10 Incredible Gifts for Gamers

Gifts for Gamers

The holidays are supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year. But sometimes, choosing presents for others can be a real challenge. Is there a hardcore gamer on your Christmas list? Don’t stress — Easynews has you covered with these 10 gifts for gamers!

Game Consoles

PlayStation 4 Star Wars Bundle – $475.00

PS4 Star Wars Battlefront Bundle

A first gaming console is an excellent option for the young (or young at heart) gamer in your life. Of course, you’ll want to find out which system they prefer, be it PlayStation or Xbox. If it’s PlayStation, then this special edition Star Wars console would be a welcome addition to any Star Wars fan’s entertainment unit. It includes a customized Darth Vader console and controller, as well as a physical copy of the Star Wars Battlefront game, digital voucher codes for four additional Star Wars games, and a headset. Looking for something other than Star Wars? Check out these other bundle deals.

 

Xbox One Halo 5 Bundle – $449.00

Halo Bundle for Xbox

If you’re buying a console for someone who prefers Xbox, you may want to consider this rare edition. The Halo series is one of the most popular gaming franchises of all time, and the newest edition is a must-have for Xbox users. Included in the Halo 5 bundle is a customized Halo console and matching Spartan Locke wireless controller, along with the following:

  • Spartan-themed SteelBook
    • Contains a digital download of Halo 5
  • Xbox headset
  • Warzone REQ Pack
    • Includes 14 Premium Requisition packs
  • FOTUS-class armor
  • A multiplayer emblem
  • 14-day trial of Xbox Live Gold.

If you’re looking for something non-Halo themed, check out these other bundle deals.

Game Accessories

Turtle Beach – Ear Force Elite 800 – $299.00

 

PlayStation Headset

Headsets make the online gaming experience come to life, allowing for interaction between players. For the PS4 gamers in your life, this headset by Turtle Beach would make a great gift. With surround sound, noise cancellation, mic monitoring, and Bluetooth capabilities, you won’t find a better headset on the market.

 

Turtle Beach – Ear Force Elite 800X – $299.00

Xbox Headset

For the Xbox gamers in your life, a headset is still a great gift. Try this one, Turtle Beach’s Xbox version of the PS4 headset above.

 

PlayStation 4 DualShock 4 Star Wars Controller – Darth Vader Edition – $64.96

Darth Vader Controller

If your loved one already has a gaming console, that removes the need to buy a bundle. Fortunately, bundles can be unbundled, like this custom Darth Vader Controller. Or if you’re looking for a hint of nostalgia, try this PlayStation 20th anniversary PS4 controller.

 

Xbox One Limited Edition Halo 5: Guardians Wireless Controller – $69.99

Halo Controller for Xbox

Similarly to the PS4, the Xbox bundle pieces are also available separately. So if you don’t want to go all-in on the Halo bundle, you can still buy the cool customized controller. Try this Special Edition Lunar White controller on for size if you’re not feeling Halo.

Gift Cards

PlayStation Gift Card – $10.00 – $100.00

PlayStation Gift Card

If you want to buy your gamer a game, but don’t know which game to give, a gift card is always welcome. This gift card will come in the form of a code, which will be used in PlayStation’s online store.

Xbox Gift Card – $10.00 – $100.00

Xbox Gift Card

Just like the PlayStation version, this Xbox gift card will be redeemed online, where users can download games and other content directly to their console.

Gaming Subscription

PlayStation Now – $99.99

For PlayStation users, a unique gaming subscription service is available. At the cost of $100 a year, users can gain cloud access to an array of titles, such as the Batman Arkham series and Mortal Kombat. For a full list of available games, check here.

Recharging 

USBCell Rechargable AA batteries – $19.95

USBCell Rechargeable Batteries

This gift won’t apply to PlayStation users because of their controller’s internally built battery pack, but for Xbox users ready to binge play a new game only to find that their batteries are dead, this gift is a godsend. These batteries can be recharged, so when one pair dies, you can have another ready to go.

Have an idea as to what else a video game enthusiast would love to receive this holiday season? Post it below!

6 Ways to Make Your Internet Connection Faster

6 Ways to Make Your Internet Connection Faster

It’s hard to remember how we were so patient with dial-up.

In this day and age, it is hard for most people to imagine what it would be like without Internet, and it takes a lot of patience to deal with a slow Internet connection. Having a below-average connection speed can affect download and upload time, streaming quality, cause buffering, and much more. If you are tired of taking an unnecessary amount of time out of your day in order to load what you want to surf, or you just want to preemptively avoid having slow connections, then here are some tips and tricks that will surely speed up your Internet connection!

 

1) Find the Best Wireless Channel

Just like with a walkie-talkie, numerous routers can share a channel, and most come defaulted on the same channel. This can end up crowding the channel and slowing down your connection, so be sure to find a channel that has the least number of routers on it. You can do so by using a web app like Wi-Fi Stumbler that will tell you what channels are in use within your computer’s range. You can change your router’s channel on your router’s administration page under the “Wireless” tab.

2) Change Your DNS Server

Computers choose a DNS (Domain Name Server) automatically, but can sometimes choose a bad one that results in slow processing of information. You can manually find a better DNS server, which in turn may significantly improve your Internet speed. Programs such as Google’s namebench allow you to find the best DNS server in range for your needs. Once you’ve found an acceptable server, go into your computer’s DNS settings (the setting panel for this may differ depending on your computer or operating system) and change the information from “default” to the information you have for the new DNS server.

3) Turn Your Router into a Repeater

Did you know that you can actually recycle and reuse your old routers in order to help extend the reach of your Wi-Fi signal? Sometimes our wireless routers don’t cover small areas of the home outside of its range, so this DIY trick could help! Some routers already have repeater functions built in, while others will need manual configuration; if yours is the type that is able to function as a repeater, it will say so on your router admin panel. Next, check DD-WRT, OpenWRT, or Tomato to see if your router is supported. For a list of step-by-step instructions on how to set up your old router as a repeater, visit this site. Since the router you are using to make the Wi-Fi repeater is likely older than your current wireless router, the speed of your Internet may not increase with this trick, but it will definitely allow you to use Wi-Fi in places it didn’t reach before.

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4) Limit Background Activity

Sometimes, programs will remain open or be running in the background of your computer, and this can cause a severe loss in speed and connectivity. When unnecessary programs are hogging the memory of your computer, it slows the whole system down. Check to make sure that there are no files being downloaded, scans running, or applications updating while you are using the Internet, and if there are and they are not important, end the processes — that alone could help improve your connection speed.

5) Find and Destroy Adware

Adware and Spyware are free programs that are nearly impossible to uninstall once they’ve been installed. Some are harmless and just an annoyance, while others are dangerous and could take a hit at your privacy. However, no matter how harmful, they almost always gobble up your bandwidth, which slows down your Internet connection. Depending on your computer type, there are programs made specifically for removing adware and spyware in order to clean up your computer and improve speed all around. The best way is just to avoid adware altogether by never downloading any additional files other than the ones you are specifically trying to download. Any extra files, programs, or “toolbars” are potential adware threats.

6) Free Up Space

Thanks to temporary Internet files, your computer can get clogged with unnecessary data. Alleviate this issue by deleting any temporary Internet files that have snuck their way onto your computer, and deleting your cache and cookies. There are many guides on the Internet for how to clear this data, but the process is fairly simple for both Windows and Mac users. Windows users can delete unwanted data files by going to the Control Panel, finding the Programs or the Add/Remove Programs panel, highlighting the unwanted files and clicking “Uninstall”. Macintosh users can skim through their Applications folder and drag and drop unwanted items into the Trash.

 

What’s your secret tip to boost your Wi-Fi speed? Tell us about it in the comments below and you may be featured in an upcoming post on the Easynews blog!

How-to Set Up Easynews VPN on iOS

How-to Setup Easynews VPN on iOS

Since launching our VPN service in late April, Easynews has become even more privacy-minded than in years past. While your identity has always been protected through end-to-end SSL encryption when using our HTTPS Usenet browser, we want to keep your data secure beyond your binary downloads. The Easynews VPN has user-friendly software available for Apple and Windows PCs, but additional devices can access the VPN through manual configuration. In this blog post we will be configuring the VPN on iOS for OpenVPN, PPTP and L2TP.

Click the appropriate setup guide to jump to that section:
Sign in to Easynews to view the VPN server list:

 

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HTTP vs. HTTPS – What’s the difference?

HTTP vs. HTTPS

It seems as though the stories involving Internet privacy and security are never-ending, and many nations are strengthening their power over the freedom of the Internet. But are popular websites doing anything about the drop in user views and activity from these censored countries? The answer is yes, and you may not have even realized it.

You probably recognize the commonly used acronym “HTTP” that appears in a browser’s address bar, but do you know what it even stands for? To fully understand the step towards better data management that websites like PayPal, Wikipedia and even Easynews are taking, you must first understand what HTTP is and what it does.

What is HTTP?

HTTP stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol, and is an application layer protocol. In simpler terms, it is the protocol over which information is sent from a user’s web browser to the website they are visiting. The data that is being communicated between the browser and the website is sent over in plain text, meaning that if someone intercepted the connection between the two, they would easily be able to see the information you were both viewing and sending on the website. This is especially dangerous when users are filling out sensitive information, like a credit card number at checkout on Amazon, or entering location information on Facebook.

The Shift to HTTPS

While HTTPS is essentially the same concept as HTTP, the “S” harbors one big difference between the two: security. HTTPS stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure, and instead of acting as its own application layer protocol, it uses separate protocols called SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) and TLS (Transport Layer Security).

Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome and Internet Explorer browser interfaces display padlock icons

HTTP and even HTTPS are not concerned with how information gets from point A to point B; however, the secure sockets layer that HTTPS uses ensures that the information travels through a safe tunnel to its destination, without concerning itself with the actual data that it is sending. The SSL also encrypts the information that is being sent, which means that the true meaning of the data (credit card numbers, personal information, etc.) is very difficult to be cracked by anyone trying to see the information. Nowadays, the majority of web browsers support HTTPS for more secure Internet browsing. Browsers such as Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, and Firefox will display a padlock icon to identify a secure HTTPS connection to a website. Just like with web browsers, there are millions of websites that support HTTPS so that users can view and send information safely without a third party shoving its way into their business. So what does this mean for Easynews? Well, since we use SSL encryption in our HTTP Usenet browser, your text article and binary downloads are encrypted and secure.

Best of all, HTTPS benefits users with faster speeds and connections than HTTP. This is because websites supporting HTTPS have already been certified as secure and are merely tunneled to the user. On the other hand, the unencrypted HTTP is typically filtered, cached, or scanned, which means there is more data to send over the browser. Want to test the speeds for yourself? Visit HTTP vs. HTTPS to compare web page load times for these two different protocols and you can be the judge!

It goes without saying why HTTPS is deemed the preferred protocol when accessing websites, but just because a website uses such SSL encryption does not totally safeguard Internet users from phishing and other schemes. Unlike a VPN, SSL is an encryption protocol that is used in-browser, meaning that any other non-browser based Internet activity can still be intercepted and breached. Remember that a VPN is an encrypted tunnel and ALL of the data running through that connection is impenetrable to the outside world.
Interested in trying the Easynews VPN? Start a free trial today!

 

Did you take the HTTP vs. HTTPS Speed Test? Share your results in the comments below!