Tag Archives: speed

Little TunnelBear (free) – A Drop Dead Simple VPN Built on Simplicity and Speed

I’m an Internet privacy advocate (regular readers will now pause – laugh – and say – “no kidding!”), and while the fight to rein in Google, and others, might seem unwinnable, privacy advocates have not lost the battle – yet. Which is why, I have a great interest in any tool that will either stop Google and other data accumulators from collecting, storing, and dissecting my private personal information, or inhibit their ability to do so.

As a result, I’ve long made it a practice to camouflage my IP address when searching for sensitive subject matter.  Sensitive subject matter doesn’t always involve porn. Although, ………….   Smile

Take a look at the following free VPN (Virtual Private Network) application – Little TunnelBear (a paid version with enhanced features is available), which allows you to surf the Web while hiding your IP address. Hiding your “real” IP address won’t leave traces of your private surfing activities – protecting you from snooping web sites, annoying advertisers, employers, curious family members, and of course – Google.

I’ve been running with TunnelBear, (for 6 months or so), on a daily basis – and I’m impressed – very impressed. This application is “snappy quick” which cannot be said of the majority of the 10 (or more), VPNs I’ve tested here in the last few years.

While the service is not entirely free (500 MB monthly free – an additional 1 GB is available (free) if one “Tweets” the application. Even with my heavy usage, I generally don’t run out of free data access (1.5 GB), until the 25/26th of the month.

At that point, I switch over to the free version of Expat Shield which unfortunately lacks the quickness of TunnelBear, with the additional handicap of being ad supported. Having said that, I’ll emphasize (from a previous review), that Expat Shield is a terrific application and, the developer is certainly entitled to generate revenue.

TunnelBear will get no points for a stylish  user interface …

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…. but I can assure you, that in this case “hot looks” cannot compete with speed, simplicity  and ease of use.  And, TunnelBear has all that – and more.

Simplicity – no need to launch a Browser first. Switch on – choose your preferred locale (the UK or the US) then launch a Browser.

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Please note that occasionally, you may find that instead of the UK, you will be assigned an alternative European IP address. Hungary and Holland come quickly to mind. It would be preferable, in my view, if the GUI reflected that fact.

Boost the freebie – If you have a Twitter account, and should you choose to do so, a quick Tweet is all it takes to bump up free data access to 1.5 GB. A very sweet deal, I think.

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Following which, an email similar to that shown below, will confirm your additional 1 GB of data access.

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I’ll repeat – Even with my heavy usage, I generally don’t run out of free data access (1.5 GB), until the 25/26th of the month.

Significant points:

There are no ads and the application doesn’t have to run in the background, or at startup.

Employs a minimum of  AES 128-bit encryption.

Normal surfing (hopping from site to site), showed no slowdown (none that I could measure in human terms) in connection speed.

Once the application has been started – all applications that communicate with a remote address will do so through TunnelBear.

As with all such applications, a leap of faith is required. While the application does shield you from prying eyes, the developer has full access. You need to consider the implications. In other words – do you trust the developer.

Here’s what the developer has top say on that issue –

“TunnelBear stores the absolute minimum amount of information required to operate our service. This information includes your email, first name, last name, # of times you’ve logged on and the overall amount of data you transferred for the month. We do NOT log any information as to the websites you visit, nor do we store your IP address after you disconnect.”

Having tested my fair share of anonymous surfing applications in the last few years, I’d judge this application to be as good, or better, than most.

Supported systems:

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Download at: Developer’s site (http://www.tunnelbear.com/)

Additional information is available from the developer’s FAQ page here.

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Filed under Android, Apple, downloads, Freeware, Google, Online Privacy, Software, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows Vista, Windows XP

How to Speed Up Your Downloads

Twiddling your thumbs while you download? Then read on. Guest writer Jared Scott describes a solution you may not yet have considered.

imageDo you ever find yourself in a rush for no reason?

Sometimes I find myself glaring at the microwave impatiently waiting, as if it is plotting against me in some attempt to keep me from eating.

It’s easy to forget that just having the ability to microwave something is an advance in food preparation and the time it takes.

Improvements in technology have spoiled us.

Our generation is on the go like never before. We are always mobile, always looking for the fastest option.

I get angry at my computer daily for almost the same reasons I do my microwave. While it is not withholding food from me, it is stealing my time. It keeps me hostage while it restarts, slowly returning to a functional state.

If you have ever used a computer this is something you have probably experienced and can relate to as well.

Another time consuming task that I prefer not to spend my time doing is downloading.

Have you ever downloaded something before and it seems to take an eternity?

This is another frustrating problem that is usually the result of a slow or weak internet connection. Sometimes I find myself counting with the “Percentage Complete” pop-up window as I download updates for my computer.

Downloads can take an even larger amount of time depending on the size of the file.

Sometimes I have left my computer downloading something overnight only to find it still in progress the next morning.

If we have these super fast Internet connections with all this bandwidth, it seems like a shame not to be able to use them to their full capabilities.

Usenet – The past is the future.

Most people remember Usenet as the original social network. The Facebook of its day.

The modern Usenet however is a powerful storehouse of information that allows you to download as fast as your internet connection will allow.

By providing you a direct (encrypted) connection to a commercial grade server farm, you can push the limits of your Internet connection.

Peer-to-peer technologies clog up your speed by sharing connections with others.

With Usenet, you are connecting directly to the source and are not sharing anything with anybody else.

Like a fine wine, Usenet has certainly gotten better with age. Investments made by premium providers have allowed Usenet to move more than 9 Terabytes of information on a daily basis.

It has adapted to meet the needs of our modern world.

When Usenet first began it was a much like a social network. Users posted messages almost like posts in a web-based forum.

Usenet evolved to incorporate the ability for its users to upload all types of audio, video and image files as well.

While the World Wide Web became the place we get our “news” from, Usenet transformed into a global repository for information.

Usenet survives in a fast paced world because it satisfies our need for speed.

Not many things last in this world.

But when something works, it works. Usenet hasn’t been around for 32 years for any other reason. It has continued to evolve and compete with emerging technologies.

And if you are looking for speed in downloading, Usenet is second to none.

Jared Scott is the public outreach manager for Binverse.com a leading Usenet provider. You can follow his updates on Twitter.

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Filed under downloads, Encryption, Geek Software and Tools, Guest Writers, Interconnectivity, Windows Tips and Tools