Want to Learn Something New? Find Cool Skills to Learn With These 5 Websites

Learn New Skills

Learning a new skill is supposed to be easy on the web. But often, we don’t know where to start. Or critically, what to learn. There are beginner guides for almost any skill you can think of. There are MOOCs which can give you a Master’s level education at the cost of a single book. You can get confused faced with the glut of choices on your screen. That’s why you need some help to create your own training plan to learn anything you want to. Use the five websites below to decide on the skills you want to try,…

Read the full article: Want to Learn Something New? Find Cool Skills to Learn With These 5 Websites

Learning a new skill is supposed to be easy on the web. But often, we don’t know where to start. Or critically, what to learn. There are beginner guides for almost any skill you can think of. There are MOOCs which can give you a Master’s level education at the cost of a single book. You can get confused faced with the glut of choices on your screen.

That’s why you need some help to create your own training plan to learn anything you want to. Use the five websites below to decide on the skills you want to try, and hopefully stick with for the long haul.

Learn-Anything (Web)

Learn Anything with interactive mindmaps.

How easy is it to learn something new when the path is laid out for you? Learn-Anything is an Open Source web app that is built on that simple idea. Enter the topic you want to learn more about in the search box. Learn-Anything then creates an interactive mindmap of a few sub-topics with the resources it finds online. This relationship between the topics can be the learning path you follow.

The learning path may or may not be the most efficient step by step way to master a new subject. But it points you to sites, articles, and software you can jump to immediately.

Learn-Anything is community-powered and it is still a work in progress. But take some inspiration from the interactive maps and create some of our own. Also, log in and contribute to the content by adding resources you come across.

Degreed (Web)

The Degree learning feed.

The age of lifelong learning has started. Degreed can be your springboard with its learning pathways. The learning platform helps you construct a personal feed of resources around a topic. Your personal feed can have articles, videos, podcasts, books, and courses. You don’t have to hunt them down yourself as the site’s algorithm curates them for you. But you can also add any material to your profile too.

Think of it as a combination of a Facebook like learning network and place to capture all the best learning materials from anywhere. Use Degreed to follow people who are on similar learning journeys. Organizations can use it as a learning management system. The platform can also be used to track and measure skill improvement.

I would recommend that you also keep an eye on Degreed’s deep dives into specific topics with the Degreed Does Data series. The series takes a complex topic (like Data Science) and breaks down how it will change an industry.

Courseroot (Web)

Courseroot - A MOOC Search engine

Massive Open Online Course platforms like Coursera, Udacity, and Udemy have their own search tool. But Courseroot does a good job of tying them all together (and a few more) under one massive MOOC search engine. The database lists the best courses on offer from the likes of FutureLearn, Springboard, edX, Skillshare, and Khan Academy too.

Search for the subject you want to begin learning. Filter the results according to price, difficulty, certificate quality, duration, and the platform you want to be on. Then, click the blue button to scoot to the source.

But again, you may not know what to study in the first place. Head to the A-Z list of all courses that Courseroot has cataloged. It could even be an arcane skill like Ancient Greek, or cutting edge like Xamarin.

Learney (Web)

Learney for software developers

Learney is a knowledge aggregator that is focused on software developers. It is so far a one-person team with a small community of users supporting it. Software developers have plenty of knowledge nuggets to depend on. Learney distills all that and cuts out the time you would spend hunting and collecting them.

It’s a humble try at connecting software developers to the most valuable knowledge available online. If you are a software developer, then use the Discover page to glance at all the things outside your areas of interest. It may be a new language, a new framework, or new methodologies.

Learney can not only help you expand your skillset but also help you start by cluing you to a learning path if you are still unclear about it.

r/IWantToLearn (Web)

I Want to Learn Subreddit

You can ask the 400,000+ members about any subject you want to know more about, or you can just lurk. The subreddit is all about advice from those who have come before you. As their charter says, it’s about learning a concrete, useful skill, or a form of art, which usually takes time to master.

The sidebar lists several other interesting educational subreddits like r/FrugalLearning if you want to pick up skills without spending a bucketload of money.

Use the search box to find discussions around your topic of interest. You can also lurk efficiently by sorting the threads to the “Top” of all time. You might be amazed that most of us want to learn how to stop procrastinating!

Life Can Get in the Way of Learning

School is failing us. That’s why you need to take your learning in your own hands. A well-laid out plan, a bit of time management, the discipline of a schedule, and a daily dose of unflagging motivation should see you through.

But I know you just might come back to the same old question—what should I learn? How about taking on a new skill as a 30-day challenge and see where it takes you.

Read the full article: Want to Learn Something New? Find Cool Skills to Learn With These 5 Websites

What Is Wish? Is It Safe to Shop Online With Wish?

wish-shopping

If you ever wanted to purchase a smartwatch or a pair of sneakers for under $10, now’s your chance with Wish, the discount store of the web. Browsing Wish is like browsing a store from an alternate universe. With cell phones for $30, and some items even sold for free, you have to wonder if this site’s legitimacy is just wishful thinking. We explore how Wish can offer such low prices and what you can do to avoid scams. What Is Wish? Wish (wish.com) is an online marketplace for anything you can imagine. From hair extensions to selfie lighting, and laptops,…

Read the full article: What Is Wish? Is It Safe to Shop Online With Wish?

wish-shopping

If you ever wanted to purchase a smartwatch or a pair of sneakers for under $10, now’s your chance with Wish, the discount store of the web.

Browsing Wish is like browsing a store from an alternate universe. With cell phones for $30, and some items even sold for free, you have to wonder if this site’s legitimacy is just wishful thinking.

We explore how Wish can offer such low prices and what you can do to avoid scams.

What Is Wish?

Wish (wish.com) is an online marketplace for anything you can imagine. From hair extensions to selfie lighting, and laptops, its inventory seems endless.

Wish Shopping Products List

Since its formation in 2010 by ex-programmers from Google and Yahoo, Wish’s worth has soared to $8.5 billion.

It’s famous for low price tags on so-called expensive items. However, the products don’t come directly from Wish itself; instead, they’re sold by different sellers. Wish only takes a portion of their profits.

Why Are Items so Cheap on Wish?

Head to wish now. See how some items often feature a price that’s crossed out? Wish sellers cut that “original” price down to almost nothing. Keep in mind that sellers have the power to make up whatever original price they want.

For example, take a look at this smartwatch. Its price has been supposedly slashed from $269 to a mere $10:

Wish Shopping Smartwatch

You’re probably wondering why Wish sellers can have such low prices. While many products are made from the cheapest materials available, the low prices also have a lot to do with where most of the products ship from: China.

China’s lenient labor policies allow retailers to produce massive volume of goods for very little cost. Wish products are often shipped by the seller, saving them from maintaining a physical store. The products can also be stored in warehouses owned by Wish and get shipped as soon as a customer places an order.

Searching YouTube for Wish unboxings can give you an idea of Wish’s product quality.

Is Wish Safe and Legit?

Despite its unbelievable prices, Wish is completely legit. That means the $0.50 earbuds you buy will be shipped to your home, but they may or may not work. But hey, it’s only $0.50 right?

Although it’s a legit site, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t any knockoffs. Just use common sense—when you see a designer handbag selling for only $20, you should be skeptical.

In addition to the risks of knockoffs, you should know that some of the items you find on Wish are risky buys. Electronics might be poorly made or clothing might not fit right.

Just like the old saying goes: “You get what you pay for.”

Will Wish Steal My Information?

You’re probably hesitant to type your credit card information on a website that sells a leather watch for $1. The truth is that Wish is just about as safe as any other online retailer.

In order to view products on Wish, you’ll need to make an account. This means inputting your full name and email. Wish also tracks your computer’s IP address, social network information, location, your internet browser, and even the items you click on.

There’s always the possibility of a website being hacked, and Wish is no exception. Concerned about data breaches? Wish itself won’t steal your information. Some may even say that it’s a worthy alternative to Amazon.

Tips for Buying on Wish Safely

So you want to take the plunge and order something from Wish? There are several things you should know before starting your Wish haul.

If you’re familiar with the risks of shopping with AliExpress, you won’t be surprised at the precautions you have to take when ordering from Wish. Take a look at these four tips to ensure you make a safe purchase.

1. Don’t Ignore Reviews

Sometimes it’s okay to take reviews with a grain of salt. Buyers often nitpick an item if it doesn’t mean their specific expectations, so you ignore it.

However, you should not do this on Wish. Wish reviewers will let you know the ugly truth behind that $13 drone you want so bad.

If the reviews on the item you want are mostly negative, you might want to reconsider your plan to purchase it. On the other hand, some items are “Verified by Wish Shoppers.” This means that a product has received positive reviews from customers.

Wish Shopping Verified by Wish Shoppers

2. Be Aware of Long Shipping Times

Used to two-day Amazon Prime shipping? Wish will be your wake-up call.

Wish ships from China. That means it could take a long time to get to your doorstep. Let’s just say that one week is a quick shipping time for Wish. Some users report that their item doesn’t arrive for months after their order.

It’s also possible that your item won’t come at all. According to several complaints, it’s not uncommon for a buyer’s item to never reach their home. Always keep track of your order.

3. Watch Out for Misleading Descriptions

One of the biggest issues on Wish is incorrect product descriptions and images. Descriptions aren’t always accurate and images can make the product look better than it actually is.

In this case, it’s better to pay more attention to customer reviews than the product descriptions.

4. Choose the Right Size

If you’re buying clothing on Wish, make sure to look at the size chart. The small, medium, or large in your country might not correspond with the clothing sizes from Wish.

Since most clothes from Wish come from China, the clothes are often in Asian sizes. Luckily, Wish shows a meter on clothing items that let you know whether it runs large or small.

Wish Shopping Sizes

Be Careful What You Wish For

Wish’s affordable prices make it tempting to go on an all-out shopping spree. While you might want to fill your cart with cheap electronics and jewelry that would typically cost hundreds of dollars, you should second-guess yourself every now and then.

Just like Wish, other online retailers come with a host of possible scams as well. Shop smarter by heeding these tips for avoiding common eBay scams, which can be applied to Wish as well.

Read the full article: What Is Wish? Is It Safe to Shop Online With Wish?

5 of the Best YouTube Channels for Parents

youtube-parents

Raising children can be an overwhelming experience, especially for first-time parents. You might feel totally lost on what to do in certain situations, experience loneliness if you aren’t able to socialize as much, or just be seeking advice from people who have gone through this before. As it turns out, YouTube can be a great resource for parents. You’ll find plenty of channels with fun ideas for entertaining your kids and tackling the everyday challenges of parenthood. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the best YouTube channels for parents… 1. WhatsUpMoms We start with the…

Read the full article: 5 of the Best YouTube Channels for Parents

youtube-parents

Raising children can be an overwhelming experience, especially for first-time parents. You might feel totally lost on what to do in certain situations, experience loneliness if you aren’t able to socialize as much, or just be seeking advice from people who have gone through this before.

As it turns out, YouTube can be a great resource for parents. You’ll find plenty of channels with fun ideas for entertaining your kids and tackling the everyday challenges of parenthood. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the best YouTube channels for parents…

1. WhatsUpMoms

We start with the most popular parenting YouTube channel, which has racked up over 1 billion video views. It releases new videos weekly in several different shows. These include Play for kids’ activities, Mom Hacks that offers tricks, and Eat for great family recipes. You’ll find vlogs and similar content as well.

The above video is from the Eat series. It covers easy snacks for a movie night at home if you’re tired of boring microwave popcorn. The recipes are simple, so you don’t have to be a master cook to whip them up.

In this Play series video, you’ll see a few fun games one of the moms came up with; all of which revolve around numbered stickers. It’s a great way for toddlers to practice fine motor skills and some basic numbers/letters.

As you’ll notice, the videos on WhatsUpMoms are quick, varied, and informative. Every mom should give them a look for some simple ways to make every day a little more fun.

2. St. Louis Children’s Hospital

Recommending that you subscribe to a hospital’s YouTube channel might sound a bit weird, but there’s a surprising amount of content for parents here. You’ll find videos on various parenting topics from toddlers to teenagers, with advice from medical professionals.

The above short clip discusses the differences between the types of ear infections your child could suffer from. Knowing this can help you determine whether it’s a routine infection or has a different cause, and take the appropriate action.

Another video takes a similar quick-fire look briefly at the evolution of the car seats you can expect to use as your child grows up.

Not all of the videos are of professional quality, and most are short. But there’s some good advice here for the puzzling situations you might find yourself in during parenthood. And it’s better to get advice on these topics from qualified professionals rather than random people online.

3. Nick Jr.

YouTube has endless entertainment for kids, but it’s vital for parents to know what their children are watching. If you’re not familiar, YouTube has had issues with creepy videos masquerading as children’s entertainment showing up thanks to the autoplay feature.

Because of this, it’s important to stick to trusted channels for the best kids shows to watch on YouTube.

Take a look around and you’ll find full episodes of popular Nick Jr. shows. This one is a full 11-minute episode of Top Wing, a show where young bird cadets at Top Wing Academy help their community.

If you don’t have time for a full episode, this channel also hosts quick clips from various shows. In the one above, Thomas the Train talks about his trip to China.

Some of Nick Jr.’s channel content is in other languages, so you may have to skip a few videos. But you can rest assured that everything here is appropriate for all ages.

4. The Parenting Junkie

This channel revolves around the “peaceful parenting” method. Avital, the channel host, looks at various aspects of this style of parenting and life and provides advice around it in weekly videos.

One of the best ways to keep a positive attitude in your home is staying thankful. The above video looks at practical ways to raise grateful children and hopefully make that a pattern in their lives.

Busy parents will appreciate this look at how Avital stays so productive. She gives practical ways to get more done every day. Give it a look if you feel like you’ve been stuck in a rut lately.

Of course, this parenting style isn’t for everyone, so you might find it’s not a fit for your family. But there are still some solid suggestions and thinking patterns to consider from this perspective.

5. The Mom’s View

This channel is run by a community of moms who discuss all sorts of aspects of the parenting journey. Some of them are tips videos, others are podcast-style talks, and others still are features on specific topics.

The above video is the hosts’ 2019 kickoff, which makes it a great place to start if you’re new to the channel. It details their plans for The Mom’s View for the coming year, so you’ll know what to expect.

TMV features guests from other channels sometimes, too. This featured clip shows Piper Backholm, another parenting YouTuber, talking about vulnerability. It’s an open and honest look you’ll appreciate if you’re sick of the filtered content you usually see on social media.

Even Parents Can Learn Something From YouTube

If you’re feeling a little lost in your parenting and could use some tips, take a trip to YouTube. Of course, how you parent your children is up to you, so you shouldn’t make any major decisions based on these YouTube channels for parents. However, we’re sure you’ll still find something to enjoy.

As a bonus, the Millennial Moms channel has lots of quality content. However, it hasn’t posted a new video in almost a year, so we didn’t include it above.

For more on this topic, check out the best sites for parenting tips and advice.

Read the full article: 5 of the Best YouTube Channels for Parents

6 Informative Android Sites You Should Bookmark Today

informative-android-sites

Android is a vast, diverse operating system you wish you could explore completely. But with a rapid development cycle, it can a little hard to keep up with. After all, there are millions of apps, customizations, and features to stay familiar with. So get into the nitty-gritty with these six handy websites that every Android user should bookmark. 1. The Android Subreddit: Stay on Top of Every Android Development Reddit’s premier Android community is home to every little Android tip, news, or development you will ever need to know about. With over a million members, the subreddit is always active. And…

Read the full article: 6 Informative Android Sites You Should Bookmark Today

informative-android-sites

Android is a vast, diverse operating system you wish you could explore completely. But with a rapid development cycle, it can a little hard to keep up with.

After all, there are millions of apps, customizations, and features to stay familiar with. So get into the nitty-gritty with these six handy websites that every Android user should bookmark.

1. The Android Subreddit: Stay on Top of Every Android Development

The Android Subreddit

Reddit’s premier Android community is home to every little Android tip, news, or development you will ever need to know about. With over a million members, the subreddit is always active. And you just have to slide down the comments to understand a particular topic or get more insights.

Also, the channel has Telegram and Discord counterparts as well. However, the Android subreddit doesn’t allow personal posts and is not meant for tech support. So if you want help troubleshooting your device, head over to more specific subreddits like r/TeamPixel or r/Samsung.

2. Google Play Deals Subreddit: Catch All the App Deals

The GooglePlayDeals Subreddit

Another page on Reddit you must visit is GooglePlayDeals. The subreddit compiles all the apps or games on the Play Store that are on sale. It always stays up to date, so if there’s a deal which has expired, the post will have a relevant flag for it.

What’s more, it has flags that tell you whether a specific app is popular or new, how long will the deals last, and more.

You can check the original price and the discount right from the listing too. There are tens of thousands of subscribers, so new deals are added often.

3. Google Taste Test: Let Google Find Your Next Homescreen Setup

Google myAndroid Taste Test Demo

The home screen is one of the most critical aspects of your smartphone experience. It’s where you launch apps, perform web searches, check widgets, and much more. But finding the right elements to decorate it the way you prefer can a little challenging. So why not let Google do it for you?

Google offers a nifty web app called Taste Test. The app asks you a set of goofy and relevant questions with multiple choices to understand your taste. Then it suggests the right apps to personalize your homescreen.

You can choose from free alternatives as well. Taste Test also embeds links so that you can quickly download the apps. Plus, there’s a button for sharing the look on various social websites.

Once you’re prepared to take the next step, check out these nine apps for personalizing your Android home screen.

4. Don’t Kill My App: Escape Your OEM’s Erratic AI Optimizations

Don't Kill My App Website

In an effort to boost battery life and performance, Android vendors have begun to adopt a bunch of AI optimizations for their custom skin. While ideally, that should have made your phone much smarter, it has led to a headache in a few cases.

These background power savers can kill your regularly used apps indiscriminately. You might not get your notifications on time (if ever), or apps that require background processes like the alarm clock might just stop working.

However, if you know your way around the settings, you can escape these so-called features. And to do that, we recommend a website simply called Don’t Kill My App.

The website ranks all the Android manufacturers based on how unreliable their algorithms are and the steps you can follow to switch the AI optimizations off. Also, it provides solutions for specific models too in case the usual options don’t function the intended way. What’s more, you can read more on the issues there or contribute if you have discovered a better solution.

5. AOSMark: Check How Consistent an Android OEM’s Update Record Is

AOSMark Check Android OEM Software History

Android phone makers can be notorious when it comes to software updates. Some only pay attention to their latest models, some take ages to push new firmware out, and the rest don’t care about them at all. But unless you closely follow Android news, keeping track of which OEM, apart from Google, has a proven track record for updates is nearly impossible. Thankfully, a website titled AOSMark wants to take that burden off of you.

AOSMark aggregates all the Android vendor’s software history on a single platform. It shows and grades manufacturers based on how punctual they have been in the past. You can click individual companies to know how often and quickly their most recent phones received new firmware.

What’s more, AOSMark lets you search specific models or manufacturers too. You’ll also find a Hall of Fame section that displays the twenty most updated phones ever.

6. NVISO ApkScan: Scan Unfamiliar APK Files

NVISCO APKScan

This is another handy, free website for Android users. NVISO ApkScan thoroughly scans APK files for malware or other malicious activities. All you need to do is upload the file and wait a minute or two before the report has been generated.

NVISO ApkScan performs a wide variety of checks for ensuring the app doesn’t require any suspicious permissions. For instance, it will check if the app opens any network connections as soon as you install it. If you don’t want to wait, NVISO ApkScan has an option for enabling email alerts.

Keep Learning More About Android

Android can feel daunting to master at first. But with the right websites as listed above, you can easily learn more about it and keep tabs on its endless developments.

While there is a ton to explore, Android is still not perfect and there are a host of features we wish Google brings soon. Until then, replicate missing features on Android using these apps.

Read the full article: 6 Informative Android Sites You Should Bookmark Today

Amazon Launches Its Own Live Shopping Channel

Amazon has a new trick up its sleeve to part you with your hard-earned cash. It’s called Amazon Live, and it’s a cross between QVC and Twitch. In other words, it’s a live shopping channel made up of multiple video streams showing people selling their wares. Amazon Live Tempts You to Spend More Money Amazon Live, which you can watch now at Amazon.com/live, is a shopping channel with a difference. When you land on the page you’ll see one stream front and center. This is the stream Amazon thinks you’ll be most interested in watching. However, scroll down, and you’ll…

Read the full article: Amazon Launches Its Own Live Shopping Channel

Amazon has a new trick up its sleeve to part you with your hard-earned cash. It’s called Amazon Live, and it’s a cross between QVC and Twitch. In other words, it’s a live shopping channel made up of multiple video streams showing people selling their wares.

Amazon Live Tempts You to Spend More Money

Amazon Live, which you can watch now at Amazon.com/live, is a shopping channel with a difference. When you land on the page you’ll see one stream front and center. This is the stream Amazon thinks you’ll be most interested in watching.

However, scroll down, and you’ll see other streams available to watch “Live now”. Scroll further down, and you’ll see streams that were “Recently live” and that are now available to watch on demand. Even further down the page you’ll find “Upcoming streams”.

Some of the shows are all about Amazon products, with dedicated hosts selling you on the benefits of buying Amazon hardware. However, other streams cover products as diverse as giant teddy bears, video projectors, rugged smartphone cases, and fitness equipment.

So, where are these streams coming from? To live stream on Amazon Live you have to be “a US Professional Seller registered in the Amazon Brand Registry”. If that describes you, you can download the Amazon Live Creator app for iOS to get started.

Amazon Pushes Into Traditional Retail Spaces

Amazon Live seems to benefit everyone. By offering multiple live streams viewers get to choose what they want to watch. Brands get to push their products on potential buyers. And Amazon gets to insert ads for its own products. So everyone’s a winner.

This is just the latest example of Amazon moving into traditional retail spaces. In 2016, the online retailer opened its first Amazon Go store, and in 2018, the company opened its first Amazon 4-Star store. And now it’s muscling in on QVC’s territory. So, what’s next?

Read the full article: Amazon Launches Its Own Live Shopping Channel

The Best Dark Web Browser for Your Device

darkweb-browsers

When you want to access the dark web, you need to use a browser that knows how to access the content. Browsers like Chrome and Safari are not suitable. If you’re not sure which one to choose, keep reading. We are going to introduce you to several dark web browsers that you should consider. Warning: Always Use a VPN on the Dark Web We spend a lot of time espousing the virtues of a reliable paid VPN provider. A high-quality VPN is one of the best tools at your disposal if you want to keep yourself safe and secure online….

Read the full article: The Best Dark Web Browser for Your Device

When you want to access the dark web, you need to use a browser that knows how to access the content. Browsers like Chrome and Safari are not suitable.

If you’re not sure which one to choose, keep reading. We are going to introduce you to several dark web browsers that you should consider.

Warning: Always Use a VPN on the Dark Web

We spend a lot of time espousing the virtues of a reliable paid VPN provider. A high-quality VPN is one of the best tools at your disposal if you want to keep yourself safe and secure online.

In the context of using the dark web, using a VPN is even more critical. Because of the content that’s available on the dark web, law enforcement agencies around the world are particularly keen to know who is using it and what they are looking at.

Sadly, the myth that the dark web somehow makes you impossible to track is completely untrue—just ask the founder of the Silk Road site, Ross Ulbricht. He is currently serving life in prison.

If you want to ensure your anonymity, you should sign up to a reputable provider like ExpressVPN or CyberGhost. Both VPNs have special deals for MakeUseOf readers! Get three months of ExpressVPN for free using this link, or six months of CyberGhost for free using this link!

1. Tor Browser

Available on: Windows, Mac, Linux, Android

The Tor Browser has been the de facto leader for many years. It is the flagship product of the Tor Project (the company responsible for maintaining the Tor network).

The browser itself is based on Firefox. In addition to the Tor proxy, it also comes with modified versions of NoScript and HTTPS Everywhere built in.

When you use the Tor Browser, all your traffic will automatically travel through the Tor network. And when you end your dark web session, the browser will instantly delete cookies, browsing history, and other data.

You’ll also find yourself using the Tor Browser if you use the TAILS operating system to connect to the dark web. If you would like to learn more about TAILS, check out our article on how to access the dark web safely.

Finally, a word of warning. In 2013, experts realized that Tor was vulnerable from a JavaScript attack due to issues with the implementation of NoScript. Users IP addresses and MAC addresses were leaked (again, use a VPN!).

Download: Tor Browser

2. Invisible Internet Project

Invisible Internet Project options screen

Available on: Windows, Mac, Linux, Android

The Invisible Internet Project (often shortened to I2P) lets you access both the regular web and the dark web. Specifically, you can access I2P’s own darknet, though you can access Tor using the built-in Orchid Outproxy Tor plugin.

When you use the software to log on to the dark web, your data is run through a layered stream; it muddies the information about the user and makes tracking almost impossible.

The app encrypts all the connections (including both public and private keys) that run through it.

Perhaps the most unique aspect of the Invisible Internet Project is its support for decentralized file storage thanks to the Tahoe-LAFS plugin.

(Note: We advise beginners to use Tor instead. I2P is notorious for being difficult to set up, especially if you are new to the dark web world.)

Download: Invisible Internet Project

3. Firefox

firefox setting network.dns.blockDotOnion

Available on: Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS

Yes, we mean the regular version of Mozilla Firefox that’s currently running on millions of machines around the world.

If you want to use Firefox to access darknets and Tor, you will need to make some tweaks to the settings.

  1. Open Firefox.
  2. Type about:config into the address bar and hit Enter.
  3. Locate network.dns.blockDotOnion.
  4. Change the setting to False.
  5. Restart the browser.

Before you use Firefox to visit any darknet sites, make sure you also install the NoScript and HTTPS Everywhere plugins.

Download: Firefox

4. Whonix

Available on: Windows, Mac, Linux

The Whonix browser uses the same source code as Tor, so you know you’re going get a reasonably similar experience in terms of both usability and features.

Despite the similarities, however, there are some crucial differences under-the-hood. Most significantly, the browser prevents user applications from discovering a machine’s IP address thanks to a workstation virtual machine which connects to the internal virtual LAN and which can only communicate with the gateway.

The developers claim that their technology is so robust that even malware with root privileges would not be able to discover the machine’s true IP address.

It’s also important to realize that Whonix is not a standalone browser. It is part of the wider Whonix operating system; the entire OS runs inside a virtual machine. It comes with all the major productivity apps like a word processor and an email client.

Download: Whonix

5. Subgraph OS

subgraph apps list

Available on: All desktop computers

As the name suggests, Subgraph OS is another complete operating system—just like Whonix and TAILS. The browser and wider operating system were both praised by the famous whistle-blower, Edward Snowden, for their privacy features.

Once again, the browser users the Tor Browser’s code for its foundation. The app uses multiple layers to protect your security. The layers include kernel hardening, meta-proxy encryption, filesystem encryption, package Security, and binary integrity.

Subgraph OS also deploys container isolation. It includes customized messenger and email apps.

All these features have seen Subgraph OS grow in popularity over the last couple of years. Though there is no official data, it is anecdotally the second most popular dark web browser behind Tor.

Download: Subgraph OS

Learn More About the Dark Web

The Tor bundle is the most popular browser for the darknet. It opened the gates to this mysterious inner world and is still going strong. But don’t forget the peace of mind a VPN service will give you.

The dark web is still a confusing and mysterious place. Aside from needing to use an unfamiliar browser, you’ll also quickly discover that search engines like Google don’t work.

But don’t worry, there are alternative ways to find the content you’re looking for. If you would like to learn more, check out our articles on the best dark web websites that you will not find on Google and the best search engines to browse the dark web.

Read the full article: The Best Dark Web Browser for Your Device

Google Makes Gmail’s Right-Click Menu More Useful

Google is finally making Gmail’s right-click menu more useful. This means that the number of things you can do when you right-click on an email in Gmail is about to increase sharply. Which could be a real boon to people who always have full inboxes. Saving You Seconds Dealing With Emails With the rise in social media platforms and messaging apps, some people predicted the end, or at least the beginning of the end, of email. That simply hasn’t happened, and most of us still endure a daily battle to achieve Inbox Zero. This daily battle to plow through emails…

Read the full article: Google Makes Gmail’s Right-Click Menu More Useful

Google is finally making Gmail’s right-click menu more useful. This means that the number of things you can do when you right-click on an email in Gmail is about to increase sharply. Which could be a real boon to people who always have full inboxes.

Saving You Seconds Dealing With Emails

With the rise in social media platforms and messaging apps, some people predicted the end, or at least the beginning of the end, of email. That simply hasn’t happened, and most of us still endure a daily battle to achieve Inbox Zero.

This daily battle to plow through emails means even the smallest changes can have a positive impact. One simple UI change can save you seconds dealing with each email, which, over the course of a busy year, can add up to hours.

Gmail Gets a New Right-Click Context Menu

Google’s latest change to the way Gmail works is exactly that. A small UI change that could save you small chunks of time. In a nutshell, Google has vastly expanded the number of options available when you right-click on an individual email.

Previously, your options were very limited. You could Archive an email, Delete an email, or Mark it as unread. And that was about it. Now, you can Reply, Reply All, Forward, Move to, Label as, Snooze, Mute, and search for emails, all from the right-click menu.

It isn’t a groundbreaking change, and we have to wonder what took Google so long, but it’s certainly welcome. As detailed on the G Suite Updates Blog, the new right-click menu is rolling out to G Suite customers now, and is expected to roll out to everyone else shortly.

Don’t Take the Right-Click Menu for Granted

Once the new right-click context menu goes live for you, you’ll be able to access it by right-clicking on an email or email conversation in Gmail. Windows users can also press the Menu button on their keyboard, and Mac users can use Ctrl+Click.

The right-click context menu is a truly underrated feature we all take for granted. But we really shouldn’t. With that in mind, this is how to declutter the right-click menu, and here are the tools you need to customize the right-click menu.

Image Credit: Twitter Trends 2019/Flickr

Read the full article: Google Makes Gmail’s Right-Click Menu More Useful

Amazon buys Eero: What does it mean for your privacy?

In case you hadn’t seen, Amazon is buying router maker Eero. And in case you hadn’t heard, people are pretty angry. Deluged in a swarm of angry tweets and social media posts, many have taken to reading tealeaves to try to understand what the acquisition means for ordinary privacy-minded folks like you and me. Not […]

In case you hadn’t seen, Amazon is buying router maker Eero. And in case you hadn’t heard, people are pretty angry.

Deluged in a swarm of angry tweets and social media posts, many have taken to reading tealeaves to try to understand what the acquisition means for ordinary privacy-minded folks like you and me. Not many had much love for Amazon on the privacy front. A lot of people like Eero because it wasn’t attached to one of the big tech giants. Now it’s to be part of Amazon, some are anticipating the worst for their privacy.

Of the many concerns we’ve seen, the acquisition boils down to a key concern: “Amazon shouldn’t have access to all internet traffic.”

Rightfully so! It’s bad enough that Amazon wants to put a listening speaker in every corner of our home. How worried should you be that Amazon flips the switch on Eero and it’s no longer the privacy-minded router it once was?

This calls for a lesson in privacy pragmatism, and one of cautious optimism.

Don’t panic — yet

Nothing will change overnight. The acquisition will take time, and any possible changes will take longer. Eero has an easy to read privacy policy, and the company tweeted that the company will “continue to protect” customer privacy, noting that Eero “does not track customers’ internet activity and this policy will not change with the acquisition.”

That’s true! Eero doesn’t monitor your internet activity. We scoured the privacy policy, and the most the router collects is some basic information from each device connecting to the router that it already broadcasts, such as device name and its unique networking address. We didn’t see anything beyond boilerplate language for a smart router. And there’s nothing in there that says even vaguely that Eero can or will spy on your internet traffic.

Among the many reasons, it (mostly) couldn’t even if it wanted to.

Every single time you open an app or load a website, most now load over HTTPS. And most do because Google has taken to security-shaming sites that don’t. That’s an encrypted connection between your computer and the app or website. Not even your router can see your internet traffic. It’s only rare cases like Facebook’s creepy “research” app that forces you to give it “root” access to your device’s network traffic when companies can snoop on everything you do.

If Eero starts asking you to install root certificates on your devices, then we have a problem.

Fear the internet itself

The reality is that your internet service provider knows more about your internet activity than your router does.

Your internet provider not only processes your internet requests, it routes and directs them. Even when the traffic is HTTPS-encrypted, your internet provider for the most part knows which domains you visit, and when, and with that it can sometimes figure out why. With that information, your internet provider can piece together a timeline of your online life. It’s the reason why HTTPS and using privacy-focused DNS services are so important.

It doesn’t stop there. Once your internet traffic goes past your router, you’re into the big wide world of the world wide web. Your router is the least of your troubles: it’s a jungle of data collection out there.

Props to the spirited gentleman who tweeted that he trusts Google “way more with my privacy than Amazon” for the sole reason that, “Amazon wants to use the data to sell me more stuff vs. Google just wants to serve targeted ads.” Think of that: Amazon wants to sell you products from its own store, but somehow that’s worse than Google selling its profiles of who it thinks you are to advertisers to try to sell you things?

Every time you go online, what’s your first hit? Google. Every time you open a new browser window, it’s Google. Every time you want to type something in to the omnibar at the top of your browser, it’s Google. Google knows more about your browsing history than your router does because most people use Google as their one-stop directory for all they need on the internet. Your internet provider may not be able to see past the HTTPS domain that you’re visiting, but Google, for one, tracks which search queries you type, which websites you go to, and even tracks you from site-to-site with its pervasive ad network.

At least when you buy a birthday present or a sex toy (or both?) from Amazon, that knowledge stays in-house.

Knock knock, it’s Amazon already

If Amazon wanted to track you, it already could.

Everyone seems to forgets Amazon’s massive cloud business. Most of the internet these days runs on Amazon Web Services, the company’s dedicated cloud unit that made up all of the company’s operating income in 2017. It’s a cash cow and an infrastructure giant, and its retail prowess is just part of the company’s business.

Think you can escape Amazon? Just look at what happened when Gizmodo’s Kashmir Hill tried to cut out Amazon from her life. She found it “impossible.” Why? Everything seems to rely on Amazon these days — from Spotify and Netflix’s back-end, popular consumer and government websites use it, and many other major apps and services rely on Amazon’s cloud. She ended up blocking 23 million IP addresses controlled by Amazon, and still struggled..

In a single week, Hill found 95,260 total attempts by her devices to communicate with Amazon, compared to less than half that for Google at 40,527 requests, and a paltry 36 attempts for Apple. Amazon already knows which sites you go to — because it runs most of them.

So where does that leave me?

Your router is a lump of plastic. And it should stay that way. We can all agree on that.

It’s a natural fear that when “big tech” wades in, it’s going to ruin everything. Especially with Amazon. The company’s track record on transparency is lackluster at best, and downright evasive at its worst. But just because Amazon is coming in doesn’t mean it’ll necessarily become a surveillance machine. Even Google’s own mesh router system, Eero’s direct competitor, promises to “not track the websites you visit or collect the content of any traffic on your network.”

Amazon can’t turn the Eero into a surveillance hub overnight, but it doesn’t mean it won’t try.

All you can do is keep a close eye on the company’s privacy policy. We’ll do it for you. And in the event of a sudden change, we’ll let you know. Just make sure you have an escape plan.

5 Self-Destructing Apps to Send Secure Messages or Stay Organized

Self-Destructing Apps to Send Secure Messages

The threat to your privacy looms large. Beyond encryption, if you want to ensure your data isn’t stored anywhere, use these self-destructing apps to send sensitive information. Even if you use the most secure apps, there is a chance someone might get sensitive or personal data at a later date because it was stored somewhere. If you want to send something without it being stored forever, try these self-destructing apps that blow up the message, once and for all. Of course, if you use Gmail, you can already send self-destructing emails with Confidential Mode, one of the best new Gmail…

Read the full article: 5 Self-Destructing Apps to Send Secure Messages or Stay Organized

The threat to your privacy looms large. Beyond encryption, if you want to ensure your data isn’t stored anywhere, use these self-destructing apps to send sensitive information.

Even if you use the most secure apps, there is a chance someone might get sensitive or personal data at a later date because it was stored somewhere. If you want to send something without it being stored forever, try these self-destructing apps that blow up the message, once and for all. Of course, if you use Gmail, you can already send self-destructing emails with Confidential Mode, one of the best new Gmail features.

These apps have different uses. Some let you send a single message or even a message on Slack. Others use self-destruction to keep your system lean and make you productive. Pick what you need.

SafeNote (Web): Send Notes or Files, Choose When It Self-Destructs

Safenote sends self-destructing messages and files

SafeNote is the new kid on the block for self-destructing apps, and it’s already doing everything right. Like all the other apps, it encrypts any note you write, or any file you upload. Then it creates a link, which you can share with the recipient.

What makes it better is that SafeNote lets you set when and how the link self-destructs. You can either set a time period (from one hour to one month) or use the option to delete the note immediately after it is read the first time. The latter is useful for one-on-one communication, while the time limit lets you share it with multiple users.

You can password-protect the link too. And you can choose to be notified when anyone opens the link, or when the note is destroyed. It’s a simple, easy-to-use app that does everything right.

1ty.me (Web): One-Time Self-Destructing Links for Passwords

1ty.me is a secure app to send one-time read notes and passwords

It’s a bad idea to send a password for any account over email, instant message, or any such service. Instead, when you need to share passwords, use a self-destructing note like the ones created by 1ty.me.

Write your password in the notes field, and click the “Generate Link” button. You’ll get a link that can be shared with anyone. The first time it is opened, 1ty.me will destroy the message forever from its servers. So there’s no way to share this with multiple users, but at least you know it’s not going to be stored anywhere.

There’s an option to be notified when the link is opened. And 1ty.me warns the user before opening the link that it will be destroyed forever, so they should copy-paste the sensitive information immediately.

Secret Message for Slack (Free): Self-Destructing Notes Within Slack

Animated GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Slack has become the chat and instant messaging app of choice for most organizations. And in organizations, you often need to send sensitive information. If your IT guy or boss can find that later, it would be disastrous, right? That’s why you need Secret Message.

This Slack integration adds the ability to send self-destructing notes to anyone in Slack. Once you add it, start a message with “/secret” (without the quotes). The recipient won’t see it till they click the “Read Note” button. The note will be available till they refresh Slack, or they can immediately delete it too. It’s a much safer and more private way to message on Slack.

Secret Message is as free and awesome as all our other favorite weird and wonderful Slack integrations. Try it out, you won’t be disappointed.

Add: Secret Message for Slack (Free)

Confide (Android, iOS, Windows, macOS): Confidential Instant Messenger

Confide is an instant messenger that auto deletes messages after they're read and stops screenshots

If you want a full-fledged instant messenger that secures messages and auto-deletes them, as well as works across different desktop and mobile operating systems, check out Confide. It does most things right.

All messages are end-to-end encrypted. Also, no one can take screenshots of the app, which makes it even more secure. And all messages disappear forever once they are read. These features work across one-on-one chats as well as groups.

Confide lets you send photos and videos, and has premium features that allow unlimited attachments as well as the ability to “unsend” messages before anyone reads them.

Download: Confide for Android | iOS | Windows | macOS (Free)

Deelete (Chrome): Auto-Delete Downloads After 24 Hours

Not every self-destructing app is about privacy and security. Deelete, a Chrome extension by Organizely, uses such scheduled auto-deletion to declutter your hard drive from the many one-time-use files you routinely download.

All of us get emails with attachments that we need only once, or just for the day. But then they sit in our Downloads folder forever. Over time, this builds up into a cluttered mess, which might even be slowing down your PC.

With Deelete, every time you download an attachment or any file on the internet, you’ll get a popup asking if you want to keep the file, or delete it in 24 hours. If you choose the second option, Deelete will ensure it removes the junk. It’s a fantastic tool and one of the best Gmail extensions for Chrome that we’ve seen.

Download: Deelete by Organizely for Chrome (Free)

Obliviate Your Messages

These self-destructing apps are great to use on desktops or mobiles, and especially with emails or Slack. But if you want a secure self-destructing app for your chats, check out our homemade brew.

MakeUseOf made obliviate, a secret messaging app that auto-destroys messages. You can set a timer, and even destroy the message before it has been read. Check it out, you’ll love obliviate.

Download: obliviate for Android and iOS (Free)

Read the full article: 5 Self-Destructing Apps to Send Secure Messages or Stay Organized

How to Really Block Time-Wasting Websites: 3 Tips That Work

websites-record-your-activity

When you’re trying to get some work done online, you might find the web too big and too fascinating a distraction to ignore. But you can sideline it with the help of tips and tools that block time-wasting digital content for you. Let’s explore them below. 1. Install a Blocker App or Extension Before you can block your sources of distraction online, you need to pinpoint them. That’s where time management apps like FocusMe or RescueTime come in handy. They give you a detailed breakdown of your digital habits. Each day, you learn how much time you have spent on which…

Read the full article: How to Really Block Time-Wasting Websites: 3 Tips That Work

websites-record-your-activity

When you’re trying to get some work done online, you might find the web too big and too fascinating a distraction to ignore. But you can sideline it with the help of tips and tools that block time-wasting digital content for you. Let’s explore them below.

1. Install a Blocker App or Extension

Before you can block your sources of distraction online, you need to pinpoint them. That’s where time management apps like FocusMe or RescueTime come in handy. They give you a detailed breakdown of your digital habits.

Each day, you learn how much time you have spent on which apps, websites, and activities. This data, in turn, helps you redirect your time and effort towards online activities that matter.

What about the activities that aren’t as important, but you have trouble giving up? How do you deal with them? Blocking trivial activities is the next step. Here, you’ll find quite a few browser-based solutions: services that block specific sites for as long as you need.

There’s StayFocusd, which lets you block websites in Chrome and even barricade specific in-page content such as videos.

If you’re a Firefox user, try the Leechblock extension instead. If you use Safari, install the Leechblock-inspired extension WasteNoTime. FocusMe and RescueTime also have a website-blocking feature.

The problem with solutions like these is that they’re too easy to bypass. All you need to do is open another browser or fire up a private browsing window and you’ve got full access to all your distracting sites again.

If you need to go further with the browsing restrictions, the apps we’ll look at next can take you there. They can block websites and apps across your computer. That means no access to incoming email via your system’s mail app or to Slack chats via the Slack desktop app.

App number one on our list here is Freedom. It’s one of the most popular cross-platform apps that let you block distracting websites and apps system-wide.

Cold Turkey is another great option. It also has a sister app called Cold Turkey Writer—a text editor you can’t escape until you have met your writing goal for a session.

Mac users can also go with SelfControl or 1Focus for system-wide site blocking.

Blacklist settings in Self Control app on macOS

If you’re a Linux user, you can edit the hosts file to block websites. Does that seem too extreme? Then it’s best to stick with a reliable and evergreen solution like RescueTime. If nothing else, you can repurpose the parental controls that you use to limit web access for your kids to clock a few serious work hours.

Again, system-wide solutions aren’t perfect. You could simply walk away from your computer and pick up your tablet, bypassing the block again. If that sounds like you, you need a more stringent solution. Router tweaks can help here, and we’ll explore them next.

By the way, would you rather get a gentle reminder than a wall when you’re about to visit a distracting website? In that case, install the Mindful Browsing extension for Chrome instead of the apps we have mentioned above.

2. Set Up Router Restrictions

Still distracted? Then it’s time to block addictive sites using your router. Here are two simple methods you can use to make this happen.

Method 1: Switch to OpenDNS

If you use a custom DNS to enable network-wide parental controls, why not use it to restrict your own usage of time-wasting websites? The free OpenDNS Home service is perfect for that.

With this service, you can configure which websites are and aren’t accessible on your home network. To use it, you’ll need to sign up for a user account first. After you do, change the DNS settings on your router to reflect the OpenDNS nameservers. If you’re unsure how to do this, check out the official step-by-step instructions for any router.

Once you’ve set everything up, log into OpenDNS and head to the settings page to block individual domains. Going forward, no one using your network—that includes you—can access these sites.

Method 2: Configure Your Router

Like the idea of blocking sites network-wide, but don’t want to sign up for an account or use OpenDNS? With most routers, you can block specific sites yourself, without the need for OpenDNS or any service like it.

Check your router’s documentation to see if this is possible; in most cases the instructions will be under a section called “Access Restrictions”. This will vary depending on who makes your router. If you can’t find the instructions in your router’s manual, google the device’s model number to find them online.

If you’ve installed the open source firmware DD-WRT on your router, you can block specific sites via the Access Restrictions menu. You’ll find the instructions to add select websites to a blacklist on the official Access Restrictions wiki page. Scroll down to the Filtering Services/URLs/Keywords section to spot them.

Sites you add to the blacklist will get blocked instantly for every device on your network. You can also configure the settings to block sites on specific days or for certain time periods.

3. Unplug Your Router

Are all the restrictions above not enough to tame your monkey mind? There’s always the nuclear option you can consider—total disconnection.

Unplug your router from the web to ramp up your productivity. It’s a crude method, sure, but it works. Unless you cave and plug your router back in or simply pick up your smartphone to access Facebook and co again.

You don’t have to lose access to work-related data and services when you disconnect. You’ll find plenty of productivity apps that work offline.

More Tips for Improving Your Focus

Of course, the ultimate way to avoid expected distractions is self-control. But, since we have limited amounts of it to spend on any given day, it seems best to save it for the most important decisions.

For dodging the distraction bullet when you’re working, you can outsource the task to one of the tools/methods we have discussed above.

These barriers are not one hundred percent foolproof, because you could always find a workaround to any system you set up yourself. But having them in place gives you just enough time to remind yourself why you installed these barriers to begin with—to keep your focus on your work.

Speaking of focus, did you know that you can boost it by controlling the noise around you?

Read the full article: How to Really Block Time-Wasting Websites: 3 Tips That Work