TorGuard Review 2015 – My VPN of choice as an Australian

TorGuard Website
Choosing a VPN provider can be difficult, you want one that provides great customer service, security, reliability and most importantly, one with servers close to you as well as around the world. When my account with Astrill came up for renewal recently, I decided it was time to review the field again.

For a limited time, due to Australia’s new Data Retention laws I have managed to get Torguard to provide me a 20% off any Torguard plan coupon for my readers. You can use this by heading over to Torguard and using the following coupon “AnonymousVPN”.

I use a VPN for a variety of reasons, I find them extremely handy for security reasons, I now have two static IP services with TorGuard so that I can restrict certain things I log into by public IP address. This also means that I can connect to these from anywhere in the world. As many Australian’s will know, they can also be used for “Geo dodging” services that are restricted to certain countries. Being a lucky user of Foxtel I personally don’t have that issue but if that is your end goal you will be happy to know that TorGuard has servers all around the world you can connect to. Lastly, they are handy for getting around firewalls when you are in a restricted environment (and have a legitimate reason for needing to get out of the firewalled environment)

The starting point is to find providers that have a good reputation, if Anonymity is what you are looking for you will probably be familiar with TorrentFreak’s roundup of providers that don’t keep logs (2015 edition). I checked out:

  • Private Internet Access
  • TorGuard
  • IPVanish
  • NordVPN

I came up with the above list based on those that have servers within Australia and will also note that some of these I have used previously. After testing the speeds of each provider, TorGuard turned out to be the best VPN for me as a Sydneysider. I am not necessarily saying that the others weren’t good, but I lost very little overall speed on my connection when using TorGuard, which was one of my primary goals.

After testing and selecting TorGuard, it was refreshing to see most things included. Astrill offers upsell after upsell (even for example if you want to use more than a single device), the only thing I have had to pay for extra so far with TorGuard is my static IPs (which are not a necessity for most people). I have found the service to be exemplary, support tickets are answered promptly, the service is solid as a rock and I have stayed connected for days at a time (usually only losing a connection when my ADSL drops sync… still hanging on for this NBN we keep hearing about).

The OSX client that comes with TorGuard was easy to use, I opted to purchase a full Viscosity license to get the latest version and configure it myself, I am stoked with it as a VPN client, however you will be happy to know that the clients that TorGuard offers are simple, easy to use and sufficient for 99% of all users needs.

So if you are looking for an anonymous VPN service that has endpoints in Sydney, has anonymity as a priority, is affordable, reliable, doesn’t require long contracts and above all… JUST WORKS! I can happily say that TorGuard is well worth looking into.

As always, when I review a service that I love, I have put an affiliate link here in the post. If you would like to visit the service directly please visit http://torguard.net.

Pinentry and Pinentry-Curses on Mac OSX Backspace Issues

So this is going to be short and sweet… for those of you that are looking to use pinentry or pinentry-curses (at least in my case installed with Homebrew) that are having problems with the backspace character not working properly… this might just be up your alley.

Recently while using the LastPass CLI (for writing an integration with Alfred) on OSX Yosemite, I had an issue where pinentry-curses was registering the backspace character as a new character… not a backspace.

The fix was rather simple in the end… just execute the following in your terminal before the related command:

TERM=linux-vt

That seems to be enough for it to look correct (which if you just use linux the pinentry box looks very wrong as some characters are not recognised) and the backspace character now works correctly. It is a win win 😀

Hope that helps someone else!

Stuart

Office 2016 for Mac – A plea for add-ins functionality!

Office for Mac Website
With the release today of the first preview of Office 2016 for Mac (which has been a LONG LONG time coming as you will all know), I want to put forward the following plea to Microsoft. Thus far, on brief inspection, I have not seen any indications that add-ins will be supported in the new version of Outlook, or the rest of Office.

As many of you will know this has been something that is sorely lacking from the Mac version and therefore when vendor’s offer Outlook plugins (the ones that I personally would like to use the most), we Mac users get left high and dry.

Therefore I ask that everyone click the little smiley in the preview version of Office for Mac (top right hand corner) and echo this plea for Microsoft to include such functionality in the new release.

The feedback I left was along the following lines (I will admit this is a cleaner version as I lost the copy-paste version I took to post here):

Hi Team,
One thing that I have not seen thus far in the preview, on initial inspection, is the lack of any add-ins functionality like the Windows version of Office has had for many years. When I think of useful add-ins I think of those from vendors such as Evernote, Bananatag, Any of the anti-spam software companies all the way up to enterprise level add-ins for interacting with email archiving appliances and enterprise anti-spam solutions.

With the complete overhaul that is being worked on so diligently by Microsoft, I feel it is essential that focus is given to allowing vendors to extend the functionality of Outlook (as the highest priority) and the remaining Office applications as a secondary component.

While we are many months away from release I think this is the best time to raise this and I hope Microsoft will hear our pleas to provide a feature comparable version to that of Microsoft Windows users.

Kind Regards,
Stuart

Let me know what your thoughts are, and if you send Microsoft some feedback, please leave a comment here and let me know.

Cheers,
Stuart