What Is The Difference Between A VPN And A Proxy

When it comes to protecting your online privacy, you’ve probably heard the terms proxy and VPN being used. These tools are meant to mask what you’re doing and keep your online activity private. To the average user, a VPN and a Proxy seem to be synonymous. They both essentially do the same thing i.e., keep you safe and hidden online. Some users might just think that a Proxy is another name for a VPN however, that is not the case. There is a distinct difference between a VPN and a Proxy.

Proxy Service

A Proxy service redirects traffic from your computer to an intermediary computer/server, and then routes it to where you intended to go. For example, if you’re trying to visit Google.com, and you’re using a proxy service, your request will first be sent to a different computer, and that computer will forward the request to access Google.com. The data that returns will likewise be routed through that same computer.

Think of it like this; you have two countries that cannot trade with each other due to legal restrictions but both want to import and export products from the other country. In order to do this, the countries will export their goods to a third, neutral country and import items from the other country from this third one. It’s complicated but it gets the job done. A proxy does this but for online activity, it gives users the benefit of hiding their IP address.

VPN Service

A VPN service is far more complex than a Proxy service. It does what a Proxy service does, and more. VPNs add a layer of encryption and security to the data that is sent. They are a collection of servers that work via a client installed on your device (desktop or mobile) and the second you connect to a VPN, all data sent from your device is encrypted.

Your VPN will most likely reroute traffic but it will also encrypt it so that no one knows what you’re sending or receiving. Continuing with the same example of the two countries that cannot trade directly from the previous section, a VPN in that example would be if the two countries were to export goods to a third country. The third country would then rebrand them so that there is no evidence as to where they were originally manufactured from. The goods would then be exported.

Difference Between VPN and Proxy

The major difference between a VPN and a Proxy is encryption. Some proxies claim to hide your IP address, and some do but not all of them are successful against services that do not allow anonymous web traffic. A proxy is a watered down, basic privacy tool that will work in some cases but not all. A VPN is far more robust; it has multiple servers that traffic is routed through and if one server goes down or is blocked, there is always a second server to take its place.

The traffic sent through a VPN is always encrypted and you’re given a second IP address to mask your actual IP address.

A proxy works mostly with web traffic sent from your browser whereas a VPN will encrypt every single request sent from your computer. All background services that need to access the internet such as update requests will also be encrypted. The encryption will extend to all desktop apps and services instead of being limited to just your browser.

VPNs are often faster than proxy services. A good, fast proxy service that promises data encryption and a hidden IP address is a basic VPN service. Proxy services mainly reroute traffic so they have few servers to route them through and thus your requests take longer to complete. VPNs on the other hand have a much larger network of computers that can handle more requests simultaneously thus making them faster.

Because a VPN is a much more robust service, you’re less prone to seeing errors or failed requests whereas a proxy service might not work well or at all if it has too many users.

Picking A Service

By now, you should know that there is a small but distinct difference between a VPN and a Proxy and that should help you decide what you want to use.

A proxy service is best used for low level privacy needs, or when you need to fake your location for something minor like watching a regionally restricted YouTube video. If you’re trying to watch regionally restricted content on Netflix, a VPN is going to do the trick.

This is because YouTube doesn’t go to great lengths to block users who try and fake their location. Netflix on the other hand actively thwarts them and VPNs, the good ones like NordVPN or ExpressVPN, will constantly update their servers and available IP addresses to get around whatever Netflix is doing to keep you out. Similarly, for services like Hulu, Spotify, Pandora, you need a reliable VPN and a proxy simply won’t do.

With respect to privacy, a VPN is always the superior option. Proxies don’t encrypt data and those that do aren’t worth it. It’s better to opt for a VPN that will do all that and more in more or less the same price.

Read What Is The Difference Between A VPN And A Proxy by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

How To Create A Screencast With Microsoft PowerPoint

There are a myriad of screencast tools available for Windows 10. Depending on your needs, you can use a feature rich tool like Camtasia or for more basic needs, you can try ScreenToGif. If you have to record something brief and you know you won’t need to edit it post production, you can use PowerPoint. Of course you need to have the Microsoft Office suite installed on your system. Here’s how you can create a screencast with Microsoft PowerPoint.

Screencast With Microsoft PowerPoint

Open a Microsoft PowerPoint presentation and go to the Insert tab. At the far right, on the media set of tools, click the Screen Recording button.

This will minimize everything and add a toolbar to the top of your screen. You can record your entire screen, or you can select a particular portion of it and record it. If you want, you can also include a voice over. It’s enabled by default and you have the option to include or exclude the cursor from appearing in the screencast. When you’re ready to record, click the Record button on the toolbar.

You get a brief countdown before the recording begins and PowerPoint will tell you that you can end the recording with the Win+Shift+Q keyboard shortcut.

Once you finish recording, the screencast is automatically added to the PowerPoint presentations. If you want, you can export it to your desktop. Right-click the screencast and select the Save media as option. Select where you want to save it, and you can access it from other apps.

The screencast is saved as an MP4 file which any and all media players and video editing apps including Microsoft’s now dead Movie Maker app┬ácan play.

PowerPoint itself has a few very basic video editing tools that allow you to crop a video, add a few transition effects, insert captions, and of course trim the video. This is about as basic as it gets. For more editing options, you can try the Photos app which lets you merge videos together.

There is no way to separate the audio from the video file. If you think you might need to do that in post production than this isn’t the tool you should be using. Even if you record a voice over separately, PowerPoint doesn’t have an option to add an audio track to the video file. You can set it up so that an audio and video file play at the same time but it’s a very clunky solution.

Read How To Create A Screencast With Microsoft PowerPoint by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

How To Create A Text On Solid Color Wallpaper

Wallpaper aren’t always beautiful landscapes, cool graphics, or movie posters. Text on solid color can often make for a good wallpaper. A nice inspirational quote, or a witty one-liner looks just as good. You can make a simple text on solid color wallpaper with Paint but Paint isn’t exactly the best tool for the job. For one, once you exit a text box, you can’t go back and edit it again. If you need something simple, give Text Wallpaper a try. It’s a simple app that is built solely for creating a text on solid color wallpaper.

Text On Solid Color Wallpaper

Text Wallpaper gives you limited color options to work with for your wallpaper. Visit the app and select a background color. Click inside the default text and type whatever inspirational quote or witty one-liner you want to see on your desktop.

Open the color box next to the text size tool, and select a contrasting color for the text. The text tool allows you to increase the text size but unfortunately, you cannot change the font size.

Once you’ve got it looking the way you want it, click the download button and save the image to your desktop. Right-click it and select the Set as desktop background option, or use the Settings app and set the image as the wallpaper from the Personalization group of settings.

This tool is limited in a few ways; it’s only for desktops, you have limited colors available, and there are no options for the font. It is still simple to use and if you like to update your wallpaper often with the same type of wallpaper i.e., text on solid color, this app is the most convenient way to do it.

If you’re looking for more color options or fonts, you might have to use a different image editing app. We recommend using Paint or Paint.net. Paint.net is actually a better option because it has support for layers and it makes editing the image much easier. Additionally, it’s easier to center text, or align it in Paint.net.

If you want, you can use an image as the background and add text to it in Paint.net. You will of course need to find the right color for the text so that it’s readable on the busier background. As a rule, white text with a black border is normally visible on any background regardless how busy it is.

Read How To Create A Text On Solid Color Wallpaper by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

How To Fix Broken Apps On iOS 12 Public Beta

Beta software is supposed to have bugs. If you download beta software and run it, you do so knowing that not everything will work all the time. Apps are often released in a controlled private, or public beta but now, operating systems for both desktops and smartphones do the same. You can test beta versions of Android, iOS, macOS, and Windows 10. In many cases, people are advised not to run beta versions of an OS on their main device but many do. If you’re running the beta versions of iOS 12, you might have a broken app after a new beta has rolled out. If the broken apps on iOS 12 public beta are stock apps e.g., the Notes app, then there is a way to fix them.

This fix only works for apps that you can delete from your phone. For example, you can delete the Notes app but you cannot delete the Photos or Camera app. If either of those apps are broken on your device after updating to a new iOS 12 beta build, your only option is to downgrade to the stable version of iOS 11 and try installing the beta version again. If the app can be deleted, you can fix it.

Broken Apps On iOS 12 Public Beta

Tap and hold on any one of the apps on your home screen to enter edit mode. Once the apps start wriggling, tap the cross i.e., delete button on the app icon for the app that is broken or buggy beyond use. This will obviously delete the app. You should back up anything you will need in future if the app doesn’t use iCloud to sync data before you delete it.

Once you delete the app, search for it in the App Store app. Make sure that the app’s publisher is Apple. Some apps have a new icon in iOS 12 and the ones you find in the App Store will still have the old ones that are in use on iOS 11. This doesn’t matter. Download it anyway.

Once the app downloads, you will see that it has the new icon. Run it and this time, it should run without any problem.

We tried this out with the Voice Memo. The app wouldn’t record after a device was updated to iOS 12 public beta 6. Deleting it and downloading it fixed the problem.

Apple normally doesn’t ship iOS betas that render apps unusable. Some features may not work but an app rarely stops working altogether.

Read How To Fix Broken Apps On iOS 12 Public Beta by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

How To Restart A Router The Right Way

A restart is a common solution that applies to almost every single tech device that can be restarted. If your PC is acting up, you should restart it. If you phone isn’t responding, or it’s slow, or some part of the UI hasn’t loaded, restart it. If a device isn’t responding, disconnect, and reconnect it. Often, this one simple solution will fix common problems that seem to have no real underlying the cause. This little solution applies to routers as well. You can restart a router if one or all of your devices are unable to connect to it, if you’re getting no connectivity, or if your network isn’t showing up in the list of available networks, and it might fix everything.

Restarting is a simple enough process on most devices but not as straight forward when it comes to a router. You don’t need special technical skills to restart a router but there is still a right way, and a wrong way to do it.

Restart A Router

Restarting is different from resetting a router. If you’re looking to reset a router, we have a detailed write-up on how to do just that. A restart is far less extreme but it will solve most problems.

Step 1: Look for a power button on your router. It may or may not have one but most do. If you see a button labelled Reset, it is not the same thing. You do not want to press that button. If there’s no power button, don’t worry about. Instead, make sure you can reach the power outlet that the router is plugged into.

Step 2: If you found a power button, use it to turn the router off. Next, unplug the router. Do this even if you used a button to turn the router off.

Step 3: If your router connects to a modem, or there are other access points that make up the network, you should unplug them as well. Not all routers connect to a modem so don’t worry if you only have the router. The access point devices should be unplugged.

Step 4: Wait at least 30 seconds. Some router manufacturers advise you wait 10 seconds but 30 is best, and even waiting a whole minute isn’t a bad idea.

Step 5: Plug everything back in, and turn it on via the power button. Again wait 30-60 seconds. Your router needs time to establish it has a stable connection with your ISP. Once the connection is stable, your devices ought to connect to it automatically. If they don’t, open the WiFi setting on your devices, and initiate the connection.

That’s about it. The crucial thing in this process is the wait, and making sure you unplug everything.

Holding Down The Power Button

Some router manufacturers advise that you hold down the power button for a few (10) seconds and then releas it to restart the router. That isn’t enough. You can hold down the power button for ten seconds and release it to turn the router off. Then, unplug it and follow the rest of the process listed above.

When To Restart A Router

You should restart a router if you’re unable to access websites that you normally are able to. Random errors related to the DNS or time out errors can be resolved by restarting your router.

If you PC or phone is unable to connect to your WiFi network, you can restart your device and your router. One of the two, or a combination of both, will sort out the problem.

If you’re experiencing frequent disconnections from the network, restarting your router might be able to fix it in some cases. If the problem persists though, you will need to contact your ISP.

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