Misconceptions About VPNs, the Virtues of Boxed Wine, the Inevitability of Summer Ticks, and More in This Week’s Highlights

This week we took a hard look at VPNs to see if they’re really the perfect privacy saviors (they aren’t), learned some meticulous ways to sharpen you pencils, and thought outside the box while enjoying some high-quality boxed wine. Here’s a look back.

Have you heard? Internet service providers want to sell your data and a virtual private network (VPN) is the best way to tell them to shove off. There’s a problem though. VPNs are notoriously shady, are more complicated than they look, they’re unregulated, and can be more of a security risk than they’re worth if you don’t set them up correctly.

The world can be a dangerous place, especially for careless travelers. The U.S. State Department does its best to alert tourists of the risks, but those warnings don’t always paint a clear picture. Turns out, the countries issued the most travel warnings aren’t always the most dangerous.

When you find that tick on yourself—or worse, on your kid or on a loved one’s hard-to-reach body part—don’t reach for the matches. Check out these six myths about ticks, so you’ll know what not to do.

Boxed wine has a bad rap. People look down on it because it doesn’t come in a fancy bottle, and assume the contents are nasty and cheap. While that may be true for some brands, a lot of boxed wine is just as good or better than the stuff you drink with a nice dinner. Plus, it’s easy to transport, stays fresh longer, costs less, and is better for the environment.

If you suffer from tinnitus, or a constant “ringing in your ears,” this bizarre trick you do with your hands might offer some small respite.

You need a sunny roof to benefit from solar panels, but yours may be sunnier than you think. Google’s Project Sunroof gives building-by-building details, andnow has data for (parts of) all 50 states.

If you’re crunched for time, hitting the gym right before work or during lunch might be your only options. And that probably means you can’t squeeze in a shower. Here’s how you can get back to work quickly without feeling like a sweaty, stinky mess.

A new form of male birth control, Vasalgel, is tantalizingly close to human trials—but we’ve heard that story before. Let’s take a look at some of the contraceptives for dudes that are languishing due to lack of funding.

David Rees thinks he knows how to sharpen pencils. He says people have entrusted 1,500 pencil points to his sharpening business. I know a little something about working with sharp pencils, and let me tell you, if you send your pencils out for sharpening you’re a fucking amateur.

It was my first meeting with a new potential client, and they tossed out a number. It was a good number, but I recently vowed to negotiate more. So I threw out a higher number, then held my breath through the awkward silence. I hate the anxiety-ridden, nerve-wracking process of negotiating, but here’s why I’ve learned to embrace it despite the fact.

Paprika ($4.99) is our favorite recipe manager on both Android and iPhone, but its massive feature set makes it a bit overwhelming at first. Let’s take a look at a few tips for getting those recipes organized without losing your mind.

Drinking in the shower is a pastime that much of the Lifehacker staff holds near and dear to their hearts. The popular beverage of choice for such an activity?Beer. Also, coffee and maybe a fancy cocktail. Here’s how you, too, can enjoy one of the greatest and most simple pleasures of your adult life.

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