Here’s how to set up a VPN and protect your data

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On today’s internet, having at least some level of protection is essential.

A VPN or virtual private network is a tool to get an extra layer of protection — it essentially masks your connection while encrypting your data. The best part is you don’t need to get any physical hardware to use one; using a VPN is usually as simple as downloading and launching an app

Once you have a VPN setup, you can use it on your home WiFi, public networks, over LTE, and even while traveling. 

SEE ALSO: Facebook to pull its creepy VPN Onavo from App Store after Apple pushback

Certainly, the internet is a great way to connect with others, but users need to be careful now more than ever. A VPN will mask your IP address and give you a bit more security, especially for your viewing history — not to mention it makes using public WiFi networks much safer and can stop hackers from accessing data. Read more…

More about Internet, Tech Utility, Vpn, Internet Access, and Internet Security

What Amazon got right about smart speakers that Facebook won’t

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Just hours after Amazon surprised us with more new Alexa-enabled gadgets than we can count, word broke that Facebook’s voice-activated smart speaker (reportedly called “Portal”) is apparently back on — and launching as soon as next week. 

Suddenly, a market that’s been dominated by Amazon and Google is starting to look more interesting … right? Well, not exactly.

I’m not trying to pick on Facebook but, of everything we’ve heard about the yet-to-be-revealed Portal speaker, nothing suggests that it can overcome what will likely be its biggest hurdle: that nobody trusts Facebook anymore. If you think an Alexa-enabled microwave sounds creepy, how do you think people will react to a Facebook-branded smart speaker with an AI-infused camera?  Read more…

More about Gadgets, Facebook, Amazon, Tech, and Consumer Tech

7 best cat toys to delight your pet for hours

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There isn’t one way to describe your cat’s daily activities. They’ll hide in Amazon Prime boxes, or drink from toilet bowls. One thing most pet parents can agree on though is that cats need engaging playtime. If your feline is bouncing off the walls or scratching furniture, it might be time to buy new cat toys. 

Googling “cat toy” could send you down an internet sinkhole, because there are so many plush mice, circle tunnels, and colorful wands available for felines. Plus, you might not know if a cat toy will meet your pet’s playtime needs. Before you buy a cat toy, there are some things you might want to consider: Read more…

More about Cats, Mashable Shopping, Culture, and Animals

YouTube just made a major change to its trending page

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Days after shuttering its dedicated gaming app, YouTube made some more big changes to how users discover content. 

Now, YouTube’s trending tab breaks down what’s popular in five categories: music, live, gaming, news, and movies.

SEE ALSO: YouTube will close YouTube Gaming, move it all to the main site

Trending on YouTube previously just displayed what videos were trending throughout a user’s country. YouTube said its algorithm takes a number of factors into consideration, such as view count and the rate of growth in views, among others.

Here's what the Trending on YouTube page looked like just earlier today.

Here’s what the Trending on YouTube page looked like just earlier today.

Image: YOUTUBE Read more…

More about Trending, Video, Youtube, Tech, and Media Industry

Cryptocurrency exchange claimed it was ‘practically impossible’ to hack. It was hacked.

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I guess we shouldn’t be all that surprised. But still, they did say it would be practically impossible. 

The Japan-based cryptocurrency exchange Zaif suffered a major hack last week. It issued a statement on Thursday stating that approximately $59 million worth of bitcoin, bitcoin cash, and MONAcoin had been stolen by unidentified criminals. This, obviously, is not good. What makes it perhaps worse is the company’s past insistence that it applied the “maximum effort” possible to keep its customers’ funds safe — and that hacking it would be “practically impossible.”

Like many exchanges, Zaif has a page on its website where it details the precautions taken to secure customer funds. With tens (or potentially hundreds) of millions of dollars worth of cryptocurrency at stake, it makes sense to let everyone know that you’re taking this security stuff seriously.  Read more…

More about Hacking, Bitcoin, Cryptocurrency, Bitcoin Cash, and Tech

Joana Ceddia went viral and brought back the spirit of old YouTube

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Joana Ceddia is blowing up right now. 

You might have stumbled across a video of her hacking off her hair with craft scissors in her parents’ bathroom, or watched her break down the contents of her school backpack to reveal a watermelon wedge and a stray parka like an unboxing video gone wrong. 

SEE ALSO: Behold, 20 of the funniest YouTube videos ever

In my case, her video about DIYing an overpriced clothing line haunted the “Up Next” side bar for weeks. Like many Gen Zers, Ceddia was thoroughly disappointed that vlogger Emma Chamberlain’s new collection wasn’t even visible, since each item of clothing for sale in the Dote app was pixelated to add a sense of intrigue.  Read more…

More about Youtube, Viral Videos, Vlog, Joana Ceddia, and Culture

Octopuses are being given ecstasy in the name of science

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Researchers at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine think that octopuses are just like us! Well, at least in the way they react to ecstasy. The research, which, yes, means giving octopuses ecstasy, can definitely be seen by some as a little unethical, but the experts say they make sure to take care of the animals. The research could help us better understand that our brain and social behavior are influenced by more basic processes than we imagined.  Read more…

More about Animals, Mashable Video, Octopus, Drugs, and Ecstasy

10 of the best laptops for Windows 10

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Although MacBooks have grown in popularity over the past decade, Microsoft is making a bit of a comeback among consumers with the release of Windows 10 a few years ago. In fact, there are some benefits of using Windows 10 over MacOS X, such as functionality, ease of use, and touch-ability. Believe it or not, you can actually use many Windows 10 laptops like tablets.

SEE ALSO: Up your game: 7 of the best gaming laptops to make you ‘PC Master Race’

Moreover, Windows-based laptops are catching up with MacBooks in terms of design and looks. PC laptops have always gotten a bad name since they have historically prioritized function over style thanks to cheap materials and awful looking displays. Apple computers, on the other hand, integrate form and style into one beautiful machine.  Read more…

More about Tech, Windows 10, Laptops, Mashable Shopping, and Tech

Make your cooking a whole lot easier with this device

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Check out this handy and foldable cutting board by Joseph Joseph. Just squeeze the handle and you are ready to speed up all aspects of cooking in the kitchen. 

Heads up: All products featured here are selected by Mashable’s commerce team and meet our rigorous standards for awesomeness. If you buy something, Mashable may earn an affiliate commission. Read more…

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Thanks, Apple, for making it easy to cling to my iPhone 6S

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It’s launch day for the iPhone XS and XS Max. And if it seems a little muted compared to iPhone launch days past, that may be because Apple is making it increasingly easy to hang on to your three-year-old phone instead — even if they no longer sell that phone. 

As I wrote last week, I was in the market for an XS. But I was torn: I’m one of those people who believes the iPhone 6S is the last truly great iPhone Apple made. I’m loath to swap my built-in headphone jack for a life in which I have to carry around a Lightning-to-aux dongle just in case. 

And yes, fanboys, before you jump in: I already use Bluetooth headphones! I just like the option to plug in a wired set of cans — the same option I am afforded on my latest-model iPad Pro and bang-up-to-date MacBook.  Read more…

More about Apple, Iphone 6s, Tech, Consumer Tech, and Big Tech Companies