5 Printable Productivity Planners and Templates to Get Things Done

Printable Planners

Technology is great, but sometimes you need the feel of pen on paper. These printable planners and sheets will help you get things done without needing an app or computer. There is a simplicity to printable planners that apps can’t match. These are more flexible, and they don’t send you notifications that distract you from what needs to be done. Plus, there is no learning involved. Print out the planner, fill in the blanks, and you’re ready. Paulina’s Daily Planner: Plan Your Day, and Stay Healthy Too Graphic designer Paulina has created her own daily planner that you can download…

Read the full article: 5 Printable Productivity Planners and Templates to Get Things Done

Technology is great, but sometimes you need the feel of pen on paper. These printable planners and sheets will help you get things done without needing an app or computer.

There is a simplicity to printable planners that apps can’t match. These are more flexible, and they don’t send you notifications that distract you from what needs to be done. Plus, there is no learning involved. Print out the planner, fill in the blanks, and you’re ready.

Paulina’s Daily Planner: Plan Your Day, and Stay Healthy Too

Paulina Daily Planner

Graphic designer Paulina has created her own daily planner that you can download and print. While it’s a daily planner, it also does a few more things to ensure you’re at your best.

Fill in today’s date and write down up to eight tasks to finish for the day. You can add a few notes too. After the planning, it’s important to ensure you stay healthy. So Paulina’s planner ensures you have a checklist for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks, to make sure you don’t skip meals. There are also seven glasses of hydration to remember to drink water. And the exercise tab has different ways to stay fit.

At the end of the day, you can also use the planner to analyze how you’ve done. Fill a couple of simple boxes to know how many tasks are completed and overdue. And then choose whether overall, you think it’s a productive day or not.

The planner prints in an A5 size, so a standard A4 or Letter page will give you two planners per page. It’s free, but you can also buy a pack of three, each with 50 sheets in spiral binding.

Productivity Meter: Visual, Colorful Measure of Achievements

Productivity Meter is a visual colorful daily task planner

Usually, printable planners are just about putting pen on paper to fill in the blanks. That’s why The Petite Planner’s Productivity Meter stands out from the rest with its colorful and visual approach to planning.

Here’s how it works. You download the template for the meter, either in horizontal or vertical format. Each meter is about one large goal, with several small tasks. Each type of task has its own color. Divide the meter into small sections for each color. Outside the meter, write timeframes or deadlines. You fill up the meter with a color whenever you finish the task. It’ll take some getting used to, but once you do it, this visual task list will be much more satisfying than checking off a box on a piece of paper.

The Productivity Meter has a similar mind hack as the “Done List” as they both rely on telling you how much you have achieved in any task, rather than how much is left to do. As the meter fills up, you’ll get a sense of accomplishment and know what to tackle next.

Quarterly Review: Take Stock of Your Goals and Learnings

Quarterly Review free printable planner takes stock

It’s easy to say that you should take stock of your life and figure out the next steps. But how do you go about doing that? The Quarterly Review printable sheet is an excellent guide that puts this abstract question into a series of actionable steps.

As the name suggests, it’s ideal if you do this every quarter, i.e. three months or 90 days. You’ll need to sign up to get the printable and its sheet of questions, which is the more important part.

The printable plots your last and next quarters side-by-side. A series of questions takes you through what to fill in the last quarter, such as what went well (with sub-questions), what could have been better (with sub-questions), what was unexpected, how you feel about the quarter, and which learnings can you take forward to the next.

The next quarter’s section has similar questions to fill out on the chart. For example, you start with how you want to feel at the end of the next quarter, which actions you need to complete, what are the main goals or priorities, and so on. It also forces you to set one goal for something that would affect your life in a meaningful way.

Through this series of questions and answers, you’ll be able to get a realistic picture of how your life has been and where you want your life to go. Keep doing this Quarterly Review every three months, it’s the best way to keep moving forward while improving on your mistakes. In fact, you can even do it as a team, as this is an essential printable planner for office workers.

Simplified’s Printables: 40 Free Printables for Every Need

Simplified has free printable planners for every need

Lifestyle author Emily Ley’s website Simplified has a bunch of free printable planners for every type of need. You will have to sign up for the newsletter to download them, but the collection is worth it.

The variety of printables on offer is staggering. You get daily, weekly, and monthly calendars and planners. There are “brain dump” templates, blog planners, meetings for office and family, party planners, and checklists for all kinds of occasions. And of course, there’s the productivity staple, a gratitude journal template.

Each of these is a single-page productivity planner, and you can distinguish between categories based on the background color. Most of them also have a color element on the page, but it’s only to make it look better, you can still use it with a black-and-white printer.

2019 Printable Planner: Better Than a Calendar for the New Year

Make Your Own Zone's free printable 2019 calendar

We aren’t too far from the new year, so let’s prep for it with a planner made for 2019. Make Your Own Zone’s free printable will make you realize why we still need paper planners in the smartphone age.

The planner is available in two options: with the week starting on Monday or starting on Sunday. The Monday-start is a better option, since it gives you more room for the weekdays, which is when you would be getting more things done. For something that requires attention throughout the week, use the “Notes” box at the bottom.

There are vertical and horizontal layouts available for the planner, so pick what you prefer. The vertical looks better to us, since you can use it as a simple to-do list or even add a few notes from the bottom-up.

The website also includes links to the 2018 version of the planner, in case you want to get started right away without waiting till the new year rolls around.

Try Other Planners

The thing with to-do lists, planners, and other productivity methods is that nothing is a one-size-fits-all solution. Different techniques work for different people, which is why it’s important to identify the right planner for you and print it out.

For example, if time management is your big problem, then try a time-blocking printable planner. These planners give you time-based goals for your tasks, helping you get things done before deadlines.

Read the full article: 5 Printable Productivity Planners and Templates to Get Things Done

Which VPNs Still Work With Netflix?

netflix-vpn

In January 2016, Netflix announced a crackdown on VPNs, or virtual private networks. This meant that using a VPN to access the Netflix catalog offered in a different country was suddenly against the company’s terms of service. And while many thought that the crackdown on VPNs would ultimately fail, it hasn’t so far. As of now, if you try to access Netflix through a VPN, your efforts will be immediately thwarted. You’ll see this error message: However, there are still a few VPN services that work well with Netflix, and now have a proven track record of circumventing Netflix’s blocks…

Read the full article: Which VPNs Still Work With Netflix?

netflix-vpn

In January 2016, Netflix announced a crackdown on VPNs, or virtual private networks. This meant that using a VPN to access the Netflix catalog offered in a different country was suddenly against the company’s terms of service. And while many thought that the crackdown on VPNs would ultimately fail, it hasn’t so far.

As of now, if you try to access Netflix through a VPN, your efforts will be immediately thwarted. You’ll see this error message:

Netflix VPN error code for streaming

However, there are still a few VPN services that work well with Netflix, and now have a proven track record of circumventing Netflix’s blocks regularly. In this article, we’ll list those working VPNs and help you choose one…

Why Netflix Is Wrong In Blanket-Banning VPNs

The core logic of the ban makes sense. Movie and TV show producers sell rights to different distributors in different countries. Netflix does deals with each distributor to earn the right to stream those movies and shows in particular countries.

So, for example, let’s say Amazon Prime owns the rights to Doctor Strange where you live, but Netflix owns it in some fictional country called Freedonia. If you were to use a VPN to watch Doctor Strange on Netflix Freedonia, then you are breaking the distributor rights owned by Amazon Prime.

In the above scenario, Netflix is right to block VPNs. But the blanket ban also stops legitimate usage of Netflix in a different country.

Let’s say you are an American who subscribes to Netflix US. If you had to travel to Thailand, you should still be able to watch the catalog of shows on Netflix US. After all, you’re paying for it. Instead, as a result of the blanket ban, you will be automatically changed to Netflix Thailand while you’re there. And this isn’t what you paid your hard-earned money for.

Right now, the only legitimate answer is to access Netflix US using a VPN routed through an American server. Then you can access the entire US catalog.

Free VPNs Don’t Unblock Netflix, Get a Paid VPN

The VPN crackdown is most prevalent on free VPN services and smartDNS services. If you hoped to get access to Netflix from another country without paying for a VPN, you’re out of luck. We have tested every free VPN out there, and none of them are able to bypass Netflix’s block on VPNs.

Even if you chanced upon such a service, it will work for a few days and then stop. Netflix is extremely vigilant about blocking VPNs, so you’ll need to bite the bullet and get a paid VPN to fight the company’s constant blocks.

There are several advantages of using a paid VPN service, the biggest of which are unlimited data transfers and longevity. A free VPN service might not stand the test of time, but a big-brand paid VPN should keep working well through thick and thin.

So which VPNs still work with Netflix? According to our tests:

  1. ExpressVPN
  2. StrongVPN
  3. PrivateVPN
  4. TorGuard
  5. CyberGhost
  6. NordVPN
  7. VyprVPN
  8. Buffered VPN
  9. PureVPN
  10. HotSpot Shield Premium

1. ExpressVPN: Best for Netflix US

Express VPN is the best VPN for Netflix America

If you are an American who wants to be able to access your own country’s catalog from anywhere in the world, ExpressVPN is the best option. It has worked flawlessly every time we have used it for the past year, and is our go-to recommendation.

  • Setup: ExpressVPN is simple to set up and use on any device, including Linux. That’s right, you can even watch Netflix natively on Linux easily with the ExpressVPN app. It also has a remarkably easy setup for routers, so you can tunnel all your data through the VPN.
  • Performance: Netflix is especially vigilant of ExpressVPN servers because of how highly rated the service is by multiple reviewers. So the servers change often, and you might have to refresh that before each time you start Netflix. Overall, there was nothing to complain about when it comes to how quickly the stream started, or even skipping ahead or back on 1080p video.
  • Netflix Countries: ExpressVPN only worked for US consistently. Some of the other nations, especially Canada, end up working at times, but it’s not a connection you can bank on.
  • Price: ExpressVPN normally costs $12.95/month (or $8.32/month if you sign up for a whole year), but we have a special deal for MakeUseOf readers. Use this link to get three FREE months plus an entire year for an incredible $6.67/month.

2. StrongVPN: For the US, UK, and Canada

Strong VPN is the best VPN to access Netflix USA, UK, and Canada

Even in the early months, StrongVPN was one of the few services that kept bypassing Netflix’s blocks again and again. It has earned the loyalty of its fans, especially those based in the UK.

  • Setup: StrongVPN has apps for Windows, macOS, and iOS, but setup can be a little tricky. Even for Android, you’ll need to dive into settings to configure it. To its credit, it hosts detailed setup guides for popular devices and platforms. But it’s not as easy as ExpressVPN or VyprVPN.
  • Performance: StrongVPN has good performance on both UK and US servers. It streamed fine on 1080p video, and handled skipping too. The Canadian server can’t always handle 1080p, downgrading to 720p.
  • Netflix Countries: StrongVPN’s support for Netflix UK and Netflix Canada gives it a slight edge over ExpressVPN. But you have to be willing to go through that setup process.
  • Price: One of the cheapest options among all these VPN services, StrongVPN costs $10/month or $70 for a whole year. Plus, you get StrongDNS, in case you prefer proxy DNS over VPN for streaming.

3. PrivateVPN: Most Countries Supported

PrivateVPN supports the most number of countries via VPN on Netflix

Note: PrivateVPN provided us with a review account for this test.

If you’re one of the old guard who loved being able to watch everything on Netflix no matter where you live, then try PrivateVPN. In our tests, it worked with the most number of countries.

  • Setup: PrivateVPN supports apps for Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android. For anything else, you’ll need to use the device’s connections settings. You will also need to clear the cache of your browser before you use it to stream Netflix.
  • Performance: PrivateVPN works flawlessly, as long as you use the right servers. The company has a list of currently working servers for Netflix, so make sure you pick the right one. Once you do, it works as well as you could have hoped with 1080p video.
  • Netflix Countries: PrivateVPN supports the largest number of Netflix countries at the time of writing. This includes the US, Canada, the UK, France, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Norway, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland, and the Netherlands.
  • Again, if one of these doesn’t work, please make sure you clear the browser cache. It’s a tad annoying, but once you clear your cache, it works fine; a lesson we learnt the hard way.
  • Price: PrivateVPN costs the same as StrongDNS, but is currently having a sale (as of August 2017). You can get one month for $7.67, or a whole year for $50.40.

4. CyberGhost: Easiest for Phones

Cyberghost is the best Netflix VPN for android phones and iphone

Note: CyberGhost provided us with a review account for this test.

If you’re only going to use your VPN for streaming Netflix, then try out CyberGhost. It’s the easiest way to set up a VPN and stream Netflix.

  • Setup: The ease of use makes CyberGhost stand out. Download the app, flick once to see the “Secured Streaming” option, and choose Netflix in the list of services. The first time you do this you’ll need to sign in to your Netflix account. After that, CyberGhost will remember the settings and work like a charm. In our opinion, it’s the easiest VPN app to use Netflix on phones.
  • Performance: On a computer with Wi-Fi, CyberGhost works perfectly as long as you are on a stable, high-speed internet connection. But since we’re recommending this for mobiles, we also tested it on 4G. While it’s good, it isn’t the best we’ve seen. ExpressVPN worked better while using 4G to stream Netflix US content on the move.
  • Netflix Countries: It works only with Netflix US. You can’t access catalogs from other countries.
  • Price: You can download and try out the app for free for seven days, which is enough time to figure out whether you want to pay for it. Cyberghost costs $11.99/month, but we have a special deal for MakeUseOf readers. Use this link to get six months at $4.99/month, or 18 months at $2.75/month.

CyberGhost also claims to work with several other streaming services, including Amazon Prime, HBO GO, BBC iPlayer, and others. However, we didn’t test those for this article.

5. TorGuard: Longest Lasting, All Countries Supported

If you want the assurance of your VPN always working with Netflix in any country, TorGuard is the safest bet. That’s because with it, you will buy a dedicated IP address. This is a bit like getting a static IP address, just that it is still a masked VPN address.

For a company like Netflix, it’s easier to figure out shared IP addresses than dedicated ones. Once it knows the common string for many VPN users with the same shared IP, Netflix will block it. But pinpointing a single dedicated IP address, and confirming that it is using a VPN on Netflix, is far more difficult and time-consuming. Logically speaking, this method will last longer.

  • Setup: TorGuard has the most difficult setup of the lot, since you will have to configure a VPN as well as a dedicated IP address. It’s a nightmarish process, but it’s well worth persevering with it.
  • Performance: No lagging, fast load times, and no drops in quality make this the best experience we had during testing.
  • Netflix Countries: TorGuard worked flawlessly with every country we tried.
  • Price: TorGuard’s cost is approximately twice that of any regular VPN listed above. That’s because not only are you buying the VPN package, you are also buying a dedicated streaming IP. So that’s $10/month for the VPN, and another $8/month for the dedicated IP address, for a total of $18/month. But hey, it’s worth it if you want to watch all of Netflix’s catalog with great performance.

Other VPNs That Work With Netflix

Apart from the aforementioned VPN services, these others also worked with Netflix US during testing. They weren’t always perfect, which is why the others got a nod ahead of them. However, if none of the above appeal for whatever reason, these are solid backups to bear in mind.

  • NordVPN: NordVPN is one of the popular choices for Netflix streaming given it is among the cheapest options when you buy long-term plans. It works well too, and was among the first to fix Netflix’s recent purge of VPN services. But purchase this only if you don’t plan on watching 4K video. NordVPN is noticeably slower than others even on HD movies, with the odd request for buffering, so it would be a disaster on 4K.
  • VyprVPN and Buffered VPN: If you don’t want ExpressVPN, get VyprVPN or Buffered. These are the best choices for anyone who wants Netflix US alone. There isn’t much to separate the two, with both costing $13/month. The only real differentiator is the annual plans, where VyprVPN is cheaper by $12/year.
  • PureVPN: PureVPN works well with Netflix now. However, there is nothing that makes us recommend it on par with or over the others in this list. That said, we are only looking at VPNs for Netflix. And it notoriously was used by the FBI to track a hacker, which put it on our list of privacy-violating VPNs to avoid.
  • HotSpot Shield Premium: The basic free version of Hotspot Shield does not work with Netflix. But Hotspot Shield Premium will give you access to the US version. It worked well in our initial test setup, but has not delivered a good experience after the first week of testing.

Which VPNs Should You Avoid?

We also tested several other popular VPN services. Without naming and shaming them, let’s just say you shouldn’t go beyond the recommendations in this article. The others were rejected because of one or more of the following reasons:

  • The VPN didn’t allow Netflix
  • A VPN allowed Netflix but the streaming experience was bad
  • The VPN was slow in getting servers to work again after Netflix took them down
  • Customers reported bad service

Which VPN Is Best for Watching Netflix?

Most people should choose between ExpressVPN (because you want to access Netflix US everywhere) or PrivateVPN (if you want to the most number of Netflix libraries). Otherwise, any of the above recommendations should work well for you, so choose one of them.

Hopefully, this solves your problem of watching Netflix with a VPN once and for all. Which means we’re free to solve other annoying Netflix problems!

Read the full article: Which VPNs Still Work With Netflix?

The 10 Best Horror Movies to Watch on Netflix

netflix-halloween

Are you looking to curl up on the couch, switch off the lights, and scare yourself with some of the best horror movies ever made? With our help you won’t even have to think about what to watch. Just open Netflix and pick any of the films on this list. Note: These movies are available on Netflix US. You can watch them using a VPN with Netflix if you’re not based in the United States. 1. The Shining Released in: 1980 IMDb Rating: 8.4/10 Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 86% The Shining is one of the best movies based on Stephen King’s…

Read the full article: The 10 Best Horror Movies to Watch on Netflix

Are you looking to curl up on the couch, switch off the lights, and scare yourself with some of the best horror movies ever made? With our help you won’t even have to think about what to watch. Just open Netflix and pick any of the films on this list.

Note: These movies are available on Netflix US. You can watch them using a VPN with Netflix if you’re not based in the United States.

1. The Shining

  • Released in: 1980
  • IMDb Rating: 8.4/10
  • Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 86%

The Shining is one of the best movies based on Stephen King’s books. Legendary director Stanley Kubrick tells the story of the Torrance family (father, mother, and son) heading to an isolated hotel for a winter break. The hotel is, of course, haunted and starts affecting all of them.

Jack Nicholson gives a stand-out performance, while Shelley Duvall is perfect as the one person trying to keep things together. The Shining is a landmark horror film, and its set designs, scenes, plots, and catchphrases have been referenced in umpteen other films and TV series.

2. Dreamcatcher

  • Released in: 2003
  • IMDb Rating: 5.5/10
  • Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 30%

Aliens, native American symbolism, and a dull and bleak American winter set the background for Dreamcatcher. Four buddies embark upon their annual winter trip into the woods, but get caught in a fierce storm. And they aren’t alone out there.

While Dreamcatcher is another movie based on a Stephen King book, it’s not as good as The Shining. Director Lawrence Kasdan does an OK job of translating King’s vision into cinema, but the end result is a brilliant B-movie for horror fans.

3. The Conjuring

  • Released in: 2013
  • IMDb Rating: 6.6/10
  • Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 86%

The Conjuring is one of the best horror movies released in this decade, as director James Wan hits all the right notes in this classic plot. It’s about a family that buys a remote house disconnected from their neighbors, and strange things start happening in it. The family asks for help from two paranormal detectives (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga).

Together, they must all somehow survive the vengeance of the family who lived there before them, and especially the little girl who still holds a strong grudge. The Conjuring is a perfect execution of mood-building, day-time horror. It’s also one of those movies full of jump scares.

4. Cabin Fever

  • Released in: 2002
  • IMDb Rating: 5.6/10
  • Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 86%

Cabin Fever starts with a trip to a cabin in the middle of nowhere. But when these five friends meet a dangerous man with a weird disease, they end up killing him and dumping him in the town’s water reservoir. Anyone who drinks the water is now infected. And things get really bad when one of the five has a glass of tap water.

Director Eli Roth has a unique style in his horror films that make them compelling to watch, even when they are campy and silly. If you can buy into the premise and suspend logic for a couple of hours, you’ll have a frightfully good time.

5. The Ritual

  • Released in: 2017
  • IMDb Rating: 6.3/10
  • Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 86%

You don’t expect much with the done-to-death plot of The Ritual. It’s about four estranged friends who reunite for a hiking trip, and are forced to go off the trail for a shortcut when one of them is injured. As you’d expect, there’s something evil in the woods.

But the place makes a difference here. Director David Bruckner sets the movie in Sweden, whose dreary skies and chilling winters add a lot of atmosphere. And it also lets Bruckner explore a new type of evil: Scandinavian mythology.

6. The Sixth Sense

  • Released in: 1999
  • IMDb Rating: 6.3/10
  • Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 86%

At this point, you’ve probably watched The Sixth Sense, or at least heard about its big plot twist at the end. So should you still watch it? The answer is a resounding Yes. Director M. Night Shyamalan’s story about a boy who can talk to ghosts, and the therapist trying to help him, is a classic.

The film still has plenty of scenes designed to give you the heebie-jeebies, and there are jump scares and chills in equal measure. Haley Joel Osment gives the performance of a lifetime as the boy who sees dead people, and The Sixth Sense is worth watching over and over.

7. The Witch

  • Released in: 2015
  • IMDb Rating: 6.8/10
  • Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 91%

The Witch, stylized on the posters as “The VVitch” to add intrigue, is a slow-builder but definitely worth the wait. The Witch is a period horror film set in 1630s New England. Debutant writer-director Robert Eggers is one to watch out for.

A family is banished by their village to live near the spooky woods, and strange things start happening. One of the daughters goes missing, and the family thinks the teenage daughter Thomasin is a witch who is responsible for everything. Without resorting to too many jump scares, the slow-building horror and creepy atmosphere will make you turn on the lights before the end.

8. The Gift

  • Released in: 2015
  • IMDb Rating: 7.1/10
  • Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 92%

You don’t always need something supernatural to make a good horror film. Humans are scary enough, as you will find out with The Gift, a psychological thriller with plenty of truly creepy moments. The strong star-cast of Jason Bateman, Rebecca Hall, and Joel Edgerton deliver performances that’ll keep you on the edge of your seat.

It’s difficult to describe The Gift without spoiling it. Bateman and Hall are married, and Edgerton is an old acquaintance of Bateman who shows up unannounced. Strange gifts are given, secrets are revealed, and no one’s lives will be the same ever again.

9. Hellraiser

  • Released in: 1987
  • IMDb Rating: 7.0/10
  • Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 63%

Clive Barker is a legend in the world of horror films. His greatest creation can be streamed on Netflix right now. With nine films in the franchise, it’s high time you dived into Hellraiser.

The movie introduces monsters called cenobites, that would be used by Barker in several other films and novels. They take on the corpses of mutilated humans, with the most famous of them being their leader, Pinhead. The plot is about the resurrection of a man named Frank and how a girl called Kristy tries to help him. But really, the frights are all about the cenobites and Pinhead.

Once you finish with the original, queue up Hellraiser 2 and any other sequels you can find online. Hellraiser is the perfect series for people keen on binge-watching movie marathons.

10. Children of the Corn

  • Released in: 1984
  • IMDb Rating: 5.6/10
  • Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 38%

Based on Stephen King’s short story of the same name, Children of the Corn is one of the creepiest films you’ll ever watch. Let’s be clear, it’s not a particularly good film, nor is it that horrifying. But the “creepiness” is dialed up to 11.

In a small rural town, a boy convinces all of the other children to murder each and every adult. After they finish the massacre, they follow the boy’s every word. And he, in turn, follows the word of a supernatural force, known only as “He Who Walks Behind The Rows”. When a young adult couple ride into town looking for help, they’ll need to do everything in their power to stay alive.

More Scary Stuff to Watch on Netflix

You can use this list any way you want. Pick one based on the IMDb rating or the Rotten Tomatoes rating, watch them in order of release date, or just pick one at random. And if you’ve seen all of these movies already, Netflix has plenty of other fare for horror buffs, like these scary movies that are full of frights.

It’s also a good idea to look beyond horror movies. We’re in the age of binge-watching TV series, so why restrict yourself to films alone? Whether you use Netflix or other streaming services, go frighten yourself with the scariest TV shows to watch over Halloween.

Read the full article: The 10 Best Horror Movies to Watch on Netflix

The 4 Best Gaming PCs Under $500

best-gaming-pc-under

You don’t have to spend a huge amount on a PC that can play Fortnite or PUBG. In fact, you can even play new games on a budget. Here are your options if you’re looking for the best gaming PC under $500. Can you actually get a good gaming PC for $500? Yes, but it depends on your definition of what a good gaming PC is. If you want to play the latest Call of Duty game at its optimal graphics settings, then no, $500 probably isn’t enough. But if you’re okay with reducing the graphics settings, or optimizing Windows…

Read the full article: The 4 Best Gaming PCs Under $500

best-gaming-pc-under

You don’t have to spend a huge amount on a PC that can play Fortnite or PUBG. In fact, you can even play new games on a budget. Here are your options if you’re looking for the best gaming PC under $500. Can you actually get a good gaming PC for $500? Yes, but it depends on your definition of what a good gaming PC is.

If you want to play the latest Call of Duty game at its optimal graphics settings, then no, $500 probably isn’t enough. But if you’re okay with reducing the graphics settings, or optimizing Windows 10 for gaming, it’s possible. For new games like Fortnite and PUBG, or older games, these $500 gaming PCs will let you play with ease.

The Best AMD Ryzen and Radeon Gaming Desktop
HP Pavilion Gaming 690

HP Pavilion 690 is the best AMD desktop gaming pc under $500

Gaming Computer Desktop PC AMD FX-4300 3.80GHz Quad Core, 8GB DDR3 RAM, 1TB, GTX 750 TI GPU, CD/DVD Drive, Windows 10 PRO Gaming Computer Desktop PC AMD FX-4300 3.80GHz Quad Core, 8GB DDR3 RAM, 1TB, GTX 750 TI GPU, CD/DVD Drive, Windows 10 PRO Buy Now At Amazon $499.99
  • Processor: 3.5 GHz Quad-Core AMD Ryzen 3 2200G
  • Memory: 8GB DDR4 (2666 MHz)
  • GPU: AMD Radeon RX550 with 4GB DDR5 Memory
  • Storage: 1TB HDD
  • Optical Drive: 8x DVD Writer
  • OS: Windows 10
  • Notable Features: Keyboard and mouse included. Good-looking case.

The HP Pavilion Gaming 690 should be the first choice for most people who need a gaming desktop PC at this price. It comes with the popular AMD Ryzen 3 series processor and AMD’s own Radeon RX550 graphics card.

This PC doesn’t boast a particularly impressive list of hardware, but at this price, it’s the best you will find online. Surprisingly, HP’s configuration is even better than some of the lesser-known brands like CyberpowerPC, Skytech, or Panther.

What You Can Expect: Most older games (like GTA V, Battlefield 1) will run well at Medium graphics settings. Fortnite and PUBG will also run fine. However, this system won’t smoothly run newer games like Rise of the Tomb Raider or The Witcher 3.

The Best Cheap Lenovo Gaming Desktop
Lenovo IdeaCentre 720

Lenovo Ideacentre 720 has the best processor among budget gaming CPUs

Lenovo Ideacentre 720 18L Desktop (AMD Ryzen 5-1400, 8GB DDR4, 1TB HDD, Windows 10 Home), 90H10005US Lenovo Ideacentre 720 18L Desktop (AMD Ryzen 5-1400, 8GB DDR4, 1TB HDD, Windows 10 Home), 90H10005US Buy Now At Amazon $460.58
  • Processor: 3.2 GHz Quad-Core AMD Ryzen 5 1400
  • Memory: 8GB DDR4 (2666 MHz)
  • GPU: AMD Radeon R5 340
  • Storage: 1TB HDD
  • Optical Drive: 8x DVD Writer
  • OS: Windows 10
  • Notable Features: The most powerful processor among gaming PCs in this budget range. Keyboard and mouse included.

The Lenovo IdeaCentre 720 has a Ryzen 5 series processor that comes with hyper-threading technology for better gaming. Hyper-threading basically creates virtual cores, so the four-core CPU can act like an eight-core CPU, which boosts performance for things like playing games.

Overall, the performance of this Lenovo unit for games will not be as good as the HP Pavilion 690. But it will be faster for other things like multitasking, browsing the web, and so on.

Please note that the model listed here does not have the Radeon R560 graphics card that many think it comes with. It has the inferior Radeon R5 340 card.

What You Can Expect: Most customer reviews say you can run PUBG, Fortnite, and Overwatch at 720p on Low or Medium graphics settings. However, this system won’t smoothly run new games like Rise of the Tomb Raider or The Witcher 3.

The Best Cheap Gaming Desktop With Intel Graphics
Acer Aspire TC-780-ACKI5

Acer made the best intel graphics desktop computer under $500

Acer Aspire Desktop, 7th Gen Intel Core i5-7400, 12GB DDR4, 2TB HDD, Windows 10 Home, TC-780-ACKI5 Acer Aspire Desktop, 7th Gen Intel Core i5-7400, 12GB DDR4, 2TB HDD, Windows 10 Home, TC-780-ACKI5 Buy Now At Amazon $469.99

Over the last few years, Intel’s onboard graphics have become much better, and can actually handle some basic games without needing a dedicated DPU. The Acer Aspire TC-780-ACKI5 has a good combination of a processor and extra RAM to show what’s possible with this.

It has a 7th-generation Intel Core i5 processor, which gives you hyper-threading for additional virtual cores. Acer has also included extra RAM, boosting it to 12GB instead of the standard 8GB you usually get at this budget.

What You Can Expect: The Acer Aspire can run Fortnite and PUBG at 720p on Low graphics settings. However, this system won’t smoothly run new games like Rise of the Tomb Raider or The Witcher 3.

The Best Cheap Gaming Desktop With a Screen
Lenovo IdeaCentre 610s

Lenovo Ideacentre 610s is a cheap gaming pc with a built-in projector

2018 Newest Lenovo Ideacentre 610s Mini Desktop PC with Detachable Wireless Projector Intel Core i5-6400T Quad-Core 2.2GHz 8GB DDR4 1TB HDD NVIDIA GeForce GT 750 WiFi HDMI Bluetooth, Windows 10 2018 Newest Lenovo Ideacentre 610s Mini Desktop PC with Detachable Wireless Projector Intel Core i5-6400T Quad-Core 2.2GHz 8GB DDR4 1TB HDD NVIDIA GeForce GT 750 WiFi HDMI Bluetooth, Windows 10 Buy Now At Amazon $499.00
  • Processor: 2.2 GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i5-6400T
  • Memory: 8GB DDR4 (2133 MHz)
  • GPU: Nvidia GeForce GT 750
  • Storage: 1TB HDD
  • Optical Drive: Not Available
  • OS: Windows 10
  • Notable Features: A free mini projector that fits on top of the case.

Every time we talk about a gaming desktop PC, we don’t include the monitor or the screen. That’s because the best gaming monitors are a different topic altogether. But you can’t really use your PC without a screen, can you? You can either go for a cheap monitor within your budget or try an option like the Lenovo IdeaCentre 610s, which comes with a free projector.

It’s not a great projector and you should only think of it as a stop-gap arrangement until you buy a good monitor. It only projects HD resolution (1280×720 pixels) and has a maximum brightness of 220 lumens. But hey, until you buy a monitor, at least you’ll have a screen.

Even with its dated hardware, the IdeaCentre 610s packs a punch. The Core i5-6400 is still a good processor. The Nvidia GTX 750 is old, but you can’t be too choosy at this price.

Buy this model only if your $500 budget also includes a screen. It’s not even among the best mini PCs, but it serves a specific need for light gaming with a screen at this budget.

What You Can Expect: This PC is only for playing old games. Fortnite and PUBG will run on Low graphics settings. If you’re playing for a long time, the IdeaCentre 610s heats up and you will see the game stutter and lag, so you’ll need to stop playing for a while so that the computer can cool down.

Bonus: Consider Building Your Own Cheap Gaming PC

The Intel Core i3 8100 runs the best gaming PC build under $500

Intel 8th Gen Core i3-8100 Processor Intel 8th Gen Core i3-8100 Processor Buy Now At Amazon $124.99
  • Processor: 3.6GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i3-8100
  • Memory: 8GB DDR4 (2800 MHz)
  • GPU: EVGA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti with 4GB Dedicated Memory
  • Storage: 1TB HDD
  • Optical Drive: Not Available
  • OS: Not Available
  • Notable Features: The best setup you can get at this price, but without Windows.

Assuming you already have a Windows 10 license, all you need now is to build a good gaming PC in your budget. So we put together a shopping list for you.

The two important components for a gaming build are the processor and the graphics card. We’ve gone with the Intel Core i3 8100 since we don’t need integrated graphics here. Intel has edged ahead of AMD here in the Coffee Lake vs. Ryzen battle.

For the GPU, there was only one option that makes sense today: the GTX 1050 Ti, which will provide decent performance for most games.

We’ve put together a full list of parts on PC Part Picker, so you can easily order the components and build your own PC from scratch.

What You Can Expect: All games will run on this, but newer games like The Witcher 3 and Rise of the Tomb Raider will be at Medium settings. Older or less-intensive games like Fortnite and Counter-Strike will be smooth.

Note: The Cost of Windows 10

Windows 10 license raises the cost of building your own budget PC

Something to consider when building your own gaming PC is the cost of Windows 10. It’s the operating system that supports the widest variety of games, but it will cost you.

No matter which way you get a legal and cheap Windows license, you will have to pay about $80 minimum.

This is why it can actually work out cheaper to get a pre-assembled PC. Microsoft gives mass Windows license deals to companies, which cuts their costs. The end result is that your self-build might actually cost more than a pre-built model from HP or Lenovo.

In other words, when it comes to budget builds, it’s not always cheaper to build your own PC.

There Are Also Games Consoles…

As you can see from the list above if you’re looking to play PC games on the cheap you have a few choices. But the gaming performance you’ll get on a gaming PC costing under $500 is nowhere near what the current-generation consoles can offer.

For $250, you can get a PlayStation 4 Slim or Xbox One S. And both of those consoles offer a better gaming experience than any of the computers in this guide. Unless you specifically want to play games with a keyboard and mouse, consider buying a dedicated games console instead.

Read the full article: The 4 Best Gaming PCs Under $500

The 5 Best Email Signature Generators to Make Your Mails Pop

email-signatures

You must have seen some impressive email signatures by now, complete with the sender’s picture, company details, contact details, and little icons for social media. Want to make your own? It’s easier than you think, especially if you use these great email signature apps. An email signature is important. It makes your messages seem more professional and often saves you the trouble of back-and-forth emails. If someone you’ve emailed needs your office address or phone number, they can find it by checking past messages. There are a few basic things you need to create the perfect email signature. It helps…

Read the full article: The 5 Best Email Signature Generators to Make Your Mails Pop

email-signatures

You must have seen some impressive email signatures by now, complete with the sender’s picture, company details, contact details, and little icons for social media. Want to make your own? It’s easier than you think, especially if you use these great email signature apps.

An email signature is important. It makes your messages seem more professional and often saves you the trouble of back-and-forth emails. If someone you’ve emailed needs your office address or phone number, they can find it by checking past messages.

There are a few basic things you need to create the perfect email signature. It helps to know HTML, or how to format in rich text. But you don’t need any of that if you use the right app. You can get minute customizations, plenty of templates, and even email tracking through these free websites and extensions to make your own email signature.

Signature Maker (Web): Simplest Way to Create Email Signatures

signature maker is easiest online app to create email signature for any client

Signature Maker is the easiest way to create an email signature that you can use in any email client of your choice. It looks quite basic, but if this is the first time you’re making a signature, it’s good for beginners.

The Basic tab has a few empty boxes to fill the details you need: name, job title, company name, company website, postal address, email address, phone number, and a link to your photo or avatar.

Switch to the Social tab to add links to your social profiles. You’ll need to put the full link, not just your handle. For example, I would write “https://twitter.com/mihirpatkar” (without the quotes) not just @mihirpatkar. To make it easier, go to your social profile, copy the link, and paste it in the appropriate field.

As you update Signature Maker, it will update details in the preview. Once you’re done, click “Highlight and Select” and paste it in your email app’s signature settings. If you don’t know how, check our guides for Gmail and Outlook:

Si.gnatu.re (Web): Add a Footnote, and Customize Colors, Fonts, and Layout

si.gnatu.re is easy app for signatures that customizes layout

Signature Maker is the basic level of making an email signature. The next step is to level up with Si.gnatu.re, which lets you customize several aspects of how the signature would look. And it lets you add a footnote.

You start with your contact details, most of which also have the option of adding an icon or a text label. Si.gnatu.re also adds a Google Maps link to your address. The social tab only needs your handle this time, not your full web link. You can also add a logo, a profile photo, and a banner image too.

Footnotes are generally functional to add disclaimers to your emails. But they are also a cool way to add more to your signature than contact details. You can throw in witty jokes, motivational quotes, or a simple message that changes from time to time.

Finally, you can customize how the signature looks. Si.gnatu.re gives you minute control over the width, placement of items, fonts, colors, and icons, so that you can get everything to match your company’s colors too.

Mail Signatures (Web): Lots of Free Email Signature Templates

Create a free customizable email signature with Mail Signatures

If you don’t have much design sense, you shouldn’t really be changing the layout you get in these apps. The better way is to use a template. Mail Signatures hosts a range of signature templates, so you can pick the one that’s best for your needs.

You can filter the signatures by columns (one, two, or three) as well as the content you need (banners, disclaimers, graphics, logos, photos, and social icons). Once you find something you like, click “Edit Signature” to start turning it into your own pro email signature.

Mail Signatures also lets you choose your favorite email platform in advance, so you know that it can customize each bit of the signature accordingly. Choices include Outlook, Outlook 365, Exchange Server, Exchange Online, Gmail, and Thunderbird.

It’s easy, it’s free, and it’s perhaps the best way for most people to create a professional signature without any HTML or design chops.

Email Signature Rescue’s Examples (Web): Inspirations for Custom Signatures

Beautiful email signature examples

We have apps that let you customize each part of your signature, and we have apps that come with templates. But if you want to stand out, you should create your own signature.

For a bit of inspiration as to what you can do with email signatures, turn to this page from Email Signature Rescue. It collects over 200 different examples of different types of beautiful signatures. Some have buttons with direct links to download an app, while others feature minimalistic design. There is something different for each type of job, much like how you can have business cards for every type of profession.

As for the app itself, Email Signature Rescue is excellent, but it’s better for companies and businesses with a large number of employees. This paid app has a few tricks to apply a signature to every employee’s email and keep it updated when the firm changes its address, web page, social links, or banners.

Mailcastr (Web, Chrome, Android): Signatures With Email Tracking

Mailcastr is more than a simple signature maker. Let’s say you’ve sent an important email. But how do you know when the person has actually opened and read it? Email tracking apps can tell you this information. And Mailcastr does that as part of the signature itself.

Making the signature is actually simple and easy. Once you’re done, get the Chrome extension. When you send an email, Mailcastr will automatically track it. The free version of the app tracks up to five emails a day or 150 emails per month.

If you want more than that, go for the paid version that costs $3 per month. It has unlimited email tracking, and it lets you create multiple signatures. Before every email, you can choose which signature to add. This is terrific if you run multiple businesses, or want different signatures for personal and professional messages while using the same email address.

Mailcastr also has an Android app that can add signatures and track read receipts. You’ll need to send emails from that app though, you can’t use Gmail or Outlook on Android.

Download: Mailcastr for Chrome | Android (Free)

Aim to Get a Reply to Emails

With one of these tools, you’ll make a great email signature. But that is only one part of the puzzle when it comes to writing a professional email. If your goal is to get your email read and maybe seek further action, then you can’t stop at the signature, you need to do more.

It matters how you write your email. It matters how you format it. It matters whether you are too long or too short. And for all of these tips and tricks to compose messages, there are apps to get a reply on your email.

Read the full article: The 5 Best Email Signature Generators to Make Your Mails Pop

How to Watch Everything on Netflix No Matter Where You Live

netflix-everywhere

For anyone who loves movies and TV shows, Netflix is a must-have. The video streaming giant is available in 190 countries. Unfortunately, the library isn’t the same everywhere. But there are a few tricks to get access to those other libraries. You might be surprised to find that Netflix has different movies and TV shows available for streaming in different countries. In this article, we explore why Netflix content differs from country to country, and how you can watch everything on Netflix regardless of where you live. Why Does the Netflix Library Differ? According to Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, the Netflix…

Read the full article: How to Watch Everything on Netflix No Matter Where You Live

netflix-everywhere

For anyone who loves movies and TV shows, Netflix is a must-have. The video streaming giant is available in 190 countries. Unfortunately, the library isn’t the same everywhere. But there are a few tricks to get access to those other libraries.

You might be surprised to find that Netflix has different movies and TV shows available for streaming in different countries. In this article, we explore why Netflix content differs from country to country, and how you can watch everything on Netflix regardless of where you live.

Why Does the Netflix Library Differ?

According to Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, the Netflix library or catalogue differs in each country because of territorial licensing. Here’s how it works.

The producers of any movie or TV show want to maximize profits from their product. So they license their creation to different content distributors in different parts of the world. Naturally, the highest bidder wins the rights.

For the sake of an example, let’s talk about Star Wars, one of the best geek movies of all time. As a distributor (yes, streaming content counts as “distributing”), Netflix has to decide if enough people in the US, the UK, India, and other regions will watch Star Wars to recover the expense of buying the rights.

If Netflix’s research shows an interest for Star Wars in the US but not in India, then it will buy the Star Wars territorial license for the US but not for India. So US Netflix users will be able to watch Star Wars, but Indian Netflix users will not.

If Netflix’s research shows an interest for Star Wars in both the US and India, it will then bid for the territorial license for both regions. However, some other distributor might offer a higher price for the Indian territorial license, or perhaps already have the license. Then, once again, US Netflix users will be able to watch Star Wars, but Indian users will not.

In short, audience interest and territorial licensing determine why the Netflix library varies depending from region to region.

Netflix is trying hard to secure global availability of all the content on Netflix so that geographic restrictions go away. But that will take some time. So, at least for now, different countries will have access to different Netflix libraries.

How to Watch Netflix From a Different Country

how to watch netflix anywhere

The good news is that it’s actually pretty easy to watch the Netflix library from a different country. Our ultimate guide to Netflix notes that you can access any country’s library by using virtual private networks (VPNs). There’s also another technology called DNS tunnelling or Smart DNS. Both routes serve the same end purpose: they make Netflix think your device is in a different region to the one you are actually in.

These methods have some limitations though. For instance, you won’t be able to use a Chromecast to relay Netflix from your phone to your TV. The speed of buffering and streaming might also be adversely affected through these methods. However, on the flip side, you’ll have a larger video library than ever before.

Using Netflix With a VPN

We have previously made the case for using VPNs instead of proxy DNS. But the biggest point in the favor of VPNs is how easy it is to get started.

Netflix is available on all platforms, which gives you some freedom in choosing a reputable VPN that works for you. (Netflix is vigilant about VPN usage and blocks most free VPNs, but many paid VPN services still work.) The process is the same for all of them:

  1. Install and switch on your VPN.
  2. In the VPN, choose the country whose Netflix library you want to browse.
  3. Open the Netflix app or go to the Netflix website.
  4. Enjoy that country’s Netflix catalog.

Not all paid VPNs are equal. For the best chance of success, we recommend using ExpressVPN (use this link to get up to 49% off).

Using Netflix With Smart DNS

With things like YouTube, it’s better to use Smart DNS services to watch region-blocked video. But Netflix has made it harder than ever to use Smart DNS to access another country’s catalogue.

The advantage of using this technology is that unlike VPN, Smart DNS does not route data through an intermediary server between you and Netflix, so it’s faster. This is especially evident with high-quality streams like 4K videos.

But unlike VPNs, your options are severely limited if you want to use a Smart DNS for Netflix. The only one that still works is Smart DNS Proxy, and that too supports mainly the U.S. and Canadian Netflix catalogs.

Right now, unless you have some specific other reasons apart from Netflix to pay for Smart DNS Proxy, we recommend paying for a good VPN instead.

How to Find What’s Available in Netflix Regions

uNoGS is a universal search engine for Netflix catalogues in any country

So, now you know how to access Netflix from other countries, but that still leaves one problem. How do you search for a movie to know which country’s Netflix you can stream it on? That’s where uNoGS comes in.

This web app searches Netflix libraries across the world. One quick search and the service will tell you which country’s library you need to change your VPN or DNS to.

You can filter your search results by IMDb rating, the year the film was released in, the genre, and other categories. And of course, you can choose which of the 28 countries on offer you want to search in.

Visit: uNoGS 

Which VPNs Work With Netflix?

Netflix is routinely cracking down on VPNs, making it difficult to bypass regional licensing. So while the methods listed above work right now, we cannot guarantee they will work forever. However, we do regularly check on what methods are still functioning, so it’s worth bookmarking this article.

Overall, Express VPN and Private VPN are among our favorite options. The first always works with Netflix US, which is one of the best catalogs among all countries. And Private VPN supports the most number of countries for Netflix libraries. You can try either of them with a free trial, or check our updated list to find which VPNs still work with Netflix.

Read the full article: How to Watch Everything on Netflix No Matter Where You Live

5 PowerPoint Add-Ins and Sites for Free Templates to Make Beautiful Presentations

Microsoft PowerPoint is the most popular tool to make presentations on a computer. But if you haven’t mastered it, you will need a little help going from a blank page to a stunning slideshow. These free apps and sites will make that happen for you. Before you jump into any of these, it’s best if you familiarize yourself with the basics of PowerPoint. Our guide will teach you how to use the ribbon or toolbar, how to create slides, add notes, and even how to use templates. Once you know these basics, you can move on to slightly more advanced…

Read the full article: 5 PowerPoint Add-Ins and Sites for Free Templates to Make Beautiful Presentations

Microsoft PowerPoint is the most popular tool to make presentations on a computer. But if you haven’t mastered it, you will need a little help going from a blank page to a stunning slideshow. These free apps and sites will make that happen for you.

Before you jump into any of these, it’s best if you familiarize yourself with the basics of PowerPoint. Our guide will teach you how to use the ribbon or toolbar, how to create slides, add notes, and even how to use templates.

Once you know these basics, you can move on to slightly more advanced PowerPoint principles, like using add-ins to expand its abilities or downloading free templates from other sites.

The Noun Project Add-In (Windows, macOS): Free, Royalty-Free Icons and Emojis

The Noun Project add-in for Powerpoint gives free icons and emojis

The Noun Project is a collection of over a million icons and emojis that are available for anyone to use for free. You can even legally use the icons for commercial purposes. And a simple add-in lets you use these in PowerPoint.

It’s simple to install the PowerPoint add-in, after which you can start using it. Start The Noun Project and you’ll see a bunch of icons in the sidebar on the right, Drag and drop as you want, and you can even change the size. All icons also come in nine colors: black, white, and the seven colors of the rainbow.

The free version of The Noun Project add-in gives you access to 100 icons. To access the full library, you’ll need to buy a NounPro account. But that account is valid for more than PowerPoint, and you can use those icons anywhere you want.

You can only use The Noun Project add-in on the Windows and macOS versions of Microsoft PowerPoint. It doesn’t work on Android or iOS.

Download: The Noun Project for Microsoft Office (Free)

LiveSlides (Windows, macOS): Embed Any Web Media in Slides

It’s easy to embed a YouTube video in PowerPoint, but Microsoft doesn’t make it as simple to add other types of web-based media. If it’s a tweet or a web page that you want to update live, you’ll need an add-in called LiveSlides.

LiveSlides makes it simple enough for anyone to add a web page by simply copy-pasting the link. It works with a wide variety of sites, including YouTube, Vimeo, Twitter, Poll Everywhere, Google Calendar, Outlook Calendar, Google Maps, Asana, Google Docs, and other popular web apps. And it’s free.

The live nature of the add-in makes it special to embed any media in a PowerPoint slide. You can actually embed your company’s Twitter profile in a presentation, and send a tweet from your phone which auto-updates on the big screen. It also works with websites, in case you want to make changes to the backend and show a client their new web page.

You will need to register to download LiveSlides for Windows or macOS. It also works with Keynote on Mac, but we haven’t tested that.

Download: LiveSlides for Microsoft PowerPoint (Free)

Pslides (Web): Download Free PowerPoint Templates

Pslides has free templates for powerpoint

Microsoft already preloads a bunch of free templates in PowerPoint, but you can always download and add more. Pslides is an excellent repository of different types of templates, most of which are free.

To quickly filter the free ones, click the Free PowerPoint Templates category. There are still about 150 templates of different types. You can get slides to show a beautiful competitive analysis, create Venn diagrams to make your point, or show a simple task planner for how the project will progress.

Load any template into PowerPoint and you can edit it in the usual ways: click the text boxes, change the colors, add or delete items and images, and so on.

Like Pslides, there are plenty of other places to find free PowerPoint templates, so don’t forget to check the site before you spend hours creating your own slides.

Peetch (Windows, macOS): Free, Customizable PowerPoint Templates for Entrepreneurs

Animated GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Peetch is a deck of slides for developers and entrepreneurs who want to showcase their big idea in the language that venture capitalists understand. You don’t need PowerPoint smarts if you use Peetch.

The 42 slides are divided into intro, problem, your solutions, market, data, team, and roadmap. Each of the slides has excellent fine-tuning abilities so you can match it to your idea. For example, you can create beautiful mock-ups of how your app will look on a phone, tablet, or laptop screen. You can customize the color scheme to your design principles, or add a bunch of data and turn it into stunning graphs.

While the whole idea of Peetch is about entrepreneurs, the slide deck is actually useful for any manager or project leader. The slides are universally useful, so try them out. And if you want a bit more, check other free templates for project presentations.

A Non-Designer’s Guide to Creating Memorable Visual Presentations (Free eBook)

Download free ebook to learn how to make beautiful powerpoint presentations

No matter which add-ins and sites you use, none of those will help if you don’t know how to make a visually memorable presentation. So Visme, one of the best free PowerPoint alternatives, put together a little guide on how to create a good-looking slideshow.

The 120-page guide takes you through a series of steps on how to think visually when you’re creating your project’s plan, the different ways to present the main message, and how to design the slides.

You can download the full guide as a free ebook from Visme, but you’ll need to sign up for the newsletter to get it. Don’t worry, you can immediately save the ebook and then unsubscribe from the newsletter or send it to the trash folder.

Download: A Visual Guide to Creating Presentations (Free)

It’s All About Practice

With the help of these sites, guides, and add-ins, you should be able to create a gorgeous presentation that wows your audience. But that’s only one part of a successful presentation. You still need to stand up and deliver the whole thing.

Visme’s ebook guide has a few tips to prepare a professional presentation in person, but the one thing you need to remember above all else is to practice it in advance. Don’t wing it. That practice will help you speak at the right pace and know which slides are good or need to be changed.

Read the full article: 5 PowerPoint Add-Ins and Sites for Free Templates to Make Beautiful Presentations

10 Nightmarish Netflix Movies Full of Jump Scares

nightmarish-netflix

Jump scares are those moments in films where everything has gone quiet and dark, and a sudden sound or movement jolts you out of your seat. Jump scares can provide cheap thrills or genuine frights, but no matter how they’re used, they’re always entertaining. Some horror filmmakers abhor the tactic and instead focus on building atmospheric tension. But most are happy to embrace the technique, giving the audience the uncontrollable shriek they are waiting for. There are some great horror films on Netflix, but this list is all about those nightmarish movies full of jump scares designed to keep you at…

Read the full article: 10 Nightmarish Netflix Movies Full of Jump Scares

Jump scares are those moments in films where everything has gone quiet and dark, and a sudden sound or movement jolts you out of your seat. Jump scares can provide cheap thrills or genuine frights, but no matter how they’re used, they’re always entertaining.

Some horror filmmakers abhor the tactic and instead focus on building atmospheric tension. But most are happy to embrace the technique, giving the audience the uncontrollable shriek they are waiting for.

There are some great horror films on Netflix, but this list is all about those nightmarish movies full of jump scares designed to keep you at the edge of your seat…

1. The Babadook

  • Released in: 2014
  • IMDb Rating: 6.8/10
  • Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 98%

Children often ask us about the monster under the bed or tell tales about the man in the cupboard. As adults, we do our best to convince them it’s just their imagination. But what if the vivid dreams of a child about a mysterious dark force are true? What would you do if the Babadook, a sinister shadow-like creature, is really coming after you?

That’s the question single mom Amelia has to face. Should she believe her son Samuel and his violent dreams, or should she remain rational?

This is likely to make our list of cult favorites on Netflix in the future. The Babadook had a lukewarm reception when it first released in Australia, but it has since garnered critical acclaim and a strong following among horror buffs.

2. V/H/S/2

  • Released in: 2013
  • IMDb Rating: 6.1/10
  • Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 70%

The “found footage” genre is a favorite in horror movies, popularized by the likes of The Blair Witch Project. If that’s what you’re in the mood for, V/H/S/2 might be perfect for you.

The film attempts something unique. It has seven different directors shooting seven short segments, all of which tie together to make one narrative. This includes some big names, like the director of The Raid, the writer of Grindhouse, and so on. Subsequently, V/H/S/2 struggles to build an atmosphere of terror. But it delivers jump scares in spades.

3. The Conjuring

  • Released in: 2013
  • IMDb Rating: 6.6/10
  • Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 86%

The Conjuring is already being touted as a classic horror flick, even though it wasn’t released that long ago. Director James Wan delivers the perfect treatment on one of the oldest storylines in horror movies: a family movies into a new farmhouse in the middle of nowhere, and creepy things start to happen. As usual, people who know about the supernatural (paranormal investigators, in this case) come to their rescue.

While it’s not a typical “jump scare” movie, Wan uses the classic trick to good effect throughout the film. There are a dozen such moments, according to Where’s The Jump, but I’m pretty sure you’ll be frightened more often than that. It’s what makes this one of the best scary movies on Netflix.

4. The Lazarus Effect

  • Released in: 2015
  • IMDb Rating: 5.2/10
  • Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 14%

After making a documentary like Jiro Dreams of Sushi, you wouldn’t expect director David Gelb to dive into horror. But he is full of surprises in The Lazarus Effect, which is as creepy as they come.

Olivia Wilde and Mark Duplass star as medical researchers who have figured out how to resurrect dead animals. But a terrible accident claims Wilde’s life, and in his grief, Duplass decides to bring her back to life. It’s a success. Only the being that has come back to life seems to be losing Wilde’s soul and possessed by something much, much darker.

5. Creep

  • Released in: 2014
  • IMDb Rating: 6.2/10
  • Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 96%

Sometimes, the scariest thing in the world isn’t a demon or a monster or a ghost. It’s a human. A man who anyone would think is normal if you saw him walking down the road. Mark Duplass and Patrick Brice write and star in Creep, which lives up to its name.

Josef is dying of a terminal illness and wants to record messages for his soon-to-be-born son. He puts out an ad on Craigslist to find a videographer. A guy named Aaron shows up. What follows is a slow unravelling of Josef’s life, that gets creepier and creepier, while Aaron continues to shoot. The jump-scare dial is turned up to 11 in this one.

6. Friend Request

  • Released in: 2016
  • IMDb Rating: 5.3/10
  • Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 17%

Laura is a typical popular college student. She gets tons of friend requests on Facebook, and she’s happy to add everyone. But it’s one acceptance too many, and she unfriends Marina for being creepy. Laura didn’t expect how creepy things would get, as Marina commits suicide, and mysterious videos start appearing on Laura’s profile. Things get worse when Laura’s friends start dying.

The plot of Friend Request is quite silly, but it’s the perfect sort of movie to watch with your friends for a jump-scare delight. It was never going to win any Oscars, but if you can’t have fun with something like this, you might want to go for one of the other best horror films for geeks where technology takes an evil twist.

7. Viral

  • Released in: 2016
  • IMDb Rating: 5.5/10
  • Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 54%

Emma and her little sister Stacey’s day starts off with unexpected freedom when their town is quarantined for an infection, with their parents outside the border. But the revelry soon turns sour when the virus starts affecting their friends and family. Emma has to do everything she can to keep Stacey safe, and that means everything.

Everything about Viral is something you’ve seen before if you’re a fan of horror movies. But that’s part of the fun. The jump scares are telegraphed way in advance, but if you love your jump scares, give in to the moment and let them hit you.

8. Hush

  • Released in: 2016
  • IMDb Rating: 6.6/10
  • Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 100%

Do you want to stay awake all night? Watch Hush with the lights out and the curtains open. You’ll wait up all night with a baseball bat, lest a man wearing a freaky mask shows up at your window.

When deaf writer Maddie sees one such man, she needs to figure out how to survive. She’s in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by woods, and this psychopath serial killer has made his intentions quite clear. Hush is a creepy experience of the hunter-prey game, where the prey is disadvantaged with a hearing disability that you, as a viewer, start empathizing with as you watch.

Count the number of times you’ll be jolted out of your seat. If it’s under 10, you’re a braver soul than most.

9. Demonic

  • Released in: 2015
  • IMDb Rating: 5.3/10
  • Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 33%

It’s well known that you shouldn’t go to the Livingston House. Evil resides there. But that doesn’t stop six idiots from performing a seance in the place. In the course of events that followed, three died, one survived, and two went missing. It’s now to up Detective Mark Lewis and psychologist Dr. Elizabeth Klein to figure out what happened, rescue the missing people, and ensure that the house does not claim any more lives.

Demonic tries to go beyond the usual plotline by including a few twists and turns, including a surprise ending. It won’t work for everyone, but you get plenty of jump scares along the way to keep you entertained.

10. Last Shift

  • Released in: 2014
  • IMDb Rating: 5.7/10
  • Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 100%

A new police officer, Jessica Loren, has to stay alone at the station while waiting for a team to collect some bio-hazardous material. The station is the infamous location where a cult leader and his followers killed themselves, and now haunt the premises. It’s about to be the worst shift of Loren’s life.

Last Shift gets a lot of love from jump scare movie fans, and for good reason. The plot, dialog, and acting isn’t much to write about. But the jump scares are handled as perfectly as you’d want: a slow build-up, creepy silence, followed by a genuine fright. Even when you know the jump scare is coming, you’ll still get that jolt.

It’s Not Just Scary Movies Any More

Jump scare movies are made for Halloween. If you want a spooky night on All Hallow’s Eve, grab a tub of popcorn, switch off the lights, and start streaming one of these films on Netflix.

However, a movie only gives you an hour or two of frights. Those who are ready to stay up all night need more than that. Which is where the scariest TV shows to binge-watch prove their worth.

Read the full article: 10 Nightmarish Netflix Movies Full of Jump Scares

How to Find the Best Instagram Hashtags for More Likes & Followers

instagram-hashtags

The humble hashtag is an integral part of Instagram. Using hashtags is how your photos show up in the “Discover” tab, it’s how other people can find pictures, and it leads to more likes. But you probably need some help using the right hashtags. To an Instagram newbie, the culture of cryptic hashtags is difficult to understand. What’s a #tbt or a #f4f? What does someone mean by #LikeForLike or #Instagood? Knowing what hashtags mean, and which hashtags are used regularly for certain topics like pets or food, can help hone your hashtag strategy. Starting With the Hottest Instagram Hashtags…

Read the full article: How to Find the Best Instagram Hashtags for More Likes & Followers

instagram-hashtags

The humble hashtag is an integral part of Instagram. Using hashtags is how your photos show up in the “Discover” tab, it’s how other people can find pictures, and it leads to more likes. But you probably need some help using the right hashtags.

To an Instagram newbie, the culture of cryptic hashtags is difficult to understand. What’s a #tbt or a #f4f? What does someone mean by #LikeForLike or #Instagood? Knowing what hashtags mean, and which hashtags are used regularly for certain topics like pets or food, can help hone your hashtag strategy.

Starting With the Hottest Instagram Hashtags

top 100 hashtags on instagram right now

Before you figure out a strategy, you first need to understand which hashtags are the most popular on Instagram. Top Hashtags provides a list of the top 100 Instagram hashtags ever used. You can see how many millions of photos are tagged similarly. Even remembering a selection of these might give you a headstart.

One of our favorite lesser-known Instagram tricks is to use the autocomplete feature to get better hashtags. When you start typing a hashtag, Instagram will give you suggestions to complete it, along with the number of times that tag has been used. Obviously, the more popular a tag is, the better your chances are of getting noticed. Remember that the 100th most popular tag has about 60 million posts, so if you find a number close to that, you’re golden.

Finding the Best Hashtags by Topic

Display Purposes automatically finds the best instagram hashtags for you

The hashtags you use for a photo of your dog playing fetch can’t be the same tags used for a plate of delicious dessert. So how do you find hashtags related to a certain topic? Well, you need to always see the tags others are using, of course. But no one said you can’t use a cheat sheet to help you out.

Head to Display Purposes, and type a word or two about the photo you’re uploading. For example, you might type “dog” and “pets”, and then hit search. The web app will immediately make a list of 30 popular hashtags, which you can tap to copy. It also smartly mixes hashtags so that you don’t get repetitive ones, and are more likely to find hashtags that are growing in popularity.

Display Purposes doesn’t have a mobile app, but you don’t need one anyway. For something like this, it will need to run a web search every time so that you get the latest and greatest hashtags. You’re better off using the website as an app.

Finding Hashtags by Uploading Photos

If you don’t know what to search for, how do you come up with the best hashtag? Try uploading your image to AutoHash, and it will generate keywords based on the picture.

AutoHash uses some smart visual recognition software to analyze your photo and figure out what it is. Then it dives into its database of trending hashtags to match you with the best possible list. It works surprisingly well, especially for common Instagram pictures like food, pets, or travel.

The only issue with AutoHash is that it only recognizes your current GPS location. So if you’ve moved away from where you took the picture, the location hashtag for the photo will be wrong. Make sure you change that.

Download: AutoHash for Android (Free)

Each Day Has Its Own Best Hashtags

One of the worst-kept secrets of Instagram’s hashtags is that each day of the week has its own popular hashtag. Or sometimes multiple ones for each day. Now you’ve probably heard of #ThrowbackThursday, where you post photos from years ago. Using the correct hashtag for other days of the week can give you a similar boost.

Popular Instagram Hashtags for Monday

Use #monday, #mondays, and #manicmonday as regular tags for the day.

Use #mondaymotivation for an inspirational pic to kickstart the week.

Use #mondayblues or #mondaymorning to complain about getting back to the grind.

Use #mondayfunday for photos that show you can have a good time after the weekend.

Use #musicmonday to share your favorite tunes on Instagram or plug a local band playing this week.

Popular Instagram Hashtags for Tuesday

Use #tuesday and #tuesdays as regular tags for the day.

Use #tongueouttuesday to capture a photo of your pooch with their tongue hanging out.

Use #traveltuesday to share a photo of your current or recent trip.

Use #transformationtuesday to showcase your struggle towards your personal goal. This is a great time to make before and after collages with Instagram’s Layout app.

Popular Instagram Hashtags for Wednesday

Use #wednesday, #wednesdays, and #humpday as regular tags for the day.

Use #wellnesswednesday to talk about health and fitness.

Use #winewednesday if you need a glass to get over the hump day and last the week.

Use #wednesdaywisdom to share an inspirational quote or story.

Popular Instagram Hashtags for Thursday

Use #thursday and #thursdays as regular tags for the day.

Use #throwbackthursday and #tbt to share an old photo, reliving a fond memory.

Use #thursdate for a middle-of-the-week date night.

Use #thirstythursday if you’re grabbing a drink.

Use #thankfulthursday to express your gratitude towards someone or something this week.

Popular Instagram Hashtags for Friday

Use #friday, #fridays, and #tgif as regular tags for the day.

Use #flashbackfriday or #fbf if you missed Throwback Thursday, or if you want to post another cherished memory.

Use #fridaynight to show yourself having a good time, along with #fridaynights and #fridayvibes.

Use #fridaynightlights and #fridaynightfootball if you’re posting a picture from a high school football game.

Note: Friday has the largest number of popular hashtags, so you might just find something for yourself through autocomplete. Try out a few combinations!

Popular Instagram Hashtags for Saturday

Use #saturday and #saturdays as regular tags for the day.

Use #saturdaymornings to show how you are spending the first lazy morning of the weekend.

Use #caturday to post your feline friend’s favorite photos. Hey, the internet can’t get enough of cats!

Use #saturdaynight to tell the world how you’re chilling out.

Popular Instagram Hashtags for Sunday

Use #sunday, #sundays, and #sundayfunday as regular tags for the day.

Use #selfiesunday and #sundayselfie to train the camera lens on to yourself and capture that perfect selfie.

Use #sundaybrunch if you’re heading out for a relaxing meal at the start of the day.

Sticking With the 5 Most Relevant Hashtags

Research says five hashtags is the best number for Instagram

Too much of anything can spoil things for everyone. And this is true with hashtags too. Instagram limits users to 30 hashtags per photo, but even that’s a bit too much most times. Research has found that five hashtags is the best number to aim for. You can go up or down a couple, but that’s the ideal. So watch how your photos are doing, and start using the tags that are most successful for you.

If you want to throw in more tags, use this trick: Don’t include the hashtags in your caption, since that clutters up the caption. Instead, make the hashtags your first comment on the photo. That way, your photo is clean while still appropriately labelled.

Strategically Using Uncommon Hashtags

Uncommon and Unusual hashtags get noticed on instagram

Here’s how it works. When you add a hashtag to your photo, that image gets listed in the chronological order of all images with that tag. So if it’s a popular tag, your image will quickly go down the list for people checking out that tag. But if it’s an uncommon tag, then it’ll stay relevant at the top for longer.

It’s difficult to find the balance to reach “uncommon but popular enough”, but after spending some time on Instagram, you should get the hang of it. Remember, unusual Instagram hashtags get noticed too, so have some fun with this.

If You’re an Expert, Flaunt It

Instagram experts and influencers

Don’t forget, Instagram is inherently a social network. And like with any network, it will pay to get in an influencer’s good books. Influencers often look for peers through expertise, so if you are an expert in any field, then add hashtags which showcase that.

Writing specific words that only someone with the same knowledge as you would know, means that only someone with the same knowledge as you would search for that hashtag. And just like that, you might end up making a valuable connection.

Other Ways to Get Noticed on Instagram

Hashtags are an easy and quick way to get on the radar of other people on Instagram. But even if you use them wisely, you can do better. If you really want to get noticed on Instagram, you need to up your game.

There are other successful methods to try, like identifying your own niche, developing a photo style, and connecting with influencers. Read these tips to gain real followers on Instagram and start building an audience.

Read the full article: How to Find the Best Instagram Hashtags for More Likes & Followers

5 of the Fastest USB 3.0 Flash Drives You Should Buy

usb-fast

Our internet speeds are faster than ever. There’s plenty of online storage available for free or cheap prices. As fast as the internet is, it can’t beat the speeds you get from flash drives. Plus, when you have to transfer several gigabytes of data, why would you want to bottleneck your bandwidth? USB flash drives come in all shapes and sizes. But sometimes, all you need is sheer speed—and if that’s the case, here are the best ones you can buy right now. A New Breed of USB Drives Technology has a habit of shrinking in size as the years go…

Read the full article: 5 of the Fastest USB 3.0 Flash Drives You Should Buy

Our internet speeds are faster than ever. There’s plenty of online storage available for free or cheap prices. As fast as the internet is, it can’t beat the speeds you get from flash drives. Plus, when you have to transfer several gigabytes of data, why would you want to bottleneck your bandwidth?

USB flash drives come in all shapes and sizes. But sometimes, all you need is sheer speed—and if that’s the case, here are the best ones you can buy right now.

A New Breed of USB Drives

Usb flash drive

Technology has a habit of shrinking in size as the years go by. And that has happened to an incredible degree with solid state drives (SSDs). You can now actually get these in the same size as USB flash drives.

A solid state drive is different from the memory that most thumb drives use. While they are both basically flash memory, the quality of materials and the construction is much different. Typically, an SSD is of a much higher quality. Without getting into the technical details, here are some notable differences:

  • An SSD-based thumb drive will cost more than a flash memory thumb drive.
  • SSD-based thumb drives have better “fault tolerance”. Fault tolerance is what keeps your data safe when you remove the drive without clicking “Safely Remove” or “Eject” on the screen.
  • SSDs use better quality flash memory, claiming more write cycles than flash memory. In plain English, the SSD will last longer.

Choosing Between SSD and Regular USB Drives

usb-flash-drive-generic2

It’s not a simple choice between the two. From the same manufacturer, an SSD-based thumb drive is faster and better than a regular flash thumb drive. But some flash thumb drives will be as good as low-quality SSD thumb drives too. Also, SSD USB drives cost significantly more than regular flash drives.

As a rule of thumb, here’s what to take away:

  • Buy an SSD-based USB drive if you will use the drive regularly, need quick speeds to transfer data, and use it a little roughly.
  • Buy a regular flash USB 3.0 drive if you are on a budget and need to read data from the drive more than write data to the drive. It’s not slow, mind you. It’s just slower than SSDs. Chances are, you’ll still be fine with the speeds.

Assuming you need a regular flash drive and not an SSD, here are the fastest USB 3.0 or USB 3.1 flash drives.

Fastest Write Speed on a USB Flash Drive: SanDisk Extreme Pro SDCZ880

the overall fastest usb flash drive is the sandisk extreme pro

SanDisk SDCZ880-128G-G46 Extreme PRO 128GB USB 3.1 Solid State Flash Drive SanDisk SDCZ880-128G-G46 Extreme PRO 128GB USB 3.1 Solid State Flash Drive Buy Now At Amazon $62.80
  • Capacity: 128GB, 256GB
  • Advertised Read Speed: 420 MB/s
  • UserBenchmark Read Speed: 297 MB/s
  • Advertised Write Speed: 380 MB/s
  • UserBenchmark Write Speed: 262 MB/s
  • Who should buy it: Anyone looking for the overall “fastest flash drive.”

The SanDisk Extreme Pro cranks up the read and write speeds, and in fact, UserBenchmark ranks it as the fastest write speed. The next best, the Lexar Jumpdrive P10 and the Kingston HyperX Savage, are behind by 30 MB/s or more.

Such fast sequential write speed is best for copying large files; for video editing, for example. Since the SanDisk Extreme Pro comes in two fairly high capacities (128GB and 256GB), it is the best drive for such needs.

Also, if you have a habit of losing the covers or caps off your flash drives, you’ll like this one. The SanDisk Extreme Pro has a sliding mechanism to pop out the USB connector. No cap to lose!

Fastest Read Speed on a USB Flash Drive: Corsair Flash Voyager GTX

Corsair flash voyager gtx has the best read speeds of any flash drive

Corsair Flash Voyager GTX 128GB USB 3.1 Premium Flash Drive Corsair Flash Voyager GTX 128GB USB 3.1 Premium Flash Drive Buy Now At Amazon $55.99
  • Capacity: 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB
  • Advertised Read Speed: 440 MB/s
  • UserBenchmark Read Speed: 380 MB/s
  • Advertised Write Speed: 440 MB/s
  • UserBenchmark Write Speed: 168 MB/s
  • Who should buy it: Those who work with the files directly off a flash drive.

The SanDisk Extreme Pro’s read and write speeds are impressive enough to make it the fastest overall drive, but the Corsair Flash Voyager GTX has a higher read speed. If you work with files directly from the flash drive (without copying them to your hard drive), then this might be a better choice for you.

If your laptop doesn’t have enough free storage space (it’s why you shouldn’t buy a 256GB MacBook), you won’t be copying anything to it. The flash drive is what you work from, and the Voyager GTX’s 380 MB/s speed is ridiculous. Plus it has storage options up to 1TB, so you should have everything you need here.

Fastest Cheap Flash Drive to Install an OS: Kingston DataTraveler 100 G3

The 32GB kingston datatraveler 100 g3 is the fastest cheap flash drive

32GB Kingston (TM) Digital (5 Pack) Data Traveler DT100 G3 3.0 32 GB USB High Speed Flash Drive (DT100G3) With (2) Everything but Stromboli (TM) Lanyards 32GB Kingston (TM) Digital (5 Pack) Data Traveler DT100 G3 3.0 32 GB USB High Speed Flash Drive (DT100G3) With (2) Everything but Stromboli (TM) Lanyards Buy Now At Amazon $47.05
  • Capacity: 32GB x 5 Drives
  • Advertised Read Speed: 100 MB/s
  • UserBenchmark Read Speed: 134 MB/s
  • Advertised Write Speed: N/A
  • UserBenchmark Write Speed: 52.2 MB/s
  • Who should buy it: Those who want cheap flash drives to create bootable installers of operating systems.

You don’t always need a USB flash drive with lots of storage. Sometimes, you need very little storage, but it needs to be fast and cheap. The 32GB Kingston DataTraveler 100 G3 has a brilliant multipack deal for this.

So that’s five separate flash drives, each of which you can turn into a bootable USB from an ISO file. At a cost of $10 per unit, you won’t even feel bad about someone borrowing one of these and never returning it.

Make sure you buy the 32GB variant and not the 16GB model, which also has a multipack deal. The 16GB model’s speeds are far, far lower and so it’s not worth it.

Fastest Flash Drive to Run Portable Linux: Corsair Flash Voyager GTX

The best and fastest flash drive to run Linux is the 128GB Corsair Flash Voyager GTX

Corsair Flash Voyager GTX 128GB USB 3.1 Premium Flash Drive Corsair Flash Voyager GTX 128GB USB 3.1 Premium Flash Drive Buy Now At Amazon $55.99
  • Capacity: 128GB
  • UserBenchmark 4k-Read Speed: 24.4 MB/s
  • UserBenchmark 4k-Write Speed: 49.8 MB/s
  • Who should buy it: Those who run a persistent Linux OS from a Flash drive.

In case you didn’t know, you can run Linux from a USB drive. But the drive you use plays a big part in the performance too. Especially for anyone who runs Linux regularly, the 128GB version of the Corsair Flash Voyager GTX is the one to buy.

There’s a specific reason behind this. When you’re running an OS from a flash drive, a lot of small files are being constantly read, written, and rewritten. This speed, called 4k-Write and 4k-Read, matters more than the fastest sequential speed.

There’s also the question of capacity. It makes little sense to buy a 256GB flash drive to run an operating system from.

And there’s always the consideration of cost. You don’t want to spend too much on something like this.

All of this makes the 128GB variant of the Corsair Flash Voyager GTX the best balanced, fastest flash drive for portable Linux. If you want the actual fastest one, go for the 256GB variant, which increases the 4k-Read and 4k-Write speeds. But don’t go higher than 256GB; the speeds drop after that.

Note: UserBenchmarks actually ranks the Mushkin Ventura Ultra as faster. But closer inspection shows that the Mushkin’s speed rates are not consistent across different conditions, and several users have reported much slower speeds than UserBenchmark’s statistics.

Fastest USB-C Flash Drive: Samsung T5

Samsung T5 is the fastest USB-C flash drive

Samsung T5 Portable SSD - 500GB - USB 3.1 External SSD (MU-PA500B/AM) Samsung T5 Portable SSD - 500GB - USB 3.1 External SSD (MU-PA500B/AM) Buy Now At Amazon Too low to display
  • Capacity: 512GB
  • Advertised Read Speed: 540 MB/s
  • Benchmark Test Read Speed: 500-510 MB/s
  • Advertised Write Speed: 540 MB/s
  • UserBenchmark Write Speed: 470-490 MB/s
  • Who should buy it: Those who have laptops with a USB-C port only.

Several laptops, especially the best ultrabooks, have moved to using only a USB-C port instead of the traditional USB-A port on most flash drives. That means you need a fast flash drive with a USB-C port.

Unfortunately, that limits your options terribly. Flash drives with USB-C aren’t fast. In fact, it’s better to buy one of the other flash drives mentioned in this article, and add a USB-A to USB-C converter.

I’ve refrained from recommending portable SSDs in this article because we’re looking for flash drives, but at this point, it simply does not make sense to get a USB-C flash drive.

You should ditch that though and go for a mini portable SSD.

The Samsung T5 has blazing fast read and write speeds, especially on the Dell XPS 13 and the new MacBooks. The 512GB version is also excellent value for money, given its storage per dollar ratio.

Yes, it’s thicker and not as convenient as a flash drive. But it’s all you should consider, if you don’t want a converter.

For Large Storage Needs, Buy Portable SSDs Instead

The above list of super-fast flash drives should serve the needs of anyone who wants something with 64GB, 128GB, or 256GB capacity. Sure, there are 512GB and 1TB options available too. But I wouldn’t buy those.

For large capacities, especially beyond 512GB, it makes more sense to consider some of the best portable hard drives instead. They offer much better storage-to-price ratios, and the speed can really crank up when you use connectors like Thunderbolt.

Read the full article: 5 of the Fastest USB 3.0 Flash Drives You Should Buy