Author Archives: Sandal Balik

Download Addicts Migrating From Bit Torrents To Usenet

socializingI’m a downloading addict. I love getting movies, television series, software, photos…just whatever I can find to amuse myself. But the recent “6 strikes rules” that at least 5 ISPs are participating in has me a little worried. I do try to avoid copyright infringing, but there is always the off-hand chance that I will get accused.

In my last article said something about using VPNs to hide your activities from nosey people. But when you use a Bit Torrent client a VPN becomes useless. The Bit Torrent client will broadcast your real IP for seeding to other torrent clinets. This can give you away. But there is a solution to all this. Usenet. With Usenet you will get a one-on-one client/server connection that can be as secure as you wish it. And there are millions of downloads, of whatever you want.

easynews logoUsenet started out before even the internet come into being. It started as a social medium for college students to collaborate, exchange ideas, etc., but has evolved into a monstrous social network that has the benefit of file sharing. And downloads are as fast as your connection will allow. There are movies, television series, music, and software galore.

If you are a little intimidated because you have heard that Usenet is complicated, but this is no longer the case. There are now Usenet Providers that have access from the comfort of your internet browser. Usually the retention rate is lower than NNTP access, but many of the same files will be available. Once you are accustomed to using Usenet on the internet, then NNTP access is the way to go. Most Usenet providers have more than 3 years of retention on binaries.

UNR LogoFinding a Usenet Provider can be a little intimidating, but one really cool Usenet Provider review website,, has lots of reviews, tutorials, and news concerning the different Usenet communities. I subscribed to Easynews, (check out their review of Easynew here) they have web based access so I can get more acclimatized, then I can use the unlimited NNTP access…

A Safe And Secure Internet Experience Doesn’t Have To Cost A Fortune Or Slow You Down

botnets2More than ever you need to be running an anti-virus and anti-malware program. Viruses are everywhere on the internet, and what has become known as “drive-by” infections happen all the time now. But surfing securely and safely isn’t a question of how much money you can spend, it’s a question of how far are you willing to go to protect yourself and family from having your (or their,) identity or data stolen. There are some really good free programs out there, here are a few I use all the time… Continue reading

Let The Games Begin – How Many Will The New “6 Strikes Rule” Chase Away?

privacy3Earlier this week, one of my neighbors asked if I would look at something for him. Though he didn’t know what exactly I did on the internet, he was confident I could help him. He took me to his computer and logged in to his email account and opened an email very similar to the one below. I was horrified. Continue reading

Getting And Staying Fit Is Less Work And More Fun Using These Fitness Gadgets

Getting and staying in shape is quite the challenge…at least for me it is. But, if you have a few cool little gadgets and programs that boost your morale and keep track of your progress towards personal goals, the boredom and drudgery of keeping fit becomes less boring and tasking. I have experienced these motivational issues in the past, and have found that the gadgets not only provide a great way to keep track of your exercise regimen, but also help to motivate me. Here are a few of the best gadgets I have found, (and use.) Continue reading

Getting And Staying Healthy Gets Easier Using New Devices From Fitbit

fitbit oneStaying healthy and physically active is one of the hardest things to do. Working in an office with a hectic schedule tends to keep me so busy at my desk that I find it hard to make time for the exercise and activities I need, much less keeping track of what I have done. But I recently checked out a system called Fitbit that simplified my health activities. Continue reading

Some Of The Biggest Tech Scams Aren’t Criminal – They Originate From The Retailers

evil villainA subject that is very near and dear to my heart, the technology related scam. But scams don’t always come in the email, or social media, sometimes the scam is right there in front of you, and completely legal in the fact that you will agree to it, often even sign a contract. Extended warranties, insurance, and extra services that are offered are the staple of many tech companies. Here are a few of the more common scams that people fall for… Continue reading

Women In IT – Are We Waiting For A Revolution Before We Become Vocal

computer science womenA few years ago, it was noted that women in IT were not only few and far between, but even the highly successful ladies were strangely silent on this. Industry leaders vowed that they would take greater strides to balance the gender scales, and they did. Soon upstart companies were being formed exclusively employing women, and the companies are competing with others in their league well. Continue reading

Keeping Your Connection Safe: 5 VPN Providers That Keep (Or Don’t Keep) Anonymity Close To Heart

YT crackerWith the recent divulgence of certain records by a very popular VPN provider to certain government agencies, it has become painfully apparent that not all VPN providers see anonymity and privacy in the same way. And, for many of us, reading through the legalese that is the “Terms of Service” is confusing and will leave the reader with a head-ache that most medications couldn’t get rid of. Continue reading

US Border Checkpoint Quick Guide For Traveling Abroad With Digital Devices Part 2 – Protecting Your Data

various computersIn the first part of this article, “US Border Checkpoint Quick Guide For Traveling Abroad With Digital Devices – What To Consider” I discussed what to consider if you need to travel with your digital devices…citizenship status, schedule, etc. and if you are here, you have found that it could be necessary to have your more sensitive and private data with you during your travels, but want to protect it from theft and intrusion. Here, I’ll give you an idea of one of the best methods of doing just this, but again I caution: This guide is not meant to instruct those attempting to get illegal material past the US border, but to help the traveler pass through the US border checkpoints with a little hassle from agents as possible…

There are many online privacy advocates like UsenetReviewz, the EFF,VPNReviewz, and BackupReviewz, that assert that traveling with unused, or blank, devices, and while many find the idea appealing, aren’t sure of how to go about doing it. Here’s a few of the better methods of doing just this…

In The Clouds lists a lot of services that can keep your data safe from those pesky prying eyes. But with this method, you will need to weigh the amount of data you will need to access against the level of internet access that you will be able to get. If you will have to be using dial-up internet, and a lot of data to get to, then you may want to consider one of the other methods.

USB Devices

usb recommends encrypted USB storage that can be transported with your luggage, or separately from your person. Remember, if your device, and the USB device are both present when the agent starts inspecting the device, then you may be asked to open the device so the agent can inspect the contents. UsenetReviewz also advocates the use of USB devices that will “self-destruct” when tampered with, and if this is the case, keep a backup copy just in case.


This is perhaps the best method, and a home network that you can access from abroad is fairly easily set up. With this method also, internet access is of the utmost importance. No one wants to have to download GBs of data on a dial-up connection. Using this method only those with the proper identification will be able to access the data, either locally or from afar. is an excellent resource for those wishing to go this route.

Keeping It Simple

VPNR LogoThese are probably the most commonly used ways of keeping sensitive data secure away from thieves and the occasional government invasion. It all boils down to one simple rule: If there’s nothing to look at, then what can they look for? If there’s nothing to look at, then the inspection at the US, (or any other, for that matter,) border, will go faster, smoother, and with a lot less stress.

US Border Checkpoint Quick Guide For Traveling Abroad With Digital Devices Part 1 – What To Consider

laptopsLaptops, Tablets, Smart phones, iPads, every digital device that you can think of, is subject to complete search when an person is crossing the US border. And according to the courts, and the concerned agencies, (the DHS, CBP TSA, and ICE) policies, the device can be seized for off-site inspection, copied completely, and invaded legally by their agents. To add insult to injury, the policies on how long the data can be kept, or even how it is used, is convoluted and vague. Keeping sensitive or private data encrypted can add to the suspicion when you are passing through a border checkpoint, and if the agent requests the passwords and decryption keys, and you refuse to hand them over, your day could go south…along with the rest of your trip. Continue reading