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#1 glassonion

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 02:02 PM

Let's talk about a VPN.

 

Everybody knows what a VPN is right? If you connect to the internet, . When you switch on a VPN, it creates an encrypted tunnel between your computer and a server controlled by the VPN service. All your web traffic is routed through this tunnel, meaning that no one, not even someone on the same network as you, can sneak a peek at your data. It also prevents malicious network operators from intercepting your information, or using DNS poisoning techniques to trick you into visiting phishing pages. 

 

Half the people I can see give the oh shit 360 when I talk about a VPN. Their stance is the old "If you haven't got something to hide then there's nothing to worry about". I haven't been able to crack that kind of "logic" successfully because I don't think users realize how much data is exchanged when you PC is even at rest. 

 

Be that as it may, I personally wouldn't fire anything up that communicated with the internet or telecommunications network without one. I have a VPN on every one of my computers and on my Android phone as well. So I guess by the above logic, I have everything to hide which is just fine with me. 

 

There are a shit ton of VPN to be had. Which one is the right one? Which one is the best value? Which one is pretty much a set it and forget it type deal?

 

First off, free VPNs are trash. Sorry if you use one. Additionally, the software offerings that say they will "hide" your ip are for the most part trash as well. 

 

What are some things to look for when shopping for a VPN?

>Software manufacturer should offer a PC and mobile app. 
>The ability to have multiple simultaneous connections. My desk top and lap top and tablet all running the same VPN.
>Amount of server connections offered and diverse as far as geographical location.
>Advanced features such as different encryption tables, ad blocking, kill switch, etc.
>No log policy or servers based outside of the 5 Eyes countries which is rare so settling for no log policies is a good choice.

Here are some of the VP I have or still do use in no specific order.

 

1. NordVPN: ( httpss://nordvpn.com )Meets all of our above criteria. Access over 1000 servers worldwide, No logs policy, Connect 6 devices at the same time, High-speed unlimited bandwidth $70 per year of service. 

 

2. PureVPN: httpss://www.purevpn.com ) Meets our criteria. 141 total countries, 180 locations worldwide, 750+ VPN servers online, no log policy. $80 for two years

 

3. Private Internet Access VPN: ( httpss://www.privateinternetaccess.com ) This is my favorite and the one I have used for many years. It meets all the criteria, no logging, has ad blocking features, can chance the encryption keys, service is great, and all for $40 a year. It's also DD-WRT compatible. 

 

So there you go. You have no excuse for running around the internet naked.

 

OK Those cost money so here's something that's free, and maybe you can get some use out of it. 

 

If you have ever moved files from one HDD to another and found out that there were filenames that were way to long for windows to handle, I have a fix. It's odd to me that Windows would make a filename longer than it was able to move....kind of like the old circular reasoning of "Is god so powerful that he can make a stone so big even he can't move it". 

 

Anyways, here are two free small pieces of software that can help.

 

1. Long Path Fixer: ( httpss://goo.gl/jJHBRD )It's a portable app so you can put it on a key ring and take it anywhere. I love portable apps and have a drive on my key ring that has emergency repair apps, and a plethora of other portable, useful stuff. Operation is pretty straightforward. Launch the app and choose which file(s)/folder(s) you want to move, copy, or delete and choose where to move or copy them to. 

 

Long-Path-Fixer-Window-C-Drive.png

 

Long-Path-Fixer-Window-List-Context-Menu

 

On the same page, and working in conjunction with Long Path Fixer, is yet another small, portable app called LockHunter. I'd suggest you download it as well. Lock hunter will "unlock" files that are in use by windows or any other program making them ready to move. ( httpss://goo.gl/qDFEsv )

 

 

 


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#2 Beejus McReejus

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 02:14 PM

I use IPVanish.  It has a client for my Win machines, Android app and an app for my Fire stick.  It's only ~$6/mo.

 

ETA:  The filename issue is because the destination filepath + name is longer than the source.  I find it odd though that Windows sees the "filename" as the entire path string and filename.  There is 256 character limit it though.


Edited by Beejus McReejus, 13 September 2017 - 02:17 PM.

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#3 glassonion

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 02:21 PM

I use IPVanish.  It has a client for my Win machines, Android app and an app for my Fire stick.  It's only ~$6/mo.

 

ETA:  The filename issue is because the destination filepath + name is longer than the source.  I find it odd though that Windows sees the "filename" as the entire path string and filename.  There is 256 character limit it though.

 

You can circumvent the 256 character limit with some regedits.....but I didn't know if anyone wanted to go screwing around with their registry when this app is so small and takes a second or two to download and use. I also think, I'd have to check, but I think the Windows Anniversary update was supposed to take care of the issue but you couldn't prove it by me. 

 

IP Vanish is also another good solid VPN


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#4 Dave

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 02:25 PM

I use two different VPS's and access the web through their VPNs for my internet marketing biz.

Gotta hide that IP from your autoresponder!


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#5 Genesee Ted

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 02:39 PM

Thank you for the PSA

privacy AND ad blocking?! $40 a year?! Hell yeah!

Sorry Codemonkey, I love me some Wild West interwebs

#6 glassonion

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Posted 14 September 2017 - 08:05 AM

Thank you for the PSA

privacy AND ad blocking?! $40 a year?! Hell yeah!

Sorry Codemonkey, I love me some Wild West interwebs

 

Well, I figure I'd make one thread that contained all software and related. That way the resource isn't scattered all over the place in separate threads. 

 

This is our thread. So anyone who has something to recommend that they have had experience with, or talk about how to fix a computer problem, this would be the place to post it.

 

Hopefully, I can come up with things that are relevant to most and don't cost a lot. If there are costs involved, I'll try to throw in some freebies as well. I love free. To me though, free means ad free as well, so ad supported software is out afaic. 


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#7 LowcountryBrewer

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Posted 14 September 2017 - 04:20 PM

OK GO, I got PrivateInternetAccess setup and running on my ASUS router running the Merlin firmware.  I assume I did it all correctly, when I go to the PIA website to check, it shows my IP address 600 miles away.

 

Thanks!


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#8 badogg

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Posted 14 September 2017 - 04:24 PM

I use NordVPN at home.  Love it!


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#9 jimdkc

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Posted 15 September 2017 - 07:57 AM

I've been using Private Internet Access for a while. I like it... but it occasionally just disconnects for no apparent reason, which is troubling. I've been using L2TP over IPSEC using the MacOS built in VPN settings. Going to try the PIA client which uses OpenVPN protocol and see if it's any more stable.


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#10 LowcountryBrewer

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Posted 15 September 2017 - 11:08 AM

OK GO, I got PrivateInternetAccess setup and running on my ASUS router running the Merlin firmware.  I assume I did it all correctly, when I go to the PIA website to check, it shows my IP address 600 miles away.

 

Thanks!

Apparently, the OpenVPN connection was too much for my router to handle?  I'm supposed to get 30Mbps, but speedtest was showing around 4 to 5.

I switched to the L2TP config and all is working.


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#11 Beejus McReejus

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Posted 15 September 2017 - 11:14 AM

You're gonna be at the mercy of the VPN connection for internet speed once you're connected.  If the VPN provider is guaranteeing 30Mbps, then you may have been experiencing some issue with the network at the time.


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#12 siouxbrewer

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Posted 15 September 2017 - 11:16 AM

Here's something for the hardware side of things, happened to me recently. SSD's have become the norm and crucial seems to be a popular brand in terms of reliability. Something about the firmware of those drives can cause them to not be recognized in the bios unexpectedly. You won't be able to boot and you'll get a drive not recognized error, nothing detected in the bios etc. Unplugging the drive and dropping it into another computer won't work either, making you believe the drive is dead. It's not! A pretty simple power cycle will bring it back to life. Shutdown your computer and remove the drive for a minute, put it back in, power it back on, hit F12 for boot options, select bios and let your computer sit there for 20 min. Times up, shut her down and remove the drive for a minute. Slap it back in there and boot back into the bios, let it set 20 min, power off, remove the drive for a min and then reinstall and boot normally. Presto. I'm sure most of you tech savvy dudes know this stuff, but for a dummy like me it really saved the day. Now that you booted normally, this would be a good time to update the firmware on that crucial drive, you can find yours on crucial's site, takes just a few minutes and may prevent issues going forward.


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#13 badogg

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Posted 15 September 2017 - 11:23 AM

Here's something for the hardware side of things, happened to me recently. SSD's have become the norm and crucial seems to be a popular brand in terms of reliability. Something about the firmware of those drives can cause them to not be recognized in the bios unexpectedly. You won't be able to boot and you'll get a drive not recognized error, nothing detected in the bios etc. Unplugging the drive and dropping it into another computer won't work either, making you believe the drive is dead. It's not! A pretty simple power cycle will bring it back to life. Shutdown your computer and remove the drive for a minute, put it back in, power it back on, hit F12 for boot options, select bios and let your computer sit there for 20 min. Times up, shut her down and remove the drive for a minute. Slap it back in there and boot back into the bios, let it set 20 min, power off, remove the drive for a min and then reinstall and boot normally. Presto. I'm sure most of you tech savvy dudes know this stuff, but for a dummy like me it really saved the day. Now that you booted normally, this would be a good time to update the firmware on that crucial drive, you can find yours on crucial's site, takes just a few minutes and may prevent issues going forward.

 

I've considered those Crucial drives before but always decided to spend a little more on Samsung's SSD's.  Been very happy with them.


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#14 siouxbrewer

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Posted 15 September 2017 - 11:35 AM

I've considered those Crucial drives before but always decided to spend a little more on Samsung's SSD's.  Been very happy with them.

I'll be looking elsewhere for drives in the future, I've never had problems with crucial memory sticks over the years. Thanks for the feedback!


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#15 glassonion

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Posted 15 September 2017 - 04:25 PM

OK GO, I got PrivateInternetAccess setup and running on my ASUS router running the Merlin firmware.  I assume I did it all correctly, when I go to the PIA website to check, it shows my IP address 600 miles away.

 

Thanks!

 

If you haven't already explored the additional settings, right click on the icon in the tray and select settings. Then select the "Advanced" button. Here you can activate things like ad blocking, etc. You can also adjust the packet size to fit your router requirements. 

 

Capture.png


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#16 glassonion

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Posted 22 September 2017 - 06:40 AM

Scenario: You have a desktop or laptop that you’ve had to change out the HDD because the original one crashed. You install windows de jour but you have lost the recovery drive that ships with 99% of most computers sold today. How to easily and quickly create a recovery partition on your new drive to fall back on should your Windows installation go tits up? In about 30 minutes you can have a recovery partition for free.

 
Step One: The first thing we’ll need is to download and install the Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit. You can get it from Microsoft for free here: https://goo.gl/V7UdhJ .
 
Step Two: Secondly we will need to download and install AOMEI OneKey Recovery. You can get it for free here: https://goo.gl/g4Ftzt .
 
Step Three: One other piece of software you might need is EaseUS Partition Master. You can download it for free from here: https://goo.gl/f9C6Cp . You may or may not have to use this software but it’s a good tool for your computer utility belt, and it’s free.
 
Once you have these three pieces of software installed it’s time to get to the good part. Click on the AOMEI OneKey Recovery icon and start the app. 
 
onekey-system-backup.jpg
 
Once it’s started click on OneKey System Backup. Follow the prompts. It will ask you where to create the partition and you can just click on the C:\ drive. Click NEXT and follow the prompts
 
select-partition.jpg
 
 AOMEI OneKey Recovery will reboot your computer to finish the process. That’s it! You should now have a separate recovery partition snapshot on your HDD now. 
 
If AOMEI OneKey Recovery complains and fails to complete the instructions, you may have to create a partition manually with EaseUS Partition Master and then start AOMEI OneKey Recovery again this time selecting your newly created partition as the target for AOMEI OneKey Recovery to create the recovery image in. 
 
So, now when you reboot your computer, one of the prompts you will see in addition to other BIOS start up info is an option to go to the recovery partition and restore Windows to its original state. 
 
press-a.jpg
 
windows-boot-menu.jpg
 
TIP: If you are just setting up a computer and you are creating a recovery partition, make sure all your Windows updates are installed, especially the Creator’s Update which is a whopper of an update. What I do is install windows, updates anti virus, and all the apps I would normally rely on. Then create the recovery partition. That way if the wheels fall off, recovering the os state won’t be as tedious as installing each and everything from scratch

Edited by glassonion, 22 September 2017 - 06:42 AM.

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#17 glassonion

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Posted 22 September 2017 - 11:06 AM

Security Alert: Cyber Criminals Slip Backdoor in CCleaner to Potentially Spread Malware

 

IT infrastructure is important for any company to better perform on the market. And every part of the system should provide maximum security and safeguard sensitive data. But unfortunate incidents happen, critical pieces of infrastructure are affected and produce business disruptions. Like this recent one with CCleaner, a popular PC cleaning software app.

 
The attack against CCleaner has been labeled as a “supply-chain attack” which involves exploiting vulnerabilities in the supply network used by a specific organization.
 

 


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#18 glassonion

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Posted 26 September 2017 - 08:39 AM

So, let's see what we've got in the old trick bag today.
 
Scroll To Top (Free):
 
A handy Chrome extension for when you are perusing webpages that are lengthy. You can customize where on the screen you would like the scroll button to show up.
 
From the author: "Extension adds "Scroll To Top" button for smooth scrolling to top of the page on any websites.
"Scroll To Top" button allows you to quickly jump back to the top of any page! Once you scroll far enough down on a page, the button will appear in the bottom right corner. Click it, and you will be taken to the very top in no time!"
 
Great for surfing the PH: https://goo.gl/N9bFo4
 
--------------------------------------------------
 
Tampermonkey (Free): Well, it would be hard to pinpoint exactly one thing that Tampermonkey does. Basically it is a browser extension that allows you to run scripts that affect the webpages you visit. There are literally tons of script offerings from an Anti-Adblock Killer is a userscript whose functionality is removes many protections used on some website that force the user to disable the AdBlocker to enabling right clicks on websites that have disabled those properties.
 
From the author: "Tampermonkey makes it very easy to manage your userscripts and provides features like a clear overview over the running scripts, a built-in editor, ZIP-based import and export, automatic update checks and browser and cloud storage based synchronization. "
 
 
Script sources: 
 
 
 
 
--------------------------------------------------
 
Save to Google Drive (Free): https://goo.gl/9nmEQ
 
I don't know how you do it, but when I buy anything off of the internet or pay a bill, instead of printing out the receipt, I save the page which usually has the confirmation number on it, to Google Drive. It's my "back up receipt". With this handy Chrome extension, just one click and it will take a snap of the webpage you are on, and automatically upload it to your google drive.
 
From the author: The Save to Google Drive Chrome extension helps you save web content or browser screenshots to your Google Drive.
* Adds a browser action to save the current page.
* Adds a right-click context menu to save hyperlinks and media.
* Configurable through an options page.
 
--------------------------------------------------
 
IObit Uninstaller 7 (Free) http://www.iobit.com...uninstaller.php
 
Yes I am well aware of Windows ability to uninstall a program. However, I find it severly lacking at getting every last little trace of the app being uninstalled. IObit Uninstaller 7 not only uninstalls the program much like windows does, but it scans your drive and registery in what they call a "powerful scan" and shows you the left over peices that have been left by uninstalling an app via Windows. This way all of the app will be gone from your hard drive, and you won't have to worry about a lot of lint in your registry.
 
From the author: No Leftover Files
Regular uninstall cannot delete programs completely. With IObit Uninstaller 7, you don’t need to worry about leftovers any more. When uninstalling, IObit Uninstaller 7 removes leftovers automatically with 120% faster scanning. Even those leftover files cannot be deleted by other uninstallers; you can still count on it. Installation Monitoring
To guarantee thoroughly uninstall, IObit uninstaller 7 monitors program installation. Bundled programs and plug-ins can be easily identified; some you may never notice have been installed on your computer. And when you decide to uninstall the main program, these bundled items can be removed together.
 
--------------------------------------------------
 
EOF

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#19 glassonion

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Posted 26 September 2017 - 09:13 AM

And a full page ad by Private Internet Access:

 

mhAEe83.jpg


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#20 the_stain

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Posted 26 September 2017 - 12:26 PM

####ing Cory Gardner.


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