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5 Reasons Why You Should Be Using A VPN

5 Reasons Why You Should Be Using A VPN

In our increasingly digital world, it’s more important than ever to prioritize online privacy and security. Over the past few years, we’ve seen developed countries step up their internet surveillance, and in some cases, internet censorship. During the “Arab Spring,” we watched Turkey cut off access to Twitter. Recently China has openly admitted to censoring the Internet. Iran has made it near impossible to log on to all popular western social media sites. Perhaps worst of all, we’ve learned that even in United States of America, the land of the free and the home of the brave, the government engages in large-scale surveillance that jeopardizes personal privacy.

Thanks to technological advancements, you can take matters into your own hands and protect yourself while standing up for your rights. Perhaps one of the best ways to do this is by using a Virtual Private Network, or VPN for short. VPN technology has been on the rise in recent years, especially with all the hype about the NSA and Edward Snowden. Let’s take a look at 5 reasons why you should be using a VPN:

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1. Log on to Public Wifi with Confidence.

If you’re like me, you’re constantly logging onto the web from coffee shops, airports, and other places that offer public wifi. The problem with public wifi is that it isn’t secure. It’s far too easy for a hacker or network administrator to gain access to your sensitive information while you use public wifi. With a VPN, this is not possible. VPNs encrypt your browsing data so you can safely login to your net banking account or even go online shopping without worrying about someone looking at your activity.

2. Access Blocked Content While Traveling.

If you’re a frequent traveler and find yourself in remote locations a few times a year, you’ll want to use a VPN to access content that is blocked outside of the US. For example, popular on-demand entertainment services like Pandora, Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Prime, and others are blocked to users who try to access these services with foreign IP address. By using a VPN, not only can you change your foreign IP address to a US IP address, you can also start using these services as if you never left the US in the first place.

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3. Bypass a restrictive Network.

If you’re frequently logging onto the web in the workplace or at school, you may experience restrictive network controls. Perhaps you can’t log onto Facebook, or a certain site is blocked due to keywords found on the site. To bypass this type of restrictive network, you can use a VPN. It will get you past the restrictions, and also encrypt and keep your browsing data private.

4. Share Files Privately.

In recent years, there have been massive crackdowns on file sharing around the world. Now let me be clear here: I am in no way advocating for you to share or download material that is copyrighted. That’s your own prerogative and you do so at your own risk. I’m simply saying that using a VPN is one way to share legal files, and even illegal files, in privacy.

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5. Because You Have a Right to Privacy.

Perhaps the best reason to use a VPN is because you have a right to privacy, and by using a VPN you’re claiming this right. Some look at VPN users as people who have something to hide. This is flawed thinking. VPN users are normal citizens, just like you and me, who believe in their right to privacy.

There are so many other great reasons to start using a VPN, but the bottom line is it’s more important today than ever to start taking your internet security seriously. I’ve heard far too many horror stories of people having their credit card info or even their entire identities stolen as a result of poor internet safeguards on their part. Using a VPN is the first and best step you can take towards protecting yourself on the world wide web.

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If you have any questions about VPN technology or which VPN services I recommend, I’d be happy to answer your questions in the comment section below.

Thanks for reading and safe surfing!

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Last Updated on May 14, 2019

8 Replacements for Google Notebook

8 Replacements for Google Notebook

Exploring alternatives to Google Notebook? There are more than a few ‘notebooks’ available online these days, although choosing the right one will likely depend on just what you use Google Notebook for.

  1. Zoho Notebook
    If you want to stick with something as close to Google Notebook as possible, Zoho Notebook may just be your best bet. The user interface has some significant changes, but in general, Zoho Notebook has pretty similar features. There is even a Firefox plugin that allows you to highlight content and drop it into your Notebook. You can go a bit further, though, dropping in any spreadsheets or documents you have in Zoho, as well as some applications and all websites — to the point that you can control a desktop remotely if you pare it with something like Zoho Meeting.
  2. Evernote
    The features that Evernote brings to the table are pretty great. In addition to allowing you to capture parts of a website, Evernote has a desktop search tool mobil versions (iPhone and Windows Mobile). It even has an API, if you’ve got any features in mind not currently available. Evernote offers 40 MB for free accounts — if you’ll need more, the premium version is priced at $5 per month or $45 per year. Encryption, size and whether you’ll see ads seem to be the main differences between the free and premium versions.
  3. Net Notes
    If the major allure for Google Notebooks lays in the Firefox extension, Net Notes might be a good alternative. It’s a Firefox extension that allows you to save notes on websites in your bookmarks. You can toggle the Net Notes sidebar and access your notes as you browse. You can also tag websites. Net Notes works with Mozilla Weave if you need to access your notes from multiple computers.
  4. i-Lighter
    You can highlight and save information from any website while you’re browsing with i-Lighter. You can also add notes to your i-Lighted information, as well as email it or send the information to be posted to your blog or Twitter account. Your notes are saved in a notebook on your computer — but they’re also synchronized to the iLighter website. You can log in to the site from any computer.
  5. Clipmarks
    For those browsers interested in sharing what they find with others, Clipmarks provides a tool to select clips of text, images and video and share them with friends. You can easily syndicate your finds to a whole list of sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Digg. You can also easily review your past clips and use them as references through Clipmarks’ website.
  6. UberNote
    If you can think of a way to send notes to UberNote, it can handle it. You can clip material while browsing, email, IM, text message or even visit the UberNote sites to add notes to the information you have saved. You can organize your notes, tag them and even add checkboxes if you want to turn a note into some sort of task list. You can drag and drop information between notes in order to manage them.
  7. iLeonardo
    iLeonardo treats research as a social concern. You can create a notebook on iLeonardo on a particular topic, collecting information online. You can also access other people’s notebooks. It may not necessarily take the place of Google Notebook — I’m pretty sure my notes on some subjects are cryptic — but it’s a pretty cool tool. You can keep notebooks private if you like the interface but don’t want to share a particular project. iLeonardo does allow you to follow fellow notetakers and receive the information they find on a particular topic.
  8. Zotero
    Another Firefox extension, Zotero started life as a citation management tool targeted towards academic researchers. However, it offers notetaking tools, as well as a way to save files to your notebook. If you do a lot of writing in Microsoft Word or Open Office, Zotero might be the tool for you — it’s integrated with both word processing software to allow you to easily move your notes over, as well as several blogging options. Zotero’s interface is also available in more than 30 languages.

I’ve been relying on Google Notebook as a catch-all for blog post ideas — being able to just highlight information and save it is a great tool for a blogger.

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In replacing it, though, I’m starting to lean towards Evernote. I’ve found it handles pretty much everything I want, especially with the voice recording feature. I’m planning to keep trying things out for a while yet — I’m sticking with Google Notebook until the Firefox extension quits working — and if you have any recommendations that I missed when I put together this list, I’d love to hear them — just leave a comment!

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