Once naive, I discovered there was a place called Netflix where you could watch TV shows & movies anytime, anywhere. Anywhere, really? I was welcomed with this message:
I love this thing where they’ll inform you when the service finally becomes available over here in Africa. This is a patient continent, really.
I kept bumping into such situations and it used to drive me crazy. I thought Google Play Music was what I needed, until this message changed my mind:
Meaning that it’s only available in some countries. Not mine. Not even an email field to fill in so that they inform me in 2027 that it’s just been extented to where I live.
Or my favorite, simple and efficient:
I could go on. Zalando in France for example does not allow you to pay by credit card from abroad, only by old-fashioned paper checks that you send through the traditional and charming postal service. Reducing fraud risks, I guess, as we over here in the rest-of-the-world are a fraudulent bunch.
So how do we get to join the afro-hispano-american cutie watching Scandal on her couch?
I first tried TunnelBear. These guys have aimed for cute and succeded. Sometimes I just feel like using the software to see the little bears moving around on my screen. Beyond the bears, however, TunnelBear offers an app you install on your computer or smartphone. You switch this app on when you want to connect to a place beyond your country’s borders, and there you are with your data rushing through the tunnel. The service connects you to the US, the UK, France, and a few other countries. The free version, however, their Little TunnelBear, gives you 500 MB per month (one episode) with one additional GB if you tweet for them (two more episodes). This is most suited for testing the service or for shopping abroad disguised as a local. Their premium offer is the Giant TunnelBear with no volume limit, for about $5 a month or $50 a year (the Grizzly, they call it). I’ll be testing this in the soon-to-come Unblocking guide. Does it work? Yes. Using the little bear, I’ve been shopping in the US and France without any of the above annoyances.
Then my wife came to me with a similar problem and I installed the Little TunnelBear for her. But beware, I warned, you shall turn it off when you don’t need it, or the little bear shall die. I shall take care of the little bear, was the answer. The next day, she came back to me. It’s not working, she said. Did you leave it on? Of course I did, I don’t know how to switch it off, was the answer. So I started searching for an alternative, which got me to Hola! Unblocker. Should be ¡Hola!, actually, if they were purists. Hola! works as a Chrome or Firefox plugin.You go to the site you want to access and click on that little flamehead in the top bar. You choose from which country you want to access the site from, and you’re good to go. Does it work? Yes it does. It slows you up a little, but you’re browsing from the US, the UK or whatever other flag you click on.