Saturday, March 25, 2017

(ARCHIVED) How to be anonymous online (Using a VPN)

*Originally posted on the Aclevo Blog*

If I care about one thing about being online, then it must be privacy. A common mistake I always see is that people think if they are not doing anything wrong then they do not need to be safe. That's not a good mindset to use when browsing the web. A great solution for this is a VPN.

What's a VPN and why should I care?

A VPN enables users to send and receive data across shared or public networks as if their computers were directly connected to the private network. Not only does this hide your IP-address, but also your location and websites you visit from your ISP. It's also useful for browsing websites that happen to be blocked by your ISP or website administrator.

Every day you give access to your personal data to thousands of websites and services located all over the world. On the way to its final destination your data passes dozens of hops, routers and networks.

Your data can be logged, monitored, analyzed and stored by your ISP, your network administrator, a site you visit, your network peers, or even worse, a hacker.

For example, your network peers may be snooping and peeking on your private Internet activities, looking for a way to compromise you and damage your reputation. And a hacker who gave you a free access to his unsecured WiFi is waiting to take over your email account and gain access to your bank account.

Okay, this sounds scary. How can I get a VPN?

There are a lot of VPN providers out there, so I understand it's difficult to choose. (Trust me, I know. I had to do this myself.) Here are a few points that you need to consider when choosing a VPN:
  • Logging of any kind (If your VPN provider keeps logs, it is a wise decision not to utilize their service.)
  • Location of HQ (If your VPN provider is operating in a five, nine or fourteen-eyes country, you may want to reconsider. Read here why this matters.)
  • Their policies (Not everyone may want to do this, but for your privacy's sake I recommend you to check the VPN provider's ToS. Some of them may not care too much about your privacy or not at all, which is quite ironic.)
I myself use since they have proof that they don't log, but also have a lot of countries to choose a server from, a fast network and accept secure payment methods such as Bitcoin, Ethereum and PaySafecard.

If you're unsure what VPN provider you should choose, then you can consult That One Privacy Site for comparisons and reviews.

What about a free VPN?

Definitely not recommended. Free VPN's are absolutely not trustworthy and may even be more dangerous than not using a VPN at all. The most notorious example of this was Hola. Well, we all had to say "Adios" to that service. And they're not the only one.

Okay, so a paid VPN is all I need?

It's a great start, but you would need to add a few add-ons on your browser. I use Firefox for my browsing since it's open-source, but if you're used to Google Chrome, I can definitely recommend Iridium. It's pretty much Google Chrome without it sharing data to Google.
Here are the add-ons I use:

WebRTC Control WebRTC exposes your internal network IP(s), without user interaction. WebRTC will basically render your VPN useless if enabled, so let's disable this! I will never run Firefox without this add-on.

uBlock Origin is able to block tracking, malware domains, banners, pop-ups and video ads - even on Facebook and YouTube. Not only great for blocking ads, but safe as well!

HTTPS Everywhere will force all websites to load on the HTTPS protocol. This add-on requires no back end to work. Simply download, install and done.

Noscript prevents Adobe Flash, Java, Javascript and other plug-ins from untrusted sources from being executed. You can choose what runs.

So I think this concludes my tutorial on how to be anonymous online. It is however worth a mention that you will never be completely anonymous online, this is a good way to start and help to slow down malicious entities.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

(ARCHIVED) The First Stage of Productivity: Deadlines

*Originally posted on the Aclevo Blog*

Deadlines are very important in life. They tell you exactly when something is due. Whether it be homework, financial dues, or projects; you must meet your deadlines in order to avoid consequences. When your teacher finds out you haven't been meeting your deadlines on time, you may receive a zero on your project or even get detention. Your boss may fire you and hire another person who can actually submit work on time. You may even lose your credit if you do not pay it back on time. It is very important to meet your deadlines.

The reason why I am talking about deadlines today is because our organization is using them to increase productivity. We are currently designing a project management system using Django, a framework for perfectionists with deadlines. It is written in Python, a programming language that is easy to learn. You can learn more about Django by clicking here, and Python by clicking here. This new project management system will be built on deadlines, and making sure our staff are working effectively. We will publish another blog post with updates and more information about how this project is going.

As always, we will expect that people are busy with school, work, or other activities that may require their attention. However, we will constantly be working toward our goal of productivity by the end of the year, no matter how hard we must work. One of our top priorities is that this blog is maintained in an orderly manner, making sure that it is updated and that posts come out everyday. Pretty soon we will have the same goal for videos. In order to keep everyone on track, we have been using schedules and other cool organization tools that we may feature in other blog posts. We hope to talk to you more soon about the ideas we have in mind, and how we are planning to execute those ideas.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

(ARCHIVED) Is NeverWare "CloudReady" for your laptop?

*Originally posted on the Aclevo Blog*

Yesterday night, I decided to try out a product that I haven't put to the test in years. NeverWare CloudReady, a port of Chromium OS that can be installed on older computers and laptops, sparked my interest yet again when I saw that they introduced a Multi-boot feature so that you could install it alongside Windows. Because Windows 10 is not really my favorite product when it comes to operating systems in regards to their forced update scheme, I had an excuse to install something new. Sure, I could have wiped the hard drive and installed this as my primary operating system, but I still used the Multi-boot feature because I still have data on my hard drive that I didn't want to lose. Here is my experience with the installation and the use of this product.

The installation of this product was very easy. All I had to do was follow the instructions on this website. Although it wasn't recommended to use a SanDisk USB Flash Drive, the one that was purchased for me some time ago worked very well. As I booted into the CloudReady installation, the display became very bright. I wasn't too happy with this, but I was able to turn down the brightness after figuring out the new function key layout. All I had to do next was click at the bottom-right hand corner of the screen, click "Install CloudReady...", and follow the on-screen prompts. After taking a little break while CloudReady installed, I unplugged my USB Flash Drive and booted my PC.

When I first booted, I was asked to select my language, keyboard layout, and enter my network settings. After I filled in the required information, I was sent to a login screen where I logged into my Google Account for the very first time on this installation. Then I was able to set my profile picture and take a tour, even though I could have just dived in and played around if I wanted to. I was greeted with a clear desktop, and a taskbar with the Chromium Browser just waiting for me to open. This simplicity deserves a personal applaud from me, as well as the other great benefits that come with this product that I usually use often.

Great software comes with the operating system, and my preferences from Google Chrome automatically sync. All of the apps and extensions from the Chrome Webstore automatically download and install themselves without me having to press a button. The taskbar even adds icons to my favorite office applications from Google so that I can access them easily with a click. I am so happy that I do not have to use my geek skills in order to get to work, and that I don't have to waste my time installing applications like I do on Windows or Mac. Even though a normal out-of-the-box Linux distribution provides this functionality, it's not as personalized and quick as NeverWare CloudReady.

As with all software, and basically everything in general, where there are great benefits there are drawbacks. One drawback is that not all Windows Or Mac programs/apps are going to install on this operating system (unless you want to tear apart CloudReady, but I'd say please just use Windows/Mac). However, the Chrome Webstore does feature some good applications that you may find are better than the ones that you use. You never know how a product or service is going to be unless you try it out yourself. Another drawback is that some systems may not be supported with CloudReady. If you would like to learn more about which products are certified to be compatible with this software, please click here.

Neverware's CloudReady software is geared more toward users who just want to use the internet and have an office suite ready for them at first install. Users who wish to run applications such as games like Grand Theft Auto 5 or Garry's Mod will want to stick to their current Windows, Mac, or Linux operating systems. Because I use both a desktop and a laptop, I can leave my heavy applications to my desktop while I use my laptop for browsing the web and writing articles on the blog such as this one. I'd say my laptop is CloudReady for the future, but is yours?

Please leave us a comment down below about your experience or if you have any suggestions for the new blog posts. Please subscribe if you wish to receive the latest blog posts as they are published on the website, and we'll see you next time!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

(ARCHIVED) Pom's Drop Party: A Minecrafter's Dream

*Originally posted on the Aclevo Blog*

After finishing the Cool Roller Coaster Video which can be found in a previous post on this blog, Pom said he would be hosting another event. Enjoying my previous work featured on this blog, he offered me another chance to put my video editing skills to work. So I decided to get out my handy dandy virtual camera, and started recording Pom's Drop Party. A drop party is a Minecraft minigame where players try to collect the most items, preferably valuable ones, and they get to keep all of them. Below is a video capturing the insane moments of this fantastic minigame.

(Video by Reasonably Selenium)

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

(ARCHIVED) Arch Linux Review

*Originally posted on the Aclevo Blog*

Arch is a Linux Distro for the more advanced users of Linux, it features a manual installation method using the official package manager called pacman, not to be confused with the little yellow ball we know and love.

While it may be easy for advanced users to use, it can be found difficult for new users to figure out how to install it. This is because many new users don't understand partitioning, chroots, or even the command line.

However, Arch Linux makes up for its complexity in its customizability. Arch Linux is a fully customizable Linux Distro with the most minimal installation being a basic kernel and shell. You can easily install new packages, such as the X Server and any flavor of Desktop Environment you desire with a simple console command.

From what I see about Arch, I'd give it a 9.5/10 for being one of the best distros I've tried, despite it being one of the more difficult distros to install for a beginner. I was Lucky to have tried Gentoo first, as that one was even more difficult to get setup when I tried it. A review on that one coming soon.

(ARCHIVED) Minecraft Roller Coaster Ride

*Originally posted on the Aclevo Blog*

Around two years ago, a server owner named ThePom360 asked me to make a video of me riding his Minecraft Roller Coaster. Due to the lack of content on my channel, I decided to take up the offer and load up my video recorder, Open Broadcasting Software (known as OBS). I then went on the shortest, but my first amazing virtual roller coaster ride, later to be uploaded to YouTube and shared with the world. I taught it would be an awesome idea to share it on the blog to see what you all think.

(Video by Reasonably Selenium)