In recent months the UK, Australia and the US have instigated steps that affect the privacy of Internet users. In Australia ISPs now have to keep and release on request metadata of their subscribers. In America Trump has signed off a bill that allows ISPs to sell user data. In the UK, the Home Secretary Amber Rudd has demonstrated her lack of understanding of encryption by highlighting alleged terrorist usage of WhatsApp following the tragic killing of PC Keith Palmer at the Houses of Parliament. The fact that the killer had dropped off the UK intelligence services “of interest” list some years ago seems to have evaded her, as did the question of why PC Palmer was not wearing a stab vest.
In the past I have tried out many VPN (virtual private network) services and had settled on a mix of Tunnelbear for sheer simplicity and PureVPN as it did not strangle bandwidth as much as the other offerings I experimented with.
However, with increased need for securing privacy on the Internet – I was thinking of online banking rather than Vladimir Putin trying to hack my Evernote account – I took to looking for other VPNs. In the past I did try NordVPN but for some reason the connection was like wading through treacle. On checking the analysis of a serious number of VPNs on the ThatOnePrivacy website I decided to try NordVPN again because of a substantial saving over two years.
I am so glad I did because NordVPN just blew my socks off!
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I can remember back in the dim and distant past when all my old mobile phone could do was make calls and send texts. To make a call you had to punch the numbers in from memory until such time as the manufacturers created the magical address book. With the advent of smartphones, there is now a veritable torrent of dialling related apps and services that have revolutionised the way we contact and interact with people.
I was a firm favourite of Contacts+ until I discovered the drag n drop world of Drupe and I switched allegiance. I know, I am a fickle bastard! Then Srinath Rajaram came along asking for me to take a look at Rolo. On its website, the developer states: Rolo is an app that helps you track and follow-up with your clients, vendors & friends. Even if you have 1000s of clients & make 100s of calls, you’ll remember everything.”
That’s a tall claim, but I believe that Rolo is clearly more than “just a dialler” and more of a contact management system.
I spend a lot of time surfing the net looking at new apps and services. I have made some appalling discoveries and some, like Todoist, that have been life changing in the way they have enhanced my personal and business activities.
Every now and again, however, one slips under the radar. By pure chance, I was passing time in the bar of a hotel enjoying a libation or two and counter-acting the healthy activities of my wife who was having some almighty number of lotions and unguents massaged into her, when I came across a video on YouTube by Carl Pullein which I include at the bottom of this review.
Carl’s topic in this video was Scanbot, a mobile scanning service that intrigued me for the following reasons.
Out of sheer curiosity more than anything else, I recently bought an Amazon Echo Dot with its Alexa Personal Assistant function. If you are unfamiliar with the Echo concept, it is an Artificial Intelligence tool that can carry out a wide range of tasks on your behalf when you issue spoken instructions. As a basic example, you can activate the device by the start word, usually Alexa, and then telling it to play a Spotify playlist or a single track.
Not exactly earth shattering stuff but bear with me. As I said, I bought the device out of curiosity; after using it for two weeks I don’t know whether to be excited or scared crapless! Here’s why.