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Felt - Forever Breathes the Lonely Word Music Album Reviews

Each Sunday, Pitchfork takes an in-depth look at a significant album from the past, and any record not in our archives is eligible. Today, we revisit the misanthropic pop perfection of the indie British band’s sixth and best album.
In November 1986, a writer for NME visited the flat of indie-pop enigma Lawrence. The mononymous musician lived in a quiet suburb outside of Birmingham, England, alone except for a collection of records, a set of first edition Kerouac paperbacks, and enough cleaning products to stock a small hospital ward. “A platoon of Airwick Solids stoically occupy strategic vantage points; the toilet bowl harbors not the usual one, but a breeding pair of those Cartland-pink santisers; a wicker basket provides a mass grave for spent aerosol air fresheners.” Since he rarely left the antiseptic apartment, Lawrence explained that his days were typically spent wasting time with mundane activities, like assiduously washing his floppy brown hair.

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Hide My Ass! Pro VPN Review

Hide My Ass! is a VPN service with servers all over the world. But the location of its HQ and its logging policy will put off some people. Here's our review.

Should I Buy Hide My Ass! Pro VPN?
Although HMA! Is a fine VPN service with plentiful servers and locations, the fact it is headquartered in the UK and that it keeps logs means it isn’t a great choice for those who want privacy and anonymity: two things a VPN should offer.


Price When Reviewed
  • $11.99 per month or $6.99 per month for an annual plan
Hide My Ass!, or HMA for short, is a VPN service that was established back in 2005 in the UK. In 2015 it was bought by AVG, which was then itself bought by Avast, companies better known for antivirus software.

It is undoubtedly one of the best-known VPNs and one of the most popular. Yet it is certainly not the best choice for some people.

Apps are offered for Windows, macOS, iOS and Android. You can also run it on a compatible router, so it can protect all your devices, but there are no web browser extensions (there is only a free proxy service) and no app for Amazon Fire TV.

HMA has around 950 servers in 219 countries (when we counted). It offers multiple servers in certain countries, and has one in almost every US state. It even operates a server in China. Some of the servers are virtual, but most aren’t.
Locations, then, are not an issue. Well, the UK headquarters aren’t ideal as this is one of the countries in the “14-Eyes” which share information. More importantly, though, HMA keeps connection logs for 30 days, the details of which are plain to see in its privacy policy

Although it says it doesn’t store your original IP address or monitor the websites you visit or data sent or received, HMA has in the past handed over information to authorities which has resulted in at least one user being convicted and jailed.

It says that it doesn’t tolerate any abuse of its network for illegal activity – including illegal file sharing – and if your account is flagged for such behaviour, it can keep any associated logs for longer than three months.

It goes on to clarify the point “If your account is identified by us following a notification that it has been used in breach of our terms of service, we reserve the right to suspend your account to prevent further abuse, however, in such circumstances we will never voluntarily hand over your personal data to a third party unless we are legally compelled to do so in accordance with English law.”

This is the reason we recommend opting for a VPN outside of a jurisdiction which can compel it to hand over information, and also why a zero-logs policy is important. And there are plenty of VPNs which do this, including NordVPN and PureVPN.

You can also see which 10 VPNs we recommend you use.

Performance
We tested HMA in Windows and on Android and iOS. We found that it passed our IP and DNS leak tests without issue and that – on the whole – speeds were perfectly acceptable. Impressive, even, with over 70Mb/sec download and over 80Mb/sec upload on the New York streaming server.

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We also had no problems accessing Netflix when connected to the USA streaming server.

However, we did run into problems with BBC iPlayer refusing to allow us to watch content when connected to the UK server: it’s optimised for P2P and not streaming. We were also disappointed to see that in the mobile apps, the setting to share usage data with third parties for analytics was enabled by default rather than being opt-in.

The apps offer a similar interface regardless of platform, and you only get a few extra features on the Windows app compared to the mobile versions, including a customisable kill switch.

Support is available via live chat 24/7 and was quick to answer and offer advice on how to use HMA on an Amazon Fire TV despite the lack of a dedicated app.

Pricing
HMA offers various packages, starting with a one-month commitment at £7.99 / $11.99. That drops to £4.99 / $6.99 if you sign up for a year and £2.99 / $4.99 if you go for two years. 

One account lets you use five devices at the same time, and there’s a 30-day money back guarantee.

You can pay by credit card or PayPal, but if you want anonymity you can opt for Neteller or Skrill. However, don't forget that HMA still knows your original IP address.

See the latest offers from Hide My Ass!

Verdict
Hide my ass! is a perfectly good VPN service if you consider the choice of servers and locations, as well as the speed on offer. It’s also perfectly good for securing public Wi-Fi and online privacy. However, there are no browser extensions nor a Fire TV app, it’s based in the UK and keeps logs. Ultimately, then, it should be avoided if you plan to use it to infringe copyright by streaming content you shouldn’t, download movies or do anything that breaks the law. 

Specs
  • 1-month account
  • based in London, UK
  • holds logs
  • VPN protocols: L2TP/IPsec, OpenVPN, PPTP
  • 5 concurrent devices
  • no data allowance limit
  • client software for Windows, OS X, Android, iOS
  • platform support: Linux/OS X/Windows/iOS/Android/DD-WRT
  • manual configuration option
  • P2P policy not advised



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