOnce also has embeddable widgets so you can keep the scheduler inside your own website.

      Starting at $7 a month and a 14 day free trial, ScheduleOnce can fit a variety of needs in business.

      Available on Web

      2. Calendly

        Calendly stands out for its clean, easy to use interface. If you like clean design, Calendly might be your choice. It too has robust automations and integrations for individuals and teams alike.

        You can try Calendly free for 14 days. Their basic plan is free while their most robust plan is only $12 a month.

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        Available on Web | Google Chrome Extension

        3. Assistant.to

          For those who use gmail, Assistant.to is a super simple solution.

          From inside an email, you click on the Assistant.to icon and pick times your free. Assistant.to embeds the times directly into the email so the recipient can quickly pick a time that works for them.

          While it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of apps like Calendly or ScheduleOnce, Assistant.to is completely free.

          Available on Web

          4. Acuityscheduling

            Acuity is a robust meeting scheduler very similar to ScheduleOnce. It integrates with CRMs, Email Marketing platforms, Analytics tools and accounting software.

            It comes with a 14 day free trial. They have a free solo account but if you want the benefit of the integrations, you’ll start as low as $15 a month and can cost up to $50 a month.

            Available on Web | iOS | Android

            5. Pick

              Built for simplicity, Pick is direct and easy to use. You can create your own url extension like pick.co/yournamehere and it integrates with Google calendar and Office 365.

              At $3 a month, this is a great tool for quick scheduling.

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              Available on Web

              6. X.ai

                For those who are early adopters of AI, this may be the solution for you. X.ai created two AI assistants they call Amy and Andrew Ingram. After setting up your account you simply CC them on your emails with the person you’re wanting to schedule and the AI assistants will email your guests from there until your appointment is set.

                This type of scheduler feels more personal because of the dialogue. There are stories on their site of people thinking Amy and Andrew are real people. X.ai integrates with Google, Office 365 and Outlook.

                Starting at $29 a month for an Individual account and $39 a month per user for a Team account, Amy and Andrew are ready to schedule meetings for you. Want to try it out first? They do have a free trial.

                Available on Web

                7. YouCanBook.me

                  is another competitive solution for scheduling meetings online. You can manage the calendars of your entire team, configure booking forms, and integrate with your calendar.

                  They have a free account branded with their company name or you can have some control over your branding and appearance at $10 a month for all their features. Either way, this company is worth a look.

                  Available on Web

                  8. Doodle

                    Doodle is unique in the space of meeting schedulers because it helps groups of people find a time to meet that works for everyone.

                    It integrates with your calendar and allows you to send a poll to all invited. Once people vote on the poll you can see which time works best for everyone.

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                    You can also run polls for food preferences if you’re scheduling a lunch meeting or a section of town if people are coming from all over.

                    While there is a free account, you’ll unlock it’s potential starting at $39 per year.

                    Available on Web | iOS | Android

                    9. WhenAvailable

                      WhenAvailable is another scheduler that works for groups of people. You can use it to schedule a pickup game of basketball, decide on your next book club or book your family reunion.

                      Their free account allows up to 20 guests, unlimited events and one contact group. For $15 a year you unlock all the goodies including reminders and chat messages.

                      Available on Web

                      10. Rally

                        Like Doodle and WhenAvailable, Rallly is helpful for scheduling meetings and events with multiple people involved. You create a poll and everyone votes. It’s quick and easy.

                        Unlike Doodle, it doesn’t have as many features, but it’s entirely free.

                        Available on Web

                        11. NeedtoMeet

                          Finishing strong, NeedtoMeet is our last app that allows you to schedule meetings or events for multiple people. It has mobile apps, custom urls, easy polling, notifications and commenting.

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                          NeedtoMeet also allows 1:1 Meetings for things like performance reviews for your whole team. You send out the your calendar slots to your team and they can only pick 1 slot, minimizing the amount of emails and scheduling you have to coordinate.

                          While they have a free account, you can unlock all features for only $19 a year.

                          Available on Web

                          Bonus: Don’t Make These Common Mistakes When Using Meeting Schedulers

                          In the excitement of streamlining your scheduling process, it can be easy to forget the feelings of those you’re inviting to meet. I know. I’ve done this.

                          To say “Hey, schedule time on my calendar” feels colder than “Hey, here’s my calendar. To avoid all the back and forth, pick a time that works best for you.”

                          Always make sure to frame your invite with your scheduler app with the benefit to them and why we’re doing it this way rather than the old fashioned, personal way.

                          A little finesse goes a long way. Without it, you risk seeming transactional and cold.

                          Some meeting scheduler widgets you can embed in your site can take a couple seconds to load. If you go this route, make sure there’s text just above the widget that lets your guest know the calendar will appear below and to wait for it to load.

                          If you use an online meeting tool like Zoom, it’s also important to explicitly let them know the meeting will take place on Zoom and include the Zoom link in the email reminder. Many make the mistake of not clarifying where the meeting will actually take place which can create last minute chaos at the time of the meeting.

                          Should you require special settings, like ethernet, external mics or lighting, let your guests know that on your thank you page and reminder emails so they are prepared for the meeting and you end up with the best meeting possible.

                          With clear communication in your automation, your meeting scheduler tools can almost perform like a virtual assistant for a fraction of the cost, or free, depending on the app you choose.

                          The Bottom Line

                          Meeting scheduler apps are diverse in features and unique in design. Before committing to one and realizing it’s not a fit, I recommend exploring which 3 might best fit you and then doing a trial with each of them at the same time so that you can see how they feel as you use them side by side.

                          Scheduling meetings the old fashioned way can be tedious. Conversely, finding a scheduling app that works seamlessly in the background is heavenly.

                          Like cell phones, meeting scheduler apps are moving from a nice-to-have luxury to must-have necessity in the lives of productive people. As you explore your options, stay true to your brand and the tools that have worked well for you to this point and simply find a meeting scheduler app that plays well with what you have created.

                          Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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