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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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    Published on September 20, 2018

    11 Google Chrome Apps and Features to Help You Get More Done with Less Effort

    11 Google Chrome Apps and Features to Help You Get More Done with Less Effort

    In today’s fast-paced and never-ending busy world, we are overwhelmed by tasks that need to be completed by tight deadlines. With so much technology it is difficult to find the right tools to help boost our efficiency. And, many tools get obsolete so its essential to stay up-to-date to know when you will have to make adjustments to these tools. Independently of where you work, there’s a good chance that you have to be working on a PC or a laptop.

    Do you are feel like you do not have enough time, or cannot accomplish much as of late? It is recommended to take a step back and look at the big picture. Also, you want to explore new and innovative ways to improve productivity.

    In this article, I outline 11 features and apps within the Chrome browser that can help you do just that.

    Minimizing Tabs

    Let’s face it we all have more than a dozen tabs opened on our computers. One neat trick to still keep most of them open is to turn them into pinned tabs. On Google Chrome you can right-click the tab and select “Pin Tab” option. This turns the tab into an icon enabling you to continue multitasking.

    Pinning a tab anchors the tabs on the left of your toolbar; a great benefit of the “Pin Tab” feature is that you can’t close these tabs accidentally since the “X” disappears after pinning them.

    Incognito Mode

    Google Chrome is a very easy-to-use and intuitive. But, Google does collect our browsing data; so to remedy this, you can use Incognito Mode. This feature does not keep your browsing or download history. You can enable or access it in three different ways:

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    1. Press Ctrl/Command+shift+N
    2. Select File Menu and choose New Incognito Window
    3. Download extension New Incognito Window

    This feature is very handy if you’d rather not have your browsing history stored and utilized for future advertisement or suggested pages.

    Save Webpages as PDF Files

    Have you ever browsed interesting or important information and then forgot to bookmark or save it in “favorites”, making it impossible to find again? Chances are you have done this on a number of occasions.

    Thankfully, there is an easy solution. You can save webpages as PDF files. On your keyboard, press control/command+p and you will be able to save webpages as PDFs.

    Open Recently-closed Tabs

    Ever had dozens of tabs opened and all of a sudden your browser shuts down? It has probably happened to all of us. You can easily recover all of your tabs using two approaches. Don’t panic if this happens because there is a workaround and solution for it.

    One is by pressing Ctrl/CMD+Shift+T.

    The other approach is to click on the three vertical dots on your browser and hover over “History”.

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    Solve Mathematical Problems

    Google’s Chrome browser doesn’t just search for relevant and updated information. It is also capable of performing some mathematical problems. Within the omnibox (Chrome’s address or URL bar), you can perform mathematical exercises.

    For example, if you are struggling with percentages you can search 20 percent of x amount and it will instantly provide a result. Pretty handy, right?!

    Play Media Files

    Are you frequently met with difficulties when playing or watch a video files? Well, once again Chrome comes to the rescue. You can can listen or play videos from all sorts of movie or music files (mp3, mp4, .mov, .mkv, .ogv, .webm, .wav, etc.) by simply dragging the file into the search bar.

    In addition, you can view images, PDF files and Microsoft Office files, too.

    Navigate Swiftly Between Tabs

    With all of those tabs opened comes great navigation responsibilities. Rather than clicking through every tab, you can use shortcut keys like Ctrl+Tab to navigate all of the different tabs. Also, you are able to navigate to the first tab by pressing Ctrl-1, Ctrl-2, and so on. If you want to switch to the very last tab, press Ctrl-9.

    Stay Focus(e)d

    Computers nowadays have awesome capabilities.

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    Sometimes we like to get work done, but let’s face it, we’re all human. We sometimes procrastinate by visiting a website we really like, or maybe take a break with watching a flick on Netflix, a video on YouTube or browsing Facebook.

    With Chrome’s StayFocusd extension, you can truly stay focused and get more done in less time.

    This extension naturally helps you stay more productive by limiting the amount of time you spend on websites. You can set the time and it will automatically block those sites after a certain period.

    Grammarly for Editing

    Grammarly is a must have, and it’s really a complete powerhouse. Grammarly helps you check your grammar and spelling for everything you write online.

    You can use it professionally or as a student, which will make the editing process much easier and more efficient. Furthermore, it can automatically check for typos when you send an email, type a Tweet, or post a Facebook comment. It’s like having your own personal copyeditor!

    Loom

    There are times that words in an email or written text in a chat app will just not convey the right meaning.

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    There is a saying that a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, the same is true of videos.

    With Loom, you can capture, narrate and immediately share video recordings of your screen, which will help coworkers understand issues you are facing, or to easily convey an explanation on screen. Plus, with video you will be able to easily walk people through a process, and you can use it to create simple how-to videos.

    Chrome Calendar Extension

    No matter what your level of responsibility is at your job, Google Calendar is another essential resource to have at your fingertips.

    Specifically, you can have this extension added as an icon in the toolbar of your browser, which I highly recommend. Once you add the extension to your browser, you can check for upcoming events with a single click without leaving your current page.

    Final Thoughts

    Google Chrome has definitely evolved from its inception. As you can see you have a very powerful tool that comes as a free installation and is loaded with dozens of capabilities. The above listed Chrome apps can resolve some of the most common obstacles to your time management and productivity.

    Featured photo credit: Andrew Neel via unsplash.com

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