JustBrowsing Linux live CD for no traces browsing

JustBrowsing is a bootable Linux live CD based on Arch Linux, it has been designed for Internet browsing on a live environment. You can not access your computer hard drive with it or use any other software that is not Firefox or Chrome, however, you can resort to browser addons to extend capabilities, a calculator and notepad extensions are included in the Chrome browser and can be launched using shortcuts in the operating system deskbar.

The live CD concept is to have a tool to browse the Internet on a computer that is not yours, like a friends house, school or workplace. JustBrowsing boots with lighting speed, you don’t need to enter any username or password, during the boot up process select if you want Firefox or Chrome and in a few seconds the browser will autolaunch taking up the full screen, except for a deskbar located at the bottom of the screen, there you can swap browsers without leaving the OS, launch browser apps and configure a VPN connection.

JustBrowsing Linux live CD does not make any changes to the existing operating system on the compute and after rebooting the computer it will not leave recoverable tracks behind, like cookies or browsing history.

Linux live CD JustBrowsing
Linux live CD JustBrowsing

Regarding privacy, you still must have into account is that if it is not your own network, a network administrator can set up the firewall to restrict Internet access, log or monitor your activities in real time. JustBrowsing will not help you to get around network Internet filtering, although a webproxy shortcut is included, the URL is likely to be blocked by the network filtering list

You can’t install JustBrowsing in your computer but there is a .ova (Open Virtualization Archive) virtual appliance available for download and it could be used with VirtualBox in Windows or within a USB thumbdrive.

JustBrowsing default search engine is privacy friendly DuckDuckGo, is best not to change it to any other that tracks your search queries, like Google. A couple of dozen entertainment bookmarks are bundled with the browser, the Music and TV section had links to USA only services, i.e. Hulu, Songza,Slacker, sites that you will not be able to use if your computer IP is not in the USA.

I liked how easily you  are able to switch in between browsers without logging in and out and how the browser autolaunches, as well as the speed at which it does. Having VPN software was a big bonus but there were no configuration shortcuts, the user still needs to know VPN credentials and set them up, not very practical for short Internet browsing sessions. I would have liked to see an easy way to set up a VPN with preconfigured settings or a Tor proxy browser addon.

JustBrowsing live CD Chrome browser webapps
JustBrowsing live CD Chrome browser webapps

JustBrowsing live CD does an splendid job of setting you up for quick Internet browsing, privacy could be improved by not relying so heavily on Google apps, like the shortcut links to Gmail and Google docs, the shortcut to a webproxy is flimsy privacy as many websites will not work with PHP proxies. I would be happy to use JustBrowsing live CD to stop snooping on the local computer but I would not trust it to stop a network administrator from looking at what sites I visit.

Something else to have into account is that many public computers have been set up to stop live CD and USB booting, my experience is that the practicability of using these kind of tools on a computer that is not yours is not very high, and public library computer administrator are not going to change the computer boot settings for you any time soon.

If you find that you can’t change BIOS or UEFI settings and can’t boot the live CD, I would download VirtualBox portable to a USB thumbdrive and launch JustBrowsing .iso from inside Windows, with the added benefit of being able to save the VirtualBox session and settings in the thumbdrive.

Visit JustBrowsing homepage

Best shared hosting companies allowing adult content

It is very easy to find shared hosting packages, some of the big hosts allow occasional adult content but if you need shared hosting to host a dedicated pornography website you will have to read the terms and conditions carefully or risk suspension.

I have been searching for cheap shared hosting that accepts porn for one of my clients. I decided to pick only big hosting companies because they own the hardware and are not reselling server space. After hours of research this is the list of the best shared hosting companies to host porn that I could come up with:

DreamHost ($50 discount clicking on link) :This company has a wide open free speech policy allowing any content that is legal in the United States, including pornography. Their custom hosting control panel is very easy to use and their shared hosting comes with unlimited bandwidth and space.

Arvixe (%20 off discount code: hosting20deal): A well established US hosting company providing shared and dedicated hosting to businesses and individuals. I researched online reviews for Arvixe in trusted forums like WebHostingTalk and nearly all of them were good,  I also asked Arvixe support team if they allow pornography in shared hosting and they confirmed it.

HawkHost: According to their support team replying to my inquire, HawkHost will accept any content that is legal in the United States, this includes pornography as long it is not copyrighted material and you have the right to use the images, their shared hosting allows you to choose server location in the US or the European Union.

Adult shared hosting Hawkhost
Adult shared hosting Hawkhost

Certified Hosting: A subsidiary of Naked Hosting, Certified Hosting has budget packages with unlimited addon domains, space and bandwidth appropriate to host a dozen adult blogs if you have the time to manage that many sites.

HostGator: Part of Endurance International Group, one of the largest hosting companies in the world, they own more than twenty different brands, like BlueHost FatCow, iPage, HostMonster. Adult content is only allowed in HostGator as far as I know. They share resources with their sister companies, if you are not happy with one of them, don’t move to the other brand as it will be the same.

GlowHost: Their shared hosting packages come with unlimited bandwidth and competitive prices similar to those of their peers, GlowHost live chat confirmed to me that they allow adult material, as long it conforms to US and State law, in their own words: “if it’s legal content, it’s fine“. They offer support via live chat, phone and email, the company has been around for many years and James from live chat was very eager to help me out, my first impression was that of outstanding support.

Cheap shared hosting Glowhost
Cheap shared hosting Glowhost

HostMantis: This US webhost offers two kind of shared hosting, “Standard” and “Premium”, adult is only allowed in their lower performance plan, this is due to the premium plan using LightSpeed, a hosting technology developed by a company that bans using it to host pornographic content. Having said that, I know of hosting companies that are using LightSpeed and are hosting porn, but I understand that the USA is the land of lawsuits and if you happen to be there, like HostMantis is, you have to take great care.

HostMetro: The company is only a couple of years old, I was unable to find trusted reviews for them. HostMetro convey the impression of being a big corporation, they have 24/7 support via email, online chat or US phone number. I asked in the live chat if they allow hosting of porn and they confirmed it to me.

Squidix: A webhost located in the US with good reputation, the first year of shared hosting comes heavily discounted, this is a good way for you to make sure that their services fulfil your expectations. There are two shared hosting packages, both with unlimited bandwidth, the only difference is available hard drive space. Support is provided via live chat, phone and email.

Amerinoc: This company has been providing adult hosting for many many years. They recently have updated their website designand they have good reviews in many adult webmaster forums and an affiliate program that I have seen promoted in the adult industry. Never used them myself, that is all I can say.

Review 5″ Quechua Phone bought in Decathlon

The Quechua phone is a 5 inches rugged mobile phone for those who enjoy outdoor sports. I acquired this phone in Decathlon the very same day that it came out in Europe, I have been using it for a few weeks already.

On the outside the Quechua Phone is IP54 certificated, a standard Ingress Protection Rating that guarantees the phone has passed wear and tear tests capable to withstand small shocks, dust and water splashes. The build quality was very reassuring, a little thick and heavy due to the enormous non removable 3500mAh battery giving you 22 hours of talk time, but I was not too surprised about this as the phone has to be perfectly sealed to stop water droplets from getting in. The back of the case appears to be tightened up with tiny metal screws and the power on and volume buttons are also metallic.

To insert a microSIM and microSD card you have to lift a rubber cap from one of the sides of the phone, another rubber cap located on top of the phone is used to charge the phone and plug in the included headphones if you wish so. This is probably the most rugged phone you will catch sight of for the consumer market.

Decathlon Quechua mobile phone
Decathlon Quechua mobile phone

I should warn you that the phone comes with a printed manual underneath the box, check everything properly because it is very easy to miss the Quechua phone manual, it is found under a semi hidden compartment inside the box.

When you first boot the phone you will be asked if you would like to install the preloaded weather and mountain trail information apps, you can easily uninstall them and I would advice you not to install the default apps unless you already have an external microSD card mounted or the apps will eat all of your phone’s internal memory.

As for hardware, as expected, the Qualcomm 1.2GHz quad core processor and 1GB DDR3 RAM specs have been enough to use Google maps and play games without any noticeable lagging. The 5MB rear camera and front 2MB camera image quality was also acceptable in my tests, the kind of images you would expect from any mid range phone, able to take reasonably good photos indoors and outdoors in cloudy weather but nothing crispy like an professional SLR camera.

Screen brightness was very good, it is best to have it in auto mode to save battery time. I also tested the screen outside under the sun and, unlike cheap smartphones, with the Quechua phone I did not have any problem reading the screen outdoors on a sunny day.

Internal memory is what the Quechua phone lacks, the default 4GB are in reality under 2GB after Android Jelly Bean 4.1 is up and running. I quickly filled in the internal memory with app data and had to buy a microSD card. Luckily there is a maximum microSD capacity of 32GB. It will be very difficult to fill a microSD card of that size with a 5MB camera.

Another thing I noticed is that there is no screen film you can buy for your phone, theoretically, the screen is meant to be resistant to scratch but I wanted to buy the screen film for extra safety and I was unable to find a supplier anywhere. Unless Quechua releases mobile phone accessories in the future you will have to manage with what comes inside the box.

Overall, my take on the Quechua phone is that it not a phone for those who want something stylish and light, it is a phone for those after a durable and functional phone that can be taken outdoors without worrying about dust or rain and a phone that will not need daily recharging. The huge battery guarantees that you can enjoy a full weekend without using the mains power supply.

If you want this phone to go running it will not be the best due to the above average weight, but for trekking it is perfect and it can also be taken to the beach.

Visit Quechua Phone homepage

Update: I have now been using this phone for 6 months and everything is good except that I am finding the 2GB external storage far too small. The problem is that many apps will not install in the external memory card I bought to expand the storage, most apps only work if installed directly on the phone. Based on this, I would avoid this phone if are somebody who normally has many apps installed on the phone. Other than that, I am happy with it.

Bypass The Washington Post article limit with a VPN

After reading a few articles on The Washington Post you will be stopped with a paywall asking you to buy a subscription. You can bypass the article limit, and that of other digital newspapers like The New York Times and LA Times using a Virtual Private Network that will change your computer IP.

A VPN is a legal service to encrypt your Internet connection and stop hackers and nasty countries from wiretapping your online activities, in addition, a VPN service will change your home computer IP connecting you to a remote server that can be located anywhere in the world. A VPN can be used to share files P2P, avoiding groundless costly lawsuits. Another added benefit of changing your computer IP is that websites like The Washington Post will believe that you are a different surfer every time you change IP. As long as you do not store cookies and you are not logged into your digital newspaper account, the Washington Post will keep giving you free articles non stop, after reaching the article limit per IP, change it with a mouse click and you will start from zero.

Washington Post article limit
Washington Post article limit

For this to work you will have to set your Internet browser to  privacy mode to avoid storing cookies. To start privacy mode in Firefox 22 go to menu and select “New Private Window”. In Chrome, privacy mode is called “Incognito Mode” and in Internet Explorer it is called “InPrivate browsing“, you can quickly access any of them activating the shortcut CTRL+Shift+P

Private Internet Access is not free, but it works much cheaper than a subscription to a digital newspaper and you get the benefits mentioned above. Private Internet Access does not keep user logs or monitor activities, even if they were to be compelled to hand over logs, they can’t give what they haven’t got.

Another VPN benefit, is being able to access restricted content from abroad. With Private Internet Access you can mask your home computer IP as British and access the BBC iWatch, a tax payer funded service only available to UK residents. Other VPN purposes can be posting anonymous comments in controversial forums and sending anonymous email, when you access an email service with Private Internet Access only the untraceable VPN IP will be included in the email headers and not yours.

Private Internet Access has an ample range of servers covering all continents, there are thousands of IPs, too many of them to be blocked. Alternatively, if you don’t want to spend money on a VPN, you can always read the news for free at sites like The Washington Times, USA Today, CNN or Yahoo news.

Visit Private Internet Access homepage

Review CyberGhost VPN paid service

CyberGhost VPN is a free and paid VPN provider to hide your computer IP, get around Internet censorship in countries where they block websites and secure your data in Wifi Hotspots, this review is based on the paid Premium plan that I have been using for two months.

CyberGhost Premium has dozens of servers in Europe and the US, however the cheaper Premium plan will only give you three or four US servers and a couple of dozen German and Dutch servers, if you upgrade to a more expensive “Premium Plus” plan you get a staggering number of US servers and further VPNs in the same European countries as before but with less users on each server resulting in higher speed. You can check how many people are using a server using the “Service Status” link, I would normally see around ten users on each Premium Plus server, around twenty users on the Premium plan servers and up to a hundred users on the free servers.

CyberGhost VPN Software
CyberGhost VPN Software

The VPN software is easy to use with an “AntiSpy” tab where to configure basic computer privacy settings like stopping Windows Media Player identification or deactivating Windows automatic error reports, nothing too advanced, I would not bother with it, another tab named “Video portal” has links to online US TV series taking you to Hulu and CBS websites, not very useful, a “Server Map” tab that I have only used once shows you a graphical map of where in the world the servers are located, so if you don’t know where Finland is, you can see it there or use Wikipedia, the only tab that is of real use is “Connect” where you choose your favourite server and it comes with a filter where you can remove from view the countries you don’t want to be associated with.

CyberGhost disadvantages

CyberGhost VPN has no servers at all in Asia, only in Europe and the US, if you want an IP from an Asian country, but be warned that the ping rate from a server located far away from your home will slow down Internet browsing, unless you live in Asia there isn’t much point in getting an IP from there.

Another CyberGhost VPN disadvantage is that the Premium plan only has three or four US servers, I did not find any of them blocked by Hulu or Pandora, but less well known services like Slacker Radio blocked all three New York servers and I was unable to access it, the only way to stop this from happening is upgrading to the more expensive CyberGhost “Premium Plus” VPN plan with assorted US West coast servers.

CyberGhost advantages

The speed was always enough to stream online video, there are no bandwidth caps and multiple IPs are available, specially in European servers. Support is quick to reply via email or using their open online board, prices are reasonable and the VPN software will stop your browser from connecting to the Internet when the connection goes down. A few times the server I was using was taken down for maintenance without warning but not once it revealed my computer IP, a pop up disconnection warning was shown asking me to choose a different server. CyberGhost VPN does not keep logs that can identify an user, this should block unfounded lawsuits.

Conclusion CyberGhost VPN review

This is a good VPN service for those concerned about privacy and with good speed, their main selling point is that CyberGhost VPN takes privacy seriously and keeps no logs, the VPN software has protection against disconnects and pricing is cheap, but if you want to watch US online TV you will have to go for the more expensive package because the cheap option has too few US servers.

Visit CyberGhostVPN homepage

Review Private Tunnel OpenVPN provider

Private Tunnel is a US based VPN company from OpenVPN Technologies, the developers of OpenVPN software, their services are available for Windows, Mac and Linux with support for mobile devices, there are instructions on how to install it on a  DD-WRT router if you want to, Google public DNS is integrated in the software.

The VPN client is simple and dead easy to use, a novelty not found in other clients is that you can quickly access your favourite sites bookmarking them inside the software, changing server can be done with a single click using the drop down menu, you can choose from USA, UK, Switzerland or Canada. I checked server speeds from Europe and it measured an honourable 5/6Mbps average. Inside your user account on the web you can see your VPN activity logs, like how much bandwidth has been consumed, connection date stamps and session duration, this will help you detect anomalies and give you billing transparency since the VPN is bandwidth metered.

PrivateTunnel OpenVPN software
Private Tunnel OpenVPN software

The main difference in between Private Tunnel and other regular VPN providers is that instead of being charged a monthly fee your are charged per consumed gigabyte, people who only use a VPN once in a while for specific sites, like banking, or when travelling abroad could be better off with this service than traditional monthly VPN. There are no rules against file sharing but it probably work out too expensive as it consumes lots of bandwidth.

Private Tunnel will encrypt your connection on public Wifi access points, allow you to bypass georestricted online TV services, I used this VPN to watch Hulu and the BBC iPlayer from abroad without problems, it will also get around censorship filters like the Chinese firewall and mask your IP from the websites you visit to keep your online privacy, but their terms and conditions state that Private Tunnel keeps logs for troubleshooting and identify abusive users, if you use their VPN for criminal purposes your right to privacy will be forfeited.

This is an ideal uncomplicated VPN for those afraid of monthly charges and only using the Internet for browsing, with no video streaming (Youtube,DailyMotion,etc), if you carry out heavy bandwidth activities you will be better off with a different provider like PIA VPN, otherwise I was happy with Private Tunnel VPN performance.

Visit Private Tunnel homepage

Add a Start Menu to Windows 8 with ClassicShell

It can be hard for Windows 8 users to manage the new Microsoft UI (User Interface), the developers decided to eliminate the Start button that all other previous Windows versions had and there is no way to reverse those changes from within Windows. To launch an app in Windows 8 you have to type in the name in the search box, it can not be selected with the mouse.

Classic Shell is a free open source project to introduce old Windows applications, you can have a Windows 8 Start button with its full menu, the application is not Windows 8 specific it works in older Windows versions helping users customize the operating system, Classic Shell is very well documented on its website.

ClassicShell Windows8 Start button
ClassicShell Windows8 Start button

This application supports skins to make your Windows OS look unique,  one skin called XP Luna can make any Windows version look like Windows XP, menus and submenus can be modified and Windows boot up time can be speed up with the settings dialogue turning off icon preloading and features that aren’t used.

There are other applications like Start8 from Stardock that can reinstate Windows Start Menu in Windows 8 but they are not free and Classic Shell is, Start8 is more polished, it looks better integrated with the menu but Classic Shell has more options besides adding a Start button, with this alternative you can save a few bucks, it can be uninstalled like any other program if you are not happy with it.

Visit Classic Shell homepage