Monthly Archive: June 2019


The Best Free Antivirus Protection for 2019

Free Malware, Spyware, and Adware Protection

When you throw a few bucks into a slot machine, you’re gambling on the possibility of a big payout. Leaving your computer without the defense of an antivirus software is another kind of gambling, but it’s a game you can only lose. Don’t be a mug; get an antivirus running on all your computers. You can still play the slots with the money you’ll save by choosing a free solution. Plenty are available, and the best of them beat out all but the top for-pay competitors. We’ve evaluated more than a dozen free antivirus tools, so dig into our reviews and pick the one that speaks to you.

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E3 2019: Watch every trailer of PC games

E3 2019 is probably the most PC-centric show we’ve seen in years, what with Microsoft announcing Xbox Game Pass for PC and bringing its future first-party games to Steam. Those are big moves for a company that’s long seemed to tolerate its Windows-based audience more than embrace it. And with Sony’s absence, it’s safe to say pretty much every game at the show (aside from Nintendo’s) will come to PC at some point.

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Mozilla might launch Firefox Premium in 2019

Mozilla CEO Chris Beard confirmed in an interview  that the organization plans to offer premium services in the near future.

Mozilla is aware of the organization’s dependency on search and the revenue that it brings in. About 90% of the overall revenue of Mozilla comes from search deals at the time of writing, the remaining ten percent from Pocket, donations, and other revenue sources.

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What Is a VPN, and Why Would I Need One?

A VPN, or Virtual Private Network, allows you to create a secure connection to another network over the Internet. VPNs can be used to access region-restricted websites, shield your browsing activity from prying eyes on public Wi-Fi, and more.

These days VPNs are really popular, but not for the reasons they were originally created. They originally were just a way to connect business networks together securely over the internet or allow you to access a business network from home.

VPNs essentially forward all your network traffic to the network, which is where the benefits – like accessing local network resources remotely and bypassing Internet censorship – all come from. Most operating systems have integrated VPN support.

What Is a VPN and How Does It Help Me?

In very simple terms, a VPN connects your PC, smartphone, or tablet to another computer (called a server) somewhere on the internet, and allows you to browse the internet using that computer’s internet connection. So if that server is in a different country, it will appear as if you are coming from that country, and you can potentially access things that you couldn’t normally.

So how does this help you? Good question! You can use a VPN to:

  • Bypass geographic restrictions on websites or streaming audio and video.
  • Watch streaming media like Netflix and Hulu.
  • Protect yourself from snooping on untrustworthy Wi-Fi hotspots.
  • Gain at least some anonymity online by hiding your true location.
  • Protect yourself from being logged while torrenting.

The vast majority of people these days are using VPN for torrenting or bypassing geographic restrictions to watch content in a different country. They are still very useful for protecting yourself while working at a coffee shop, but that’s hardly the primary use anymore.

How Do You Get a VPN, and Which One Should You Choose?

Depending on your needs, you can either use a VPN from your workplace, create a VPN server yourself, or sometimes host one out of your house — but realistically the vast majority of people are just looking for something to protect them while torrenting or help them watch some media online that they can’t seem to access from their country.

The easiest thing to do is simply head to one of these sites, sign up, and download the VPN client for your Windows PC, Mac, Android, iPhone, or iPad. It’s as easy as that.

  • ExpressVPN – This VPN server has the best combination of ease-of-use, really fast servers, and supports streaming media and torrenting, all for a cheap price.
  • Tunnelbear – This VPN is really easy to use, is great for using at the coffee shop, and has a (limited) free tier. It’s not good for torrenting or streaming media though.
  • StrongVPN – not quite as easy to use as the others, but you can definitely use them for torrenting and streaming media.

All of them have free trials, so you can easily get your money back if you change your mind.

How Does a VPN Work?

When you connect your computer (or another device, such as a smartphone or tablet) to a VPN, the computer acts as if it’s on the same local network as the VPN. All your network traffic is sent over a secure connection to the VPN. Because your computer behaves as if it’s on the network, this allows you to securely access local network resources even when you’re on the other side of the world. You’ll also be able to use the Internet as if you were present at the VPN’s location, which has some benefits if you’re using pubic Wi-Fi or want to access geo-blocked websites.

When you browse the web while connected to a VPN, your computer contacts the website through the encrypted VPN connection. The VPN forwards the request for you and forwards the response from the website back through the secure connection. If you’re using a USA-based VPN to access Netflix, Netflix will see your connection as coming from within the USA.

Other Example Uses for VPNs

VPNs are a fairly simple tool, but they can be used to do a wide variety of things:

  • Access a Business Network While Traveling: VPNs are frequently used by business travelers to access their business’ network, including all its local network resources, while on the road. The local resources don’t have to be exposed directly to the Internet, which increases security.
  • Access Your Home Network While Travelling: You can also set up your own VPN to access your own network while travelling. This will allow you to access a Windows Remote Desktop over the Internet, use local file shares, and play games over the Internet as if you were on the same LAN (local area network).
  • Hide Your Browsing Activity From Your Local Network and ISP: If you’re using a public Wi-Fi connection, your browsing activity on non-HTTPS websites is visible to everyone neraby, if they know how to look. If you want to hide your browsing activity for a bit more privacy, you can connect to a VPN. The local network will only see a single, secure VPN connection. All the other traffic will travel over the VPN connection. While this can be used to bypass connection-monitoring by your Internet service provider, bear in mind that VPN providers may opt to log the traffic on their ends.
  • Access Geo-Blocked Websites: Whether you’re an American trying to access your Netflix account while travelling out of the country or you wish you could use American media sites like Netflix, Pandora, and Hulu, you’ll be able to access these region-restricted services if you connect to a VPN located in the USA.
  • Bypass Internet Censorship: Many Chinese people use VPNs to get around the Great Firewall of China and gain access to the entire Internet. (However, the Great Firewall has apparently started interfering with VPNs recently.)
  • Downloading Files: Yes, let’s be honest – many people use VPN connections to download files via BitTorrent. This can actually be useful even if you’re downloading completely legal torrents – if your ISP is throttling BitTorrent and making it extremely slow, you can use BitTorrent on a VPN to get faster speeds. The same is true for other types of traffic your ISP might interfere with (unless they interfere with VPN traffic itself.)

Using a Corporate VPN in Windows

Connecting to a VPN is fairly simple. In Windows, press the Windows key, type VPN, and click the Set up a virtual private network (VPN) connection option. (If you use Windows 8, you’ll have to click the Settings category after searching.) Use the wizard to enter the address and login credentials of the VPN service you want to use. You can then connect to and disconnect from VPNs using the network icon in the system tray – the same one where you manage the Wi-Fi networks you’re connected to.

Our VPN Recommendations

If you’re just getting started with VPNs and want a basic VPN for using on public Wi-Fi hotspots or accessing region-restricted websites, there are a few good, simple options. We like ExpressVPN because they have great speeds and a lot more functionality than average including clients for almost any device—you can even get a router pre-installed with their VPN client.

There are other VPN products on the market, of course—we also like StrongVPN for all the configuration options it provides—and for limited use, Tunnelbear has a free option limited to 500mb — which is great if you just need a client briefly.

You may also be interested in setting up a VPN on your own server, which you can do with Tomato, OpenWRT, or on Linux. Of course, this won’t allow you to  access geo-blocked websites – unless you’re travelling outside the country and accessing your own network remotely.


2020 Mercedes-Benz GLB-Class Debuts As Compact Seven-Seat SUV

The GLB 250 turns either the front wheels or all four with a 221-hp turbo-four.

In the world of automotive journalism, often automakers talk about an “all-new” vehicle. But most of the time, it’s either a facelift or perhaps a significant reworking of an already existing model. The new Mercedes-Benz GLB-Class, however, really is an all-new machine, though it does borrow heavily from the compact A-Class. Whereas that’s a small, entry-level hatchback or sedan, the GLB-Class offers buyers a classic SUVshape on a compact platform with something not often found at this level – the option for three-row, seven-passenger seating.

That’s a good starting point to discuss the new GLB-Class, as it’s the first compact offering from Mercedes to offer such seating. The optional third row offers accommodations for two, with cup holders between the seats and USB power ports for phones or other devices. The GLB’s side airbags are designed to protect third-row passengers, and Mercedes points out the availability of anchor points for child seats. Two things not mentioned at the rear are headroom and legroom, and though we’ll reserve final judgment for our GLB-Class first drive, we have the distinct impression Mercedes is aiming the seven-seat capacity of this compact SUV towards small children at the back.

Mercedes-Benz GLB
Mercedes-Benz GLB

As a five-seater, the new GLB sounds a bit more adult friendly. With the rearmost seats folded, the people mover offers up to 62 cubic feet of cargo capacity. Second-row passengers also have the ability to move the seats fore and aft to better accommodate people or things, with 38 inches of legroom available with the seats pushed back. Up front, driver and passenger are greeted with an interior quite similar to the A-Class, albeit with a bit more headroom.

A digital cockpit with a 7.0-inch instrument screen and a 7.0-inch center touchscreen display dominate the dash, the latter allowing access to a multitude of standard-issue tech including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The automaker’s MBUX system with voice control is also standard, as are a suite of driver assist systems including active braking, crosswind assist, and a rearview camera. Optional packages include blind spot assist, navigation, parking assist, larger 10.25-inch displays, an upgraded Burmester surround system, heads-up display

Though the GLB-Class adopts a more traditional SUV exterior look, it’s not quite as boxy as the early camouflaged prototypes suggested. Yes, there are A-Class bones underneath it all, but the wheelbase is over 5 inches longer than the GLA-Class and just 1.7 inches behind the GLC-Class. In its base form, the GLB will turn just the front wheels though we suspect most buyers will choose the optional 4MATIC all-wheel-drive system, which comes standard with an Off-Road Engineering Package that adds an additional drive program to the GLB’s selectable modes, conquering the roads less traveled with a 50/50 power distribution. Otherwise, 80 percent of the power goes up front in eco mode, with a 70/30 split for sport mode.

Speaking of power, you won’t be surprised to find Merc’s M 260 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder on active duty under the bonnet. In the GLB-Class is makes a modest 221 horsepower (164 kilowatts) and 258 pound-feet (350 Newton-meters) of torque, which Mercedes says is enough to send the small SUV to 60 mph in 6.9 seconds in all-wheel-drive trim. Shifting is handled by an eight-speed DCT.

At launch, Mercedes-Benz will offer two models – the GLB 250 and GLB 250 4MATIC. Pricing will be revealed closer to the GLB’s on-sale date, which in the U.S. will come by the end of 2019.

Source: Mercedes-Benz


Building a $75,000 Windows 10 workstation

Think Apple’s new Mac Pro is pricey? Here’s an ultra high-spec Windows 10 workstation that will set you back $73,000.

When you get to a certain spec with PCs, especially workstations, it’s less a case of how fast you want it to go, and more a case of how fast do you want to spend money.


So, how fast can you spend over $75,000 on a workstation? Well, the controversy over the price of the appel’s new mac pro got me wondering just how much an ultra high-end Windows 10-based workstation would set you back.

If you’re sensitive to big price tags, you might want to take a seat before reading any further.

Titan Computers is a US-based manufacturer of workstations and servers, and its online store allows you to build monster systems that can handle pretty much any task you can throw at them.

For this experiment I started with a Titan X650, a Xeon-based workstation that has a starting price of $12,350. And for that you get a very impressive spec indeed:

  • Motherboard: SUPERMICRO X10QBL-4 Server Motherboard Quad LGA 2011
  • Processor: 4 x Intel E7-4809 v4 Eight-Core Processor Broadwell EP 2.1GHz 20MB L3 Eight-Core (32 Cores / 64 Threads Total)
  • OS Hard Drive: Crucial MX300 275GB SATA III 3-D Vertical Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)
  • Storage Hard Drive: 2TB – Seagate 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5″ Internal Hard Drive
  • Memory: 64GB (8 x 8GB) 240-Pin DDR4 2400Mhz Quad Channel Memory (Exp. to 4TB RDIMM)
  • Audio: No Onboard Sound Card
  • Power Supply: 1400W Redundant Digital PS 80 PLUS, Platinum Certified
  • Video: NVIDIA Quadro P2000 5GB GDDR5 PCIe 3.0 x16 Workstation Video Card
  • Case: Supermicro SYS-8048B-TR4F Chassis

OK, that’s pretty cool, but we can do better.

Much better.

  • Case: Supermicro SuperServer 8048B-TR4F Tower
  • Motherboard: SUPERMICRO X10QBL-4 Server Motherboard Quad LGA 2011
  • Processor: 4 x Intel E7-8890 v4 2.2GHz.3,=.4GHz for a total of 96-cores/192-threads
  • Memory: 2048GB (32 x 64GB) 288-Pin DDR4 2400Mhz EEC server RAM
  • Storage: 5 x Samsung 860 EVO 4TB
  • Audio: Creative Sound Blaster AUDIGY FX 5.1
  • Video: 2 x AMD Radeon Pro Duo 32GB
  • Video capture: Blackmagic Design Intensity Pro 4K
  • Network: Intel EXPI9402PT Pro dual gigabit Ethernet
  • Display: 2 x 28-inch 4K LED monitors
  • Optical drive: LG 24x SATA

Total: $75,008