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Web App Review: AwayFind Helps You Stay Out Of Your Inbox

Web App Review: AwayFind Helps You Stay Out Of Your Inbox

Your email inbox is killing you.

Well, maybe that is a little extreme, but the peeps over at AwayFind think that living in your inbox isn’t the greatest thing in the world. So, to rid you of obsessively checking your inbox 20 times or more a day they decided to develop a new service for alerting you of important messages and helping you stay out of your inbox all day long.

The premise

The idea behind AwayFind’s service is to keep you out of your email inbox by having their service send you urgent messages and things that are worth knowing about. The service will scan your inbox and depending on what filters you have set up on the site and which notification services you have enabled, AwayFind will notify you of messages that you deem important.

AwayFind also offers a way to auto-respond to email as well as giving emailers a way to contact you via a customized web form. The service also can notify you in a ton of different ways including SMS, phone call (not for the free account), email (kind of redundant, huh?), Yahoo! Messenger, AIM, Google Talk, even native iPhone push notifications (Android coming soon).

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These kind of services always seem cool at first blush, but once you start setting it up and using it, there tends to be something missing. Let’s see what AwayFind has to offer for users.

    Setup

    With all the crazy promises and unique features of the AwayFind service you may be surprised to know that it is super easy to set up. I always dread having to sign up for a trial of a new web app, mostly because they force information out of you that you don’t want to give. Not the case at all with AwayFind; I quickly set up my account by using my Google login and I was guided through the process of setting up which way I want to be notified of something important in my email inbox.

    I setup straight SMS messages by supplying my cell number and the system sent me a verification code to enter. After the initial notification and email address setup you can then setup the filters that you want the site to apply to all of your incoming email messages.

    Two filters are already setup for you as examples. The first is an alert that sends you a message when a contact that is included in a calendar appointment within the next 12 hours emails you. The second is an email with ‘urgent’ or ‘asap’ flags. You can then setup new filters based on a contacts name, who the email is to, what the subject is, etc. You can then set up a notification to come to you between certain times on the weekdays and weekends.

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      After setting up some filters you get the chance to take a look at the other great features of AwayFind like the iPhone app that sends push notifications, intelligent auto-responders and email signatures, a customized contact form that can be used for contacts to send you alerts, etc.

      I have to say that AwayFind has done a damn good job of making a complicated thing easy to set up. Even with my technical ability, I sometimes find that these kind of services are complicated and confusing. AwayFind has made the process easy for users of all walks.

      Features

      If you are a feature hungry person and want all kinds of ways to control your incoming email, AwayFind has got you covered. The account that I tried was the free account and found that even for a “limited” version of the service, there were more features than I would possibly find myself using. Here are some of the features:

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      • AwayFind includes ways to setup intelligent filters for scanning your email and notifying you of it
      • iPhone client for push notifications (with Android coming soon)
      • Gmail and Outlook plugins so you can setup and edit filters without signing into the site
      • Custom contact form for people to fill out to contact you
      • A handy guide on how not to check your email

      Also, AwayFind offers several plans that have different amounts of features for users. There is a free version, a Monthly Starter for $15/mo, and a Yearly Pro option for $139/yr. The free plan of course includes a limited amount of features and smaller caps for alerts while the paid versions up the caps and features. You can check out the details of each plan at AwayFind’s plan overview site.

        Execution

        I found that after setting up AwayFind with a few filters that included friends that email me once or twice a week that the service was reliable and decently fast. I did sometimes notice that I would receive SMS alerts in the opposite order that I actually received the email messages, but in my opinion this is a non-issue.

        I then set up several different accounts that AwayFind could send alerts to me including my GTalk account, Twitter, and AIM accounts. I found that setting up the GTalk account took a couple of tries, but everything else was fluid and easy to set up. When receiving messages that matched the filter criteria that I outlined all my accounts alerted me in harmony. It sort of reminded me of The Office’s Ryan and his new web service “WUPHF!”. (Pronounced “Woof!”)

        Overall impressions

        I have to admit that I genuinely like what AwayFind is doing here. I think that having the ability to receive “priority” messages via SMS and other outlets is a good way to stay away from checking your inbox every 5 seconds. But, I do think that there is a small audience for this service.

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        I get a lot of email, but I find that just checking my email 2 to 3 times a day is enough for me to stay on top of things. My contacts know if there is an emergency to call or SMS me. But, if you are receiving hundreds of emails every day and are having a difficult time sifting through the endless garbage that you receive, spending some time with AwayFind’s filters may just be the way to finally take control of your email.

        At the very least, sign up for the starter account to see if this service could work for you; it is definitely worth looking at if you are obsessively checking your inbox.

        More by this author

        CM Smith

        A technologist and writer who shares advice on personal productivity, creativity and how to use technology to get things done.

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        Published on September 25, 2020

        10 Best VPNs to Browse the Internet More Securely

        10 Best VPNs to Browse the Internet More Securely

        When it comes to digital security, public Wi-Fi networks aren’t safe enough, making it much easier for hackers to access your personal data. Whether you are studying in a library or scrolling through Facebook in a coffeehouse, it is vital to have a VPN installed on your device.

        VPNs work wonders when it comes to securing your internet connection. By creating an encrypted tunnel between a remote server run by the VPN service, they protect your personal data from prying eyes. There is a variety of VPNs available on the web, and we have collated a list of the best VPNs that stand out from the rest.

        How to Choose a VPN

        • Free trial period – Free trials allow you to try the product risk-free. The same idea technically applies to those with 30-day full refunds as well.
        • Speed – You want your VPN to be just as fast as the internet speed at home. Good quality VPNs are ones where you see little difference between those speeds.
        • Device connection – Of course, the more devices that can connect to VPNs, the better. It increases the customers’ coverage and the product’s value. You also want to consider compatibility since fewer VPNs may work for Mac or Windows only.
        • Number of servers – The number of servers determines how much capacity a VPN can handle while you are connected. The more servers there are, the more users it can handle without running into potential disconnections or slow speeds.
        • Kill switch feature – Having this feature means that your IP address isn’t exposed if the VPN disconnects for some reason. A lack of this feature is a big deal since the whole reason why you’re paying for a VPN is to hide your IP address, among other things. (Find out how to avoid getting tracked online here: Big Brother Is Watching You Online: How To Avoid Being Tracked)

        Why You Should Trust Us

        Our hand-picked VPNs are incredibly efficient and offer such distinctive features that grant you safe browsing. They outperform many VPNs in terms of both speed and security. Their primary aim is to provide you the utmost security, thus enabling you to surf the web safely and prevent any potential threat from causing harm.

        Among the best VPNs’ many unique features include split tunneling, strict logging policies, high encryption level, and availability of international servers. We have gathered them in this article to enlighten our readers and offer the best pieces of advice before you get one. Therefore, take our word for it, and if you go for a VPN mentioned below, you’d be fully appeased.

        1. NordVPN

        The most popular VPN on the market these days is NordVPN, and it’s easy to see why. It has widespread coverage, offering a selection of over 5,000 servers spanning across 59 countries.[1] Due to the high number of servers, its speed is similar to your Wi-Fi at home.

        Lifehack’s CEO, Leon, has been using NordVPN for many years and wants to recommend it for its remarkable server count in different locations with no-logs policy. The VPN perfectly works with Netflix and Fire TV stick, too.

        NordVPN is also compatible with Mac, Windows, and Linux. You can download the app onto Chrome, Firefox, Android, and Mac OS. Thanks to its massive coverage, it’s easy to connect multiple devices onto these servers.

        In terms of pricing, while NordVPN doesn’t have a free trial period, they argue that their plans are considerably cheaper than those of their competitors. For example, a one-year plan for ExpressVPN costs $8.32 per month, but NordVPN only charges $6.99 monthly.

        NordVPN has a new protocol called NordLynx that is based on WireGuard with speed benefits, though it’s still under development.[2] If you’re looking for general quality and affordability, this is one of the best VPNs around.

        Buy this VPN.

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        2. ExpressVPN

        ExpressVPN is the second-best option out there for keeping your privacy while browsing the internet. Like many other VPNs here, they will encrypt your IP address, offer vast coverage, and can have multiple devices connected to their servers.

        Compared to NordVPN, while the pricing point is higher, ExpressVPN’s biggest selling point is the number of countries that their connection covers. Depending on where you are in the world, this may be the only option you have. They have fewer servers — 160, to be precise — but they make up for the low server count by covering 94 countries.[3]

        Cost-wise, your best bet is to go with the yearly plan where they charge $8.32 a month. They also have one- and six-month plans.

        Buy this VPN.

        3. Surf Shark

        With regards to Surf Shark, you can connect multiple devices to its servers, and it’s compatible with Windows, Linux, and Mac. It is also available on Android, iOS, Chrome, Firefox, and FireTV.

        Furthermore, Surf Shark can whitelist apps and sites, letting them bypass the VPN. This, along with the lines of split-tunneling, is another feature that many VPNs offer. The difference is that Surf Shark allows you to whitelist specific apps or any website, while most VPNs will whitelist all sites or none at all.

        The other consideration for this app is the price. While lower-tier plans are more expensive compared to others, Surf Shark’s 24-month plan is priced at $2.69 a month, so it’s cheaper than even NordVPN’s equivalent plan!

        Buy this VPN.

        4. CyberGhost

        Another top-reviewed VPN is CyberGhost. They’ve been around for 15 years and have fine-tuned their offers and features to stay competitive. They provide the standard package of browsing the web and logging into accounts safely and give you access to regionally blocked content.

        The network also maintains security from hackers, malware, and phishing. Aside from that, you can connect multiple devices, and it’s compatible with all kinds of platforms.

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        What separates CyberGhost from the others is their extensive coverage. They have multiple servers, and the pricing point is still very low. It covers over 88 countries and has roughly 6200 servers for you to choose from, all while charging $2.75 for their 18-month plan.

        Buy this VPN.

        5. IPVanish

        IPVanish’s prime purpose is to give users online freedom by providing fast speeds and private connections. It’s clear that they can meet that promise as they provide many of the features that have been listed previously from their competitors.

        IPVanish is a part of SugarSync now. What is that, you may ask? It’s a cloud-based service that syncs files across devices and computers for sharing, backup, and many more. What this means is that other devices can access various files and videos so long as they are connected to your specific VPN. Furthermore, it can serve as a backup plan if you get hacked or lose your device for some reason.

        Buy this VPN.

        6. Private Internet Access

        Private Internet Access (PIA) is a remarkably generous company in many ways. Aside from the obvious features, they offer great incentives and discounts for people to try out their products. They claim to be the most trustworthy and reliable VPN around, and we believe that.

        One notable thing is that PIA offers a free two-month trial. Compared to other VPNs to this point, none have provided free trials (though all come with a 30-day money-back guarantee). On top of that, small businesses can avail of their VPN at a discounted rate. There is also the fact that their pricing plans go as low as $2.69 a month for two years, and they let you pay with gift cards.

        In terms of specs, PIA has over 2695 servers that cover 47 countries right now.

        These particular aspects make PIA unique and one of the best VPNs to consider.

        Buy this VPN.

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        7. Hotspot Shield

        Hotspot Shield is all about offering protection while you’re browsing the internet or using streaming services like Netflix. The encryption is military-grade, and its speed is ultra-fast. In truth, it is even marketed as one of the fastest VPNs.

        Hotspot Shield offers a plan that only costs  $7.99 a month; however, it’s one of the few in this list to provide its services for free. Like other Freemium apps, the free version comes with limited features. That said, it gives you a much better feel for the VPN.

        Also, take note that the encryption feature is still there, though the limitations in the free plan include connecting to one location in the US and having limited streaming options and speed.

        Buy this VPN.

        8. TunnelBear

        As unusual as a name choice for an online security protection service can be, TunnelBear is nothing short of incredible. It makes our list of the best VPNs for various reasons.

        The biggest one is that the company goes through a yearly security audit. This is notable because many VPNs don’t bother about independent audits to ensure their systems are secure and safe from any issues. This is critical as VPNs have gotten some bad reputation over the years, as TunnelBear has noted in their post about their security audit.[4] The fact that they are doing this annually ensures that nothing is being compromised.

        Furthermore, TunnelBear offers limited services for free, but even their paid plans are pretty cheap. For individuals, you’re merely paying $3.33 per month. The only catch is that you can connect five devices regardless of which paid plan you pick.

        Buy this VPN.

        9. Norton

        Norton has been on the security scene for some time, and it’s actually one of the founders of the internet security industry. It started with virus and malware protection in 1991 and has since branched off to other sectors as the industry has shifted.

        As you might expect from a company that’s been around for a long time, Norton provides excellent services, and a few of their other services have gone into the VPN package. In reality, Norton is the only one thus far to offer a password manager with their VPN services. They provide 50GB of cloud storage as well.

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        Norton has one of the cheapest VPNs, considering you can get their deluxe plan at $49.99 per year. That comes up to roughly $4.17 a month. It might be slightly higher than other equivalent plans, but you get a lot of extra value that makes it worth the price.

        Buy this VPN.

        10. StrongVPN

        The final VPN we want to cover is StrongVPN. Like many others, it’s great at blocking unnecessary web traffic and providing a fast and simple solution to navigating the internet without any hindrance.

        StrongVPN has over 900 servers. It is available in more than 30 countries and compatible with all devices. Beyond that, the only notable selling point it has compared to others is that it also offers Sugarsync services and 250GB of storage, irrespective of your chosen plan.

        As for the pricing, their year-long plan costs $5.83 a month, while their month-long one is $10.

        Buy this VPN.

        Bottom Line

        Getting online protection is important these days, and companies recognize this.

        With more hacks and breaches occurring every single day, the best VPNs can provide an excellent haven for many people who value their security and privacy.

        We hope that by putting together this list, you’ll be able to find the best VPN that you can trust and enjoy using. As you can see, there are several great options with no real wrong one out there. Pick the VPN that’s best for you.

        Featured photo credit: Petter Lagson via unsplash.com

        Reference

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