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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 February 15, 2019

7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

Now that 2011 is well underway and most people have fallen off the bandwagon when it comes to their New Year’s resolutions (myself included), it’s a good time to step back and take an honest look at our habits and the goals that we want to achieve.

Something that I have learned over the past few years is that if you track something, be it your eating habits, exercise, writing time, work time, etc. you become aware of the reality of the situation. This is why most diet gurus tell you to track what you eat for a week so you have an awareness of the of how you really eat before you start your diet and exercise regimen.

Tracking daily habits and progress towards goals is another way to see reality and create a way for you clearly review what you have accomplished over a set period of time. Tracking helps motivate you too; if I can make a change in my life and do it once a day for a period of time it makes me more apt to keep doing it.

So, if you have some goals and habits in mind that need tracked, all you need is a tracking tool. Today we’ll look at 7 different tools to help you keep track of your habits and goals.

Joe’s Goals

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    Joe’s Goals is a web-based tool that allows users to track their habits and goals in an easy to use interface. Users can add as many goals/habits as they want and also check multiple times per day for those “extra productive days”. Something that is unique about Joe’s Goals is the way that you can keep track of negative habits such as eating out, smoking, etc. This can help you visualize the good things that you are doing as well as the negative things that you are doing in your life.

    Joe’s Goals is free with a subscription version giving you no ads and the “latest version” for $12 a year.

    Daytum

      Daytum

      is an in depth way of counting things that you do during the day and then presenting them to you in many different reports and groups. With Daytum you can add several different items to different custom categories such as work, school, home, etc. to keep track of your habits in each focus area of your life.

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      Daytum is extremely in depth and there are a ton of settings for users to tweak. There is a free version that is pretty standard, but if you want more features and unlimited items and categories you’ll need Daytum Plus which is $4 a month.

      Excel or Numbers

        If you are the spreadsheet number cruncher type and the thought of using someone else’s idea of how you should track your habits turns you off, then creating your own Excel/Numbers/Google spreadsheet is the way to go. Not only do you have pretty much limitless ways to view, enter, and manipulate your goal and habit data, but you have complete control over your stuff and can make it private.

        What’s nice about spreadsheets is you can create reports and can customize your views in any way you see fit. Also, by using Dropbox, you can keep your tracker sheets anywhere you have a connection.

        Evernote

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          I must admit, I am an Evernote junky, mostly because this tool is so ubiquitous. There are several ways you can implement habit/goal tracking with Evernote. You won’t be able to get nifty reports and graphs and such, but you will be able to access your goal tracking anywhere your are, be it iPhone, Android, Mac, PC, or web. With Evernote you pretty much have no excuse for not entering your daily habit and goal information as it is available anywhere.

          Evernote is free with a premium version available.

          Access or Bento

            If you like the idea of creating your own tracker via Excel or Numbers, you may be compelled to get even more creative with database tools like Access for Windows or Bento for Mac. These tools allow you to set up relational databases and even give you the option of setting up custom interfaces to interact with your data. Access is pretty powerful for personal database applications, and using it with other MS products, you can come up with some pretty awesome, in depth analysis and tracking of your habits and goals.

            Bento is extremely powerful and user friendly. Also with Bento you can get the iPhone and iPad app to keep your data anywhere you go.

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            You can check out Access and the Office Suite here and Bento here.

            Analog Bonus: Pen and Paper

            All these digital tools are pretty nifty and have all sorts of bells and whistles, but there are some people out there that still swear by a notebook and pen. Just like using spreadsheets or personal databases, pen and paper gives you ultimate freedom and control when it comes to your set up. It also doesn’t lock you into anyone else’s idea of just how you should track your habits.

            Conclusion

            I can’t necessarily recommend which tool is the best for tracking your personal habits and goals, as all of them have their quirks. What I can do however (yes, it’s a bit of a cop-out) is tell you that the tool to use is whatever works best for you. I personally keep track of my daily habits and personal goals with a combo Evernote for input and then a Google spreadsheet for long-term tracking.

            What this all comes down to is not how or what tool you use, but finding what you are comfortable with and then getting busy with creating lasting habits and accomplishing short- and long-term goals.

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