Move over giganews here comes astraweb and half of my next iPad !

For many years now I’ve used Giganews‘s excellent but some-what expensive service as my usenet (newsgroups) provider. Recently I’ve been open for change, especially the kind of change that saves me money. The latest thing to get me going was looking into some VPN service that looks interesting and costs $5 a month, so that got me thinking abut how much I’m currently spending on online services, and the most expensive service is Giganews. Plus, a friend at work said he was using a different – cheaper provider called Astraweb and that he was very happy with them. Astraweb is a well-known provider that I’ve heard about for years, so I finally decided to try them out and I’m very glad I did !

Astraweb has two pricing systems: unlimited subscription plans and pay-by-download plans

Unlimited Subscription plans

  • All plans have unlimited quotas.
  • Plans are either limited to 10mbit speed or not limited at all.
  • 20 connections.
  • Cost: $10/m with 10mbit speed or $20/3m.
  • Cost: $15/m with no speed limit or $39/3m.



  • Pay for a download allowance that has no time limit.
  • No recurring payments.
  • 50 connections.
  • Variety of download packages: 25gb / 180gb / 1,000gb
  • Costs for packages above: $10 / $25 / $50
  • Bandwidth per dollar: 2.5gb / 7.2gb / 20gb !


Although I’m a pretty heavy usenet user and as such would usually look for the unlimited subscription plan, I was actually drawn to the 1,000gb (1Tera) download package worth $50. After checking my Giganews account I discovered that it took me around 9months to reach 1,000gb last year. That means that if you divide $50 by 9months – it comes down to about $5.5 per month. Currently I’m paying Giganews $25 a month so that’s a huge difference which translates to about $240 a year – half of my next iPad 🙂

What I recommend to anyone who wants to check astraweb out for themselves before making the switch is goto their account and suspend it for a period of time while you check out the competition (I suspended mine for 2 months). If you see that it works well for you, just go back to Giganews to cancel your account completely.


Astraweb Miscellaneous

  • 1413 days retention.
  • Accept PayPal and credit cards.
  • Have both US & EU servers.
  • Supports SSL connections.
  • Normal Ports: 119, 23, 1818, 8080
  • SSL Ports: 443, 563



  1. Suspend Giganews account.
  2. Buy astraweb 1,000gb plan for $50 using a simple PayPal payment.
  3. Sabnzbd (usenet client) – configured one server to astraweb’s european server and left the other on Giganews, then I disabled the old Giganews server and enabled the new Astraweb server.
  4. Tested download – got my full 15mbit with a 25 connections setup.
  5. Re-enabled Giganews server and at the end of the month, after the giganews suspension kicks in, I’ll re-enable the new astraweb server, and later on I’ll probably cancel Giganews all together.

Happy savings and happy hunting !



Instagram Tips and Tricks

For those of you already using instagram here is a very nice and simple article with instagram tips & tricks. For those not using instagram yet, it’s time to join the instagram train ! ALL ABOARD !

her new leaf

I am still obsessed with Instagram – are you? I think it’s a great way to capture small, every-day moments that you might otherwise forget. I love looking back over my photos and remembering when I took them! Here are a few tips for how to make your Instagrams shine.

Use your phone’s camera app to take your photo, then import into Instagram. The built-in camera app has way more capability than the Instagram camera, including zoom, focus, and exposure.

Bonus tip – ever had a photo turn out poorly because your subject was backlit and appeared too dark? On the iPhone, touch and hold your finger on your subject to lock the focus and exposure.

When you bring your photos in from the camera app, you will have the ability to zoom in on your subject – use it! Cut out anything unimportant in the background and showcase the…

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How to clean a macbook pro keyboard after spilling your coffee on it, aghh!!

Today I started my morning with my usual cup of coffee, but unlike most days I decided that instead of enjoying my morning coffee, it might be better to spill it all over my desk and Macbook pro, aghh !

The one good thing to come out of this, was writing this ‘how-to’ article for my readers, so they know what to do in the event this happens to them too.

The following applies to the aluminum unibody Macbook/pro line, but most of it applies to any laptop.

Phase 1 – First-Aid:

  1. Lift Macbook in the air and flip it upside down so the liquid doesn’t seep inside as much.
  2. Press & hold the power button until it completely shuts down. Forget about doing a ‘safe shutdown’, it’s better to deal with software failures or some data loss, than hardware damage.
  3. Disconnect any cables attached to Macbook.
  4. Safely set down the Macbook on a clean surface.
  5. Get some absorbent paper.
  6. Gently use the paper to soak the spill from your Macbook keyboard. Don’t press hard or the spill will seep into the keys. You can either do this with the Macbook still upside down or flip it back so it’s easier to clean.

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Facebook Places launched.. Foursquare the big loser ?

Facebook launched its much anticipated location-based features yesterday, called Facebook Places. Facebook Places lets you check-in to places and share your location with your friends, much like Foursquare (currently places is available only in the US).

Back in April, rumors surfaced that Facebook (among others, including Yahoo & Microsoft) tried to acquire Foursquare for more than $100 million, but Foursquare resisted in favor of a $20 million cash investment from a venture capital fund.
Even though foursquare check-ins will also push updates to Facebook Places, I believe users will prefer to use Facebook Places rather than go to yet another service – and considering the huge users base and popularity of Facebook – it seems like Facebook Places will eventually crush Foursquare and that Foursquare will be very sorry they didn’t accept the offer.

Mashable posted an interesting article about Facebook Places, that includes a useful how-to section:

How to Use Places

First of all, you or a Facebook friend in your group will need a smartphone. If you don’t have an iPhone, you’ll have to use the Facebook touch mobile site on a browser that supports both HTML 5 and geolocation.The company does plan to roll out Android and BlackBerry versions of Places, but they haven’t released any specific dates for those releases yet.To use Places, go to the Places tab on the iPhone application or You’ll first be asked if Facebook is allowed to know your location. Once you click “allow,” you’ll enter the Places interface. From there, you can share your location with friends, find out where your friends are (if they’re using Places), and discover new places near you.You can add places, check in to places that already exist, and tag people who are with you. If you’re checking in for a group, make sure you tag your friends before you checkin, yourself. For example, I added my house and checked in there. I then opened the Places page for a nearby sushi restaurant, tagged my boyfriend, and checked us both in there.

A Field Guide to Using Facebook Places [Mashable]

How to protect your online identity using ‘LastPass’ password manager

Recently, I’ve decided to take upon myself a daring new mission – to help those reading my blog to achieve relaxation and peace of mind. You might think I’m planning to instruct you in Yoga or meditation, or perhaps help you obtain prescription medicine or drugs of some kind, but I’m actually talking about the peace-of-mind that you’ll find, when your online identity is protected and your data is securely backed-up.

This mission will be broken into a series of posts starting with this one, which will focus on protecting your online identity. First, let’s begin by understanding the subject.

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