Five questions to answer before paying for a VPN

Ian Paul ian@ianpaul.net, PCWorld Follow me on Google+

Ian is an independent writer based in Tel Aviv, Israel. His current focus is on all things tech including mobile devices, desktop and laptop computers, software, social networks, Web apps, tech-related legislation and corporate tech news.
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If you work on a computer or mobile device away from home, you probably use Wi-Fi hotspots in hotels, cafés, restaurants, airports, or on campus. The problem is, there is no way to know exactly how secure those networks are.

The best ways to stay safe on a public Wi-Fi network is to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN). A VPN is basically an encrypted tunnel between your device and the Internet that makes all your online interactions safe from prying eyes lurking on the same network.

There are many free VPNs around, and they may serve your needs initially. Eventually, you really should consider paying for a VPN.

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Simple mouse and keyboard tricks for efficient file management

Ian Paul ian@ianpaul.net, PCWorld Follow me on Google+

Ian is an independent writer based in Tel Aviv, Israel. His current focus is on all things tech including mobile devices, desktop and laptop computers, software, social networks, Web apps, tech-related legislation and corporate tech news.
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I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: keyboard shortcuts will set you free.

Yes, they’re a pain to learn, and many of us are used to sticking with a mouse. Nevertheless, being familiar with even a handful of shortcuts will help you get around your system faster—plus it has the added benefit of making you feel like a power user.

Even if you’re a tried and true mouse-only user, I’ve got one old—yet little known—trick for you too. All of today’s shortcuts center around file management with File Explorer/Windows Explorer and will work with Windows 7 and up.

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A free photo editor worth trying: Getting started with GIMP

Ian Paul ian@ianpaul.net, PCWorld Follow me on Google+

Ian is an independent writer based in Tel Aviv, Israel. His current focus is on all things tech including mobile devices, desktop and laptop computers, software, social networks, Web apps, tech-related legislation and corporate tech news.
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When most of us are looking for a photo-editing tool, we immediately think of Photoshop. Adobe’s program is powerful and popular, but it’s pricey at $100—and that's for the “light” version called Photoshop Elements.

Meanwhile, $20 per month is the standard charge for individual one-app subscriptions to Photoshop Creative Cloud. Adobe offers a free in-browser version called Photoshop Express Editor, but it’s very limited and only allows you to edit JPEG files.

A better free alternative is to turn to the open-source world and a popular program called GIMP. The GNU Image Manipulation Program is the standard photo-editing tool included or available to most Linux distributions. GIMP is also available for Windows (XP and up) and Mac. 

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How to avoid installing bundleware with the help of Unchecky

Ian Paul ian@ianpaul.net, PCWorld Follow me on Google+

Ian is an independent writer based in Tel Aviv, Israel. His current focus is on all things tech including mobile devices, desktop and laptop computers, software, social networks, Web apps, tech-related legislation and corporate tech news.
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Installing third-party programs isn’t the minefield it was during the good ol’ days of Windows XP. But every now and then, some desktop apps still try to sneak annoying toolbars and other software past you during installation.

Known as bundleware, the options to not install these additional programs can be easy to miss if you’re not paying attention. That’s where a utility called Unchecky can come in handy, by watching over third-party installations so that you don’t have to. It should work with most software and is well worth using when it does.

Checking in with Unchecky

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Three different ways to save screenshots to OneNote

Ian Paul ian@ianpaul.net, PCWorld Follow me on Google+

Ian is an independent writer based in Tel Aviv, Israel. His current focus is on all things tech including mobile devices, desktop and laptop computers, software, social networks, Web apps, tech-related legislation and corporate tech news.
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Microsoft recently released a new tool for OneNote that makes it easier for Chrome users to grab images of web pages. If you've never used OneNote before, it's well worth checking out, especially now that OneNote is free across all platforms.

For Windows users, OneNote is particularly great for collecting screenshots from your desktop. Whether you're talking about grabbing a lengthy web page, a small part of your screen, or everything you see across two displays, OneNote has you covered.

Here are three ways to save screenshots to OneNote on Windows, each serving a slightly different purpose.

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Turn any browser tab into a basic text editor

Ian Paul ian@ianpaul.net, PCWorld Follow me on Google+

Ian is an independent writer based in Tel Aviv, Israel. His current focus is on all things tech including mobile devices, desktop and laptop computers, software, social networks, Web apps, tech-related legislation and corporate tech news.
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If you’re looking for a quick-and-dirty way to take notes on your PC, you can’t beat using your browser. No, I’m not talking about online tools like Google Keep, Word Online, or any other text-editing Web app.

An easier way to turn your browser into a note-taking machine is to use a little snippet of HTML code that creates an offline notepad in your browser.

Coding, you might ask with a shiver? Don’t worry, it’s beyond simple to use.

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How to tweak File Explorer and customize your Windows experience

Ian Paul ian@ianpaul.net, PCWorld Follow me on Google+

Ian is an independent writer based in Tel Aviv, Israel. His current focus is on all things tech including mobile devices, desktop and laptop computers, software, social networks, Web apps, tech-related legislation and corporate tech news.
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Microsoft's File Explorer may not be the most exciting utility on your Windows desktop, but you still have to rely on it every day to move, open, and search for files, or to quickly check out your free disk space.

But how many of us bother to spend a few minutes to get File Explorer to work exactly how we'd like it? I'm guessing not many, so let's change that by getting into the "advanced basics" of File Explorer tweaking.

The view from here

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