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How I chose my new router

When my trusty WRT54G router started showing its age after 14 years, I was in denial for a while. It had always been trustworthy, never let me down and passed along countless terabytes of data, both privately and professionally. For months, I rebooted, changed frequencies, changed settings and tinkered until I had to face facts: it was slowly dying and needed to retire. With 14 years of solid reliability, I really wanted to stay with Linksys and wanted something future proof. The upcoming EA9500 will be a tad expensive at around EUR 400, which left two routers at the top of the range: the EA8500 and the WRT1900ACS. Apart from a negligible difference in speed, all features seemed similar. So which one was the right fit for me? I’ll let you know how I made the choice, maybe it can help others in a similar situation.

wp-1464527985640.jpegthe WRT54G alongside its successor, the WRT1900ACS

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This device steals your passwords while you walk past

Ever heard of App Interception Systems? These devices steal you e-mail, social media  and cloud passwords and are supposedly used by government agencies.I stumbled across them researching an upcoming post about the rising danger of social media … yes, they are real. Switch off your wifi and Bluetooth while you’re not using them, is my first advice.

http://motherboard.vice.com/read/fbi-app-interception-systems

 

 

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Ironical Telenet

After getting repeated calls about Telenet‘s mobile business subscriptions, I finally agreed to receiving and offer by e-mail. When I mentioned that I would contact them after I’ve reviewed and decided, they simply stated that this is impossible: they cannot be reached. That’s a definite NO! #irony

telenet-sad

 

 

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Scary live video manipulation

Recently, Stanford University released a research paper illustrating just how easy it is to tamper with real-time video, using just a simple webcam. This is illustrated by the video below. Scary to think how this could be used in the media. Do have a look, it is that good that at first I was convinced it was a hoax.

Face2Face: Real-time Face Capture and Reenactment of RGB Videos (CVPR 2016 Oral)

 

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How to follow the news from all angles (and for free)

In this strange new world of terrorist attacks, wars around the world and remarkable elections, the need to diversify our news sourcing has been becoming apparent. Local outlets are suffering from myopia and censorship, even in the Western world. International media are increasingly colored by their nation’s flag. The need to consider a story from all angles has never been higher, nor will it diminish any time soon. Over the last few months I have gathered several news feeds that are diverse, accessible, convenient and to top it off … free. To summarize: watch and read the news anytime, anywhere and without spending a cent. This post is a work in progress. I would really appreciate your input. Please share your preferred feeds and websites in the comment section. The best submissions will be added to the post.

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Take back the web: your browser

Under the Take Back the Web moniker, I plan to write short, practical and accessible posts about my experiences safeguarding and optimizing computers systems, protecting privacy and bringing spamming and ads to a halt (or at least trying to do so). These are partially for my own reference and partially to share my personal experience, hoping to help others. These are by no means definitive and 100% open to suggestion. Any remark is welcome as a comment at any point. The first installment of Take Back the Web takes a look at browsers in a Windows environment. How to avoid theft of personal information, protect online purchases, stop tracking, eliminate spam and ads.

firefoxaddons
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Nomads: protect your digital gear

While working in South-East Asia, or any other part of the world for that matter, it’s always sensible to get an extension cable with multiple outlets, a ground connection (3-pin plug) and especially power surge protection. It covers you a. when only one socket is available b. in case of an unstable mains supply c. in case of static build up and consequent shock. Remember: fried notebook equals one-way ticket home. The one in the picture cost about EUR 7.5.

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