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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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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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