Some rules were made to be broken, especially when those rules were created by people trying to take control of your gadgets and internet. Here are 10 ways we love to disregard authority in the name of freedom.
10. Bypass Web Filters At Work
If you have a job that tries to limit your internet slacking — or, as we like to call them, productive surfing breaks — you can often get around their heavy-handed web filters with a simple proxy server at home. You might also want to see if you’re being monitored at work and make sure you’re covering your tracks, too. Image: Diego Cervo (Shutterstock).
9. Stop Advertisers From Tracking You
Everyone’s trying to track you on the web and serve you targeted ads. If you don’t like the sound of that, there are a lot of ways to keep those companies at bay. /”>All it really takes is a few browser extensions, including an ad blocker to block the ads, Ghostery to block the tracking cookies, a script blocker for other trackers, and Do Not Track Plus that keeps third-party sites (like Facebook and Google+) from invading the one you’re currently on.
8. Get Free Repairs Without A Warranty
Extended warranties are rarely worth the money and are often just a money grab on the part of the retailer or manufacturer. But, sometimes your gadget breaks — possibly through no fault of your own — when your warranty’s up, and you need to get a repair. Instead of succumbing to costly repairs, you can often get the manufacturer to fix your gadget with a few simple tricks — from the built-in warranty on your credit card to more evil plans like playing dumb. Title image remixed from sirikul and DinoZ (Shutterstock).
7. Escape Paywalls With Clever Workarounds
While everyone deserves to get paid for their work, sometimes you just need one or two articles from a paywalled source, or you go over your free quota at the end of the month. Luckily, there are quite a few tricks for getting around paywalls, the easiest being to just search out the article on Google. Other sites, like the New York Times, are popular enough that you can find a few site-specific hacks around the net that’ll help you out. Of course, if you find yourself using these more than occasionally, we recommend signing up for an account, or that news source might not be around in the future.
6. Rip Copy-Protected Movies For At-Home Playback Anywhere
It’s absurd that DVDs and Blu-Rays are so heavily copy protected that you can’t even rip them for your own at-home legitimate uses. Luckily, all you need is a bit of ripping software to get the job done. Check our our guide to ripping DVDs and our separate guide for Blu-Rays to get those movies onto your hard drive, for picture-perfect playback on your awesome home media centre.
5. Access Blocked Content From Another Country
Sometimes, a web service you want to use just isn’t available in your country. Generally, the best way to do it is with a VPN. We’ve shown you how to use this before with (the previously unavailable) Spotify, but the general idea should work with any country or service. Just note the country whose content you’re trying to access and find a VPN that works for you. You should no trouble accessing that blocked content when you’re done.
4. Keep Others From Thwarting Your File Sharing
Whether you’re downloading an innocent Linux disc or sharing something a bit more evil, you’ll want to stop those trying to rain on your parade. That means encrypting your connection to stop your ISP from throttling you, and using a proxy or VPN to keep anyone else from snooping on your traffic. You may even want to try a private tracker, which should increase your speeds and the quality of the files you get, while giving you a bit more protection against The Man. Image remixed from an original by Nomad_Soul/Shutterstock.
3. Get Rid Of DRM On Your Movies, Music And eBooks
When you buy media online, it often comes protected with DRM, so you’re forced only to use it in the way iTunes, Amazon, or whoever else intended. If you want to listen to your pre-2009, DRMed music on a non-Apple device, watch your movies in something other than iTunes, or read your books on a device other than your Kindle, there are ways to remove the DRM. Removing it from music usually means lowering the quality, but a number of programs can get the job done (though they do cost money).
Removing it from movies requires a program too, and will usually run you about $US40 to $US50 — though it makes up its cost if you use it enough. Kindle books are a little easier, requiring nothing but the free Calibre ebook management software to convert them to something readable. The best solution? Buy from a source that doesn’t use DRM, and you’ll be much happier.
2. Build A Hackintosh Instead Of Buying A Mac
Like OS X but don’t want to shell out for one of Apple’s insanely expensive, uncustomizable computers? Build a desktop PC and hack it to run OS X instead. It’s shockingly easy to do these days, will save you a ton of money, and give you much more room to configure your hardware and upgrade it later on. If you’re looking for something more akin to a Mac Mini, you can build a small, inexpensive Hackintosh too.
1. Jailbreak Or Root Your Phone
Tired of being told what you can and can’t do with your own phone? It’s time to jailbreak it. If you’re on iOS, jailbreaking is pretty easy as long as you have the right version of iOS, and it allows you to do all sorts of awesome things: customise the interface, play classic video games, or even tether your internet for free. Android users have to go through the somewhat more complicated process of rooting, but then you have serious access to the ins and outs of your device.
Apart from awesome root-only apps, you can flash custom versions of Android called ROMs, get better battery life with a new kernel, or just speed the darn thing up with some deep settings tweaks. Whatever you do, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without jailbreaking or rooting.
Lifehacker’s Evil Week is all about topics such as password cracking, social hacking and other ‘questionable’ tricks. Knowledge is power, and whether you use that power for good or evil is in your hands.