How Dangerous Is Torrenting Without VPN?

If you’re reading this article, there are probably two possible scenarios: either you’re quite new to torrenting and curious about it, or, you’ve been torrenting for a while and are curious what would happen if you stopped torrenting with a VPN. Torrenting has a bad reputation since its use has been linked with piracy of movies, software, games etc. However, torrenting itself is totally legal.

Keep in mind that you’ll only land into trouble if you downloaded unsanctioned copyrighted materials. So if you want to remain anonymous while torrenting, it’s always a good idea to use a VPN while doing so. But exactly how dangerous is torrenting without VPN? We’ll answer this question below.

Dangers of torrenting without VPN

Torrenting refers to downloading/uploading files via the BitTorrent network, which is a decentralized peer-to-peer file transfer protocol. It works by finding users who have files needed by other users on the network, then enabling simultaneous downloading of pieces of the files. If you’re privacy-conscious, you should consider torrenting using a VPN so that your ISP doesn’t track your online activities.

If you happen to get caught torrenting, the penalties you may face vary depending on the country and state you live in. Below are the dangers of torrenting without VPN from mild to severe: 

Internet connection disruptions

Your ISP (Internet Service Provider) can monitor your web activities using a method known as “Deep Packet Inspection”. Using this method, your ISP can know the type of traffic coming from your computer. They can either throttle (slow down) or completely block certain traffic. If the type of traffic coming from your computer is torrent traffic, your ISP will most likely throttle it — regardless of whether it’s a legal or illegal torrent. If you repeatedly download illegal torrents, your ISP could block or suspend your internet connection.

So can VPN hide torrenting? With a VPN, your torrent traffic will fully be encrypted, meaning that your ISP won’t be able to track what you do on the web — including torrenting.

Legal problems

Copyright trolls are an example of a legal risk of torrenting without VPN that you could possibly face. Copyright trolling is often used by lawyers and their firms to look for or “troll” copyright violations of videos, music, images, and games across the web. Normally, copyright owners have the rights to reproduce, distribute, perform, and publicly show their work. Lawyers use software to help them look for copyright violations on the web and to monitor blogs, websites, social media, YouTube, etc. for copyright infringements. Once a lawyer identifies a potential copyright violation, they’ll send a notice asking you to prove that your torrent use was licensed, or they’ll ask you to enter into an immediate settlement by paying a certain amount of money. 

These cases, however, rarely proceed to litigation. So how can you avoid copyright trolling? Ensure you check your website or social media pages for any copyrighted materials such as videos or images. If you find any, remove them and instead use rights-free ones.

How to protect yourself from the dangers of torrenting

Use a VPN every time you’re torrenting

A VPN is your safest bet when torrenting. Will a VPN hide torrenting from ISP? Yes. A VPN will hide your real IP address from your ISP thus making it hard for anyone to track your online activities. A VPN also encrypts all your traffic data before it leaves your internet device. Since your traffic data is transferred to the VPN’s server first, your ISP won’t be able to tell where that data is going. 

So are there any free VPNs for torrenting? There are loads of free VPNs for torrenting, but the majority tend to log your online activities and don’t maintain good enough security and privacy. Keep this in mind when shopping around for VPNs.

More alternatives

If you’re not willing to pay for VPN services, you may consider using Tor. Tor is quite similar to VPN since it also encrypts your browsing data through several volunteer nodes. However, compared to a VPN, Tor is much slower and it’s normally used for simple browsing activities. Apart from Tor, you can also use Usenet. Though it’s paid monthly, Usenet allows you to download files from centralized servers rather than peer-to-peer ones.

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Can’t Schedule an Uber in Advance? Here’s What To Do

Uber is a great car hiring service and often a better and cheaper alternative to a taxi. Unlike ordinary taxis, Uber comes with a few handy features, like paying for your rides with free Uber credit or using the app’s delivery service Uber Eats to get food delivered. However, one of the most useful features that Uber offers is its scheduled rides. 

Scheduling an Uber in advance has many benefits, but if you’ve never used Uber before it may prove a little tricky. Learn how to use Scheduled Rides on Uber as well as what to do if it appears that you can’t schedule your ride. 

Why Schedule an Uber in Advance?

If you’ve planned to attend an event or a meeting, scheduling an Uber ride in advance might save you time and worries. The app allows you to schedule a ride whether it is 15 minutes from now or 30 days in advance. 

The Scheduled Ride feature is perfect for when you can’t afford to have anything go wrong. For example, if you have a flight booked and need to be at the airport by a certain time, a scheduled pickup is ideal. If your flight’s in the middle of the night, you might prefer Uber to waking up a friend or a family member to drive you. 

If it’s a work event that you’re attending, scheduling an Uber in advance will help you forget about things like finding space in the parking lot and focus more on the important presentation or meeting that you have ahead. 

How Scheduled Uber Rides Work

*00_scheduling uber ride*

The Scheduled Rides feature allows you to select a 10 minute window when you want the driver to pick you up. You can schedule your ride on the same day or up to 30 days in advance. The price of your ride will differ depending on when you search for it. When scheduling a ride, you’ll get an estimate of what you can expect your future ride to cost and it’ll be locked in after you schedule it. 

When the time window that you selected comes up, Uber will look for a nearby driver on your behalf. Once a driver picks up your request, you’ll get push-notifications about it in the app, same as you would with a regular Uber ride. You can then check the driver’s rating to see how other passengers rate their experience with them. 

You should know, however, that scheduling an Uber in advance doesn’t guarantee you a ride. Uber will send your request at the scheduled time, but there’s still a slight chance there won’t be a driver to accept it. If it happens that you’re not matched with a car, Uber will notify you at the end of your selected time window. 

Why Can’t I Schedule an Uber in Advance?

You should be able to schedule your Uber in advance if you follow the steps from above. If you can’t seem to be able to schedule your ride, use the following tips to identify the problem.

Schedule an Uber Ride More Than 30 Days in Advance 

What went wrong?

Check the current date and the date of your future trip. The problem with scheduling your Uber ride in advance may be that you’re trying to schedule a ride more than 30 days prior to the date when you need the ride. 

What should you do?

Uber doesn’t allow you to schedule a trip if it’s more than 30 days away from today. The solution is to either schedule a trip for an earlier date or wait a couple of days till the desired date becomes available on the app. 

Schedule a Ride From the Airport

What went wrong?

This one’s a little odd, but Uber only allows you to schedule trips TO the airport. For some reason there’s no option to schedule a ride FROM the airport. 

What should you do?

If you’re leaving the airport, your only choice is to request a ride on-demand right from the app. 

The Scheduled Rides Feature Isn’t Available in Your City 

What went wrong?

The feature that allows for ride scheduling is available in most major cities where the app functions. You can check if your city’s on the list using the official Uber website. 

If you’re having issues with the ride scheduling, the reason could be that the feature isn’t available in the pickup area that you chose. Uber will show you an information icon next to the option to schedule your ride if that’s the case. 

What should you do?

Double-check the pickup and dropoff address. If one of them isn’t correct or if you’re flexible on either, you can try changing to a nearby pickup area to see if the option to schedule an Uber becomes available. If both addresses are correct and you can’t schedule a ride, you can request an immediate ride at the time you need it. 

If it’s someone else that you’re trying to arrange an Uber for, you can order a flexible Uber ride. It’s a type of Uber that allows the rider to request the ride when they’re ready. 

Once you book a flexible ride for someone, they’ll receive a text allowing them to request a ride at the time of their choice within the next day. The flexible ride expires at 11:59 on the same day (in the rider’s local time zone). 

Where Is Uber Taking You Next Time?

Ride-sharing apps like Uber or Lyft are great for both daily use, and for special occasions like when you have to plan a trip and schedule your ride in advance. Whether you want to have a worry-free night out with friends, or don’t want to be late on your first day at a new job – scheduling an Uber in advance will help you focus on what matters and leave the rest to Uber. 

Have you used ride scheduling on Uber before? Have you ever had any issues with it? Share your experience with Uber in the comments section below. 

5 Best Microsoft Teams features for online meetings

Microsoft Teams is an excellent tool for meetings but for many users, a meeting is simply a video call. It isn’t until they have to make video calls, and they face the various limitations that come with simple video calling tools that they understand a more sophisticated solution like Microsoft Teams is needed.

Microsoft Teams dark mode

5 Best Microsoft Teams features

If you’ve heard a great deal about Microsoft Teams but aren’t sure which features it has that make it better than other online meeting tools, go through the list below to find out.

1. Meeting scheduling and invites

Ad-hoc meetings are easy to hold in any and all online meeting tools but scheduling is more advanced. When an online meeting is scheduled, the time and date aren’t the only information that must be shared. A link to the meeting that users can click must also be shared.

In theory, you can probably share the link to a meeting when it’s time for it to start but it is tedious and it will take time away from the meeting. With Microsoft Teams, you can create an invite and send it to everyone. This invite can be updated whenever you need to and it will contain a link to the meeting. All users have to do is click the Join button.

2. Breakout rooms

Breakout rooms is a relatively new feature in Microsoft Teams. Breakout rooms are created from a meeting that is already in progress and the participants are a subset of all participants in the meeting.

Breakout rooms allow all attendees of a meeting to remain in the meeting but to create their own separate sub-meetings under it. They can move between different rooms, and back to the main meeting as and when needed. 

Think of it as having a large meeting where the members divide themselves into smaller groups to discuss something and occasionally come back to join others. Breakout rooms is a virtual version of this exercise. 

3. Presentation mode: screen sharing and request control

Most video calling tools allow screen sharing, even the ones that run on mobile platforms but sharing a screen often isn’t enough in a meeting. 

Microsoft Teams has a sophisticated presentation mode that allows users to present a PowerPoint presentation, view their slide notes, and control which slides a user can see and navigate to during the presentation. 

The screen sharing mode allows users to request control and remotely control the other user’s screen or the app they are sharing. In addition to request control, a presenter can also voluntarily hand over control to a user via the Grant Access feature. 

Microsoft Teams presentation mode

4. Backgrounds and background blur

If you do not have an office set up at home, or you want to block other people in the background during a video call, blurring the background or adding a custom background will do the job.

Microsoft Teams provides this feature natively and it’s excellent. It can detect a person accurately, isolate them from their background, and blur it or replace it completely. The feature is only available on desktop apps and not the Microsoft Teams web app.

5. Recordings & transcripts

Meetings held in real-life i.e., with members all physically present in a room are organized around agendas and followed up with meetings. With online meetings, there is no reason to stop using either of these tools if it helps later.

Microsoft Teams not only allows users to record a meeting, it can also generate a transcript for the meeting. Granted, this particular feature requires an enterprise license but the transcript is quite accurate and no one has to manually create it.

Record Microsoft Teams meeting

Conclusion

This is a brief list of Microsoft Teams features for meetings. Meetings are only one part of the app; it also offers shift scheduling, an extensive calling solution, and an excellent collaboration setup. You may find meeting tools that offer similar or somewhat comparable features to Microsoft Teams but the alternatives are usually meeting-centric and have little else to offer outside web conferencing. 

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Ubuntu: how to use Screen [Guide]

Screen is a handy tool as it allows users to save and come back to terminal sessions without having to keep the terminal window open. While many Linux users use this software on Linux servers, it can also be useful to Ubuntu users who want to always come back to a terminal program without having to keep the terminal open at all times.

Ubuntu: how to use Screen

In this guide, we’ll show you how to install Screen on Ubuntu, how the program works, and how to use it too. 

Ubuntu: how to use Screen – Installation

Although Screen is one of the most used terminal session managers on Linux, it doesn’t come pre-installed on Ubuntu. To use it, you will need to install it on your computer manually. 

To start the installation of Screen on your Linux PC, open up a terminal window. To open up a terminal window on the Ubuntu desktop, press Ctrl + Alt + T on the keyboard. Alternatively, search for “Terminal” in the app menu and open up the program that way.

Once the terminal window is open and ready to use on the Ubuntu desktop, use the apt install command below to install the Screen application. 

sudo apt install screen

Don’t want to install Screen via the terminal? You’ll also be able to find it in the Synaptic Package Manager. If you’ve got Synaptic installed on Ubuntu, click “Search,” type in “screen,” and install the package.

Ubuntu: how to use Screen – Keybindings for Screen

Screen has a lot of keybindings you will need to understand if you want to use the program. Each of the keybindings will help you use Screen to manage your terminal sessions on Ubuntu. 

There are a whole lot of keybindings for Screen. So many that if we posted them in this article, it’d take up half the page, so we can’t show them here. However, you can view the Screen keybindings yourself by doing the following.

First, use the man screen command to view the manual for the Screen application. This manual is very long, but it details everything there is to know about the app.

man screen

Once inside of the Screen manual, press the Spacebar button till you get to the “DEFAULT KEY BINDINGS” section. From there, read the keybinding table to familiarize yourself with Screen.

Want to view the keybinding info in your favorite text editor? Export it to a text file in your home folder with the command below.

man screen > ~/screen-manual.txt

Open up “screen-manual.txt” to view it.

Ubuntu: how to use Screen – Basic use of Screen

Screen is a very advanced program, despite its small installation size. In this guide, we’ll cover the fundamental elements of it, such as how to activate Screen, how to send terminal sessions to the background/foreground, etc.

To start, launch the Screen application in the terminal. To do that, execute the following screen command.

screen

Once you launch the Screen app, you’ll see a brief message talking about the program’s copyright and capabilities. From here, press the Space button on the keyboard.

After pressing Space, you’ll be presented with a blank terminal. However, this terminal is running through Screen. From here, you can launch any program. For example, to run the Top app in Screen, you’d run:

top

To send the Top app to the background and open up another terminal, press Ctrl + A  followed by C. This keyboard combo creates a second terminal and keeps Top running, but in the background.

To get back to the Top app, you can press Ctrl + A, then the Ctrl + A a second time. This button combination will swap you back to the Top running in the first terminal opened in Screen. You can press Ctrl + A twice to go between the two running terminal sessions in Screen.

If you have more than 2 Screen terminal sessions, pressing Ctrl + A twice won’t navigate you through all of them. To navigate through multiple sessions, do the following.

First, press Ctrl + A, then to list your Screen terminal sessions. Then, look at the list and note the numbers next to it. For example, if you have 3 Screen terminal sessions open, the list prompt (when pressing Ctrl + A then W) will look like the code below.

0*$ bash 1$ bash 2-$ bash

Each Screen session has a number next to it. For example, to navigate to Screen session 0, you’d do Ctrl + A then 0. To access Screen session 2, you’d press Ctrl + A, then 2, etc.

Kill a Screen terminal session

Need to kill an active Screen session? Here’s how to do it. First, list out the sessions available by pressing Ctrl + A, then W. Then, access the session with  Ctrl + A, then the Ctrl + #.

Once inside of the session you wish to kill, press Ctrl + A then K. Alternatively, kill all of your Screen session windows with Ctrl + A then \.

More information on Screen

In this guide, we covered the very basics of how to use Screen in Ubuntu. If you’d like to learn more about the app and access some of its more advanced functions, you’ll need to read the manual. 

To read the Screen manual, open up a terminal window and enter the command below.

man screen

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