What About A VPN?

VPN - it's another geeky-sounding TLA (Three Letter Acronym) that seems to throw a lot of everyday computer users into confusion. So what does it mean for you?

A VPN, or Virtual Private Network, is a method of masking or obscuring your Internet activity. Available to us mere mortals in the form of software, it can help hide both your public IP address (indicating essentially who you are and where you are) and the actual content of your Internet traffic.

The Cliffs Notes version is that, instead of your Internet connection taking you directly to a website (gray dotted line below), it travels first through an encrypted (scrambled) "tunnel" to a VPN service (red line below), where it then goes to the website.

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The Shrinking Transistor Is Getting Too Small

When researchers first started mucking around with digital computers in the late 1930's and 1940's (yes, that long ago), the "switches" that made up the calculating part of the computer were comprised of vacuum tubes. 

If you are a baby boomer like me - or older - you may remember a time when TVs and audio equipment still had tubes (they would light up like a weak-looking light bulb as they worked). 

The "WITCH" computer, with vacuum tubes