Five years ago virtual private networks were almost an arcane black art, tantamount to throwing chicken giblets at the wall and interpreting the patterns. Nowadays, they are as important to online security and privacy as anti-virus programs. There are a number of reasons for this.

First, online hacking has become an almost daily risk. OK, most of the publicised hacks are large corporations, but small businesses and individuals are as much at risk with password and credit card details being collected by

First, online hacking has become an almost daily risk. OK, most of the publicised hacks are large corporations, but small businesses and individuals are as much at risk with password and credit card details being collected by cyber gangs and sold on the dark web.  Second, even in the neoliberal west, our online privacy and freedoms are being eroded by governments in the name of stopping terrorism.

I have been using VPNs for two or three years and my current service of choice is ExpressVPN. Here’s why.

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Wunderlist logoI suppose we should have seen it coming. As soon as Microsoft announced it had bought Wunderlist, the small German list and task manager, the writing was on the wall.  This has, of course, happened before. Microsoft bought Sunrise, one of the most highly rated calendar apps, merged it into the appalling Outlook mobile app, and shut down the standalone version.  Now Wunderlist is going the same way and has been reincarnated as Microsoft To Do.

This has, of course, happened before. Microsoft bought Sunrise, one of the most highly rated calendar apps, merged it into the appalling Outlook mobile app, and shut down the standalone version.  Now Wunderlist is going the same way and has been reincarnated as Microsoft To Do.

Now Wunderlist is going the same way and has been reincarnated as Microsoft To Do.

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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.

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vordvapn

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.

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