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How Virtual Private Networks Work

How Virtual Private Networks Work

These days there’s a lot of talk about Virtual Private Networks, or VPNs for short, and for good reason. As online privacy becomes an increasingly hot topic of discussion among politicians and activists, individuals have started to take online privacy into their own hands.

While you may not have as much to hide as Edward Snowden, everyone can appreciate online privacy and should take the necessary steps to protect yourself. One of the best things you can do to protect your privacy and establish your anonymity online is by using a Virtual Private Network.

VPNs allow you to connect to a private network through your regular connection to the world wide web. Upon establishing a connection to this private network you’re able to mask your online activity, thus establishing your privacy online. Even your Internet Service Provider (ISP) won’t be able to make sense of your internet activity.

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This has a great many number of benefits, especially if you are constantly accessing sensitive information like private health or financial records that you’d like to keep safe from prying eyes. These days you can never be too safe on the world wide web.

So, now that you have a general idea of what a VPN is, here’s an awesome infographic that will explain how a VPN works. Enjoy and be sure to share the article if you found it useful or leave a comment below if you have questions.

How Virtual Private Networks Work

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How VPNs Work Graphic

     

    Detailed Explanation on How VPNs Work

    At its core, a VPN is just a private network connection that you access through a public network like the world wide web. Basically, you connect to a remote server of your choosing. You’ve either setup this server yourself, know of another server somewhere else in the world, or you’ve subscribed to a VPN service that allows you to gain access to their servers all around the world.

    When you connect to the Virtual Private Network your computer attempts to establish a connection with this remote server. At this point the remote server authenticates your computer and your computer does the same to the server. Assuming the computer and server authentication is successful, you’ll gain access to the remote server.

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    At this point you’re able to connect and access the internet through this remote server. This is powerful for many reasons: the biggest is that you’ll have a new IP address. Having a new IP address means your computer thinks it’s in a different location.

    To give you a quick example, if you’re in Singapore but you connect to a server in New York through your VPN connection, your computer will be able to surf the internet through the New York server and all your internet traffic will appear to be coming from New York.

    This is great, especially if you’re trying to do something like watch Netflix from Europe or access a blocked site abroad.

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    A VPN connection does a lot more than help you fake your location. With a VPN connection you’re able to encrypt your internet traffic, protecting yourself and your data. In fact your internet activity will be encrypted to the point where even your ISP won’t be able to make sense of the data.

    A VPN can also help you protect yourself when you access the internet over public wi-fi like in cafes or airports. This is important because it protects your and your personal information.

    If you’re looking for a great VPN service you can type “best VPN services” into a search engine and come up with a lot of options.  When looking for a VPN provider you want to look for speed (fast download speeds and unlimited bandwidth usage). There are a lot of great choices online when it comes to VPN providers so you’ll have no trouble finding one that works for you.

    Privacy will be the hot topic for 2014, so now is a good a time to become more knowledgeable about privacy technology and leverage it in your favor.

    Let me know if you have any questions by leaving a comment below!

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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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