The TOR network, better known as “The Onion Router” network is mesh of “endpoints” all over the world, interconnected by a encrypted connections. Much like a network of Wormholes, traffic can go in on one end and leave the TOR network in a completely different (and random location) to “go on the internet.” I know some of you might be wondering what this is for, so , imagine being in China and wanting to watch something on Youtube. The Chinese government does not only block a lot of “Western” websites, it also keeps track of the traffic its citizens generate. Enter the TOR network. Using this network our Chinese Youtube enthousiasts sends his traffic through the TOR network. The actual request “emerges” onto the internet in some random country (where Youtube is not blocked) AND its encrypted along the way. So he gets to watch his favourite catvideo AND the government does not have a clue what he is doing.
So how can this work for you ? Whenever you are on a public hotspot or on a network you do not trust, you can use the TOR browser. Your browsing behaviour will not only be completely opaque to whoever is trying to watch your movement on that network , it ALSO will circumvent URL and content restrictions.. because if they look at your traffic .. they will only see an encrypted tunnel between you and whatever TOR endpoint you are connected to. Nobody can sniff you, Nobody can block you. Eat that Starbucks Script-kiddy !
The TOR browser is a “mutated version of Firefox” that lets you surf DIRECTLY on the TOR network. It is available for Windows, Linux and the Mac and is COMPLETELY PORTABLE (you don’t even have to install it). So carry it around with you on your USB stick and be absolutely sure that, next time you are logging in on that Wifi network in the Hotel Lobby .. nobody can “follow along”.
I know , Long time No post, but rest assured dear Knightwise.com readers: We are far from dead. Real life is getting in the way and the excuse : Pardon me but I need to Blog will get you strange stares from ignorant third parties.
Today i'm going to let you guyz in on a little secret. Many times people ask me " Dude , where do you get all this cool stuff ? You've got all these gadgets and have the latest all the time. You must be loaded !" . Dead wrong my cyber citizens. I'm far FROM loaded. Perhaps I do need to admit that AS a Geek I spend a little bit more on technology every month then the average user but by no means do I piss my cash away. " Then what"s the deal ? I hear you ask : Very simple , I answer. Let me unveil the secret behind the way I buy things.
Find something : It may be in the shop, online, or on Tv .. You might pick up that Geeky Item in your Visor that you just HAVE to have. But don"t go reaching for your wallet yet ! Read the add on the thing , but then , take into account : Advertisers LIE !
Get the lowdown : So get the lowdown. The first thing I enter on Google is the name of the product + the words USER REVIEW. Certainly with cellphones and other smaller consumer gadgets that is a sure place to get info. Notice to skip any commercial sites that do user reviews. Mhttp://www.mobileburn.com/ is a great example of a user driven website that does an honest review of cellphones. Get the NON COMMERCIAL pictures of the product , you know , the high res ones taken by the users themselves and take a very good look at the product. Be sure to read SEVERAL review sites and see that you get a good average image of the positive and the negative traits of your future purchase (remember some negative ones for later on).
Go to the shop. : Want to be perfectly sure that new mobile is going to fit in your hand ? Want to know the feel of that new Logitech keyboard ? Well , go out to the shop. Not to buy , but to FEEL. Skipp any information the resident storekeeper wants to give you for the product. You've been on the internet and know about 3 times as much about the gig then the 19-year old-dad"s-tie-wearing youngster in front of you. Use this opportunity to get a good feel on the product and also on the store PRICE.
Hit the web : Then start shopping around. Now the choice is yours. Either you want to buy the product NEW or second hand. Believe me their are plenty of opportunities for the latter. But lets say we want to buy a new one. Time to hit www.ebay.com, www.amazon.com and other on line sites with the exact name of your product. Take a good look around but take shipping costs and delivery time into account. With the storeprice in mind you will know if you have a bargain or not. Mostly its cheaper to shop online but take international factors like mobile operators, shipping costs, currency variations and of course local voltage into account.
Hit the streets. There are more early adopters out there you know. You are indeed not alone. This little gadget has been bought by others ! And some of these gadgeteers might already want to part with their purchase and move on. So Ebay , Craigslist, and for me in Belgium 2dehands.be and Kapaza.be) are the great places to start. Look for the item of your choice but also misspell it in the search bar. That way you might find auctions of you item that have misspells and don't get a lot of attention.
Start dealing. Look closely at the add you found on these second hand sites. If its an entire copy past of the elaborate parameters of the device copied of some review site , you might be dealing with a highly evolved fellow gadget hunter. He probably knows what the product is worth , what the second hand value is and what the pro"s and the con's of the device are. Try to haggle on the price a bit but don't insult the seller by giving him an extremely low offer. Do point out the negatives of the device to lean on the price but don't give the seller the impression he was a fool for buying it. Do however OFFER A TRADE.
The Trade has been around for ages : Trading chickens for cows is no different then swapping a blackberry for a Treo. Geeky people love new stuff. So you might have a good chance of offering up a gadget YOU want to get rid of for a gadget YOU want to have. Who know's : The other party is also looking for new stuff. Throw in a little cash to sweeten the deal when the ride gets bumpy but sometimes you hit it off and get a great deal for both parties.
Newbie alert. The one time my financial saliva starts flowing is when I read an add that says : "Computerlike Phone with email and stuff" behind the picture of a Blackberry 7290. This is a genuine NEWBIE. He has just bought a device, knows heads or tales of it and wants to part with it sito presto. Here comes the advantage of knowledge. Respond to the add and gently prod for some more information about he device. If the intelligence you get is still a load of crap : they guy does NOT know what he is talking about. Tell him you're interested in the product but not sure about its quality in general. I know he might be holding a cellular brick of gold in his hand and that you are having an erection just looking at it : but don't let him know. Be cool , uninterested about it. Some up some of the negative points you read on the review site (don't get TOO techie) and reluctantly offer him a bid to : take it of his hands while you fumble with it. Or go the other way and tell him its a great device but it needs a genuine Einstein like you to operate it. Give our little noob the idea that he's got good stuff in his hands but if he holds on to it much longer the super techie folks might just move on to the next big thing and he'll be stuck with it. But don't forget to offer him a trade for an item you might want to get rid off and he might like supercool. Noobies look for stuff we want to part with . If he still has a 15" crt in his bedroom the 17" TFT you are using as a server monitor might be something he is still dreaming off. While we look for dual core he is still in awe of Pentium 4. Take the tech gap into account and use it to your advantage.
Damn these Kids : Kids these days have a lot of cash. I'm surprised at the stuff they buy and sell. Since they are more gadget hungry then we are the want to part with their stuff FAST. So getting a low price on the deal is not THAT hard if you want to spit up the doe FAST. A trade might also be an option but mostly they want cash to buy something else or to give back to Dad who said they should "Sell that expensive cellphone RIGHT AWAY'. But be ethical an don"t hassle a 16 year old into financial submission. Remember you probably have a job, they do not.
But beware. So you think you are a bargain hunter now .. right ? Well there are always bigger sharks in the sea so watch out. Supersharp deals on recent devices , trades or sales that involve shady foreign addresses ? There are bigger crooks out there then you mister fox ! So take your common streetwise spiderman-sence when in comes to those things. Cellphones can be locked, tied to providers ,or even worse stolen ! And you don"t want to end up spitting up doe for a hot peace of machinery.
Ethics. Perhaps what is more important then steering clear of shady deals is not becoming a shady dealer yourself. Whatever you do : Be ethical. Ok you might have the advantage of technical knowledge but don"t abuse it on the ignorant. Be sure you walk a way from the deal with smiling faces on both si
des. Be able to sleep at night without the thought you just scammed some nooby by giving him peanuts for his gear and getting him in a lot of trouble. Treat others like you wish they would treat you.
And finally : One golden rule I abide by : Buy some .. Sell some ! The amount of stuff I have is in this constant financial state of near Zen cause when I buy stuff , I only buy it when I sold other stuff. So not like ' I"m buying this , i'll sell some of my other stuff later" . No .. I look at the price of the item, decide how much I want to chip in from my own pocket and then look at the amount of cash I need to raise from selling other stuff. Nothing makes you more ruthless in selling your own stuff … then the hunger for the next geeky item.
Oh yes … did I mention this ?
Ok , by now the podcast should have been up, but hardcore Knightcast fans have to be a little more patient. I’ve been down and out with a nice bronchitis last week. So this weekend i’ll be sure to have a new episode up.
BUT ! More important things have also been on the agenda. It is with great pride and joy that we unveil one of our secret projects we have been working on for the last few months. A secret project that required a lot of preparation and also .. a little bit of cloak and dagger secrecy. So time to pull back the curtain and unveil …. Our marriage !
Cloak and Dagger
Yep , On July 8th Nyana and me will cease to be engaged and will seal our vowels in the town Hall of Hasselt. Together with a select crowd of friends and family we’ll be up and about at the crack of dawn to start of the big day. We will be keeping you posted , and in true Knightwise.com tradition there will be a rather large digital coverage of the event. So hang on for video material, Digital photos and a sound-seeing tour (might even do a special podcast of the event). Instead of a wedding photographer we are proud to announce that we have a wedding cartoonist. Len from Jawboneradio.com provided us with this official wedding cartoon for which we are eternally grateful. Check out his work on www.jawboneradio.com . As we are off to shop for some wedding – outfit somewhere I leave you with this great cartoon 🙂 See you soon !