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LinkedIn Events Helps You Plan IRL Meetups

LinkedIn has launched LinkedIn Events. This feature is designed to help you plan and manage real-life meetups with your professional contacts. Because while the web is a great way to break the ice with new contacts, nothing compares to meeting in real life.

How to Use LinkedIn Events

LinkedIn launched Events on the Official LinkedIn Blog. Ajay Datta explains that “in-person interactions can help you create and foster deeper professional relationships.” Events is designed to “help you plan your next face-to-face professional gathering.”

To start using LinkedIn Events, click on the Community panel to the left of the newsfeed. Then, click +Create, and provide a description, a date and time, and a venue. Then invite your connections using filters such as location, industry, company, and school.

Once you have created your event, you can post updates, and track invitees and attendees. People attending your event can invite people from their networks to attend. And LinkedIn will keep everyone involved updated with “timely and relevant notifications”.

Even if you don’t want to plan your own IRL meetup, you can attend other people’s gatherings. That is if you’re invited to any. Just go to your My Network tab to see the events to which you have been invited. You can then decide which you want to attend.

How to Use LinkedIn Skill Assessments

Over the past year, LinkedIn has been testing Events in selected cities around the world. And as the results have been encouraging, LinkedIn Events is now available to all LinkedIn users. You can find out more about LinkedIn Events on LinkedIn Help.

LinkedIn has launched several new features recently. Potentially the most useful being LinkedIn Skill Assessments. These test you on your knowledge of certain subjects, helping you attract hiring managers. Here’s how to use LinkedIn Skill Assessments to stand out


How to Use LinkedIn Skill Assessments to Stand Out




How to Use LinkedIn Skill Assessments to Stand Out

LinkedIn Skill Assessments are a way for job hunters to prove their skills. Here’s how to use LinkedIn Skill Assessments.
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Instagram Helps You Beat Bullies Using “Restrict”

Instagram has launched a new tool called Restrict designed to help you beat bullies. As the name suggests, Restrict allows you to restrict the way certain people can interact and engage with you. However, the people being restricted won’t have a clue.

In July 2019, Instagram launched new tools to combat bullying


Instagram Launches New Tools to Combat Bullying




Instagram Launches New Tools to Combat Bullying

One tool warns people that their comment may be offensive. The other lets you shadow ban anyone you no longer want to interact with.
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. These tools are necessary due to the amount of bullying which occurs on Instagram. A small group of users has been testing Restrict since then, and Instagram is now rolling it out to everyone.

How to Use Instagram’s Restrict Feature

Instagram explains how Restrict works in a post on the Instagram Blog. After admitting bullying is a problem on its platform the company claims that “Restrict is designed to empower you to quietly protect your account while still keeping an eye on a bully.”

To Restrict someone who is bothering you, either head to Settings > Privacy, click on the profile of the person you want to Restrict, or swipe-left on a comment they have left. Then enable Restrict on that account to lessen the impact they can have on you.

Enabling Restrict on someone’s account means the comments that person leaves on your posts are only visible to them. However, you can choose to view individual comments and then approve each one, delete them, or ignore them.

You also won’t receive notifications for comments left by restricted accounts, or notifications for direct messages. Those DMs will be filtered to Message Request, where you can view the messages without the sender knowing that you’ve read them.

Other Ways of Dealing With Bullies

Instagram deserves credit here for seeking to fix a problem on its platform. And bullying is a problem on all social networks where people you know in real life can find and follow you. Hopefully, Restrict will help stamp out bullying of this nature.

There are various ways of dealing with bullies. Here’s how celebrities deal with mean tweets


Beat the Bullies! How Celebrities React to Mean Tweets




Beat the Bullies! How Celebrities React to Mean Tweets

Twitter isn’t always a land of love and kindness; sometimes things can get nasty. So, we’ve compiled a list of celebrities reacting to mean tweets, thus beating bullies at their own game.
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, which is to fight back against the trolls. Unfortunately, not all of us have the wherewithal to react in that way, which is why the platforms themselves need to act.





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Google’s Password Checkup Helps You Stay Safe Online

Google has launched the Password Checkup. This is a new tool built into Google’s Password Manager, which is built into your Google account. The Password Checkup is designed to keep you safe online by checking the strength and security of your passwords.

Research suggests that as many as one in four Americans use common passwords


The Worst Passwords of 2018, Revealed




The Worst Passwords of 2018, Revealed

We now know the worst passwords of 2018. These are the passwords you should never use, even if Kanye West tells you to do so.
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. Things like ABC123 and Password1111. Furthermore, many people use the same password across multiple sites. So if it’s involved in a breach, multiple accounts are vulnerable.

In an effort to help people stay safe online, Google has launched the Password Checkup.

How Does Google’s Password Checkup Work?

Google unveils the Password Checkup in a post on The Keyword. The company explains that it has developed the tool to help educate people with “poor password habits,” and inform victims whose passwords are exposed in data breaches.

Google’s Password Checkup will inform you whether:

Your passwords have been compromised in a known security breach. Google maintains a list of 4 billion usernames and passwords that have been “exposed due to third-party breaches”. And the Password Checkup will tell you if your details are among them.

Any of your passwords are being used across multiple sites. If Google detects that you are using the same password to log in to different sites it will advise you to change things up. This is to avoid hackers being able to take advantage of your laziness.

Your passwords are so weak that they need strengthening. If Google identifies that any of your passwords are too weak to be effective it will advise you to create stronger passwords. This is because weak passwords can be easily guessed by attackers.

Create Stronger Passwords With a Password Generator

The Password Checkup obviously only works on passwords you have saved in your Google account. So if you want Google to check that your passwords are strong and secure you’ll have to start using Google’s built-in Password Manager.

If Google does detect an issue it may be time to rethink your approach to passwords. And if you struggle to think of strong and secure passwords you should try one of the best online password generators. All of which generate random strings of characters.





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Google Photos Now Helps You Relive Your Memories

Google Photos now boasts a feature called Memories. These use the Stories format you’ll be familiar with from social media, but with your own photos and videos. The aim being to remind you of days gone by, helping you relive your memories.

Your Smartphone Is Your Best Camera

With smartphone cameras being so powerful these days, many of us use our smartphone as our primary device for shooting photographs. And it’s easy to rack up hundreds of photos in a single day. And over the years these then rack up in their thousands.

Without a dedicated app it would be tough to manage all of these shots. However, Google Photos does all of the hard work for you, backing up and managing your photos for you. And now Google Photos has gained a new feature designed to jog your memory.

How to Use Google Photos Memories

Google unveiled Memories on The Keyword. The company explains that Memories is designed to put “your memories front and center in Google Photos,” with your media “privately presented to you so you can sit back and enjoy some of your best moments.”

Memories puts photos and videos from previous years at the top of your gallery. You’ll see circular galleries at the top, labelled “1 year ago,” “2 years ago,” etc. Click on one and you’ll be shown a selection of photos and videos from this day in the past.

In addition to Memories, Google has added several other new features to Photos. The first is a new search function allowing you search for the text in your photos. For example, a search for “carrot cake” should bring up your mom’s recipe.

In the US you can also now order prints from Google Photos and pick them up on the same day from CVS Pharmacy or Walmart. And if you’d prefer a bigger copy of a photo to hang on the wall, you can now order canvas prints and have them delivered to your home.

Other Amazing Google Photos Features

Memories is a great feature. As it’s so easy to shoot photos with a smartphone, there’s a tendency to forget about them. Memories should prompt more people to look back at their best shots. So we’ll add it to our list of amazing Google Photos features


12 Amazing Google Photos Features You Didn’t Know About




12 Amazing Google Photos Features You Didn’t Know About

Google Photos is a well-known service, but it holds many little tricks. Here are 12 great features of Photos you might have missed.
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datacolor’s SpyderX Pro Helps You Get Perfect Display Color – Review Geek

Rating:
8.5/10
?

  • 1 – Absolute Hot Garbage
  • 2 – Sorta Lukewarm Garbage
  • 3 – Strongly Flawed Design
  • 4 – Some Pros, Lots Of Cons
  • 5 – Acceptably Imperfect
  • 6 – Good Enough to Buy On Sale
  • 7 – Great, But Not Best-In-Class
  • 8 – Fantastic, with Some Footnotes
  • 9 – Shut Up And Take My Money
  • 10 – Absolute Design Nirvana

Price: $170

The datacolor SpyderX Elite monitor calibration tool.
Ted Needleman

If the color on your display doesn’t look quite right, it might not be your eyes. Many displays need to be adjusted, which is a process called calibration. The SpyderX Pro from datacolor makes calibration easy!

Here’s What We Like

  • Easy to use
  • Gives the most accurate color the display is capable of
  • Works with multiple monitors and PCs
  • Provides before and after calibration comparisons

And What We Don’t

  • Operating system or graphics card calibration is usually enough for most displays

That’s Not the Right Color!

Most of us have looked at a photo on a monitor and thought, “There’s something a bit off with the color.” It’s especially frustrating when you’ve spent serious money on your monitor and expect near-perfect color reproduction.

While manufacturers have a general idea of the way its monitors display colors, your particular monitor might not conform exactly to the vendor’s profile. This can be because of manufacturing tolerances, or just because the monitor’s response changes as the display and its internal components age.

But how do you know if your monitor is displaying the colors in your file correctly? And if it isn’t, how do you fix it? I tested one solution—the SpyderX Pro calibration tool from datacolor.

Bridge the Gap

Without getting technical, there are times when the software expects the monitor to display a particular color, and the monitor misinterprets that color and displays something close to it. This makes the image appear a bit “off.” Or, the monitor might think it’s displaying the color, but because of the factors detailed above, it’s not. There’s a disconnect between the color values in the file you’re working on, and what you see on the display.

The industry became aware of this pretty early on and developed a method of tweaking the display file, so it aligned better with the actual image file. This was done under the auspices of the International Color Consortium (ICC), and the results are called ICC Profiles. An ICC Profile adjusts a graphic file to the known characteristics of a peripheral device, such as your monitor.

For most people, the ICC display profile supplied by the monitor vendor is sufficient to give you acceptable images. You might not need a more specialized device to get acceptable color.

But if you want the best color output possible from your display, you can create your own display profile. And one of the best (and easiest to use) tools for that is datacolor’s SpyderX Pro.

Another Piece of Hardware?

The SpyderX Calibration tool comes in two models—I tested the more reasonably priced Pro version. But if you really want to fine-tune your display to its absolute best, there’s a SpyderX Elite that’s about $100 more. The only difference between the two models is the software—the calibration tool is the same for both.

The Elite model is marketed toward photographers and other graphics professionals. The Pro model is more of a “prosumer” device, for the serious designer or photographer who doesn’t need all the advanced features of the Elite. It’s available for both Mac and Windows computers.

The calibrator hangs over your monitor, and the software displays test colors. The sensor in the calibrator interprets the test colors. The software then computes the difference between what the color frequency should be and what is displayed. An ICC Profile is created to make the conversion, so each of the basic primary colors (Red, Blue, Green) displays correctly. The custom profile then installs on your computer, and you’re good to go!

Perform a Calibration

The Spyder X sensor hanging in front of a monitor, between two arrows in the Spyder X Pro software.
Position the Spyder X sensor between the arrows the software displays on your screen.

After you install and launch the software, it’s time to position the calibration tool. The small, semi-triangular sensor hangs in front of the screen. It has a lens cover that—when removed—becomes a counterweight for the sensor, so it remains stationary on the screen throughout the calibration process.

The Spyder X sensor with the lens cover removed.
The Spyder X sensor has a removable lens cover that also serves as a counterweight.

The software shows you where to hang the sensor to begin the calibration process, which takes you through a series of operations.

Spyder X Pro software.
The flowchart on the left displays your progress.

As you get started, the software displays a flowchart on the left, which shows where you are in the process. The steps that perform the calibration are in the center, and interactive help is available on the right.

Spyder X Pro software calibration selection menu.
Select whether you want to run a full calibration, a recalibration, or a check to see if your display needs to be calibrated.

You can run a new calibration, a recalibration, or a check to see if you even need to calibrate. Once you’re familiar with it, the entire calibration process only takes about two minutes. So, you’ll probably recalibrate the monitor every time you use the SpyderX Pro.

The Spyder X Pro software "Room Light Analysis" menu.
The ambient room lighting is measured as part of the calibration process.

The sensor measures the light level of the room and walks you through how to use the monitor’s controls to set the brightness. The rest of the calibration consists of a series of screens that flash different levels of the three primary colors. This is the actual process of calibration. The software measures the difference between what your monitor displays and the actual color values.

Spyder X Pro software "Save Profile" menu.
After the calibration process, the software creates and installs a new profile for your display.

After the software flashes all its test screens, it computes and creates a new custom profile for your display in just a few seconds. The software notifies you after it completes the new profile and automatically installs it. Your display is now calibrated and produces much more accurate color.

The screenshots below show examples of colors before the calibration and after.

Two images of four colorful photos grouped together---the colors in the images on the right are noticeably brighter.
Before calibration (left) and after (right).

There’s a subtle, but noticeable, difference in the way some colors are displayed. In the uncalibrated display on the left, the reds and oranges appear muted; they’re noticeably brighter in the calibrated display.

It’s the same in the color panels in the four corners of the color matrix images. If you’ve gotten used to the slightly “off” colors, you might think the calibrated display looks oversaturated at first. It might take some time to get used to the new display response.

The Spyder X Pro software "Profile Overview" color gamut graph.
An optional screen shows you the current color gamut of your display.

Once the display is calibrated, you can see a graphic of the display’s color gamut. This graph shows which colors are in the color space, and which of these the monitor can display, both before and after the calibration. Note that a more expensive ($500-plus) IPS monitor performs much better and usually has a larger color space than a cheap one from a big box store.

You can select which color space you generally work in from the four choices on the right. Most likely, only professional photographers or graphic designers will have much use for this information.

Does Calibration Matter?

Not everyone needs to calibrate their display to the extent offered by the datacolor SpyderX Pro. If you have a cheaper monitor, and you rarely edit images or do any graphic design, this device is probably overkill. The built-in calibration capabilities of your operating system or graphics card will probably serve you well.

But if you’ve spent hundreds (or even $1,000) on a high-end display, you owe it to yourself to make sure it’s functioning as perfectly as possible. Even if you’re not a professional, and you just want the best, most accurate images on your display, the SpyderX Pro is an excellent way to do that.

Rating: 8.5/10

Price: $170

Here’s What We Like

  • Easy to use
  • Gives the most accurate color the display is capable of
  • Works with multiple monitors and PCs
  • Provides before and after calibration comparisons

And What We Don’t

  • Operating system or graphics card calibration is usually enough for most displays





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How Jobscan Helps You Tailor Your Resume to Job Descriptions

There are a lot of employment tools out there that you can use. These tools range from social media sites like LinkedIn to job searching engines like Indeed. These websites help you narrow down your prospects in the industry that you want to work in.

Another tool that you can use to help you with this is Jobscan. It’s an application-scanning website where you can upload your resume and see how you can make it stronger by using specific keywords and phrases.

But what is Jobscan? How can you use it to enhance your resume job description? There are two versions—the free and the premium—so we’ll go over some of the basic tools and see if the paid version is worth it.

What Is Jobscan?

How Jobscan Helps You Tailor Your Resume Sign Up page

Jobscan’s area of expertise is data. The platform acknowledges from the get-go that in a crowded market most things come down to numbers.

Sifting through large piles of resumes is often machine-assisted, and machines don’t care about your potential. Machines only care about which words you’ve used and the “value” that has been assigned to them. Jobscan knows this and tries to play into it.

Jobscan’s primary function is to read your resume and cover letter. From there, it will tell you how likely you are to make it past first-round filters based upon the language you’ve used in your application. The company has explained that its algorithm is based on “more than 300 ATS vendors (Applicant Tracking Systems).” It also regularly updates this algorithm with new info.

Running your submission package through Jobscan’s software is useful when you’re applying to a very large company. In situations like these, the risk of being cut out of the hiring pool because of a lack of keywords is higher.

What Can You Do With Jobscan’s Free Plan?

Jobscan Scan Resume Free Account

In Jobscan you have two options: using their free version or paying for the premium. The cost of the premium can quickly add up, so let’s go over the tools available in the free version.

The Ability to Upload a Job Post

Jobscan needs to scan the job posting you’re responding to when you use it, regardless of the version. It is from this posting that it pulls the keywords and hard skills needed to make you stand out. From there, it makes a determination on what recruiters will be looking for based upon the data in its internal systems.

After Jobscan compares the posting to your application, it will grant your resume a score based upon how many key points you’ve hit.

The Ability to Upload and Scan Your Resume

You can also upload and scan your resume with the free version of Jobscan. Unfortunately, cover letter optimization is only available in the premium version: by uploading both you can get a more accurate score.

That said, even uploading your resume by itself will get you a long way. It can help you increase your focus. An important thing to note is that your score will be based upon the aforementioned keywords and hard skills, along with the job title of the position you’re applying to.

The Ability to Revise Your Resume Based Upon the Score

Lastly, Jobscan will give you a list of concrete changes that you need to make to catch a recruiter’s eye.

These suggestions range from keywords you should insert to “negative” language you should avoid. It will also tell you about potential sections that may be missing. After this, Jobscan will indicate how to include these things to increase your own credibility, ranging from emails to website addresses.

In order to increase your success rate, Jobscan warns that the title of the position you are applying for is a factor in your “match rate”. If you haven’t worked a job with that title before, you can include it as a keyword in your cover letter to make up for this lack.

Once you make these changes, rescan your resume and Jobscan will adjust your score. 80 percent or above is considered a good rate.

In general, this is great news if you’re applying to a job at a big company with a lot of applicants. It’s also good news if you use this tool in conjunction with mock interview websites to help you prepare for a job


8 Mock Interview Websites to Help You Nail Your Job Search




8 Mock Interview Websites to Help You Nail Your Job Search

Not very good during interviews? Use these mock interview websites to face your job interviewers with confidence.
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The only downside? Jobscan wants you to get off the free version and onto their premium one. It only lets you scan five resumes per month—this includes rescans when you make your adjustments. That’s barely anything.

Is Jobscan Premium Worth It?

Jobscan Premium Account LinkedIn Optimization

It’s true that if you don’t use up your monthly allowance of free scans that Jobscan will accumulate them. It will continue to collect these scans until you have a max of 20 scans that you can use at once. It’s also true that you can earn job scans through Jobscan’s rewards program.

Additionally, you can do a lot more with the premium version.

You can scan your cover letter, get unlimited scanning, LinkedIn optimization, and “ATS-friendly templates”. These are all really useful tools to have.

Unfortunately, it’s also true that if you have no income that Jobscan’s paid plan will hurt your wallet. The very last thing you want to do is start paying for another subscription service when you have no income to offset it.

With this in mind, the question of “is paying for Jobscan worth it?” depends on what you’re using Jobscan for.

If you’re applying to jobs in an industry where machine-assisted tools are less likely to be used, then you can get away with using the free version. Just use it for the biggest of your job applications, where it will be of better use.

If you’re in an industry where ATS technology is commonplace, then it would be prudent to look into one of the paid options. This is especially true if you already have a job and you’re currently looking for another. It might mean that you have a bit of cash to spare.

Use This Data to Your Advantage

Jobscan is a great tool that can help you with your job search. You can use it to increase your chances of getting a call-back when it comes to certain fields.

Is it the only tool out there that can help you, however? Absolutely not. Here’s a list of job searching tools that will help you find the perfect career


5 Apps and Tools to Organize Your Job Search




5 Apps and Tools to Organize Your Job Search

Every good job search needs a system. Whether it’s an app, an Excel spreadsheet, or old-school paper and folders, these job search organization tools will make sure you get gainful employment.
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Google Files Now Helps You Play Your Media Offline

Google has upgraded its Files app, adding two new features. The first is a new set of controls making it easier to play your local media offline. The second is a new all-black dark theme which should reduce eye strain and preserve your phone’s battery life.

What Is Google Files and How Does It Work?

Google Files, which was launched as Files Go


Google’s New Files Go App: Everything You Need to Know




Google’s New Files Go App: Everything You Need to Know

Files Go is the new file explorer direct from Google — so how is it?
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in November 2017, is primarily designed to free up space on your phone. However, it now does so much more, including helping you find files faster, share your files offline, and back up your files to the cloud.

According to The Keyword, 100 million people now use Google’s Files app every month. And while Google Files was built with people in developing countries (who suffer from low phone storage) in mind, the app has proved a hit with Android users around the world.

Google Adds New Features to the Files App

The popularity of Files has encouraged Google to add new features to the app. The latest being a new all-black dark theme and a new set of media controls. Neither of these are mind-blowing additions, but they make it more worthy of downloading and installing.

The new all-black dark theme does exactly what it says on the tin. Once you install it, the app turns black, with the text picked out in white and pale blue. Google claims this can both help reduce the chance of eye strain and preserve your phone’s battery life.

The new media controls include Skip, Rewind, and Fast-Forward. And these enable you to play your media files—music and/or videos—offline using the Google Files app. Which could be useful for people unwilling or unable to use a streaming app.

Download: Google Files on Android

How to Enable Dark Mode in Your Web Browsers

Google Files is an extremely useful app to have installed on your phone. Especially for those people with a lack of storage. And with these new features—as minor as they may be in the big scheme of things—Google has just made its Files app even better.

Given the increasing understanding of how staring at a screen all day is affecting us all, most apps now offer dark modes or dark themes. And this includes the popular web browsers. So, with that in mind, here’s how to enable dark mode in your web browser


How to Enable Dark Mode in Firefox, Chrome, Opera, and Edge




How to Enable Dark Mode in Firefox, Chrome, Opera, and Edge

Using a dark background with light text on screens and devices while in the dark can help reduce eye strain.
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Google Chrome Now Helps You Beat Paywalls

Google has released Chrome 76 to the stable channel, pushing it out to everyone who uses the web browser. Alongside the usual litany of bug fixes come two changes that will affect users. One of which should help you circumvent soft paywalls.

What Are Hard and Soft Paywalls?

Paywalls are a growing trend, with major newspapers and other sites hiding their content behind them. Hard paywalls require payment before you can get anywhere close to the content, while other, softer paywalls let you read a number of articles for free every month.

While Chrome’s Incognito Mode should have prevented paywalled websites from knowing how many articles you have read, a loophole in Chrome’s FileSystem API allowed them to do just that. Now, Google is fixing that loophole to restore true private browsing.

How to Beat Paywalls Using Chrome

Google revealed it was fixing this loophole with the release of Chrome 76 in a post on The Keyword. Now, with Chrome 76 available, that loophole should have been closed, preventing websites with paywalls, as well as other sites, from tracking you.

All you need to do is visit a website such as The New York Times and the Washington Post while browsing in Incognito Mode. That is unless and until those publishers take steps to prevent people accessing content. Which could see them hardening their paywalls.

The other big change in Chrome 76 sees Flash being blocked by default. Google has been doing its utmost to kill Flash for several years, and in 2016, Chrome started using HTML5 by default


Google Chrome Kills Flash, Using HTML5 by Default




Google Chrome Kills Flash, Using HTML5 by Default

Google is finally ditching Adobe Flash, and switching to HTML5 by default. If everything goes according to plan, Adobe Flash will be virtually dead by October 2017.
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. Now, with Chrome 76, Adobe Flash is blocked by default.

This means that Google is one step closer to eradicating Flash from its browser, which is timely given that Adobe plans to kill Flash for good in 2020. In the meantime you can still enable Flash again by clicking the lock icon to the left of a website’s address.

Update Your Browser to Chrome 76 Now

With Google releasing new versions of Chrome so often it’s rare that there are features worth talking about. However, Chrome 76 is an exception thanks to its ability to help you beat you soft paywalls and a move that takes us one step closer to killing Adobe Flash


Adobe Is Finally Killing Flash… in 2020




Adobe Is Finally Killing Flash… in 2020

Adobe has announced it’s killing Flash. This is it, with Flash going away for good. No comebacks, no last-minute reprieves, gone but not forgotten.
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Image Credit: Barta IV/Flickr





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How Cloudflare DNS Helps Solve 4 Big DNS Privacy Risks

In April 2018, Cloudflare released a new security tool. Called 1.1.1.1, it’s a consumer DNS address that anyone can use for free. It can help increase DNS security, improve users’ privacy, and potentially can even speed up your network connection.

But how does it work? How do you use it? And which DNS privacy risks can it help improve? Let’s take a closer look.

The Problem With DNS and Privacy

The Domain Name System (DNS) is often called “the internet’s phone book.” It’s the technology responsible for linking the domains we all use every day (e.g. makeuseof.com) with the IP address of that site’s web server.

Of course, you could enter a site’s IP address and you would still end up at its homepage, but text-based URLs are much easier to remember, hence why we use them.

Unfortunately, DNS technology comes with many privacy issues. The issues can undermine your online safety, even if you take all the usual precautions elsewhere on your system. Here are some of the worst privacy issues associated with DNS.

1. Your ISP Is Watching

Because of the way DNS works, it acts as a log of the websites you visit. It doesn’t matter whether the site you’re visiting uses HTTPS—your ISP, mobile carrier, and public Wi-Fi providers will still all know exactly which domains you have visited.

Worryingly, since mid-2017, ISPs in the United States are allowed to sell their customers’ browsing data for financial gain. Indeed, the practice is common around the world.

Ultimately, your browsing history is helping vast corporations make money. It’s why you should always use a third-party DNS provider


4 Reasons Why Using Third-Party DNS Servers Is More Secure




4 Reasons Why Using Third-Party DNS Servers Is More Secure

Why is changing your DNS a good idea? What security benefits does it bring? Can it really make your online activities more secure?
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2. The Government Is Watching

Like ISPs, authorities can also use your DNS log to see what sites you’ve been visiting.

If you live in a country which takes a less-than-tolerant approach to political opponents, LGBTQ activists, alternative religions, and so on, visiting sites of that nature could land you in trouble.

Sadly, your DNS lookup history could reveal your private beliefs to entities who will potentially clampdown on you as a result.

3. Snooping and Tampering

You are also at risk from DNS’s lack of “last mile” encryption. Let’s explain.

There are two sides to DNS: Authoritative (on the content side) and a recursive resolver (on your ISP’s side). In broad terms, you can think of DNS resolvers asking the questions (i.e., “where can I find this site?”), and authoritative DNS nameservers providing the answers.

Data moving between the resolver and the authoritative server is (theoretically) protected by DNSSEC. However, the “last mile” —the part between your machine (called the stub resolver) and the recursive resolver—is not secure.

Sadly, the last mile provides plenty of opportunities for snoopers and tamperers.

4. Man-in-the-Middle Attacks

When you browse the web, your computer will frequently use DNS data that’s cached somewhere on the network. Doing so can help to reduce page loading times.

However, the caches themselves can fall victim to “cache poisoning.” It’s a form of man-in-the-middle attack


What Is a Man-in-the-Middle Attack? Security Jargon Explained




What Is a Man-in-the-Middle Attack? Security Jargon Explained

If you’ve heard of “man-in-the-middle” attacks but aren’t quite sure what that means, this is the article for you.
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In simple terms, hackers can take advantage of vulnerabilities and poor configurations to add fraudulent data to the cache. Then, the next time you try and visit the “poisoned” site, you’ll be sent to a server controlled by the criminal.

The responsible parties can even replicate your target site; you might never know you’ve been redirected and accidentally enter usernames, passwords, and other sensitive information.

This process is how many phishing attacks take place.

How Does Cloudflare Work?

The new 1.1.1.1 service from Cloudflare can remedy many of the privacy issues related to DNS technology.

The company spent a long time talking to browser developers before the service went public and developed its tool in accordance with their recommendations.

1. Cloudflare DNS: Is it Safe?

Yes, there is no tracking and no data storage. Cloudflare has made a commitment never to track its DNS users or sell advertising based on their viewing habits. To strengthen consumer confidence in its statement, the company has vowed to never save IP address queries to disk and promised to delete all DNS logs within 24 hours.

In practice, it means your DNS history will stay out of the hands of ISPs and governments. There won’t even be a record with Cloudflare for them to request access to.

2. Cutting-Edge Technology

When you type a URL and hit Enter, almost all DNS resolvers will send the entire domain name (the “www,” the “makeuseof,” and the “com”) to the root servers, the .com servers, and any intermediary services.

All that information is unnecessary. The root servers only need to direct the resolver to .com. Further lookup queries can be initiated at that point.

To combat the issue, Cloudflare has implanted a wide range of both agreed-upon and proposed DNS privacy-protection mechanisms for connecting the stub resolver and the recursive resolver. The result is that 1.1.1.1 will only send the bare amount of information necessary.

3. Anti-Snooping

If you’re wondering if Cloudflare DNS is secure, the answer is absolutely. The 1.1.1.1 service offers a feature which helps combat snooping on the last mile: DNS over TLS.

DNS over TLS will encrypt the last mile. It works by letting the stub resolver establish a TCP connection with Cloudflare on port 853. The stub then initiates a TCP handshake and Cloudflare provides its TLS certificate.

As soon as the connection is established, all communications between the stub resolver and the recursive resolver will become encrypted. The result is that eavesdropping and tampering become impossible.

4. Fighting Man-in-the-Middle Attacks

According to Cloudflare’s figures, less than 10 percent of domains use DNSSEC to secure the connection between a recursive resolver and an authoritative server.

DNS over HTTPS is an emerging technology that aims to help to secure HTTPS domains that do not use DNSSEC.

Without encryption, hackers can listen to your data packets and know which site you’re visiting. The lack of encryption also leaves you vulnerable to man-in-the-middle attacks such as those we detailed earlier.

How to Use Cloudflare DNS

Using the new 1.1.1.1 service is easy. We’ll explain the process for both Windows and Mac machines.

How to Use Cloudflare DNS on Windows

To change your DNS provider on Windows, follow the steps below:

  1. Open the Settings app from the Start menu.
  2. Go to Network & Internet > Status > Change your network settings > Change adapter options.
  3. Right-click on your connection and select Properties
  4. Scroll down, highlight Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4), and click on Properties
  5. Click on Use the following DNS server addresses
  6. Enter 1.1.1.1 in the first row and 1.0.0.1 in the second row
  7. Hit OK

You may need to restart your machine.

How to Use Cloudflare DNS on Mac

If you have a Mac, follow these instructions to change your DNS instead:

  1. Go to Apple > System Preferences > Network
  2. Click on your connection in the panel on the left-hand side of the window
  3. Click on Advanced
  4. Highlight DNS and click+
  5. Enter 1.1.1.1 and 1.0.0.1 in the space provided
  6. Click OK

How to Use Cloudflare DNS on a Smartphone

To use Cloudflare on Android and iOS, you can download the free app from the respective app stores. The app is a more recent project from Cloudflare; it only went live in November 2018.

Called 1.1.1.1, the app provides an easy-to-use on/off toggle for the company’s DNS servers. Of course, you could up the DNS using your phone’s native tools, but the settings aren’t always easy to find and some manufacturers even block access to them. The app is much more novice-friendly.

Download: 1.1.1.1 for Android | iOS (Free)

And Remember to Always Use a VPN

More important than a good DNS, you should always use a strong VPN in the battle for online privacy.

All reputable VPN providers will also supply their own DNS addresses. However, sometimes you’ll need to manually update your DNS using the methods we detailed above. Failure to do so will result in a DNS leak.

But just because your VPN provider provides its own DNS addresses, you can still use Cloudflare’s addresses instead. In fact, it’s recommended; it’s very unlikely your VPN’s DNS will be as sophisticated or as robust as the new 1.1.1.1 service.

If you’re looking for a solid and reputable VPN provider, we recommend ExpressVPN, CyberGhost, or Private Internet Access.

And if you would like to learn more, make sure you check out our guides to what a DNS server is and how DNS cache poisoning works


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Google Now Helps You Learn About Anne Frank

On what would have been her 90th birthday, Google has unveiled a new way to learn about Anne Frank. An online exhibit details Frank’s childhood, with numerous photos to study. And Street View imagery lets you virtually explore Anne Frank’s childhood home.

An Introduction to Anne Frank

Frank was born in Germany on June 12, 1929. However, being Jewish meant her and her family were forced to move to Amsterdam to avoid persecution by the Nazis. They were then forced into hiding, and it was during this time that Frank wrote her famous diary.

The Franks, and the other Jewish people hiding with them, were eventually discovered, and sent off to concentration camps. Anne Frank died in 1945 at the tender age of 15, and yet her legacy has lived on thanks to the diary she penned while in hiding.

Learn More About Anne Frank

In partnership with the Anne Frank House, Google Arts and Culture has delved deep into the archives to create an online exhibit detailing Anne Frank’s short life. This is available on the Google Arts and Culture website, or on the app for Android and iOS.

As detailed on The Keyword, the online exhibit tells the story of how Anne Frank came to be hiding in a secret annex in a house in Amsterdam. It also recounts what happened to Anne and her family and their friends after they were found by the Nazis.

As part of the exhibit, you can also explore Anne Frank’s childhood home through indoor Street imagery. The flat has been restored to its original 1930s style, which means you’ll get a sense of the surroundings Frank grew up in before being forced into hiding.

The Street View imagery is particularly interesting. Because, while the Anne Frank House is worth a visit, it’s always busy and isn’t easily accessible to everyone. Thanks to Google Arts and Culture you can now pay the Anne Frank House a virtual visit.

Download: Google Arts and Culture on Android | iOS

With a Little Help From Google

Anne Frank is just one of millions of people who lost their lives as a result of World War II


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, but her story is an important one that should be required reading. Now, more people have the opportunity to learn about Anne Frank, with a little help from Google.

Image Credit: Ralf Schulze/Flickr

Explore more about: Google, Google Arts & Culture, History.





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