3 Questions You Should Ask Before Buying a VPN

Staying safe when using public Wi-Fi is questionable. There’s no guarantee how safe these networks could be.

One of the best ways to stay secure on such a network is to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN).

Simply put, a VPN is an encrypted tunnel between your device and the internet that protects your information from more-than-inquisitive people.

While there are a number of free VPNs, it’s still a good idea to pay for one as they’re faster, don’t have ads and have a bigger bandwidth than free options that are available.

That said, here are 3 questions that you must ask before you buy one:

#1: Are you located outside the United States?

There are a number of services such as Hulu, Netflix and Amazon on Demand that will be blocked if you’re outside the United States. Most people opt for a traditional VPn if they’d wish to get beyond these restrictions. For this, you will have to pick a VPN that has exit servers located in the United States which will make you look like a US user. One excellent sample to use is Media Hint.

#2: Do you use torrents regularly?

A number of these VPNs block torrent traffic. It’s a good idea to read over the policies of the service before you opt for it. This also includes checking as to whether you are able to download a number of Linux distributions that you’ve been meaning to try out.

#3: Is it a cross-platform VPN?

Another important aspect of picking a VPN involves whether it is cross-platform or not. Simply put, the VPN should be able to work across all devices and not just on your PC.

Tools to Maximize Campaign Returns

This article was written by Ted Dhanik

If you want your campaigns to bring you the maximum return, you need to enlist the help of a few tools designed for competitive research. From tracking code to competitive research tools, if you’re not enlisting help, you’re costing yourself time and money. You can get a lot more done, helping your display advertising campaigns grow into new niches, if you know what to look for.

Tracking Code

Google Analytics is the code most sites use, but it’s not the only one. There are trackers built into the ad networks you use, or you could assign your own parameters to your URLs. These parameters are important because they help you identify which campaigns have the highest likelihood for success. Analytics is powerful because of the events feature, which can help you track intangible objects on your home page. You can find out how customers react to your video or audio, pinpointing exactly where they hit play or pause.

Keyword Tools

There are several tools for keyword research. Google offers a free one, as does Bing, but you will need an account with their advertising services to use it. Free tools make keyword suggestions, and still more tools will actually analyze what your competition is bidding on. If you know which keywords are hot, you can use those terms on less-competitive banner advertising networks to net big conversions at a lower cost.

Banner Research

The standard search tool is your best friend here, but there are a lot of ways to find offers that are working. You can check with affiliate networks to see which banners are top performers, or review popular websites like CNN or MSN Money to see which offers run in the margins. Then you can use those banners as a starting point, or design your own based on what you see.

Bio: Ted Dhanik is a sales and marketing professional with fifteen years in digital media. Having helped large brands like MySpace, Ted Dhanik knows how to effectively utilize display advertising. Find more tips on display advertising when you visit Ted Dhanik online.

2 Ways You Can Read .epub Books Using a Browser

There are a number of reasons why some people prefer reading e-books in the .epub format, thanks to Digital Rights Management.

It’s common knowledge that the only books that you can find in an unprotected format are old ones since very few e-tailers offer unprotected .epub books.

However, if you do wish to read books in this digital format, then you can do so in your browser itself.

One way to do is to use Google Play Books which has been designed to read its own protected content. However, you can also read .epub books using this Google service as well.

For starters, you’ll need a Google account – a Gmail or YouTube account will do. Go to the Google Play books site and upload books that you already have on your PC. Once the upload is complete, you will find it in the My Books section.

There’s only one problem though: You can’t take these books with you anywhere but will need an internet connection in order to read them. Although, it will be fair to say that these books will be synced across a number of devices.

If you do use Firefox, another option includes installing the EPUBReader add-on. Once this is done, then all you have to do is drag an .epub reader and the book will be loaded immediately without any fuss whatsoever.

Best part: you can use this add-on to look for and download books from a number of sites such as Feedbooks.com and Archive.org as well as Gutenberg. Not only that: you can read them offline.

That said, there aren’t any good add-ons for Chrome and Internet Explorer worth recommending.

How to Remove Toolbars From Your Browser

Even if it is 2014, here are still a number of issues (related to the web) that might trouble us here and now.

For example, if you download an app such as Vuze, Skype or even AVG, it’s only a matter of time until they will add a few toolbars to your computer or even change the default home page and browser.

So, here’s how you clear up the mess caused by toolbars:

#1: Internet Explorer

Even if this browser will not let a toolbar run automatically, this can happen especially when you’re hardly paying any attention. But to make sure you get rid of them, click on the cog in the upper right-hand corner and select Manage Add-Ons. You’ll see a new window open with the toolbars installed. Highlight the ones you don’t like and click the Disable button.

#2: Google Chrome

With Google planning to ban all toolbars by June this year, it’s pretty clear that this browser prefers browsers ever lesser than the other two. But just in case you install a toolbar, all you have to do is select the menu icon at the top-right hand corner. Select Extensions in the left-hand navigation column. Scroll down until you find the toolbar you are looking for and uncheck the Enabled checkbox or even click the trash icon.

#3: Mozilla Firefox

It’s even more difficult to accidentally enable a toolbar in Firefox but it does happen. So, for this, click on the orange button at the top right corner of your screen and select Add-ons. In the navigation column that opens on the left-hand side, select Extensions. Find the toolbar that you would like to remove and click Disable. Make sure you restart your browser as soon as you have disabled all toolbars that you would like to.

Is Someone Looking Around Your Gmail Account? Here’s How You Can Find Out…

Almost everyone’s Gmail account has some sensitive information be it pictures that you’d like to keep private, emails from family members and friends or even account information of the numerous services that you use.

But what if someone has been looking around? Can you find out who it is?

Yes, Google has provided its users with tools just to do this.

For starters, go to the bottom of our screen after opening your Gmail account, to the link that says ‘Details’. It is located at the lower-right corner of your screen, to be exact.

When you click this link, you’ll find out the last 10 times someone logged into your account, how they accessed it (browser, email app etc.), when they did as well as the IP address.

So, once you review this list, and find something suspicious, you can change your email password immediately.

Another method that has become popular is the two-factor authentication method. Activate this for your Google account, and enjoy another layer of protection as a result.

As for knowing your IP address, there’s no need to feel bad if you do not know what your IP address is. All you have to do is visit the website WhatismyIP.com at locations where you use your computer the most.

This could be at home, work or even that coffee shop that you visit regularly. Another thing to do is to check for your IP address when you are connecting to a new network. Storing all these IP addresses in a text document will come in handy later.

What You Need to Know About Creating Email Aliases on Outlook

One of the reasons why Outlook is such a good email service is because of the email aliases it offer its users.

But what is an email alias?

Simply put, it is a number of email addresses that actually belong to just one Microsoft account.

Why would one need an email alias?

Not only can you use one of these junk addresses when you are forced to sign up on websites but also a difficult to guess alias address as your password recovery address that hackers would never be able to guess.

That said, here’s how you can create an alias in Outlook.com:

#1: Click on the ‘settings’ cog in the upper right hand corner of your screen and select ‘More email settings’.

#2: Now select ‘Create an Outlook alias’ that is under ‘Managing your alias’.

#3: Now think of an email address that you would like, and enter it in the boxes either with an Outlook, Hotmail or even Live address at the end.

It’s as simple as that. However, if the email alias that you have picked hasn’t been taken, then Outlook will move you back to your inbox where you can choose whether to receive email from your new alias address sent to a particular folder or your inbox itself.

However, it’s a good idea to wait for a few minutes for a notification from Outlook informing you that your alias is ready for use.

Just remember that you have to use the same password of your Microsoft account so as to log in to this alias email created.

How You Can Speed Up Your Browsing Using Vimium

Trackpads or mice aren’t very helpful when it comes to browsing the Web with speed, and which is why keyboard shortcuts will come in handy.

Of course, it isn’t easy to memorize all the keyboard shortcuts. It’s just as painful as moving your hands from the keyboard to the mouse and back again.

This is where Vimium comes in – a browser extension for Chrome which will help you control all your browsing from your keyboard.

The first thing that you will have to do is download and install this extension from the Chrome Web Store. You can find a similar version from Firefox’s add-on repository.

Now all you have to open a website, and check if a couple of shortcuts work. For example, type ‘G’ and watch to see if you drop to the bottom of the site. Alternatively, if you type ‘gg’, you should you go back to the top of the page.

There are a number of shortcuts that you can use when you install Vimium that could be anything from switching between tabs to even opening links.

While the majority of sites will work perfectly with Vimium, a number of Google properties such as Gmail, Chrome new tab page as well as the Chrome Web Store don’t. There are other websites that won’t because they have their own shortcuts.

After you’ve tried the first two commands, type ‘?’ in any website where Vimium works, and you should get a complete list of commands.

Facebook on the verge of acquiring Little Eye Labs, its focus on mobile devices clear

A little company called Little Eye Labs, based in Bangalore, and which analyzes the performance of Android apps will be acquired by Facebook with a deal ranging between $10-15 million.

It’s isn’t surprising that this acquisition came about considering how Facebook has been lagging behind when it comes to its focus on mobiles, and with almost 874 million of its users now accessing Facebook through these devices.

Of course, Facebook has been on the lookout for startups such as Little Eye Labs and before which, it had already acquired Parse in April this year, which is a mobile-backend-as-a-service startup.

This comes as good news not only to Little Eye Labs but also to a number of Indian startups for whom, progress in the form of acquisitions have been difficult to come by.

In fact, Little Eye Labs had already pitched to Twitter but then agreed to a deal with Facebook since the offer was much better.

According to certain sources, the team that formed this startup will move to Facebook’s headquarters in the United States and will continue to work as part of the company’s mobile engineering team.

The startup first gained visibility in Seedcamp, London where it was refining its product along with 20 other companies. What was notable was the way the tool created by this startup fixed a bug in Google I/Q app, and was the reason why Gaurav Lochan, who worked with Flipkart earlier, moved on to work with Little Eye Labs.

All the startup’s founders worked at IBM together, starting Little Eye Labs in August 2012.

Why Google+ is the Best Social Network for Photo Sharing

It was in October that Google claimed that its social network, Google+, had 300 million active users.

While critics laughed it off, there is some truth to the fact that the two-year old social network does have some loyal fans.

While no one is leaving Facebook for Google+, a number of people aren’t hesitant to open a Google+ account, considering how tied it is with popular services of Google such as Gmail, Maps and Google Drive and so on and so forth.

Much like any other social network, Google+ only works if you build up a profile, and which using the ‘Circles’ option can control who sees what information of yours, there’s very little between these social networks except for a few tiny things.

However, there’s one aspect that sets it apart from the rest – photo sharing. It is for this reason that almost 1.5 billion photographs have been uploaded to Google every week.

Not only is it really easy to upload the photos via Chrome but you can drag and drop them onto Google+ as well. In fact, the Android and Google+ iOS apps lets you enable a feature of auto-backup for your images which are saved in a private album every time you take one.

But that’s not all – once your photos are on the network, you can use Lightbox to edit your photos, and which are better than most photo editing tools you’ll find on any other social network.

All in all, even Google+ has too many options, it still is the best social network if you’re looking for an excellent place to share your photographs.

What You Need to Know About Cleaning Up Your Public Profile

Removing private information from a people search site isn’t difficult yet there is no doubt that you will have to deal with a lot of hassle in order to get it done.

For starters, you’ll have to visit the site, and look for your information there and after which, you’ll just have to read and understand the site’s privacy policy. Of course, that part isn’t so easy not unless you are a lawyer…

One of the most popular sites is Intelius, where the section “How to remove your information from the Intelius Public Records Databases” runs into about 611 words. Once you’ve read the information, you’ll have to fill up an online form.

Not only will they require you to photograph your driver’s license while crossing out the license number and uploading the photograph for confirmation to the site. An email address is also requested.

There’s no doubt that the first step is a bit of a headache to get done (use a Post-It to cover the license number) but once you’re through, you’ll receive a confirmation email soon enough.

With another site like Spokeo, the process is much more simpler: you’ll have to provide a profile URL and an email address and filling out a CAPTHCA to prove that you are human.

As soon as you click the ‘Remove this listings’ button, you’ll be asked to check your email further instructions. However, all you will receive is a notification that your private information has been removed.

That said, if at any point of time, if any information you’ve posted has gone viral, it may be more difficult to clean up your public profile than you think.