Why Virtual Private Network? (VPN)

A member asked, “Why VPN?”


Virtual Private Networks have been around for some time. In short, you encrypt everything you send and receive through the Internet and work through a server the VPN hosts. If you use cyber cafes or just wonder if your own Internet service and wifi at home is secure, using a VPN makes your machine secure. Anywhere.

It amounts to a private tunnel and separate address for you so no one else can see what you do. I chose to start using one shortly after Trump was elected when he changed the rules so your Internet provider is allowed to use logs of your use for its own profit. Using a VPN uses their service but encrypts it so they see nothing readable from (or to) me.

Most of these services are not free, but a few are. But for them to exist they may cause your surfing to slow down or receive ads that pay for it instead. Most services are more than $50/year, but some are less if paid yearly. I went with PIA for $35/year for five machines. For me this covers my wife’s and my computers and Androids. I use west coast servers and still get 75 mbps download and 7mbps upload speed from speedtest.net. Without VPN the speeds are 80 and 8mbps respectively, not much higher.

There are many other differences in services and I recommend Googling and shopping for what is best for you. But if you intend to visit sensitive sites, banks, email, etc. I see them as a must these days.

Linux laptop vs. Chromebook

We work with any computers that come our way at EPCUG and lately we have been playing with Chromebooks and various versions of Linux on laptops.

Just for fun I’m going to give away a (2006 I think) Toshiba laptop and power supply with Peppermint Linux installed. It will do all a Chromebook will do but does have a hard drive and can run installed programs as well which is now a feature Chromebook is adding so they can run LibreOffice or Gimp, the office and photoshop for Linux.

The battery on this machine is not great but it seems to hold for 15 minutes or so, long enough to go from one outlet to another. If you are interested in having all the abilities of Chromebook or Android in a laptop just join us at our meeting.

Woops! Sorry…

First I need to apologize for having cancelled last week’s meeting. It wasn’t intentional so I’ll make it a lesson on using Google Calendar.

After setting up our new Google Group as a maillist I saw that it would connect to Google Calendar and I set up my EPCUG calendar to have the meeting dates on it. Now my personal calendar this then showed this calendars event and the one we get from John Morrison.

So to eliminate one of the listings and not thinking that I could really edit John’s calendar I opened it up and cancelled the meeting so it wouldn’t appear on my calendar.

Well as it turns out John’s calendar emails all of us through the mail list of meeting events and when I cancelled it, it sent out a cancellation email to us all.

The surprise to me was that I could edit John’s calendar. I’m still not sure why that happened. the long and the short of it is we will be having our meetings normally and I will set up a calendar so my EPCUG calendar sends out the notice to the group.

Looking forward to seeing you all next week!

Windows Live Programs

Most of us are running Windows computers, I have been the lone Linux holdout unwilling to give M$ my money. But I took M$ up on its Family package (3 installs of Family Premium) and have been looking over the Windows only services available for a change. windows_live

A visit to Live.com lists an a number of services I think anyone can find useful the most obvious is Skydrive and Live Mesh.

Live Mesh is a Dropbox.com sync service with 5 gigs of space available free. It’s like having 5 gig memory stick available anytime, anywhere you have an Internet connection. SkyDrive is 25 gigs of space which you can’t (for free) sync, but you can store files with a simple upload. Not a bad deal for free.

Come to the EPCUG meeting Monday Dec. 27 and see if this service is useful for you.

A new Facebook – Privacy ebook…

Follow this link to get either a downloadable PDF book or link to the Scribd page for the book from MakeUseOf’s website.


The (Very) Unofficial Facebook Privacy Guide [DOWNLOAD]


I like the MakeUseOf website very much for good information and I am impressed they made this particular book available free. The topic is one we should all spend some time studying, privacy is a different thing in the Internet world. We can still have a lot of fun but we need to be aware of some differnet issues than we needed to be concerned with in the past.


Read and enjoy…    🙂


Kim Komando on Facebook Privacy

Image via CrunchBase

TVKim- Watching: Kim on Komand- Set up Facebook to keep your privacy

You need to a flashplayer enabled browser to view this YouTube video
(i.e. Apple iPod and iPad users need not apply… that’s another post.)

Our Mail list received a post from Gary Smith today about privacy settings on Facebook that deserves a post here on our website.

Gary recommended a blog post by Kim Komando at her website that is well worth the read. At the end of it was a link to a video she made which is the first link on this page.

Whether you have privacy concerns about Facebook or not these are good posts to see, she points out just where to go to fix things so you are as safe as you can be while using Facebook.

Read in good health!

Yuuguu at next meeting

Instant screen sharing, web conferencing, remote support, desktop remote control and messaging. No downloads for participants!

I’m always looking for ways to have meetings, webinars, with everyone in a manner that would let us have folks at the cafe, at home or work, anywhere be able to join us and share. To make that work I require our method to include use of Linux and most of us require Windows, 7, XP, and a few of us need Mac support.

Yuuguu.com may make this work for us and this week, next Monday April 5, 2010, I suggest everyone visit this site,  download and install their software and create an account. Then at  5:30 we all start it, find each other through our Internet Messenger accounts, chat or (if you have free long distance) use the Yuuguu telephone conference call.

If there are support questions that member can show us their screen and we can all commiserate together or maybe find a solution.

If you need more explanation have a look at this video or Google ‘Yuuguu video’ and see more.

How To Use Yuuguu For Simple, Free Screen Sharing