Monday, January 6, 2020

7 Uses for a USB Stick You Didn’t Know About

We’ve all used USB sticks to transport files between computers and back up our files, but there are other cool things you can do with a USB stick. You can use one to lock and unlock your computer—just like in the movies.
You can also use a USB flash drive to quickly connect to a wireless network on all your PCs, increase your computer’s performance, or even run a web server—directly from the USB stick itself.
Here are several surprising ways you can use a USB flash drive.

1. Use a USB Flash Drive to Lock/Unlock Your PC

Do you want to lock and unlock your computer with a physical key, like they do in the movies? With the free PREDATOR tool, you can!
PREDATOR turns a USB flash drive into an access control device—a key for your computer. When you leave your PC, unplug the USB stick and your computer will be locked. When you return, plug it back in and your computer will be unlocked.
It’s like using the Lock function in Windows, but you don’t have to type your password when you return.
When you unplug your USB flash drive, your open windows will minimize, and your screen will go dark—plug it back in and your screen will turn back on.
Download: PREDATOR for Windows

2. Run Portable Apps Anywhere

One of the oddest things about software is that it usually needs to be installed. With portable apps, however, that isn’t the case.
Portable apps and games can be easily copied to a USB stick, then run from any suitable device. This is usually a 32-bit or 64-bit PC. Browsers, email tools, messaging apps, and games can all be run from a USB flash drive.
It’s a particularly useful solution if you’re keen to keep a selection of apps close to hand to use on any PC that might be nearby. This might be in a library, or even a cyber café at a holiday resort.
Check our list of the best portable apps to find a host of cool things to put on a USB stick.

3. Increase Performance With ReadyBoost

Speed up Windows with ReadyBoost
If you have a slow hard disk drive in your computer, ReadyBoost can help speed things up. When you enable ReadyBoost for a drive, it acts as a hard drive cache, caching frequently used files. If it’s faster to read from the USB stick instead of your HDD, Windows will read the flash drive cache instead.
You won’t see much of a performance boost if you have a 7200+ RPM drive. If you have a solid-state drive, Windows won’t let you use ReadyBoost because the cache will be slower than your SSD.
To enable ReadyBoost, right-click a USB stick in Windows Explorer, select Properties, and use the options on the ReadyBoost tab. Windows will only let you enable ReadyBoost if your USB stick is fast enough, so you might see these options grayed out for some devices. ReadyBoost also requires a flash drive with at least 256 MB of free space.

4. Make Backups With Win32 Disk Imager

Backup a USB stick with Win32 Disk Imager
If you’re using your USB flash stick for many purposes, it might be useful to backup the contents. An easy way to do this is with Win32 Disk Imager.
Although Win32 Disk Imager is usually used to write bootable disk images to flash drives, it can also create images. Simply install and run the tool, insert the USB stick, and select a destination and name for the Image File. Click Read to clone the disk contents.
When you need to restore the disk image, simply browse to the image and click Write.
Download: Win32 Disk Imager for Windows

5. Store Vital Travel Documents

If you travel often, you’ve probably mislaid documents. Visas, booking confirmations, even passports can easily go missing. Packing papers in the wrong bag can lead to problems if baggage handlers make a mistake.
One solution is to save all travel documents to a compact USB flash drive and carry it with you. This might even include scanning your passport, if only to provide immigration with the information they need to conduct background checks if your passport has gone missing.

6. Install Almost Any Operating System

Download the Windows 10 installation media
Bootable USB disk images of operating systems can be used to install a new OS on your PC.
For example, Windows 10 users can create a bootable USB installer disk using a dedicated tool. In the event of a problem with the operating system, this can be used to recover or even reinstall Windows.
Similarly, all manner of Linux based operating systems can be installed from USB. Many offer a live environment, giving you get a feel for the OS which runs direct from USB before installation.
It’s even possible to create a USB installer disk for macOS.

7. Stay Secure Online With Tails Live Operating System

Alternatively, you might be looking for an OS that you can run from USB to keep your online activity private.
The solution to this is Tails, which unlike standard operating systems, preserves your privacy and anonymity. No logs are kept on the operating system. Meanwhile, state of the art cryptographic software encrypts your files, emails, and instant messages, while internet data is routed via Tor.
Each time you use Tails on your USB flash drive, it starts a whole new session, retaining no data. This helps to enhance your online privacy and security—just be sure to use secure passwords!
Download: Tails live operating system

7 Different Ways You Can Use a USB Flash Drive

By now you should have an idea of the different ways you can use a USB flash device.
  1. Unlock your PC
  2. Run portable apps
  3. Improve Windows performance
  4. Store vital documents for travel
  5. Backup your USB flash device
  6. Install any operating system
  7. Stay secure with Tails operating system
However, we’ve only scratched the surface. You’ll find many other ways to use a USB flash drive. We’ve even looked at some flash drives you can use with your iPhone.
Struggling to get your USB device to work? It could be a problem with your computer. Here’s how to fix a broken USB port.
Explore more about: USB Drive.


Wednesday, May 15, 2019

The Best Free Website Hosting Services in 2019

By  Joel Lee,

Need to create your own website? It’s easier than you’d think, especially nowadays with all the awesome services and platforms out there—not to mention all the free web hosts you can pick from.
Is Free Website Hosting Enough for Your Needs?
Before you waste any time with free web hosting services, you need to ask yourself whether free website hosting will suffice. Truth is, while free web hosting is fine for getting your site off the ground, it’s often more headache than it’s worth.
Here are a few reasons to reconsider free web hosting:
Extremely limited resources. You’ll be lucky to get more than 1 GB of storage space. Most free web hosts only offer a few hundred MB. Given the size of images, videos, and web software these days, you’ll run out faster than you think—especially if you’re publishing a blog with frequent new content. And don’t be duped by “unmetered” storage and bandwidth, which come with performance problems (read below).
Poor site performance and uptime. Free web hosts are in high demand with limited server space. This means tons of websites are crammed onto the same hardware and share bandwidth, RAM, and CPU. Best case, your site is slow as snails. Worst case, someone else’s website causes your server to crash and your site goes down.
Poor ranking in search results. Search engines often give greater weight to sites hosted by reputable hosts, as they’re more likely to have reputable content. Moreover, search engines penalize rankings for sites with poor performance, which isn’t good given what we talked about above.
You can’t monetize. Many free web hosts forbid the use of advertisements and affiliate links. Some even go as far as injecting ads onto your site, so they make money off of yourwork.
Your site isn’t really your site. Per the terms and conditions of most free web hosts, your site—and possibly the content of your site—could actually be the property of the host. This means they can take your site down at any time for any reason, and if you ever want to sell your site, you won’t have the rights to do so.
That’s why we highly recommend paid web hosting. Even cheap website hosting is better than free website hosting! Whatever you can afford, go for it.
What do we recommend? WP Engine if you’re running a WordPress site, because it takes the hassle out of site administration. We use WP Engine to run our own sister sites, and we couldn’t be happier.
Other solid web hosting options include InMotion HostingBluehost, and Hostinger. All of these web hosting services offer discounted plans if you sign up using these links.
Still set on going with free? Here are the best free website hosting services.

1. x10Hosting

The Best Free Website Hosting Services in 2019 free web host x10hosting
With over 10 years of solid service, x10Hosting is one of the oldest and most reputable free web hosts around. Signup is fast, the specs are great, and you’ll have access to 200+ one-click installers that’ll get your website up and running in record time.
  • Storage: Unmetered
  • Bandwidth: Unmetered
  • Advertisements: None
  • Domains: 2 subdomains, 2 addon domains, 1 parked domain
  • Email Accounts: 3 email accounts
  • Upload Methods: FTP
  • Scripting Support: PHP
  • Database Support: MySQL
  • Control Panel: cPanel
Performance is excellent for a free host, and if your site takes off, you can always upgrade to a paid plan for as little as $4/mo through x10Premium (more advanced VPS plans are also available for as little as $9/mo).

2. Byethost

The Best Free Website Hosting Services in 2019 free web host byethost
Byethost owns one of the most powerful networks among free web hosting services. Thanks to their successful premium services, Byethost can provide top-notch free services with no gimmicks or catches.
  • Storage: Unmetered
  • Bandwidth: Unmetered
  • Advertisements: None
  • Domains: Unlimited addon domains and parked domains
  • Email Accounts: 5 email accounts
  • Upload Methods: FTP
  • Scripting Support: PHP
  • Database Support: MySQL
  • Control Panel: VistaPanel
Not only do you get support through the free community forums, but Byethost offers 24/7 tech support even for free users. Don’t expect lightning-fast response times, but if you’re an absolute newbie, every ounce of help can prove crucial.

3. 5GBFree

The Best Free Website Hosting Services in 2019 free web host 5gbfree
5GBFree offers exactly what it promises. It’s a newer service so it’s unclear how much longer they can keep this up, but they’ve been around long enough that we feel more than comfortable enough to recommend them. As far as value, 5GBFree is one of the best.
  • Storage: 5 GB
  • Bandwidth: 20 GB/mo
  • Advertisements: None
  • Domains: None
  • Email Accounts: None
  • Upload Methods: FTP
  • Scripting Support: PHP
  • Database Support: MySQL
  • Control Panel: cPanel
Note that 5GBFree used to force ads on freely hosted sites, but they discontinued that in 2014. If you used to use them but stopped because of this, reconsider and try them again. You may be pleasantly surprised.

4. AwardSpace

The Best Free Website Hosting Services in 2019 free web host awardspace
AwardSpace launched back in 2003, so rest assured: they’ve been around for a while, and they’ll still around years from now. The free service is meant to funnel you to their paid services, but for most users, the free service is more than enough.
  • Storage: 1 GB
  • Bandwidth: 5 GB/mo
  • Advertisements: None
  • Domains: 1 free domain, 3 subdomains
  • Email Accounts: 1 email account
  • Upload Methods: FTP
  • Scripting Support: PHP
  • Database Support: MySQL
  • Control Panel: Custom
Even as a free user, you can take advantage of their excellent 24/7 customer support. Obviously paid users are prioritized, but considering you’re paying nothing, that’s more than fair.

5. WebFreeHosting

The Best Free Website Hosting Services in 2019 free web host webfreehosting
Despite its as-generic-as-possible name, WebFreeHosting is a choice for first timers on the web. The specs are great, and you have a simple (and affordable) upgrade path if your site takes off. Support phone numbers are available in US, UK, and Germany.
  • Storage: 1 GB
  • Bandwidth: 5 GB/mo
  • Advertisements: None
  • Domains: 3 subdomains
  • Email Accounts: 1 email account
  • Upload Methods: FTP
  • Scripting Support: PHP, Perl
  • Database Support: MySQL
  • Control Panel: Custom
One thing that stands out is WebFreeHosting’s eco-friendliness. Their servers are completely powered by wind energy, which should set your mind at ease if you’re worried about your own carbon footprint.

6. 000Webhost

The Best Free Website Hosting Services in 2019 free web host 000webhost
000Webhost is an oft-recommended name on free web hosting lists, and rightfully so. They pack a bunch of features into the free plan, and there are no hidden costs, gimmicks, or catches. They also have over a decade of experience, so you can breathe easy knowing they won’t fold overnight.
  • Storage: 1 GB
  • Bandwidth: 10 GB/mo
  • Advertisements: None
  • Domains: 1 subdomain
  • Email Accounts: None
  • Upload Methods: FTP
  • Scripting Support: PHP
  • Database Support: MySQL
  • Control Panel: cPanel
Despite the great specs, we do caution against using 000Webhost because they were hacked in 2015, leading to leaked usernames, passwords, email addresses, and personal names. However, if you take the proper precautions, you can mitigate such risks.

7. Free Web Hosting Area

The Best Free Website Hosting Services in 2019 free web host area
Launched in 2005 as FreeWHA, here’s another service that’s been around the block quite a bit. They’ve proven that they can sustain their service for many years. The website itself looks dated, but don’t let that deter you—at the end of the day, the service quality is all that matters.
  • Storage: 1.5 GB
  • Bandwidth: Unmetered
  • Advertisements: None (see note below)
  • Domains: 1 subdomain, free domain transfer
  • Email Accounts: None
  • Upload Methods: FTP
  • Scripting Support: PHP
  • Database Support: MySQL
  • Control Panel: Custom
One nice thing about Free Web Hosting Area is that they provide free daily/weekly backups to an external source, which is usually a feature you need to pay for. Accounts never expire as long as you receive at least 1 visitor every month.
Free Web Hosting Area promises that “low traffic” sites won’t ever have forced ads. Once your traffic crosses an undisclosed threshold, you will see ads. You can get rid of them by upgrading to the very cheap $12/year plan.

When Free Web Hosting Isn’t Enough

If you want to host a simple site that doesn’t change very often, there may be a better alternative for you: static site generators. With a static site, you can take advantage of unlimited free web hosting services like GitHub Pages and Netlify Drop.
Whatever you do, bear in mind that all free web hosts have limits and restrictions and downsides. If you have any budget at all, we highly recommend a paid web host. The pitfalls of free web hosting aren’t worth the headache except for the most basic of sites.
WP Engine is the way to go if you’re running a WordPress site. Otherwise, InMotion HostingBluehost, and Hostinger are all good for reputable web hosts that are affordable. Remember to use these links to unlock discounted plans!
Image credit: maxkabakov/Depositphotos
Explore more about: BloggingWeb DevelopmentWeb Hosting.Source:

5 Free Stock Image Sites to Legally Download Copyright-Free Pictures

By Mihir Patkar  ,

When you’re downloading an image from the internet to use for commercial or personal projects, you need to be careful about royalty and copyright issues. Here are a few resources full of cool images to download something different.
This list includes a diverse set of image resources. Apart from regular stock images, we have also rounded up old archive pictures; AI-generated human faces that aren’t actually a real person; free illustrations for presentations and projects; and a way to bulk download a large number of images.

1. Creative Commons Search: Overhauled and Lightning Fast

Once you understand the different types of Creative Commons copyrights licenses, you’ll be able to quickly find the right picture for your needs. Now Creative Commons itself has overhauled its search engine to make it easier and faster than ever to scour its massive library.
What Is Creative Commons, And Should You Use It? What Is Creative Commons, And Should You Use It?Creative Commons is a set of licenses which automatically give you permission to do various things, such as reuse and distribute the content. Let's find out more about it and how to use it.READ MORE
CC Search simplifies the licenses by first letting you filter them by two broad categories. Click “filters” and under “I want something that I can” choose “use for commercial purposes” or “modify and adapt”. You can choose further filters like the exact license and the several different providers available with Creative Commons.
These image providers include some big names like the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and art works from Behance and DeviantArt. CC Search currently has over 300 million images, and is lightning fast. It should become your first stop to find free pictures.

2. This Person Does Not Exist: AI-Generated Real-Looking Fake Humans

This Person Does Not Exist generates fake human faces with an AI
Would it blow your mind to know that the picture above is not a real person, but a computer-generated fake? This is perhaps the best way to use a human face for one of your projects, without causing a real person any unwanted exposure or consequences.
The AI technology uses something called a Generative Adversarial Network (GAN). The machine learns the human faces by scanning a large set. Based on that, it starts building a completely new face pixel by pixel.
The end result is a 1024×1024 image of a human that does not exist in real life, but boy, tell that to your eyes. This Person Does Not Exist generates a random new face every time you visit the page. Chalk this up to another one of those freaky things AI can do.
5 Amazing Things Google's DeepMind AI Can Already Do 5 Amazing Things Google's DeepMind AI Can Already DoArtificial intelligence is no longer the stuff of sci-fi movies. Thanks to Google's research, AI can already do amazing things.READ MORE

3. New Old Stock: Vintage Pictures From Archives

New Old Stock is an archive of vintage pictures without royalty or copyrights
The copyrights for a photograph expire after a certain amount of time. Museums, universities, media houses, and other institutions have periodically released such archival pictures for the public. Free of copyright issues, you can grab some of the best of these at New Old Stock.
Since it’s a Tumblr blog, it’s difficult to browse through the choices apart from simply scrolling chronologically. There is a search bar to find images that have the correct tags, but that’s about it. Nonetheless, the collection is brilliant and worth scanning through if you are on the lookout for pictures that look old.
Most images should be fine for personal or non-commercial use. But if you are using a picture for commercial purposes, it would still be a good idea to check the original institution’s sharing policies.

4. ManyPixels Gallery: Free Illustrations for Presentations and Projects

ManyPixels has free illustrations and art for projects and presentations
While stock images are usually easy to find, it’s a lot more difficult to find good royalty-free illustrations, especially the type you can use in PowerPoint presentations and formal projects. Design firm ManyPixels has got your back about this.
Every week, ManyPixels releases a new batch of illustrations that you can download for free and use as you see fit. These artworks are generally about office and work-related situations, but there are some exceptions to that. Go through the list, you’ll be able to find something for most situations.
Interestingly, you can also change the base color palette of the design before downloading it as an SVG or PNG file. By default, it’s set to light blue, but you can turn it to any color of your choice.
There’s also a handy search engine to find what you’re looking for, if you don’t want to browse through the options. I’d still suggest browsing though because the illustrations are basic enough for any one drawing to be used to depict scenarios that it isn’t named after or tagged with.

5. Pix-Zip: Bulk Download Images From Popular Stock Resources

Pix-Zip searches pexels, pixabay and unsplash and lets you bulk download images in a zip file
Pexels, Pixabay, and UnSplash are some of the top websites for free stock photographs. Each has their own database of images, and Pix-Zip puts them all in one place, while also letting you download images in bulk.
Top 10 Free Websites for Quality Copyright Free Photographs Top 10 Free Websites for Quality Copyright Free PhotographsWe've compiled a list of the best stock photography websites to ensure you have access to millions of free stock images instantly.READ MORE
It’s a two-pane window. You search in the right pane for a keyword, and you get a large list of images. Drag-and-drop the pictures you like into the left pane. You can also change what you search for, and thus add pictures from a different search result.
There doesn’t seem to be any limit on how many images you can add to the left pane. Once you’ve made your collection, you can download all pictures as a single ZIP file. Super convenient.

Look for Little-Known Sources

You will undoubtedly find something worth using at the popular stock image sites like Pexels and Pixabay. But the downside of this is that everyone goes there, so the picture you use might just end up being used by a competitor too.
That’s why it’s a good idea to look at some of the lesser-known free stock image sites. This way, you reduce the chances of repetition and duplication, while also finding pictures that might be more apt for what you need.
5 Lesser-Known Free Stock Image Sites for Images That Stick Out 5 Lesser-Known Free Stock Image Sites for Images That Stick OutThese lesser-known stock photography sites are just as good as any of the popular ones. Try them for royalty-free images that are completely free.READ MORE

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

How to Delete Your Personal Data From Public Record Websites

By  Georgina Torbet ,

When someone Googles your name, there’s a whole host of information about you they might find. Sometimes this is good, like finding links to your personal website or Twitter account. But sometimes there is information that you don’t want to share online, like your home address or phone number.
Directory listing websites can hold a lot of your personal information. But fortunately there is a way to get this information taken down. In this article, we’ll show you have to take control of your personal data and get your details deleted from these websites.

What Types of Sites Collect Your Personal Data?

Personal Data Directory Website
You might be shocked by how many websites list information about you. Sites like online directories, address listing sites, and background check websites are common. You’ll find sites like, which lists personal information on many people in the U.S. (In the U.K., does the same thing.)
Often these sites have some information available publicly. Then they charge people to access more information such as full addresses.
The idea is that these sites can offer useful information for potential employers, skip tracers, or journalists. But this data can very easily be misused. And you never know who is looking at your personal information.

What Information About You Is Available Online?

These sites can gather a lot of information about you, including:
  • Your name
  • Your current home address
  • Other addresses where you have previously lived
  • Your email address
  • Your mobile and home phone numbers
  • Date of birth
  • Names of your relatives
  • Details of any criminal convictions
  • Details of arrests that did not lead to a conviction
  • Names of your friends, business partners, or housemates
  • Whether you are married or divorced and the name of your spouse
  • Your education
  • Your employer
  • Assets, such as whether you own a house
Some sites may even have access to much more sensitive personal data such as your social security number.

What’s Wrong With Personal Info Being Available?

When you see it listed out like that, it’s pretty scary how much information about you can be obtained. Especially as all it takes to find is a quick Google search. If you’re concerned about privacy, you should get this information taken down. This is particularly important if you want to avoid being stalked or harassed.
But there’s another reason to be concerned about the availability of this data too. Having this information easily available makes you vulnerable to identify theft, spear phishing, SIM swaps, and other cyber attacks. The more people who can access your personal details, the easier it is for someone to pretend to be you or to target you in an attack.
Simply: anyone can steal your identity.

Where Do These Websites Get Their Data?

Although these sites may be annoying and intrusive, they are not illegal. Even though you didn’t give you information to the sites personally, they merely collate information which is already publicly available.
Often these sites source data from public government databases. These include the electoral roll, census records, criminal conviction databases, marriage certificate records, land use records, and more.
While you have to accept that some information about you will be publicly available, it’s quite a different story to have all this data available on one website. It’s also concerning that this information is accessible through a simple Google search.
Another source of information that many sites use is your social media profiles. If you have publicly accessible personal information available on your Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter account, it will likely end up on a directory site. You might want to delete information from social media sites. Also you can consider whether you share too much information online.
Online Privacy: Do You Share Too Much Information? Online Privacy: Do You Share Too Much Information?Sharing has always been a prominent part of what the Internet is and how it functions. And with social networks exploding in popularity in the past several years, sharing is probably the one aspect we...READ MORE

How to Remove Your Information From Public Sites

It used to be that listings websites would make it very difficult for you to remove your data. Often they would request annoying things like printing and posting a paper form, or even requiring you to send a fax.
But now, thanks in part to new EU data control laws, the sites must give you a reasonable way to remove your details. Even if you live outside the EU, if the site operates within Europe then it must allow you to remove your information.
Unfortunately there is no way to opt out of all these sites at once. You will have to submit a request for your data to be removed from each site individually. But it shouldn’t take too long. Usually you just need to fill out an online form and the site will take down your details within a few days.
A word of warning though: sometimes sites will ask for more of your details in the removal form. You should only ever give the details that the site already has. For example, maybe a site lists your name and address but not your phone number. When you fill out the removal form you should only put in your name and address.
If the site asks for a phone number or email address, use a fake one. Don’t give any more information to these sites than they already have.

Where to Go to Remove Your Information

Here is a list of some of the most common data collection websites with links to their respective opt out pages:
You can find a longer list of personal data websites with instructions on how to remove your details from each at
The best way to check which sites you need to remove your data from is by running a search on yourself. Enter your name into Google and see what comes up. If you have a common name, add your state or zip code to the search query to filter out irrelevant results.

Remove Your Personal Data and Stay Safe

Directory sites, background check sites, and address listing sites are all common. They can list information about you without your permission.
But you can get your data taken down. Using the links in this article you can have your personal data removed from these websites which will help protect you against cyber attacks.
While you’re at it, you might also want to clear your data from Google to further improve your online privacy.
How To Clear Your Data From Google & Attempt To Regain Some Of Your Privacy How To Clear Your Data From Google & Attempt To Regain Some Of Your PrivacyWiping all trace of you from the web is not easy, but after reading Dragnet Nation by Julia Angwin you might just want to try. It's time to stop willingly throwing away your privacy.READ MORE
Image Credit: lightsource/DepositphotosSource:

7 Uses for a USB Stick You Didn’t Know About

By  Christian Cawley   We’ve all used USB sticks to transport files between computers and back up our files, but there are other...