Tag Archives: encrypted

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

Dell KACE Free Virtual Disk Utility

imageDell KACE is currently offering a free Virtual Disk Utility for creating, mounting and dismounting Virtual Disks on Windows, MacOSX and other kinds of computers.

Dell KACE uses a rather neat analogy when defining a Virtual Disk Drive – “A Virtual Disk might be compared and contrasted with a USB “thumb” drive. Both are removable media containing directories and files that can be added to a system when needed, updated locally and removed when no longer needed”. For example, I often use Virtual Disks in testing.

Program files, data files, and application directory structures can all be stored on a Virtual Disk Drive and with KACE’s Virtual Disk Utility, you will have the opportunity to both  encrypt, and password protect, the Virtual Drives which you have created. Keep in mind this application creates Virtual Disks – not Virtual Machines

Following installation, the screen shots which follow, illustrate just how easy it is to set up a Virtual Disk with KACE’s Virtual Disk Utility.

I should point out that in normal operation, you would launch the Virtual Disk Utility by selecting the application from the Windows Start Menu; then simply follow the same series of choices. (There are additional methods for Virtual Disk creation, discussed later in this review).

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As I mentioned earlier, Virtual Disks you create can be encrypted so as to restrict mounting a Virtual Drive to only those users who can provide the correct password.

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As the following screen capture illustrates, you will have a wide range of choices in picking a drive letter.

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When finished, an Explorer window will open to show the initial contents of the new Virtual Disk and MyComputer windows will display the mounted drive. You can drag-n-drop files as you normally would, to the new Virtual Disk, launch applications, and open additional Explorer windows via MyComputer while the drive is mounted.

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Through the Properties tab you can adjust the characteristics of the Virtual Drive.

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Optionally, you can quickly set up a Virtual Drive (or, more than one Virtual Drive), by selecting a folder on any drive, and then create the drive from within Windows Explorer context menu.

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Additionally, you can “dismount” a Virtual Drive from within the Windows Explorer context menu.

In this review, I’ve managed to cover only some of the features of this application. To read a more in-depth overview please read an Introduction to Virtual Disk, on the developer’s site.

System Requirements: Windows 7, Vista, XP, or Mac OS 10.5 or later (Windows 64 bit native installation available).

Download at: KACE (Registration is required).

Note: Additionally, the application will install the open source Dokan library which contains a user mode DLL (dokan.dll) and a kernel mode file system driver (dokan.sys). Dokan is used to mount Virtual Disks and make them accessible as normal drives with Explorer visibility and Command Prompt access.

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Filed under 64 Bit Software, Business Applications, downloads, Encryption, Freeware, Mac OS X, Open Source, Software, Utilities, Virtualization, Windows 7, Windows Tips and Tools, Windows Vista, Windows XP

Stay Safe/ Anonymous on Public Computers – Two Free USB Applications

There are numerous reasons why someone would want to surf anonymously: to ensure protection from snooping web sites, annoying advertisers, employers, or curious family members.

More obvious reasons for anonymous surfing include, surfing in internet cafes, public terminals in libraries, or hotel business centers. In fact, you may want to surf anonymously on any PC where you don’t want to leave traces of your private surfing activities.

Most typical PC users are shocked at the amount of information their browser leaks to web sites they visit. For example, the information below is presented to every web site I visit. I have X’d out certain parameters for privacy purposes only.

· Your computer is connecting to the internet at xxxxxxx, xxxx, in the xxxx, with an IP address of 24.xxx.xxx.xxx

· Your User Agent is being reported as: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-US; rv:1.8.1.12) Gecko/20080201 Firefox/2.0.0.12

· Your Referrer is being reported as:

· http://www.google.ca/search?hl=en&client= ient=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla:en

· Your IP Address is 24.xxx.xxx.xxx

· Your Host Name is d235- xxx.xxx.xxx.cable.net

· A trace to your phone comes back with an area code of: 0

The objective of anonymous surfing then, is to conceal this information from web sites and other computers, and typically you would use an anonymous proxy server between you and the web site to accomplish this.

When surfing anonymously, your web browser talks to the proxy server; the proxy server talks to the web site. In actual fact this means, the web site does not know you; it knows only the anonymous proxy server.

You have Choices

You have a number of choices when it comes to anonymous surfing. You can use a free proxy server service; not my personal first choice – but that’s fodder for another article!

More reliable and safer, in my view, is to download and install a client application which manages the details of anonymous surfing for you.

One such application is OperaTor, a free utility that includes the Opera browser, the Privoxy Web proxy , and The Onion Router, which is a method used for anonymous Internet communication. All components launch simultaneously.

OperaTor, and the component pieces, does not require an installer and the utility can be installed and launched from a USB flash drive. This makes it ideal for surfing at public computers.

Download at: Download.com

A second free utility is XeroBank Browser, a special version of Firefox that runs in conjunction with the free Tor anonymizer service; and that can also run directly from a USB flash drive. Just plug in your USB stick to any PC with a USB port and Firefox V2 is automatically launched, set up for secure and private surfing.

TorPark creates a secure encrypted connection between the PC you are using and the first Tor server. This allows you to safely transmit information without fear of local interception. This makes it ideal for surfing on open Wi-Fi networks.

Download at: Download.com


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Filed under Anonymous Surfing, Browsers, Firefox, Freeware, Interconnectivity, Internet Safety, Internet Safety Tools, Online Safety, Privacy, Software, USB, Utilities, Windows Tips and Tools