What’s The Best Mousepad With A Wrist Rest?

If you’re anything like me you’ve developed some bad habits in your time.

In my case, it’s about ergonomics and especially when it comes to how I use my mouse.

I have a really bad habit of leaning on the heel of my right palm – flattening it out.

Which obviously caused a lot of pain.

So I spent a few years trying to find the best mousepad with a wrist rest of some kind.

I’ve lost count of the number of them I’ve tried and binned.

But I finally found one that ticks all the boxes for me – the Fellowes Crystal mousepad  – the one with the  gel wrist rest.

Now let me explain why.

fellows mousepad

Support

This should go without saying but an ergonomic mousepad should provide consistent wrist support.

Now, the thing is, many of them do…but not for hours on end.

What I found with all the other mousepads I’ve owned is that the wrist support part basically collapses as the day goes on.

So, without realizing it, your wrist is buried in a kind of hollow in the pad.

Then you have to pick it up, shake it out, and kind “fluff” up the gel or foam again to achieve some level of comfort for your hand.

That’s not the case with the Fellowes Crystal – it never deforms and is flexible enough for me to use it for an entire day without suffering any kind of discomfort.

Which is a first in the 40-odd years I’ve used computers.

Tracking

As important as personal comfort is to me, I also don’t want my mouse jumping around on the screen because of the surface it’s resting on.

So I need my mousemat to be made of something compatible with actually getting some work done.

I’ve never been a fan of gaming mousepads – they’re very accurate but I found them uncomfortable for day-to-day work.

The same goes for fabric mousepads because they tend to feel quite sluggish at times, so you’re left tweaking your mouse speed.

With the Fellowes Crystal you get a textured plastic surface which gives you the best of both worlds – an accurate surface that’s also not going to fade or get stained.

It also looks pretty cool too – I use the black version of this product and it does look very slick.

And it’s proven itself to be extremely accurate even with any optical mouse I use on it.

Stability

Every other mousepad I’ve owned featured a textured grip on the underside of it.

It was enough to keep it in position as long as you weren’t having a busy day.

But inevitably I’d wind up having to pull it back towards, adjusting everything back to how I like it.

The Fellowes Crystal has a kind of gel coasting on the underside too – it basically sticks to whatever surface you have it on.

And even if it does pick up any dirt or grime, it’s super-easy to clean.

So, this is another feature I love.

Durability

This was one of the biggest problems with every other gel mousepad I’ve used – the quality of the gel.

For example, I was given a TeckNet ergonomic mousepad as a Christmas gift.

The gel pad had gone completely flat after no more than 6 month.

And there was no way to revive it.

It actually started to flatten out after just a few weeks of use but I just put up with it.

The Fellowes Crystal has no such issue – the gel self-adjusts the split second you take your hand away from it.

So it basically feels like you’re using a brand new mousepad every single day.

And that makes it a real pleasure to use.

Easy To Clean

I have a really bad habit (yet another bad habit) of eating snacks and drinking coffee while I’m at my home office desk.

And I’m sure I’m not alone here, right?

But this does mean that my mousepad will inevitably get something spilled on it, and a pretty decent coating of crumbs from chocolate biscuits, etc.

After a few months your prized mouse starts to look like it’s been backpacking around the world, sleeping in the cheapest hostels it could find.

And that means it winds up in your recycling waste.

My Fellowes mousepad, on the other hand, is wipe clean.

Literally give it a wipe of a damp cloth and it looks brand new – and that’s no matter what kind of crud I’ve managed to wipe into it.

Everything from jam to pasta.

Told you I have some bad habits…

Anything I Don’t Like?

As of right now the Fellowes Crystal is everything I want in a mousepad with wrist support.

It’s far superior to similar products that cost half as much, but have thousands of 5-star reviews.

You really do need to watch out for ultra-cheap products with thousands of glowing reviews – most of them are paid for.

Anyways, I’ll update this blog post if my opinion of the Fellowes Crystal changes.

Or I find something even better!

Summing it up

I’ve been a victim of false economics at times over the years.

Like buying a $5 mousepad because the one for $12 or $15 just seemed like too much to spend on something so trivial.

Even though I’d then go through 2 or 3 of the cheaper items in the span of a year or so.

In Ireland we call that being penny wise and pound foolish.

You really do get what you pay for with this stuff, so the extra money spent on a Fellowes mousemat is more than worth it.

 

 

Can You Be Tracked If You Use a VPN?

So this is another of those topics where I can answer the question with a single sentence:

“No, you can’t be tracked if you use a VPN.”

But the problem with that statement is that it’s not quite that straightforward.

We need to consider the word “tracked” in two different contexts.

“Tracked”, for some people, simply means, “Can I browse the Internet anonymously?”

Whereas for others it means, “I don’t want anyone knowing I’m online or that I use a VPN server.”

There are a few subtle differences to where people stand on the goal of online privacy and protecting their personal information.

Not all VPN’s are created equal.

And there are some knowledge gaps here you might not have considered until you read them.

So let’s take a look at what it takes to avoid being “tracked” while using a VPN (Virtual Private Network).

Covering The Basics

Your VPN encrypts your data as it heads out over your Internet connection to the public Internet, as well as masking your IP address.

It does this by sending your data through a “tunnel” and allowing you to connect to any of thousands of servers in hundreds of countries.

Your ISP (Internet Service Provider) will be able to tell you’re using a VPN (if they go looking) but they will not be able to view your personal data.

Your ISP will however know your actual IP address, as will your VPN provider.

If you’re in any doubt as to how safe a good VPN can be, then you need only look at what happened recently in China.

Even with an entire government trying to censor information coming out, Chinese citizens were still able to use VPNs to successfully get around these controls.

Long story short, a good VPN server can be very difficult for entire governments to get around.

Don’t Use Free VPNs

You’re pretty much guaranteed that not only will all your data be logged but it will be resold again and again by the companies that run free VPNs.

That’s the entire business model – they don’t give a hot damn about your privacy or keeping your data secure.

And that’s without worrying about how many of them have suffered serious data breaches but never disclosed that.

Also, based on testing, free VPNs basically broadcast personal IP addresses loud and clear – there’s no real masking involved.

Use A Secure Browser

Don’t use the same browser you use for everything else.

It’s stuffed full of cookies and thousands of other pieces of digital clutter that would easily be used to identify you.

And I don’t mean use a ‘Private’ tab in your current browser.

I mean install a completely different browser, and anything other than Firefox or Chrome.

Both of those are basically designed to track your online activities while assuring you that they don’t.

It’s total horseshit.

Instead, install something like Brave. Yes, it’s a Chromium browser, but with all the spyware turned off.

Use A Multi-hop VPN

What’s better than having your data encrypted and sent through a remote VPN server?

Encrypting it twice and having it pass through two servers before being decrypted.

That’s how multi-hop routing works.

And it’s becoming a popular option for people who are really concerned about their privacy.

So even if somebody was able to intercept your data on the first server, they’d just find an additional layer of encryption.

That makes tracking you more trouble than it’s worth, unless maybe an intelligence agency is involved.

The only downside to using a VPN with multi-hop is that it can be a lot slower than a regular VPN.

DNS Leaks

Now here’s a problem that is a problem for Windows users, although Mac and Linux users apparently aren’t safe from it either.

A DNS leak happens when using a VPN…but it screws up and routes your Internet traffic through your ISP’s DNS instead of the DNS of your VPN provider.

That means that although your VPN is connected and everything looks fine, everything you do online passes through your ISP’s servers, completely unencrypted.

So you can be tracked very easily.

How can you check if your VPN has DNS leaks?

Open a Google search box and look in bottom left corner to see what country it thinks you’re connecting from.

Or you can use a site like DNS Leak Test instead.

Is there any VPN service that has never, ever had a DNS leak?

None that I’m aware of, but some are better than others.

VPN Logging

Connecting to VPN servers means those servers can log where you go and what you do.

So what you’re looking for in a VPN is one that advertisers, and implements, a “no logging” policy.

But there’s a slight problem with this “promise.”

Only VPN companies located in specific countries can avoid handing over their logs to the authorities if forced to do so.

That’s why many VPN providers try to locate their businesses offshore and away from nosey governments.

Payment

Nobody really thinks about this, but paying for a VPN with your credit or debit card is raises a red flag that you’re trying to surf anonymously.

Doing this in a safe and free democracy is one thing – nobody will really give a shit.

But signing up for a VPN in some countries could see you attracting the attention of the authorities.

All you have to do to get around this problem is sign up for your VPN with either a cryptocurrency, or find one that accepts something like Amazon gift cards as payment.

Source: https://tails.boum.org

True Web Anonymity

So…is there anything you can do to make sure you can’t be tracked when using a VPN?

Of course!

There are actually two choices here – the first of these is to use TOR over a VPN.

Basically, you connect to your VPN, and then connect to TOR.

You get a VPN within a VPN, which effectively make your online activities untraceable.

If you wanted to take things a step further do all of this on a public Wi-Fi hotspot.

The second method is to use something called Tails.

This is a portable operating system designed specifically to help protect your privacy and get around censorship.

Basically, you can boot your computer from a USB key containing Tails.

You can then connect to your VPN of choice and/or TOR along with that.

And when you shut the computer down there are no traces of what you were doing online or on the computer itself.

Very neat, and Tails is completely free.

Summing It Up

So, as you can see, asking whether or not you can be tracked while using a VPN requires a bit more explaining than just saying, “Nah, you’ll be fine”.

Remaining anonymous online is entirely doable, but you’ll have to put some effort into achieving that goal.

It’s not as simple as using whatever VPN is being recommended by YouTubers right now and hoping for the best.

But at least now you know what you need to do.