Finding a great VPN service can be a challenging task—and that’s putting it mildly. It’s not hard to find any VPN service. There are plenty of apps that promise to encrypt your connection by shuffling it through a third-party server, causing your requests to appear as if they’re coming from said server (even if its halfway around the world) rather than your more easily identifiable device.
Tagged With network
If you aren't checking your Internet speeds on a weekly basis, you might not know when there's a problem. You aren't likely to notice a difference between 150 Mbps and 80 Mbps download speeds when you're browsing websites, watching (1080p) YouTube, or chatting with friends, but if you're downloading a huge Fortnite update, why drive in the slow lane?
Android/iOS: What's on your network? You can always pull up your router's web interface to get a sense of which devices are connected, but you're probably just going to get a list of MAC addresses and assigned IPs - not very helpful. The app Fing - Network Scanner is a great, free way to get a better idea of all the devices your router has to deal with.
The Raspberry Pi is a surprisingly useful tool to test the strength of your network. To add another tool to your network testing kit, Warberry Pi is a self-contained set of scripts that run automatically when you plug your Raspberry Pi into a ethernet port.
Dodgy Wi-Fi is the bane of human existence (or close to anyway), and even worse when it’s at home. There always seems to be a black spot (hint, it's on the toilet, or in bed), or random hard to pin down interference that causes Netflix to buffer. Fortunately, there are a bunch of easy ways to diagnose and improve your Wi-Fi woes.
Windows only: If you're running a home network with more than one or two machines, free network tool Advanced IP Scanner might save you a good chunk of time hunting down IP addresses and remotely connecting. The small utility scans a range of internal IP addresses and reports the status, name, NetBIOS/workgroup name, and MAC address on what it finds. You can then remotely shutdown, wake up LAN-listening machines, telnet or FTP into a machine—anything you'd normally be able to do, just in shorter order. It's probably overkill for those with one or two machines with static IP addresses, but Advanced IP Scanner is a pretty sweet tool for networking geeks. Advanced IP Scanner is a free download for Windows systems only. Thanks, brodiemac!
MAC addresses are the 12-digit strings that wireless routers and other network devices use to restrict or open up access to a computer. They're also a huge pain in the butt sometimes, requiring pen-and-paper manoeuvres and frustrating connection attempts. If you're running a Windows system, the Online Tech Tips blog has a step-by-step tutorial on "spoofing" your address to something you can remember, or for hooking into a wireless network that's locked down. The guide is written for Windows XP, but the steps look much the same as they would in Vista. Change or spoof a MAC address in Windows
Backing up your data on a regular basis is important, and turning a spare computer into a backup server is often the best way to make sure it gets done. But most methods require either a good deal of command-line learning or serve only one operating system. Not with Restore, a free, open-source backup system that can install or run from a live CD, work with any OS, and operate through a simple browser-based interface. Today I'll demonstrate backing up a Windows laptop to an older desktop, but you'll see how Restore can be easily molded to fit just about any home backup needs.
US-centric: If you want to block your cell phone number from showing up on other phones (for whatever reason), you can do it temporarily simply by dialing *67 before the number you're calling. According to tech how-to site How To Do Things, you won't have any way to tell this is working (it does), but if you want to reassure yourself just call another phone number that has caller ID to double-check that your number, indeed, is blocked.
AU - To block your number being call-ID'd in Australia, I believe you need to dial 1831 before the number.
How To Block Your Cell Phone Number
Getting Things Done author David Allen calls any kind of productivity trick or system "advanced common sense"—using the smart part of your brain to help out the dumb part in its most feeble moments. The Getting Things Done weblog lists some of its best "advanced common sense," like writing things down, ubiquitous capture and setting up to-do's in their right contexts. For me, hanging up the car keys on the keyrack is the advanced common sense that keeps my dumb future self from running around the house looking for them when it's time to go.